“Just my luck, a guy for a caseworker,’’ said Luke when the thin man in Wal-Mart jeans and a scraggly beard entered the interview room, let in by the watch commander, and offered him his hand. Luke ignored it.
“Hey, how’s things?”
“Hear you were busted yesterday for possession.”
“Uh, I’m not saying nothing. You get me out of here?”
”Cops will let me take you back to the group home ‘cause you’re under twelve—but just. By the way, I am Darren.”
Luke got up from the steel bench and took his backpack off the table, eager to get out of the station.
“Just need a minute to sign your release papers; be right back.”
Within five minutes they were on their way in the company van. Nobody spoke.
After a while, Luke could not stay quiet anymore: “You’re different, girl social workers always wanna talk with ya.”
“I only want to talk if you want to talk, “ replied Darren.
Luke sat up straight now and seemed very interested in the road ahead. He glanced at Darren and saw him only have attention for the car ahead of them. Luke’s whole body seemed to tense, although his face was completely blank. Traffic on the bridge slowed down close to walking pace. “Must have been an accident.” Darren commented, staying focused on the car ahead of him while the van was reaching the end of the bridge near the exit to the docks. Suddenly the passenger door flew open, Luke tumbled out of the vehicle, hit the ground running and yelled “See ya later!”
“Get back! Luke, get back here, now!”
No use; he was gone–disappeared in the dense half mile of brush growth that covered the lake shore and the bridge foundations. Darren felt let down and angry, and faintly guilty, although if he were honest, he had to admit that he anticipated a huge barrier with this charming tough guy, forewarned by others. He believed that the presence of a supportive relationship makes up sixty percent of the work’s success. He allowed the fact that he was fooled by Luke’s age. Five days later, Darren heard that Luke was back in cells, without bail this time. After his court appearance, Luke was put on transport to the youth detention centre.
To be continued tomorrow.
johanna van zanten
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