“Alice,” her mother began, “you know you have to call someone about Adam. He’s adorable and we love having him here, but this is technically kidnapping.”
Alice sighed. “I know, but he trusts me and I’m afraid of what will happen to him. Mom, he isn’t just some street kid that no body is looking for. Just listening to him speak you know he’s used to privilege.”
Her mother didn’t answer and Alice looked up to see a funny look on her face. She followed her mother’s gaze out the front window and saw police cars with flashing bubbles coming down the lane. Six police cars.
Alice bolted from the room and out the back door to the barn. It was purely instinct that caused her to yell to Luke, “take him to the Island!” Luke and Adam immediately ran out the back of the barn towards the lake that bordered the farm. The dogs started running with them but Alice called them back. If they were gone, the Sheriff would know some thing was up. Luke and Alice had a special place from their childhood that was very difficult to get to, and it would buy them some time for whatever was going on. She called the dogs over, clipped their harnesses on, and headed back to the house with them.
As Alice walked back, she tried to summon a calm demeanor. While she was terrified about what was going to happen, she couldn’t help laughing internally that for once, Luke had done exactly what she asked him to do without argument. The laughter died as she saw who was standing on the front porch. It was Sheriff Truman Halverson himself. His uniform was obrumpent to the point that anyone standing in front of the button trajectory might be in danger. Pompous, sharp as a whip and mean as a snake, Halverson was not one of Alice’s favorite people.
“Where’s the boy?” he demanded when she walked out. Alice directed the dogs to lie down over by the porch swing and countered, “all the boys that live here have grown up and moved away Sheriff.” He narrowed his eyes, “don’t engage in quibbleism with me, missy. I know you have Adam Tradoch here and his father wants him back.” Alice’s brain raced. “I don’t know an Adam Tradoch,” she answered. Halverson snorted, “he’s a 9 year old boy who ran away and whose father has tracked him down to you. His father has seen him here on the farm the last two days but hasn’t been able to get close because of your stupid dogs.”
Alice, never one to practice any temeration in her speech shot back, “my dogs aren’t stupid! They’re smarter than most police detectives!” The Sheriff didn’t take up the argument. Instead, he brandished a piece of paper. “Look, I have a warrant. You need to hand him over or we’re going to search the property.”
Alice’s mother joined them on the porch. “Now Trudy, you know that you don’t have to wave that paper and raise your voice around here. You’re welcome to search anywhere you’d like on our property.” Alice looked at her mother, hoping she knew what she was doing.
The Sheriff turned and motioned to his detectives to search. Then he turned back to Alice’s mother. “Katie, would you please not call me Trudy? It’s Truman now. Has been for 35 years.” Alice watched as her mother smiled gently and patted the arm of the most powerful man in the county. “You’ll always be Trudy to me.” A detective walked past them struggling to control a smirk. Katie continued, “now tell me all about this Adam Tradoch and why you have six police cars out here looking for him. A 9-year old boy runaway? Doesn’t that seem a bit of an overreaction? Well, if I had a penny for the number of times Brian and Luke ran away, I’d be rich!”
As Alice watched, incredulous, her mother managed to get the Sheriff to divulge what he knew. “Adam Tradoch is heir to a fortune. His father’s one of those IT guys who has made it big. He and the wife are splitting and the kid is taking it hard. The wife and kid disappeared two weeks ago. He traced them through her cell phone to a lake up in the mountains. Then the signal disappeared. When he went up there to look for them, he saw Alice’s car drive away with the boy in it. He traced the license plate and here we are. Now where’s the boy, Katie?”
Alice put on her “be nice to the cop” face and asked, “have you looked for the mother?” Halverson turned to her, “he isn’t interested in where the mother is. He just wants the boy.” Alice cleared her throat and her conscience, gazed directly at Halverson, and said, “well, he isn’t here.”
Next week's words: obstrigillate; ossifragant; mariturient