When my mother calls me on any weekday afternoon, she always asks what I'm doing. Usually, what I am doing is working, being that I'm a quasi-adult person with a job. I'm faintly amazed by this myself, since I'm a shambling mess most days, but she doesn't have to ask every single time.
She called me Monday, and after inquiring after my employment status (or suspected lack thereof), she told me, "someone wants to talk to you."
She put Fatty Lumpkins - I've got to think of a new nickname for that kid! - on the phone. "It was an accident, Auntie Sum! We were playing football."
"We were practicing tackle football and jumping on things."
"OK ... "
"It was an accident. Heathenish fell."
"I believe you."
My mother got back on. "We think Heathenish has a broken wrist. We're at the emergency room. Fatty Lumpkins has been crying his eyes out. They were playing and Heathenish fell on his wrist funny."
"I'll be there in 20 minutes."
It was more like 10 minutes, and my mother called to check on my progress before I even managed to park the car. She and Fatty Lumpkins were lurking in the hall, waiting for me, when I got into the building. My sister, Foo-Dog, was with the Heathenish in the examination room.
"It was an accident," Fatty Lumpkins reiterated.
"He's really upset over it," my mother said.
"Buddy, do you remember this summer, when your brother was practicing baseball and accidently hit you in the head with the bat?"
"He did it on purpose."
It had been an accident. A baseball-obsessed Heathenish had taken to wandering through the yard, tossing a baseball up into the air and swinging the bat in an attempt to practice his batting. He wasn't paying close enough attention and caught his brother in the head with the bat.
From what we were able to piece together afterward, Fatty Lumpkins dropped like a puppet with its strings cut and the Heathenish ran into the house to tell Foo-Dog Fatty Lumpkins had "fallen asleep." Grampy Grumpy scooped him up and he and Foo-Dog rushed him to the hospital, where they learned he was none the worse for wear - not even a concussion. Little kids are tough.
Heathenish had been inconsolable until his little brother had returned from the hospital in one piece. He, too, had called me, sobbing, to tell me he broke the baby.
"Regardless, he hit you in the head with a bat and you broke his wrist. You're even."
"Even steven?" he asked.
I am so glad I only have one boy.
We settled in to wait.
"You know what Heathenish was worried about?" Grandmama asked me.
"He was worried about whether he could still have his hockey birthday party."
"Of course he was. It's not every day you have a hockey birthday party. Or even every year." The Heathenish swore baseball was his first and greatest love, but I am making definite in-roads on the hockey front. "He wants socks and underwear, right?"
"You're not going to do that, are you? Don't get him worked up when his wrist is broken. You know he wants toys."
"No socks or underwear," Fatty Lumpkins ordered, glancing up from Angry Birds.
We didn't have a chance to get into the meat of the underwear vs. toys argument, because the Heathenish came out of the examination room, wrist wrapped in a splint.
"It's not broken, just sprained!" he exclaimed.
"And here I drove all the way over just to sign your cast."
(Wallace-Minger, a resident of Weirton, is the community editor of The Weirton Daily Times.)