Walking to the police station gave everyone a chance to discuss what they’d been through. Strangely enough, it became difficult to remember what happened inside The Black and White Horror Show. Bernie filled in the details Jeremy forgot and Sissy did the same for Brandon until everyone had a general idea of what happened.
Their fears that Max might’ve burned alive in the theater were allayed when they saw their friend through the station window looking as if he was trying to talk himself out of a ticket.
“That’s what I’ve been saying officer. Somehow I found myself in an abandoned movie theater. A homeless man told me to pull decorations out of the costume closet. He told me ‘we must restore The Pharaoh to its former glory.’” Then I opened the front door and met a police officer. Officer Farley was his name. He told me to accompany his partner to the police station for questioning. I was charged with disruption of the peace and the alleged disappearance of over fifty people. I don’t understand how they pinned this crime on me!”
‘Well, where were you yesterday?” questioned the police woman.
“I’ve already told you. I was stuck inside a black and white movie.”
“Process this one for psych detail and keep him on suicide watch,” the officer said. “I just hope he didn’t murder my partner.”
“Excuse me,” said a plump secretary. “That movie theater—what’s it called—The Pharaoh? It burned down only a few minutes ago.”
“We can add arson to that boy’s rap sheet. I knew he wasn’t any good the moment I saw him. Teenagers, with their Metallica t-shirts and spiked hair!” Sighed the officer.
Max tried to protest, but he was taken to the nearest holding cell and thrown inside. “My parents are going to kill me,” he cried.
Brandon noticed Max was not doing very well. “Do you think we can help him?” he asked.
“Only if we are willing to break the law,” Sissy replied.
Jeremy knew what she was thinking. “We’ll stay out of sight until you give us the signal.”
“And what signal is that?” Brandon asked.
“You’ll know it when it happens,” Sissy said.
Bernie followed the teenagers, feeling like one of them.
Sissy walked slowly toward the police station, lifting the camera to her face, preparing to take a picture. She was counting on the police hating the press. Sure enough, the officer exited the station with a pair of handcuffs in her hand. “You should keep your meddlesome nose out of police business,” she yelled. “I’ve told you people that the station is no place for cameras. I’m going to hold you for twenty-four hours to teach you a lesson. Which news studio do you represent?”
“I’m an independent photographer,” Sissy offered.
“Even worse,” hissed the officer through clenched teeth. You can have a cell next to the arsonist.”
The plump secretary waddled to the door, followed by the night custodian. They liked to see law in action. However, they didn’t see the two teenagers and old man enter the station behind them.
Jeremy had an instinct for finding hidden things. He found the key to the prison cell in the first cupboard he opened. They ran to the back of the station where Max was being held. “We’ve come to spring you out!” Jeremy whispered. “I’ve always wanted to say that.”
“But what about Sissy,” Brandon asked.
“She can talk herself out of anything.” They left the station by the rear entrance.
Sissy was doing exactly that. “Actually I’m just a teenager. I know I look older than my age, but I go to Madison Junior High. I’m the president of the school newspaper and I was hoping you might have some insight regarding what happened at The Pharaoh today.”
“Honey, I don’t have a clue…just that the old movie theater burned to the ground and the police force in Old Hollywood has needed to do crowd control for the first time in over a decade.” Sissy had a way about her that made people feel comfortable.
“Well, maybe it’s the stress of the day. You seem like a good kid. Maybe too curious for your own good, but I’ve decided to let you go. You should be home on a night like this. There are strange people about.”
Sissy politely agreed and said goodbye.