The door was opened by a chubby, balding priest. His hands brushed down his vestments as if to push away crumbs.
Tom inhaled deeply again, and blurted out, “May I have something to eat? We don’t have any food at our house.”
The priest’s round face twisted as he adjusted his eyeglasses.
“Who are you?”
“Oh. Hardy. Well, your parents are both drunks. Your father needs to clean up his act and get a job. We don’t help drunks until they help themselves. He needs to take responsibility for his family.”
The priest lowered his head and pushed back his glasses again. He looked Tom over: his shoes were worn out, his pants too short.
The priest shook his head, took a step back, and slammed the door shut.
“Why won’t God help me?” Tom whispered, but then yelled, “Why won’t God help me?!” He reached down, grabbed a rock and threw it at the door. The rock clicked and the door reset itself with a thump.
“If God won’t help me, I don’t need Him.” Tom inhaled deeply and exhaled fully. He turned away from the door and marched down the sidewalk.
Jerry rode by on his bike with a bag full of newspapers.
“That’s it. I’ll get a job delivering newspapers.”
Tom sprinted the rest of the way to the newspaper office. He didn’t even stop to slap his belly.