chapter xvii: tom disappears,
his parents and the brownstone residents.
| Tom is sleeping on the couch when Simone and Tommy
come by. He gets up and bangs his head against his coffee table.
He wonders how many times he has done that. "About a million,"
Simone answers, "you've got a head like a bowling ball."
Tommy finds the book Tom was reaching for. He tells him that it
is the mystery novel Felicia loaned him and that he bet her that
he could solve it. Simone wonders if he did. He asks when has he
not. She thinks he is cocky. Tommy grabs the book and thinks maybe
they could solve it together. Tom says they have something
to do together not that. "All three us?," Tommy
ask. They correct him, four of them, Justus will also be included,
he may be accepting by the tone of Tom's voice still has a sting
to it. Tommy, "Why him!?" Tom tells him that the way he
has been treating Justus is why he is included. Tom admonishes his
son saying it will not happen again, and they are going to set up
some rules. Justus arrives and greets Tommy, who glares at him.
Tommy thinks it is unfair that his father is on Justus' side. "We're
all on the same side, including you," Tom replies. Tom wants
his son to apologize. Tommy gives a half-hearted apology. Tom tells
his son that Justus is going to be his mommy's husband and they
have to talk about that. Tom tells his son that nothing will stop
the wedding or reunite him and his mother. Tommy still thinks his
father needs him. Tom reassures Tommy that he is fine, "I know
that you're worried me, and it's a form of loving," and he
does not want that to stop. Tom tells him that if he is angry, tell
them, "but no talking back, and you do not hit!" Justus
thinks they can start over and be friends, smiling, Tommy shakes
his hand." Justus, then Simone leave. Tommy asks, "They
really are getting married?" Tom, annoyed, "Yes!
Yes, they are really getting married. Do you know something,
I want them to! I do!.... if that makes your mother happy...."
Tom goes to change before he takes Tommy to school, Tommy tells
him he forgot his book and wants to get it. With Tom out of the
room he gets his backpack and coat and sneaks out of Tom's apartment.
Tom is frantically knocking on Felicia's door looking for Tommy.
He tells her how they were all talking to him about the wedding,
and how he left the room for a moment and when he returned Tommy
was gone. He tells her he searched everywhere and could not find
him. She thinks they should check the house from top-to-bottom again.
A Little later, Tom is on the phone to Simone, her that they looked
over the Brownstone a couple of times, went to the school and checked
the route, but no Tommy. Simone tells him she will call Audrey and
Steve; he tells her he will call the police. Tony returns, he has
been around town and nothing, he is going back out and drive around.
Felicia assures Tom that they will find Tommy, she adds he knows
"not to talk to strangers." Tom, "I keep believing
that. I need to hear that."
Inspector Garcia of the police arrives and tells Tom and Simone,
who has arrived too, that it was rush hour and people know him around
here, someone would have seen something had he been kidnapped. He
tells them "to stay calm." "Stay calm, stay calm,"
Simone repeats, in tears, "oh God, Tom, I'm affraid."
She falls into his arms, sobbing.
Later Simone and Bobbie are on the sofa, Simon in a chair and Tom
is pacing the living room. Simone worries what will happen if Tommy
has to defend himself? Tom tells her not to think like that, that
Tommy will be fine. She says, "We can't be sure!" "I'm
sure,' Tom replies. "We'd know if he weren't. We would
know!" Calming down a bit, she nods in agreement. Bobbie
wonders if there is anything they could be doing. Felicia suggests
that the local media could help, Felicia calls the press; Simone
is worried that they will not listen, Tom has confidence in Felicia.
Felicia tells them she got the interview. Tom thinks the poor reporter
"did not know what hit her," referring to Felicia. They
need a photo of Tommy, Tom gets out his. Simone wants to do the
interview, Bobbie wants to come along; Felicia and Tom remain there
to answers the phone. Felicia to Tom, "It's going to be all
right, we just have to figure out where he is hiding." Tom
frowns, "That's what you think he is doing? Hiding?" She
thinks so, and they will find him, "and then we're going to
kill him!" Tom chuckles and flashes a semi-smile.
Tom asks Felicia, "Did I misjudge this whole situation from
the start?" By how he dealt with Tommy's behavior towards Justus.
She tells Felicia he heard her tell Simone that "validating
Tommy's denial of the wedding was giving him power." He know
wonders if it was wrong. She remind him he had no choice, Tommy's
behavior could not have been rewarded. She thinks Tommy "was
being a real stinker." It isnot acceptable that he took a swat
at Justus. Parents have "to set the limits." Tom, "Thankless
work." Felicia adds if it is bad now "wait until their
adolesence." "I shudder to think," Tom replies. Tom
wonders how she made him feel better. "Did I do that?"
"It's a fact." Felicia, "Well, I'm glad." Tom
answers, "So am I." Tom thanks her for being there for
him, "I meant what I said earlier you did.... I mean you do
make me feel better." Felicia, "It's the tea and the sympathy,
it works every time." "Are you aware that you....deflect
compliments?" She wonders if she does. He says that "I
tried to tell you that I'm.... coming to depend on you and you turn
it into this thing about bad tea." She can take a compliment,
she wants Tom to try again. Tom does, "I think you're beautiful!"
Trying hard, "Thank you!" She wonders how she did. He
says fine, but maybe with a little practice. She thinks they better
to move on.. He gets up and starts to pace again, "Damnit!
Damnit! Where the hell is that kid. Simone is right. He's small.
He's just a little kid. Anything could have happened to him!"
She knows if there was something wrong a parent knows. Felicia asks,
"Didn't you ever run away as a child?" Tom, "I don't
much remember being a child." Felicia told him as a child "when
I thought the world was conspiring against me" I would run-off,
but I always returned. She knows that Tommy will too.
Simone returns from talking to the TV reporter, she does not know
how effective she was she was just emotional worrying. Bobbie assures
her they are doing everything correctly. Tom whispers to Felicia,
that her idea of a TV appeal was "inspired." Tom assures
Simone that with the public, press and police Tommy will be found.
Tom notices that Felicia is deep in thought. Felicia tells them,
"Something's been bothering," she adds "Tommy couldn't
have vanished in thin air. Everybody in the neighborhood knows him.
Don't you think somebody would see him if he left the house alone?"
Tom wonders what she means. "I think we should search the house
A little later, they all return from checking again. Tom searched
the attic, he had to use a flashlight since the blub was out. Simone
gets excited thinking of the roof; however, Felicia tells her that
she and Tom checked. Simone breaks down again, "I can't
stand this! Our child has disappeared off the face of the earth.
What are we supposed to do now?" "We help each other wait
until he comes home. That's all we can do." "I feel so
helpless," falling into Tom's arms. He tells her, "He
knows." Bobbie, and Felicia watch them.
Later that night, Tom still has not been found. Simone and Justus
are lying on their bed, fully clothed. Simone is sleeping in his
arms. She wakes up. She tells him she did not sleep. She got to
a point she could close her eyes and not think. She thinks everything
went out of balance since his grandmother's death. She tells him
her death affected them all, which has affected Tommy. She is scared
because Tommy "should know better than to run away." He
wants her not to think about it. She says she cannot do that. She
worries because he might not have run away, that there are so many
stories about abducted children, and how mothers wait for months
and years. She breaks down wondering if he is hurt. All those thoughts
go through her mind. She falls into his arms, sobbing. Just then
they hear a crashing noise from inside her apartment. They
run into the living room to find Tommy. He dropped a jar of peanut
butter. He tells her he did not break it. She takes him in his arms,
wondering where he has been. Justus glares at him, and he looks
back. She wonders how he is. He tells her he was hungry. Justus
calls Tom, "Guess who's here in the living room?" She
tells him that the whole Brownstone, police and TV studio was looking
for him. "I was on a time-out." Simone, "`A time-out?'"
He tells her that "everyone was mad at me. So I gave myself
a time-out to think." He was in the attic, "I built a
house behind the suitcases." He heard his father calling, but
"I needed to think some more." He had peanutbutter, jelly
and bread to eat. He was coming downstairs for more peanutbutter
when they found him. Justus tells him that the two of them need
to work things out, things like what happened cannot go on, it scared
15 sec; 500K) ] Tom is hearding calling, he
runs into the room. He grabs his son and squeezes him. When Tom
finds out Tommy was in the attic he angrily tells him, "If
I wasn't so relieved, you'd see how furious I am! You would, I swear!"
He tells his father, "Justus isn't mad at me." Justus
angrily tells him, he is not sure whether to hug him or hope his
father "tans his little hide!" He tells Tommy he will
take a hug. Tommy sits defiantly for a moment, then caves in and
hugs Justus. Tom tells Simone, "This can't go unpunished."
She agrees, "But please don't suggest a time-out, because
that's what started this whole thing." Tom tells him they are
thinking up a punishment, but for now no TV. Tom asks him to show
them where he was hiding.
Up in the attic, there is a little fort there, hidden by boxes,
and table cloth canipay. Justus sees he learned something from the
failed camping trip. Tom replies, "I wouldn't be so quick to
claim credit, if I were you." Tommy even has a minature TV
Justus bought. He tells his father that he unscrewed the light
bulb when he heard him calling. Tom to Tommy, "Are you that
made at me that you went to all that effort so I wouldn't find you?"
Tommy, "No, I'm not mad at you Daddy," he glares at Justus.
Justus is sorry about what is going on between them, they were once
friends and he wants that to happen again. He adds that Tommy has
to try to be friends. Justus tells Tommy he wants him, his mother
and himself to live together in a happy home; Tommy has to help,
because it is unfair for her to live in an unhappy home. Justus
asks Tommy what he thinks. Tommy just shrugs his shoulders. Simone
wants him to promise never to repeat this. Tom warns him that he
is going to school anyway. Tom leaves to eat and get ready
for school. Simone asks Tom if he thinks "any of this took."
Tom replies, "You're asking the wrong guy."