"Aw, c'mon Mom, I wanna be an opera
singer! All the other kids are gonna be!"
"I don't need any more of your lip, William. I said get out on
the roof and help your father. Now!"
"Thanks for the help, sport. You
want to hand me a couple of those nails by your foot, I-wups…uh-oh…AIEEEE!""Fred?
Billy? FRED! Oh, my God! You killed him!"
As luck would have it, Fred was not dead, only quadriplegic. He took
to sitting on the lawn in his wheelchair tutoring young Billy on the
niceties of working on roofs, and seldom let him forget that he had
to carry on where his father could not.
"You know, sport, I hope you realize that I don't blame you for
what happened to me. Nossir, I blame myself entirely, and it's just
good to know that since you were there with me you have some feeling
of what I've lost. It gives me a lot of pleasure to see you up
there, son… move that reindeer a little to the right, would you,
Billy… that's right, have him looking up at the fat man… no more
playing Santa for me, eh, sport? No, it really does give me a charge
to see you up there, though… about the only charge I get these
days now that my cock's busted, right Bill? Haw! You wouldn't deny
your old Dad a good laugh now and then, would you? I tell you, the
old prick used to stand up stiff as a silver dollar back in the day.
Well, doesn't matter anyway, guess it's just you and me now that yer
ma's gone, eh, Billy? Too bad, too… guess the accident was a
little too much for that heart of hers… but cheer up, boy, you got
me still! Come on down here and light a cigarette for your old man,
would you Billy?"