This is my first contribution to the Three Word Wednesday prompt. I hope you like it!
“I’m going to thrash the living daylights out of you if you don’t stop that crying,” Joe shouted at his son as he shoved him across the room with effortless ease.
Toby leaned against the wall, rubbing his cheek from the earlier slap. He couldn’t figure out what he’d done to set his Dad off this time. All he did was ask if he could have five dollars for science class tomorrow. They had to pay to use the lab. Next thing he knew, his Dad had slapped him so hard it brought tears to his eyes.
He tried to stop the tears because he knew how bad his Dad hated them. He was always telling him that men don’t cry. The pain was too bad though, and he couldn’t stop.
“I’m sorry, Dad,” Toby ventured after a few minutes had passed.
He still wasn’t sure what he was apologizing for, but he knew he was supposed to do it.
“Do you think I’m made of money, Toby?” his father asked?
“That damned school always wants money for something. Your mom knew this I bet, the vindictive bitch. That’s why she left you for me to take care of. Only person she’s gonna spend money on is herself,” he muttered.
Toby didn’t know what to say. His Mom had left a few months earlier. Just walked out one night and never came back. Toby didn’t miss her much. Things were worse when she was home. All the fighting and yelling really scared him.
“Come on, Toby, let’s go,” his father said an hour later. He grabbed his coat of the rack and started towards the door.
“Where are we going?”
“Don’t worry about it, just get moving.”
Toby watched the buildings go by through the car window. He knew they were heading downtown, but still didn’t know exactly where. When his Dad pulled into the church parking lot he was shocked. They never went to church. It sure was a pretty building though. He’d like to see the inside.
Toby changed his mind quickly. He didn’t like this. He wasn’t sure why, but something wasn’t right. His dad was just sitting in the car looking at the church. Toby could tell he was thinking about something because the vein on the side of his head was pulsing.
“What are we doing at a church, Dad?” Toby asked.
“Toby, I want you to go knock on the door. When the priest answers ask him if you can have five dollars,” his father replied.
Toby looked at the church uncertainly, but got out of the car anyway. He had to do what his dad said even if he didn’t understand it. Why would the priest give him money? Maybe his dad knew him or something.
Toby knocked on the door and then stepped back. Just as the door opened he heard his dad start the car. The priest looked down at him and asked, “What can I do for you, son?”
Toby started to ask him for the money when he heard the car leave the parking lot. He didn’t know what to think at first so just stood frozen in place. The next thing he knew, his dad was squealing rubber down the road. He started running after the car yelling for his dad to come back.
The priest chased him down and brought him into the church.
“Calm down, son, and tell me what’s going on,” he said kindly.
Toby had never seen anyone with eyes like his. They looked so nice. He bet this man’s kids never got slapped. He didn’t want to admit that his dad had left him but he couldn’t lie to this man. He didn’t know why, but it just didn’t seem right.
“I don’t know. My Dad told me to knock and ask you for five dollars. I need it for science class tomorrow and he doesn’t have it. Mom might but she’s a vindictive bitch that only spends money on herself,” he told the startled priest.
“Where is your mother?” the priest said as he looked Toby over. He could tell the boy hadn’t had a bath in a while, and he looked hungry. There was also a red welt on his cheek.
“She left a while back. We haven’t seen her since. It’s just Dad and me now,” Toby replied. “I don’t know where dad went,” Toby went on with a look at the door.
“Come with me. We’ll go to the office and I can make a phone call. We’ll try to find out where your dad went, ok?” the priest said holding his hand out to Toby.
Toby was leery, but he took the man’s hand and let him lead the way to the office. Once there the priest told him to sit in the red chair in the hall while he made the call.
The priest went into the office and closed the door. Keeping his eye on Toby, he called the local police station and asked to speak to Sergeant Jones.
“Hello, John, this is Randy at St. Michaels.”
“Hello, Father, what can I do for you?” Sergeant Jones inquired.
“I have a boy here with me. His father just left him on the stoop.”
Sergeant Jones sighed and said, “I’ll be right over. It’s a damned shame when people have kids and then change their mind ain’t it, Father?”
The priest agreed, but looking at the mark on Toby’s cheek he thought leaving him here might have been the only good thing his dad had ever done for him.
“I’ll wait in the church with him, Sergeant,” he said as he hung up the phone.
Now he was left with the task of telling the child that his father wasn’t coming back, that he was unwanted. He sighed as he opened the office door and walked out. Seeing the expectant look on Toby’s face only made his heart sink lower.
“Toby, there’s something I have to tell you…”