What Gives You the Right

July 28th, 2016

Wiping the sweat from his forehead, Randal powered off the mower, and gave his ears a break from the noisy machine. His thoughts focused on the tall, ice cold, glass of water that he imagined waited for him in the house. Mowing the lawn was supposed to be Zack's job, but his twin brother had disappeared. Again. 'What is wrong with him?' Randal wondered to himself. 'He ought to know that even though Summer means no school, there are chores to do.

"Randal!" It was his mom. "Can you hop on your bike, and see if you can find your brother."

"OK mom!" Randal didn't mind. Well, OK, he minded a little. That glass of ice water with his name on it would have to wait. At least the bike ride through town might offer some breeze. As he relaxed and searched for his missing brother. There was just one problem.

"Aw man!" Randall exclaimed. "Flat tires." Not just one, but both of them.

Inside the freshly scrubbed kitchen, Alice Pruett was finishing clearing off the counter tops when Randal came in. "Mom, Zack let the air out of my tires."

"What makes you say that?" Alice asked, "and what makes you think it was him? Maybe you ran over something Hon."

"Mom, both tires are flat." Randal said, as if it should explain it all. "Zack's bike has a flat tire, and he knew he couldn't get my bike lock off, so he let the air out so I couldn't ride mine either."

"Randal, don't jump to conclusions," Alice began.

"Mom, it was Zack. I know it." Randal was exasperated over the set back.

If you're so sure that's the case, walk your bike to the gas station, and air them up." Alice advised. "Then ride around to look for your brother."

"OK, mom." was Randall's reply.

"And when you find him, don't say a word about our plans for tonight." Alice said. "I want to tell him myself."

"OK mom," Randall repeated.

"And don't take too long," Alice continued, "You need tine to get cleaned up, and cool off."

"OK mom," Randal repeated, slipping out the door before his litany of instructions grew.

Keeping his eyes peeled as he pushed his bike, Randall didn't spot his brother down any of the side streets or alleys. Knowing him, he may not even be in town. He likes to hang out with Ted Baxter, and his gang of friends. Not that they were an actual gang, just a bunch of rough boys. Zack was already unruly enough with the family, the last thing he needed was friends who lured him into even more trouble.

Just as he was nearing the gas station, Ted zoomed down Central Av, but was gone before Randall could get his attention to ask about Zack. By the time Randal got all the way to the corner, and could look down Central Av, Ted was gone. 'He must have turned up an alley,' Randall guessed. 'Even as fast as he was going, he couldn't have made it to Hasserfeld Drive, and the road out of town. At least I know Zack isn't with him.'

Randall aired up his tires. Sure enough, they both held. Rock solid. He didn't have a pressure gauge, but he knew how to be careful to air them up just a little. He remembered the first time he and Zack aired their tires here. They both popped an inner tube. Zack thought it was funny, and popped both of his. They had to leave their bikes parked in the garage until they could earn the money for new ones.

'No sign of punctures, or leaks,' Randal thought. 'Why does Zack have to be that way?' Randall was more sure than ever it was Zack.

"Where to now?" Randall said aloud. "I didn't see him while I was coming up Vermont Street. I'll head toward the park, and see if I can spot him down one of the streets that run North to South. Besides, the park..." A voice cut him off.

"Who are you looking for son? And where did you get the bike?" It was a police officer.

"I'm looking for my brother," Randall admitted, "I got the bike from Grossmiller's for getting A's in school all year."

"You weren't in Gross miller's just a few minutes ago were you?" the cop ask harmlessly.

"No, I came up Vermont, from my house so I could air up my tires." explained Randall.

"Would you mind going to see Mr Grossmiller with me right now?" there was something suspicious in the tone of the cop, but Randall couldn't put his finger on it. "Sure," Randal was dutiful in obeying the authority figure.

"That's one of them!" Mr Grossmiller was emphatic as he saw Randall approach with the police officer. "That's him I'll swear to it!"

Back in the kitchen, Alice answered the phone. "Hello... yes, this is Alice Pruett... yes, I have a son named Randall is there anything wrong?" Her voice went up in pitch as she listened. "No officer, that can't be right... Yes, I sent Randall to find his brother Zack... There has to be some mistake..."

Alice listened in disbelief. She couldn't fathom either of her sons robbing the hardware store, least of all Randall. But could Zack have stooped so low? "Is he sure? Did Mr Grossmiller see the boys who... Uh-huh... I see... Did Randall mention that Zack is his twin? That's right... maybe it was... Yes, I'll be right there.

Alice rushed to get the baby ready, at least she still thought of 4 year old Sara as her baby. "Zack," she was talking to herself as she checked Sara's bag, and whisked her out, and into the car seat. "I hope this can be cleared up quick. The babysitter could be here before long. Zack, Zack. How could you do this today. We had this all planned for weeks..." Her words trailed off as she backed the car down the drive, and towards downtown. This was going to put a kink in the family plans, not just tonight, but for the week.

Disclaimer: This is 100%pure fiction. Any resemblance between people, places, or events real or fictional, is purely coincidental.

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