Tuesday, July 13, 2010

FFF #35 - Guard Duty

This post, such as it is, marks my return to Friday Flash Fiction.  It has been awhile.  Not sure what to think of this one, other than it came to me when our grey cat, GG, strutted up to me trying to meow through the vole he had stuffed in his mouth.  Found the picture and well, what follows was the result. 

The sentence this week came via Flannery  - "I don't disagree with you, but you have to admit, this puts me in a delicate position."

"I don't disagree with you, but you have to admit, this puts me in a delicate position."

With one eye Tony looked at Vic in disgust while the other eye targeted a lazy fly. "I hate it when you go all hoity toity Vic. Delicate position? What the Hell does that mean? You wearing something belonging to the missus again?" Both eyes were now drawing a bead on the fly.

Vic turned and looked at Tony.  He cleared his throat and said,  "You know I like to be called Victor."   Tony grunted.  His attention was now on the fly.

Vic gazed out on the wide expanse that seperated them from Dark Woods. He turned back just in time to see Tony flick his tongue and catch the fly. While Tony convulsed his throat tossing back the fly into his gullet, Vic continued.  "If I have spell it out for you my wart encrusted friend, I would say that while I can see your point and agree with you, my new position as a Ward of the Periphery does not allow me the freedom to put our safety before the safety of the group."

"Jeezum Vic,  Ward of the Periphery?  Fancy titles don't change the fact we are pulling plain ole guard duty.  You are expendable my friend.   All I suggest is a way to deal with this new stream that has marooned us here.  Ya know we can't stay here.  Too exposed.  Those nasty stinkin owls would just love to make you lunch.  You know they don't leave much when they are done.  Puke your hard parts up while your soft parts come out the other end.   I ain't throwing myself in harm's way to save your dumb ass.  Makes more sense to find our way back to the edge of the Dark Woods where we can relax and still keep watch. "

Victor pretended to consider Tony's suggestion.  But voles are hardheaded little jerks.  He had been given a directive and a position to hold.  By God, he was going to follow through.  Turning around was not an option. "Again Tony I cannot emphasize too strongly how much I agree with your turn and run suggestion, but Boss Mole gave both of us a job to do and I for one consider it my duty to see this mission through............ You want to turn back?  Go ahead.  I will stay.  Maybe we can move over there near that hump?"

Victor turned and took a few tentative steps towards the hump further out into the Great Unknown.  A Sparrowhawk dropped out of the Sun just missing Victor with those impaling claws they like to keep so sharp.  Victor piddled and then panicked.  There was no cover. Not even any dead leaves to try and crawl under.  The new stream had washed everything down to dirt.

Tony watched as Victor ran around in circles screaming.  He looked bored.  Voles were just so damn high strung.  Smart maybe, but jeez they were an ansty breed.  Tony swallowed some air and bloated his throat in a show of defiance in case the sparrowhawk was watching.  He was pretty sure though, that sparrow hawk was already on the hunt for other game.  They rarely hit the same place twice.  He let Tony get through the worst of his panic attack and then spoke up.

Vic!.......Victor........."  Nothing, Vic was too busy being hysterical.  He needed a few more minutes.  Tony settled down and once again looked across the broad expanse of water that blocked their return to the Dark Woods and safety. 

He could easily just hop into the brook and swim across even though it was not in a toad's nature to swim much.  But he could do it.  Leaving this whiner behind was becoming more attractive with every frantic spin Victor made.  But then there would questions to answer, paper work to fill out, and besides, he actually liked the little furball.  Victor was the only mammal in the community who would scratch his back when it itched.  Tony sighed and hopped closer to Victor.  Flicking out his tongue, he caught Vic right between his beady eyes and almost knocked him down.  That got Vic's attention.

"What the Hell Tony?  That hurt."

"With or without you Vic, I'm finding some cover."  Tony hopped into the shallow edge of the stream.  "Come on Vic.  I will leave you."

Victor looked at Tony poised in the shallows ready to retreat.  He turned back to gaze towards the Great Unknown.  Lifting his nose, his whiskers twitched as he tasted the air coming from that direction.  He turned back to look at Tony.

Tony moved further out, stopping just as the water came up under his chin.  "Coming or not?"

Victor's shoulders seemed to slump as he scurried over to Tony and jumped on his back.  "Okay, let's go.  But you know there's gonna be Hell to pay when Boss Mole finds out we abandoned our post?"

Tony rolled his eyes.  "Only way he finds out is if one of us tells him.  Now hold on  and stop fidgeting."



Flannery Alden said...

Great story! I liked the world-weary toad, very much.

PipeTobacco said...


Glad you have been able to return! I too like the toad. As always, your writing is strong and fast paced! Great job!


Crybbe666 said...

Enjoyed this a lot, especially Victor, the highly-strung, panicky, Ward of the Periphery (what a job description!!) Great dialogue that moved this along at a great rate. Top job!!

ERR said...

What great characters! Loved it.

Joyce said...

This was great fun and so clever. Love the characters and the setting. Great job!

Randal Graves said...

I'm thinking you should expand this realm, bust out an extra cynical version of The Wind in the Willows.