Adam lined up to take his shot. One of his teammates skated by and yelled at him. “Do you see something in the stands buddy?”
“Yeah, another teammate said. “Maybe it was a hot girl
The shot went wide.
“Enough, boys,” the coach said.
“Yes,” Adam said as he turned around. “I had a moment. Ok? I messed up.”
The rest of the team started filing off, their ice time over. But Adam grabbed a puck and teed it up for another shot. This time it went in.
Max skated by and patted him on the shoulder. “It’s okay, man, they’re just messing around.”
“I know.” Adam grabbed another puck. “I just feel like such an idiot.”
“Boys,” their coach called. “We have to get off the ice. Time’s up.”
“Yes Mr. Duffy,” Max said. He bent down and picked up the loose puck. “We’d better go before we get yelled at. Or something.”
“Or something,” Adam said.
The two boys took off their helmets and skated off the ice, marching up the ramp that connected the rink to the locker rooms.
Max held open the door. “Seriously man, what did you see?”
“I don’t know.” Adam paused once Max followed him inside. “Something was just different. And strange. Like,” he glanced around to see who was watching. Satisfied that the few people in the waiting area were not the least bit concerned, Adam turned back to Max. “Have you ever had like an out-of-body experience?”
“Dude,” Max laughed. “You’re kidding, right?”
“Not like, in the literal sense. That’s just what it felt like. Like I was super dazed. I don’t know. It’s not a big deal. It’s just now like my parents are worried.”
“They think you’re under too much stress and maybe they’re right.”
“Why? Because I have some AP classes?”
The waiting area was much warmer than the outdoor rink, and Adam could no longer see his breath. Max narrowed his eyes. “Dude come on you know that’s not why. The other guys might joke around and all, but it’s different. I know…”
“It’s nothing like that, I promise.” Adam started walking toward the locker room and was about to grab the door handle when someone walked beside him.
He looked at the tall police officer. “That’s me?”
“We have to take you into the station for some questioning.”
“What?” Max said.
“Wait,” Adam said. “Why? What’s happening?”
The locker room door opened, almost hitting Adam. Mr. Duffy stepped out and wedged himself between the child and the officer. His glasses framed a youthful face, short black hair stiff with the cold.
“Officer, this young man is a minor, as I’m sure you’re very well aware.”
“I am, Mr….”
“Mr. Duffy. And I will call his parents to the station, of course.”
“You will not take him without an adult present,” Mr. Duffy said.
The locker room door vibrated and some of the boys poked their heads out, some only half dressed.
“Go back inside, boys,” Mr. Duffy ordered.
Their social studies teacher, Mr. Duffy had been strict but fun. None of the boys had every seen him angry. But now his face twisted in unimaginable ways as he kept the officer from even looking at Adam.
“If you want to take the boy in,” Mr. Duffy said. “You have to call his mom here and have her go with you. Otherwise I’m not letting him go.”