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‘Not So Pretty’ came from an article I read over a decade ago.  It was basically about people ignoring the obvious.  It made them feel better about themselves.  And they were willing to allow someone to be sacrificed.  All of it was to keep up their pretense of being ignorant of the facts.

 

Enjoy Part 4.  Thanks.       

 

 

KEVIN COULD SEE SOMETHING was going on up the driveway near David.

 

Kevin moved in the backseat of the cruiser to see what it was.  He saw through a small opening between the police officers and David’s men.  “That’s my daughter!” Kevin yelled.  “Let me out!  Let me out of here!”  He jerked his hand and tried to pull it free of the handcuff.

 

Officer Newman opened the front door and put up the back window.  He turned around to Kevin.  “Shut your mouth,” Officer Newman said through clenched teeth.  Kevin complained that it was his daughter.  “Listen, jackass.  We’re almost home here.  You’re going to blow this.  Let him give us your daughter.  That’s what he’s ready to do.  Keep your mouth shut.  Or I’ll put you in the trunk.  I swear I will.”  He got out and shut the door.

 

Officer Pelllgram wanted to rush to Callie.  Officer Newman put a hand on his shoulder.  “We should let him talk to her,” Officer Newman whispered through an almost closed mouth.  “She doesn’t appear to be in danger.  She seems to like him.  Let’s let him finish.  Then he’ll bring her to us.”

 

“Okay,” Officer Pellgarm said through an almost closed mouth.  “You’re right.  We’ll wait.”

 

They watched David talk to Callie and waited.

 

“Before you go to your father, can you tell the police officers what happened tonight?” David asked her.  “Tell them why you’re getting home so late.  So you don’t get into any trouble.  And me too.”  He smiled at her.

 

“Just let her come to me,” Kevin said.  His voice was barely heard outside the cruiser.

 

“Mr. Atkins, stop talking, sir,” Officer Pellgram said.  “Let your daughter talk to him.”

 

Neither officer liked what they felt.  Years of experience and instincts told them David was telling the truth.  They doubted David was a hero.  But for this moment, they were going to treat him like one.  Callie was not running from David.  She was holding his hand and leaning against him.

 

“It’s okay, sweetie,” David said to Callie.  “Go ahead and tell them what happened.  You can do it really quickly.  Then you can go to bed.”

 

David made sure the officers and Kevin could see Callie.  His men formed a semi-circle around her.

 

“Mommy took me to David’s house and left me,” Callie said.  “I begged her not to leave me.  I was scared.  She told me to be a good little girl and do what the men told me.  She said she would be back for me later.  I was crying when she drove off.  The men tried to stop her from leaving.  But she left anyway.  And the men took me inside to see David and Mrs. Jason in their big house.  It’s bigger than ours.  We had dinner.  Mrs. Jason gave me Terra’s coat to wear home.  She didn’t want me to be cold.  Terra helped me stop crying.  We go to the same school.  She’s my friend now.  Mrs. Jason is her mom.  I told Mrs. Jason where I lived.  David drove me home while I slept.  Mommy just left me.”

 

“That’s good, sweetie,” David said.  “You need to sleep now.”  David hugged her.  She hugged him and thanked him.

 

“Tell Terra bye for me,” Callie said.

 

The officers looked at one another.

 

“I will, sweetie,” David said.

 

“Callie, I’m Officer Newman,” he said.  “I need to take you to my car while we talk to your father.  Then you’ll be ready for sleep.  You’re not in any trouble.  We just need to ask your father some questions.  Everything will be alright.”

 

“Can I stay at Terra’s tonight?” Callie asked Officer Newman and David.

 

“Maybe another night,” Officer Newman said.  “We just have a few things we have to do tonight.”  Officer Newman had walked up to Callie from his cruiser.  He put his hand out.  Callie did not take it.  She looked back at David.

 

“Go ahead, Callie,” David said.  “Take the nice Officer Newman’s hand.  He’s a good guy.”

 

Kevin had been rolling his eyes and fuming.  “This is ridiculous,” Kevin said.  “I’m her father.  Damn it.  I demand that you give me my daughter.”  The cruiser’s door was partially opened.

 

“Mr. Atkins, we can’t do that, sir,” Officer Pellgram said.  “This is an investigation, sir.  A serious one.”

 

“Officer Newman, I’ll admit to one thing,” David said.  “My men took Callie away from her mother.”

 

Officer Newman was stunned.  David tricked them.  They should have known.  Once a criminal.  Always a criminal.

 

“I can explain,” David said.  “Sandra had put Callie out of her car.  She thought my men would give her drugs in exchange for her daughter.  She was surprised and angry when they didn’t do it.  She then tried to grab Callie and put her back in her car and take her to Elk Street.  My men knew Callie wouldn’t last ten minutes on that street.  They slammed Sandra’s door closed.  Sandra sped off and left Callie.  She thought my men were going to hurt her for wanting to take Callie to Elk.  They saved that little girl.  And I would’ve done the same.”

 

Officer Pellgram had walked up to Officer Newman and Callie and David.  “Can you prove that story?” Officer Pellgram asked.  “Because that’s not what the mother or father said.”

 

“Here’s an easy way to prove it,” David said.  “Ask Sandra, since she was so anxious to find Callie, why didn’t she tell you where Callie was?”

 

“We’ll do that,” Officer Pellgram said.

 

“And I have her vehicle on my camera at home,” David said.  “Oh, yes, I forgot.  I also have her out of her car, leaving Callie behind.  I’ll give you a copy of it if you want it.”

 

Officer Newman and Pellgram hid their enthusiasm.  Kevin and Sandra were going to be arrested.  Both of them were guilty of child neglect and the endangerment of a child.  These were just the first two charges.

 

“Thank you, Mr. Jason,” Officer Newman said.  “You know the drill.  Don’t leave town.  We’ll have questions for you and your men.  We ask you not to discuss this case with anyone.”

 

“I won’t,” David said.  “Maybe you guys should start looking at me as a good person.”

 

“Maybe you should let us,” Officer Newman said.

 

As David and his men were leaving he looked back up the driveway.  Callie waved to him. He waved back and continued down the driveway.

 

Two more police cruisers parked in the driveway.  An unmarked dark car with the letters CPS on the side parked in the driveway too.  It was Child Protective Services.  David glanced over his shoulder.  The image he saw made him feel good for Callie.

 

Kevin and Sandra were in handcuffs.

 

David shook his head.  Sandra was in her house the entire time.  She and Kevin had lied to the police.  But once he showed up with Callie, their story fell apart.  Sandra could not come outside to confront him or Callie.  She knew his and Callie’s stories would be the same.

 

David watched as Kevin and Sandra were taken to a police cruiser.  He heard an officer say, “Endangering a Minor,” to Kevin and Sandra.

 

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I look forward to seeing you next week.

Thank you.

Stay safe.

Stephen Wallace