“Directory not found, please try again,” Peter said in a mocking voice, hanging up the phone. He had tried futilely for the past half hour to find the phone number of the Oktoberfest Shelter. Even the 411 directory services couldn’t find the information line.
Fat Daisy walked out of her office, hands-free set attached to one ear. She was laughing and speaking loudly. “Yes, and remember when her husband tried to tell us ‘She prefers the taste of beer to beets’ … Yeah, well, ‘he likes his ham sliced thinly!'” More laughter. “Oh, I remember, alright. I was, like, how could he fit that all on one fork?!” Fat Daisy’s laugher grew even more ruckus, enough so she didn’t hear the frantic Radley until he was already inside Delirium Tremens.
“Miss Daisy, Miss Daisy!” the boy yelled. “We need help! Miss Daisy!”
Immediately, Fat Daisy cut off the phone call with a quick “I’ll call you back,” and ran to the frantic boy now standing at the door. “What happened?” she asked. She was now joined by Peter, who said something about it being good that there were no customers at the moment. “And what happened to you. My God, you’re all bloody–”
“Carlos fell and I can’t wake him up!” The boy was wide eyed, panting and in tears.
“Where?” Peter asked.
“On the way back here from Mr Funland’s house.”
“Mr Funland?” Peter looked at Fat Daisy, as if to ask her who Mr Funland was.
“Never mind that,” she answered him. She turned to Radley and said, “Take me to him,” as she grabbed the boy’s arm, and ran into the car. Peter grabbed and moistened some paper towels then joined them.
A few minutes later, they found the boy at about the same place Radley had left him. He wasn’t lying down on the sidewalk anymore, but sitting on the curb, with his head between his knees and his arms crossed over his head. Daisy quickly parked the car near the boy. All three got out and ran towards him.
“Carlos, are you OK?” She tried to sound calm.
“Yeah,” Carlos said. His voice was barely more than a grunt.
“Let me take a look at you,” she said.
The boy raised his head. No marks. She was already suspecting the boys had fought, but if that was the case, then why wasn’t Carlos more hurt? If anything, it looked like Radley took most of the beating.
“Let’s get you over to my place to check you out. Can you walk?”
The boy stood up with a bit of help from Peter, who then started walking him towards the car. Radley stood back. Fat Daisy noticed then asked, “Did you two get into a fight?”
“No… well, yeah. I mean, he just got crazy and started hitting me.”
She knew the boys well enough to know that if someone were to start a fight, it would have been Radley, not Carlos. But then maybe she hadn’t known the boys as well as she thought. “It’s always the quiet ones,” she said to herself. Then, to Radley she said, “We’ll talk more about that later. Now come on, get in the car.”