Just One Orange Cap Too Far

Runt RiderBilly was Daddy’s shadow, making every step he made. One evening, they were sitting with several of the guys on logs around a fire telling tales. Billy had worked hard to keep up with his new orange hunting cap all day, only too aware of how lucky he was to have it. It was late. He was tired. He’d nodded off a time or two, leaned up against a big log next to Daddy when he was startled to see Runt Rider, the crotchety owner of the fish camp wearing his cap. His hand flew to his head, finding it bare. Sure enough, Runt had his hat! The other fellows teased him routinely, but Runt was an old grump, who’d never even spoken to him. There were even stories that he’d stabbed a man!

He’d been set up. The guys were all waiting, watching for his reaction. The more he studied the situation, the more outraged he became. Finally, time for action. He bounded across, grabbed the cap off Runt’s head, and was rewarded by an explosion of laughter from all the guys around the fire. Runt was not happy at being laughed at. His face turned fiery red. He spit, sputtered, cursed, struggling to maintain control, clearly infuriated. Billy calmly put the hat on his head, walked to Daddy’s truck, and got in, feeling vindicated.

Daddy walked over to the truck. “Son, why in the world did you grab Mr. Runt’s hat off his head?”

“He had my hat. I had to get it back.”

“Look on the seat beside you.” Beside him on the seat, undeniably, lay his own hat. “I guess you’d better give Mr. Runt’s cap back. Billy took off the cap, returning it to Mr. Runt, with an apology. Mr. Runt was ungracious, but at least didn’t stab him.

19 thoughts on “Just One Orange Cap Too Far

  1. ahhh, this is classic, lbeth! CLASSIC! I especially love the kicker at the end. Brilliant stuff. I think I knew your Runt. In our town, he went by the name Grumpy. No, seriously. Nobody called him anything but Grumpy. Ever. I can’t promise he never stabbed anyone, though. 🙂

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    • Oh Runt did stab someone. Just not my brother. Probably only because my dad was there and Billy was only six. If he’d been 16, Runt would’a had ta’ kilt him. (hick talk)

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  2. Poor child. That will probably not be forgotten and will go down as one of those embarrassing moments. Hopefully, he will come to be able to laugh at that. I have a few things from when I was much younger that I still blush when I think of what I did. Oh well.

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