"I’m taking Robin for a ride so we can talk," Dorothy answers.
         "There’s nothing to talk about! I’ve explained what’s going on, and you don’t need to baby this kid just because he’s too damn full of himself to take what’s coming to him."
         "You’re babying him," Dorothy shouts. "You are bellowing like a madman. Sit down, go to your room, shut the hell up. What kind of way is that to talk?"
         "It’s a damn lot better than filling his head with sissy crap like you’ve been doing for thirteen years."
         Robin feels his throat go dry, his ears burning. An image of himself at his mother’s side, laughing on a New York sidewalk over some shared joke: sissy crap.
         "Go to hell," Dorothy snarls.
         "Am I asking too much? Tell me, Dorothy, am I asking too damn much? Am I the only person in this family who cares about Jackson?"
         "Don’t do this."
         "What am I supposed to do?" Clark says. "Tell me what it will take to have a little control of this family?" He reaches out and grabs Robin’s shirt in his fist, trying to pull him toward the door.
         "Let go!" Robin slides free of Clark’s grasp. He darts around the table to stand behind Dorothy. "Mom, make him stop."
         He watches as Clark’s predatory eyes scan the room–King Kong looking for a pedestrian to scoop up–and land on his plate, which he picks up and hurls at the cabinets on the far side of the room. Clumps of scrambled eggs explode in every direction; ceramic shatters on the pressboard. Ruby shrieks and covers her ears. Dorothy pushes Robin behind her and screams out, "Stop, it, stop it, stop it."
         Robin makes a move, sprinting through the living room, grabbing his jacket on the way out the front door. On the front lawn, he skids to a halt: a couple of little kids are playing with toy trucks across the street. He’s never seen them before, they must be cousins of the Kelly’s or something, but the effect of them, two boys, one older, one smaller, enjoying themselves so easily, leaves him stunned. It’s so normal and peaceful–the whole street is like that, a car rolling slowly by, a leaf blower clearing a lawn, a voice calling from a neighbor’s porch. Why is his family so full of problems? Why is he running out of his house like a criminal? But then his father is behind him, throwing the screen door open on its squeaky hinge, calling, "Get back in here," and Robin is dashing alongside the house into the backyard, thinking he’ll cut through to the Spicers, thinking Todd will help him out–a thought that immediately echoes back as ridiculous: Todd’s mad at him, probably won’t ever speak to him again, and besides, his father would just follow him there and drag him home, this is no solution at all.
         His bicycle is leaning against the garage. He throws a leg across, points the handlebars toward the street, starts pedaling. Both of his parents are in the driveway now, Dorothy with her hand on Clark’s arm as if restraining him. Robin stays to one side, pedals with his eyes closed, afraid he’ll be stopped, afraid they’ll stand in the way and he won’t be able to stop, he’ll crash into their bodies and knock them down and hurt them, hurt them just like he hurt Jackson, just like when he couldn’t stop himself and lifted Jackson’s legs over the edge of the railing to throw him into the air, up into the air away from him. No, he thinks, that’s not how it happened. He opens his eyes just as his mother is tugging his father out of the path of the bicycle.
        When he looks back, Clark has forced Dorothy away from him and has begun a chase. But he’s not close enough. Robin turns down Bergen Avenue and keeps riding. He cannot pedal fast enough to please himself.

----From Chapter 8, "The World of Normal Boys," by K.M. Soehnlein
Copyright 2000, Kensington Books