Every single time I felt that buzz, every time I got a new message, my worry deepened. One after another, all seemingly bad news.
The cleaners got robbed while we were there.
Pants got stolen.
We are in the back of a blue pickup truck with balls on it. No idea where we are going.
Jimmy is putting together a plan.
This might take a while. We need you to cover for us.
I swallowed hard. Cover for them? That would mean lying to my parents, something I never liked to do. It made me nervous and it also made me sad, as my parents were usually very understanding and supportive. I could see the merit in what she was saying, however, as I wasn’t sure they would be too happy about how their plan was going. And the police! Oh man, they would want to get the police involved again. It seemed like we had just gotten done dealing with them over the whole animal shelter fiasco.
Jimmy wants to know how poisonous antifreeze is, do you know?
I gulped again and then focused on my breathing. In through my nose, out through my mouth. Trying to stay calm, get my heart rate down. Just like we learned to do in karate, mind over matter.
First things first, I had to talk to my parents. After texting back that I would cover for them, and that I had no idea about the antifreeze thing so please don’t let Jimmy touch any, I headed to my parents room.
I knocked on their bedroom door and it was opened immediately. My dad’s mustache greeted me at the open doorway, the right side raised slightly in a smirk. “So, did Jimmy find any evidence of sniffing out there?” The playful, sarcastic tone in his voice made what I had to do even harder. I had to lie to him.
“No, none of that thankfully. Jimmy found the pants just like you guys wanted.”
As I spoke, my dad looked past me into the hall, his ears perked up, listening. “Doesn’t sound like they’re here with you or Jimmy would probably be on a victory lap by now.” His mustache settled down evenly again, matching the straight angle of his new, tight-lipped expression. “Where are your friends?”
“They’re at the cleaners,” I told him, allowing half of the truth to come out. “The pants were dirty and Jimmy didn’t want to bring them back dirty. You know, since mom said that they were so special and all.”
The mustache twitched up again, a brief smile played on my dad’s face at the remembrance of my mom’s dramatic performance. My dad then glanced down at his watch and grunted.
“Okay, the cleaners close in two hours. Will they be back then?”
I told my dad that I would text and ask and I would let him know. By the time I got back to my room and shut the door, I was covered in a light blanket of sweat. I sat down on the edge of my bed and did more breathing exercises, starting to feel at least a little bit better right away. Lying was hard, but I told myself that it was necessary. Also, I wasn’t lying, I was withholding information. I think I could live with that.
I think we need more time.
Can you stall them until tomorrow?
My breathing exercises ceased to be calming. The sweat started up again. Tomorrow?! What happened? I didn’t think there was anyone out there as unlucky as I felt at that particular moment.