The Fat Man and his Dog Pt. 9 – Fight, Might and a Little Bit of Insight
The dog snarled like a hound of hell, haunches raised which caused the fur along his spine to rise up in a mighty stripe. Dripping fangs born towards his prey helped finish the image. He circled the small boy before him, each step calculated and exact to keep him within attacking position.
The boy stood with nothing but a small wooden bracer strapped to his forearm, a large tree bough clenched in the opposite hand like a sword. The loose slats of the shield clattered as his shaking knees vibrated throughout his entire being.
The boy sank into a low crouch, trying his best to hide his small frame behind the wooden shield. Wide eyes peeked over the rim of his wooden salvation watching the beasts every move, the stick continued to be held high as if it could fend off an army. The dog paced back and forth feeling out his enemy, waiting for a hole to open in the wall of defenses.
Seeing the boy shrink away from him, the dog saw his chance and lunged into action to take advantage of it. With a fluid movement belying his large and bulky form he sunk low to the ground and moved swiftly into the gully that the boy had setup shelter in. He gained speed as he bore down the slight incline and moved his shoulders forward, intent on bowling into the shield and taking the child down with it.
The boy hunkered as low as he could manage behind his shield, holding his ground before the charging brute. His teeth chattered and snot began dripping from his nose as the fear overtook him. He watched as the taught muscles of the dog rippled with each step, growing more sleek as he came. In what felt like a lifetime to him as he waited for the attack, the dog finally bore down upon his shield, nose held out front, teeth bared, making a desperate grab for meat as his shoulder laid into the wooden slats full strength. As the head snaked around the side of the shield, the boy saw the opening he himself had been waiting for and wasted no time in acting.
Throwing his weight backwards, he kicked out with his left foot planting it firmly upon the back of the shield, bracing himself against the rushing dog. With his momentum increased, he planted himself firmly upon the seat of his pants a good two foot behind his post and deftly tucked himself into a reverse somersault. He tucked his knees into his stomach as he rounded over, landing him squarely into a squatting position facing the now confused dog. As the beast looked from side to side from the tasty morsel he nearly held between his teeth, the boy raised the small log he held as a weapon above his head. Finding him finally in his new position, the dog locked his eyes upon the boy once more just at the child brought the large branch crashing down his snout.
The hit sounded with a large thwack accompanied by the dogs high pitched yelp. The Fat Man laughed heartily off to the side.
“Excellent boy! You my friend have arrived!” The Fat Man walked out of the bushes and slapped the boy in the shoulder with a congratulatory enthusiasm. ”By jove, you have been paying attention!”
The boy beamed from the praise as he walked towards Dog who sat pouting with a loud whimper, playing up his wounded nose. The boy tousled the dogs ears lovingly as he leaned forward to whisper his apologies to his canine friend.
“The key to any attack is to show great patience, and today you’ve shown you understand. With your waiting you allowed the attacker to open himself to mistake, all with a minimum amount of work.”
“Thank you Fat Man,” the boy smiled widely as he spoke. ”When we started this training six months ago, I thought for sure you were speaking nonsense! I’m happy to see that I may stand a chance now!”
“Aye boy, you just might! Don’t go getting too cocksure of yourself now however. Over confidence can be a hindrance if piled on too highly don’t you forget. You’ve come a long way for sure, there’s a long way to go. I’ve given you what you need to get you started. It’s up to you to take these basics to heart and learn on your own.”
“You speak as if your time here draws to its end sir,” the boy asked pointedly.
“Well boy, it just might be.” The Fat Man remained silent as he dark thoughts clouded over him.
“You’ve not been here even a full year yet, are you sure you’re ready to move on?”
“It may not be a matter of whether I’m ready or not my boy, the decision isn’t really mine to make.”
“It’s nothing that we’ve done to drive you off is it?”
“No no, boy, not at all. I’ll admit, you annoyed me to no end when I first arrived, but I’ve grown fond for sure! And your father, he’s always been near and dear after the times we spent together when he was your age.” The Fat Man smiled warmly at the boy as he gave way to nostalgia.
The two sat in silence upon the log, both reflective in the warm afternoon sunshine. The boy thought wistfully at the prospect of his new found mentor having to leave soon, The Fat Man thinking worriedly of the times yet to come on his long journey. Dog curled himself at their feet, basking in the warm sunshine.
The Fat Man stretched his great arms above his head as he let out a might yawn as he turned to face the boy once again. “It’s been a long day and you earned a break, so let’s head back to the house. While we’re add it, I want to let you know something.”
The boy looked at the Fat Man quizzically, expectation and excitement starting to build within him.
“You’ve impressed me boy. Quick wit, quick to learn, and good companion to have at one’s side! You and I are going to have a long talk here before I leave, but I must talk to your father first.”
Dreams and fantasies exploded within the boys mind. He remained silent as the Fat Mans words sank in, the possibilities unfolding endlessly within his young imagination. He dreamed of walking over hill and dale, Fat Man and Dog by his side, a companion in both spirit and strength. He wondered momentarily how sad his father would be come should the Fat Man ask him to leave, but he knew his father wanted the best for him, and the adventure of a lifetime could hardly be looked down upon.
“Certainly sir, I’m sure father will see the question through to its best conclusion” the boy stated as the wandered back in to the lawn surrounding the hut.
“Aye, that he will.” The Fat Mans mood had become somber as they reached the cabin, the weight of what he was preparing to ask the boys father heavy upon his shoulders. “It looks like your father has returned boy, why don’t you and dog run out and check the compost pile out back while I go and have a talk with him.”
Knowing when it was time to make himself scarce, the boy bounded off around the corner of the hut, Dog happily nipping at his heels as they went. The Fat Man stepped onto the porch where the Father sat smoking his pipe, a knowing and happy look upon his face as the Fat Man took a seat in the rocker next to him.
The Fat Man reclined in his char, fingers laced behind his head, comfort and ease heavy about him. He took in the father’s knowing look and smiled. “You know why I’m hear to talk with you don’t you old man.”
“Yes, I remember fondly when you and I had a similar talk many years ago. The boy has come far under your tutelage, I knew it was only a matter of time.” Father smiled faintly, proud of his son yet reluctant of the events soon to come.
“That he has, much like his father. But, it is time for Dog and I to make our preparations to move on sadly.”
“Aye, I know my friend, I know.” Sadness filled the father’s eyes, enjoying his second time around with the Fat Man at his side. “You know I won’t deny you the deed, and I know that the boy will eventually come to revel in it. Just go easy on him. You can see it in his eyes that he thinks you’re going to ask him to join you.”Like this piece? Click here to vote it to the top!