Authors: Norah McClintock
First U.S. edition published in 2014 by Lerner Publishing Group, Inc.
Text copyright Â© 2003 by Norah McClintock.
All rights reserved. Published by arrangement with Scholastic Canada Ltd.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Hit and run / by Norah McClintock.
p. cm. â (Mike & Riel ; #1)
Originally published by Scholastic Canada, 2003.
Summary: Fifteen-year-old Mike McGill has been living with his Uncle Billy since his mother's death. Only ten years older than Mike, Billy loves to party, and doesn't pay much attention when Mike starts getting in trouble. But Mike's history teacher, an ex-cop name Riel, does pay attention. Especially when long-hidden information starts coming to light that makes it seem that the death of Mike's mother might not have been an accident after all.
ISBN 978â1â4677â2605â4 (lib. bdg. : alk. paper)
ISBN 978â1â4677â2612â2 (eBook)
[1. Mystery and detective stories. 2. TeachersâFiction.] I. Title.
Manufactured in the United States of America
1 â SB â 12/31/13
eISBN: 978-1-4677-2612-2 (pdf)
eISBN: 978-1-4677-5099-8 (ePub)
eISBN: 978-1-4677-5098-1 (mobi)
“Why?” I said the night before it happened. “Why does Billy have to come over?”
“What's wrong with Billy?” my mother said. “You like Billy.”
Sure, I liked Billy. I liked him a lot. He let me watch TV as long as I wanted. All I had to do was promise that I'd scoot upstairs as soon as we heard Mom's footsteps on the porch and that I wouldn't tell on him. And he never made me brush my teeth. He never even mentioned teeth. But that wasn't the point.
“I'm nearly twelve,” I said. “I can look after myself. Vin's parents don't get a babysitter for him all the time.” Vin was my best friend.
“Well, I'm not Vin's parents,” my mother said. “And you're barely eleven. Too young to be left home alone. When you are twelve, we'll talk.”
“But that's almost a whole year away.”
My mother smiled and kissed my cheek. “Then we'll talk in almost a whole year,” she said.
The day it happened, Billy picked me up at Mrs. McNab's, where I usually went after school, and took me home toâI hated the wordâbabysit me. Still, if I had to have a babysitterâwhich, if you ask me, I really didn'tâBilly was probably the best choice. After all, he was my uncle. Up until a couple of years ago, he had lived with us. Even after he moved out, he came around a lot, usually at supper time. Mom never minded. Well, except lately. Lately, things had been a little rough between the two of them. They'd fought big-time when Billy showed up a while back with an Xbox console for meâan early Christmas present, Billy had called it.
“It's months until Christmas,” Mom had said. Then Mom and I had fought when she made Billy take it back.
The day it happened, Mom didn't come home after work. She said she had a million errands to run, which was why Billy was there. He ordered pizza, and we ate it in front of the TV. We were watching a baseball game when I heard sirens.
“Jeez,” Billy said, grabbing the remote and pumping up the volume. “That's one thing I don't miss about this place. It's like living in a war zone or something.”
There's a fire station a couple of blocks west of where I live, a police station a few blocks south, and a hospital a few blocks north. Fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances are always racing around, sirens blaring. I'm so used to it that I hardly notice it anymore. It's just part of the noise wallpaper.
Someone knocked on the door.
Billy muttered as he heaved himself up off the couch to
answer it. I felt sorry for whoever it was. It was never a good idea to get between Billy and whatever sporting event he happened to be watching.
I heard the front door open. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Billy step outside. Then Bautista hit a home run, tying up the game. It wasn't until the next inning was half over that I realized that Billy had been gone for a long time. When a set of commercials came on, I went to the door to find out what had happened to him. I saw flashing lights up near Danforth Avenue. There was a crowd of people in the street. Then I saw Billy walking out of the crowd, coming back down the street toward our house. Two uniformed police officers walked with him. They stopped on the sidewalk and stayed there while Billy came up the porch steps and said, “I'm going to call Kathy.” Kathy was Billy's girlfriend. “I'm going to ask her to stay with you for a while, okay, Mikey? I gotta go somewhere.”
“Did they arrest you?” I asked. I couldn't think of any other reason why Billy would have to go with the cops, and why the two cops at the end of the walk looked so somber.
When Kathy came over, Billy whispered something to her. She looked like she was going to cry, and that scared me. Now I was sure Billy had been arrested. I wished Mom would hurry home so she could straighten everything out.
“You be good,” Billy said to me. “Don't give Kathy any grief, okay?”
“Okay,” I said. “What should I tell Mom when she gets home?”
“It's going to be okay,” Billy said. He hugged me, which should have told me something. Then he went with the two cops.
“We're waiting, Mr. McGill,” Riel said.
It figured. Every time homework was passed forward for him to collect, he went through the pile looking for mine. When it wasn't there, he always said somethingâin front of the whole class.
I ducked down and rummaged through my backpack. If you ask me, I put on a pretty good show too. Before I straightened up, I slapped a 100-percent-panic-stricken look on my face, like, jeez, how could this have happenedâagain?
“Problem, Mr. McGill?”
Someone near the back of the class guffawed. I would have bet every cent in my pocket that it was Vin.
“Uh, I guess I must have left it at home,” I said. Where was the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences when you needed it? Hey, guys, it's Oscar night, and I've just given the performance of a lifetime.
Riel wasn't impressed. “You don't live far from here, do you, Mr. McGill?”
“Couple of bloâ ” Hey, wait a minute. How did he know that? The guy had been freaking me out for the past month. He was new to the school and brand new to teaching, but he had acted like he knew me the first time he saw me, and he'd been picking on me ever since.
Riel glanced at the clock. He opened one of his desk drawers, took out a slip of paper, scribbled something onto it, and held it out to me. I stared at his outstretched hand.
“Well, come on,” he said.
I stood up and glanced at Vin, who shrugged. I shuffled to the front of the class and took the piece of paper. It was a hall pass.
“We've got forty-five minutes of class time left,” Riel said. “It shouldn't take you more than fifteen or twenty minutes to get home, get your assignment, and bring it back here.”
I stared at the pass. He was calling my bluff.
“I could just bring it in next time,” I said. “That'd be easier.”
“Bringing in your homework when it's due would be easier, Mr. McGill,” Riel said. “I'm giving you twenty minutes. And I guess I don't have to tell you what happens if you don't show up here before the bell rings.”
I shook my head. No, he didn't have to tell me. I'd been around that dark corner often enough to know what lurked in the shadows. I glanced at Vin in the back of the room, then headed out the door and down the
hall. I slowed down when I was out of sight of Riel's classroom. Now what?
I could go through the motions. I could walk home, stand on the porch for a couple of minutes, then walk back to school empty-handed. Or I could circle the block a few times. Or I could march back into Riel's class right now and confess. It would all come down to the same thingâI had no homework to hand in, and that was going to cost me a detention.
I decided to circle the block. Maybe inspiration would strike. Nothing's impossible, right? Maybe I'd come up with the perfect excuse. Like, my house was robbed and the thief trashed everything, including my homework. Or, my uncle got tired of nagging me to clean up my room, so he scooped up everything in it and threw it in the garbage. Hmm, that wasn't bad. Today was garbage day. There were empty garbage cans all over the sidewalk. And Riel didn't know Billy was a slob. Or maybeâ