He was walking down the street quickly, gripping a rather large box in his arms. There was no doubt he could carry it - the man seemed to be made entirely of muscle and the bags under his eyes suggested a career of labor. The scruff on his face hid a faded smile.
He put the box down on his porch, fiddling with his handful of keys until he found the one to open the front door. As he turned the doorknob, the box seemed to jump, nearly tumbling down the stairs to it's doom. He, however, caught the box with his foot. He was wearing sneakers that had lived about six years too long.
He picked up the box again, walking into his beat up house, equipped with dusty floors, a torn up couch, and a small child with (both figuratively and literally) dirty blonde hair. Her eyes were not as tired as his. They beamed up at the man, and at the sight of them, his own eyes lit up, too. A smile played on his face as she peered at the box.
"What is that, Daddy?" she asked, putting her hands on her hips as if interrogating him. He remembered his wife playing Cops and Robbers with the child all hours of the day before she passed. It wasn't so interesting with only two players, but it amused them. Now he lived alone with his daughter, barely making enough money for them to eat. Yet he brought home the box, anyway.
"A present," he placed the box on the kitchen table gently, "actually, three presents."
It was earlier in the day when he found the three presents. That career of hard labor consisted of fixing broken cars and dealing with their owners. Day after day, his hands got roughened more and more. The air was barely breathable in his small body shop, but he worked harder than ever because it was all he could do.
That day, he took a cigarette break, strolling around the back side of the shop, puffing smoke into the air around him. That's when he noticed it - a crate sitting on the train track that ran behind his shop. Curiously, he walked over to the crate, and noticed three small puppies inside.
"What on Earth," he said to himself, "are you three doing here?"
He heard the choo-choo of the train coming from the distance and quickly lifted the crate into his arms. He carried it back to the shop and then peeked out the window to watch the train run over the exact spot the puppies previously sat.
One puppy had an ear oddly shorter than the other, another's face seemed to be squished in, and the third had a hard time controlling how much spit came out of it's mouth. "Rejects," he thought. "No one wanted you, huh? Well, I know a little girl that will want you." He found a box in the shop and placed a t-shirt inside so the puppies would be comfortable.
His daughter was nearly jumping up and down as he opened the box. One by one, their heads popped out, and she squealed at each. "Oh, Daddy, they're adorable!"
"What would you like to name them?" He took them out and let them walk around the kitchen table. He placed a pot of warm milk in front of them and watched them dunk their entire faces inside.
"Copp, Anne, and Robbie," she said quickly, "get it? Like Cops and Robbers."
He hugged her tightly, then watched as she explained to them the rules of the game. He wasn't sure why, but somehow, he knew they understood her, and they wouldn't let her down.