Tag Archives: Robbie Morris

ForgeTown Cover

ForgeTown 1.15 – Good Night, Rob-A-Tron

All Kath could see of Robbie under his covers, was a fan of black hair and two very large brown eyes. They looked like thy might go on growing wider and wider until his face was nothing but eyes — and possibly a hint of quivering bottom lip, under that sheet.

Kath pick her way through the scattered contents of moving boxes (tomorrow!) and sat on the edge of her son’s bed.

“Hi buddy.”

“Beep.”

“Beep, yourself.”

The little piece of his face that had been showing slid under the sheet. She reached out and stroked the tuft of hair.

“You had such soft, fair hair when you were a baby,” she said. “And look at it now.”

A hand emerged from under the sheet and batted hers away. A muffled but decidedly disgruntled “beep beep” accompanied the gesture. One beep for yes, two for no. Kath pulled back the covers.

“You have to use words, Robbie. Remember?” Her voice was carefully soft.

The ‘beep’ was barely audible and followed by a louder,

“Yes. Mom”

“So, what do you think of your new room? It’s a lot bigger than your old one, right?”

Robbie stared up at her, still saucer-eyed. His gaze flicked around the room and came back to her.

“When are we going home, Mama?”

He never called her that anymore. Kath fought to keep her face from scrunching. She was definitely not going to let her eyes fill up.

“We are home, Rob-a-tron,” she managed. “This is our lovely new house and I’m sure it’ll start to feel like home as soon as we make some new memories to put in it.”

Robbie sat up, blinking.

“Is that what happens? The memories live in the house?”

Kath was just about to congratulate herself on engaging him when he cut across her private party with a rush of questions.

“What happens to all our memories from the old house? Are they still there? Can’t we bring them with us? Am I going to have to forget about Bobby and Cole and my little cubby and the climbing tree? And what about Santa and the Tooth Fairy? Are they going to know where we’ve gone? And how can I go to sleep without rubbing the little flap of wallpaper by my pillow?”

He ran out of breath and stared at Kath, forehead creased.

What could she say? That it’d be OK? (It would, by not necessarily tonight). That she knew how he felt? (Even though this was the first she’d heard about the wall paper? It did, however, explain a few of the quick fixes she and Don had had to execute after the big orange moving truck had packed up their lives and carried them away).

She did the only thing she could do: hug him until he squirmed. Then she snuggled in beside him, as she had every night of his life, book in hand. Nowadays they took turns reading paragraphs to each other. She had cried silently, on the last night when she had read to him in what he just now learning to think of as his ‘first bedroom’. She hadn’t been able to picture reading him bedtime stories anywhere else. Now, this strange new room was auditioning for the new role of ‘home’. With the lights low and their voices filling the air, Robbie and Kath took turns closing their eyes and willing this new place to do its job.

Forgetown Episode 1.07 – Robbie (Or Robert) Meets The Duck

ForgeTown Cover“Kath Rodriguez, nice to meet you,” Kath managed, letting go of Robbie’s upper arm and taking the firm grip of the grey-haired man who had walked over to where their two yards met. You could see where his property ended: it was a bright been line that spoke of chemical fertilizer, deep waterings, militarily precise mowings and, probably a quiet desperation about the state of the grass — you couldn’t call it a lawn — on her side of the border.

“Joe Kaczka,” the main said, shaking her hand. “But you can call me Duck. Everybody does.”

“‘Duck’! Well, hello Duck! That’s my husband over there, Don Morris,” Kath watched for the raised eyebrows ,but Duck’s face was a mask. “And this is Robbie. Morris,” she added after a moment of hesitation.

Robbie, seizing the moment, had started to make a break for the relative safety of the back yard.

“Robbie!” Kath called. The boy’s steps faltered. Kath added a special edge to her tone. “Robert Julio Morris. Come back here and say hello to our new neighbor, Mr Kaczka.”

(Kaz-ka. Kaz-ka,Gray hair. Number 6. Flag in the lawn, military air. Kaz-ka, equal stress on both syllables. Call him Duck.)

“Hello Mr Kaczka,” Robbie mumbled and Duck shook his hand solemnly as if greeting a great man. Something flickered across Robbie’s face.

“And what do you think of the place so far, young sir?” Duck said, giving his full attention to the boy.

“It’s bigger than our house,” the boy said, only he pronounced it ‘biggah’ and ‘hahwz’. “I mean our old house.”

Duck looked up at Kath.

“Boston?”

“Just outside the city.” Kath said. “Is it that obvious?”

“Well,” Duck said, “Most people around here have been here so long — my mother spent her whole life in the same house — so we notice when a person has an accent.”

Kath noticed that he said and “l-wong”  and “hee-ouse”, and painted her smile on more firmly. No accent, my foot.

“That’s a really tall flagpole,” Robbie was saying, staring up at the fluttering flag.

Duck’s chest puffed out just a bit and he turned to follow Robbie’s gaze.

“Yes it is, son. I raise the flag at sunrise every morning and retire it at sunset every day.”

“Why?”

Kath watched as Duck stared first at Robbie then quickly at her and then back to the flag.

“Because that’s how we honor our flag and show our love for our country, Robbie…or do you prefer Robert?”

Robbie blinked.

“I dunno,” he said. “Either, I guess.”

“A man should be in charge of his own name, young man.” Duck crouched down so he was at Robbie’s eye level. “You decide what you want to be called and then you just keep insisting on it until people they go along with it. They’ll respect you for it.”

Kath watched this little scene and realized her mouth was open. She snapped it shut. Robbie, too, was staring at Duck.

“But you’re called Duck,” he said. Kath choked off a laugh when she realized Duck wasn’t joining her.

“Yes I am, son. I am indeed. It’s what my last name means in Polish. They called me that in the service and I’m proud to use it now. Everybody in town knows me as Duck, but you’ll note that I told your mother to use the name. That makes it my choice and that is what makes all the difference.

Kath and Robbie (or was it Robert?) came separately to the joint conclusion that there was nothing to be added to this curious sermon. Duck slowly straightened up from his squat.

“Perhaps, if your mom and dad say it’s OK,” he said, but his eyes never left Robbie’s face, “you can come over some time and help me with the flag ceremony.”

Kath watched the glowing face of her younger child. Hook, line and sinker, she thought, and braced herself for the onset of another of her son’s serial obsessions. Flags and patriotism? Well, it could be worse.