Wednesday, December 27, 2023



Art by Gabby

"Pretty puppy, Papa!" Darla exclaimed, immediately rushing in to squeeze the poor thing to death as only a tot can. Her father caught her before she could do any harm.

"Calm now, please," her father implored. "he's fragile."

"Fragile?" Darla asked. Her interest in the answer subdued her squirming somewhat.

"Fragile. Delicate. Easily hurt. We have to be careful with him since he's still so little."

The words "Okay Papa!" preceded a jerk toward the box in which the poor pup had been placed. The puppy, for its part, darted around the box, excited by the excitement.

"Darla, you're going to be a big girl now and you have to take care of the puppy. This means we pet like this-" he pet her head gently, "-and no grabs or hard pats. Okay?"


"Do you understand?"

"I 'stand."

"Show me on my arm please."

Darla stroked her father's arm politely and gently. Her father nodded.

"Okay, let's say hello."

"Hello!" was more squeaked than said as Darla flew out of her father's arms and toward the dog. Keeping her promise, she stopped dead at the edge of the box and tentatively lowered her hand down into it.

"Let him sniff you first - that's how dogs say hello."

The pup snuffled around Darla's hand for a moment before taking a playful nibble.

"Oh!" Darla exclaimed in another squeak. "He bit me!"

"He's trying to play - are you okay?" Her father extended his hand to look at her injury.

She drew her hands into her chest and started giggling and wiggling her shoulders back and forth.

"What's up sweetie?"

"He wants to play!" Such excitement could not be contained.

"He sure does - why not give him some more gentle pets? Maybe he'll lick your fingers this time."

"Oh! Okay!"

Darla lowered her hand into the box again and carefully, carefully stroked the animal as it wormed around, excited to learn the rules of this new game.

"Eek!" Darla exclaimed after a few moments.

"Oh? Did he bite you again?"

"No! Dah-Dee!! He's licking me!"

Her father let out a chuckle of relief.

"He likes you! Do you want to pick him up and give him a little hug?"


Her father helped her pick up the creature and snuggle with it for a moment.

"So, what do we name him?" her father asked.

[Author's note - this is where I normally put some twist, but you get to choose your own adventure this time. Highlight your selected choice. Happy New Year!]

Boring: "Spot!"

Cute: "Brownie! 'Cause he nibbled me like I nibble brownies!"

Absurd: "Doctor Henry Kissinger."

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