“Amanda! Stop throwing leaves at your brother!” Jack reached up and pulled the sides of his woolen stocking cap over his ears.
“Fuck. It’s cold. I biked this morning and my hips and ass officially announced winter is here.” Mark danced from foot to foot as he hugged himself.
“Dude, you could wear a coat.”
Mark stopped and looked at him. “Why are you being such a dick?” He snapped the K.
“Sorry bro. Fuck! We had a fight last night.”
Mark resumed the shift from hip to hip. “My life.”
“I brought Noah home from hockey.”
“He doesn't want to play. And I think he should anyway.” Jack took his hands and pushed them into his coat pockets.
“They have teams for kids that little?”
“Mini-Mite. Five and Six year olds. How don’t you know this?”
Mark planted his feet. “Is my kid born yet?” His face broke into a grin. “I’ll know it in five or six years.”
“Fair enough. I tried to explain it to her. Beth says he’s a baby. Said I should give him a couple of years.”
Mark shifted his weight from hip to hip. “So give him a couple of years. Keep the peace.”
“He needs to learn discipline and sportsmanship. She says he’s a quiet boy and I should leave him alone. He’s all about books and crayons and legos and shit.”
“Jack, not everyone likes hockey.”
“What the fuck dude? You do you know this is Minnesota? I played. My dad played. My grandpa played. Shit! My sister played.”
Mark looked down at his feet. “You going to make him play?”
“It doesn't hurt him. You know what? He’s my kid too. I get a vote. And besides, Beth’s always telling me to do stuff with the kids.” Jack turned toward the swing set. “Noah, let your sister have a turn!” He turned back to Mark. “She says I don’t talk to them. Well, here’s a thought. How about she talks to me? Everything’s a goddamned lecture.”
“Ellen’s the same way. She’s always steppin’ on my dick. Fuck! It’s too cold to be out here.”
“I don’t want to go home yet. Taking the kids to the park is a peace offering.”
“Fight’s not over yet?”
“No. I went to the garage and she went to bed. Only thing we've settled is that I’m fucking my hand.”
Mark burst into a laugh. “Jesus wept bro! You’re fucked. Okay, I’m heading out. I can beer tomorrow afternoon.”
“Alright. See ya Marky.” Jack walked over to the swing set. “Amanda! Give him back his hat!”