The Birthday Bear

 Cynthia positioned the pink party hat between Harold’s furry ears and carefully placed the elastic band under his muzzle. 

"Don’t know why we’re bothering," he muttered. 

"It’s her birthday!" Cynthia said.

Harold shrugged his massive shoulders and sat back on his haunches.  "She’s just going to roll her eyes and then go write more poetry about the ‘long hibernation.’" 

Cynthia knew that he didn’t mean it.  He was the one who’d stolen the ice cream cake from the boy scouts this morning.  He was just frustrated because his little girl was growing up.  She sighed.  "You remember what that age was like.  Go a little easy on her." 

Harold looked over at the cake.  It was starting to sag a bit around the edges.  "Do you think she’ll like the cake?" 

"Of course she will!" 

Cynthia heard heavy footsteps approaching their cave.  "Harold, she’s coming!" 

Their daughter shuffled into the cave.  "Happy birthday, Maggie!" Cynthia said. 

Maggie looked around.  Her eyes lit up when she saw the cake, but then her cool mask dropped back over her features.  "Thanks, Mom." 

"Your dad got you the cake." 

"Cool.  Thanks, Dad."  Maggie kissed Harold’s cheek.  "It looks pretty decent." 

Harold smiled.  "Well, dig in, honey." 

Maggie ate her cake, and she seemed pleased with the shiny bag that Cynthia had found for her.  Then she left to go hang out with her friends. 

"I think that went well," Cynthia said. 

"Well?" Harold sniffed.  "She kissed me!  And she hasn’t let me call her honey for almost a year."  He touched his cheek.  "She’s going to be okay, isn’t she?" 

"Of course she is, honey."  

About Jamie

Jamie Lackey lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and their cats. She has over 160 short fiction credits, and has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Escape Pod. She has a novella and two short story collections available from Air and Nothingness Press. In addition to writing, she spends her time reading, playing tabletop RPGs, baking, and hiking. You can find her online at

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