Who Do You Trust?

The next day after dinner, the doorbell rang. Joe’s dad went to answer the door. Joe followed.

“Hi my name is Melanie Jackson. I am a reporter for the Metro News. I would like to speak to you about a recent incident that occurred in your neighborhood.”

“Yes?” Joe’s dad replied.

“There was a shooting yesterday the next street over. We’re trying to get some more information.”

“I don’t think we should be speaking with any more reporters,” Joe’s dad said.

Ms. Jackson insisted, I don’t believe Roberta Johnson was a member of a gang—I want to learn about who she really was. Can you tell me anything?”

“Who are you? Did you grow up around here?” Joe’s Dad asked.

“Not far. Dorchester—Fields Corner. I had a teacher at the Mather School who made us write like our lives depended on it—and now mine does.”

“Really, what was her name?”

“Ms. O’Flaherty.”

Joe’s dad smiled. “I had her. Boy, she was tough!” Melanie nodded. “May I ask a few questions to your son?”

“Yes!” Joe replied before his dad had a chance to answer. Joe believed Ms. Jackson was different than the TV reporter. He wanted to clear Roberta’s name and give people a better impression of who she was.

“Roberta was not a gang member like they said on TV!” Joe said.

“I believe you. What else can you tell me?” Melanie asked.

“She had some problems. She was sad a lot of the time.”

“Did she ever get into trouble?”

Joe paused. "She never hurt anyone, if that's what you mean." Joe told the reporter of one conversation he had with Roberta about his grandfather. "Roberta told me, 'That memory disease is so sad—if I had it, I hope somebody would kill me.' Roberta didn’t have any disease—just sadness.”

Melanie wrote quickly. After a few seconds she asked, “What did you see that night--and what were you doing out?"

Joe was about to speak when his dad stopped him, “we should think about whether we should say anything more.”


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