The dark time was here. It was upon him the moment the light to the basement was turned on from the upstairs. What had shaped up to be another uneventful evening alone now was a panicked scramble to get out. Jay Symanski hurried to stuff everything he could into a small brown duffel bag that lay on the floor beside him. This was too soon, he thought. He was nervous and reaching for anything he could grab and get into the bag. A handful of socks, a ball of rolled up t-shirts, a zip-lock bag of change, a cell phone, pager and a hairbrush – it was all he had! He had been in the lock up many times before, but this time it would be jail or even worse, and the thought of it was sour. Each time it entered his mind he got knot in his stomach. The knocks at the front door were next and they were loud. He could feel the creek of the floor boards above him as Mrs. McClure slowly approached the door to answer it. He knew he had to get out of there. He zipped the bag shut, threw it over his right shoulder and moved quietly toward a door. The basement had its own entrance from the back of the house that lead to a small wooded area between the subdivisions of houses where he was. It was his only escape. As he reached to turn the doorknob he could hear the muffled conversation going on above him. There were two officers inside the house now, and Mrs. McClure was doing her best to preoccupy them with questions about their families. Everybody knew everyone in this town, and Mrs. McClure was no different. In fact one of the cops was a second nephew of hers in some round about way. The chatter faded and she hollered for her son Brian who was watching TV upstairs in his room. Then there was silence. He couldn’t open the door yet, he thought. They would surely hear it. Now it was Brian who seemed to move the whole house as he rushed down the stairs from the third floor above.
“Brian honey, officers Cole and Paulson want to talk to you about Jay.”
“What about him?” Brian looked directly at both officers. They were looking sternly at him. Brian knew exactly where Jay was, and where he had been for the past three days, but he would never tell them. He and Jay were too good of friends for betrayal; besides this was routine. There was always a cop, or a girl or some other hustler punk looking for Jay all the time. That was his life and sometimes it was Brian’s.
“Have you seen him tonight at all?” asked Officer Cole. He moved closer to Brian. Cole was studying Brian’s face for anything that would indicate he was lying.
“Nope, haven’t seen him in a few days. Last time was down at the Quick Mart.” Brian looked down at the floor, hurried between the two policemen and took a seat on the sofa in the living room. They all turned to face him.
“You heard what he did the other night in Glynn Township, didn’t you?” asked Cole. Officer Paulson moved into the living room now and pulled an ottoman in front of where Brian was sitting. He sat down with his arms resting on his knees. Brian could see the meat of Paulson’s billy-club dangling against his legs.
“I heard what people think he did. I don’t believe it.” It was Brian now who tried to show some confidence. He got the story first hand from Jason and it wasn’t at all like he’d been hearing on the news or from the older folks, that’s for damn sure.
Cole asked again, “Have you seen him tonight?”
“No.” Brian said. “I haven’t seen him since the other day like I said.”
“Were you with him that night?” Paulson asked.
“He was here all night that night Ken, I can vouch for that.” said Brian’s mother spontaneously. Brian agreed.
“I was here, ask anyone!” He said. “I didn’t go anywhere.”
“Well your friend is in a lot of trouble.” said Cole. “Trying to run down a police officer in a stolen car can be grounds for attempted homicide.” It was true. That was the story that was run amuck all over the city – CAR THIEF TRIES TO KILL OFFICER WHILE ATTEMPTING TO FLEE SCENE!