Chapter Three

    "Mario and Albert, you can go home for supper, but make sure your back 
four hours, precisely at eight. I want to do inventory for the month 
    "Scrooge," Sam muttered.
    "Well, I gotta be going," Joey excused him, but he had not a clue as to 
where he lived. He guessed he would just go to the drug store to wait for 
Mary Margaret to arrive at seven.
    "You could come home with me," Sam offered. "I'm going to David's 
    "Ok. But wouldn't the leapee's family be worried about him."
    "There is no family," Sam confessed.
    "Then, how did I get born?"
    "Forget it, Joey."
    They walked to the Viaggios' apartment. Inside Kelly, who earned the 
nickname Dodger around the neighborhood, was helping her mom cook fish and 
pasta for the traditional Christmas Eve supper.
    The two males walked in, and sat down at the supper table where David was 
already sitting. Kelly put the plate of fish and her mom placed a heaping 
family bowl of pasta in the middle. Joey's family knew that in his family 
Christmas Eve supper was a feast, only to be rivaled by Easter and 
Thanksgiving. They all dig into their food. 
Around him was his family, well sort of. Sam had leaped into Joey's father; 
his Uncle David and mother were there, even his grandmother. Of course, their 
ages were all screwed up due to time travel, but it still was a family meal.
"So, how are the priests treated the two of you?" Maria asked "Albert" and 
     "What priests?" Joey puzzled at his grandma. 
     "At the orphanage?"
     " What orphanage?"
     "The one you live in, dumbass," Dodger said.
     Joey was puzzled. He lived at home with his parents and siblings in the 
21st century. His father, well, he couldn't remember much about his father's 
childhood, which was well the truth anyway. Joey remembered something about 
his dad, aunt and grandpa living in a house somewhere. The rest Joey just 
figured out to be nonsense to make the kids feel bad when they wanted 
something. Like his father telling them that he had to walk three miles to 
school barefooted in the snow. Clearly, Sam was wearing shoes so Joey knew 
that his father must have owned them. The orphanage was real! And his father 
grew up there! Wow! No wonder his father had all those kids. Al just wanted 
to make sure that there were plenty of kids around to be loved.
     "Terrible," the holographic voice said from behind Sam. "The priest beat 
us, well the ones that they could get away with doing it. Father Murphy 
sexually abused some of the five year olds, and Father Dikes was always drunk 
and in a bad mood." Then Al remembered. "Show them your left hand."
Sam followed orders. 
     "How did this happen?" Maria took a look at the large red cut on 
Albert's hand.
     "Father Dikes hit me with a bottle," Sam guessed. 
    "Hopefully, it was just holy water," Maria said.
     "I thought you got that in a street fight," Dodger said truthfully.
     "Oh, Al! Never mind her!" Maria stated. " I knew that lie was only a 
cover. "I know exactly what to get you for Christmas. "It's a surprise!"
     When supper was over, some of Dodger's male friend came over from his 
apartment in the same building. They started to play Ouiji, Dodger's favorite 
game because it dealt with learning about the future.
     "Who am I going to marry?" Dodger asked the game.
     The board spelled out AC. "I'm going to marry an air conditioner." She 
thought about it a little bit, then glanced sneaking and lovingly up at a 
teenage "Albert Calavicci".
Then it was her friend's turn. They asked questions about baseball and sports 
for the remainder of the time.
     It was seven o'clock, time for Joey to leave to go to the drug store. He 
walked out the door and down the block toward the shop, hoping his hot date 
would be there.
Back at the apartment, it was time to unwrap the gifts. Dodger got a new pair 
of roller skates, David got a few Andrew's Sisters record because his mom was 
trying to steer him away from Eminem and Puff Daddy who were unfitting for 
the early 40's. Then, it was "Albert" turn. He got a warm wool sweater, which 
he put on right away. It was a perfect size too.
     "Thanks!" Sam told the family.
     "Now, it's time for your big gift, Al," Maria said. "I know we've only 
known you for a year, but over the year you've become like family to all of 
us. I just want to say that you can spend any time you want with us, even 
overnight when it's not a holiday. Maybe, if you prove yourself worthy enough 
to be called a great good kid, we'll take you in permentantly."
    "Wow! Thanks!" Albert said, his voice taken away by sheer joy.

diana beckett
(c) June, 2002