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Chapter Thirty-Two

Brazil tried to figure out what to do. If Smoke was planning to show up at school with semiautomatics and take out as many people as he could, Brazil had to do something fast. He grabbed the phone and called West, waking her up.

'Get down here right away,' Brazil said. 'Don't ask why, just come.' "Where's here?' she asked groggily.

'HQ. We need to get as many cops as we can at Godwin tomorrow to make sure Smoke doesn't show up, and we need to get that going now.'

West tried to wake up. Brazil could hear her moving around.

'I'll meet you in the detective division in maybe two hours,' Brazil said.

'Yeah,' she said.

Weed was getting increasingly frightened. He picked at his jersey and kept sighing as if he was having a hard time breathing.

'He made me do things. He put a gun to my head and said he'd shoot me if I didn't. Then a couple weeks ago he stopped showing up at school.'

'So he didn't give you rides anymore.' Brazil was taking copious notes.

'He'd drop me off and leave. Then he started making me late, started dragging me around, making me miss band practice. And I was supposed to play in the Azalea Parade on Saturday.' The light went out of his eyes. 'I been practicing all year. And now I guess I can't.'

The phone rang, startling both of them. Brazil answered it. He was wired and somewhat impatient as he explained Weed's transgressions to Intake Officer Charlie Yates.

Brazil charged Weed with violating Code 18.2-125, Trespass at night upon any cemetery, a class 4 misdemeanor, and 18.2-127, Injuries to churches, church property, cemeteries, burial grounds, etc., class 1 misdemeanor, and 182.2-138.1, Willful and malicious damage to or defacement of public or private facilities, a class 1 misdemeanor or a felony, depending on how much damage was done.

'So which is it?' Yates wanted to know.

'Misdemeanor, class one,' Brazil said. 'We don't know how much cleaning up the statue's going to cost. If it's more than a thousand dollars, we'll deal with it at the trial.'

Weed was staring wide-eyed at Brazil. It was obvious Weed did not understand. He was terrified.

'Hearing's set for Friday,' Yates went on. 'He got someone?'

'I want the hearing in the morning,' Brazil interrupted. 'It's really important, Charlie.'

'Hey, no big deal.' It made no difference to Yates.

It did to Brazil. He knew from this month's court calendar that Judge Maggie Davis was on the bench. She had a policy that her courtroom was not open to the public unless the juvenile had committed a felony, and the last thing Brazil wanted was Weed's hearing open to the public. He didn't want some reporter making the rounds and walking in. He didn't want anyone except the attorneys and judge to hear what he and Weed might have to say.

'He got someone to pick him up tonight and take him home?' Yates was asking.

'We haven't been able to locate his mother.'

She was in the operating room and could not be disturbed, not that Brazil had tried very hard. Weed didn't want to go home and Brazil didn't want him to, either.

There's no beds in detention. I just checked,' Yates said.

'Never are,' Brazil replied.

'So if he can't go home, he's going to end up in a holding cell until the morning.'

That's fine,' Brazil said, not taking his eyes off Weed. 'As soon as you can get here, I'll sign the petition and take him on over. And try to make it fast, Charlie. There's a lot going on.'

Weed had an intake room without much of a view, a cell no bigger than a closet, everything stainless steel, including the bed. He could not sleep. He stared out a small grate and watched other kids brought in who reminded him of Sick, Beeper, Divinity and Dog. No one reminded him of Smoke. Smoke didn't look like what he was.

It was dark when Officer Brazil had transported Weed to this place. They called it the Juvenile Detention Home, but it wasn't like any home Weed had ever been in. He couldn't see what the outside of it was like but he knew it was in a bad part of town, because right before he'd gotten here they'd driven past the jail. It was all lit up, rolls of razor wire shining like knife blades waiting to cut someone. Weed's stomach got hollow and he had a cold feeling in his heart.

Weed was still mad they had made him take off all his clothes and go into the shower. When he came out they had a uniform for him to wear. It was nothing to make Weed proud. He was reminded of what his daddy wore cleaning out gutters and clipping hedges when he wasn't gambling away what he earned.

'Hey!' Weed banged on the door.

Someone was cussing and a deputy was telling a cocky badass boy everything he had done wrong and why he was going to pay for it.

'Hey!' Weed pounded the metal door with his fist, standing on his tiptoes to see through the grate.

Suddenly a deputy was in his face, nothing but a crisscross of metal between them. Weed could smell cigarettes and onions on his breath.

'You got a problem?' the deputy asked.

'I wanna see my police officer,' Weed told him.

'Yo!' the deputy called out. 'He wants to see his po-lice officer!'

Laughter and bad-mouthing followed.

'What, you got your own personal po-lice officer?' the deputy smarted off to Weed. 'Now ain't that something.'

'He's the one who brought me in,' Weed said. 'Tell him I got to talk to him.'

'You can tell him in court.'

'When's that?'

'Nine in the morning.'

'I need to find out if he called my mama!' Weed exclaimed.

'Maybe you should've thought about your mama before you broke the law,' the deputy said.

Chapter Thirty-One | Southern Cross | Chapter Thirty-Three