Homebred: Chapter 1, Section 2
“Gone for a year . . . gone . . . gone . . .”
Anna slowed her car. Why couldn’t she get Morris’s words out of her mind? She looked at her watch, forty minutes before their appointment. She’d heard music in the background, and there’d been the sound of other children. Had the call come from some sort of game room? She eased the car over to the edge of the road. Where in this town would a child be left alone? There couldn’t be too many places. The theater—no–theaters didn’t play music. An arcade—no, `not their kind of music. The skating ring . . . of course, it had to be. Kids always hung out there on Saturday afternoon. She’d spent a few there herself. As she remembered it was built in the early fifties. That would make it about twenty years old. Lord time sure did fly. Here it was Nineteen seventy two and she was a lawyer. She’d come a long way from her skating days till now and this child needed the same chance. Anne dropped the car in gear, whirled around, and drove toward the other side of town and Grand River skating rink.
Inside the rink, Anna’s head spun from the noise. Could be somewhere in this mass of kids a girl wanted her father, and she’d talked to a father who seemed to want nothing more in this world than to have his child back.
She pushed her way to the desk. “Sir, may I use your phone?”
The man didn’t look up but pointed toward double doors on his right. “You’ll have to use the one in the lobby, Lady. Ours are out of order.”
“But . . .”
The man looked up. “But what, Lady. Didn’t you hear me? I have enough to worry about. The phones are the phone company’s problem.”
Anna watched the man put skates in their slots. “About twenty minutes ago did a little girl ask to use the phone?”
The man’s head bobbed up and down.
Relief swept over Anna. Now she was getting somewhere. “Did she go to the lobby to use the pay phone?”
The man’s head bobbed once again. “Yeah, Lady. Her and probably ten other little girls and even some little boys.”
Anna’s heart sank. Of course, there’d be kids calling to be picked up. She’d never find the caller in this mad house, but while she was here, she’d look outside.
Pushing through the crowd, Anna stepped outside where dozens of children milled about. There was no way to pick out her caller. She had to go or she’d be late.
As she swung into the flow of traffic, Mr. Morris’s voice began its steady beat, gone . . . gone . . . gone.
Tune in next Tuesday for the next episode of Homebred!