Too Good To Be True

As Dad and Dorothy sat in the kitchen yapping away, I searched high and low for Toots, but there was no Toots anywhere.
“Dorothy, where is Toots?”
“She went shopping with Jane and Donna.”
I really missed Toots, and I know before long she would be going back home. If all went according to the plan, I would be staying with Grace from now on. Dorothy soon took my mind off Toots when she produced a plate full of goodies: Twinkies, Ho Hoes, chips, and more. What a good day this is turning into. I helped myself to the snacks and went outside to enjoy my sugar feast. After I wolfed down the snacks, I made my way back into the house where Dorothy and Dad were having a conversation.
“Why are you so happy, Terry? I haven’t seen you this upbeat in years.”
He laughs.
“I have some good news. Grace has agreed to adopt Joey, and
all we are waiting for is for June to sign the paperwork.”
43

WHEN THE DUST SETTLED
“You mean to tell me that you are giving up all of your rights to Joey?”
“Hell, yeah. June is with that loser Tyrone, and we all know how Tyrone abuses Joey physically and emotionally. Since I am not in a position right now to take care of my kids, this is the next best thing.”
“Joey have a seat, I’m making a call to June to find out what is going on with your mom.”
“What do you mean, Dorothy?”
“I can’t believe your mom is just going to give you up to your Aunt Grace!” I sat down as a terrible thought began racing through
my mind. Why is Dorothy ruining all of our best-laid plans?
It wasn’t long before Dorothy was on the phone, dialing up Ma. Dad had a real sick look on his face that didn’t sit well with me at
all; maybe he knows something I didn’t.
“Joey, go into my bedroom and pick up the other phone, so you
can talk to your mom,” Dorothy demanded. I walk into the bed- room, not knowing what I will hear on the other end of the phone.
“Hi Ma, how are you doing?”
“Good, how are you?”
“Good, having fun with Dad and Grace.”
“Hey, Joey, is Toots there? I need to talk to her.”
“No, June, she isn’t here, you simpleton!” Dorothy screamed
from the other phone in the kitchen.
“Oh, hey, Dorothy, I didn’t know you liked to listen in on other
people’s conversations.
“Shut your yap. What is this crap about you giving up your kid?” “Joey is going to live with Grace. Things just have not worked
out. I have tried everything with him.”
“Sure, June, why don’t you just admit it—Tyrone hates him, and
he has convinced you to ship him off. That is your child, you little tramp! I don’t care how bad things may be right now—you don’t throw your kids away. You better not go through with this adoption thing, or I will make a trip down there to knock some sense into your head, simpleton!”
44

CHummy TImES
I am standing here in utter disbelief. I just wanted Ma to say anything, anything at all, to shut Dorothy up. I am so ready to stay in Dubuque with Grace, but now, things are a little dicey.
“June, what’s wrong? Cat got your tongue?” Click. Ma hangs up. Thanks for nothing, Ma, as usual. This is her way of saying “screw you.” Don’t worry about what I am doing or was it that Dorothy struck a nerve, and she is reconsidering her opinions?
Time would tell.
After our short phone conversation with Ma, Uncle Jake asks
Dad and me to stay for dinner. I could tell by the way Dorothy was acting that she didn’t want us to stay. The tension in the room is high. I thought the phone call really caused everything to inten- sify. Dad and I pass on dinner and head back over to Grace’s place. I can tell he is devastated by the turn of events that transpired at Dorothy’s; it is written all over his face. Up until this point, I thought becoming Grace’s adopted son is as good as done, but I have a sick feeling in my stomach that things are about to change

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