Frank walked into Joey's bedroom, dressed in his grey suit and tie.  He had on his hat.  The only time Frank wore his grey suit and tie was on Sunday morning.  Today was Wednesday.

     "Get up," he commanded.  "We're going for a little ride."

     Joey obediently followed his father out to the car, which sat in the driveway.  As always, Joey went straight for the back door on the passenger's side of the car.

     Frank shook his head.  "Oh, no, you don't.  This time, you sit up front with me."

     They drove down to the street below Hill View Street, to Butch's house.  Butch's father answered the door.  Harold Kilabreski was a short, stocky man, with greasy, black hair.  His heavy, black glasses rested uneasily on the blunt tip of his bulbous nose.  He wore a grease-stained, white T-shirt, faded jeans, and blocky work boots.  He had on one of those dorky, little pork pie hats, which looked like it had gone out of style about a hundred years before Joey was born.

     "Your son has been picking on my boy, here," Frank told Harold.  "And the wife and I would like it to stop."

     "Well, Butch isn't here, right now," Harold responded in a slow, rusty drawl.  He scratched at his left ear lobe with a grease-blackened finger.  "But you can bet I'll make sure and say something to him about it as soon as he gets home."

     "The wife and I would appreciate it," Frank said.

     Frank and Harold stood there and talked for awhile.  Joey's nervous gaze darted through the open front door to the small clock underneath its gleaming, glass dome, on the fireplace mantle, in the Kilabreski's well-ordered living room, and back down the yard, to the red-and-black homes, on the other side of the street---anywhere, but at Frank and Harold.

     "I remember when we were kids," Harold said to Frank.  "We didn't go around looking for a fight.  But if anyone tried to start one with us, we knew how to finish it."  As he spoke, he glanced out of the corner of his eye at Joey, with an amused smirk on his face.

     "Yes, we sure did," Frank agreed.


The End

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