Joe scooped the whimpering child out of the dirt and into his arms. He hot-footed over to his office door, away from the throng already gathering to gossip in the street.
“You’re going to be fine, champ.” He laid Danny on the bare examination table. The little boy's blue eyes were awash with tears.
He'd ripped through both legs of his dusty overalls and scraped the palms of his hands. The angry wound on his torn knee oozed blood. But a quick assessment convinced Joe the child had sustained no serious trauma.
“Let’s see if we can patch you up, okay?”
Danny sat up and looked around, choking back a sob. “This in't the feed store."
“My office now.”
"I fought you were a fisherman.”
“I am,” Joe said. “And a doctor.”
The child absorbed that. His teary eyes widened. "Are you Joe Granville?”
“I’m Danny Granville.”
Words failed him so he bobbed his head again, like an apple in a tub.
“Do you like me?” the little boy demanded.
A large lump lodged in Joe’s throat. “Very much.” He could barely force air through his lungs or the words past his lips.
“You’re big, but not as big as I thought,” Danny mused. "Mom says Pritchard Falls in't big enough for you. But you look like you fit okay to me."