‘Don’t worry about it honey. I am sure they will warm up to you sooner or later.’
Dave groaned. His long legs were outstretched across wooden parquet floors. He scratched his shaved head. ‘Yeah I guess… But did they have to put gum in my hair?’ He positioned a handheld mirror higher and twisted his head around. ‘I look like Mr. Clean!’
Sheila sat on the beige sofa and massaged Dave’s shoulders. She leaned close to his ear and whispered. ‘I kinda find it hot.’
Lizzie and her twin sister Lisa ran into the room before Dave could muster a response.
‘Umm… Mr. Dave?’
‘I told you don’t call him by his first name Lizzie.’ Sheila raised an orange-tanned finger at the mischievous pixies.
Dave pulled Sheila’s arm down. ‘Its ok baby, it will still take time for them to call me ‘dad’.’
Lisa tugged at Lizzie’s overalls and whispered into her ear. ‘No Lisa he is not ‘dad’ but we have to say sorry.’ Lizzie handed Dave a glass. ‘Mr. Dave we made you some juice.’
Sheila’s frown turned into a smile. ‘That is very nice girls.’
Dave tilted the glass into his lips and the ice clanged against his teeth as he swallowed the yellow liquid down his throat. He wiped his mouth after gagging slightly. He looked at the glass and then at the girls. ‘Thank you girls… but what juice is this?’
The girls giggled. ‘You have to guess Mr. Dave.’
Dave looked down at the glass with his arms rested on raised knees. ‘Hmmm… well its yellow. But it doesn’t taste sweet, it is very peculiar. I don’t know darlings? What is it?’
Sheila looked over Dave’s shoulder. ‘You know what I haven’t gone to the supermarket since we got back from our honeymoon.’ Sheila wrapped her arms around Dave’s neck and covered the tattoo of her name. ‘Where did you get this Lizzie?’
Lisa tugged again at Lizzie’s overalls. Their brown tresses were neatly braided and it would be almost impossible to tell both girls apart if it weren’t for the color of their clothes. Lizzie wore pink and Lisa wore yellow. Lizzie held Lisa’s hand. ‘Uhmm… see we could not find any juice and we wanted it to be special.’ Lisa tugged on Lizzie’s overalls. ‘I am getting there Lisa.’ Lizzie turned towards her mother. ‘Well Lisa here she had to go and soooo…’
Dave raised an eyebrow at the girls. ‘What do you mean?’
The kids snickered and took small backward steps. ‘That is Lisa juice!’ They turned and ran towards the kitchen.
Dave dropped the glass on the ground. ‘Ugh!’ The liquid stained his linen pants and filled the air with a putrid smell.
‘Lizzie! Lisa! Come back here!’ Sheila hopped of the couch making sure to avoid the small puddle beside Dave and ran after the little girls.
Dave spat repeatedly on the ground and stared at the puddle of urine beside him. ‘Stupid kids!’ He pushed himself up and walked to the kitchen.
‘Dave?’ Sheila ran down the stairs. The heavy thumping of flesh against wood sounded like rhythmic drums.
Dave turned and watched Sheila walked around the countertop. ‘Why do they hate me?’ Dave patted a dishcloth on his stained crotch. ‘I have been nice haven’t I?’
Sheila took the cloth from Dave and soaked it under the running tap. ‘You have to give them time honey.’ She gave the cloth to Dave. ‘It is hard enough that they lost their dad. But now they have to deal with a new man in their life.’
Dave sighed. ‘Baby I don’t know what to do.’
‘You can take a bath for starters. No way am I kissing a stinky man!’
Dave pulled Sheila close and tried to kiss her.
Sheila pushed her palms against Dave’s chest and ran around the counter. ‘No!’
‘Yes! Come here!’ Dave ran around the counter and lifted Shelia by her waist. He could feel her hair tickle his face as she wiggled and giggled. ‘Gotcha!’ Dave maneuvered his way around and planted a kiss on her neck.
Lizzie and Lisa watched through white wooden railings atop of the steps. ‘Eeew!’ They said simultaneously.
Sheila looked at the girl and pushed Dave’s arms down. ‘Hey! Go back to your room both of you are grounded!’
Dave releases Sheila from his grip and as she was running he slapped her buttocks.
‘You’re in trouble later mister.’ She winked and continued chasing the girl. He heads off to the shower to wash up.
Dave decided to wash up with a couple of laps in the pool. The clear blue water soothed Dave’s mind as he pushed his body forward with smooth strokes. His mind was blank and this was how he wanted it. The more his mind moved the angrier he got. He lifted himself out of the pool and wiped his face with a towel on the pool chair. He rubbed the soft towel behind his ears and his mind started moving. He groaned and walked into the shower stall. The water gently poked at his face and images started flipping in front of him.
It had been six month since then. He was investigating a narcotics case with his partner when they ended up in a row of townhouses. America’s Dream he thought. All houses were similar and they had large lawns and pools bordered by low picket fences. This was the house where He met Sheila and the girls. Number four-one-nine-nine the house of Mrs. Sheila Andrews. He remembered it like it was yesterday. He remembered thinking that Sheila’s skin was as white as milk. She was wearing a half buttoned checkered blouse. She sported brown ringlet hair and busted lip coupled with a massive black-eye thanks to her husband. Lizzie and Lisa weren’t smiling or mischievous, they were crying and hiding behind Sheila.
Dave heard some gunshots from inside the house and pulled out his piece. His partner had moved in a strafing position. Like they had practiced in the academy many years before, Dave and his partner navigated the inside of the house making use of the furniture as protection.
Dave stopped for cover behind a massive television set when he heard more gunshots and incoherent screaming. His partner signaled him and strafed around the living room past the stairwell and stopped at a corner wall. He craned his neck and signaled Dave to the counter across him. Dave followed the moves and points that his partner covered and crouched behind the black counter of the kitchen.
The dining area had eight heavy-set rattan chairs surround an all glass table. In one of the chairs a dark long-haired man sat and swigged on a long-necked whiskey botthe.
Dave raised his gun. ‘Sir please put down the bottle.’ He noticed a gun peeking out of the man’s belt. He signaled his partner to be prepared. ‘Sir we have a few questions.’
The man turned towards Dave and took a long swig from the bottle. ‘Did the bitch call you pigs?!?’
‘Sir please calm down.’
The man threw the bottle on the ground. ‘Calm down?!? You are telling me to calm down? Who are you to tell me to calm down?!?’ He abruptly stood and pulled out the gun partially covered by his floral shirt. ‘Fuck you!’
Without blinking, Dave and his partner fired two shots each towards the man. The killer blow to the chest was delivered by Dave himself.
Dave stepped out of the shower. ‘I guess that is why they hate me.’ Dave whispered.
‘Honey you saved us from that monster.’
Dave turned around and looked at Sheila’s eyes. ‘Baby do you remember our first date?’
Sheila smiled. I remembered that you didn’t have any clothes on. She looked down at Dave’s naked member pressed close against her and bit her lip.
‘They poured scalding hot water on me as I rang the doorbell.’ He rubbed the towel against his head. ‘I had burns for days!’
She hugged him tight.
‘And our second date.’
She pressed a finger against his lips. ‘I know honey.’ She shook her head slightly. ‘Listen…I’m going to take off for a few hours.’ She ran a finger down his chest. ‘I have to go to the supermarket anyways and you bond with the girls.’ She smiled. ‘Show them the man that I married.’
He pulled her close and smiled seductively. ‘Am I going to get a reward later?’
She rolled away from him and slid her hand down his arm catching his hand. ‘Maybe…’
He squeezed her fingers. ‘I might just surprise you.’ He leaned for a kiss.
She squeezed his cheeks and slowly moved his head side to side. ‘Uh uh. Wait until I come back.’ She smiled and left.
Dave walked to the changing room and slipped on some spare clothes. He paced around the room thinking what he should do with the girls.
The door creaked open and Sheila’s head squeezed in the opening. ‘By the way they are playing in the garden.’
Dave turned away as the door closed. His mind raced and he wondered what he should do. He had never dealt with such a situation before. Handling these two girls was different from being a cop. No one ever second-guessed his word, but these girls…they were different. ‘Stupid kids!’ He slammed the closet shut. These girls were treating him like a little doll, they did what they wanted and all he could do was smile. ‘Fucking kids!’
Dave left the changing room and walked to the kitchen. He hated it when his mind raced. He had never thought things through, action was the only message he would send. But now he had to be careful, he didn’t want to mess things with Sheila. But he was still no closer to a solution. He leaned on the counter and watched the girls playing in the garden. He looked at the two little girls playing surrounded by greenery and foliage. The scene calmed him down slightly until the image of what the girls did to him earlier returned. He grunted and fixed himself a sandwich.
His father was a veteran cop as well and always thought Dave that respect was the only thing that mattered. ‘Respect.’ He whispered. He clenched his fists and thumped them on the counter. ‘Those fucking kids don’t respect me!’ He took a breath and calmed himself down. Sheila wanted him to bond with the kids. He took another breath and reminded himself to focus. He looked at the kids once more. They were sitting in a little spot near some garden furniture. The garden was rather large however and there was a lot of room. Sheila always asked Dave if he wanted to put a little grill for Sunday barbeques. Dave thought about the grill and he imagined that the garden was big that maybe the girls would enjoy a little swing set. He tinkered with the idea of grilling some meat while Sheila prepared the table and the kids played on a swing set.
He shook his head and knocked himself back into reality. He started thinking of something for the girls. ‘Tree house maybe?’ But he threw this idea out, the tree wasn’t big enough. ‘What about a dog?’ He thought that would be perfect. There was a lot of space around in the garden and this would also win him some points with the kids. The dog had to be for the whole family and couldn’t be a little toy-dog. The dog had to be big and strong enough to protect the house.
He took the phone from the wall mount and dialed his station. ‘Hey Ralph can you connect me to Fred?’
The voice on the other-side crackled. ‘Sarge? Aren’t you on your honeymoon?’
‘I just need to check something with Fred.’
There was a light buzz. ‘Sarge?’ Fred asked. His voice was low but confident.
‘Hey Fred listen I need myself a dog.’
‘Why not get your cute wife a Chihuahua?? I see plenty of them wearing tiny bags and little sweaters.’
‘Listen I need a real menace. A tough nut! Something from the unit. I heard were retiring one of our canines.’
‘You don’t mean Buddy?’
‘Yeah that is him! Can you send him over?’
‘Listen Dave we are retiring that mutt because he is dangerous. We need to put a muzzle on him all the time for Pete’s sake!’
‘Listen he is retiring as a house-pet now. I need a good guard dog and Buddy is it!’
‘I don’t know Dave.’
‘Come on he can’t be tougher than me!’
‘Listen I will take care of it.’
‘Ok Dave but listen. I am only giving him one chance. One strike and I’m taking him from you ok?’
‘When can you bring him over?’
‘Dave did you hear me?’
‘Yes one strike. I got it.’
‘Ok. A squad car is heading off to your area. I am sending Buddy with them.’
‘Excellent, be seeing you Fred.’
‘Yeah yeah. Remember you owe me drinks.’
‘Anytime.’ Dave hung the phone and turned to look at the girls playing in the garden. ‘Respect.’ He mumbled.
Several minutes had passed and the doorbell rang.
Dave opened the door and greeted the two policemen who stood on the front porch. The one on the right was rather tall with a clean shaved face his tag read. ‘Philips.’ The other had a thick facial hair around his chin and his tag read. ‘Williams.’
The two policemen were holding on a leash that controlled a large German-Shepherd.
The dog’s mouth was muzzled and around his neck were two chain-collars. Each link was held by one officer.
‘Special delivery.’ Philips spoke.
Dave looked at Philips annoyed. ‘Watch what you say.’ Dave grabbed the chain and patted Buddy. His eyes were fixed on the dog.
‘You want us to deliver a pizza? Thirty minutes or its free.’ Philips said annoyingly.
Williams punched him in the side. ‘Keep quiet.’
‘Watch what you say.’ Dave asked.
‘Deliveries are not part of our job description.’ Philips answered.
‘No it isn’t but respecting your superiors is.’ Dave stared at them fiercely. ‘I am sure you don’t want to piss someone off do you?’
Williams spoke before Philips could say a word.’No…no sir.’
‘Were sorry sir.’ Williams pulled on Philips shoulder. ‘Were going. Have a good day.’
‘Tell Fred thanks.’ Dave looked at Buddy again. He stroked the rough fur. ‘There we go Buddy.’
Buddy sat down on the porch and panted.
Dave removed the muzzle and snarled at the dog.
‘Good boy.’ Dave patted Buddy. ‘Come boy let’s meet the girls.’ Dave walked on small concrete block steps in the middle of tall grass and tugged Buddy to follow him.
The girls were playing with their dolls. One little doll was a man with his head cut off. ‘Little Dave’ Lizzie said as she cut a limb with a little scissor.
Dave crouched at the last concrete step. ‘Hi girls!’
Lizzie stopped cutting the limb of the doll and turned towards Dave. ‘Hi Mr. Dave.’
Lisa was laid down and sucked on her thumb.
Dave continued. ‘Look what I got you!’
Lizzie tilted to one side and saw the big dog beside Dave. Her eyes widened and she shrieked. ‘Doggie!’
Dave smiled. ‘Yes Lizzie his name is Buddy.’
‘Can we play with him?’
‘Now play nice with him ok.’ Dave whispered in Buddy’s ear. ‘Now listen here Buddy. These are little demons. It’s time to show them who is boss.’
‘That is my boy.’ Dave growled.
Buddy snarled louder.
‘That is a good boy.’ Dave released Buddy.
Buddy took a gallop forward and opened his mouth wide. Saliva flew from the side of his mouth as his lips exposed his sharp fangs.
Lizzie stood up and ran towards buddy. She wrapped her hand along his head. ‘Eeeeek!’
Buddy grabbed hold of Lizzie’s arm and dragged her along the ground.
Lizzie screamed. ‘Mr.Dave! Mr. Dave! Help!’
Lisa ran to Dave and tugged on his arm.
‘What is it darling?’
Lisa pointed at Lizzie and Buddy.
‘What is wrong darling?’
Lisa removed her thumb from her mouth. ‘Daddy please help. Were sorry about what we did please!’
Dave smiled. ‘Finally some respect.’