Trying to be Manly

Out the corner of his eye, Calvin frowned. His parents were throwing flour around in the kitchen and laughing. Weren't they TOO old for that kind of horseplay?

Calvin thought so. He took a sip out of his mug, and set it down nicely, flattening out his napkin because it bugged him if the corner was bent.

"Calvin dear, come and make cookies with us!" His mother called from the small, battered kitchen. Someone as beautiful as herself doesn't need to be covered in flour, and sitting in an unworthy kitchen. He thought. He always loved his parents, and feels like they are kings and queens in far away places, but obviously not here. Calvin got down from the tall stool, and circled the dining room once. His mother was always neat, but sometimes never neat. So instead of showing it in her dining room, she showed it in the laundry room. One pile is neatly folded for her and Calvin, and the other pile is folded sloppy for her husband. For some odd reason, that was his parent's sign of love for each other. BLEH!

"Oh come now Calvin! You're only eight!" His father smiled and tossed some powdery dough in the air.

"Eight, and a man father." He said.

"Oh dear…" His mother pretend to be down right sad. "Our little boy isn't the little boy we love anymore."

"On the contrary mother," Calvin started, "I have been teased a countless number of times, and it still doesn't matter if I'm childish or not."

"You've been teased?" His father broke in, absolute worry in his voice.

"OH!" His mother exclaimed, grabbing her hot pads and pulling a smelly batch of cookies out of the oven.

"Yes father. I've been teased a lot." Calvin was sitting up straight in his chair now.

"Oh come now dear, tell us what's the matter." His mom gave him a burnt cookie and milk, then pulled his father around the counter to sit next to Calvin.

"The boys at school, with their cool hair styles and fancy clothes, say that mine are always dirty, and out of style. Sometimes the girls laugh and point at me as I walk into Mr. Johanson's classroom. I trip several times in the hallways, and feel very out of place. Then yesterday at recess the bigger boys from the fourth grade walked over to me and cracked their knuckles. Of Course I was scared…" He pulled up his white sleeve, and produced a big black bruise on his arm. "That's where I got this."

"OH! My baby!" His mother took his head and hugged him to her chest. "You should of told us!"

"I thought it wasn't manly to tattle on kids that don't deserve attention." Calvin said matter-of-factly. "Son, When you're getting beat up at school, you HAVE to tell an adult. That's the real manly thing to do."

"Really dad?" He asked, breaking out of his proper shell.

"Oh yes honey!" His mom said, voice close to tears.

"Oh…well then…I'll just have to…Tell the guard at recess huh? And my teacher?"

"Yes son, that's the best way to do it." His father smiled, and put some dough in his hand. "Let's make some cookies now."