Tommy Friend

Take The Long Way Home

   It’s 1986 and I’m walking down a side street in Chicago Illinois. I look back and I see a police car coming down the street. I keep on walking to my friend’s house and out of my prefilled vision I see the cop car slowing down and there are no cars parked parallel on the street. And I can tell the cop car is slowing down and moving closer to the curb to pull up alongside me. I turned my head to look at the cop car and I see the lady cop in the passenger seat rolling down her window. She says come here we want to talk to you. She says it’s after midnight isn’t it past your curfew. I’m thinking I am on my own and I don’t have a curfew anymore. I tell her I left my friend’s house and he’s not home so I am going right down the street to see if another one of my friends is home.

  She says how older you? I reply I’m 16 she looks at the male officer driving the car and she opens up the door and she says let’s talk, you can have a seat in the back. I get in the back seat she shuts the door and gets back in the front seat. She says where do you live? I say well right now I’m between places but the banquet hall I’m working at has given me a raise and the two guys they had cleaning went to college so I get to come in during the week and clean the whole place by myself for extra money and I got a friend who works construction and he says he’s going to try to get me a job working with him. Things will get better for me and soon I will have a place of my own. You’ll see times are just a little rough for me right now. The lady cop shaking her head and says NO she says were do your parents live? I said I don’t have a father but I was staying with my mom and that was at 2551 North Rutherford Ave.

   she says we are going to take you home. I told her I don’t want to go home. I am a man and I have a job I will work hard and I’ll be doing really good one day you’ll see. And they started driving to my mom’s house I try to open the back door to get out but I’m locked in and the door will not open from the inside. I am not be arrested or charged with anything and I’m not handcuffed. I was only in handcuffs one time and that girl was wearing a schoolgirl outfit, not a police outfit. So we pull up to the house we open the front gate at the 6-foot privacy fence and walking down this long sidewalk going to the house in the back. we are walking pass are 18 x 30′ swimming pool. And I’m thinking home sweet home we’re standing at the front door the lady cop rings the doorbell my mother comes to the door. She opens the door and the lady police officer says is this your son he tells us he’s homeless and he has nowhere to live.

   He’s not 18 yet by law all you have to take care of until he’s 18 years old. My mom comes out with this crazy story. I had a shocked look on my face like WOW! My mom’s crazy. I look at the lady cop. She’s got a look on her face like WOW! Your mom’s crazy. These two police officers will hear two crazy stories that night. I knew I was telling the truth but nobody ever believes me. So I was pretty shocked when they were on my side and I was thinking wow she believes me the teenager instead of the adult. My mom is going on and on with her crazy story. He is not welcome in my husband’s home. he cannot live here anymore. This lady cops steps up to my mother and points her finger in her face. Tells my mother if I find out that this boy is homeless again you are going to fucking jail. I guess I was wrong living back at home is great now. I could do whatever I want a nobody could stop me until I was 18. But a month before I turn 18 one of my good friends would come up to me and say hey Tom I am moving back to California you want to come with me. I would say I would love to live in California since I was a little kid I always dream of living by the ocean.

  What my mother didn’t know is that I wasn’t stopped by random. There’s a handful adult on the street talking to the police officers and one of them pointed me out walking down the street. One says that kids been homeless for 5 or 6 months now and another lady says he was staying with us for a little while but I have two sons of my own and I have somebody else, That I took in and I can’t take in all the kids, with nowhere to go. They were telling the police officers the story of Tommy Friend. A couple of days later I would hear some things they told the cops. He’s a good kid, he even has a job and works all the time and doesn’t cause any trouble. One of these days I’m I get to find out the lady cop name and thank her for the ride home. When my book hits the shelves you’ll know the rest of the story.

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