Colin Kelly returns from the war with the sure knowledge that his marriage to Edna is a sham. He only insists on his own child and he gets her, his darling little girl Babs. For the rest, he copes as best he can until Edna places Babs in a boarding school and Colin ends up on the streets.
Bill Teague has loved Colin since he first saw him strolling through the art fair with little Babs on his shoulder. So when an old acquaintance calls him to come to Colin's aid before he throws him out of the pub for good, Bill goes.
Face to face in Bill's apartment, will their friendship survive the mutual confessions and legal problems Colin has?
Bill knew his Colin was in bad shape from the moment he walked into the bar. From the looks of it, Colin didn’t make it in to work and sat at Burns for eight hours steadily downing shots and beers. Bill eyed Dick and asked if Colin had eaten. He couldn’t let him go home like this because Edna would have his guts for garters and not let him out with Babs for a few weeks. That would kill his Colin. Bill Teague was hopelessly in love with Colin Kelly and had been since he had seen the blond-haired, blue-eyed man with wide shoulders at the Art Show.
Those shoulders wide enough to rest a baby’s body and arms strong enough to carry her for hours were enough to send his errant cock into instant attention.
Bill went and did the unforgivable in his community; he fell for a straight man. Although sometimes, like tonight, he wasn’t exactly sure how “straight” Colin really was. In the past months, Bill spent many days walking along with Colin and Babs. The better he got to know “his man and his baby” the more he loved them both.
Colin aced fatherhood. He loved his Babs feverishly. But he knew enough that she needed room to explore. In the almost two years since Babs had arrived, the two of them had toured most of lower Manhattan.
Growing up in the city, Colin knew everyone. Babs had sat on Lucky Luciano’s lap and danced to the quarters he put in the jukebox in a pastry shop in little Italy. She ate Chinese in Chinatown and Colin found she loved sheu mei. A few weeks away from two, she spoke clearly, albeit in a squeaky voice. She remembered the names of the people she liked…In other words, Babs Kelly was a lot like her daddy and she loved him as fiercely as he loved her. Bill came to Babs’ first birthday party. It was a memorable event. Babs took her first fumbling steps across the room because her beloved daddy had another little girl on his lap. As Bill read the situation, Babs had already figured out that her mother was at best indifferent to her welfare and at her worst an active detractor. So Babs held on to Colin tightly, knowing he was all she had.
Dick got the kitchen to reheat the lamb stew they had on the menu for supper and Bill made Colin eat every spoonful. Colin asked Bill if he could keep Mucky Ducky until tomorrow and said he’d pick him up just after the party at work. Bill sighed but let Colin have his way.
Bill and Dick poured Colin into a taxi and sent him home.
Dick was old school Irish and blunt as a hammer. “Teague, you’re not blatant about it, so I don’t mind you coming in to drink with Colin, but does he know you’re a faggot, son?”
“No, Dick. I’m just his friend and God knows, he needs one.”
“Yeah, between Edna and that bitch of a sister, Colin doesn’t have much of a life. Don’t make it worse for him Teague, or we’ll all make it worse for you.”
When Colin didn’t show up the next day for Mucky Ducky, Bill knew something was wrong; Colin wouldn’t forget about the duck for Babs no matter how hungover he was. Bill grabbed a cab (he never did acquire the talent of whistling for one) and he and Mucky Ducky rode over to Colin’s apartment.
He pushed the buzzer and got no answer. Then, he saw a little head just over the window to the courtyard, her eyes lit up and the buzzer rang back. Bill took the stairs two at a time and Babs was waiting with the apartment door open. He little face was dirty with dust and tear tracks. She took Bill’s hand and pulled him over to the couch.