Once Upon A Weekend 11
     Bill watched Ricky from the doorway of the kitchen.  He didn't know what to think.  What Sam told him was too unbelievable, yet he could see for himself that something was very, very wrong with his young nephew.  He called his doctor and explained the situation, in as much as Ricky had suffered some kind of trauma and seemed to have reverted to childhood.
     The doctor assured Bill such a reaction wasn't abnormal considering the circumstances and as long as Ricky was just acting like a child and didn't become violent or unresponsive, he could wait to see him the next day.  He made the appointment and told Bill if there was any significant behavior change during the night, to immediately take Ricky to the hospital.
     Bill remembered how Ricky had reacted to the death of his father after the car accident.  He'd withdrawn into a protective shell, not speaking or wanting to leave his room, for nearly a month.  It had been during the summer, so going to school wasn't an issue.  Afterward, with Sam's and his mother's help, he'd recovered.  Then came the sudden death of his mother.  This time Ricky had seemed to be the strong one, not crying, accepting the death with a shrug of his shoulders, then after the funeral, after everyone had gone, he'd gone into his parents' room and practically destroyed everything he could get his hands on in a violent fit of rage and grief.  Bill held him afterward and listened to the gasping, wheezing desperate sobs of grief until Ricky fell asleep.  In the days that followed, Bill and Sam had let him know he was never going to be left alone again.
     Whatever it was that Sam said was haunting Ricky had to be truly horrible for him to fall into this strange behavior.  There was nothing Bill could do except humor him until the doctor could get a look at him.  
     At the moment, Ricky was sitting in the floor of the livingroom playing with some toy cars he'd dug out of boxes Bill had stored his nephews things in.  How he knew where they were, Bill had no idea.  The television was on playing a cartoon show.  Ricky seemed totally oblivious to everything except the game he was playing. 
     As Bill approached him, he looked up and smiled his biggest smile, the innocent eyes so childlike it frightened his uncle. 
     "Uncle Bill," Ricky asked, "May I have some chocolate milk?"
     Chocolate milk had always been his favorite snack.  Chocolate anything, for that matter, but Ricky wasn't supposed to have too much due to his hyperactivity.  Falling into his Uncle role, Bill did his best to look and sound stern.  Even when Ricky was a child, that had never been easy.
     "You've already had chocolate today," Bill said.  "Too much will spoil your dinner and keep you up all night."
     "When's dinner?" Ricky asked.
     Bill looked at his watch.
     "In about an hour," he said.
     Ricky pursed his lips into a familiar pout.
     "But I'm hungry now," he insisted.
      Bill couldn't count how many times in the past he'd heard those same words.  Ricky had been an insistant, persistant, impatient child.  This wasn't going to be easy.
     "No more 'til dinner," Bill said firmly.
     Displeased, Ricky picked up one of his cars and started to fling it across the room, another favorite thing from his childhood.
     "Ricky," Bill warned.  "If you throw that, I'll send you to your room."
     They faced off for several minutes, then Ricky set the car down and stood up.
     "I wanna go outside to play," he said.
     "It's too late," Bill told him.  "Tomorrow."
     The last thing he needed was for Ricky to be seen acting strange by some nosy neighbor.  Keeping him inside during the day was going to take a lot of strategy and work.
     "I wanna go now," Ricky said, stomping his foot.
     "No," Bill said.
     Ricky screwed his face up and started to howl in protest.  Startled by the unexpected noise, Bill grabbed and shook him hard.
     "Stop that," he said, hoping the noise hadn't carried outside of the house.
     Ricky stopped wailing and sighed in frustration.  He turned as if to sit down, then whirled around and bolted for the door.  Bill had been watching for that.  Ricky had used that little ruse more than once.  Bill caught him around the waist and had to tickle him to the floor.
     "Are you going to behave?" he asked, sitting on Ricky's chest.
     Ricky nodded.  He was having trouble breathing.
     Bill stood and pulled him to his feet.
     "Now, young man," he said, "Just for that stunt, go to your room until I call you for dinner."
     "No!" Ricky shouted.
     Billl had a feeling this wasn't going to be a quiet evening.  He grabbed Ricky's arm and propelled him toward his room. 

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