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Chapter 2.


Suddenly, a wave of sleepiness came over Miguel. Once the pictures had turned out to his satisfaction, he and Luiz left the hospital.

Luiz saw how tired Miguel looked and said, "Are you ready to go home now, my friend?"

"Si, Luiz" was all the exhausted Miguel could reply.

Once in the car, Miguel closed his eyes and recounted the events of the day in his mind. This had not been one of his better days except for the fact he had saved a street child from being killed. How come this child seems so important to me, why this one? He has seen other street kids before but none had seemed to touch him like this one had. He had two pictures of the child to show around but he knew that the odds of finding a parent or relative were damn near impossible. Tomorrow would be another day.

After a thirty-minute ride, Luiz arrived at Miguel's home outside of town. Luiz put the car in the garage and went to help Miguel into the house.

"Wake up!, Miguel," Luiz said in a loud voice to get his attention.

"What," Miguel said sitting up quickly as if he had fallen asleep in school and the teacher just called out his name.

"We're home, sir" Luiz replied with a smirk on his face. "Go on inside and get yourself ready for bed," Luiz told him. "I will get the house locked up for the night and make sure everything is secure before going to bed."

"Thank you, my friend" Miguel said getting out before going into his room. Once there, he fell face first on the bed. Miguel was so tired that he slept like that until the morning sun came through his window.

Luiz walked through the large house as he had done every evening before making sure everything was secure but tonight, for some reason, he was extra cautious in his duties. He remembered what happened earlier when he and Miguel came upon the helpless child who had been blindsided by an unknown vigilante. The child was not a threat to him, so why harm him, Luiz thought as he finished checking the house before going to sleep.

It was well after midnight when Louis finally went into his room at the far end of the house. Removing his gun and holster from his belt, he set it on his dresser. He took everything else out of his pockets before putting his clothes with the other dirty laundry. He didn't even to bother to put on his nightshirt before crawling into bed for some well-deserved sleep.

When Luiz finally awoke, it was after 8:30 in the morning. He looked at his watch and thought to himself, "shit, Miguel will be pissed at me for sleeping so long."

After getting dressed, Luiz went into the kitchen, prepared to get a talking to from his boss and friend, but when he opened the door, he saw the kitchen empty. He quickly put on the coffee and went to Miguel's room to check on him. As he quietly opened the door, he saw his friend still sound asleep. So he closed the door and let his friend sleep a little longer. Upon returning to the kitchen, Luiz poured a cup of coffee and called the hospital to try to find out how the boy was doing. He spoke to the nurse on duty only to find out that there had been little change in the child's condition since he had arrived.

After hanging up the phone, he heard Miguel stirring in his room and quickly fixed him some coffee.

"Miguel, your awake," Luiz stated.

"Si, good morning to you too," Miguel shot back, still half asleep. "I want to call the hospital to find out how the boy is doing this morning, "Miguel stated after sipping some coffee.

"No change" Luiz replied. "I took the liberty of calling for you. I knew when you went to sleep that you still concerned about the boy, so I found out how he is doing."

"Well, are you going to make me play twenty questions or do I have to guess?" Miguel asked with a somewhat smile on his face.

"No change since you brought him there last night," Luiz answered. "The nurse I spoke to says the doctor believes the boy may be in a come for a couple of weeks."

"Well, if that's true," Miguel said after another mouthful of coffee, "I should be able to find out who he is and where he lives." I realize that this could be like finding a needle in a haystack, but he is going to need my help so I have to find somebody who knows him." Miguel finished.

"Why do you care so much about what happens to this child?" Luiz asked. "You have seen hundreds of street kids before and you never got involved like you did last night?"

"I know," Miguel answered "I know, something came over me when I saw THIS child. There are so many street children in town I am used to them. I know vigilantes assault the kids, the business owners pay them to keep the kids away from their stores so they will not break into them after hours. THIS child has just gotten to me. I don't know what it is Luiz," Miguel continued "but I have to help this child. While I was sleeping last night, God even came to me and I felt that what I was doing is right and so I will do what I have to do to get this child better and into a proper home."

"Proper home?" Luiz said very wide-eyed. "Miguel, I know that look when you get it on your face. Your papa is not going to like this."

"Why not," Miguel replied innocently "Papa will not mind. He taught me to care for others. Besides we have more than enough room here for one child. Before I can get him here, I still have to find out who he is. This is the problem I face now, Luiz"

"Si, si, si," Luiz shot back to his friend. "You just have to find out who he is. Do you have any ideas on where to start?"

"As a mater of fact," Miguel smiled "I do. If you remember where we first saw our young friend, he was near some other street kids until he made the mistake of going down that blind alley and out of sight from all the others."

"Oh, no you don't," Luiz chimed back "Your not getting me into this and what in the hell do you mean our young friend? Our who, you got a mouse in your pocket? Helping this child is your idea."

"So!," Miguel shouted "Your going to make me do all this by myself. You have no feelings for a child? What would your poor wife think, God rest her soul?" Miguel always knew how to get inside of Luiz's head.

"Oh, Christ, may he have mercy on me," Luiz barked. "You always know my weaknesses. That's not fair. And please in the future, leave my wife out of this. She lived a good life. You know I'll help you, so you don't have to throw shots below the belt.

"OK, my friend. I'm sorry for bringing Elaine up like that. Please fix me another cup of coffee please." Miguel replied. "There is something I have to get from the safe before we go to the hospital to see the boy."

"What do you need from the safe?" Luiz enquired. "The only things in that safe are old papers and No, Miguel not that. You haven't held that in over three years. The last time you had that you vowed that it would never come out again."

"I know Luiz, I know," Miguel said softly. But your hand is getting slow and I will not allow that child to get hurt again. I realize the last time I held this gun I killed a man to save your life and that I vowed never to carry it again. But I know it is necessary."

"You never pulled that out unless there was a need," Luiz agreed. "I just hope you never have a need to use it again, my friend. You will need your checkbook from the safe as well. The hospital will want some money to be able to keep caring for the boy."

"OK, Luiz," Miguel grinned. "In all the confusion last night, the doctor never asked anything about who the child was or where he came from. It's a good thing, because I really didn't have an answer."

"What if they ask you about him this morning?" Luiz asked.

"I'll tell him his name is Julio." Miguel answered sternly. "Last night, I felt I heard the child tell me that was his name. I even have a place to start to look for his family."

"Oh, and where is this magical place?" Luiz snapped.

"What has made you so surely this morning?" Miguel quipped back to his friend. Just because I wish to protect and help this child and because your hand is getting slow is not a reason to go and jump my ass like that," he fired back at Luiz.

"OK, ok, ok," Luiz sulked. "Your right and I apologize my friend. It's just that I've never seen you act like this before.

"Don't go down that road again," Miguel smiled. "Let's get to the hospital to see how the boy is doing. Bring the car to the front of the house and I will clean up here in the kitchen."

"OK, Miguel," Luiz replied. "It will be here in a minute."

Miguel put the cups and saucers into the dishwasher. He made sure he had his checkbook and made sure his pistol was indeed loaded. "I pray I never need to use this again." Miguel thought. "Another person dead is too many, but if someone tries to hurt that child, it will not be my fault that they die, it will be what they deserve."

Miguel closed and locked the front door to the house and sat in the back seat of his nice automobile. He did not need to say a word to Luiz, as he rode quietly towards the hospital. There was more traffic on the roads at this time of the morning so the trip took almost forty-five minutes instead of the thirty it took last night. As soon as they arrived at the hospital, Miguel went straight to the boy's room to see for himself that there had been no change since last night.

As soon as he opened the door, Miguel looked at the doctor who took care of the child last night. "Don't you ever sleep?" Miguel asked the doctor.

"About as much as you do my friend," the doctor shot back. "You caught me just before I could leave last night otherwise you would have had a new doctor on who might have not known what to do for your friend."

"Have you run any additional tests on him yet?" Miguel sighed. Hoping there would be news of his condition.

"I want to do a CT scan, but those kinds of tests cost a lot of money," the doctor replied "I don't know who would pay for his care."

"I told you last night, I want the very best for him and money is no object!" Miguel shouted at the doctor. "You run any test he needs." Here, Miguel reached for his checkbook and wrote the doctor a check for twenty thousand Reals. "This should cover the cost of the scan and his care for at least a week!"

Taking the check from Miguel and looking to see whose name appeared to the check, the doctor's eye got as big as dinner plates when he read the name on the check. "Oh, my God," the doctor gasped. "I don't believe this. I'm sorry Mr. Sanchez. I didn't realize who you were. I knew your father very well sir. I did not know he had a son."

"Thank you for your graciousness," Miguel replied. "Just take good care of the child. Use my surname for the record. "Julio" shall be his first name for now. Do you understand doctor, and one more thing, only Luiz and myself shall see this child. No one else shall know he is even here. Do you understand?"

"Yes, sir!" the doctor replied. "Why is a street child so important to you? You know kids are on the streets here all the..."

"Shut it now!" Miguel howled at the man in white. "You will comply with my wishes, do you understand?"

"Yes, sir." was all the doctor could say. I will take "Julio" for the scan now, Mr. Sanchez. It will take a couple of hours to run the test and get the results."

Miguel replied, "Very well, do what you need to do for the boy." He turned and walked out of the room and Luiz saw that he was not in a very good mood so he remained quiet. They headed for the front door of the hospital and Luiz knew what they were going to do next. "Now it's time to search for that needle in the haystack." He thought.