6:38AM Tuesday, March 8, 1983
Kane and Seth drove beneath the cover of night while the City stirred and prepared for a new day. Kane pulled to the curb in front of Seth’s house, and the two of them smoked the last of their cigarettes and listened to “Tangled Up in Blue.”
Seth pointed through the windshield. “What is that child doing standing on the curb at this time of night?”
A small kid, or possibly a midget, stood on the sidewalk, wearing a heavy Central City Spirits jacket, a blaze orange stocking cap, a plastic backpack decorated with images of robot cars, and mittens. The child had noticed the two men pull up in the antiquated BMW, but he avoided eye contact.
“I don’t know. It seems odd.”
“That child should not be here. I like this neighborhood, but I do not think it is safe for a child to be unsupervised when it is this late.”
“Should we try to talk to him?”
“I do not know. That might not be a good idea, all things considered.”
“We could sit here and watch, see what he does, and make sure he doesn’t get hurt.”
“We could do that.”
Kane and Seth tossed their cigarettes out of the car, lit fresh ones, and watched the child. A few minutes passed, which felt like hours, and might’ve been.
Seth said, “I need to do something. We cannot let him sit out in the cold like this. He could be abducted or worse.”
“What’s worse than abducted?”
“That depends why you were abducted.”
“So, you mean and worse, not or worse.”
“Either way, I will help this child.”
“I’m going with you.”
Kane and Seth unlatched their seat belts, and a school bus pulled to the curb and opened its door. The child pulled himself up using the hand rail and climbed the steps into the bus. Laughter and shouts echoed out of the pinch-latch windows, and the bus pulled away.
Seth asked, “What time is it?”