Gideon often leaves me little surprises at my desk. He used to sneak them into my coat pocket, or the seat of my car so I would find them on my way to work in the morning, but now that I work at the bottom of the stairs, he just comes in periodically and puts things on my keyboard.
I now have a collection of his favorite Lego men piled up under my computer monitor. And on the extra chair across the room is a Lego Batman diorama of a scene where Batman is, I believe, attempting to rob a museum. Some of the best treasures in my collection are a Lego milk carton, and a Lego fish tank (Which was actually made by Lydia, but Gideon decided it should be mine).
But the other day he added something new. He walked up to me in the kitchen and leaned against my leg with a strange sort of mysterious grin.
“What? What are you doing, dude?”
“Oh nothing,” he said. He was obviously hiding something.
I put down the butter knife I was holding and wiped off my hands. “Uhhh… No, you are up to something. What is it?”
His eyes glanced in the direction of my office and he giggled, hardly containing his glee. “Well…”
“You just put something at my desk didn’t you?”
“Oh… Maybe…” he sang and then he couldn’t contain his laughter anymore and turned to rush out the front door as he exploded like a box of firecrackers.
I picked up my sandwich and walked down to look at my desk. At first, I didn’t see anything. There was nothing on my keyboard, and there were no new Lego men added to my odd collection. Then I saw it. There was a small strip of paper crudely taped to the front of my desk. Words were scrawled across it and I struggled to read them.
This is what they said. “littlcatWAS.A.DAD”
That’s the message. I flipped it over to see if there was more on the back. There was not. Just a small fortune cookie message informing me of my fate. Little Cat was a dad. I turned to look up the stairs. The living room was empty and quiet. Who was Little Cat? I looked back at the note. What does it mean by “WAS”?
I heard movement in the weeds outside my half-basement window. A little boy was leaning down to make faces at me through the glass.
“Gideon!” I yelled loud enough for him to hear me.
He stuck out his tongue and laughed.
“Gideon, what does this mean?” I pointed at the note.
The creature in the grass made a choking face and spun in a circle with his eyes closed, still laughing like a broken french horn.
“Gideon, is this a threat?”
The alien boy just laughed more in reply. He waved at his reflection and me behind it and then sprinted out of view like his shoes were rockets.
I tried to return to my work. But my mind was distracted. Being a father is a dangerous and terrifying thing. And now in my peripheral vision is a constant reminder of this fact. Let’s never forget this one sobering fact.
Little Cat was also once a dad. And we all know what happened to Little Cat.