Chapter 8

Officer Titus stood on the sidewalk just outside our brownstone.

“Hello there, David,” he said. “How are you?”

I navigated my bike down the steps, my helmet hanging off the handlebars and swinging back and forth. When I reached the bottom I stood there beside my bike, staring at the man who wasn’t wearing his uniform this morning but instead had on jeans and sneakers and a faded tee-shirt.

“What are you doing here?”

“I wanted to apologize for last night.”

“You mean you aren’t always a jerk to seventeen-year-old victims involved in an armed robbery?”

“Technically,” Officer Titus said, “as nothing was stolen, it doesn’t officially count as robbery.”

He smiled, meaning it a joke, but I just stared back at him.

“Anyway, David, I wanted to say sorry. I’ve been having some personal problems recently and brought it with me on the job, which I know I shouldn’t do, and — ”

“If you’re trying to suck up to my dad, you’re talking to the wrong person,” I said, putting on my helmet and snapping the chinstrap together. I realized then I’d left my cell phone inside but didn’t want to risk going back in.

“Are you going for a ride?”

“No, I thought I’d just stand here with my bike and watch traffic go up and down the street.”

He made a face, looked down at his feet, and for the first time I felt sorry for him. I didn’t know why but I was being more of a smartass than usual. Maybe it had to do with his lack of professionalism last night, or maybe I was just cranky because I’d hardly slept.

“Look,” I said, swinging one leg over to straddle the bike, “I appreciate your stopping by like this and apologizing. No hard feelings, okay?”

He looked up, stared back at me, nodded slowly.

“See you around,” I said, because I couldn’t think of anything else to say, and I placed my foot on the pedal and pushed down and moved only an inch before Officer Titus spoke.

“By the way, David, that’s a nice ring you have there.” His voice was suddenly calm, measured, cold. “May I ask where you got it?”

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