Officer Tommy Clem, Strasburg’s one and only policeman, was also the Boy Scout Leader for Troop 57 and at the top of Buddy’s most-admired list. “Need to talk to you for a minute, Buddy. And don’t you all worry. He ain’t done nothing wrong. Just need his help with a little problem. But he will need to tell you ‘good night.’ Meet me outside.”
Before Buddy left his friends, Bobbie Jean retrieved a pencil and a piece of paper from her purse. “Call me,” she said while writing her name and number.
“Might just do that,” said Buddy before pulling some change from his pocket and leaving a tip for Lula Mae. “You all leave her a little something if you can.”
His given name was Charles Fletcher Polk, Jr., but everybody knew him as Buddy. He was the kind of boy that every mother wanted: polite, compliant, friendly, well-mannered, and popular with young and old alike. Buddy Polk seemingly had it all together. Few people knew about the heavy burden that he carried.
When Buddy walked out of the restaurant Officer Clem was standing across the street in front of the First National Bank. “Follow me,” called the policeman.
“That’s twice this week,” said Buddy.
“You need to get him help before he hurts himself…or somebody. He’s already in the car sleeping it off,” said the officer as he handed the car keys to Buddy.
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