The boys had never seen their grandpa so coldly furious with them. The ride home from the pizza parlor was spent in intense silence. Rocky gritted his teeth, itching to turn around and yell at Colt for instigating another fight yet again, and this time pulling their little brother into the fray. What was he thinking?
Grandpa parked the car and turned off the engine with sharp angry movements, jerking the keys out of the ignition. “You three, go sit on the bench.” He ordered tersely. “I am going to call the pizza parlor and try to salvage the situation.”
Glumly, they did as they were told. Colt managed to hold his silence until they sat down.
“They started it, Rocky!” The words burst out of him before the older boy could speak. “I’m not stupid, and I don’t have problems controlling my temper, no matter what dad says.” He scowled briefly. Sam Douglas Sr. had always been hard on his middle son, lecturing him about his temper and willingness to fight. “Dad still doesn’t get it, and neither does grandpa. I hate bullies, Rock – like Darren Jerkins and his goon squad at home, and those three hick cowboys today. Three grown men, harassing and putting hands on that girl, and no one did or said anything about it. They poured soda on her, and threw her down on the ground in front of a room full of adults.” Colt’s voice was filled with scorn. “And every single one of those adults sat back down quietly and looked away when the leader challenged them to say something.” He met his brother’s gaze, his own hazel green eyes dark with anger. “So I said and did something about it. That’s not being hotheaded, that’s just common sense!”
“He’s right, Rocky.” Tum spoke up, his tone somber and earnest. “Grandpa taught us to protect and stand up for those who can’t. That’s what we were doing. Besides, they threw the first punch, so it was self-defense, really. A bunch of goons vs two kids. So why are we getting punished for it?”
Rocky groaned, his anger subsiding. He should’ve known that it was something like that. “Fine.” He said. “I get it. I’ll stand with you. But Colt, you really have to – “
“-control my temper, yes I know.” Colt finished impatiently. “My control is just fine. If I see a situation like that, I’m not gonna just stand by like everyone else did!”
Rocky sighed. “Grandpa’s really mad this time though.” He pointed out.
All three boys involuntarily looked up to the kitchen windows, where they could see him pacing and gesturing as he talked to someone on the phone.
“…Yes. That’s a good idea. The boys will be down there first thing in the morning.”
Rocky and Colt exchanged a look; that didn’t sound like good news. They both straightened up as their grandfather came outside, while Tum moved to sit between them. No matter the outcome, they would show a united front and take the punishment dictated.
As it turned out, Grandpa was more concerned and angry over the scene he had walked in on of the three boys in the center of an adoring crowd, praising them for fighting. The resulting lecture was a mix of warning – “You’re getting too cocky!”- mild threat – “maybe I should stop giving you ninja lessons…” – and obscure lesson – “listen to the sound of the flowers blooming. Only then will you be able to walk the correct path.” Overall though, they had gotten off fairly easy, though Colt was still a bit irritated at the overreactions.