EIGHT MONTHS EARLIER
It was a strange phone call because it was almost my bedtime, and Dad, who is usually Mr. Calm was hissing into the mouthpiece, his back turned toward me like he didn’t want me to hear. “I don’t understand why you want to do this still? It’s a lost cause.” He gave me a quick look, but I pretended I was watching T.V..
I kept my ears open and soon figured out it had to be Grandpa. I don’t know why, but Grandpa could always tick Dad off. I guessed that’s why Mom didn’t like him that much. She pretended to, but you can’t fool a good detective. I wish I knew why they always seemed so strange with each other? I liked Grandpa even though I hardly knew him. He had lived in Miami, Florida since before I was born, only moving back a year ago.
My father replaced the phone and stared up at the ceiling. Suddenly he spotted me observing him. I guess he needed someone to talk to because he said, “David, your grandfather lives in the past. He wants revenge.”
Revenge? Grandpa? Grandpa was old. He couldn’t hurt anybody, so how could he even think of revenge? I was about to ask what Dad meant, but the phone rang again. Dad sighed and picked it up like it was booby-trapped.
At first Dad was calm and speaking quietly, but suddenly I heard him shout, “No! It is totally crazy! I can’t believe you want to do this to us!” He slammed the phone down so hard it went crashing to the floor.
I jumped from the couch. “Dad, are you alright?”
“He wants us to go to Poland,” Dad said, looking like he was ready to bite my head off.
“Poland. This summer. Maybe? I don’t know? Don’t ask me. It’s Grandpa’s crazy idea, not mine.”
Dad almost never gets angry, but something had lit his fuse, not just once, but twice in one night. “Don’t you know where Poland is,” he asked sharply.
What was he mad at me for? I didn’t do anything.
“David, it’s in Europe. You should know. That’s where Grandpa and Nana came from.”
“Oh, that Poland,” I said, remembering something about Poland being somewhere in Europe which I knew was somewhere across the Atlantic Ocean. “Why are we going there,” I asked, thinking Dad was acting really weird.
“It’s a long story.” he replied and walked toward the stairs. He was mumbling and suddenly exclaimed, “How am I going to tell Chris?” He climbed the steps looking like someone heading for his own execution.
I turned back to the T.V., but couldn’t concentrate. Dad’s an accountant and always looks at things very calmly. Sometimes that drives me and Mom nuts. So why did he lose his cool? Oh well, it will blow over, I thought, returning to the T.V.. Nobody noticed I was staying up late, so why not enjoy it? I figured I’d look up Poland on my computer after the next show was over. It didn’t seem very important, but I still hadn’t heard about the murders.