“So, Brian,” I said, smacking my basketball against the hoop rim, “what’s the whole deal with the Shepherdsons?”
“They’re Trump supporters,” said the boy plainly. He didn’t elaborate, like that one issue was reason enough.
“And you guys are pretty hardcore Hillary, then?”
He sank a point off the backboard. “Oh yeah. She’s great.” He laughed. “We like to joke that Junior is secretly in love with her.” He looked to me in vain for a reaction. “That’s… that’s funny, get it, cause he’s more of a Bernie Sanders guy, and… Hillary… y’know?”
“Yeah,” I said. I didn’t get it.
He shrugged. “Anyway, yeah. We’re so left wing, I legit thought ‘republican’ was a bad word until I was twelve.”
“Right? But I mean, it kind of is. We’re not even allowed to wear red – not that anyone would want to. Now, I’ve never been to the Shepherdson’s house, but Thomas went there once when he got in a fistfight with one of their cousins, and he said they have red roses and poppies and a red front door and red shutters and red all over their house.” The boy made a gagging noise. “I don’t know how they sleep at night with so much red everywhere.”
“But why do you hate them so much, besides the fact that they’re for Trump?” I stopped failing to make a basket and held the ball.
“I dunno. Dad says we’ve always been against each other, as long as he knew. He says that ages ago, us Grangerfords voted in Lincoln, and the Shepherdsons were real triggered ‘cause they were against abolition. But yeah. They’ve always been as conservative as we are liberal, and we’ve always fought. It’s just a feud.”
“Like Romeo and Juliet,” I said.
Brian laughed. “Yeah, except we don’t have any star-crossed lovers.”
At that moment, Sophia popped her head out the front door with a worried expression on her face. “Have you guys seen my phone?”
“No,” deadpanned the boy, going back to his basketball.
“What does it look like?” I asked.
Sophia wrung her hands. “It’s an iPhone 6s, with a gray case with purple dots.”
“Gray with purple dots? I think I saw it in the guest room this morning,” I said.
“I checked there. I didn’t see it.” She pursed her lips.
I shrugged. “That’s my best bet. I’ll help you look, if you want.”
“Thanks, Dylan,” she said, and disappeared back inside. I followed her.
I was still pretty certain it was in the guest room, so I headed up there first. A quick scan showed nothing on the beds or shelves. I poked between some of the books and looked behind the desk lamp, but there was still nothing.
I chewed my lip and crossed my arms. Where could it be? I bent down and lifted the bed skirts, in case it had fallen under one of the beds. The first was empty.
The phone was under the second, halfway concealed. It looked like it had slipped off the bedside table. As I went to pick it up, it vibrated.
A text, from someone named Harry. It was another in a long chain of texts on the lock screen.
Six thirty at the park, then?
Are you still there?
Where you at babe
Babe? I gagged. Looked like Sophia had a boyfriend, and they were planning a date. I needed to get it back to her.
Sophia was pacing in the living room when I gave it to her. Her face lit up and she practically hugged me. “Thank you so much, you’re the best!” she beamed.
“No problem,” I said. “I’ll be outside again.”