He got the finger
Alan Epps looked up as Don
handed him a cup of coffee and sat heavily in the chair next to him. Mindlessly,
he took it and wondered again why it was that hospitals had such uncomfortable
chairs for waiting. Just being here was bad enough, the chairs made it even worse.
"How exactly did this happen?" Alan asked, looking over at his older son.
wanted you to have a happy Father's Day," Don sighed.
"You wanted me to have
a happy Father's Day? How does Charlie end up in the hospital looking at maybe
having to have a finger amputated and a second that he may lose the use of because
you two were trying to give me a happy Father's Day?" Alan goggled.
a derisive snort and looked away, "We thought we would get you a chocolate cake."
"You couldn't just buy me one?" Alan asked in surprise.
"We were going to,
but then I got caught up in a case and forgot to order it," Don confessed.
stared at Don. "There was not a single store in all of Los Angeles that had a
"Charlie was supposed to pick one up, but he had to go to
that conference at the last minute and didn't get home until late last night,
and by the time he remembered he was supposed to pick up a cake, he was home.
He didn't want to go back out and there wasn't a mix at home, but he found all
of the stuff for a homemade cake like mom used to make for you every year."
was making a homemade cake?" Alan gasped. Charlie was not particularly domestic.
He could cook if he had to, he and Alan took turns, but he never baked.
ah, I kind of got after him for not telling me he hadn't been able to pick up
the cake," Don confessed.
Alan put a fatherly hand on his son's arm. "Don,
if Charlie hadn't wanted to make a cake, nothing you said or did would have gotten
him to. This is NOT you fault. If anyone's at fault it's me, if I hadn't startled
"Aw, no, no, dad, you had no reason to think Charlie would be using
the mixer. Charlie was off in one of his math zones, if you hadn't startled him
out of it something else would have and he would have bumped the switch no matter
what it was, it was an accident, these things happen."
"As smart as he is,
you would think Charlie would have had enough sense to not have his hand near
the mixer like that when he was using it, or about to," Alan shook his head.
had just finished attaching the beaters and was in the middle of lowering it into
the bowl when his elbow hit the switch and turned it on, it was an accident, no
one did anything wrong," Don explained.
"Yeah, accidents like this are probably
why the newer beaters are press in's with separate beaters. I don't know why your
mother loved that old Hamilton-Beach mixer," Alan sighed.
"Because it was Grandma's,"
Don reminded him.
"Hey guys," Charlie said weakly, as he entered the waiting
room, two fingers on his left hand thickly wrapped.
"Hey, buddy," Don responded,
getting up and clasping his brother on the shoulder
"What did the doctor say?"
Alan asked, hugging his son.
"I was lucky, I'll get total use back of my pinky,
and almost all the use of my ring finger," Charlie smiled tiredly
Alan responded, meaning it from the heart.
Don didn't say anything, but the
relief on his face spoke volumes.
"How are you doing, Dad?" Charlie asked.
"Me? I'm fine!" Alan insisted.
Charlie looked doubtful and turned to his
"I caught him before he hit the floor; he was only out for a few seconds,"
Don assured him.
"I had no idea that you faint at the sight of blood," Charlie
said, handing his prescriptions to Don, who had his hand out to take them. His
heart and been in his throat when he had seen his father going down after one
look at the gushing blood on his hand. Don, as usual, had taken charge. Charlie
remembered almost nothing except being on the floor holding his hand and trying
not to scream, while Don took care of their father and called 911.
it's never come up before," Alan told them as the three men headed out of the
hospital. "Kind of like my not liking chocolate cake."
Both of his sons stopped
and stared at him. Their mother had made him a chocolate cake every year on Father's
"Mom said it was your favorite," Charlie sputtered.
"Yeah, well, it's
not, but somehow she thought it was and she always made such a big deal out of
it that I never had the heart to tell her otherwise," Alan explained.
years of being married you never told mom that you don't like chocolate cake?"
"I don't not like it, it's just not my favorite," Alan corrected.
"What is you're favorite cake?" Don asked, as Charlie asked what his favorite
"Vanilla ice cream," Alan answered easily.
They looked at him
"What? Vanilla ice cream is perfect, you can do anything with
it," he told explained, looking from one startled face to the other.
Charlie home, I'll follow you and get his prescriptions filled," Don offered,
shaking his head.
"I'll see you when you get home," Alan agreed, herding Charlie
towards the car. It was a sign of how tired and doped up the younger man was that
he followed quietly. Charlie started to wave and hissed.
"You're sure you're going to be okay?" Don asked, coming home and finding his
dad and brother in the living room.
"I'll be fine, but it's going to take a
few months to recover completely," Charlie responded, his eyes closed against
"Here," Don handed Charlie his meds.
"It's a miracle that you
weren't hurt worse!" Alan commented.
"That's what the doctors said," Charlie
"Why don't you turn in, you look like a zombie," Don commented, taking
in his brother's pale skin and stress-lined face.
"Yeah. You don't look so
good yourself," Charlie retorted
Alan looked over at his first born. Don did
look more tired and careworn than usual.
"Let me know if you need anything,
Charlie," Alan instructed, getting up to help if his son had trouble navigating
"Why don't you stay over?" Alan asked Don.
looked thoughtful, "That might be a good idea." If he drove home as tired as he
was, he might not make it.
"Chuck, you're not supposed to take the pain meds
on an empty stomach, so I got a little something for Father's Day," Don grinned,
pulling out a half gallon of vanilla ice cream.
Alan stared at him, and Charlie
chuckled, and then laughed outright.
"I wish I had known about the ice cream
thing this morning," Charlie smirked.
"I still can't believe that you tried
to bake me a cake," Alan responded. "And we are getting rid of that mixer!"
idea, considering they had to cut the beaters off my fingers," Charlie replied.
"I'll take it with when I leave in the morning," Don told them.
orders and returned with Charlie's chocolate toped ice cream, his dad's strawberry
toped, and caramel on his own.
Alan looked at his boys, it was nice to have
them both here, the three of them together as a family.
"You know, this was
all I really wanted for Father's Day, but next year, let's skip the emergency
room and go right to the ice cream," he suggested.
"Absolutely," Charlie agreed
eating carefully to avoid moving his injured fingers.
"Oh, yeah," Don agreed.
"How did mom ever get the idea that you liked chocolate cake?" Charlie asked,
"Well, we hadn't been married long, and your mother didn't have much
experience at baking," Alan began, and looking over saw that both his sons had
nodded off. Quietly he got up, collected the bowls, and put an afghan over Charlie,
and got a blanket out of the linen closet and settled it over Don. Thankfully,
Charlie had taken his pain meds at the same time he started his ice cream. As
Father's Days went, this one would be unforgettable.
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