“Yes, that’s correct,” Peabody reaffirmed to the CPS agent on the other line, covering one ear so he could hear them over the infant cooing and babbling in his living room. “The Peabody Industries building. Top floor.” Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Sherman rolling back and forth on the couch and swiftly sat him back upright to see that he wouldn’t fall on the floor. He’d laid down a towel on one corner for the boy to sit in, an extra precaution just in case changing his diaper hadn’t been enough. “Thank you. Goodbye.”
No sooner had he hung up the phone than a ding was heard from his elevator. He wasn’t expecting company, so the first thought that came to his mind was that a social worker had somehow already arrived to collect the foundling. Naturally, the latter wasn’t the case, and he was greeted by a dark-skinned woman in a yellow dress holding a laptop. It really was a routine visit. Christine had stopped by at least three times before to ask for assistance in setting up, using, or fixing her computer. One week of ownership and she’d already spilled coffee on the keyboard twice.
“He-ey, Hector,” she singsonged. “Do you have any idea what the difference is between dial-up and broadband? Also, uh...” She sheepishly opened the laptop to reveal a severely cracked screen and a keyboard with several buttons ready to fall out.
Mr. Peabody held a paw to his forehead and groaned, “I’m sorry, Christine, but this isn’t a good t-”
“Oooooooooh!” Her voice was so high-pitched that at first, it didn’t register with Peabody that the noise had come out of her. He turned around to see that she was now crouching in front of the sofa making faces at the baby. “Who is this little munchkin?” She wiggled her finger in front of his face, clearly amusing him.
“That’s Sherman,” Peabody answered, following his neighbor into the living room. Her finger was now being examined by the “munchkin”, who Hector had already learned had quite the grip. His ear still ached somewhat, but only when he focused on it.
“He’s precious!” Christine said dotingly. “What’s goin’ on; are you babysitting?”
Sherman was now on her lap, giggling as she bounced him on her knee.
“What’s not exact about it?”
“Well, I actually...found him.”
Christine stopped bouncing and gasped, “Oh, poor thing! Who would leave behind such a sweet widdle guy?” She tickled the baby’s stomach, triggering an excited “Bah!” from the oblivious child.
“I haven’t a clue,” Hector admitted. “But the good thing is, he wasn’t hurt.”
“So what happens to ‘im now?”
“I’ve already called Child Services, so once they get here, I assume he’ll be placed in foster care. For now, at least.”
“For now?” she repeated. “What comes after foster care?”
“Well, I would hate for him to fall into the system, so I’ve been considering - and I know this would be difficult, to say the least, but -” He caught himself starting to ramble and huffed, as if rehearsing a line, “I intend to adopt him.”
“That. Is,” she paused, wide-eyed at the declaration. “A great idea! You would make such a good dad!” She turned Sherman toward herself and held up his arm toward Peabody as though the baby was pointing at him. “What do you think, huh? Wouldn’t he make a good daddy?”
Another chuckle from the baby and a grin found its way across Peabody’s face without him even noticing.
“Alright,” Christine set Sherman back down on his towel and stood up. “I’m headed to Best Buy. Good luck with this little gentleman.” She pinched his cheek one more time. “I could be your Auntie Christine!” With that, she was on her way out of the penthouse, her ravaged computer in tow.
Hawking forbid she would ever have to take care of a living creature. Although, Mr. Peabody thought, perhaps she was right that he should.