Upon seeing me, the hideous monster stood up and revealed the entirety of its horrible self. My eyes locked with his, and his soulless anger and hatred of my bravery and goodness burned into my spirit like the fires of hell.

He bore his gnarled, sharp teeth at me, hoping no doubt that this time I would back away. Hoping that this time I would let him have his way with those I was put in this place to forever protect. Those who were, for now, safely sheltered from this monster from hell. The beast that I knew meant to do all of them great harm.

This was not the first time that I had confronted this hideous monster, but I knew in my heart it would be the last. This time I would not let him escape. This time the creature would, thanks to me, finally meet his demise. This time he would be the victim of my bravery — of my eternal dedication to those that I protect day and night.

I stepped closer to the abomination. As I did so he attempted to taunt me, waving his hideous tail at me. One step closer still. My enemy was to be mine, heart and soul, at last.

The beast then let go a bloodcurdling scream and, as he had so many times before, turned his back on me and ran. He had no fear of those that I forever protect and would destroy them if I didn’t destroy him first. But as for me … I terrified him!

He lunged away as he had lunged away so many times before. Not this time, you coward. This time you are mine.

Faster than lightning I bolted after the monster. I was gaining on him. Three steps away … two steps. Just then he neared the endless tower.

No! Not again! He lunged at the tower as he had so many times before and using his claws climbed higher and higher. I was unable to climb the tower, for, unlike my nemesis, I had not gnarled claws meant for climbing endless towers. Once again the hideous beast had escaped me at just the moment I was to finally destroy him.

Just then one of those who I am obligated to forever protect from that beast — that ugly gray beast — stepped out of the shelter. Those I love and protect communicate through mysterious sounds having nothing to do with sights or smells, and I understand them only vaguely.

“Wow, that was a pretty close one, buddy, but I’m afraid the squirrel got away. Has to be the tenth time this week. Nice try, pal! Come on in. I’ve got a fresh rawhide for you, and I want to brush you before company gets here.”

“Buddy.” “Pal.” “Rawhide.” “Brush.” “Company.”

My pursuit of the beast could wait.


Eric Brinksowner, of Minneapolis, is an attorney.