They stood silently watching each other for a brief moment. Only a faint whistle of wind passing between them on the short flight of stairs. The creature at the top of the stairs was a pile of crushed springs. She was crouched barefooted holding two miniature pink and purple spatulas out to her sides like swords. She looked ready to pounce and devour, but the wide grin on her tiny face gave away the fact that she was enjoying this battle too much.
The man below her held up the pair of pink socks like a lion tamer distracting his prey with a piece of meat, and he began to slowly, and fluidly, step up the stairs into the upper rooms of the house. He had cornered his prey, but defeat would not come easily.
He was several steps away, and was about to lunge for the little girl when she instantly sprang twice her body height into the air. She banged the walls rhythmically with her spatulas while she twisted in a circle and scurried off in the direction of the softly glowing bedroom.
“Lydia!” The man broke his silence, “Stop!” He dove for her, but missed even her shadow which was already halfway down the hall. “You have to put on socks if you want to come with me in the car!”
The only reply was a bone chilling giggle from the other room. He quickly walked down the hall and blocked the door of the room with his body, unfolded the socks, and opened the first one up in his hands like a tiny sack for catching wild toes. He stepped inside and closed the doorway behind him. This one motion blocked access to the rest of the house completely given that the child had yet to understand the science of doorknobs. But he was now locked in the cage with the beast.
The little girl was clearly hiding under the bed. A purple spatula was tapping away at the floor. The girl’s hiding place was given away by her inability to stop moving. Her greatest strength in this pursuit had now become her greatest weakness.
With a deep breath the hero crawled under the bed, grabbing the feral creature around the waist and dragging her out into the light of the room. He stood the wiggling animal in front of him. She playfully drummed the spatulas across his shoulders, legs and the top of his head. He ignored this and with focused movements pulled on one of her pink socks, and then while she rotated in his arms three or four times, he pulled on the second.
“You have been beaten.” He said matter-of-factly. “But you are a worthy enemy.” He turned her around to face him. She sat breathing heavily in front of him. “What is your name tiny villain?” He asked.
The girl smiled wide. She raised a pink spatula vertically above her wild blonde head of hair, and said, with utmost seriousness. “I am Bald Man!”
Immediately all illusions faded.
“Wait, What?” She just looked at him. “Lydia. Who are you?”
“I’m Bald Man!” She repeated.
The man was dizzy for a moment with the shock that not only did his not yet three year old daughter somehow understand the concept of “Superheroes” but she had apparently invented herself one out of ridiculously absurd thin air.
“Bald Man?” He asked, but she did not answer. She just stared at him. He pressed further. “Lydia, what does Bald Man do that is special?” He was hoping to trick her into revealing Bald Man’s super power.
She leaned in close, tilted her head to look at the ceiling of the room and whispered the secret of Bald Man into her father’s ear. Her soft slowly stated words were, “He goes bowling.”