They were parked outside the Millerston house for at least twenty minutes when Tom Pryce said it was time to go in.
Bill disagreed. “A few more minutes. I want to make sure everybody is in there. That way we get them all at one time, and we’ll end this thing for good.” With his pen he tapped the small video camera he had on his lap. He planned to get as many kid’s faces as he could before they started scattering, which he knew they would once he and Pryce entered the house. He didn’t want anybody, after the fact, denying their presence at the party.
“Here comes another one,” Pryce said.
A small car slowed as it approached from the other direction. Both sides of the street were crammed with parked cars leaving no spot for the oncoming driver who slowed as if to pull into the driveway. Suddenly he jolted to a stop. Bill could make out the passenger pointing at them. The car shot forward, racing away.
“We’re busted.” Pryce opened his door.
Bill clutched the camera and scrambled out. Whoever was in that car had recognized them, and once they reported to somebody at the party, the kids would scatter.
Pryce was already at the front door. He was a big man, and seemed ready to kick it open, but instead he rang the buzzer once and walked in.
Bill followed and smashed into a wall of music so loud that he couldn’t understand how neighbors hadn’t complained to the police. The front room was brightly lit, but beyond it were dimmer multicolored lights, swirling like a London fog. The smell of stale beer nauseated him.
Someone screamed and the music stopped.
Bill raised the camera and started filming as people came running toward the front door. Teenagers, boys and girls, shouting and gaggling like startled geese. They bumped him as they ran for the door. He focused on one girl who clutched a sweatshirt to her chest and as he moved closer he realized she was topless.
He noted that half of the fleeing teenagers were pulling on their clothes as they fled. It was even worse than they had thought. They had suspected underage drinking, but Feldmann was running an orgy.
He turned away and kept moving forward toward the next room where Pryce was barking orders that everyone ignored.
Then he saw them.
His twins, Joe and Joanie, were hugging the wall as if they hoped to be absorbed into it. She looked half asleep, and he held a bottle of beer under his lips like he were trying to whistle a tune.
Bill lowered the camera and turned away. “Where’s Mr. Feldmann?” he shouted as he entered the large room that had at one time been two smaller ones. He could tell that a dividing wall had been knocked out because the flooring didn’t quite mesh at that spot. The furniture had been removed, except for a dining room cabinet against one wall, leaving room for a minefield of flimsy mattresses on the floor. “I want to talk to Mr. Feldmann.”
He saw that Pryce clamped an older boy’s upper arm. The kid struggled but couldn’t do much since his pants were down around his ankles. He tapped Pryce on the shoulder. “Let him go.”
Pryce spun, dragging the boy with him.
“Let him go. It’s Feldmann we want.”
“What are you talking about? We’re here to bust up this party.”
“It’s busted. So let him go.” He rapped him on the arm, just hard enough to make his point. Pryce released the boy who hobbled off, clutching his pants. As Bill turned back to watch him flee, he noted that Joe and Joanie were gone.
“What’s going on, Bill?”
“I want to talk to Feldmann. He’s the one we really want. He’s responsible for this orgy.”
He pointed. “You stopped filming.”
“You said it yourself. We were busted.” He noticed a girl in a pair of flannel pajamas cowering near a stairway. “Where’s your father?” he asked.
She slid to a sitting position on the bottom step as he came to her. “We warned him about his parties here. We told him to keep away from our students. Where is he?”
She shrugged and hugged herself.
“You’re turning soft,” Pryce said from behind him. “Every one of these kids should be suspended, if not expelled. Slapping down Feldmann isn’t going to make any difference.”