Carmella saw him first. "There's Milo."
Ned rounded the corner. "There you are, my boy. Come at last to see me off? Where have you been?"
"At the park."
"Well, I'm afraid I'm just leaving now. We falcons have to fly free, you know. We'll talk later."
Milo knew well the odds of that day ever arriving, and said nothing.
"You be good to Carmella."
With that, and some close mouth-to-mouth motion that Milo observed dispassionately, Ned was off on another of his business trips.
Carmella turned from the window. "Don't you go wandering around this house in those boots, young man."
Struggling to open the iced-over fasteners, Milo pondered the wondrous process in the English language known as the 'particle shift'. If you want to take off your boots, you have to take your boots off. Seeing off Ned necessarily involved seeing his father off. But, as far as Milo had understood from his readings--for he wasn't really personally invested in the process yet--it was not at all necessary to get off someone to get someone off; in fact, quite the contrary, in normal practice.
Milo had dreams and aspirations of power. He imagined that he would grow up to be president of some multinational conglomerate, whence he'd bandy about terms like meticulous, remunerative, and eminent domain.
Many years passed, and nobody was at all surprised when Milo found a successful career as a crossword puzzle author.
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