Every day Moo has to deal with the RAIN – the teasing, the names, the pushing, the hitting, the jeering from everyone. He’s the FAT KID, one of the two at the very bottom of the high school pecking order. That’s just the way it is, and he deals with it, even when he knows he can’t do a thing about it. But after school, he has the bridge: the footbridge over the highway. It’s about half-mile outside town, and there are steps up to the top, and there he can watch the traffic roar by for an hour or two, or on weekends, three or four. On his bridge, Moo is just himself, away from the anger and the pain he faces every day at school, away from his parents, away from everything but the hypnotizing swoosh of the cars, the patterns of their lights, and occasionally, something different that breaks the flow for a while—a car chase, a wreck, a car stopping suddenly, something thrown in the river—until gradually, things get back to normal.
And what can he do now? He saw what he saw. He stayed on the bridge, watching the whole thing. If he’d known then what he knows now, he would have left, or told the cops he didn’t see anything at all. But he didn’t. And now he has to tell the truth about what he saw, and worse, what he didn’t see. When the cops come to take his deposition the next night, it’s frustrating and confusing—only partly because one of the cops is the father of the worst bully in school. They seem to know something Moo doesn’t, and keep making him repeat over and over what he saw. After they leave, Moo and his parents are watching the news, and the officer in charge of the case, Detective Inspector Callan, is interviewed, and reveals that Keith Vine, a local criminal, was involved. When Moo sees a picture of him, he discovers that he was the driver of the Range Rover. But it’s not till the next evening, when Moo is home alone, that he begins to realize just how deeply he’s involved, and how dangerous that could be for him. Callan arrives to question him, and when Moo tells the truth about what he saw, Callan all but accuses him of lying and tells him to change his story.
This booktalk was written by librarian and booktalking expert Joni R. Bodart.