Son of Fred (Part 2)
A Mini-Novel for Ages 8-12
SON OF FRED
Esther & Richard Provencher
CHAPTER SEVEN - Lots of Fun
Victoria Park was really huge. Now that he was alone, it seemed more like a jungle. It
was filled with noises and other strange sounds and…danger?
"No. That was a partridge." He knew the word from his student encyclopedia. Shawn
laughed. “Floppy-Joe” was the new name he gave. Its wings beat faster and faster.
Now it was up and gone away.
He tried to copy its quick movements. Shaw began flapping his own arms, as quickly as
he could. "I'M FREE!” he shouted at the sky.
"I'M SON OF FRED!"
There was no one to say, “Be careful.” Or, “Don't do that you noisy boy.”
His life had been full of rules even though his foster parents were kind. "But strict!" he
laughed out loud. He liked to laugh.
And his strong voice echoed down the trail.
Shawn was not used to making happy noises past his backyard. Now he was so noisy,
several boys from school began to follow him.
His anxious feet headed for the Wishing Well.
It was on the other side of the boardwalk bridge. And there was only one special wish to
make. It burst out of his mind and fell with his penny into the well. It felt good to say the words.
"I want to find my dad Fred."
His coin swirled down and down, landing with a THUNK!
Later he made his way along the creek bank, noticing foam flecks by a logjam. The slow
current accepted his flung stone. 'KER-SPLASH!"
"KER-SPLASH!" he repeated. "KER-SPLASH! KER-SPLASH! Ha. Ha. Ha!" His voice
bounced along the riverbed.
"Hey," he shouted at the water. "I'm Me. I'm son of Fred."
Some boys following him were quite surprised. They couldn't help but wonder. Shawn?
He was alone in the park, and not even hanging onto the boardwalk rail, like he usually did.
By now the trail climbed higher upon the rising hill.
They remembered his screams of fear in the past. And that was even when his foster
parents were there.
Now the boys were simply amazed and began to circle him quietly. Almost like three cats
after a mouse. Here he was, alone. And no foster parents to protect him.
“Far out,” they said to each other with high fives. Bugging him was going to be fun.
"Hey Shawn! What're you doing here? All by yourself!" they yelled. Maybe they could
have some fun with him. Like, push him around a little. And take that smile off his face.
The three boys huddled together as they worked out a plan.
"Hi guys! Can I play too?" Shawn’s quick question took them by surprise. Once he was
fearful whenever they came around. His smile was full of teeth.
It wasn't a crooked smile anymore. It wasn't a scared-cat smile either. Nor even a pretend
smile. It was a brave 'Son of Fred' smile.
It was a huge, HUGE smile.
It was a laughing, monster smile.
"Who needs him?" One of the boys asked. "Come on let's beat it. He's weird anyway."
The others hesitated, not sure what to do.
"Want to come with us, Shawn?” asked one boy with a smug look on his face. “That’s if
you’re brave enough to hike to Waddell Falls.”
“If you’re not a baby-face," the oldest boy added.
"Why not? Give him a break. He proved he could be brave," another said.
"I don't know,” a third boy said. “Let's rough him up instead. Yah."
The conversation flowed back and forth like a river. And a little shouting took place
between the boys as they argued.
Then one of the boys gave him a shove. But Shawn stood his ground.
Another placed his face close to Shawn, and growled.
But Shawn’s morning GROWL was louder.
CHAPTER EIGHT - Plans Are Made
"My fist is a hammer," Shawn said, holding up his chin. He tried making an angry face
but he couldn’t.
The boys looked at his skinny knuckles and it cracked them up.
These same fellows used to call him names. And often teased him at school. Now they
were confused. He wasn’t running off bawling to someone.
“Get away you Bullies…Huh,” Shawn said, staring them down. Maybe because he
showed he could be brave. Or, it could be because knocking him around wouldn’t prove
The boys just looked at him, unsure what to do.
“Yes, yes,” he said. “Waddell Falls. No more scared-cat. Let’s scat!”
Now they weren’t laughing at him. They were laughing with him. He was coming across
as a cool kind of guy.
Shawn was soon running alongside as everyone raced up more steps to the waterfall. This
time he was ‘friends’ with friends.
The air was noisy with their yelling. No more ‘Retard.’
No more funny-looking boy, he thought. Shawn was just a boy with friends.
And Son of Fred loved it.
Shouting and chasing each other became a game. And they wrestled in fun on the grass.
These boys had names. Nathan, George and Sam. Now Shawn had three friends.
He told them about his plan to find Fred.
"You're running away?" They asked, shocked.
"No, it’s for my dad. I'm just looking for my dad." Shawn pulled his baseball cap down
tighter. No one was going to change his plan.
“Help me find my dad…Fred?” he asked. They listened.
"We'll look for a little while. And then take you back home. OK?"
"A-okay," Shawn answered. He smiled his smile. Then he gave them his right hand
thumbs up sign. It was his lucky thumb.
The afternoon was super, as ‘friends’ became ‘better friends.’ Four boys were now
working together to search all the trails.
It was a busy time since Victoria Park was filled with people.
Family picnics were going on everywhere. There were children playing Frisbee, some
even roller-skating. And a few doing tricks on their skateboards.
Now Shawn was part of the noise and fun time.
"Over here!" Shawn shouted over and over. And his new friends ran and helped check
behind the work shed. Even behind the swimming pool, and around piles of lumber.
Or anywhere else their new friend pointed. Everyone was like a detective seeking a fresh
trail. While they searched all over, they still had time for fun.
The boys even pretended Shawn’s dad was kidnapped. Soon it became a game of ‘hide-
and-seek,’ with a new name.
And it was called, "Find Fred."
Unknown to Shawn, he was gaining their respect. They could see he was able to laugh at
himself. And was interested in everything he saw.
He even taught them new names he gave the birds.
They joined in his laughing, as he pointed to fat crows scooting overhead. “Flying
houses” he called them.
Could they be friends with Shawn at school, too? Shawn wondered. They might tell
others he was an A-okay guy.
But these were questions for later.
Right now he was having too much fun. Son of Fred was a busy-busy boy. And he raced
ahead shouting, “First to the top of the hill!!”
CHAPTER NINE - Back To Start
A boy’s fun time finally came to an end. It was as if a lightning bolt dropped from the
big, blue sky. His hair stood straight up.
He clasped both hands together, and squeezed his eyes shut. “No…No…No,” he
repeated. At first, he felt like crying. But not now, no more baby time.
“Shawn?" the voice was closer now. It traveled like an arrow piercing his skin. One eye
Would fun-time memories just fade away? Was this afternoon for nothing at all? Thought
Skinny arms dropped limply by his sides. His jaw hung like a little sad sack. Grass stains
on his new jeans might also mean trouble.
"Would they come out in the Wish-Wash?" he wondered.
"Come here Shawn," his foster father called.
The other three boys hung back, wondering if their friend was in bad trouble. After all, he
wasn’t allowed alone out of his yard.
They watched his shoulders slump even further.
Shawn walked slowly towards his foster parents then stopped.
“Poor kid,” his new friends, said one to one another. They remembered the same look
when they were mean to him at school.
Perhaps they should say something. After all, he was now their pal. Maybe they could
change. No more saying “Weirdo” or “Retard.”
He was 'cool,' a real fun guy.
"It's okay, he's with us," one of the boys said, stepping forward.
“We’re friends,” the other two added.
Shawn looked around. He never ‘friends’ like this before. He smiled his special smile.
Both eyes grew from small buttons to large saucers.
They were sticking up for him?
The boy looked back at his foster dad. Was he angry as a crocodile? Shawn’s hair was
smeared over his forehead. And his pants had muddy smudges on the knees.
"Am I in trouble, deep trouble?" he asked.
His friends just watched, not sure what to say. One of them gave a 'thumbs-up' sign.
Shawn knew that meant good-luck, for him.
His shirt was open where two buttons had been torn off. He lost them in that wrestling
match a short while ago. "Oh, oh, bad time now," he said as both foster parents stood before him.
There was even blood on his nose. But his smile was so bright. And his eyes sparkled
with happiness, even if his chin tried to lean on his chest. But he wouldn’t let it.
His heart was traveling a “Thump…Thump” road.
Both foster parents smiled as three boys moved closer to stand beside Shawn. "Are they
really your friends?" they asked Shawn.
"Yes," he answered. "My good, new friends."
Both adults listened carefully, as each boy took turns telling about their adventures in the
park. The foster parents were astonished. A few tears tumbled down worried cheeks.
What they heard made them feel so proud.
Shawn glowed like a light bulb as the boys spoke up for him. They saw his confidence
grow in the tale telling. Shoulders straightened.
This was definitely a new boy who stood confidently before them.
Now it was Shawn’s turn to talk.
“I went up, all the way, up Jacob’s ladder. I wasn’t afraid. “No. No more,” he added. He
didn’t have to put a GROWL on his face. Shawn just scratched his head with both hands.
And his wide smile showed all his teeth.
Esther & Richard Provencher enjoy creating children’s stories & novels. Experiences are drawn from raising four children, being foster & adopting parents and doing volunteer work in nursing homes and meals for needy. They were married on March 27th, 1975 in Sarnia, Ontario and moved in 1986 to Truro, Nova Scotia. Richard was a member of the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia for many years, and a Writer in the Schools Program under their auspices for eleven years. Esther enjoys art-painting. Richard also writes poetry.
Richard L. Provencher was born in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec. Esther was born in Cape Spear, New Brunswick. Their writing blends a love of the outdoors along with contemporary issues, with short stories published in The Preservation Foundation Inc., Grand Reflections, Expressions of Soul, Subtle Tea Productions, and In Remembrance, considered the Best Web Site re Sept 11 Memorial in USA for 2002 and 2003.
They began writing in earnest as co-authors, after Richard’s brain-aneurysm in 1999. Writing was considered good therapy and he has gained much recovery since then, with the aid of his faith, a great wife and good doctor.