A/N: Originally printed in Who Rides for Justice? #2, sometime in the mid to late 1980s. This was one of a series of Journal Entries from Mark and Milt, usually commenting on a particular episode or event in the men's lives. They would respond to each other's entries. I wrote all the Mark journal entries while Rowena G. Warner did those of the Judge.

This Just Doesn't Seem to Be My Daye

An essay written by Mark "Skid" McCormick

Uncovered and submitted by Lizabeth S. Tucker

Well, well, well. I must've had a good idea if the judge is doing this stuff now. I only started writing these things 'cause it was a form of therapy recommended when I was in prison. Channel your hate and agression and pain to paper rather than letting it out to other prisoners and guards. It's a lot safer, for both sides. I know Hardcase didn't want me to find this one, it was well hidden in his desk. And I probably never would've if he hadn't gone away for the weekend and called me for some information. It was stashed in the same place. Guess he forgot. Or maybe the ol' marshmallow wanted me to find it, but wouldn't come right out and tell me about it. He puts up this steel, John Wayne exterior, but I've learned better; it's all a big sham. He cares, sometimes too deeply. But that's another subject. We're talking about my "father" now.

Yeah, I put quotes around it. That man may be my biological father, but he'd never done any of the things that a real father does. He wasn't there when I needed him, but it was by his choice. Okay, fine. I looked him up, gave him a chance to explain. What did I get? Rejection. Something I'm getting used to.

I still don't understand why the judge let me drag him clear to Atlantic City without an explanation. There aren't lots of people who would do that, not even friends. Three thousand miles on a whim? That's a bit much for anyone to swallow. Especially when Harcase was footing the bill, as usual. I needed him there, and I think -- I hope, he realized that.

My feelings for Hardcastle never waned, despite the search for my dad. I didn't mean to hurt him when I said "blood is blood", but somehow I thought it was important to find Sonny.

It took seeing the loser I had for a dad to make me appreciate just how special Hardcastle was to me, how much he filled that void in my life that wanted a father figure. Flip didn't make it, he was too close to my own age in attitude. I had just about given up with my "father fixation" when Hardcastle roared into my life. I didn't want it, but now I'm glad we met. A two year jail term and Flip's death was a rough way to get introduced, but meeting Hardcastle was the best thing that ever happened in my stupid, stinking life.

Yeah, I cried that night. Bitter tears for the loss of a dream that I had sheltered in my heart since I was five years old -- that I would find my dad, discover his leaving was a mistake, and that he'd welcome me with open arms. A kid's fantasy dies hard when it's been nurtured for all those eyars. It hurt. Bad. So did the truth of my rescue.

Yeah, I knew, even while I was outside that club spouting off about my "dad's" name being up in lights. I was trying to get at the truth, but Hardcastle was closemouthed about it, the cops wouldn't tell me squat, and I knew Sonny, if I talked to him, would play the hero for his adoring son. Ha, some adoration!

Hardcastle once said I was a pretty good judge of character, and so I am. I knew the minute I met Sonny he was no good, but what your instincts tell you and what you want to believe are two different things.

Oh, Hardcase, you're so tough. Didn't you know that my dad, even if he had been the kind of man I was hunting for, wouldn't have broken us up? Even if you ignore the parole thing, my dad and I hadn't seen each other for 25 years. We might've become friendly, still might, but it would never be the same as what we've built up over the months.

Yeah, I hurt when that letter was handed to me. It was the final act. There were no more illusions left to me, no more hopes about a fairytale ending. I wish…hell, I don't know what I wish, but I was hurt by the Judge's obvious sigh of relief at Sonny's leaving. I understand it, but it doesn't mean that the jealousy, the pettiness that I thought I saw in his face didn't disappoint me.

Then I thought about how I'd feel if the Judge's son was suddenly back to life, back in Hardcastle's life, living in the gatehouse…and I understood.

It took a lot of work, a bit of charm, and a hell of a lot of my own money to get the truth of what happened after I was snatched, part of the story coming from a secretary in the Federal building and some from dear ol' dad, when he hit me up for a loan (something the Judge doesn't know about), but it thawed the last frozen part of my heart. I did find my dad that weekend. I've been living with him all along. I'm really home. Just a shame it took this to wake me up. I never wanted Hardcastle hurt, not since the first night I found him watching me like a mother hen just before I went undercover. I never thought the feeling was mutual.

Still and all though, Hardcastle was wrong about two things. One, I'm not that good a kid, though I'm getting there. And second, the late night basketball game didn't do me any good. I think I broke some ribs on that last jumpshot.

Home. It sure sounds great. Even if Hardcase throws me out someday, I'll have a few good memories to take with me. That's more than I've had most of my life. Yeah, home. Has a nice ring to it.