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Sister DeStein’s Faith
When Tommy picks up his daughter at the airport, he has to exchange his car for a rental van to get her home. His ex-wife never said a word about how big she had gotten. Only with Theresa’s help can Tommy ease her through the door of his little house. By the time his period of custody ends, Theresa has gotten so heavy that she can no longer walk. Fending off charges of child abuse from the child custody office and religious persecution from the church, a perplexed and distraught Tommy tries to attend to his daughter’s welfare. This involves helping her achieve the redemption she says awaits her if she worships God according to her idiosyncratic beliefs. However, those beliefs, Tommy realizes, pose a danger not just to her welfare, but to her life, which Tommy patiently tries to redeem in his own way.
3 Days, 3 Fishermen
Stuart, a struggling actor in Manhattan, reluctantly moved his family into his elderly father’s home in Pittsburgh after a fall made it obvious Dad couldn’t live there alone. He has been living extravagantly off his father’s modest means ever since. Apprised of the situation by their sister and furious about it, first-born Punky moves back to get Stuart’s spending under control. But Gordon, foundering after yet another hapless business foray, returns unexpectedly as well. Determined to protect the remains of his father’s estate from his parasitic brothers, Punky advises Dad to divest. But Dad has deeper insight into his sons’ needs and motives, and another way to address them.
When the vagrant Theresa is attacked by a gang of homeless men, Officer Rehm takes her to the police station for her own safety. On learning that the object of the attack was Theresa’s extraordinary amulet, Rehm calls in the merchant who sold it to her to have the piece appraised. From the disturbing exchange that ensues, Rehm realizes one thing: whether he lets Theresa back out on the street or assigns her to a container for safety’s sake, the piece is too valuable to let her keep. When Theresa refuses to give it up, Hussain steps forward to assist, revealing prodigious powers of persuasion over Theresa, which sheds light on why the merchant says she was once his best customer.
Tyler, Chuntao, and their two children live with Tyler’s 96-year-old father to save the old man the expense of an assisted living facility. One afternoon in late December, Chuntao realizes their son’s school program is not the following evening, as she had thought, but that evening. She must finish his costume. She asks Tyler to help out by taking over one of her regular tasks, cutting his father’s toenails. Tyler returns from the unusual assignment irritated. His father’s feet have upset him.
The Way Out
Wealthy cousin Sue withdraws her financial support when Bobby’s coal pulverizing technology ruins the equipment of a mill used as a pilot. With funds withdrawn, Florida creditors on his heels, and an illegal Mexican migrant boy in tow, Bobby skulks back to his old hideout in Pittsburgh to work things out. To his horror, it’s crawling with the people he has cheated: cousin Sue, his sister, and the man he sold the family business to after he bankrupted it. A prisoner in his own lair, Bobby has to come up with just one more maneuver to get away, this time for good.
Ajax Is Carried Away
When his mother doesn’t show up to take him, seven-year-old Ajax strikes out on his own to march in the Memorial Day parade, triggering a peculiar contest for the boy between Phil, a local hotel owner, and neighbor Tommy. Phil says he promised Ajax’s sick mother he’d take him to the parade, charging Tommy to call as soon as he spots the boy. But Tommy’s next-door neighbor, Vance, remarks that Phil doesn’t take kids to parades, adding that Phil’s the reason Ajax’s mom is “sick.” Uneasy about his assignment but wary of the irascible hotel owner who happens to be his only source of income, Tommy resolves to keep the boy with him until Ajax’s mother returns, even if it means a confrontation with Phil, and it does.
As soon as Kitty Bruce, 85, moves in with Chester MacFarlane, 83, Chester informs her they have six months to get up to Longwood, an expensive assisted living community. But Kitty is not ready to move again; her undies are still in Tupperware, she’s wearing the wrong color stockings because she can’t find her navy ones, and she can’t afford Longwood anyway if she continues to support her 55-year-old daughter, and she insists on doing that. Chester tries talking sense to her and gets a glimpse into a peculiar family dependency that, on second glance, look downright unsavory.