The wicked marionette’s eyes leaked thick tears like the crusted, yellow drool of a dying wolf.
“Daddy, daddy,” it droned. “Up, daddy, daddy.” But this was not my child. My child rode with his mother to the safety of the church parking lot.
No, this was not my child. The marionette reached its hands toward me. By the cracks and black mold covering the palms of those hands, I guessed this imp to be much, much older than me.
I removed two rattan sticks from my satchel, and twirled them in a steady figure eight. This was not my child. I would not be disciplining it for what it did to the people on the busy street behind us. There would be no time outs, no spankings, no forgiving hugs.
“Want cuddles, daddy?” The marionette tilted its head and tried to hug me.
I took a deep breath and delivered a San Miguel strike to the creature’s stringy shoulder.(Image by Marco Prelini)