Ride 1I

Double-J examined Butch in silence, the younger teen’s right leg still hanging outside the open passenger door. He remembered seeing Butch, at that summer camp — hadn’t known him by name, but knew he was Rev. Goodman’s son. He knew Butch wasn’t involved in the bonfire incident, and while he doubted this boy, now seated in the passenger seat of his car, could have been the snitch, he couldn’t rule it out either. Double-J had grown bored of the camp, but being sent home, expelled, banished? He hadn’t left on his own terms, and knowing that the young boy sitting across from him could have played a role in his public embarassment . . .

“See you next Tuesday.”

“What happens next Tuesday?” Butch looked genuinely confused.

Double-J blinked. “Fencing. Remember, Coach Dan said we practice every Tuesday.”

“Oh! Today’s Tuesday?” Doube-J closed his eyes, nodded. “Huh. Feels like Wednesday. Doesn’t it feel like Wednesday to you?”

“Good night, Butch.” He hadn’t been checking the exterior lights or doors — no changes.

“Oh. Yeah. Thanks for the ride.” Butch rolled out of Double-J’s car, turned and leaned in. “When’s the next practice?”

“Tuesday.”

“Next Tuesday?”

“And the one after that.”

“Oh. OK. Thanks for the ride!” Butch stood upright, stepped back, closed the passenger door.

Double-J looked behind him, put the coupe into reverse, quickly backed out of the driveway. He looked again back to the house — Butch had opened the garage door, was waving at Double-J, mouthing the words thank you — and as he waved, suddenly realized that he hoped Butch would need a ride next week.

End of the first ride

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