March. March. March. March.
One. Two. Three. Four. One. Two. Three. Four.
Keep moving, keep going, keep walking.
One. Two. Three. Four. Stop!
“Come on, keep going. Don’t just stand there people, keep moving! What’s going on here!?” The cop shouted, pushing his way down the hall. The line at the metal detector had stopped.
“What’s going on, what’s the hold up?”
Up front, a couple of cops were searching the bags of a young teenager, The high schoolers could be heard grumbling and complaining.
“Hey Matt, what’s the matter? Trying to sneak in some crack?!”
“I’ll buy some from you after school if you are!”
The kids began to burst out laughing.
“Shut up!” The cop shouted, stopping beside Matt and the guards.
“Okay Frank what’s the problem?”
The cop searching Matt’s back pack looked up, setting aside a pile of books.
“Don’t know Jack, the detector just went off, happens all the time here.
“You sure it’s just not the machine? Like a glitch or something?”
“Can’t be. This baby is the best and most expensive one we’ve got.”
“I’m surprised no one’s tried to steal it,” Matt whispered, setting of another round of laughter.
“Watch your mouth,” Jack replied.
“You got a watch kid?”
“I don’t know, you want me to take it off?”
“Yeah, put it on the tray and step through the machine again.”
Matt pulled off his watch, tossing it onto the tray, and stepped through the metal walkway. The machine remained silent.
“Happy officer?” Matt asked, turning to Jack.
“Yeah you’re clean, get your watch back on. You can go as soon as we finish checking your bags.”
“Jack I think you better have a look at this.”
Jack turned to face the other cops. Frank had stopped searching and now held the bag open over the tray.
“What Frank? What’s in there?”
Jack paused as he looked inside.
“Kid, you better have a good reason for this.”
Jack turned over the bag and emptied the remaining contents onto the tray below.
“What the hell is that?”
----It was almost two months since a sophomore named Peter had come to school with a hand gun. One of Matt’s friends, Nick, and three people, including a teacher, died that day. Seven students were wounded.
Matt sat at his table as usual, Nick and Alex had beaten him to it when he arrived. They were still waiting for Ricky. Matt poked and prodded his spaghetti, wearing a sour look on his face.
“How do they get away with serving us this crap? I mean I could get a healthier meal from McDonalds.”
“Hey, you get what you get Matt.” Nick replied, taking a bite out of his sandwich.
“You’re one to talk buddy, you bring your food,” Alex said.
“And that, is why I will always be wiser then you my dear Alex.”
“You may be smarter, but you’ll always be fatter.”
“Keep talking and I’ll shove my foot up your a-”
“Something wrong boys?” Came a voice.
Mr. Crawson, the schools French teacher stood over them. He smiled broadly.
“Oh no Mr. Crawson, we’re fine,” Matt replied.
“Good kids, just settle down a bit more.”
“We will,” Alex said, in a falsely innocent voice.
Mr. Crawson turned and stalked away.
“Wanker,” Nick whispered.
The three of them burst out laughing.
“Hey Nick, I know you’re British and all, but why do you always say that? What the hell does it mean anyway?” Matt asked.
“Beats me, just sounds like a good insult to me.”
“Wanker,” Alex replied.
At that moment Ricky slid down in his seat beside Alex.
“Hello my brother from another other.”
“I think it’s ‘mother’ Ricky.”
“Then that would make you my half brother, I barely get by just dealing with you at school Nick.”
Matt looked up to see Peter slide his way into the hall. Pete looked pale and shaky, he flinched as a kid passed him by. Matt frowned.
“Hey is it just me or does Petey, look a little high strung today.”
“Who cares? I hate that kid,” Ricky replied.
“You hate everyone Ricky?”
“That I do Alex.”
“Well should someone go talk to him or something?”
“Why would we do that Matt?” Alex asked.
“Well, he probably needs some company, let’s just invite him over.”
“Fine, so who’s gonna do it?” Nick asked.
The table fell silent.
“No one, no one at all?”
“I don’t see you rushing to his aid," Ricky replied.
“You know what, I’ll go, the hell with it. Wankers.”
Nick stood from the table and made his way to where Peter stood. Peter leaned against the wall for support, his face hidden by a hood. His hands were kept in his pockets.
As Nick approached him, three kids walked by and shoved Peter into the wall. They quickly turned away, laughing loudly to themselves. Nick shook his head.
“Hey Peter, don’t mind them, how are you?”
Peter didn’t answer. Nick could here him muttering to himself, his face hidden by the gray hood.
“Those damn bastards, I hate them. They’re gonna get what’s coming to them.”
“Whoa Peter, watch it.”
“They’re gonna get what’s coming to them.”
Peter drew the handgun. He aimed the gun at the back of one of the bullies. He fired twice, quick shots that pierced the kid’s back, sending him flying across the floor. They were clean shots, he had been practicing for this.
“What the hell?! PETER!!” Nick shouted, kids began to scream.
One of the kids tried to run out into the hall but Peter fired again, the bullet case flew away, sending the metal straight into the back of the kid’s head.
Nick turned to see Matt and the others shouting.
“Nick get the hell away from him!”
Nick shook his head, he turned and took hold of the gun. In a quick lunge, Peter freed himself, firing wildly. He hit Nick.
Matt could see Nick fall, and he snapped. He rushed up, while Peter fired at Mr. Crawson. Peter stopped and began to reload. Matt took his chance and tackled him. Holding Peter down he pulled Peter’s finger back, snapping it. Peter screamed, letting go of the gun. Matt held him down.
Peter lurched away from him, crying and pulling himself to a corner. Matt could see the bruises that were along Peter’s face, around the back of his neck.
“I can’t take it anymore! I can’t handle it!” Peter screamed, choking on his sobs.
“It’s okay Peter, you’ll be okay.”
Peter wildly shook his head, pulling out another handgun. He smiled and put the gun’s barrel to the bottom of his chin.
Peter pulled the trigger.
----After the ordeal, the school intensified it’s security. Nick’s funeral was held a few days later, well, if you could call it a funeral. Matt and his mother had been worrying over their debt when the letter arrived.
“Mail’s here,” Matt’s mother said, setting it on the table.
“Anything for me?” Matt asked, inserting a needle into his Humalog insulin bottle.
“Here you go Matt, just give your shot first.”
Matt’s mother set down the letter. Matt quickly gave his shot and opened the envelope.
“It’s about Nick,” He whispered.
Matt’s mother stopped, setting down the dishes.
“His mother can’t afford a funeral mom. She’s asking for help.”
“How much is it Matt?”
“She needs $500.”
“You know we can’t afford that Matt, ever since your father left us, we’ve barely managed to stay alive.”
“I know mom, but it’s Nick!” Matt shouted, his eyes beginning to water.
Matt’s mother sat at Nick’s side and took him in his arms. Matt began to cry. Outside a gunshot echoed from the street. Matt didn’t bother to look up.
“How are we gonna get out of this place mom?”
“I don’t know baby. We have to just keep praying.”
His mother held him, and together they began to cry in each others arms.
Nick never had a coffin, he was buried in a cheap ditch, inside a pine box.
---- “I asked you what the hell is this!?” Jack shouted, pushing Matt’s head down.
Out on the tray laid a bag full of small needles.
“I’m a diabetic. They’re my supplies. I use them for insulin.”
“Why are they in a bag then?”
“I forgot to put them in a case for school.”
“I ain’t buying that. Frank, cuff this kid.” Jack said.
“Hey that’s bull! Nick’s a diabetic!” Ricky shouted, he and Alex had made their way to the front of the crowd. The kids beside them began to nod.
“Kids I’m only gonna tell you once, get the hell away from the area! Don’t interfere with this!”
“Shut up! Just check his records!” Alex said.
“That’s it get them out of here!”
Frank and his men began to block the increasingly angry crowd. Jack held Matt by the arm and slapped on the cuffs. Matt didn’t fight back.
“Hey let go of him!” Alex shouted, pushing Frank back.
Ricky took his advantage and made his way through the gap, and up to Matt. Jack pushed him back into the crowd. Ricky ripped himself away from Frank.
“What’s your problem!?” Ricky shouted.
“Back off kid!” Jack screamed, pulling out his baton.
“Just let go off Matt!” Alex said, struggling with Frank.
Ricky took a quick lunge at Matt, in a second he was on the floor holding his hands over a broken and bleeding nose.
“AGH! You bastard!”
“Hey!” Alex shouted, rushing after Jack.
Jack spun around, nailing Alex across the head with a baton. Matt ducked to the ground as the crowd and cops began to fight. He held his hands over his head, glancing from Alex, who was unconscious, to Ricky, holding his nose.
“Nice acting Ricky,” Matt whispered, just before Jack knocked him out.
---- “Has the jury reached a verdict?”
Matt, Alex, and Ricky stood in the courtroom, awaiting the verdict. Across from them Jack and Frank sat.
Matt felt the back of his bruised head and smiled. The jury member’s stood.
“We have your honor.”
“Is it unanimous?”
“Of course sir.”
The member cleared his throat.
“We the jury, find the defendant, Jack Stetson, of the New York Police Department, and his team, Guilty, of abuse to a suspect and not carrying out proper investigation. Compensation for the damage will be paid to each of the three parties families, in the amounts of $1,000,000 each.”
Ricky and Matt leapt into the air.
“Yeah!” Matt shouted, laughing loudly and smiling at Jack, who glared at them from across the room.
“A million each baby!” Ricky shouted.
“Not so loud guys, my head hurts.”
Ricky and Matt paused, hearing Alex, amidst the cheers. Alex glanced up and burst into a smile that showed two front teeth missing.
“That was some great acting guys,” Matt whispered as they left the courtroom.
----Alex, Matt, and Ricky, all stood over the small hallow that was Nick’s grave. Outside the cemetery their families all waited, all of them packed up in large moving vans.
“I still can’t believe he‘s gone,” Alex whispered.
“I know. We were always stuck together. Remember when you caught him from that tree Ricky?”
“Yeah, saved his life,” Ricky whispered.
The three of them stood, looking over the cheap tombstone.
“Well guys, I’ll see you at the truck,” Alex said, turning and leaving them.
Ricky and Matt now stood, all alone in the small memorial.
“So where do you think we’ll go? California?” Ricky asked, “Florida?”
“Hell we could move the UK if we wanted.”
“Maybe we’ll meet Nick’s twin brother.”
“That’d be a sight.”
“Well, I’m gonna head back, we still gotta go to Nick’s mom’s house. He deserves a decent burial.”
“Yeah Ricky, I’ll catch up with you.”
Ricky nodded and left Matt alone.
Matt stood over Nick’s grave, and unzipped the back pocket of his pants, pulling out a picture of the four of them at Summer camp. He set it down aside the tombstone.
“I’ll see you later Nick,” Matt whispered, turning and heading off. He paused after a few seconds and looked back.
“Wanker,” Matt raised his head and laughed into the air.
“Hey guys wait up!”