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My roommate, there in the croaker, was an old gent named Arlie. It was plain to all that he was on the way out to . . .wherever. But in the preceeding days, his family all came to visit him, and he proudly introduced them to me. His eldest sons were, all three of them, big, strapping youth, fair of face and ruddy of hair, and jovial of countenance. His fourth, the youngest, was of slender build, darker visage, and had a shock of dark, unruly hair.

Just before Arlie breathed his last, they drew the durtain between our beds which closed off the view but not the sound. He asked his wife, "Mercedes, before I go, I just must ask you a question. Is our youngest son, Timothhy, mine? I mean, i need to know."

"Yes, Dearest One", she said solemnly. "I swear on all that is holy, HE is the son of your body and soul."

Arlie's final breath was spent in thanksgiving, and he slipped away peacefully. The doctor declared time of death, and pulled the sheet over his now-stilled face.

She turned to the window and let looose a great sigh and said aloud, "Thanks be that he went before he could ask about the other three."
 
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Ba-doom. (tish...)
 
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