Dad, cosplay, and a dog (first of two shorts based on my Dad)
My Dad, for reasons known only to him, decided to dress as the King of Siam. I don’t know if he’d recently seen the King and I musical, or had heard something about it, but I guess he thought it would be fun.
To play the part of the king, Dad wrapped a white towel around his head—turban-like—put on and belted an old silk robe sitting at the back of his closet, and took a sheet and tied that around his shoulders so that it billowed regally behind him as he walked.
Oh, he was a sight!
I almost forgot, besides shoving his feet into Mom’s bedroom slippers and tying little bells to the slippers’ bows, he also decided to complete his costume with a walking stick, which was really Mom’s yardstick that she used when sewing.
We heard him before we saw him, heard the tinkle of the bells as my brother, Mom, and I were tidying the kitchen after a late supper one evening. We all turned toward the sound as he glided into the room with his head lifted proudly, but tilted at an angle as the towel threatened to unravel. He stopped in front of us with one hand on a hip and the other clutching the yardstick. Well, I thought we were all three going to puke up supper from laughing. Mom had to pull out a chair and sit, she was laughing so hard.
One of our dogs, Brutus, so named because although friendly and affectionate to family (and friends we introduced to him) was quite a “brute” to strangers. Well, Brutus, hearing the laughter, sauntered into the room, tail wagging, ready to join in the fun. Then he saw Dad. He immediately stopped in his tracks and we heard a deep growl rumble up through his chest as he bared his teeth. Then, I swear, almost as if he were on springs he was across the room in one leap, landing directly in front of my Dad with teeth flashing as he snarled and growled.
My poor father backed into a corner, and shouted.
“Brutus it’s me! It’s me! Brutus!”
All the while he held the yardstick in front of him, which Brutus took in his mouth and gnawed leaving it all slimy with his spittle before my Dad could wrest it from his jaws.
You might have expected us to rush to his aid, but my brother and I were on the floor, rolling around with laughter while Mom was bent double in the chair with her hand across her stomach, tears streaming down her face.
Dad, meanwhile, was truly cornered with Brutus moving in for the kill. With one last attempt to save himself, Dad ripped off the towel and cape with one hand, yelling as Brutus lunged.
“Brutus it’s me! See? It’s me!”
Well, I really don’t know what made Brutus stop. I guess he had finally recognized Dad. Mom said the strong smells of the mothballs from Dad’s old robe had masked Dad’s familiar smell, plus his face and head were covered by the turban, plus he had tied those bells to the slippers. Anyway, Brutus calmed down and Dad tentatively presented his hand for Brutus to sniff. Brutus sniffed his hand, licked it in apology, and Dad patted him on the head.
Dad was quite upset with us for not coming to his aid. I heard my parents talking on the way to their bedroom that night as I lay quietly in bed.
“That dog would have had my balls for dinner for all you three would have cared.” Dad said.
Mom replied with a soft chuckle as they walked down the hall to their room.
My father was a guy who loved to laugh and loved to be surrounded by a group of friends and family as he told his tales. Both my parents were storytellers. Whenever my father was not working and at home for our bedtime, my brother and I used to beg him to tell us stories. (It gave our Mom a break.) Most stories he made up entirely. Some he fashioned by embellishing events. Others were true stories made better by his telling.
Read the other short story based on my Dad, The Flying Cockroach.
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