“Do we have to call John, ‘daddy’?” George asked.
“No. You call him John.”
They seemed satisfied with that. Then I asked them what they did while I was gone. They told me Deena brought them home from school every day for lunch, and that her friend, Missy, stayed over every night. They also told me their new step-brother Jack wouldn’t let them see their favorite TV program Mork and Mindy because of the playoffs for the World Series.
“Well, the World Series is really important to baseball fans,” I said. “Otherwise, I’m sure he would have let you watch your program.”
“He’s not nice,” Jimmy said.
“Why do you say that,” I asked, my heart skipping a beat.
“We played baseball in the back yard one day with some of the neighborhood kids. Whenever I ran past him ‘cause he was playing catcher, he would punch me in the back for no good reason,” Jimmy said, his eyes welling with tears.
“George, do you know about this?” I asked my eldest son.
“Yeah,” he said. “He did it to me too, only I turned around and slugged him back, but he’s bigger. I don’t think I hurt him.”
I took in a deep breath and said, “Did you say anything to Deena about Jack?”
“No,” George said.
“Then, I’ll handle this. Not to worry. He won’t do it again,” I said, trying to look like I knew what to do when I didn’t. The boys smiled and ran off to change into their new swimsuits.
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