Hercules the Lesser was always a little sad to see the geese and the ducks and the occasional raven leave when the food ran out. He liked the idea of pets, but detested the idea keeping animals in cages. On a day like today his pets were the geese and the ducks and the occasional raven.
He’d fling dried up pieces of seasoned bread until you surrounded by geese and ducks with occasional raven. He gave some of the birds names, but he couldn’t really tell them apart so he usually called the geese Goosey Lucy and the ducks were called Donald.
On those occasions where there was a raven in the crowd Hercules the Lesser called it Midnight like his old black cat
On Friday after Thanksgiving while most of the rest of the country was doing their level best to level other shoppers while spending money they didn’t have for things they didn’t need – Hercules the Lesser would ride his bike down to the Border Park and feed leftover stuffing to the geese. He would sit up on the old, metal picnic table with his feet on the bench so the geese couldn’t nip his toes.
One of the highlights of the Thanksgiving was the family photo that would eventually become the Pulaski Christmas card. Mr. and Mrs. Pulaski stood by the mantle over the fake fireplace. Eileen stood between them in her ugliest sweater.
Hercules the Lesser got the camera set up. He made sure everything was as it should be. Then he hit the timer and tried to make it into the frame in time.
Of course, he never did, so every year the Christmas card from the Pulaski family included two proud parents and a lovely daughter and a great grey blur. No never noticed and no one ever said a word about it. This year – like every other year – Hercules the Lesser combed his hair and tied his tie to get ready to take the family picture.
He loved Thanksgiving.
Hercules the Lesser looked forward to the Thanksgiving break because he would be able to sleep in and spend time at home with his parents and his sister Eileen.
The Pulaski family was just your average family.
Mr. Pulaski went to work in his office every morning selling insurance. Mrs. Pulaski volunteered for the Altar and Rosary Society. Eileen Pulaski was pretty much a big deal at Booker T. Washington High School. (Go Wasps!)
From where he sat in the classroom Hercules the Lesser looked out and decided maybe he wanted what Hercules the Greater had. Hercules the Greater probably wanted a life more like Hercules the Lesser if he even knew Hercules the Lesser existed.
“Should I play for you?” Miss Kravitz asked.
“Please,” Hercules the Lesser answered
Miss Kravitz sat down at the piano and played “Puppet on a String.” She sang it in German. She wasn’t sure why that song meant so much to her, but she was glad it did.
Hercules the Greater sat alone – out of sight – behind the big oak tree. He was reading a big book of poetry. It was really a big book. He was reading away from the other kids. He didn’t want to get caught. Hercules the Greater didn’t want people seeing him reading a book at recess. He didn’t know what his friends would do if they saw him reading when he didn’t have to.
Truth to be told if the kids had ever seen Hercules the Greater reading at recess they probably all would be reading at recess, but he never could’ve known that.