Ramblings of Charles Prier – Writer-Insomniac-General Know-it-All

Archive for July, 2012

Where Are You Young Jeffery?

It has been more than fifteen years since that day. Jeffery would be about twenty-five today.
I was deep in thought that summer morning when the desperate cries for help from my front yard penetrated the stillness of my small study.
I opened the door to see a youngster, I later learned was Jeffery, running up the street toward our house screaming for help at the top of his lungs. I grabbed the portable telephone and stepped to the porch prepared to call 911. A couple was running a short distance behind calling to him. The sobbing youngster quickly moved behind positioning me between him and the couple; all the while, crying that they were going to kill him.
Everyone seemed to start talking at once. Sorting through the confusion, I learned that Jeffery was the couple’s nephew; that they were contractors working on a job down the street; and there had been a minor altercation to which Jeffery overreacted. The Boy’s mother had allegedly placed him with his uncle because of behavior problems she couldn’t handle.
I realized I had become the mediator in a family dispute for which my qualifications to resolve had been inaccurately assumed. The only thing I was sure of was that Jeffery believed he was in danger.
“I’m sorry to put you in this situation”, said the uncle. “If you’ll just call his mother, she will tell you what I said is true.”
Jeffery said, “I don’t want to stay with them, I want to talk to my mom. I want to go home.”
“Calm down Jeffery, let him call your mom. Let’s get this mess straightened out so this man can go back to his business.” The uncle said.
I handed the phone to the uncle and asked him to dial her number. He dialed and handed it back. The boy’s mother repeated the uncle’s story to me adding that she had even called the police on occasion.
The thought, is this really his mom, went through my head. I said to her     “Jeffery wants to talk to you” and handed the phone to Jeffery.
“Momma please, I want to come home,” he said. “I’m scared. They say I am evil, there’s a demon in me.” His voice was loud and whiney. “Last night they took me to this place where all these people held me down and prayed over me. I’m scared; I think they want to kill me. Please… can I come home? I’ll be good. I promise.”
I don’t know what his mom said to him but after a few minutes, a glass of water, and promises from his uncle that he wasn’t in trouble Jeffery calmed down and they returned to their jobsite.
Through these years I catch myself watching half hoping to see him or his uncle; I haven’t seen either. Today I wonder about young Jeffery. Was he just a spoiled  young man with growing pains or a victim being traumatized by a cult or group of otherwise well-intentioned individuals. CP

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