Alex pushed open the door and rolled in. Mrs. Davis sat at her desk. Two men occupied the chairs in front of her. The men stood when he entered, but Mrs. Davis remained seated. As usual, she was dressed in a bland-looking dress with her hair styled up around her head in a way that made it look like an animal was sleeping there.
“Come in, Alex, and close the door,” she said, her face and voice giving nothing away. Alex had heard the word “cool” used for some people, not like kids used it, but to mean someone who was kind of cold and didn’t show their feelings much. That was Mrs. Davis every time he’d seen her – cool.
Alex stopped before the two men, both of whom wore suits. They reached into their jacket pockets and pulled out badges. Police badges.
What did the cops want with him? He and Roy had gotten in trouble last summer when Roy was driving his truck and pulling Alex along by a rope behind him. It was the fastest Alex had ever gone in his chair, and the rush was more than worth the “warning” he’d gotten from the police.
“This is Detective Cole and Detective Gordon,” Mrs. Davis announced. “They have some questions for you.”
Alex immediately felt scared and small, and wished Roy was with him. “I ain’t been racing my chair in the street no more,” he said quickly.
The one named Cole smiled, while the other one mad-dogged him. “That’s not why we’re here, Alex. We’re homicide.”
The younger one, Gordon, rolled his eyes and muttered, “Sheesh,” but Cole, who looked older because he had some grey hair near the ears, glared at his partner and said, “Homicide. We investigate murders, Alex.”
Alex’s heart revved up. They were here about Ms. Ashley! But what did they want with him? “I don’ know nuthin’ ’bout no murders.” His voice trembled slightly, despite his best efforts to keep it steady.
Cole smiled. It was a warm, friendly smile, which made Alex distrust him even more than the guy mean-mugging him. At least that guy was being straight up. “That’s what we’re here to find out, Alex. It seems a student overheard you yesterday talking about the death of your teacher.”
Alex shifted nervously. He was sure no one had overheard him. No one but Tami. She’d never call the cops on him.
“She was a good teacher,” Alex offered, sadness at her death welling up again within him. “Ain’t we allowed to talk about her?”
Cole nodded, and Alex felt Mrs. Davis watching him expectantly. “Of course you are, Alex, and we don’t want to upset you more. It’s just that, well, you gave your friends information that wasn’t on the news. About the cats?”
Mrs. Davis looked startled. “What cats? It was my understanding Ms. Ashley was struck and killed by a truck.”
Gordon turned to her and shrugged. “That’s the official story. But your kid here knows more than he should.” He turned and squinted at Alex, as though trying to spin him.
Cole cast a warning look at his partner. “I got this, Joe.” The other man shrugged and went back to glaring. Alex felt like a bug in a jar.
“Alex, you told your friends Ms. Ashley was attacked by cats and then pushed in front of the truck. Is that right?” Cole asked calmly.
Mrs. Davis gasped and put a hand to her mouth in shock.
Knowing there was no way he could lie his way out of this, Alex nodded hesitantly, but said nothing.
Cole appeared unruffled by the admission. “Can you tell us how you knew that?”
Alex shivered as the images flooded in on him yet again. “I dreamed it.”
Gordon grunted. “Bullshit!”
Mrs. Davis normally hated swearing, but she looked ghostly white behind her desk, and Alex figured she was too upset to care.
Cole remained calm and steady. “And you actually saw someone push her in front of the truck?”
Alex nodded again.
Gordon opened his mouth, but Cole raised a hand to silence him. “What did this person look like?”
Alex shrugged. “All dressed in black, some kinda mask over the face, like for skiing or a ninja or something. That’s all I could see.”
Gordon expelled a heady breath of disgust. “Bill, you’re not gonna–”
Cole again cut him off with a raised hand. To Alex’s surprise, the other guy shut up. Cole must be the boss, he decided.
“Are you in the habit, Alex, of dreaming things before they happen?”
His horror screenplay, “Healer,” was a Semi-Finalist, and his urban fantasy script, “Like A Hero,” was a Finalist in the Shriekfest Film Festival and Screenplay Competition.
He grew up in San Rafael, California, and majored in English and Theatre at Santa Clara University. He went on to earn a master’s in film production from Loyola Marymount University, a teaching credential in English from LMU, and another master’s in Special Education from Cal State University Dominguez Hills.
He partnered with two friends as producer, writer, and/or director on several ultra-low-budget horror films, including “Fatal Images,” “Club Dead,” and “Things II,” the reviews of which are much more fun than the actual movies.
He taught high school in Hawthorne, California for twenty-five years, both in general education and to students with learning disabilities, in subjects ranging from English and Strength Training to Algebra, Biology, and Yearbook.
He has also been a volunteer Big Brother to eight different boys with the Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters program and a thirty-year volunteer within the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles.
He has been honored as Probation Volunteer of the Year, YMCA Volunteer of the Year, California Big Brother of the Year, and 2000 National Big Brother of the Year. The “National” honor allowed him and three of his Little Brothers to visit the White House and meet the president in the Oval Office.
He is currently working on a sequel to Spinner.
His goal as a YA author is for teens to experience empowerment and hope; to see themselves in his diverse characters; to read about kids who face real-life challenges; and to see how kids like them can remain decent people in an indecent world.
- A Spinner Mouse Pad