"What would have to happen for you to disown Henry or Gus?" I asked.
"What?" he said, startled.
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"What if they married someone you hated? Or… what if they were gay?"
"Has Henry asked you for a Barbie again?" he asked suspiciously. "Well… if they're gay, they're gay. What in bloody hell are you talking about?"
"What would it take for them to be dead in your eyes? Theft? Rape? Murder?"
"Don't be so daft," he said, before again falling into his brooding silence.
Another 15 minutes passed. It was 11:50, we were somewhere near Bronxville, and we had promised the babysitter we'd be home by 12:30. At five minutes to midnight, John stopped the car and pulled over to the side of the road as cars vroomed by us. I couldn't see his face in the darkness, but I did see wisps of his breath; our heater wasn't working and it was bitterly cold.
"They have British passports," he began slowly. "So whatever they did, we could at least buy them a little time by getting them out of the country. But if they were found and extradited, well, we'd buy the best lawyers and…"
I glance at the clock. It is 12:02. John has spent the first minutes of 2006 helping our four-year olds avoid the electric chair. I thought about what it means to have a father who watches your back. Watches it perhaps a little crazily, true, but watches it nonetheless.
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"I think 2006 will be OK," I said, as I kissed John's creased, glowering face. "We probably don't have to sweat the homicides 'til first grade."