My Carl

Chapter 4 - BOUND FOR (a) HOME

I was still at somewhat of a loss as Carl and Jeff burst into the room, did I understand my innocent young son correctly, did the twins know Carl and been prostituted, and they had been protecting him through me? We hadn't talked about sex, sexual relationships and such much, every time I tried they seemed more interested in talking about sports or food, after every attempt I assumed they were still too immature. I also wondered how did Jerry know Carl and Jeff were outside waiting (well how much of our conversation did Jeff hear via their sibling linking system?)

I felt the thick wire of Jerry's facebow push against my cheek then his gentle kiss. "Please dad, well please pop." he whispered before he rolled out of the recliner rushing to investigate the video treasures his brother and Carl had acquired.

I had returned the recliner to its upright position when Carl jumped in my lap recanting all the details of his great adventure downstairs, having to give his room number, his 'dad's' name and such before they could rent the DVD's. The twins had already started the first movie before he noticed leaning back against my chest to watch it. I held him for a few minutes before telling him I had to go to the bathroom. While I drained my bladder I happened to glance over at the shower. Peeling off my shirt and shorts I stepped in. I didn't bother to soap myself just shifted my body from side to side allowing the shower's massaging spray to relax me as I reflected on Jerry's conversation with me then the many other events of the week. I'm not sure how long I was there before I looked down and noticed my skin was starting to shrink up like a prune shell. 'Well a couple more minutes' I told myself.

When I went back into the sitting room all three boys were on the couch, the twins sitting, their feet on the coffee table and heads crocked against a corner of the backrest. Carl was laying between them, his head in Jeff's lap feet in Jerry's. Deciding not to disturb them I crawled up in bed. Unable to sleep I listened to the drone of whatever corny dinosaur movie the boys were watching (or sleeping thru) as I wrestled with my thoughts, finally drifting off to sleep.

I found myself enjoying another dream of Sherry being alive and at my side, God it was wonderful feeling her warm body against mine. I shifted slightly throwing my arm over her to pull her more tightly against me but she was several inches away. "Be careful please don't hurt the baby." she whispered. I moved my fingers to the back of her neck and cursing those damn stiff curlers women wear slid my fingers to the top of her head, feeling some nylon webbing over part of her angel soft hair. Wondering what new 'miracle' female beauty contraption she was trying now I cracked an eye slightly open and almost jumped out of my skin, it wasn't Sherry's hair in curlers in my hand but Jerry's complete with headgear straps. Tightly tucked between Jerry and I was Carl, his head under my arm and thin body molded against mine, both boys sound asleep. Enjoying their touch and soft innocence I lay back on my pillow but my respite was short lived. As I closed my eyes the parent corner of my brain started flashing warning messages 'kid alert', kid missing!, KID MISSING!!!' at the same time my bladder began demanding my attention.

I pulled my arm away from Jerry and tried to toss top of the cozy blanket draped across my rib cage only have it whimper and pull back, it wasn't a blanket but Jeff's lanky arm, he was what I thought was the wonderfully comfortable blanket warming my back. "Hi dad." His still half asleep voice muttered.

"You guys are suppose to be in bed" I mumbled.

"We are!" he answered "Well dad, please if. . ." I cut him off informing that when nature calls she calls, that he could move over or get ready to tread water. He took the hint quickly. When I returned from the bathroom Jeff was sitting on the edge of the bed waiting for me. "Dad, maybe if we could talk for a minute," he began.

"Maybe if we could talk when we got home?" I cut him off. Realizing I had been pretty short with him I sat down next to him pulling him against my chest. "Let's enjoy our trip son, I know we have some things to talk about and promise we will next week. Let's enjoy the weekend well and right now, right now let's. go to sleep okay?" He stared at me for a couple of seconds, his eyes clearly trying to think of an answer when Jerry, out of Jeff's site, twitched slightly. Jeff agreed looking at the bed and then back at me I'm sure wondering if I was going to send him into his bed. I gently pushed him back into the mattress, swung his long thin legs into bed and rolled him against Carl. "Well I got all my turkey's in the same nest, I love you guys so much." I whispered as I snuggled against him.

What I thought might have been the ringing of a telephone disturbed my slumber. I was trying to decide if it was a dream or real when the bed moved slightly and I thought I heard Jerry's voice. "Who was that?" Jeff's sleepy voice slid into my sub-conscious brain.

"Some asshole telling us to get up!" Jerry muttered. "What kind of F***head thinking would make someone do something like that, he must be a real dick head."

"I did!" I snapped now partly awake. "That was the hotel, this thing called a wake up call! and what kind of language is that young man, where are you picking that stuff up?" I growled. Jeff's quick snicker told me I had totally lost the edge of this discussion. His face was somber again when I looked down at him. I hooked my hand behind Jerry's waist and pulled him against his brother. A couple of rib tickles on each boy broke the tension before I continued "Come on guys, your too young to use that language okay?" which got me a pair of matching 'yea sure' glances.

Still not awake enough to remember why the twins were in my bed I pulled Jerry closer to Jeff tickling and teasing them for a minute both of them squirming and laughing. I had just noticed muffled sounds coming from between the twins when Jerry rolled away from me and Carl sprang to a sitting position between them "I gotta pee BAD!" he cried bolting out of bed like fired from a rocket. The twins and I laughed for a few seconds before I softly popped Jerry on the butt telling him to quit that 'f***ing cursing'.

As I had asked room service had a cart parked outside our door loaded with orange juice, hot chocolate and coffee. I loved Carl's face as he walked out of the bedroom and eyed the tray asking where it came from. I poured him a cup of chocolate saying that room service had delivered it. Thinking no more about it I sipped on my coffee before noticing him studying the drink cart. "They really bring stuff to you and stuff?" he asked. "I didn't know that really happened that's movie stuff!"

The twins walked into the sitting room with absolute perfect timing and a little voice said 'screw it, its expensive but whatever'. "Who wants breakfast?" I asked, getting the room service menu out. Handing Jeff the menu I continued "I'm going to jump in the shower, call down and order me two eggs and toasted English muffins, you guys get whatever you want." "Oh and don't forget my extra jelly boy!" I snapped. I listened behind my closed bedroom door for several seconds as Jerry and Jeff tried to convince Carl to pick what he wanted, when I heard him say bacon and waffles I jumped in the shower.

Carl was awe stuck when the waiters arrived with our breakfast loaded onto two carts. One waiter remained behind helping us with our lap trays and seeing Carl's lost face he all but coddled the boy pouring him a glass of milk, handing him a napkin and such before excusing himself. Carl poked his finger at his waffles like he was testing to see if they were real. I scooped a load of egg onto muffin and holding it up said "Come on turkey yumm out, this isn't the movies this shit gets cold if you don't eat it!" He glanced at the twins, already attacking their pancakes and began inhaling his breakfast.

While the boys showered and dressed I called the hotel desk asking them to prepare my bill and have my car brought around. I had just sat on the couch when I felt a push against my leg followed by a lap full of Carl. "Thanks pop" he whispered, "I didn't know any real kids got to live like this!" I started to tell him its only very occasional when he asked "Do you ever get mad, I mean well,"

The bell hop arrived for our bags before I could respond. I was impressed that as the twins brought their backpacks out of their room their headgears were back on, without my prompt.

I tried to keep Carl close to me while I checked out of the hotel but had to cover my mouth with my hand to hide my chuckle as we walked out to the car. As in a movie scene Cecil B. De Miles would have been proud to have choreographed Carl pranced out to the rental pausing by the car door while the doorman opened it. He climbed into the car in perfect posture clearly expecting it to be closed behind him.

We spent a couple of hours visiting nearby tourist sites. I took the time to drive to the Houston ship channel so the boys could see the ocean going ships. We walked along the dock the boys dazzled by the size of these huge freighters. As we walked by one of the monstrous ropes securing a ship to the dock Carl pushed on it a couple of times before putting his arm flat along it "It's thicker then my arm" he explained.

"That's thicker then your skinny neck!" Jerry responded. Jerry just dodged Carl's swing at Jerry's biceps they were chasing each other down the dock. I caught up with them a minute or so later wrestling on the dock, both laughing and squirming.

We picked up to go sandwiches to eat in the aircraft and soon we were back at Hobby. While I checked weather conditions etc, turned the rental in and cleared my bill with the FBO the boys loaded our luggage in the aircraft. I performed my prefight without problem this time Jeff and Carl boarding first as I checked the lights etc and did my final walk around of the aircraft. As I climbed on the wind Carl was waiting for me, the twins already strapping themselves into the rear seat restraints. "So you're my right seat?" I asked climbing into the cockpit. All I got for a response was a blush that almost hid his freckles in the bright sunlight. It took a little adjusting but I got Carl's seat so he could see well and reach the controls (thankfully Mooney equipped their aircraft with seats that would adjust to accommodate both midgets and basketball players)

I took the aircraft off getting us on course and altitude before I offered Carl the controls. He almost instantly learned how to move the yoke - steering wheel of sorts - to keep the aircraft level then to keep it on course, grinning like a opossum the whole time. I 'helped' him control the yoke as we began our approach to Rockport Texas (I was piloting the aircraft while Carl had his hands on his yoke but he didn't know that)

Once on the ground we threw both the ice chests I had stowed in the plane in a taxi and were off to the fish house (market) on a nearby pier. I quickly noticed some huge, almost six inch long shrimp along with several beautiful cuts of fish, all very much so very fresh and bargain priced. I was so impressed I called Tim on my cell phone to see if he wanted anything. He asked me to pick up several things before suggesting we eat at his house for supper, I brought the fish and shrimp he would both pay for it and cook it (he had been talking to my dad I'm sure)

Ten minutes later I was doing my prefight, over a hundred pounds of fish, fresh oysters and shrimp on board. I had my head inside the engine cowling checking fluid levels when a little head squirmed under my arm asking "When can we leave pop, you just did all this!" I stroked Carl's hair with one hand while I did a final inspection inside the cowling.

Turning him and pulling his back against my chest I pointed up at the sky. "See all those clouds up there?" he nodded as he relaxed against me. "They are really beautiful, its even more wonderful that I can take you up there and fly with them, but if the airplane quits working which one could we park on until the tow truck comes for us?" he stiffened for an instant before asking what 'we' needed to check next.

I was about to tell the boys to board the aircraft when Carl stepped in front of me. Flashing a couple of his wonderfully refreshing wide eyed grins at me he asked "Pop, will you teach me to fly?"

Jerry flew the two hour or so return leg of our trip perfectly. Once at cruise altitude Carl was right in the middle of the front seats asking questions he even started to climb onto the center council (and onto vital switches and controls, like the engine controls) a couple of times Jeff always pulling him back.

I had just parked the van in the driveway and opened the rear hatch when I heard Tim's voice boom "About damn time,, I'm starving!" he was climbing out of one of the recliners on his front porch when I looked over at him. The boys carried our luggage into the house while Tim and I sorted our bounty from the coast, Timmy studying each item wide eyed. Something was different about his appearance but I couldn't put my finger on what. Soon Tim and Timmy were carrying one of my ice chests away with them as dad and I wrestled the other one inside. Dad offered to put the fish away if I wanted to clean up and change and soon I joined three squeaky clean kids in the kitchen.

Somehow I managed to inject that we should go over to Tim's over Carl's detailed report to dad about our trip, maneuvering everyone out the door. Tim was shelling the last of the shrimp we had set aside for supper, dropping them into marinate as we joined him in his back yard. "Dude, these are huge, they look like beef steaks." he commented. "Grab a cold one!" Timmy and my boys quickly drifted toward the front of the house basketball in hand, Carl giving Timmy a detailed tour of Houston as Tim and I sat down.

I had just opened my beer when Judy, Tim's wife, came out of the house with a large platter of fresh oysters. I was about to pop the first one in my mouth when Jerry then Jeff and Carl, true to the twins' almost supernatural ability to smell food, appeared looking like they hadn't eaten for weeks. They rushed to the tray the twins grabbing skewers and attacking the oysters. Carl had to push his way between them and reached out with a skewer before jerking his had back like he had stuck it into flames. "What's that!" he shrieked gawking at the tray. When I answered he hesitated before explaining "That's not what they look like!" I somewhat melodramatically stabbed another oyster, dipped it in cocktail sauce and stuffed it into my mouth making a show of swallowing.

"Come on son, try one." Which earned me a 'are you totally nuts?' look. Timmy pushed in next to his dad quickly downing two oysters at the same time as Carl stared in total disbelief. "Come here." I asked patting my hand on my knee. Slowly he more crawled then walked between my legs. I selected one of smaller of the few left on the tray holding it up to his mouth. "Just try one, I bet you like it." After watching the other boys devour the few remaining pieces he took a couple of deep breaths finally held the last breath as he slowly opened his mouth.

I had dropped the sample on his tongue and in slow motion he began closing his mouth when Judy sat a fresh load on table. Carl was in mid swallow when Tim asked "Honey, did you decide to serve the oysters or the Shark snot?" The youngster's face turned pale, then red then ashen as the oyster unwillingly slid down his throat.

"I wasn't sure what everyone wanted so I mixed them." she replied. Carl grabbed his throat with one hand his thin belly with the other briefly, his eyes big as a saucers. Glancing around he grabbed my beer, I think the closest liquid, frantically rinsing his mouth. Everyone's uncontrollable laughter made him look up red faced "Its okay sweetie, they are both good." Judy told him patting the top of his head.

It took several tries to convince him we were teasing him, that they really were oysters, but he did try one more, closing his eyes was I popped them into his mouth. I was trying to get him to try another when Judy reappeared with a tray of potato chips and dip which Carl darted to at lightening speed, giving me dirty looks between chips.

The adults chatted as the kids attacked the chips and dip, all the kids except Carl grabbing few more oysters over the next few minutes. Timmy had come to the oyster tray a couple of times before I snapped what was different about his appearance, he had braces on his upper teeth. Asking about them he threw his hand over his mouth as Tim replied "Yea he got them Friday, he gets another load this Friday."

"Yea two days before Christmas, some Christmas present." Timmy snarled.

"Shit!" I replied. "All this time the twins have been telling my I'm the only dad on earth that's a big enough ass hole to make his kids wear those things! Welcome to the Ass Hole Club dude!" I said, extending Tim my hand. I ignored the twins' 'stuff it dad' looks and one by one the boys had their fill of snacks and disappeared back to the basketball goal. Judy and dad excused themselves into the house after she asked for his help and Tim and I checked on the pit and prepared to cook the shrimp and fish.

Tim asked how Carl did on our trip and such laughing as I filled him in regarding the hotel and our dinner. "I'm surprised that was all the adventures you had." he said. "Keep in mind what Carl thinks of as something special is a trip to McDonald's. You pile him in your private airplane and whisk him away to a premier hotel and serve him a four star meal, I think he did great." I hesitated but relayed my conversation with Jerry last night. "Yea they know." he replied "Timmy talked to me over the weekend, he was worried about Carl. I pumped it out of him your boys had talked to him trying to figure out how they could help Carl. Carl's parents were suspicious of you and Timmy several times invited him over here so he could see you. Shit it's a little scary I thought we both of us just had little boys, the biggest worry in their world was their next baseball game!" He paused while we lay the shrimp and tuna steaks on the grill. "What are you going to do?"

I walked over to the ice chest and got each of us a fresh beer, trying to think how to answer that question. "I have no idea." I began. "Hey dude, I'm going to be 51 next year, if everything goes right I can retire in three years, I could get a part time job being a greeter at Wal-Mart, ship the twins off to college and spend most of my time falling in love with my aircraft or something. I could go buy a hog and live out 'Born to be Wild' if I wanted!" I paused taking a long swallow of beer waiting to see if I could get a response from him. "Besides I'm an overaged, overloaded single parent I doubt any court would give him to me anyway." I started to get the feeling of being trapped. Tim just glanced at me, his MSW side clearly in action. "You're the master shrink, what would you do?"

"Get a tray, the fish is almost done." he replied.

Five minutes later we were all attacking a wonderful supper. Besides the shrimp and tuna steaks Judy had prepared a host of delicious side dishes from corn to salad. Everyone ate like kings, when she brought homemade pie and ice cream out to the picnic table I think all of us wondered where we would fit it but somehow we found room. The kids cleared the table and Judy went inside with them. Dad said he wanted to walk and began drifting around the yard as Tim and I stood up from the table. "Any more thoughts about what you are going to do?" he asked.

"No" I responded. We looked at each other for a few seconds. "Got any more of that cold beer?" I asked. I crawled back into his comfortable lawn furniture drinking several more beers then either of us needed, neither of us talking. Dad interrupted our solace saying he and the boys were going home. I gazed at the stars for I have no idea how long before my biological clock said it was bed time and I staggered across the street, well more then half drunk. I wanted to crash into bed as I walked in the door but went to check on the kids. I peeked in on Carl first he was dead to the world, only his little button nose showing out of his blankets as were the twins, I think only the second coming could have waken them. I spent a minute or so telling Binki and Bandit about our weekend before realizing who I was talking to and crashed into a deep sleep.

Often over the years I have wondered why alarm clocks were not made of soft rubber, it would save a lot of wear and tear on both the clock's snooze button and my hand on Monday mornings. I had to respect the poor thing though, after tapping it the first time it disturbed me I delivered a pretty harsh punch when it woke me again. The third time I delivered what had to be a lethal blow but it refused to either die or abandon its mission. After rewarding the clock's efforts with several vial comments I dragged my hung over carcass down the hall to the coffee pot, having to close one eye to hit the mug as I poured. "Hi pop" a soft, angelic voice muttered.

Turning around I found Carl, clad only in his briefs, rubbing his eyes. "What are you doing up at this time of morning? Its 5:30!" I asked.

"You leave too early sometimes" he mumbled wrapping his arms around my waist. Somehow I managed to pick him up and carry him in one arm, my desperately needed coffee cup in the other hand, and carried him to the table sitting him on my lap as I fell into my chair. He threw his arms around my neck and tucked his face into my cheek, we hugged each other for what had to be two or three minutes. "Thanks pop" he whispered.. I hugged him tighter and started to respond when he continued "I didn't know real kids got to do stuff like we did only movie kids get to do that kind of stuff! Thanks pop I love you!"

"I love you too son." I responded. I held him stroking his back for a minute or so before continuing. "I guess only movie kids get to eat Shark snot too?" His spine snapped bolt straight, his eyes locking to mine. "Got 'ya!" I hooted. While he was still staring at me I poked his ribs and kissed the now giggling kid on my lap before I pulled him back against me. I enjoyed another minute or so of his hug before saying "I love you turkey, but I have to get in the shower. Want some hot chocolate?" I nuked a cup for him in the microwave leaving him sipping on it while bathed.

Dad and the twins were up when I came back out of my bedroom. A quick sip of coffee and a round of hugs from the boys I was out the door. I managed to wake up enough to function by the time I got on base and the day went pretty well. I was saddened to learn one of my co-workers' husband was injured in a car accident over the weekend. Nothing life threatening, but he would be in the hospital over Christmas ruining a ski trip with their married daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter they had planned since last summer. It was one of those pre-paid resort packages, of course non-refundable, and she was trying to find someone to sell it to instead of losing their money. I didn't think much but felt sorry for her. I had a long report to accomplish and about 2:00, after a hundred or so interruptions for trivial things, I left the office deciding to finish the report at home.

I was just e-mail what I hoped would be the final draft of the report to myself at work when dad drove in with the kids. I had to laugh at Carl, he had worn his Space Center souvenir tee shirt to school and immediately had to show it off to me (not that I had seen it before or anything, I didn't remind him who bought it for him. . .) Monday was allowance day, and the twins had only inhaled about half of their twenty pounds of after school snacks when they started dropping hints.

"Man, I'm broke, you got a dollar I can borrow?" Jerry asked his brother between bites. Complaining he was too they exchanged long forlorn looks, both using their well practiced sad puppy dog eyes, glancing at me to be sure I heard. I just turned my back devoting all my attention to the computer screen. Soon I had a twin on each side of me grinning and rubbing my arms and shoulders. I gave them both a short hug before reaching up and tapping on my teeth. They both slumped slightly giving me identical 'do we have to' looks before disappearing down the hall.

I had called Carl over to me when the twins returned, still fastening their headgear straps. "Carl, did you get an allowance at home?" I asked. He responded with a soft no, looking away. "Do you know what one is?" brought a 'sorta' "Well here everyone gets a dollar a week" his eyes went to the floor "for every year of your age." He looked back up at me his mouth agape. Handing him a stack of bills I said "You can spend it however you want, but this is all you get until next week, if your broke tomorrow, sorry to hear it."

He stared at my hand for several seconds before reaching toward it. Hesitating again he almost cautiously accepted it. He rolled the bill in his hand for a second before muttering "Wow, that's how much I got for Christmas last year."

"Have fun with it, turkey. Now you better get out of the way before your brothers run over you."

He gave me another hug before turning away. He turned back with a scampish grin on his face asking climbing "I wonder how much wine this will buy?" I tried to pop him on the butt but he as too fast for me.

Everyone disappeared down the hall to stash their bounty and soon they were racing out the door. I had just turned back to the computer when I felt the twin slide inside my arms one on each side. "Thanks dad" they said in unison hugging my neck. "Thanks for taking care of Carl pop." Jeff continued. I stroked their backs for a few seconds before shoeing the out the door.

During supper everyone informed me they had very little homework tonight, explaining there were only two days of school left, so I agreed to let them have extra time on the computer tonight, just so homework got done. As soon as they had loaded the dishwasher all three of them were in front of the family room's PC. I watched for a minute wondering how the three of them could stack themselves into one office chair and breath much less be comfortable. I considered suggesting they get a couple more chairs but let it go.

I crawled into one the lounges in our front court yard with my novel, drifting back and fourth between the book and my promised conversation with the twins about Carl. I had about decided to let them play for a few minutes and call them off to the side while Carl was occupied on the computer when in the background I heard one of my flight simulator programs launch. I listened for a minute waiting for the first dog fight to begin but instead the twins began talking about cockpit controls and such. It didn't take long for me to close my book and listen, the twins now spouting tutelage like a pair of veteran Top Gun instructors.

Quietly I slipped into the family room entryway just as Carl attempted his first takeoff, now perched on Jeff's lap Jerry standing next to them. "Just watch your speed stay cool, stay cool." Jeff instructed, one hand covering the hand Carl had on the yoke.

"Vr Vr, Rotate!" Jerry's alto voice expounded with all the professionalism of a 747 pilot - Vr is an aeronautical term the co-pilot of major airliners use to inform their Captain the aircraft has reached a fast enough speed on the runway that it is safe to take the aircraft airborne, Rotate is the action of pulling the yoke back, liberating the craft into the sky - I could see the tension in Carl's thin neck bony jaw as he pulled back on our simulator aircraft controls, Jeff slowing his movement. The computer screen responding refreshing the view of the runway with sky. Several more commands from his young flight instructor 'gear up, flaps zero and such' and Carl was leveling the simulation toward a perfect slow climb.

I was still watching in awe as Carl proclaimed "I did it!" louder he exclaimed "Shit I did it!" his hand went to his mouth and I was just able to duck out of the room as he looked around. I debated if I should react. I chanced a quick peek in the room and more feeling then seeing the excitement in the room walked away.

Deciding my talk with the twins would have to wait I left them alone as long as I dared as they flew sortie after sortie, Carl only using a few more off color words, before reminding them it was homework and bath time. Agreeing to let them 'land' before shutting down the computer soon everyone was in the kitchen with me. Carl gave me a full debrief of each flight complete with hand and body illustrations of each adventure. "I flew an airplane just like 'ours' the last three times" he explained showing an ear to ear smile, his sky deep eyes still in the clouds. When he finally settled down enough I told the twins to get started on homework, that I needed to talk to Carl for a minute.

Bug eyed he remained behind climbing on my knee. "I didn't mean to say. . ." Putting my finger against his lips I silenced him saying I wanted to talk to him not him to me. I asked him not to take his allowance money to school and after studying my eyes briefly he told me that the twins had already told him, "the bigger kids would take it away" I was told. I tried to stay low key as reminded him about his court hearing in the morning. His facial expression instantly changed from calm to one of worry, almost fear. Telling him nothing was going to happen, that the judge just wanted to be sure he was okay. He hesitated then said "Whenever my old dad went to one he always got put in jail then he didn't come home for awhile" I let the 'old dad' slide assuring him this was a kid's judge that he was only concerned about his welfare. "Well but does he put kids in jail?" he whimpered.

"Only if they are very bad kids, but not because their foster kids, and that's why we are going, right?" he gave a weak nod, I was not at all sure he fully believed me.

Suddenly he jerked his head around to look at me "We?" he asked. "Are you going too?"

"Of course I'm going to be there!" I responded pulling him next to me. "You think I'd let Roy take you somewhere by himself, he's no match for a silly turkey!" He grinned and instantly relaxed. I asked him to wear dress clothes like he wore to dinner in Houston and filled him in on tomorrow's schedule all of which he seemed comfortable with.

I rubbed his shoulder for a few seconds before suggesting he get started on his homework. He stood up and took a step toward his room but turned asking "But does he put kids in jail if they're bad?" I assured him only really bad kids, not him. "What if" he hesitated. "What if a kid had to do, , , well nothing but does he knows about me running away?" I started to worry a little and asked when he had ran away. "Well at the space thing!"

I pulled him into my lap "Well I wont tell if you wont. I just hope he doesn't find out you eat Shark Snot!" I reach around to tickle him but before I touched him his giggle box kicked into overdrive and after a few pokes to his tight little stomach I threw him over my shoulder and carried him to his room. Dropping him on the bed I said "Okay turkey, hit the books, you have to get 'ed- u-ma-cated', only two days left to get all smart!"


To Be Continued…