Editor’s Note: We are pleased to publish Mike Maddock’s novel, Sunnybrook, in its entirety as a “50 Something” weekly series for 2021. All published excerpts will also be available on our website, www.TheColumbiaStar.com.
Chapter 11 (Cont’d)
David walked through the trails just in case. There were no signs of his son. He walked down Sunnybrook Lane then turned right on Sunnybrook Circle. Chris’s house was his first stop. David figured he shouldn’t bother knocking on the door because JJ was nowhere in sight, but he did anyway. Chris answered.
“Hi, Mr. Moore! What are you doing here?” The remnants of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich were in the corners of his mouth.
“I’m looking for Joey. Have you seen him?”
“Nah, we just got back from church. I saw Ryan and Eric at the Hollins’s just a little bit ago. I think they were playing hockey. Joey might be with them.”
David said his pleasantries and moved on down Sunnybrook Circle. He could see Ryan and Eric shooting hoops on the goal across the street from the Hollins’s. They were excited to see him.
“Mr. Moore, do you want to play a game with us?” Ryan asked. “I’ll go get Jerry and we can play some two-on-two.” Ryan stopped short and turned in a moment of enlightenment. “Hey, where’s Joey? He’d be a lot more fun than Jerry.”
“That’s what I came to ask you. I need to find him. I guess you don’t know where he is?”
“He was pretty bummed after he hit Scott in the chops with the hockey stick. I thought..”
David interrupted, “He did what?”
“Oh, I guess he didn’t tell you,” Ryan said ashamed he had accidentally ratted out his friend.
Eric was more than happy to tell him the whole story in great detail. He did tell David it was a perfect shot because Joey scored… and took out Scott’s two front teeth.
“Jamie was real hard on him, then Mr. Hollins told us to leave,” Ryan said.
“Scott’s parents came to get him a few minutes ago,” Eric said. “I’m not sure if they were more upset about his teeth or the blood he got all over his new shirt.”
“Are the Hollins home?”
“Oh, yeah!” Ryan said. “Are you kidding? Tony Nathan and the Dolphins are on right now. Mr. Hollins ain’t going nowhere.”
David rushed to the door. The anxiety churning in his stomach was turning from a fear of finding his son to the terror of not finding him.
Jamie answered the door.
“Hi, Mr. Moore! Did you come to apologize for Joey?”
“I heard it was an accident.”
Jamie’s face softened. “Yeah, it actually was,” she admitted. She took a deep breath to gather her thoughts and then said, “I was real hard on Joey. I hope I didn’t hurt his feelings.”
Her eyes narrowed and her cheeks flushed as she shared her frustration, “Did you know that jerk, Scott, blamed me? He had the nerve to turn on me as soon as his mommy showed up.”
David smiled to himself. He knew about Joey’s crush on Jamie and knew these words would be helpful when he found him. “Jamie, I need to find Joey. Do you know where he might be?”
“Eric and Ryan said he went home.”
“Yeah, he did but he ran off when we got back from breakfast.”
“Ran off? You don’t think he’s still upset about the slap shot, do you?”
“No, it’s not that.”
“What is it?”
“I can’t talk about that now. Just tell your parents I’m looking for him, and if you see him, please tell him to come home.”
David went back to the house and grabbed the key to his Porsche. He did not notice Mary Katherine was finally pulling herself together but still sitting on the stairs. He yelled, “Can’t find him. I’m going to drive around the neighborhood.”
As he got in the car, David remembered the time a couple of years back when Joey slammed his thumb in the passenger side door. Joey didn’t scream. In fact, he hardly made a sound. David just thought he was doing a dance outside the car. He ignored it and got out of the Porsche while Joey stood dancing on the other side of the car.
“Buddy, are you okay?”
Joey’s face turned red and blew up like a balloon. He still couldn’t speak but pointed at his thumb, which was trapped in the door. David sprang to the other side and fiddled with his keys frantically trying to find the one that would unlock the door.
Copyright © 2020 Mike Maddock
Next week: Chris and Ryan help David find Joey.
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