There is some recycling of characters from the first story I ever wrote for LW called BLOOD FROM A TURNIP (Yes I know the old story REALLY needed editing).
This can be a standalone tale, but it will help to read either "BLOOD FROM A TURNIP" tale to get the backstory.
Great Thanks to Dave T who edited this fable without drinking poison before he was finished. Any and ALL errors are mine.
"Coach Tommy, is Frankie home?"
This disheveled sixteen year old on my porch that Saturday morning was Carlos, a friend of my similar aged son Frankie, and a shortstop from one of the many baseball teams I coached over the years.
As anyone who has ever been involved with youth sports knows, it does not matter if you pilot the Space Shuttle, earned a degree in Thermal Nuclear Quantum Physics, won the Nobel Peace Prize for curing cancer. You will always be addressed for the rest of your life as "Coach".
"Come on in Carlos, right now Frankie is taking a shower. You can wait in the kitchen." I opened the screen door and walked into the kitchen with Carlos in my wake.
As we passed through the hallway, a large dog came bounding around the corner. 'Candy Too', our 98 pound black Doberman Pinscher, had heard Carlos voice and come running. A protective but friendly rescue dog, Candy Too always enjoyed visits by any of my son's and nephew's friends. Candy Too knew this mean meant the two 'P's'. Getting 'Petted' or a roughhouse 'Playtime', both of which he enjoyed.
I motioned Carlos to a chair and set a soda in front of him while returning to the task of putting away the dried dishes.
"Carlos, you hear anything about your Dad? I gotta tell you we are pretty impressed he snagged that research spot on the NR-1."
"Nerwin" said Carlos
"What?" I replied looking over my shoulder at the youth.
"The NR-1 nuclear research submarine is called the 'Nerwin'. Dad said it has never officially been named, but everyone calls it the Nerwin."
"Good to know Carlos. Still I bet your Dad is going to be one of the few marine biologists to spend 8 weeks in a nuke sub crawling along the ocean floor..."
I stopped speaking and looked more closely at Carlos. Our Doberman Candy Too was not engaged in an energetic tug of war with Carlos, nor was Carlos vigorously petting Candy Too as was to be expected. Instead Candy Too had his large head in Carlos lap with big brown eyes mournfully looking up at Carlos.
Carlos had silent tears brimming in his eyes and was holding his right arm. I knelt down to inspect the limb, and could see it was swollen. As a volunteer sports coach, I had taken several medical classes over the years, and seen my share of injuries.
"What happened son?" I asked gently, removing his hand so I could examine the arm.
"Ah ... Coach Tommy, I um ... well ... I fell off my bike."
I knew that Carlos, as well as being a vacuum-like shortstop, was also active with his Dad in the dirt bike circuit. With his mountain goat like balance and cat reflexes of youth, Carlos falling off his bike and getting this type of injury were as likely as me at 5 foot 6 inches, playing starting center on the LA Lakers NBA basketball team.
I decided not to press the issue. "Carlos, we gotta get you to the ER pronto." I pulled out my phone. "What is your Mom's number? I will have her meet us at the ER."
"NO! ... I mean ... I don't know. Mom's number is programmed into my phone, and um ... my phone broke when I fell off my bike."
"OK Carlos, no problem. I'll have Frankie ride over to your house and tell your Mom to meet us at the ER."
"I'll be fine Coach Tommy. Please don't get my Mom, um cause well ... I don't even think she is home."
I got up and headed down the hallway toward the bathroom. "Well Carlos, we will not know that until Frankie gets to your house."
Flinging open the bathroom door, I could see through the cloud of steam my sixteen year old son Frankie doing what every teenager does in the shower.
"DAD!" Frankie yelled pulling his hand away from his suds soaked groin
I shook my head. "Frankie listen, Carlos got himself hurt. Get out of the shower before you go blind, and ride down to his house PDQ. Tell his Mom to give me a call and meet us at Memorial ER."
The good or bad side to coaching my two sons and nephews on sports teams for so many years, as well as being a school lunch monitor, is that everyone seemed to know me. From the receptionist to the X-ray tech, everyone appeared to at one time or another, have been on one of my teams, or had a brother, sister, cousin, son, daughter, nephew, niece, neighbor or coworker in a sporting program I was involved in.
While it was hard to keep the names or years straight, my 'fame' got Carlos through the normally 'hurry up and wait' ER for treatment in record time. I was concerned because Carlo's mother had not showed up yet or called. I was REALLY upset that my son Frankie was not answering my calls or returning my texts. I saw a removal and suspension of his cell phone in the VERY near future.
The ER doc in front of me had once been a goalie on a team I coached, and still looked like a young kid to me. I was trying to do the math on his age as he motioned to a seat and threw some X-rays up on the wall light box.
"Coach Tommy, as you can see, Carlos has a fracture. He is getting a cast put on as we speak." Taking out a pen he motioned to a spot on the X-ray. "This fracture was not a result of any fall, I can tell you that. In my experience this almost resembles a spiral type injury, caused by a twisting of the limb."
He put his pen back in his pocket. "Coach, isn't Carlos' Dad that Wallace guy, the Marine Biologist who got to ride in the nuclear research sub?"
"Yeah, been out six weeks. Wallace, Carlos' dad, is scheduled to come home in about two more weeks."
The Doc pulled the X-rays off the light box, stuffing them back into the folder. "Normally I would report this. But as Carlos' dad, Wallace is not around, it may have just been a teenage fisticuffs, or him and his buddies playing MMA." He looked at me. "If you find different Coach, I need you to tell me."
Back home I had put Carlos to bed in my oldest son's room. Both my oldest boy and my nephew were away at college. The painkillers the hospital had given Carlos made it easy to put the groggy boy down. The fact Candy Too the Doberman was with him sealed the deal. I was still worried we could not contact Carlos' mother, and I was major league pissed my son Frankie was still not picking up his cell.
It was in that state of mind I answered the phone when I saw Frankie's name on my mobile phone display.
"Frankie, you better get some tin cans and a ball of string, because that is the closest you are ever gonna get to a phone until you are 21. Where the hell are you?"
"Um Dad, I am a ... like, in front of Carlos's house."
"Wonderful" I growled. "Is Carlos's Mom there? Did you knock on the door? Is her car in the driveway? You try the neighbors? Christ son, it's been almost 6 hours."
I heard hesitation on the other end. "Ah. Dad, uh like Carlos' mom has been at home the entire time. I think her name is Anna You've met her; she is kinda a MILF lady. But I haven't, like you know ... talked to her yet..."
"WHAT?" I yelled "You go notify that women RIGHT NOW! Do you hear me! Have her call me IMMEDIATELY! Jesus Christ, she has gotta be worried sick about her son."
"Dad" Frankie said. "Carlos called me from the hospital. Begged me not to tell his Mom where he was."
"Carlos called you?" I questioned. "He said his phone was busted."
I could hear Frankie shrug, even though the phone. "Don't know, Dad, just that Carlos made me swear not to tell his Mom where he was."
I tried to keep my calm. "Frankie, if you wanna hear some swearing, wait until you get home. Now march up to that house and tell that women where her son is before I reach through this phone and slap you into yesterday."
Fifteen minutes later there was frantic pounding at my door. When I opened the door an anxious attractive lady about my height with light brown hair rushed through before I could say a word. For a small woman she made a lot of noise.
"Oh my God Tommy! I am so glad you found Carlos! Is he alright? Where is my boy? Where is he?"
As I turned away from the front door, I saw there was a car with the engine still running at the curb. Someone must have driven Anna, because the passenger side door was still open. It looked like Anna had not even waited for the automobile to stop, let alone pause long enough to close the car door.
"Anna calm down please." I began holding my hands in front of her. "We just got back from the hospital. Carlos is resting now..."
"I know. Your son Frankie told me." Anna interrupted while wringing her hands. "But Frankie did not have any more details. What did the doctors say about Carlos? Is he OK? I need to see him!"
I could see Anna was on the edge of hysteria, and I feared her panic would upset Carlos.
"Anna, the docs said Carlos needs some rest." Actually the doctors told Carlos to take it easy, but I figure a little stretching of the truth was in order. "Why don't we let just let Carlos sleep, and we can speak to him later. How about I will tell you about what the docs said concerning Carlos condition in the kitchen and you tell me what is going on, OK?"
I heard someone enter the door behind me. When I turned, a giant of a man shoved me so hard against the wall I hit my head and saw stars.
A deep voice commanded. "Listen Asswipe, we need to talk to the kid NOW!"
.... There is more of this story ...