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Loving Sons

A Short Story by Harvey Grund

*********************** Hello!

Oh, hi Mom! How are you? What've you been up to?

You did? Just a social visit I hope. How's old Doc Burns doing?

A new doctor? What, is Doctor Burns finally retiring? I guess it would be about time, he's been the family doctor since before I was born. I guess he delivered both . . .

Oh, he referred you?

A specialist! What kind of specialist?

An Oncologist, what's that?

Oh my God Mom, why would he send you there? You've always been as healthy as a . . .

Problems? You never mentioned any problems before.

No. No I don't suppose you do tell me everything. So . . . what did this new doctor say?

(long pause)

Yea Mom, I'm still here.

Crying! No Mom, I'm not crying . . . I just got something . . . Hey mom let me call you back there's somebody at the door.

Yea, I will Mom . . . right back.

(some time later)

Hi Mom, its me.

Oh, just somebody selling something.


So Mom . . . is this new doctor sure about . . . about what he told you? Doesn't he need to do more tests? You know, maybe you should get a second opinion.

Oh! . . . So what happens now? Do you have to go into the hospital?

A clinic! Where's it at? Is it close to home?

Twice a week? Well I guess that's not too bad. Geez, listen to me. Easy for me to say, huh? So . . . is Sal going to drive you over there on Tuesdays and Thursdays?

That might not be such a good idea Mom. I don't know a hell of a lot about it, but I think you'll feel pretty weak after the . . . treatment so it might be dangerous to drive yourself home. Why don't you let Sal take you at least the first couple times so you get a better idea how you'll feel afterwards.

Yea, it would make me feel a lot better.

Of course I do Mom! I'll always love you and I'll always worry about you just like you always worry about us -- give you a taste of your own medicine huh?


Mom? Do you need anything?

Well maybe I could fly down there this weekend. Would you like to have your least successful son hanging around for a while?

I know you are Mom. I was just clownin' around as usual.

So how about it?

This weekend! Like I could come in on Friday night, rent a car . . .

Oh! That would be great . . . but, you sure you're OK to drive all the way to the airport?

Patronize you? Mom! I just worried about you, you know that don't you? Don't ever want to see anything happen to my favorite old lady.

Well, maybe you need a laugh. Maybe we all do. So anyway, I'll call you Friday afternoon to let you know what time my plane is coming in. Hey, you know what? I've got some vacation time coming. Would you mind if I spent it down there with you guys?

I know it's been a long time Mom but I've been up to my neck . . .

Thanks Mom.

Oh, I know you mean it.


I love you Mom.

So I guess I'd better let you get back to whatever you were doing. I'll call Friday and see you Friday night.

With Bells On Mom.

Love you too! Bye!

*************************** (moments later)

Hi Sal, its Larry.

Oh I'm doing OK. How about you?

Yea, it has been a long time. I figured maybe its about time we mended our fences.

Yea, that's were it all belongs . . . in the past. And besides, I hear we have a common interest now.

Yes, I just got off the phone with her. When she told me I got so excited I spilled a cup of hot coffee on my lap – she thought I was crying about the bad news, so I just let her think that. I’m such a devoted son ya know.

Yea, well you’re just as big a bastard as I am.

Oh, I’d guess she has about two-hundred grand stashed in the bank and probably half a mil in the stock market from when the old man kicked the bucket. That should keep us going for a while, huh? Boy, it’ll sure turn my life around.

I wonder how long she’s got. Did she tell you if that new doctor mentioned that?

Well, maybe it’ll be faster than that. That chemotherapy stuff can be pretty intense. I hear it really takes the will to live out of you. And you know how she feels about it.

Right! You remember when we were kids and Aunt Bertha got cancer? How Ma always said she'd rather die than go through chemotherapy - no, what she actually said was she'd kill herself. That's the first thing that popped into my head when she mentioned cancer.

Who knows she might. Maybe it would be better if she did.

No I meant better for her. Not as much suffering and pain.

Well of course I care! I may be a money-grubbing bastard like you but she is our Mom. By the way, I told her I was coming down to visit this Friday.

She said she’d pick me up at the airport

Oh, I’ve got some vacation coming so I guess I’ll stick around for a week.

You’re bad Sal! But . . . you never know maybe I can drop a few hints. Hey man! You’re in a lot tighter with her than I am. You think maybe you can convince her to pass along some of her money before she dies?

You did huh? That’s my bro! What did she say?

Well hell! I guess I can’t really blame her. She’s probably thinking we’ll stick her in a home somewhere – and she’s probably right. You know, you have to give Ma a lot of credit – she may be old but she’s still got a good head on her shoulders.

A boyfriend! When was this?

Oh man, we’ve got to do something about that.

Yea, and leave us with nothing but memories of what could have been.

Well anyway I’ll be down Friday. Let’s get together as soon as we can and see if we can devise a plan to get rid of the old golddigger.

By the way, did you tell Marge about Ma?

Yea, that figures. She’s always had a real soft spot for the old lady.

Well, just try to keep her away from there as much as possible – it wouldn’t do to have Marge spreading too much of her blue-sky optimism. That’s all we need to have her help mom to pull through and then we might have another ten years to wait and God knows how many more golddigging boyfriends to get rid of.

Feel bad! About what?

Sal! You’ve done real well for yourself and Marge and how did you do it? Blood, sweat and tears, that’s how. You borrowed from a bank at high interest and worked your ass off. Did Ma ever offer you any financial help?

No, I didn’t think so.

Well you shouldn’t have to ask her. Since Dad kicked off she’s been sittin’ so tight on his money you’d think she thinks she’s going to take it with her. You’re entitled Sal, we both are. Look at me! I’ve had to work every day of my life since high school. Worked all through college and been working since. I drive a six year old beater and owe everybody in town. Yea, I say were both entitled.

Of course I’m right!

Well you’ll get over it once you see the color of the money. That shade of green will get anybody over anything.

Well I really have to hang up now Sal and I’ll see you Friday. Let me know if you hear anything new or if Ma’s condition changes. And keep an eye out for that boyfriend. Maybe get that detective friend of yours to run a background check. Everybody has skeletons ya know.

OK, see you then.

copyright 8/22/98 Harvey Grund