Mini-but-Mighty Lion

The lion, tail twitching, silently stalked across the plush savanna. He’s spied a nut-brown orb hidden behind one of the dining room table legs and was approaching it with utmost stealth. His mind had turned it into a young warthog at a water hole and he was the ravenous beast of prey – though really he wasn’t all that hungry. Nevertheless, he was determined to capture and torture this hapless creature that dared to lie around so nonchalantly.

As he crept closer, the orb – actually a hazelnut dropped during the nut-cracking party two evenings ago – seemed to lie there helplessly awaiting its fate. The lion, tabby rather than tawny, reached out a paw and gave the creature a tentative tap with its paw. Did it have sharp fangs? Would it rear up and do battle? No. Not even a squeal. Rather, the hard-shelled thing lumbered under the table and hid in the shadows. Cowardly creature! Tearing it to shred was going to be piece of cake.

His strategy now was simple. With a flying leap his front paws landed on the creature. The blow would have crushed the spine of a true warthog, but this pee-wee brown thing was made of sterner stuff. It skittered away again, and the lion – mini but mighty – gave chase.

With a whack from his huge paw the creature rolled between two shoes. All the better! Here was a challenge. However, while he was wrestling the pee-wee mouse – for it was a baby mouse now – from between the running shoes, gnawing at the laces in his hunger and frustration – or just for fun – along came the Person of the house and ruined his adventure. As he rose into the air he saw his prey escape under the toe of one shoe.

The Person had scooped him up and was cuddling him. “You can’t tear my running shoes to shreds with your sharp little claws. Let’s see what else we can find for you.”

The lion, though he was ever so fierce, knew better than to wrestle with this tall tree of a Person, so he submitted to the indignity of being carried away to a chair and petted. As soon as he was released from captivity he leaped onto the savanna below, remembering his pee-wee mouse and those wiggling shoe laces. A moment later, however, a silvery ball began to move through the plush pile savanna.

Just as a gazelle grazing on the plains of Africa would catch the attention of his lion and tiger cousins, even so the glittering ball caught the mini lion’s attention. Back and forth his eyes flicked. Back and forth his fluffy tail lashed. His back rose in an arch as he slowly stalked the plump creature. When it suddenly made a dash to safety under a footstool, he gave pursuit. And when it darted out again, he was on it!

He’d come back and cuddle later. Right now he was the fierce hunter and there was tantalizing prey about.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: NUT-BROWN
Fandango’s FOWC: STRATEGY

The King Is Down!

"The King's been toppled. Toppled!"
The queen and court are trembling.
Felled by a pawn! A bumpkin knave,
his true intent dissembling.
In seeking for himself a crown
he trampled several pawns
His King's bishop assisting him
en route; he hastened on.
He slithered past our bishop,
he lamed our brave knight's steed!
Before the queen could rush him
he'd done the devilish deed.
He crashed against his majesty
and caught the king off guard.
Our monarch being rather plump,
he hit the ground quite hard.
Still the pawn heads for his goal
while our good queen and host
have vowed to have his wretched head.
That upstart will be toast!
Image: Steve Buissinne — Pixabay

The Ragtag Daily Prompt for today was TOPPLE

Yesterday

Today’s Word of the Day prompt is YESTERDAY. I can hardly miss this one, as I have lots to say about yesterday.

We were off to the city shortly after 9am yesterday; I had a doctor’s appointment in the morning and we had a writers’ group get-together in the afternoon. Once a month some of us Christian writers in this area get together to catch up and keep in touch. It’s always an encouraging sharing session. One of our group, Darlene Polachic, has written several Christian romances. Here’s Amazon link for the first book in her Ever Green series, of which there are five so far.

Yesterday I finally finished a jigsaw puzzle I started Sunday. It was a toughie, a 1000- piece artwork picture, the artist’s depiction of some southern (Tuscan?) village with background vineyards and trees, which means the whole puzzle is mostly shades of green-grey-aqua. I was convinced quite a few pieces were missing until the very end, when it turned out only one was. Smack in the middle of the sky! Do you throw out jigsaw puzzles with one piece missing?

Yesterday while I was waiting for my husband I downloaded and started to read a cozy mystery, one of the Aunt Bessie series by Diana Xarissa. I finished it this afternoon, between excursions outdoors to clean up the flower beds and pots. We’ve had some serious frost that’s left my annuals looking pretty limp. Time to get the pots cleaned up and put away.

Overall the series feels mild and homey. Aunt Bessie lives in her little cottage by the sea, on the Isle of Man, and gets together often with her friends for meals and discussions about whodunit. She seems to have a knack for being on the scene when a crime’s discovered and it helps that her good friends are Inspector John Rockwell, Bessie’s friend Doona, who works at the Police Dept., and Hugh Waterson, a local bobby who loves his food. Lately they’re often joined by Hugh’s new girlfriend, Grace. (They marry later in the series.)

This story starts out well but the middle slows considerably as they go in a lengthy circle of who committed the crime and get nowhere. Plus it’s Christmas and they get lost in a rather long discussion and sampling of seasonal goodies. I feel a mystery should move fairly fast and this one definitely could speed up some. If readers are really interested in the various kinds of cookies made in the US and how they differ from the English biscuits, they may not mind this detour from the investigation, but 3/4 of the way through I was ready to skip ahead and find out who the guilty party was.

Still, for a cozy mystery series this one is quite good. I really don’t like the ones where an aggressive amateur sleuth gets in people’s faces, demanding answers. I read and enjoy the Markham Sisters Bed & Breakfast series, by the same author. It also moves sedately for the most part and the mysteries are minor ones, like what their guests might be up to, or who might be spreading counterfeit bills in the little village of Doveby Dale.

This series reminds me of the Miss Read books I used to read long ago, “Life in a small English village” type of stories. And one thing I can say about both these series is that the writing is improving and the characters are developing more, and more sensibly, as the series progresses. Nice to see the writer learning and improving her craft.

I wonder how many of you recalled that old Beatles tune, “Yesterday,” when you saw today’s word prompt? If you’re under forty you maybe never gave it a thought, but that was a big hit when I was a young teen. Dates me, right? 😉

And I think that’s enough said about yesterday.

The Long and the Short

Another writer wrote yesterday that the two-word tale, “Cut short,” is considered micro-fiction. I found this idea fascinating and started to consider a number of similar micro-fiction possibilities.
Like “Guillotined.”
Or the more polite, “Corporate shakeup: head dismissed.”

I suppose “Paid in full,” would count, too.
Or the more detailed, “We finally own our car, dear.”

Then I imagined an announcement telling that Kellogg’s cereal sales were down: “Snap, Crackle and Pop caught in crunch.”

In contrast, the gentlemen in my tale below, vying for the chess championship, are loquacious types. Not into brevity. This scene is my response to Fandango’s prompt for today: OPPONENT.

For those fond of unique words I’m also tossing in Merriam Webster’s word of the day: FUGACIOUS (fleeting)

The Gracious Rivals

The eager audience began a hearty applause and media cameras whirred as the two champions appeared on stage. An ornate chessboard had been placed on a low table in the center of the circular stage, with a comfortable chair for each player. This match could take hours — days even.

Everyone fell silent as the two players approached each other and bowed courteously.

“Esteemed opponent,” said Zakaruscu, the older of the two, “It gives me great delight in meeting you for this game. I expect to be defeated today by such an admirable adversary as yourself.”

“Honorable rival,” Lo Chan replied, “It is my highest pleasure to match wits with you. Your prowess is notorious. Though I dare to challenge you and hope to play the man, you will undoubtedly be the winner.”

“Oh, worthy contender, I know you for a passionate devotee of chess. You’ve defeated many a great player and I’m certain you will put my skills to the test. Though I shall play to the best of my ability, I can easily see that you will emerge the victor in this game.”

“Oh, highly respected competitor,” Lo Chan countered, “Though I do hope to gain the victory in this match, I am certain your advanced years will give you a tremendous advantage over my lesser experience.”

Zakaruscu bristled. “I’m not that ancient.” He unclenched his teeth and took a deep breath. Onlookers noted his fugacious smirk. “Au contraire, I’m sure your youthful intelligence, fresh from the cradle, will give you a decided advantage.”

“Fresh from the cradle!” Lo Chan glared at his opponent in a most disrespectful manner. “Though I be your junior, I plan to tax your skills to the utmost in this match.”

“I’m certain that you shall, creditable competitor. However, I shall do my utmost to prove your abilities insufficient to overcome my mastery of the game.”

“I believe you shall find yourself soundly trounced, my renowned fellow pro.”

From off-stage someone yelled, “Three-minute commercial break! And after this, could you two sit down and start playing chess.”

The audience gave a rousing cheer.

Haiku Just-for-fun

My last just-for-fun haiku was well LIKE’d, so here are a few more that might give you a smile this morning. Which one do you like best?

abashed ambassador
sent home for breach of conduct
feeling disconsulate

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playing Monopoly
the money we made and lost
a rich childhood

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the last notice is terse:
time has come to be blunt —
their lawyer’s next vacation