Santa Barbra - Some Years Ago
The sun shone brightly over the man as he prepared himself for the day’s work ahead. He ran through a mental checklist getting everything in order before starting the job. Mow the lawn, trim the hedges, fix the squeaky window, take Shawn for a haircut, and do the…
Where is Shawn? he wondered to himself noticing for the first for the first time the quiet that permeated the house. To Henry the quiet was unnatural, since the four years his wife gave birth to their son he had yet to have a quiet moment that didn’t result in tears and broken bones. One would be surprised at how many trips to the emergency room a person could make in four short years. Leaving the sanctity of his kitchen he braced himself for whatever mess he’d find Shawn in this time.
To his utter lack of surprise it was crying that alerted him to his son’s presence. Shawn, and the boy’s best friend, Gus were playing on the front lawn. Well, Shawn was playing. Gus, on the other hand, was silently crying into his sleeve.
“Gus” The boy refused to look up, choosing to employ the “I can’t see you so you can’t see me, so there’ method instead. That might work on his own parents, but not on hardened cop Henry Spencer.
“Gus, come here now.” The tone of voice made it clear he wouldn’t back to hardened criminals, or crying four year old boys. The young boy finally looked up and commenced to blow his nose on his sleeve before walking over to the much larger man. Bending down on one knee so that they were eye level he addressed the boy.
“Now Gus,” he said in a softer voice this time. He didn’t want the boy to wet his pants in addition to his eyes, “what’s the matter?”
“Whoa! Slow down buddy, my ears don’t work as fast as your mouth. Now blow your nose.” Before Henry could offer the boy a tissue Gus was already wiping his face again leaving a trail of slimy substance in its wake.
“Okay, think you’re ready to speak clearly?” The boy nodded his affirmation. “All right. Go ahead.”
“Shawn stole my favorite toy in the whole wide world and won’t give him back.”
And sure enough when Henry looked his son was a few feet away setting a teddy bear up in front of what looked to be a water gun firing squad.
“Shawn. Over. Here. Now.” Reluctantly, the boy dropped the water gun and walked toward his father. “Why did you take Gus’s bear?”
“I didn’t take him, I arrested him.” The boy looked at him as if it were t5he simplest thing in the world.
“And what did you arrest him for?” Henry asked.
“Um…because he ate all the cookies even though his mom told him it was too early.”
“Okay Shawn lets go you’re on time out.”
“But why I didn’t do anything!”
“First of all Shawn if you’re going to pin a crime on someone else make sure there’s no evidence left on you.” He cupped his son’s face in one hand, turning it one side, then the other. “Like chocolate from chocolate chip cookies caked all over your face and hands. And for that matter Gus come on you too.”
“But I didn’t take any cookies” the little boy said.
“Doesn’t matter if you’re going to let your best friend do something stupid you’re going to face consequences as well.”
“But dad…” Shawn pleaded.
“But nothing Shawn lets go. If you’re going to commit the crime, expect to do the time.”