You Don’t Always Need Protection

Mommy is reading her list and talking to herself: “Cereal, ice cream, olives…damn, I forgot the stupid cucumbers.” She looks around the pet food aisle and then down at me. “Wait right here, Emily, I’ll be right back.”

As I watch her turn the corner at the end of the aisle I notice the boy standing in front of the display of dog treats. He sticks his tongue out at me. I look away and pretend I didn’t see.

“I could hit you with this,” he says. “I could hit you right in the face.”

I look up to see that he’s waving a long strip of rawhide and grinning at me.

“Your mom isn’t even here to stop me.” He comes closer, still waving the rawhide like a whip. “I’ll bet I can hit you twice!”

I keep my head lowered and don’t look at him.

He comes close enough to hit me and draws back his arm. Still without looking up, I ram my head into his stomach, knocking him over and leaving him lying on the floor making choking noises.

Then I push the cart to the end of the aisle and wait for my Mommy to come back.

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