Just wait here, he said. Don’t move. Or, make a sound. Sit quietly. Silently. Don’t let your feet make any noises. If you think you’re going to cough then cover your mouth, he told him. They’re out there waiting for us to make a mistake. One wrong move could mean the end of this. This thing we have. Here, he grabbed a blanket. Cover yourself with this. Go-on. Do it, sirens could be heard out in the streets.

They coming for us? the boy said.

The man just put his finger to his mouth and whispered, Not a word. Shhhh. I’ll be back soon, he said. We need things. We’re running low. You like bologna, the kid nodded his head. Want some Mountain Dew? again the kid nodded. The sirens were getting closer. Just wait here. Don’t move. If you hear anybody come in, don’t make a sound. They’ll leave soon enough. I’ll be back real quick, the man said before he crawled out of the hole in the basement leading him outside where he ran like a deer being chased.

Sirens were turned off. Just red and blue lights swirled around on top of police cars. The boy could hear voices and the front door open. It creaked. Flashlights shined through cracks in the hardwood floors.

Anybody here, a cop said. Come out if you are, the boy held onto the blanket a little tighter. You take the upstairs and I’ll take the downstairs, the cop told his partner. We’re not gonna hurt you, he said. We want to help you. Get you out of here, the boy held his breath. The basement door was opened.

Man walked through the gas station placing items in his pockets. Mountain Dew, Beef jerkey, they didn’t have any bologna. He grabbed some bread and made a bee-line to the front door. The kid behind the counter told him to stop. Yelled he’d call the cops. The man just kept running till he was out of sight. Down back streets and alleys. Places where there were no street lights. He stopped to light a cigarette.

Lights were criss-crossing each other in the basement. The cops saw a lump under a blanket in the corner. Again, the boy held his breath. A police officer walked over to the bawled up blanket and kicked it. The boy let out a noise. Quickly the cop took the blanket off the boy. They looked at each other.

I’m not gonna hurt you, the cop said. Come with me, he extended his hand. Where’s your dad? he asked. The boy shook his head and shrugged his shoulders. Come on now. Let’s get you home to your mom.

The man saw his son being taken away from him. Took a swig of Mountain Dew. Said, I told him to be quiet. I told him. He never saw his son again.

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