First, a disclaimer: I am writing this story serial-style, and not trying to write a masterpiece, or even write RIGHT. This is “eest for fun”.
All the previous parts of the story are on the sidebar, under “Telenova”. You should read it all.
We sat there squished on the couch for a minute till I couldn’t take it no more, and I jumped up and scooted over to the railing. “I gotta check on the baby,” I said, kinda to the air. “Anybody want some tea?” I was inside before I could hear them answer. I stood in the dining room for a minute before I remembered what I was doing. Lil Hank was sound asleep in his high chair, with macaroni stuck all over his face. Well, good. He could sleep there for a little.
I came back out to the porch and caught the tail end of some kinda muttered threats from Hank Jr. to the lawyer fella, who appeared to be ignoring Hank Jr.. I wanted to tell him good luck with that. I figured out years ago that ignoring Hank Jr. won’t make him go away. Only thing makes Hank Jr. go away is the police, and it has to be one of the police that ain’t his drinkin buddies, which narrows it down considerably.
The lawyer fella (Gregory) started in with a buncha gobbledy-gook. I interrupted him, “Look. You and me both know I don’t know what you’re talking about. Just give it to me straight.” He glanced up for a second and I forgot to breathe. What in the world had got into me? Hank Jr. cleared his throat real hard and kinda kicked at the porch rail.
Gregory looked at his papers again, kinda wistful-like and then put them back in his briefcase. “Okay, then, Jennifer…
Hank snorted. I give him one of them looks and he sat up straight.
“I was hired by your father.”
Hank Jr. stood up then and cussed. “She don’t want nothing to do with him! Lousy no-good-“
I happened to be standing my ownself so I got up close as I could to Hank Jr.’s face and told him I would handle this.
“Well, uh, Jenny.” he muttered. “Your daddy run off and last thing I heard he was in jail, and…” he kinda trailed off.
I was just tryin to handle having a father at all. Me and Jimmy had been our own for so long, and I just quit thinking about him after a while, so this was a shock. I wondered if he was dead. If Mama’s wishin coulda done it, he’da been dead years ago. I never really knew him, so I was surprised that my heart kinda hurt at the thought of him dyin.
I guess Gregory read my mind or my face or something, cause he chimed in there and said he was still alive, but not for long. He was sick, real sick and he wanted to meet me and Jimmy before he died. Seems there was some property involved, and a inheritance, but we had to come and see him first.
Once Gregory finished his explanation, we just sat there quiet for a minute. I thought about the big man in the flannel shirt, always mad, always leaving. I thought about my mama, all alone and cryin. I thought about Grandma tryin to teach Jimmy how to change a tire. I thought about it all, and then I got mad.
“Don’t guess I’ll see him.” I told the lawyer. “Guess he can take his money to hell with him.” And with that I went back inside, to my own house, and my own baby, and shut the door.