The burly young man bounded down the stairs in his white tank-top and grey sweatpants. As usual the three-legged terrier greeted him with suspicion. He growled back. The dog did not relent but dug in on her two good front legs. A routine morning.
The man feigned defeat, fell on the floor, and let the dog lick his ears until her tail wagged in rhythm with his school boy giggle.
“Flame! Stop playing with the dog. What are your plans this morning?” A tall red-headed woman in black dance clothes barked at the two playmates and both stared up at her with sad puppy eyes.
“Gym, ma’am. Meeting Newzboy at Oh-900. Upper body.” He barked back his answers like a soldier.
“Here’s your shake.” She handed him a shaker full of a foul-smelling brown drink. “Be back by noon. I have work for you today.”
“What are your orders, ma’am?” He took the drink and downed it in one second. The woman cringed as he downed the lumpy concoction.
“Need you to paint the fence. The Association will charge an extra month’s dues if it isn’t done today.”
“Shall I pick up the paint, ma’am?”
“Not necessary, it is in the garage.”
“Okay, it’ll be done, ma’am.”
“No distractions today, Flame, straight home. The Association is starting to get suspicious.”
When he stood up, the dog started barking again and he growled back.
“Flame! Norman! Enough! I need silence.” The two stopped and gave her the sad puppy dog look again.
“Ma’am, what is wrong? This is about more than the fence isn’t it?”
She glared at him, “I have been asking you to paint the fence for three weeks! So ‘this’,” she said making quotation marks around ‘this’ with her fingers, “IS a little about the fence.”
“Yes, ma’am.” He turned to bound back up the stairs.
“Flame.” Her voice had a new, more serious tone.
“After the fence, I need you to call the families together for a meeting at The Market.”
“Yes…” before he could get out another ma’am, she interrupted.
“Flame, it has begun.” And then she repeated in a soft whisper that sounded like doom itself, “it has begun.”
Flame ducked his head and skipped two steps at a time up to his room. He had his first mission.
Read Part One HERE. The Superdaddy stories were written to my kids while I was on deployments in support of the US Navy. This is the second part of the second such story. Throwing back to it again this week for my kids out in California who are officially on LOCKDOWN!
(C) 2012 Stephen Fuller