Chapter 39

Cal continues his nightly wandering. One night, while watching a fan-tan game, he is scooped up in a raid on illegal gambling. Adam is called to retrieve him from the City Hall. He says nothing to his son as they walk the two blocks home. Lee, Cal, and Adam eat their breakfast in silence until Cal can no longer stand the tension. He yells at his father to “get it over with!” and say what he wants to say. Cal expects rage but what Adam says stuns him. His father asks a question that is actually more of a statement. As he looks directly into Cal’s eyes, and Cal into his, he says, “I’ve failed you, haven’t I?”

Cal cannot explain to his father what compelled him to do such a thing. He lamely offers that he...

(The entire section is 760 words.)