38 Years Old (Never Kissed a Girl): Chapter Seven
Author’s Note: This is Part 7 of a series of posts serializing my novella 38 Years Old (Never Kissed a Girl). For more information on the origins of this novella, including all disclaimers, and a complete chapter list, please see the announcement regarding this series.
The knock at the door shattered the still of the night, startling me from my sleep.
“Michael Mallory, are you in there?” said a gruff voice. “This is the police. We need to talk to you.” I sat bolt upright in bed.
“Just a sec.” Mikey responded from the porch. I dropped down off my bed and ran towards my door, nearly colliding with Tony and Ricky. The light in the kitchen switched on at the same time we all arrived, momentarily blinding us. Dad emerged from his bedroom, wearing nothing but a tee-shirt and a pair of boxers. Mom wasn’t far behind, cinching her frayed, quilted robe around her waist.
“What the hell’s going on?” Dad reached for the handle of the porch door. Mom watched as we spilled into the kitchen and gave us a quick point.
“Back to bed! All of you! Now!” she snapped. We quickly closed the door and hid behind it, ears to the wall, listening for what we were sure would be a major confrontation.
“What’s this all about?” Dad demanded.
“We need to talk to Mike, Mr. Mallory.”
“At this hour? What the hell for?”
“Johnny McAllister got himself beat up this afternoon, Mr. Mallory. Witnesses said they saw Mikey and Billy Ferguson nearby shortly after it happened.”
“Michael, what did you do?” Dad dug down deep in his chest.
“We’ll need to take you down to the station. Mike.”
“Now?” Mom spoke for the first time. “Can’t it wait till morning?”
“No, ma’am. It can’t.”
“You come stormin’ in here after midnight, wanting to take my son because some punk-ass kid got a little roughed up? Son of a bitch. What the hell is going on?” Pop’s voice rose far above what he ever used on us kids. I was glad I wasn’t on the other end of his anger.
“It was more than a little roughed up, Mr. Mallory. Johnnie McAllister’s dead.”
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And there we go.
Now that we know somebody’s been killed, a whole bunch of other questions pop into our minds:
Did Mikey really do it? Or did maybe Billy do it (perhaps Billy was secretly in love with Cathy?) and Mikey’s going to take the fall for it? Or was Johnnie McAllister still alive when they left him, and something entirely else happened to him afterwards–not hard to imagine that a guy like Johnnie would have had a few enemies–but Mikey’s going to end up getting framed for Johnnie’s death?