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Dog Catcher

Chapter Text

"Loser!"

"You suck!"

"You couldn't catch a cold!"

A miserable boy stood on a baseball field, surrounded by children of the same age, all of whom were heckling him. He had brown hair, brown eyes, pale skin, was of average height and weight, and had incredibly thick glasses.

"C'mon, guys," he whined. "I can catch! Just give me another chance, please!"

A peanut butter jar flew into his face, knocking him unconscious. The boy hit the ground hard to the sound of laughter from the other kids. After a bit, they stopped laughing.

"So what should we do now?" a girl asked.

"Let's go make fun of someone else for their perceived shortcomings!" a boy declared.

The other kids cheered and left. Uncle Grandpa walked up, scooped up the peanut butter jar, and began eating directly from it. Eventually, the boy stirred.

"Hey, Bruce!" Uncle Grandpa said happily. "What's going on?"

Bruce sighed as he moved into a sitting position. "Not much. Wait. Who are you?"

"I'm your Uncle Grandpa!" Uncle Grandpa said happily.

"My...uncle grandpa?" Bruce asked.

"Yeah!" Uncle Grandpa said. "I'm your uncle, and your grandpa!"

"At the...same time?" Bruce questioned.

"At the same time!" Uncle Grandpa said. "Also, I'm totally magic."

Bruce shook his head. "No, I don't think so. I've met both my grandpas."

"Ah, but I'm not your grandpa," Uncle Grandpa said wisely. "I'm your Uncle Grandpa! Totally different. I travel around the world and help kids with their problems. Also, I've got a bunch of cool friends, like Belly Bag."

"Hi!" Belly Bag chirped.

"...okay," Bruce said.

"So, Bruce, what's got you down?" Uncle Grandpa asked.

"Well...I can't catch," Bruce explained. "Like, at all! I put my hands up, but I always drop the ball, or miss the ball, or whatever! I couldn't even catch a jar of peanut butter when it slammed into my face! I think it gave me a black eye."

Uncle Grandpa looked down at his jar of peanut butter and slowly hid it behind his back.

"And because I can't catch, everybody thinks I'm a total loser!" Bruce continued.

"Hold on a sec," Uncle Grandpa said. He leaned down and examined Bruce's face. "Hmm. Hmm. Uh-huh...uh-huh...mm-hmm...uh-huh...yeah, that's a shiner, all right."

Bruce's shoulders sagged. "Aw. My mom's going to be so–"

"But I've got good news, Bruce!" Uncle Grandpa declared. "Because I'm gonna take you to the best ball catcher I know! After a bit of time with him, you'll be catching all the balls! No matter what anyone throws your way, you're gonna catch it! Now are you ready?"

Bruce looked uncomfortable. "Gee, Uncle Grandpa, I don't–"

"Good!" Uncle Grandpa said. "Because you're gonna learn how to catch!"