DADDY’S LITTLE GIRL
The television had a slightly static screen as Tom angrily watch the baseball game. It didn’t matter, his team was losing anyway. The hot summers afternoon, the hottest recorded in 1968 so far, did little to ease his mood. Even the wind blowing in the windows felt like an oven.
“Dammit all to hell, how much trouble is it to get a cold beer in this fucking house?”, He said crushing the can throwing it at his wife.
Getting up and heading to the fridge, Samantha gave pause as she fearfully watched their daughter, Brittany, bring her daddy a beer form the fridge. Samantha met Tom in high school, she was a captain of the cheer-leading squad, Tom the captain of the football team. A dream relationship by all accounts. After they were married, Tom got a job at the local steele mill. When Brittany was born, they were happy. Laughter filled the house. They both lived a comfortable life until a little over two years ago, the mill shut down. That is also when the anger came. Tom’s workman’s compensation checks covered the necessities it wasn’t much more.
“Don’t worry Mommy. I got it.”, Dressed in her yellow shorts and matching American Bandstand t-shirt. Brittany smiled her sweet smile as she held the can of beer with both her hands.
“Here Daddy!” She exclaimed excitedly.
WHACK! Without looking he back-handed her with such force she fell on flat her back. Stunned, she took a moment to stir.
“What the hell was that for?!”, Samantha ran and picked up her little girl.
“Shut the fuck up! You both will think twice next time, won’t you!?"
Hearing barking from their dogs Apache and Star, two black German Shepherds that appeared more wolf than anything else. They heard the commotion and let it be known that they did not like it.
“Shut those dogs up”, Tom yelled red faced at the two ladies.
Trembling Samantha set Brittany down, once she realized that no damage was done to the little 7-year-old girl. They both went to the back yard and let the dogs in. The two animals immediately started sniffing Brittany and licking her. The little girl started to giggle as the two dogs did their best to show their obvious affections.
“let’s feed the dogs honey.”, Samantha directed as she walked to the kitchen where the dog bowls were, followed closed by Brittany and the animals.
As always, the dogs flanked the little girl wherever she went. Never leaving her side. It didn’t matter if she was in the yard, or house. They simply stayed quietly at her side. Too quietly in Samantha’s opinion. As Samantha opened the cans of food, Brittany clapped her hands waiting to do the honors. Finally, she grabbed the cans and painstakingly emptied them into the bowls using a soup spoon. The dogs did not stir. They stood stock still just staring, not at the bowls but at Tom, as he watched the game, yelling obscenities.
“Star Apache, dinner is ready”, The little girl said.
Both dogs stood up and turned around and looked at the bowls then to Brittany. She gave them both a hug and then flourished her hand as if a magician revealing a trick “Eat, Babies”. The dogs sauntered over and began their feast. “Good babies”.
“Stop all that racket! I am trying to watch my game!”, Tom bellowed form the front room.
“Samantha, go wash up and get ready for bed. I will be there in a minute to tuck you in”. Samantha instructed hugging and kissing her, "Mommy love you".
Skipping off, Samantha couldn’t help but wonder how their little girl could be so happy. She felt blessed to have such a strong little girl. Soon the dogs walked past her to catch up with the little girl as she washed up. She heard the sink run and then the tip-tapping of the dog’s nails on the bath room floor.
Later that night, to this day Samantha could not remember the time. Tom got up complaining about some noise coming from the basement. Getting out of bed, grumbling as he made his way down through the dark house.
“What in Sam’s hell”, He mumbled as he started down the basement stairs. Smelling the heavy dust of the room below he turned on the basement light revealing the rooms fair share of cobwebs. He walked down the stairs. Groggily he heard a giggle.
“Wha- “, was all he got out as he tripped and all went black.
Slowly waking up, he had a hard time focusing on the figures in front of him. It was Brittany and the two dogs, as always, flanking her sides. Looking around he seen one of his little girls roller skate on the floor by the stairs. Looking back, the dogs stared at him with the blankest expressions, could dogs even have a blank expression, he thought?
“Don’t worry Daddy” Brittany said as she looked at both dogs and then to her father, and with a flourish as magician revealing a trick her father heard the last words he would ever hear, as he looked into the now black eyes of his daughter “Eat babies”.