Missy Alvarez Jaramillo 10, has given an impromptu press conference in front of the home of the family of Todd Howard Jefferton, the boy who teeters on a sea-saw of judgement: Some call him a thug-like arsonist and others refer to him as a misunderstood survivor of PTSD. Missy identified herself as a friend of the family--and especially Todd Howard. She claimed to share three classes with him at Chacon Middle School, until she paused and proceeded to hand out individual bags of fresh salted popcorn for every member of the media.
"These are from Ms Jefferton," the little girl announced. "And me. Enjoy. I have been sent out to make a statement. After my statement, there will be a short question and answer session." Her pigtails and OMG a Unicorn t-shirt contrasted with her mature, almost professional demeanor. When a reporter from The Gossip Sheet tried to blurt out a question, she smacked him down with a simple phrase: "Please listen to instructions and follow them. First I have a statement prepared by Todd Howard Jefferton."
Two crickets and one cicada could be heard, until the little girl cleared her throat and they also became still. For a moment, the neighborhood experienced a welcoming lull of silence so strong that the freeway a half a mile away could be heard coursing along. "Ahem," she said. "Todd Howard Jefferton would like the whole world and Mars and Jupiter know that he did not set that fire on purpose. He is not a firebug and he is not an arsonist, whatever that is. He felt bad for disappointing his mother and, to be honest, a little scared of her, so he decided to get rid of his Billy Plimberton costume. He set it on fire with a blowtorch made from a coach's lighter and a can of Axe body-spray deodorant that some kid left out in the boys' locker room. Todd Howard was out of the Naptimez Ova business for good. And that was that--until the locker room erupted in flames during sixth period. Oh, and he says he is still sorry about it and thanks the fire department. I added the last part."
She turned and started back up the path to the house. The reporters all began raising their hands and shouting her name. Some shouted "Missy" and some shouted "Miss Jaramillo!"
She pointed at a reporter for a question. Unfortunately, it was a reporter from The Gossip Sheet. "Yes?"
"Yes, Miss," said the reporter. "Can you tell us if Hubert the Police Robot is sitting on the couch next to anybody?"
She smacked him down again. "How can I know where he's sitting if I am outside? No further questions. And if you want something to drink, we have water and soft drinks for two dollars a piece."
With that, she skipped up to the house and went in.