My god daughter’s brother Max wants me to adopt him.   He spent the past few days here.

At home he is, as Zack would say, a hot mess.  Once he gets here he is calm, attentive, polite and charming.   He is the right size.  He washes dishes and clears up after himself.  He chats animatedly to the twins and one would never imagine that this is the boy who is facing all sorts of trouble at school and at home.

He is very much like I was when I was a kid.   I just loathed my parents and took every opportunity to make them aware of it.    At school he doesn’t really fit it so over compensates with lies and boasting.  Consequently he has a horrible time.

Whereas I had good reason to hate my step-father his parents try their best to accommodate him.  I know that this will end badly because as much as he tries to be a stand up guy he is now cast in the ‘bad boy’ role-and that only has one conclusion.  The authorities are aware of him, the school doesn’t want him, his peers are frightened of him.  His parents, poor things, are at their wit’s end.

When he is with me he understands the boundaries.  We speak the same language.  The language of the addict.  I wish I could take him to an AA meeting but he’s 13 years old.

Yesterday Max, Miles and I planted melon seeds and watered the garden.  The Little Dog found a young rattle snake and we killed it.  It has been snake crazy up here.  Rattlesnakes, California King and Garter snakes.   A huge California King Snake dozing on the path.  It looks worse than it is.  Apparently non-venomous.   Unless you are a small mammal.

I guess there are many more snakes this year because of the rain we had all winter.  More vegetation means more rabbits and gophers which in turn feed the snakes.

The Little Dog did something very funny.  We were listening to the coyote deep in the valley screaming and howling, when ever they do that the Little Dog hears his call from the wild and barks frantically.  Robby started howling like the coyote and to our amusement the Little Dog started howling too.  It was a revelation, I had never seen him howl.  It was so sweet to see him lift his little head and howl.  The howling dog.  I will try to film it next time it happens.

When we finally took Max home via the ice cream store at the Lumber Yard he reverted to his usual surly, frightened self.  Rude to his parents, unhelpful, aggressive to his sisters.  It was sad to see.   The twins and I adore Max when he stays here with us.  Now he wants to come live here full-time.  When I get back from the East Coast this autumn we will think about it.

I really think that this may be the only way he holds onto his family, his liberty and his sanity.

I spent the rest of the day plotting the final chapters of my book.  It does not turn out how one might think.  However, crafting a sting in the tail is my aim and that is harder to write than it seems.

Thanks for all of the helpful Novel feedback.  Thanks for those of you who took the time.  Thanks especially to Joanna in London from a certain niche publisher who liked it enough to want to read it all.