CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and SIXTEEN
“I must report,” Otera said. “Required by law.”
Without hesitation, she went to the landline phone hanging on the wall of the carriage house and called the police.
“What’s going on?” Dale, the O’Malleys’ handyman asked, as he came out from the tool room carrying a pipe wrench.
“Jabari’s hurt,” Tanesha said, weeping.
Dale took a look at the boy.
“Come on, big man,” Dale said. “Let’s let the grownups do grownup things.”
“Aren’t you a grownup?” Jabari asked.
Otera reported the abuse she’d seen on the boy’s body.
“You’d think so,” Dale said with an affable grin. “I know we have some cool board shorts over here.”
“In my size?” Jabari asked.
Dale pulled open a drawer with labeled “O’Malley.” Otera gave the phone to Tanesha.
“You mean this size?” Dale asked, holding up a pair of Seth O’Malley’s trunks.
“No,” Jabari laughed. “That’s too big for me!”
“How about this one?” Dale asked, holding up one of Ava’s bikini bottoms. “It’s definitely smaller!”
“That won’t work!” Jabari laughed. “That’s for girls!”
Dale continued to charm and entertain the little boy until the phone call was over. They were settling in to wait when Maresol came in. She saw Jabari just as Dale was pulling the board shorts onto him. Maresol started cursing and swearing. Maresol and Jabari’s grandmothers, Yvonne and Dionne, were her lifelong friends.
“Want to help me with my plants?” Dale asked, throwing Maresol a dark look.
Maresol hugged Tanesha, and Otera got back into the pool to help Sandy out of it.
“No funny plants,” Jabari said. “I’m too little for that.”
“Mr. Bernie would be pretty pissed if you mess with his weed,” Dale said.
Jabari laughed. Dale took the little boy into the greenhouse next to the pool area. Maresol went into the house to wait for the police.
Sandy dried off while Tanesha told her about their struggles to keep the boy safe. Even though she knew most of the story, she let her friend talk because Tanesha needed to talk. Tanesha was almost there when Hedone, Heather’s Goddess self, appeared. She wore a pure gold knit gown that accentuated her curves. Her hair hung in golden curls that made her brown skin look golden.
“What has happened?” Hedone asked.
“That stupid cow hurt Jabari,” Tanesha said. “His bottom has bleeding sores on it from a switch or a whip, something like that.”
“Heather should be here,” Hedone said. “She’s just brought Nelson home. He’s doing all right so I’ll go get her.”
She started to disappear.
“Wait,” Tanesha said. “I have one question.”
“Can you smite someone?” Tanesha asked.
“I’m not sure,” Hedone said. “Honestly, Jeraine’s ex is bereft of friends and lovers. Her children have limited or no contact with her. She has no one, just a big empty house. Everything she touches fails. She’s not successful in any area of her life. Would smiting be worse than that?”
“How do I protect Jabari?” Tanesha asked with tears running down her face.
“That’s a human thing,” Hedone said. “We have to win in the courts.”
“Can you make that happen?” Tanesha asked.
“I can add luck, but I don’t think there’s a way for any of us to directly affect human affairs,” Hedone said. “And anyway, you don’t need me too. You just need to step through the hoops.”
“Hoops?” Tanesha asked.
“Jabari needs to see a doctor,” Hedone said. “Not his grandfather either. You need to call his grandparents and Jeraine. You need to call your lawyer and social services. There’s no reason to do all of this by yourself.”
“Oh, right,” Tanesha said. “I know this.”
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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