Copyright © 2019 Juju. All Rights Reserved.

You can contact Juju at juju.author@gmail.com, if you would like to email him about his story or just say hi. All comments are welcome as long as they are made in a tasteful manner.


After breakfast I showed Jerry the library, introduced him to Sarah and got the key card for the cubicle I requested. I signed into Gmail first. Mostly junk mail, a few condolence messages from kids I went to school with but nothing of substance. Next I did a search of ACLU; their closest office was in Salt Lake City. I sent them an email inquiring if they could help me get out of jail for being an orphan. Later on I received a reply that told me, “due to my age I would have to have a parent contact them on my behalf”. I presumed that they were unfamiliar with the definition of the word “orphan”, I didn’t reply.

I did a search for the U.S. Marshall Service where Mom used to work in L.A. and Bingo I found the name I wanted. Senior Deputy Marshal D. McCann. I’m not sure why I didn’t mention him to the people who took me from my home, but I did have quite a bit on my mind at the time.

We’re not related even though I call him Uncle Dan and they did ask for relatives. Mom had always told me to get hold of him if anything happened to her. Apparently she was unaware that orphans are incarcerated in the state of Utah.

I immediately sent him a message describing events so far. But before I hit send I asked the librarian if I could receive calls here. She gave me several options. A number that would reach the cubical I was currently using, a number for messages specifically for me and the number of the hospital so that I could be paged if it was urgent. I added all that to the email and hit send.

After that I decided to take a look at Mom’s Face book account, there were a few messages from friends and two from Cheryl McCann, The first was a week after Mom died and the second had come in that morning. I clicked on Cheryl’s name and it showed she was online. I typed frantically to tell her about Mom and also my situation and sent off a PM. Just as I hit the send button the phone in the cubicle began ringing. It startled me so bad I almost pissed myself. I picked up the receiver and pressed answer and said “Hello?”

“Duncan is that you.” said a man’s voice. I couldn’t believe it; someone I knew was making contact.

I managed to squeak out a pathetic “Yes it’s me Uncle Dan.” I had a lump in my throat that seemed intent at ruining my chance for salvation.

“Good to hear your voice buddy, now take a minute and let your throat relax and then you can talk to me.”

I took several deep breaths and my throat decided to allow me to proceed. “I’m sorry Uncle Dan, it’s just been so weird for me lately I just can’t believe it’s you.” I half sobbed into the phone.

“Okay, you hold on there, I’m about four hours away from you so I’ll see you this afternoon and we can start working on getting you sprung.” said Dan.

“Only four hours? That’s great! Um where are you?” I asked.

“I’m in Northeast Nevada, I figure with the lights on all the way I should be there between two-thirty and three this afternoon. How’s that sound?”

“Great!” I replied.

“You hang in there and I’ll see you soon. And Duncan, I’m really sorry about your Mom, she was good people.”

“Thanks” I said as my throat started its’ nonsense again.

“See you there” He said.

“Please be careful.” I managed.

“I will buddy, bye now.”

I stood there holding the receiver with tears pouring down my face. I felt a hand on my shoulder, it was Dr. Chandler. I buried my face in her and wept and sobbed until I could barely stand. It was almost over. When I had regained my composure I apologized but she said it was okay. I told her about Uncle Dan and she said she looked forward to meeting him. She said that maybe I wouldn’t have to go back to that terrible place. She also told me how much my kindness as she called it had helped Jerry.

I told her how much I appreciated the help I had received.

“I’d say you earned it Duncan. You have been very kind to Jerry and his aspect has changed remarkably. And while it’s not really hospital policy for two patients to sleep in the same bed, I say if it works don’t question it.” The Doctor said.

“I’m glad he’s feeling better, I wonder if he’ll be able to sleep on his own tonight. If he asks to join me again should I let him?” I asked.

“If it’s not an imposition for you but it has to be your own choice.” She said.  “Now, I have other news for you. You have a visitor, He’s a State Trooper and he has some things for you. Do you want to see him?” She asked.

“Sure, it’s not like I have a busy agenda or anything.

Although I think I need to recount the ceiling tiles in the lobby. I’m not sure about my figures.” I said as I managed to keep a straight face. The Doc gave me a look which would have been over her glasses if she wore them and just smirked at me.

“Would you like me to show him in?” she asked.

“Oh! Yeah geez sorry, I didn’t mean to make him wait. Um, could you stay?” I asked not really liking the needy tone I used.

“I was going to ask if you wanted me here,” She said.

The same Trooper that had gently told me the truth about my Mom came through the door with a shopping bag in hand.

“Hi Duncan” said trooper Max Peele. “It’s good to see you again. How are you feeling these days?”

“A little rocky” I said, “considering the circumstances.”

“I can understand that” he said. “I was surprised when I discovered you hadn’t been checked in at the Anderson Home. Then I found out you were in the Detention center and hadn’t even seen a judge yet. Then I find you here. Something’s screwy about that.”

I digested this information for a moment and asked “So this isn’t standard treatment for a kid that just lost his only living relative? Oh and what’s the Anderson Home?”

Trooper Peele sat down across from me and said “No, it very un-standard and I intend to find out what’s going on. Children who are in your circumstance aren’t supposed to spend more than two days in that facility. Oh, and the Anderson Home is an Orphanage, It’s where I grew up and it’s a pretty nice place. I go back and help out about every other weekend. You see most counties here don’t have a foster care system. In any case children who need new or temporary homes start at Anderson and are fostered out from there.” He explained.

“Okay that makes sense, so how do you explain my situation?” I asked.

“That’s just it” he said “I can’t explain it. And it really bugs me. But hey, I’ll find out what’s going on and get it straightened out. Even if I have to call the Governor, and I will if I have to, he’s my wife’s uncle.”

“Thanks sir” I said. “Max” he corrected. “Okay, thanks Max. Um is that my Mom’s stuff in the bag?” I asked.

Max’s mood dropped a little and he said “Yes, I’m afraid it is.”

He placed the bag between us and I looked in. There was a piece of paper in the top titled (Inventory) and it listed the contents: Wallet, currency and the amount, coins, a damaged cell phone. There were several photos of me and her together and a few of just me. Two flash drives and a bundle of business cards, a notebook an address book, and her employee badge, work and house keys. How many times had I seen that Photo ID hanging around her neck and scolded her about wearing it in public? What would Uncle Dan say? Uncle Dan!?  “Trooper um Max, can you be here around three? Someone is coming that I’d like you to meet.”

Max looked thoughtful and said, “Well I was going to go rattle some cages over at the detention center but I can do that another time.”

“Good, I think it’s important that you meet my Uncle.” Max looked puzzled now “Uncle? I thought you said you had no relatives.” He said.

“Well Dan isn’t really my Uncle but he was a friend to my Mom and I was able to contact him today and he’s close by. I do have an actual Uncle but he’s doing time in Oregon for something. Mom never told me why.” I said.

“Okay, I’ll be back as near three as I can manage. I’ll run down to the State Garage and see if their tech and get my MDT to work right.

“MDT?” asked Dr. Chandler.

“Oh, Mobile Data Terminal hence MDT.” I said. “I did a report for school on them once. LAPD has one in every car”

“Well you’re right on target.” Max said.

“It was nice meeting you Dr. Chandler. And really nice to see you again Duncan, I wasn’t really sure you’d accept my visit.”

“My Mom always told me not to shoot the messenger, it was good advice I said.”

Published May 12, 2019