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"Let me guess," said Abby, "Dick wants you to picket Watertown State Penitentiary until someone comes out and beats you up. Or," she laughed grimly, "maybe he wants you to talk to whoever it was that put you in the same cell as Alex Walters. If you're lucky, maybe you'll be thrown back to him!"

"Abby, that's not fair," replied Jake in a low voice. "Alex Walters wasn't Dick's fault."

"Maybe not," she retorted, "but I certainly don't feel like inviting that man to dinner right now-- not when he's trying to drag you into even more trouble!"

"I wish you wouldn't talk about Dick that way," sighed Jake, fumbling in his pocket for a cigarette. Then he remembered that Abby associated it with him worrying, and quickly stuffed it back into his pocket. "Dick is trying as hard as he can to do the right thing."

"Just what did good friend Dick want from you?" she asked, folding her arms defiantly.

"With the mood you're in," observed Jake, "I'm not so sure I should tell you. Dick could ask me to go ice skating with him right now, and you'd be against it."

"Jake," observed Abby, "you're hands are trembling, and you want another cigarette. Dick didn't ask you to go ice skating."

The young man stared at a worn spot on the knee of his jeans.

"Dick wants me to go down to the penitentiary with him and talk to the warden," he carefully explained. "Dick thinks that we might be able to persuade him to listen to some suggestions we have. Maybe, we can improve the situation, and stop prison rape from happening to anyone else."

"Is Dick really feeding you that ridiculous fairy tale?" she cried, disbelievingly.

"See what I mean?" Jake groaned, standing up and lighting the cigarette he had been desperately craving for the last several minutes. "I told you this would happen. No matter what Dick would've said, you'd be against it!"

"Just how does that man think he's going to 'persuade' the current warden to listen to you?" pressed Abby, getting up from the couch, and confronting Jake. "Neither of you are exactly welcome there!"

"Dick says that some lawyer thinks I have a good case," he answered. "If they won't listen to us, we could take them to court."

"You mean, threaten them?" cried Abby in horror. "Why don't you just stand in front of the prison gates with a sign that says, 'Here I am. Wipe your feet on me, again!'"

Jake lowered his gaze and clutched his cigarette.

"Dick is just full of great ideas!" Abby exclaimed derisively. "And this is the man you want to name your son after?!"

"Please," begged Jake, his face bleaching white, "no more, Abby. I can't take any more right now."

Abby bit her lip and returned to her computer. If she couldn't talk to Jake about this, at least she could get her mind on something else.

"You haven't already promised Dick anything, have you?" she wondered.

"I said I wouldn't," replied Jake, hurt that she even had to ask. He put on his coat and quietly gazed at her while she tried to work. "Abby," Jake breathed softly, "I hate it when we fight."
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