It had been dark at least an hour when the doorbell rang. I should have been asleep, but it was a Friday night, and Y107 was playing requests. My Sony jambox was just low enough that my parents couldn’t hear it over “Dallas,” and I had a blank cassette poised to record “Money for Nothing” if Coyote McCloud played it for me.
I flicked the switch to “tape” to silence the radio. I heard the chain slide off and the deadbolt retract on our front door. Then, my dad’s voice. A few seconds of silence. Then dad’s voice again, and a closing door followed by a re-engaged deadbolt and sliding chain.
I parted the closed mini blinds a couple inches and looked out the window. The rust-colored sedan with a row of silver bolts down its side that had come after me a week before was now in our driveway.
My chest did that thing it did the first time I saw the “Thriller” video when our babysitter let us watch MTV. I let the blinds snap shut and ran into the den.
Me: “Who was that?”
Dad: “He said he was collecting money for Big Brothers…”
Me: “At 9? Dad, that’s the car that….”
Dad: “I thought it was strange, too; I didn’t give him anything.”
Me: “That’s the guy who came after me when you were out of town last week!”
Dad said he didn’t think the guy would come back and not to worry about it; I should get some sleep.
But he did come back.