It had happened two hours and seventeen minutes ago. Just another step, maybe two--that's all it would have taken. Forty more centimeters and he'd have been out the door, in the clear. The security guard, all six-feet-three-inches of him (let's see, that's over 185 centimeters), had grabbed the back of his windbreaker and yanked it--too roughly, he thought. The five-centimeter hole that man had left would need repairing; his mother could do that.
He calculated how long it would take her to get to the jail from work: twenty-six minutes, if she made half the lights. Of course, this was assuming she'd show up at all. One hundred fourteen pounds of sass and attitude but seemingly double that in patience, she might have finally reached her limit. His father had reached his long ago; he'd been gone for six years, three months, and fourteen days.
The boy sat and assessed the female officer who'd shown him the phone to make his one call: size seven shoes, size five pants, quite pretty--he'd give her a "9." It had taken him years to realize how much numbers comforted him in times of stress. He'd read a book that told him his numbers were either a brain malfunction or a defense mechanism of sorts, a way of dealing--or not--with a world that tilted so sharply it constantly threatened to tip him into an immeasurable abyss. He could imagine nothing worse than immeasurability.
And now he'd risked so much for a book that must have weighed, what? A kilogram or so? About two pounds--yes, that sounded right. It had felt perfect as he'd slipped it inside his jacket--there had been a leveling, settling effect from his head to his feet. But it wasn't meant to be, not this time. He looked down at his watch; another eight minutes had passed.