Found Page 2

“I was just . . .”

Bow Tie moved between my father’s casket and me. “I explained to you the protocol, didn’t I?”

“Well, yes, I mean . . .”

“For reasons of both public safety and respect, no casket can be opened on these premises.” He talked as if he were reading an SAT reading comprehension section out loud. “This county transport vehicle will bring your father’s casket to the medical examiner’s office, where it will be opened by a trained professional. That is my job here—to make sure that we have opened the correct grave, to make sure the casket matches the public records on the person being exhumed, to make sure that all proper health measures have been taken, and finally to make sure that the transport goes smoothly and respectfully. So if you don’t mind . . .”

I looked at Myron. He nodded. I slowly lifted my hand off the soggy, dirty pine. I took a step back.

“Thank you,” Bow Tie said.

The crane operator was whispering now with a groundskeeper. The groundskeeper’s face turned white. I didn’t like that. I didn’t like it at all.

“Is something wrong?” I asked Bow Tie.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, what’s with all the whispering?”

Bow Tie started studying his clipboard as though it held some special answer.

Uncle Myron said, “Well?”

“I have nothing else to report at this time.”

“What does that mean?”

The groundskeeper, his face still white, started securing the casket with nylon belts.

“The casket will be at the medical examiner’s office,” he continued. “That is all I can tell you at this time.”

Bow Tie moved to the cab of the pickup truck and slid into the passenger seat. The driver started up the engine. I hurried toward his window.

“When?” I asked.

“When what?”

“When will the medical examiner open the casket?”

He checked his clipboard again, but it seemed as if it were just for show, as if he already knew the answer.

“Now,” he said.

Chapter 2

We were at the medical examiner’s office, waiting for the casket to be opened, when my cell phone rang.

I was all set to ignore the call. The answer to the key question of my life—was my father dead or alive?—was mere moments away.

A phone call could wait, right?

Then again, I was just hanging around. Maybe a phone call would be a welcome distraction. I quickly checked the caller ID and saw it was my best friend Ema. Ema’s real name is Emma, but she dresses all in black and has a bunch of tattoos, so some of the kids, way back when, considered her “emo” and then someone combined “Emma” with “emo” and cleverly (I’m being sarcastic when I say “cleverly”) dubbed her Ema.

Still, the name stuck.

My first thought: Oh no, something bad happened to Spoon!

Uncle Myron leaned over my shoulder and pointed out the caller ID. “Is that Angelica Wyatt’s daughter?”

I frowned. Like this was his business. “Yep.”

“You two have become pretty tight.”

I frowned some more. Like this was his business. “Yep.”

I wasn’t sure what to do here. I could step away from my hovering uncle and answer it. Uncle Myron could be pretty thick, but even he’d get the message. I held up the phone and said to him, “Uh, do you mind?”

“What? Oh, right. Sure. Sorry.”

I hit the answer button and said, “Hey.”


I mentioned that Ema was my best friend. We have only known each other a few weeks, but they’ve been dangerous and crazy weeks, life-affirming and life-threatening weeks. People could be friends a lifetime and not come close to the bond that had formed between us.

“Any word yet on the, uh . . . ?” Ema didn’t know how to finish that sentence. Neither did I.

“It could come at any time,” I said. “I’m at the medical examiner’s office right now.”

“Oh, sorry. I shouldn’t have disturbed you.”

There was something in her tone that I didn’t like. I felt my heart leap into my throat.

“What’s wrong?” I asked. “Is this about Spoon?”

Spoon was my second-best friend, I guess. Last time I saw him, he was lying in a hospital bed. He had been shot, saving our lives, and it was now possible that he’d never walk again. I blocked that horrible thought nonstop. I also dwelled on it nonstop.

“No,” she said.

“Have you heard anything new?”

“No. His parents aren’t letting me visit either.”

Spoon’s mom and dad had forbidden me from entering his room. They blamed me for what happened. Then again, so did I.

“So what’s wrong?” I asked.

“Look, I shouldn’t have called. It isn’t a big deal. Really.”

Which only made me sure that whatever it was, it was a big deal. Really.

I was about to argue and insist she tell me why she had called, but Bow Tie came back into the room.

“Gotta go,” I said to her. “I’ll call you when I can.”

I hung up. Myron and I stepped toward Bow Tie. He had his head down, taking notes.

“Well?” Myron said.

“We should have the results in a few moments.”

I realized that I had been holding my breath. I let it out now. Then I asked, “What was all that whispering about?”


“At the cemetery. With the guys digging and the one operating the bulldozer.”

“Oh,” he said. “That.”

I waited.

Bow Tie cleared his throat. “The groundskeepers”—so, okay, that’s what they were called—“noted that the casket felt a little . . .” He looked up as though searching for the next word.

After three seconds that felt like an hour passed, I said, “Felt a little what?”

And then he said it: “Light.”

Myron said, “As in weight?”

“Well, yes. But they were wrong.”

That didn’t make any sense. “They were wrong about the casket feeling light?”



He lifted his clipboard, as if it could ward off attacks. “That is all I can say until I have the necessary paperwork.”

“What necessary paperwork?”

“I have to go now.”


The door opened behind me. A woman in a business suit stepped into the room. We all slowly turned and stared at her.

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