Shame on You
Author:Tara Sivec

I walk up behind them at the tail end of their conversation and try not to think about what could have put such a big smile on my dad’s face the previous night after Griffin and I left the hotel.

Every week since Bobby moved back in with my dad, the three of us meet at the indoor shooting range and throw out career ideas to him. It looks like this week Bobby’s future is not going to be the main topic of discussion.

I clear my throat softly behind them so as not to startle them—never a good idea with people holding loaded weapons. Ted turns around, puts his gun on the ledge, and immediately wraps his arm around my neck and tugs me into a headlock, rubbing his knuckles against my scalp.

“What up, sis? Ready to get your ass kicked today?” Ted says with a laugh as I punch my fists into his side until he finally lets me go.

“Jesus, Ted, grow up,” I complain as I stand back up and rub my sore head. We both stand silently in the lane at the indoor shooting range and watch Bobby fire off a few rounds, all but two hitting the center target.

“So, what’s new with you? Aside from the fact that you’re now a prostitute and Dad has decided to open a strip club?” Bobby asks as he steps back out of the lane and gestures for Ted to go next.

“Funny,” I tell him with a smack to his upper arm. “I’m still trying to catch this fucking bail jumper while attempting NOT to strangle Griffin in the process.”

Ted takes aim and unloads his clip into the target. Buddy laughs when half of them go wild and pierce the outer circle of the target.

“Son of a bitch! Something must be wrong with this gun. Here, you do something with it.” Ted steps back and I reach my hand out for it.

“Go easy on Griffin. He’s good people,” Ted tells me and I load the clip with more rounds.

With a roll of my eyes, I lift my arms up, take a deep breath, and begin firing when I exhale. All but one bullet hits the center target.

“Ooooh, I do believe that makes me the winner,” I gloat.

“I don’t understand how you always beat us when WE taught you how to shoot,” Buddy grumbles.

“Oh, I almost forgot. I got some information about your guy, McFadden,” Ted tells me as he pulls a folded-up piece of paper out of his back pocket.

Taking it from his hand and putting the gun down on the ledge, I scan the information.

“Back when he was a teenager, he got popped for marijuana possession. The file was sealed because he was a minor at the time, but luckily, I know people,” he informs me as Bobby steps up behind me and reads over my shoulder.

“He took the rap for some guy named Steven Lawson. They grew up together in the same neighborhood and were best friends,” Bobby reads aloud.

“We already got this information and looked into the name Steven Lawson to question him and there weren’t any hits on him. I questioned the friends of his I could find, but Steven Lawson didn’t have a current address listed and none of the old friends remembered that name. What does this have to do with anything now?” I ask Ted as I look up from the paper.

“You’re lucky I went on a date with one of the file clerks at the courthouse and completely blew her mind last week,” Ted tells us with an arrogant grin.

“Shut up and get to the point,” I warn him.

“Fine. Buzzkill. Steven Lawson changed his name after he got out of juvie. He now goes by the name Sven Mendleson.”

My mouth drops open and my arm automatically reaches out and punches Ted in the arm. “Shut the fuck up. Are you serious?”

“Owww,” Ted complains as he rubs the spot on his arm. “Serious as a heart attack, dude.”

“I’m confused. Who the hell is Sven Mendleson?” Bobby asks as he takes the paper out of my hands and reads through it again.

“I asked Ward about Sven. He’s some annoying guy who does shit to Kennedy’s hair and wouldn’t shut up about the fact that when McFadden showed up at his salon, he put his life on the line trying to apprehend him,” Ted explains with a roll of his eyes. “Ward’s pissed now that he knows Steven and Sven are the same person.”

“That rat bastard. He let McFadden get away on purpose. I’m going to kick his ass.”

“Slow down there, rough rider. If Sven Mendleson is Steven Lawson, you need to tread lightly. This guy isn’t someone you mess with. He’s kind of a big deal in the pot world,” Ted warns.

“Seriously? You have got to be kidding me. There is no way that little asshole with the fake accent is a big deal in anything. He’s probably been hiding McFadden all this time. Son of a bitch, I’m going to kill him!”

I start pacing back and forth in the small booth with thoughts of homicide by hair dye swirling through my brain.

“I’m telling you, Kennedy, do NOT go into this alone. Now that the police are aware of the connection between Sven and Steven, they are taking control. You agree to let the police handle this or I go to Griffin and make him hold you hostage until it’s settled. I only gave you this information so that you’d stop with all the wild-goose chases,” Ted warns me.

“Kennedy might actually like being held hostage by Griffin,” Bobby says with a laugh, which earns him his very own punch in the arm.

“So what’s the deal with Griffin? Are you guys dating or what?” Ted presses the button to bring the paper target forward. “And more importantly, are you going to be charging him by the hour or by the orgasm?”

They both start laughing like idiots and I cross my arms in front of me and glare at them.

“No! We are not dating, nor will we EVER be dating.”

Ted unhooks the target from the clips and sets it aside before attaching a new, clean one and hitting the button to send it back.

“What’s your problem with him? He’s a good guy and he roots for Notre Dame. What more could you ask for?” Buddy demands.

“He kind of told me he’s had a thing for me for eighteen years. Which I know is a total lie and he just did that to throw me off so he could get to McFadden first,” I complain.

Both of the boys are silent for so long after I say this that an uneasy feeling creeps over me. They are never this quiet. Ever.