Bobby sat at the kitchen table the next morning at seven, and read about the Washington Senators in Shirley Povich’s column in the “Washington Post,” which even a kid could understand.
He thought a lot about the Senators’ planned move to Texas at the end of the season, but the red scratches above his knuckles concerned Bobby more.
His mom had bought the story about hitting his hand on a fence, but he suspected his dad only went along with it not to upset her.
Bobby heard the front door, and JP walked into the kitchen returning from a Friday night out. He was nineteen and had taken off from school to work construction.
6’4”, with a broad chest, and thick, muscular arms, he wore chinos, and brown Weejuns, and his receding black hair fell in ringlets over the collar of his crisp, French blue button down, and thick, long sideburns encroached upon his cheeks.
Bobby watched JP walk to the refrigerator and take out a half gallon can of Hawaiian Punch and rummage through a drawer and find a can opener and open the can. His brother stepped over to the cupboard and reached in and pulled down a glass and poured the drink unsteadily into it.
Some juice spilled on to the counter, and Bobby watched JP wipe the spill with a sponge on the counter and take a long drink of the juice and turn to Bobby and say, “How’s the boy?”
JP forced himself to be still and his eyes wandered away from Bobby, and his thick speech made Bobby wonder if JP was drunk. Bobby said, “Not bad.” And Bobby watched JP take another long drink, and slam his glass back to the counter, which startled Bobby.
Bobby clenched and unclenched his hand, and JP smiled and said, “What’s going on with your hand?”
“I punched this kid Harrison Bentley, and scratched my hand on his braces.”
“Did this Bentley kid get in any shots on you?”
“Why the face?”
“I don’t want mom to know.”
“She won’t figure it out unless this kid squeals on you. Will he?”
“He’s too afraid of me.”
“You have nothing to worry about.”
“What about dad?”
“It won’t upset him if you’re fighting, if the kid had it coming, and he doesn’t want mom to know her angel is fighting.” His brother smiled and laughed, and said, “I’m going to hit it, buddy. Don’t sweat this thing.”
“Alright. Thanks,” Bobby said. Even if his brother’s words seemed to run together too quickly, Bobby still heard what he meant. And he watched his brother try to keep his balance as he left the room.