Four-year-old Mark sat in the back of the ambulance as the paramedics tended him. Firefighters put out the last of the flames. Detective Miller walked over, flashing a badge.
“Can I talk to him?” Miller asked.
The paramedic nodded her head. “Yeah he’s clear.”
Miller sat down next to Mark. “Hey kid, how you holding up?”
“Where’s Mommy?” Mark asked.
Miller winced. “I’m sorry, Mark—she didn’t—she was still in the house.”
Mark began crying. “You mean she—she—she’s dead?”
“I’m sorry Mark,” Miller said as he hugged the boy. “They’re both gone.”
Mark began sobbing. Miller held him tight.
“A couple of neighbors said they’d take him for the night,” a deputy said as he came over.
Miller nodded his head. “The Richardos? They’re probably his best choice.”
“Senor Carlos?” Mark asked. “He was Daddy’s best friend.”
“Si chico,” Mrs. Richardo said as she and her husband came over. “Your parents were very good amigos.”
“What happens to him after tonight?” Carlos asked as his wife took the boy to their house.
“Generally speaking the next of kin would take him,” Miller said. “But since the boy doesn’t have any next of kin, he’ll probably end up in foster care.”
“What if we took him?” Carlos asked.
“We’d have to get a lawyer,” Miller stated.
“Si—Russell; Charlie Russell,” Carlos suggested.
“That may not be a bad idea,” the deputy said. “You’re friends; familiar faces; he’d feel comfortable with you.”
“No relatives?” Carlos asked.
“Stephanie’s parents died seven years ago; Richard’s dad was killed in a car wreck and his mother is in a nursing home,” Miller answered. “Both of them were only childs.”
“Can’t ever be easy, can it?” the deputy said, shaking his head as he walked away.
Miller looked at Carlos. “I’d take the kid but I’ve got no way to take care of him while working cases; it’s better if you and Rita take him.”
“And he’ll see you every Sunday when you’re in town,” Carlos said. “You’re a good friend, senor.”
“I’ll call Russell tomorrow; let him know what’s going on,” Miller said. “In the meantime, count on housing the boy temporarily.”
“Si,” Carlos said.
“See you tomorrow,” Miller said.
“Si, buenos noches,” Carlos said.
Miller picked up Charlie the next morning, and the two of them arrived at the Richardos’ house.
“Let’s talk on the porch,” Carlos suggested. “The others are still asleep.”
“Did you tell Rita about this?” Charlie asked.
“No,” Carlos replied. “I didn’t want to get her excited until we were sure.”
“That’s good,” Charlie said. “This process could take a while; you said there’s no next of kin?”
“There’s a distant cousin in Oregon; otherwise no,” Miller said.
“We’ll have to check with him before they take him, you know,” Charlie said.
“Except that he’s constantly traveling and not exactly father material,” Miller said.
“Done you’re research?” Charlie asked.
“El acosador,” Carlos muttered.
“No, profundo,” Miller stated.
“And that is why I hate working with you guys,” Charlie remarked. “We’ll still have to check over that option for the court’s sake.”
“Burocria molest,” Carlos muttered.
“Oh for crying out loud,” Charlie said. “English, please?”
“Red tape, senor,” Carlos said. “Lo siento.”
“That means—” Miller began.
“Sorry; I know,” Charlie stated. “I’m not completely stupid.”
“Well how long will this take?” Carlos asked.
“Between six months to a year at least,” Charlie answered. “You’ll have to prove Mark can live with you; plus all that ‘red tape’ you love so much has to be cut.”
“In the mean time Mark can stay with you,” Miller stated. “I’ve pulled some legal strings and you’re his guardians until this is all over.”
“Gracias,” Carlos said. “I’ll do whatever I can to help.”
“Yes Rita, you can keep the boy for now,” Miller said as he looked toward the screen door.
Rita stepped out onto the porch. “Sorry, just curious.”
“How long have you been standing there?” Charlie asked.
“Distant cousin in Oregon,” Rita answered.
“Chica furtiva,” Carlos muttered. “Volver a la casa me ocupare de ti mas tarde.”
“Si papi,” Rita remarked smugly.
“What?” Carlos asked.
“Just funny,” Miller answered. “You two are a cute couple.”
Carlos glared at Miller. “Whatever, you helped us stay together, you know.”
“You’re welcome,” Miller said.
“Okay great,” Charlie said, “if you three are finished, I’d like to start the paperwork for this case.”
“Alright,” Carlos replied. “Keep me updated; we’ll talk later.”
“See you,” Miller said.
“Bye,” Charlie said.
Here’s a couple more hymns I’ve found. I do recommend all three of these artists, though, as always, no one’s perfect, so they’re not the greatest in the world, but I do enjoy most of their work.
And for those of you are wondering, we are currently having some technical difficulties with our regular website. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding.
These are actually two versions of the same song. Sometimes you can actually find both of these in the same hymn book, depending on the hymnal. Usually, however, verses from both versions end up in one main song, so check your hymnbook and see which one it is! Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new favorite hymn.
While I don’t agree with everything Pastor Adrian Rogers said, this sermon did speak to me in a helpful way, and thought it might speak to some of you.