His brother let out a braying sob, and George saw he had no tongue.
Orville came looking for them the next morning.
"Where are the sons?" George asked him, while stroking the donkey's head in his lap.
Orville smiled a slightly abashed smile. "I'm keeping them safe. I didn't think that Bill was in any shape to take care of them."
George said, "I'll take care of them. Bring them here. Joe, too -- he's in the room. I'll take care of them all."
Orville smiled his abashed smile again, then gave George an ironic salute. "Yes, sir," he said. He patted Bill's haunch and smiled to himself.
George didn't know how to respond to irony, so he held his brother more tightly.
Eventually, Orville went away, and then came back a while after that. He drove an electric cart. In the front seat, three sons bounced -- Tom, bright and curious; another, strong and big; a third, whose little pot belly jiggled as he talked and talked and talked. In a trailer, Joe kicked and fought against his bonds.
George let him out first, then took the sons to the porch. Joe and Bill stared at each other for a long moment, then Bill brayed out a long, donkeyish laugh.
Orville looked with proprietary satisfaction at the donkeys, then at the sons, then at George. He waggled a finger at George, as if to say, _I'll be back for you, someday_. Then he got into his tram and drove off.
George went back inside and made dinner for his family.
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