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Page 54 – GOOD MAN BAD MAN

“Wait a minute, were you out on the sidewalk Friday night?” Debbie stood in the doorway with her cell-phone open and a questioning look on her face. Rich shook his head; she didn’t need to call 911. He walked closer to the boy and extended his hand, “Hi, I’m Rich. This is my father’s house. What’s your name?”

“Me? I’m Dustin.” He looked down while he spoke and was barely heard.

“You knew my father? Why don’t you come in and sit down.”

“No.”

“Let’s sit on the steps. I’d like to talk to you.”

Rich moved back and sat on the bottom step while Debbie whispered, “I’ll go check on the boys and keep an eye on the two of you. Be careful.”

He nodded to his wife and motioned Dustin toward the step beside him. As he moved closer, Rich studied him. Other than a little acne on his left cheek, he was quite handsome with features reminding Rich of a very young Harrison Ford. “Let’s talk.” Dustin stopped and gave the slightest of nods; he wasn’t coming any closer. “There’s a lawn chair next to the garage; why don’t you pull it out.”

“I’ll stand.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah. I knew your father.” His voice faltered as he said ‘father.’ Rich didn’t know how he could encourage him in sharing more. “We used to talk sometimes. Did other things. Shot baskets together, too.”

“I did that too with Dad. I remember when he put the backboard up. He almost fell off the ladder when he replaced the net.”

“I tried helping him once. He didn’t want me on the ladder. I wanted to help; he wouldn’t let me.” Rich waited and Dustin relaxed. Dustin continued, “He was nice to me.” He turned, as if he was leaving, and Rich almost called him until he saw Dustin pull the chair away from the garage and unfold it.

“Sounds like he was nice to a lot of people in town.” Rich mused under his breath.

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