We entered Hamster Land to the throng of a hundred little squirts flying past us like hyperactive bats. I cashed in twenty dollars for a bunch of game tokens for my son and daughter. Their eyes lit up as I doled out the coins.
“Make it last,” I urged.
“Sure Dad,” my curly-haired son said while running toward the ten-foot hamster.
“Now don’t get into any trouble!” I yelled, already out of earshot.
The last time I took my son to Hamster Land, he walloped some kid in Bermuda shorts. His father was about six-foot-seven and wanted to take my head off. Whereas, my daughter rarely got into trouble. She was smart like her mother and knew how to get into mischief without being caught.
As the kids were busy spending my money, I played Words With Friends on the iPhone while munching on a slice of cardboard pizza that would eventually give me heartburn. I looked up periodically to see if my son hadn’t beheaded anyone yet.
Deep into a Scrabble game, a woman in blue culottes shouted, “A fight! A fight!”
A crowd of adults huddled in the center of the room. Oh, no! I thought. What did my son do this time?
On a closer look, I gave a sigh of relief when I found out that it wasn’t my son but two grown women having it out. One already had a clump of hair weave in her hand while the other landed a right uppercut to the jaw.
I felt a sharp tug on my pants. It was my son and daughter looking up at me as if I were the ten-foot hamster, ignoring what was going on with two pugilistic adults.
“Dad,” my son whined. “We ran out of tokens. Could we have some more?”
“What?” I gasped, annoyed that it only took them eight minutes to go through twenty bucks.
“Yeah, it wasn’t our fault. The games are a ripoff,” said my daughter. “Can you please give us another twenty and we’ll get the tokens ourselves so you don’t have to miss the fight? We promise.”
“Sure, sure,” I said, and reached into my pocket and dug out a couple of twenties that I was going to use for dinner that night.
“Dad,” my daughter said. “You know you shouldn’t watch that stuff. It’s too violent and it sends a bad message to kids.”
“Yeah, sure,” I mumbled, and went back to my seat to finish the cardboard pizza, wishing I could see the rest of the fight.