When my brother was five, our mom told him to never go near a Canadian goose, especially the ones at the park, because they had nests to protect and were from Chicago.

Except kids are stupid and never listen, so one breezy spring day a shrill shriek broke the air, filled with more terror than Americans would have if fast food was banned. My mother turned to see her curly-haired son fleeing from a honking goose as tall as him bent on feathery revenge.

"Benny! Run here!" she called. He took her advice this time, diving into a colorful playground tunnel and letting Mom guard the front. The goose waddled up the steps and stared with black soulless eyes. Mom shifted her feet. The goose bared a monstrous yellow mouth with enough strength to bite off a child's finger. It was a Mexican standoff, only with beaks and tennis shoes instead of guns. Would blood be drawn?

"I'm sorry Benny went near your babies, but he's my baby so I can't let you hurt him. I promise he won't go near your chicks again," Mom softly consoled. Her muscles tensed and her heart rushed. Her small son cowered behind her.

The beast stood a moment longer, shadowy eyes flitting back and forth with emotions no mere human could ever hope to decipher. But it did nothing more, and turned away. Was the creature swayed by the heartfelt apology? Or did the goose finally realize the large human could kick its face in? Who knows? What I do know is that my brother hugged his savior, grateful to escape the shame of death by Canadian goose.

Meanwhile I sat on the swings and didn't care. In my defense, I was seven; and as everyone knows, seven-year-olds are slightly sociopathic.