“Hey, yourself. Where’s everybody?” Robbie rubbed his sunburned scalp.
Toe kicking dirt, pale-everywhere Jimmy heaved a skinny shoulder, then slumped. “I’m bored.”
“Let’s go swimming.”
“I hate cottage country. Can’t use my iPad.”
“Come on. We’ll round up some of the kids.”
A cement truck lumbered down the street, clouds of dust in tow. The boys sprang off the kerb and stared with mouths agape as it bounced off the kerb a foot too close. Jimmy cleared his throat first. “You see that? He almost hit us.”
“But he didn’t. Whoa. There he goes again. Something ain’t right.” Robbie looked up and down the country road. Not a soul in sight. “Come on. Let’s follow him.”
“Something’s wrong.” The bigger boy grabbed Jimmy by the wrist dragging him along, forefinger pointed forward.”
The truck ground to a halt with a screech and a lurch on the opposite side of the road, the drum still spinning.
“Come on.” Robbie let go of his friend and raced ahead. He grabbed the handrail and lurched up onto the running board. He couldn’t reach to open the door. The driver’s face plastered the closed passenger window.
Jimmy wrung his hands. “Is he dead?”
“Shut up and let me think.” He pounded his eleven-year-old fist into his palm until his eyes protruded. A smile bloomed on his face.
“Where are you going? Don’t leave me…”
“Run to the nearest cottage and tell ‘em what’s going on. I’ll try to get inside and see if he has a cell. Crap, no cell service here.”
“How ‘bout the CB radio?”
“Don’t know what he’s got. Go. Hurry. The other way.” He watched Jimmy change direction and ran around to the passenger side. As much as he strained, the handle was still too high. The engine growled and the drum clanged round and round. The truck cab shimmied like a nervous bride. Robbie jumped down scanning the ground. He raced to the other side and peered up. The driver’s face still decorated the window.
Sweat poured down his young face. “Aha. This’ll do fine.” He tugged and tugged. Nothing. It wouldn’t budge. “Are you kidding me?” The boy danced from one foot to the other combing the ground. He settled on two smaller rocks, which fit one in each hand. Palms down, holding them like bowling balls, he shuffled to the passenger side again. The rocks lined up side by side, Robbie sprang onto the running board, hung onto the handrail and tested his footing.
“Yes!” Chubby cheeks on fire, sweat dripped down his shirt. Nothing. “It’s locked. Are you kidding me?” He yanked and wrenched. “Open!” The door creaked and the boy scrambled to keep his balance. Using both hands and an elbow, he coaxed the rusted door wide enough to clamber up into the seat. Someone on the radio twanged a forlorn country song. He picked up the handset but it didn’t even crackle. He leaned forward and switched off the engine key. The cab stopped doing the shimmy. The cement drum creaked on.
Short of climbing into the unconscious man’s lap, Robbie braced both hands on the horn. It made a terrible noise but someone would have to hear.
A siren screamed somewhere. He peered in the side mirror. A police car and an ambulance grew larger in its reflection. Robbie scooted outside.
Jimmy jumped out of the police car. He wrung his hands like a girl. “Is he dead?”
“I don’t know, but his lips are an awful blue.”
“Step aside.” The paramedics rushed forward with a gurney.
“You did good, boys.” A policeman patted Robbie’s shoulder.
Jimmy beamed; Robbie slipped into a sitting position on the straw-like grass and stared into a void.
The policeman returned. “It appears you saved and captured a bank robber.”
“Who steals a cement truck for a getaway car?” Robbie’s mouth dropped.” You still bored, squirt?”