He patiently hangs around outside our bedroom door, waiting to greet us as we make our way to the kitchen for breakfast. I look forward to rounding the corner into the hallway to meet his smiling face and balanced ball. I can’t help but smile back.

Some days I imagine him tossing me the ball with a quick “here”, I catch it on the backside of my hand, flip it up and meet it with a hacky sack kick right back into his resting palm. He winks and nods with approval.

He’s our defender, keeping a watchful eye on the front door and across the living space to the girl’s rooms. In a moments notice he could leap off his plaster backing and protect our home. Or, if I heard a bump late at night and caught a glimpse of a shadow, taller than 45 inches, I could pull him off the wall and wield him against the intruder. I envision he would hold on tight while I swung him photo-82towards the burglar and at the last moment, just before impact, he would extend his leg to deliver a knock-out blow. He’d then pull his body fully out of the frame, give me a high-five, do two celebratory flips, and find his spot back on the wall.

Robespierre can’t stand him. I’m not sure why I love him. But, he stays. I brought him home for $3.