Tommy sat on the floor of his room holding his knapsack.
He pulled the knapsack tightly to his body, rocking.
“C’mon Tommy,” His mom walked toward the door. ”Your dad’s here.”
Ding Dong. Ding Dong!
Tommy cringed, slowly heading toward his mom.
Jeanie opened the door. “Hi Roy.”
Bending down, “Hey little man” Roy pinched Tommy’s cheek. Tommy imagined a knight fighting against his dad, defeating him.
Roy straightened up, “I’ll bring him back around noon.”
Jeanie put her hand on Tommy’s shoulder. “Let him stay home. Why take him for only a few hours?”
Roy grabbed Tommy’s arm; “he’s my son. He’s coming with me. Let’s go.” Roy pushed Tommy out the door.
“Tommy, get your seat belt on.” Roy drove away. “You can play video games at the house.”
“Can’t we go to the park?”
Scowling out the windshield, “you are just like your mother. No, don’t ask again.”
The back of Roy’s hand connected with Tommy’s face. “I told you don’t ask me again.”
Tommy stared out the window tears running down his face. Why does my dad hate me?
“Are you crying? Sissy boy.” Roy glared at him. “I cannot believe you are my son.”
They entered the Condo. Hearing his Bad to the Bone ring tone, Roy answered laughing and talking. Covering the phone, he spoke in a menacing tone, “I’m going out. Occupy yourself.” Roy left.
Tommy put his swim trunks on and went to the pool. He could still feel where his dad hit him. He sat on a bench near the pool watching kids jumping in and splashing each other.
An elderly black man sat down next to Tommy. “How are you doing today son? My name is James, what is yours?”
Tommy looked at the ground. “I’m okay; my name is Tommy.”
“Where are your mom and dad?”
“My dad had to go somewhere.”
“Oh” James kicked a pebble, “do you like baseball? I have gloves. We could play catch.”
Tommy looked at him and grinned, “cool!”
James got up, “I’ll be right back.” Soon they were tossing the ball back and forth. He gave Tommy tips on throwing and catching. After a while, Tommy had greatly improved.
The ball impacted James’ glove with a pop. “You have a good arm. You would be a great pitcher.”
“Really?” Tommy threw the ball harder and it went wide just as his father walked into the yard. WHAP the ball slammed into Roy’s right leg.
Fists clenched and face scrunched up Roy ran over to Tommy, “what are you crazy? Get your things, I’m taking you home.”
James stood up, “it was an accident; we were playing some catch.”
“I don’t care; it’s time for him to go home to his mother.” Roy glared at Tommy. “Move it,” he followed Tommy to the condo slamming the door shut. It bounced in the frame and swung back open.
Roy slapped Tommy. Cowering, Tommy put his arms up waiting for the next blow. Hearing a thud, Tommy looked up to see James pressing his dad against the wall.
James put his face near Roy. “You will never hit that boy like that again, God as my witness.” With his free hand, James dialed 911 and explained the situation.
Thirty minutes later the doorbell rang and Tommy opened the door. His mom ran in smothering him with kisses. “Are you okay Tommy?” She wiped his tears away careful of the red welt on the side of his face.
He felt so safe in her arms, “I’m okay mom.”
Two policemen escorted Roy to the door. Jeanie gave him a dirty look, “How could you do this to him?”
Roy moved toward her but was restrained. “Don’t be smug with me; I have a right to discipline my own boy. I’m innocent!”
Jeanie turned to the kindly looking black gentleman, “You are James? Thanks for protecting Tommy, I was afraid Roy was hurting him, but I couldn’t prove it.”
James winked at Tommy. “I am a pastor at the local church.”
Jeanie touched James’ hand “Please come to dinner at my house tomorrow night as a thank you?”
“My mom makes awesome pie” Tommy looked expectantly at James.
“That sounds good. You must be very proud of this young man.” James patted Tommy on the back.
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