“I want some cock,” he said somewhere behind me. I was talking to the neighbor. We were sharing beers and laughs and suddenly silence.

“What did he say?” the neighbor asked.

“I want some cock,” he said again as if on cue. “Daddy, I need cock.”

My neighbor shifted uncomfortably. A three-year-old requesting roosters does that to a person.

His grandfather, my wife’s father, had told him that a penis was called a pecker. It took me awhile to undo that one. A three-year-old talking about bird beaks also tends to make people shift uncomfortably and become suddenly interested in leaves and passing clouds.

It’s all in the delivery.

“What do you want?” I asked my son. My neighbor was enjoying this.


“Um,” I started, “what is that?”

“It’s cock,” he said. His expression added, “duh.”

“Where did you see it?” I asked, instantly regretting my having done so.

“The girls have it,” he answered.

I looked at the neighbor. He raised his eyebrow and sipped his beer.

“The girls,” I replied, “have what?”


“What…” don’t say it, don’t say it, ” does it look like?”

He reached in his pocket. I looked around for cameras. He pulled something out and held it in front of me.

“Chalk?” I asked.

“Yes,” he answered, “cock.”

The neighbor laughed as I walked in the house to get some chalk for my son. I only brought out one beer and it was cold and it was good. The neighbor never stopped smiling.