Robert and Maria filled up the wooden porch chairs and then some. Amelia perched on the edge of hers, so emaciated you could almost see through her.
Each had a walker set in front of them.
“Mornin’ folks,” JJ said with a smile, making his way slowly from the door.
“Gonna sit a spell this mornin’, JJ?”
“Just a bit, Maria, just a bit. Got a new one today.”
“Don’t know why you bother with that mentoring,” Robert huffed. “Kids don’t appreciate it. Just wastin’ your time. Hoodlums, all of ‘em.”
“UmmHmm,” JJ answered good-naturedly, resting half of his skinny butt on the edge of the railing.
“They don’t get that you’re sacrificing your good time for them. Just taking advantage of you.”
A young man, his long black hair pulled back in a ponytail and wearing a denim jacket with the sleeves ripped out to show a skull and crossbones tattooed on each shoulder, walked up onto the porch and the eyes of JJ’s friends grew wide.
“Lookin’ for JJ Malone.” His voice sounded like gravel.
“Run JJ, run,” Maria whispered.
JJ chuckled. “Jonas, how you doin’?”
He stuck out his arthritic hand and the biker slapped his own into it with gusto, pulling JJ in for a good hug.
“How goes it old man?”
“It goes, it goes.” JJ’s eyes sparkled. “Folks, this is my prize student from fifteen years ago. My very first, back when I was only a beginner at bein’ retired.”
“Looks like a huge success,” Maria observed dryly. She and Amelia shared a look.
“See what I have to deal with here? Folks, Jonas went from a life of crime to his GED, then on to a master’s in Psychology. Works with veterans now. His niece is comin’ to get extra help so she can pass her SAT’s for college.”
He relished in the glorious speechlessness of his critics.
The biker nodded, beaming. “I can’t thank you enough, JJ. You saved my life back then. God bless yah. I was going from bad to worse, my brother too.”
JJ leaned towards the peanut gallery and winked. “Wastin’ my time, huh? No, no, you’re right. Sittin’ here on my ass waitin’ for lunchtime’s much more important!”
He swung an arm around Jason’s shoulders and headed for the car coming up the drive. “Let’s go meet this niece of yours.”