In the Autumn of fourth grade, just after Halloween, Chris Baxter's father showed up during recess and tried to kidnap him while we were playing soccer on the concrete with a half inflated volleyball. He would have gotten Chris Baxter into the back seat of his powder blue Chevy, but Ms. Raguel stood in his father's way even though Mr. Baxter towered over her with his mustache and denim jacket, and cursed at her, every name in the book, without any fear he'd be punished.
But no matter what Mr. Baxter threatened, Ms. Raguel stood her ground in front of the truck and wouldn't let them leave. Chris Baxter didn't say anything the whole time. In his father's hands his body looked like one of those faceless sock puppets we made in arts and crafts.
The police finally arrived with sirens blaring, screeching right up to the swingset. They dragged Mr. Baxter away in hand cuffs while he screamed over and over, "He's my son! He's my son!"
They finally got him into the back seat. We could all see Mr. Baxter's lips moving, but we could no longer hear his words, through the windows it all became muffled cries.
After he was gone, we all stared at Chris Baxter.
"It's my team's ball," he said, grabbing it out of Fred Bohlander's hands.
We watched as he dribbled the ball between his feet, wound up, and then kicked the winning shot through the empty space between the two bike racks that served as the goal.
After that, the whistle blew, and we all went inside for our spelling test.
After that, we never saw Chris Baxter again.
Bryn Mawr, PA - 10/6/06