By xythan_shadow

Grizzly set up the checkerboard as Arnold walked in. Arnold was a nice kid, real smart, but kinda small, just like he used to be. He didn’t have a father and looked up to “Papa Bear” like a father. Grizzly took some extra time with Arnold sometimes and it made him feel really loved. Arnold would spend time over at Grizzly’s house when his mother worked late and he loved the big bear.

Arnold sat down at the checkerboard and made his move. Grizzly responded with a move of his own and asked, “What’s wrong little man?”

Arnold looked up and said, “Papa Bear, all the kids are getting a lot bigger than me. I’m tired of being small but my dad was small and I don’t think I’m going to grow any. I guess I’m just going to be a small nerd all my life.”

Grizzly looked down at Arnold and saw he was really upset about it, just like he was when he was in school. He smiled to himself and pulled the bear from his shirt pocket. “Here,” he said as he handed the small blue plush to Arnold.

“I can’t take this Papa Bear, you love him!” Arnold protested.

“Yes I do, and I always will, but it’s time for the torch to be passed.” Grizzly got up and walked around the table to where Arnold was. Arnold gazed up at the big man with wonder in his eyes as he placed the bear on his right shoulder. Arnold looked at the bear then back to Grizzly, then the bear again. “Go ahead, he wants a snuggle.” Arnold smiled and snuggled the bear’s nose with his own, then gave it a close hug before placing it back on his shoulder. Grizzly smiled and returned to his seat. “Your move,” he said.

Arnold looked at the game board with confusion in his demeanor. “You know what Papa Bear, all of the sudden, I don’t really feel like playing.”

Grizzly laughed a deep chuckle and said, “Let me guess, you feel like working out, getting bigger like your Papa Bear, right?”

“You know what? I think that’s it. I need to work out,” Arnold responded as he got up.

“I thought you might,” Grizzly said as he got up and led Arnold to his weight room. •

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