(1 of 1. Originally posted on June 23, 2023 for the prompt “A Man Called _______.”)
Janie poured syrup over her brother’s pancakes in a steady swirl, careful to get some on every bite. Then she dumped the remaining syrup on her own pancakes in one glorious, sticky blob.
“Mom!” Thomas pointed at Janie’s plate, quivering with indignation.
Mom swooped in before Thomas finished calling, with a steaming cup of coffee and a steely “you-two-behave” expression.
Emergency distraction required.
“Mom, we want a story about Bulldog!”
Thomas’s scowl switched to a grin. “Yeah! Bulldog!”
Mom looked back and forth between them, eyebrows rising up toward her scalp. “All that fuss for a story? At breakfast?”
Janie stretched her eyes as wide as she could, and tilted her head down just a little. “Please!”
“Okay, fine.” Mom laughed, and sat at the table. “One day, a long time ago, the Black Cat Biker gang roared into town. Everybody knew about the Black Cat Bikers. Everywhere they went, they smashed the windows in all the candy stores, they threw rocks at all the dogs, and they broke the swings in all the playgrounds. And if someone tried to stop them, they pushed that person in the mud and laughed at them. So when they came to our town, everybody ran home to hide under the covers until they went away.”
“But not Bulldog!” Thomas sputtered around a mouthful of pancake.
“That’s right,” Mom smiled at Thomas. “The man called Bulldog never backed down from a challenge. He walked out into the street and stood in front of them. He didn’t say anything. He just crossed his arms and growled. The gang leader tried to push him in the mud, but Bulldog grabbed that biker by the scruff of his neck and threw him in the mud. Then all the other bikers attacked him at once.”
“What did he do?” Thomas wiped his chin with the back of his hand.
“He picked one up and threw him at the others. Then he grabbed two of them by their beards and knocked their heads together. A few of them hit Bulldog, but he didn’t even notice. He just kept throwing them around and knocking them over until they gave up and ran away. Nobody could tame Bulldog. Well…nobody but me.” Mom smirked.
“How did you tame him?” Janie asked.
“It turns out, he’s a sucker for treats and belly rubs.”
“Ha!” Dad walked up behind mom and put his hands on her shoulders. “The truth is, I saw something good and I grabbed it, and I never let go.”
Mom looked up at him and smiled.
Dad bent down for a kiss.
“Ew!” Janie and Thomas both covered their eyes. But Janie peeked through her fingers.