Chapter 17

AN ESCAPED CONVICT ON THE LOOSE

As the bus wound up the road, Uncle held Smudge tightly while Tan Tan and I played a guessing game about who else was going to the prison. The guy with ear buds smooching to his iPod was definitely not going, we thought. But then he alighted outside the tall prison gates with us.

'No children allowed,' said a guard gruffly.

TT ch17 v03 slin'We know,' said Uncle. 'The boy just wants to show his dad the puppy.'

At the sound of Uncle's voice, Smudge wagged his tail and barked.

The guard frowned but he handed Uncle a pass anyway.

The prison fence was high and topped with barbed wire but we knew a spot along the catchwater where you could see inside the visitors' room. When Uncle went inside, Tan Tan and I scrambled up a grassy verge to reach the spot.

After a few minutes, a man in prison uniform peered up at us and waved.

'Dad!' said Tan Tan, snatching a breath. Smudge squirmed in his arms.

But then a prison warder shut the blinds.

I wanted to hold Tan Tan's hand but we weren't boyfriend or girlfriend or anything. So I patted Smudge instead.

'It's bad to smuggle seafood, but a hundred times worse to smuggle drugs. That's what Mum says,' said Tan Tan.

On the way down I stuffed some grass for Sukee in my backpack. The greener, the sweeter, the more she likes.

'Hey, look at this,' called Tan Tan, pointing at something pinned on the fence.

WANTED!

ESCAPED CONVICT

CHEE KAI WEN IS DANGEROUS. TALL, MIDDLE-AGED AND LAST SEEN WEARING A YELLOW T-SHIRT. CALL CONSTABLE WONG ON 93860042 IF SIGHTED.

Tan Tan and I read the smudged words on the poster a few more times. We studied the photo.

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