Hercules the Greater sat down to the dinner with his family every day at six o’clock. His mother prepared a well balanced meal. He sat to his father’s right. His mother rarely sat until the meal was almost done. She filled plates and poured milk. She refilled serving bowls humming little melodies that didn’t really have a tune, but they had it calming effect on the family. Dinner was never late it and was always delicious. Hercules the Greater‘s father unplugged the phone and the televisions that was turned off. The only sounds you could hear during the meal were knives and forks squeaking on the plates and Hercules the Greater’s mother humming
Hercules the Lesser smiled so hard the muscles in his face began to hurt. Still he caught the ball and he threw the ball and he caught the ball and he threw the ball.
His arms always got tired before Louise’s arm did so they had to stop playing.
Louise pulled the mitt off her sweaty hand
“You be a good boy and run straight home,” she said.
“Of course I will,” Hercules the Lesser replied.
“We’re having mashed potatoes and gravy tomorrow,” she said.
She knew it was his favorite.
“Thank you for playing with me,” he said. “Bye, now.”
He disappeared around the corner the red brick building
“Bye, yourself,” she said to no one.
She rubbed her shoulder for a moment before waddling out to the only car left in the parking lot
“You made it,” Hercules the Lesser said.
“Of course I did – I would never lie to you,” Louise said back to him.
Hercules the Lesser handed her a mitt and slipped one on his own hand.
“I can only play for a little bit, Herc,” she said. “I’ve been on my feet all day with the cooking and the serving. “
“I know, Louise. I know,” he said tossing the ball her way.
She snagged it easily in her mitt and slung it back with practiced grace.
Her hairnet kept everything in place as she continued to catch and throw.
Hercules the Lesser also caught and threw but with much less grace.
Walking out of General John G. Pershing Elementary School he stopped at their spot and waited. He knew she would come. He knew she wouldn’t let him down. Hercules the Lesser just waited there for her. He didn’t read his Silver Swimmer comic book. He didn’t wave to the other kids running past him. He waited and eventually he saw her coming through the back door.
“I’ll meet you after school,” she said. “We can play catch for a bit.” Hercules the Lesser smiled to himself. He got his old hand-me-down mitts out of his locker and carried them from class to class until the final bell.
Hercules the Lesser was completely content with his life. In fact by the time they reached the seventh grade at General John G. Pershing Elementary School he was already accustomed to slipping on his superhero backpack and going about his business alone and unnoticed.
No one blamed Hercules the Greater for being great. It was his predisposition. In fact he was just a normal kid that everyone seemed to think was great. Truth be told – he was not entirely comfortable with the nickname. He just wanted to be called Hercules – or Herc.