Title: The World's Cutest Closer
Author: smartalli
Count: 5900+
Fandom: Suits
Characters/Pairings: kid!Mike, daddy!Harvey, Donna, Jessica, Louis & Jenny
Warnings: Possible cavities due to fluff ingestion, and one bad word.
Summary: AU. Five year old Mike has never been trick-or-treating.
Disclaimer: Don't own it. Not mine. Don't sue.
A/N: From a prompt from suits_meme, given by huffydoo. The car Harvey drives is lifted directly from the Manhattan Classic Car Club website, all the dinosaur facts are true, and the quote at the bottom is from the classic TV special It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.


"Daddy, what are those kids doing?"

Harvey looks up from the Kensington file to find his five year old son looking at him. Mike's sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the TV, still in his favorite dinosaur pajamas at just before eleven in the morning, and Harvey smiles at him and leans back in his chair.

"They're trick-or-treating, buddy."

"Oh." He looks at the TV briefly before looking back at his dad. "What's that?"

"Mikey...you didn't go trick-or-treating when you lived with your mom?"

The little boy shrugs.

"You know...when you dress up like a monster or your favorite character and you go door to door saying trick-or-treat?"

"Why would you do that?"

"Well, it's a tradition. It's what all the kids do on Halloween. You dress up as a pumpkin or as an astronaut or as Dracula, and then you walk around the neighborhood and knock on everyone's door. They tell you how cute you are, and give you some candy, and you say thank you. Your mom never did that with you?"

"Oh..." Mike starts picking at the hem of his pants. "Nope. Mommy never did that with me. Is it fun?"

"Is it fun?" Harvey closes the file and sets it aside, leaning forward in his chair. "Buddy, Halloween is the greatest night of the year when you're a kid."

"Really?"

"Yeah."

"Oh." Mike looks away from his dad and back at the TV. One of his favorite episodes of Phineas and Ferb is just beginning, but Harvey can tell by the way his son has started playing with the toes on his right foot that Mike isn't paying any attention to it.

"So, who do you want to dress up as? You could go as Phineas...or Woody...or maybe a fireman?"

Mike gets up from the floor and walks over to his dad, and Harvey picks the little boy up and settles him on his lap.

Mike looks up at him with hopeful eyes and says, "You're gonna take me trick-or-treating?"

Harvey smoothes back Mike's bed head. "Of course I am, bud. So how about Phineas?"

"But you said I had to go as a pumpkin or an astronaut or Dracaluh."

"Dracula. And those are just suggestions. You can dress up as anything you want."

"Anything?"

"Yep. How about a pirate? Or a cowboy? Or a ninja?"

Mike leans back into his dad and starts nibbling on his bottom lip. When he finally speaks his voice is soft, shy. "Can I be you?"

Harvey looks down at him in surprise. "You want to be me?"

"Uh huh."

"You want to be a lawyer?"

He shakes his head. "I want to be a closer."

"Bud, you know that's just a fancy name for what daddy does. I'm still a lawyer."

He shakes his head again. "Not that kind of closer. I wanna be the kind of closer you were before."

He points at the picture on the bookcase, and Harvey lets out a noise of understanding. Mike has been fascinated by stories of Harvey's time as a baseball player ever since Harvey got a package in the mail from his mom a few months ago. It was full of pictures and gloves and clay-stained baseballs, and Mike had immediately pulled on one of Harvey's old jerseys and insisted on wearing it for the rest of the day. He'd crawled into his dad's lap and demanded to know the story behind every single picture, so Harvey spent the night telling Mike about hitting a home run against the league's best pitcher, about playing in the State Championship when he was sixteen. And when he'd explained to his son that he'd been a pitcher – a closer, because he always got the job done at the end of the game – Mike had delightedly exclaimed, "Daddy, that means you're two kinds of closers!"

"Yeah?" Mike nods his head vigorously. "Okay, we can do that."

"Can we trick-or-treat at Auntie Donna's?"

Harvey wraps his arms around his son and settles them further into the chair. "Are you kidding me? She'll probably kill me if I don't bring you by."

Harvey knows he should probably work a little more on the Kensington file, but Phineas and Ferb are building a circus in their backyard, and Candace is red and blotchy from a parsnip allergy, and his little boy wants to be him for Halloween, so he can afford to put work off until later, when Mike is asleep for the night.

"Daddy?"

"Hmm?"

"How come mommy didn't take me trick-or-treating?"

Harvey has worked hard over the last few months to remember that much as he dislikes Mike's mother and the way she handled everything, much as he hates the fact that she kept his son from him for almost five years, she's still Mike's mom. And Mike doesn't need his dad bad-mouthing his mom, even if she's gone from their lives for good.

But moments like this? They're what make holding his tongue really, really difficult.

"I don't know, buddy. She was a bartender, so she probably just had to work on Halloween every year. I'm sure she would've taken you if she could've."

"Really?"

Mike looks up at his dad with his big, beautiful blue eyes, and Harvey rubs his hair affectionately. "Absolutely."


"Are you kidding me?" Harvey shakes his head and Donna swears under her breath. "Just when I thought I couldn't hate that woman more."

"Believe me, my hatred for Emily is something I struggle with every day."

Donna has always been a formidable force, but she looks even more so right now, full up to the brim as she is with outrage over what she's termed the "fuckery" of Mike's early upbringing. "Well, how are we going to fix this?"

Harvey stands from behind his desk and buttons his suit coat. "Jenny is already talking to everyone in the building, asking them to be extra enthusiastic when Mike knocks on their door-"

"Which they would have been anyway, because Mike is charming and precious and everyone loves him. You'd better be planning on bringing him by my apartment, by the way. I reserve the right to ooh and ahh and fuss over him in his adorable Halloween costume like the overly affectionate aunt I am."

"And risk bodily injury if I don't? I'm smarter than that."

She tilts her head and smiles. "Yes, you are. I've trained you well."

He smiles and picks a baseball up off the top of his desk. "You're top of the list. Mike insisted. But I thought I'd take him to Jessica's too."

Donna nods. "And what's his costume?"

Harvey leans against the edge of his desk and says, "You'll see." When she starts to protest, he adds, "Mike wanted you to be surprised."

Donna huffs good-naturedly and says, "Fine." Harvey is about to respond, but before he can, he sees a slow smile begin to grow on her face, and she says, "You know who else's apartment you should drop by? Maybe...I don't know...a certain junior partner who made our favorite little boy cry a few months ago?"

Harvey can't help the grin that suddenly takes over his face.

"And why are we all looking so happy this morning?"

Harvey and Donna look over to see Jessica standing in the doorway to Harvey's office, arms crossed and an amused smile gracing her face.

"Just talking about Mike, celebrating his first Halloween."

Jessica walks a ways into the office and says, "He's five years old. Surely he's dressed up for Halloween before." Harvey shakes his head gently, and Jessica closes her eyes briefly, shakes her head, and says, "That woman..."

"I was telling Donna that I'm planning to take Mike trick-or-treating in my building, and then I thought we'd drop by her place and yours. And Donna mentioned that it might be nice if we also took a trip to see Louis."

"And perhaps make him fuss over and praise your little boy to make up for bringing him to tears not so long ago?"

"Does that sound like something I'd do?"

Jessica smiles and says, "I can believe you'd do anything for that boy, Harvey. And if it involves getting the better of Louis in some way, well...I imagine that wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to you." She clasps her hands together and says, "But it seems a little unfair to let Kyle and Gregory get off scot-free, doesn't it? Especially considering it was their careless words that started the whole mess."

"What do you have in mind?"

She smiles. "You'll see. Meeting in fifteen minutes." As she exists his office she turns one last time and says, "Don't be late."

Jessica's idea is to open up the offices to trick-or-treaters on Halloween afternoon, declaring it the First Annual Pearson Hardman Family Halloween Block Party. All employees will be strongly encouraged – emphasis, of course, on the strongly – to participate and keep candy or small toys at their desks, but it's Jessica's ingenious idea of gentle retribution for Kyle and Gregory that Harvey appreciates the most.

"And a special thanks to Kyle and Gregory for volunteering to chaperone the kids on top of their already heavy workload. The kids, and their parents of course, appreciate your dedication to the firm. I think we can expect about forty kids to come by, so they'll certainly have their hands full."

Harvey just manages to hide his smile, but it threatens to break free when Jessica turns and sends a wink his way. He can't imagine what it'll be like for the two associates when they have to watch over close to forty kids under the age of ten that are hopped up on sugar – many of them the children of partners, sure to report back to their parents even the slightest of indiscretions – but judging by their pale faces, they aren't exactly looking forward to it.

After the meeting Harvey slips away from the crowd and trails Louis back to his office, making a show of reading the articles on Louis' wall, waiting for the other man to speak.

"Harvey."

That didn't take long.

"Louis."

"Is there...something I can help you with?"

Harvey turns to him, a smile plastered on his face. "I'm so glad you asked that, Louis. Thank you. Yes, in fact, there is something you can help me with. I just wanted to know when the best time would be for me and Mike to drop by on Halloween."

"I'm sorry?"

"You see, it's Mike's first Halloween, so I thought it would be nice if I took him around to the places of people he knew...you know, to make sure he's comfortable his first time trick-or-treating."

"Uh huh...cute, Harvey. Mike is five years old."

"I know exactly how old my son is, Louis. So does seven thirty work for you?"

"Seven thirty?"

"Yes, Louis. It's that time of day that falls directly between seven and eight."

"Harvey-"

"You'd hate to disappoint a little boy on his first Halloween by not being home when he knocks, wouldn't you? Especially when that little boy happens to be the favorite of so many at your place of employ."

"Come off it, Harvey. Are you really trying to con me into thinking that your son has never been trick-or-treating before?" Louis' smirk drops when he sees the swiftly hardening expression on Harvey's face, and he says, "You're not kidding."

"Well done, Louis."

The men stand in silence for a minute, watching each other, and it occurs to Harvey that while he'd imagined the day might come when he'd have the occasion to share a real moment with Louis Litt, he never would've guessed it would be because of a five year old boy.

But then, Harvey would've never guessed that he could become the sort of person who knows theme songs to kids TV shows by heart, or shops for dinosaur and racecar pajamas, or who lives for a hug and a kiss from a sweet, big-hearted little boy at the end of the night either.

Things change. And Harvey can adapt with the best of them.

"Seven thirty is fine."

"Good." Harvey nods and turns, and just before he's about to leave Louis' office, he says, "Oh and Louis...Specters are full sized candy bar kind of people, not...hard candy mix kind of people. Shop accordingly."

When Louis grunts his response, Harvey laughs and walks away, down the hallway and toward his office.


Harvey is drinking his coffee in the kitchen early on Halloween morning when he hears a key in the lock in the front door. He walks out of the kitchen and greets Jenny with a nod as she edges into the condo quietly, a bright smile on her face. He has to hand it to the girl. Jenny always manages to look as if she's just woken up from a full night's sleep, no matter what time of day it is.

"Morning, Mr. Specter."

"Hi, Jenny. Thanks for coming over this morning."

She drops her messenger bag on the table and waves him off. "Oh, it's no problem. He still asleep?"

Harvey looks down at his watch and says, "Considering it's just about five in the morning, yes." He shakes his head. "I haven't gone into work this early in years."

She grins. "The things we do for the ones we love."

He holds up his cup. "You want some coffee?"

"Please." She follows him into the kitchen and when he hands her a cup of coffee, she takes a sip and sighs happily. "Thanks. I swear, you have the best coffee."

"It's all about the water."

"Really?"

He nods. "Unless you use the right water, your coffee will always be subpar. I only use triple filtered water to make my coffee."

"Huh. You learn something new every day."

Harvey sets his empty cup in the sink and walks back into the living room and Jenny follows him, her cup clasped between both hands. Harvey reaches for his suit coat and says, "Okay, I already explained to Mike that I wouldn't be here this morning when he woke up, but you know how he can be when he can't find me, so-"

She nods. "Anticipate a slightly bumpy road ahead. Got it. Do you want me to feed him when I pick him up from school, or should I just bring him straight to your office?"

"Yes, please. Make sure he has lunch." Harvey pulls a few bills out of his wallet and hands them over to Jenny, who immediately puts them in the front pocket of her jeans. "Obviously nothing sugary."

She chuckles softly. "Right."

"He has a few permission slips that need to be turned in today, so make sure you remind him to do that when you drop him off. They're in his backpack."

"You got it."

Harvey picks up his briefcase and opens the front door of the condo. "And thanks again, Jenny. I appreciate it."

"It's no problem, Mr. Specter. Really. See you this afternoon."

He nods his goodbye and shuts the door behind him, and gives himself a mental reminder to find some way to pay her back for always being there when he needs her.

Jenny is a godsend. Not only is she great with his son, she's dependable, responsible, and always willing to shift her own schedule to accommodate Harvey, which can't be easy for an eighteen year old in her first year at NYU. She's a fundamental reason Harvey's life runs so smoothly. But most importantly – and this is, by far, the key point in her favor – Jenny adores Mike. And Mike loves her right back. Every time the two of them are together, Harvey feels like he's at a meeting of the Mike and Jenny Mutual Appreciation Society.

She has a birthday coming up. Perhaps that laptop he knows she's been wanting?

He'll ask Donna's opinion when she gets in.

Harvey sets down the Wellman financial records and walks over to his record collection, letting his fingers dance down the line until he lands on Take Love Easy.Ella Fitzgerald and Joe . Harvey picks the financial records back up and settles in his chair, crossing his legs at the knee.

The offices are vacant and Harvey uses the relative silence to work, reveling in the lack of interruptions as he moves quickly through the files. By the time Donna knocks on his office door Ella and Joe Pass have been switched out for John Lee Hooker, and he's found the information he was searching for. It's enough to recommend the merger, which will please Jessica, and should everything go to plan, they'll have all the paperwork wrapped up by the weekend, giving Harvey a free Saturday to spend with his son.

Maybe he'll take Mike to the Natural History Museum so he can see some dinosaurs up close, since they're all he talks about lately. Daddy, did you know that brontosaurus means thunder lizard?

Or that the smallest dinosaur was the size of a chicken?

Or that most dinosaurs were vegetarians?


The morning passes and before Harvey knows it he's halfway through a Cobb salad and Donna is buzzing him on the intercom, telling him Jenny and Mike are on their way up. Some of the other employees' kids are already here, and Harvey passes a fireman, a ballerina, and Hermione on his way to the elevator bank. When he gets there he only has to wait a minute before the elevator doors are sliding open and a forty-three pound ball of precious boy is bounding out of the elevators toward him.

"Daddy!"

Harvey picks him up and rests him on his hip. "Hey buddy. How was school?"

"Good. I got second place in the costume contest."

Jenny comes walking up to them, toting Mike's backpack in one hand. "He probably would've gotten first place, but there was a girl who dressed up as a hula girl in a snow globe. I have no idea how she's planning to go trick-or-treating in that, but it was one amazing costume."

Mike nods. "It was pretty awesome."

Harvey smiles and Jenny hands over Mike's backpack and says, "His glove is in his backpack and he has some new papers for you to sign."

"Thanks." Harvey slides his finger across his son's cheekbone and says, "Hey...looks like you're missing part of your costume."

"Funny you should mention that."

"What happened?"

"We had a few...difficulties this morning. He got a little upset when he remembered you weren't there, and he wouldn't let me put the eye black on his face. Said only his daddy could do it. So I cut my losses and put the eye black stick in the front pocket of his backpack for you."

Harvey shifts his son in his arms and says, "Did you give Jenny a hard time this morning?"

Mike's eyes go wide and pleading and he says, "But Jenny didn't play baseball, daddy. So she wouldn't know how to put it on right."

"Mike."

Mike pushes his face into his father's neck and, as he tightens his arms around him, mutters, "Sorry, Jenny."

"It's okay, Mike. But I appreciate the apology." Mike lifts his face and gives her a little smile, and she says, "I'll see you tonight, okay?"

"Are you coming trick-or-treating with us?"

"No, but you're going to make sure to stop by my condo, right?" Mike nods his head vigorously. "Good."

Harvey and Mike say their goodbyes to Jenny and Mike chatters on and on as they make their way through the halls and to Harvey's office, telling his dad every little detail about his morning. Mike swings his legs back and forth and gestures with his hands, spreading them wide when he talks about the hot dog he had for lunch, and Harvey smiles and asks, "How big was it?", just so he can see his little boy do it again. Mike is disappointed when they reach Harvey's office and he sees that Donna isn't there, but Harvey assures him she'll be back in a few minutes when she's done with lunch.

Mike is sitting on the coffee table in front of the couch and Harvey is just finishing the second stripe of eye black when Donna walks into Harvey's office. "Oh my god...you are the cutest thing I've ever seen. It's like someone took a professional baseball player and just shrunk him down to pocket size."

Mike's costume is pretty phenomenal, actually. Harvey had it custom made, so it's a perfect replica of Harvey's high school baseball uniform, right down to the stripes on the sleeves and the stitching on the back pockets. It was expensive, but worth it. Because the moment Mike saw his costume, his eyes lit up and he jumped into Harvey's arms, shouting I'm just like you, daddy! I'm just like you! over and over and over again.

Harvey would've paid ten times more for that.

Donna sits down next to Harvey on the couch and Mike says, "Do you think I look like daddy, Auntie Donna?"

She leans forward and says, "Sweetie...you have never looked more like your daddy than you do right now."

He looks up at her with wide, hopeful eyes, and says, "Really?"

She smiles and taps him on the nose with her finger. "Absolutely. You are a Specter boy through and through."

Mike's bashful grin lights up his face.

Jessica stops by to take Mike herself to the conference room where all the kids are meeting and oohs and ahhs appropriately, pleasing Mike immensely when she guesses right away that Mike is dressed up as a tiny version of his dad. Mike takes her hand eagerly and Harvey watches them walk away and down the hall, Mike swinging his and Jessica's joined hands, chattering happily as he tells another adult about his day. His boy is a talker, that's for sure.


After Mike trick-or-treats in the halls at Pearson Hardman, they go home briefly so Harvey can change and then he takes Mike out for pizza. He springs for cheese in the crust and tucks a napkin into the front of Mike's jersey and smiles when Mike says, "Mr. Litt was super nice and gave me three big candy bars!"

They stop by Donna's first, and she takes about a thousand pictures and drops candy and toys by the dozen into Mike's pillowcase. Louis isn't quite as fervent, but the Tootsie Roll Pops and packs of baseball cards and Mariano Rivera action figure are a huge hit with Mike, who hugs a startled but pleased Louis around the legs in appreciation. Jessica is even worse than Donna, and Harvey spies a Yankees cap and coloring books and action figures making their way into Mike's pillowcase alongside what seems like a truckload of mini candy bars. Mike squeals his thanks and hugs her tight, and she mentions that the rest of her building would probably like a visit from Mike too.

By the time Mike is strapped down into his booster seat in the back of Harvey's car – he has an Audi RS4 on loan from the car club this week – his pillowcase is overflowing with toys and candy, courtesy of the good people of Manhattan.

Their own building is almost as bad. Mike makes the executive decision to save Jenny for last, so after going upstairs to replace Mike's full pillowcase with an empty one, they start at the bottom floor and work their way up, skipping floor fifteen. The building's tenants are all wonderful with Mike, telling him how great he looks, and Mike is sweet and charming, thanking everyone with a big smile on his face. Jenny did her job, so all of the tenants know exactly who Mike is dressed as, and they make it a point to tell him he looks exactly like his dad, which pleases Mike to no end. When they finally reach Jenny's, she opens the door in her Little Red Riding Hood costume – Harvey recalls her mentioning something about a party about a week ago – and crouches down to give Mike a big hug.

"You're our last stop."

She looks at Harvey briefly before turning her eyes to Mike. "Yeah?"

Harvey shrugs. "Had to save the best for last, he said."

She smiles. "And that, Mike, is why you are my favorite guy in the whole world."

Jenny drops bags of homemade cookies into Mike's pillowcase in the shape of baseballs and bats and gloves and follows those up with crayons and markers and paint, and Mike gives her a big hug and a kiss on the cheek and tells her she's the best nanny ever.

Harvey has to agree.

The ride back up to their condo in the elevator is quiet, and when Mike leans into his dad's leg, Harvey picks his boy up and settles him on his left hip. There are a few trick-or-treaters still left roaming the hallway on their floor when they step off the elevator, and Harvey gives them the last of the candy sitting in the bowl outside his condo before he opens the door and steps inside.

Harvey nudges Mike toward his bedroom and tells him to change out of his costume, and Mike only puts up a small protest before he does as he's told. Harvey pulls a beer for himself out of the fridge and grins when Mike walks back into the room a couple minutes later, his elbow poking through the neck of his pajama top. Harvey straightens him out and ruffles his hair, and Mike runs off to dump out his pillowcases on the floor in front of the couch and start separating lollypops from chocolate bars, instinctually doing what every other kid in his position has been doing for generations.

The phone rings and Harvey glances at the caller ID before he picks it up, noting the LA area code. "Hi, Paul."

"Hey, Harv. How's the munchkin?"

Harvey watches Mike scoot on his bottom across the hardwood floors, pushing his pile of chocolate bars a little further off to the side and away from his pile of hard candy. "He's good. Sorting through his haul."

"Yeah? How'd he do?"

"Way better than we ever did."

Paul laughs. "Figures. Hey...I sent him something for Halloween, did you get it?"

"No, but I haven't checked the mail today. It's not explosives, is it?"

"Yes, Harvey...because I sent my five year old nephew explosives through the mail. I'm just that kind of guy."

Harvey laughs. "Hold on, I'll get him for you." He holds the receiver away from his mouth and says, "Mikey? Uncle Paul's on the phone."

Mike hops up off the floor with a grin and comes running across the condo toward his dad, sliding a little on the hardwood floor. Harvey hands him the phone and Mike leans into his dad, resting his head on Harvey's hip. "Hi, Uncle Paul!"

Harvey sips on his beer and runs his hand through his son's hair and listens as Mike talks almost non-stop for about five minutes, barely letting his uncle get a word in edgewise. Harvey can hear Paul laugh on the other end of the line and he looks out across the condo toward the windows, spattered with water, and wonders when it started to rain.

"Daddy?" Harvey looks down at Mike and takes the phone from his outstretched hand. "Uncle Paul wants to talk to you again."

Mike runs back over to his candy and Harvey sets his beer down and puts the phone to his ear.

"God, I love that kid. He could have an entire conversation without anyone else's help."

"And he tries. You're his fifth attempt today."

"You don't say. So he says today was the Greatest Halloween Ever. Direct quote. Did you take pictures?"

"I'm pretty sure Donna got every angle of him she possibly could, including some that haven't been invented yet."

"According to Mikey, the best part of the whole day was that everyone knew he was dressed up as you. That he looked exactly like you. Wish I'd been there to see him in person."

"There are SWAT teams in New York, last I checked. They're pretty good too. Or, so I hear."

"Is that right?"

"Mike loves you...it'd be great to have you around full time. I'm just putting it out there."

Harvey leans against the kitchen counter and takes a swig of his beer.

"I've got a couple weeks off for Christmas. New York at Christmas...that's a thing, right?"

"So they say."

"Think you could make some room for me?"

"I think we can manage that."

Harvey hangs up with his brother, finishes his beer, and grabs a soapy washcloth from the bathroom. Mike is still sitting on the floor when Harvey walks into the living room, but he's abandoned the candy momentarily in favor of stacking his new coloring books in some sort of order that seems to make sense. At least to him, anyway.

"C'mere, buddy."

Mike stands and walks over to his dad, tilting his head back to look up at him.

"I probably should've washed off the eye black before I told you to put your pjs on, huh?" Mike shrugs and Harvey says, "Did you get any on your pajamas?"

"Nope."

"Yeah? You sure?" Mike nods his head and Harvey flips down the neck of Mike's pajama top, dutifully impressed when he finds it free of eye black. "Nice job, bud."

Mike grins impishly. "I've got skills."

Harvey laughs and begins to clean the eye black off his son's face. "Oh you do, do you?"

"Yep."

When Harvey finishes cleaning his son's face, he sits down and turns on It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and Mike climbs onto the couch and snuggles up to his dad in one of his eight pairs of dinosaur pajamas – Daddy, did you know that there are lots of dinosaurs that scientists haven't even discovered yet? – and sucks on a grape Tootsie Roll Pop he got from Louis. Harvey leans back into the couch with his son and smooths out the wrapper and shows Mike the Brave shooting the star, and tells him that when he was a kid, hoping you'd find that on your wrapper was one of the best parts of finding a Tootsie Roll Pop in your bag of candy at the end of the night.

Ten minutes into the TV special Mike has migrated down the couch, his head resting on Harvey's thigh. He's still working on his lollypop – his purple tongue is proof of that – and Harvey runs his hand through Mike's hair gently. Mike pulls the lollypop out of his mouth and asks, "Daddy, how old do I have to be to play baseball for real?"

"You really want to play?" Mike nods eagerly and Harvey sweeps the hair back from his forehead. "You're old enough now. We can sign you up in the spring."

"Can I be a pitcher?"

"Not until you're eight, bud. That's when kids start pitching in Little League. You could be a center fielder, like your Uncle Paul was."

Mike sits up and climbs into his dad's lap and Harvey wraps his arms around him. "What did you play?"

"You mean when I wasn't pitching?" Mike nods and Harvey says, "I was a shortstop."

He burrows his face into his dad's neck and says, "Then I'm gonna be a shortstop too."

Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He's gotta pick this one. He's got to. I don't see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there's not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see.

{finis}