The Bubble

KeithKreates254

Photo: Keith Channing

 

“It is the only way!” he insisted.

She shook her head. She understood his urgency but he’s been going on about a string of crises for the last two hours, and her bladder was threatening to win the Battle Of Emergency.

“Are you even listening?” his voice rose, reedy with strain.

She took a breath, curbing the depth of it as to not add to the internal pressure. There was no rest-stop in sight. She began wondering if the wall of a nearby metal shipping container would have to do. With any luck, no one would be peeking out their window or strolling by or who knows.

“I really have to go,” she tried.

He exploded. “Can you stop thinking about yourself for a moment and actually take this in?!”

Her bladder cramped. Did he seriously just say “take in”?!!

He was known for working himself into a tizzy, but his anxiety and whatever issues the current times awoke in him, did not give him license to be disrespectful. “Start the car,” she bristled. “We’re leaving.”

He glared at her as if she grew antennas, which she thought was hilarious given the circumstances and his ideas. Laughter began to bubble in her belly, but she didn’t think her pelvic musculature could manage the added demand.

“We can talk more about building your floating sphere,” she added, regretting her choice of words almost as soon as it left her lips, yet finding herself unable to conjure any other imagery. “But if you don’t get me to a bathroom in the next three minutes, you’ll have to wade through bigger waters than what this world saw during Noah’s flood.”

 

 

 

For the Kreative Kue challenge #254

 

Not Here!

KeithKreates253

Photo: Keith Channing

 

They had everything.

The Papa Chair. The Mama blanket. The two Cub chairs. The inner tubes: one small, one large. Even tin cans emptied to serve as sand pails in the refilled beach’s rectangle.

What a perfect day!

The lake awaited, wet and cool. The silty mud. The pebbles, the weeds to wade across or pull.

They swam. They flipped. They raced. They flopped.

The hours passed. The contents of the picnic basket made their tummies nice and full.

They rested till the water once more called.

Then one cub disappeared.

“Nicko!” they yelled, frantic with the possibility of the awfulness that might unfold.

“One moment!” the junior responded from the direction of the small structure. “I’m not done.”

Relief was quickly replaced by wonder only to be followed by surprise and whiff of horror.

“Nicko??!!?” the Mama dashed across the small beach to stop what was already well set into motion. “That’s not an outhouse! It’s my changing room! Go in the bushes! Not here!”

 

 

 

For Keith’s Kreative Kue #253

 

 

 

Digging To China

KeithKreates250

Photo: Keith Channing

 

“Winter is the best for digging!”

Icicles hung from Snout’s whiskers, and his tail wagged excitement. The cookies-n-cream dog had two settings: asleep and overexcited.

It was exhausting.

Dumbo yawned. She stood under the dubious cover of a naked tree, and tried to make the least contact between her paw-pads and the frozen ground. Soon enough their human would stop staring into the hypnotizing rectangle, realize that he can do the same thing indoors, and “Cum’eer” them home. All she could do in the meanwhile was endure.

A bird took flight from a branch above her head and a pelt of snow plonked right onto Dumbo’s back. A shudder traveled from the tip of her nose to the end of her tail, shedding snow as it went. Now she was wet as well as cold. Stupid bird didn’t even have the decency to pick a different tree limb to launch itself from.

Dumbo hated winter.

She hated rain. And ice. And snow. And hail. And wind. And any type of weather that didn’t come with a built-in dry spot to sun herself in, preferably without any flying insects or pull-on-your-ears baby-humans or a housemate that believes the only kind of recreation befitting a dog is one that involves digging smelly things out of the ground.

She should’ve been born a cat.

Cats don’t have to go out in all weathers just to relieve themselves, and no one expects them to sniff others’ butts or follow orders or look happy about it. It was beneath a dog to be envious of a feline, but there it was.

“Come dig!” Snout barked enthusiastically.

“No thanks,” she muttered.

“You’re wet already, might as well have fun!” the smaller dog almost disappeared into the white mounds, paws tunneling in double speed into the frozen substance on the ground.

The human looked up, smiled, and pointed the hypnotizing rectangle at Snout’s behind, before checking the contraption, and raising it again in Snout’s direction.

Great. Mini-dog images. It meant they’d be stuck outside for another era. Who cares if the tip of Dumbo’s tail was ready to fall off from the cold.

“Come dig!” Snout yipped. “There’s stuff underneath here. Who knows what we’ll find!”

Dumbo yawned again and licked her chops in irritation. Go dig yourself to China, she thought, and stay there, too … see if I mind.

 

 

 

For Keith’s Kreative Kue #250

 

One With The Herd

wildebeesta KreativeKue249

Photo: Keith Kreates

 

It was never about the things he wanted to do.

It was never about where he wanted to go, what pasture he preferred, which direction he wished to head.

Conformity. Yeah, he knew all about it. How it was the only way to herd.

Still he found small ways to rebel: He’d lie down when others were grazing, chew his cud while the Head Honcho was patrolling, turn his backside to the wind when it went against every custom to do so.

“You will get yourself kicked,” his mother, who has long given up on instructing him but still couldn’t help herself from trying, lowed in his ear.

“Or eaten,” his sister, grown and soon to mother her own, added.

Their mother’s eyes were sharp horns of disgust at the sacrilege. One did not talk about becoming prey where one was already primed to be the hunted.

He shrugged and refused to turn his nose into the wind, though he could not control the small twitch of his ears, flattening to try and discern danger.

The cows, one young, one old, left to graze at the edge of the parched field.

He remained with his head petulantly bowed, feigning disinterest in any thing ahead. He’d been born to the herd. Without it, he’d be dead.

But it did not mean he had to be one with the herd.

 

 

 

For Kreative Kue #249

 

 

Owning It!

KeithKreates247

Photo: Keith Kreates

 

 

She was owning it.

In a city packed with cars for hire, she always got a second look from other drivers and passersby. Not always the business, mind you, but a second look. And … that meant they remembered her the next time they needed a car.

Not that everyone dialed for hers.

I could see how it would require a certain level of self-confidence to not be unsettled by being seen entering or emerging from her vehicle.

“Which is fine by me,” she chuckled. “Weeds out the weirdos and overly judgemental. I don’t need them in my ride.”

Her phone rang.

“Moron Taxi,” she answered cheerfully, “where and how far?”

 

 

For Keith’s Kreative Kue #247

 

 

 

Dogged Dobbie

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Photo: Keith Kreates

 

“What’s he doing?”

Martha shrugged.

“What’s in there?”

She tilted her head at him, and he demurred. She was clearly occupied. She had a bone to pick and he knew that if he pushed her with one more question she’d snap his head off. Or try.

He wasn’t going to let her try.

He moved closer to his friend.

“Dobbie?” he asked the headless figure. Did she snap his head off already? No, there was a tail wag. He didn’t think Dobbie would wag his tail if he didn’t have a head. He’d be too sad. No sniff. No lick. No yum.

“What’d’ya doin’ in there?”

The tail paused, then gave a halfhearted, one-sided sway. A sign?

“You stuck?”

Hesitant then enthusiastic wag.

“How’d you get stuck there?”

There was probably no way to wag an answer to that. Not to mention that Dobbie found a way to get stuck just about anyplace. Between the legs of a chair. Under the bed. With a garbage bin over his head. …

Max sniffed. There had to have been some food up there. Dobbie never could resist anything gobbleable. Max sniffed again. Traces. It’d be all gone by the time Dobbie realized he should’ve planned a way out before he stuck his head in.

Dobbie’s tail wagged in half-regret, half-plea.

Max sighed.

“Hold on, Dobbie! I’ll get Com’eer!”

 

 

 

For Keith’s Kreative Kue #246

 

 

On Guard!

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“How long will he be this way?”

“Dunnow,” Plucky shrugged. “But let’s get this done before he loses concentration.”

“I wanna waive something in front of his eyes. He looks so hypnotized!” Shimmer shifted excitedly from foot to foot. This was so thrilling!

“Don’t you dare!” Plucky’s hiss almost made actual sound. He bobbed his head in an effort to contain it. “Let’s get to it! Blue is good but even he can’t keep this up forever.”

Shimmer nodded distractedly.

“Coming or I go it alone?”

“Coming, coming…” Shimmer nodded and sighed in one. She didn’t want to miss anything. She wanted to see everything! She wished she could be in two places at the same time. She tore her eyes off of the dog, whose nose barely twitched and whose eyes never left the cockroach that was held in the blue-gray pigeon’s beak, just out of the canine’s reach. Blue was so courageous!

Plucky was already on the move. Shimmer stepped behind the brown bird’s sparse tail feathers, trembling with suppressed flutter. This was her first heist.

The window was open. The dog had forgotten a biscuit on his cushions. They were going to sneak into the room and steal it.

 

 

For Keith’s Kreative Kue #245

 

Making A Day Of It

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They were going to make a day of it.

Get some fresh air.

“It would do you good,” she’d said. “You’ve been cooped in for far too long.”

And he had. And he didn’t really care if he stayed cocooned indoors for a few more weeks. Or months. Or years. Or till life’s end.

But he also didn’t want to upset her, and she’d been putting up with him, moody silences and pacing through the nights and appetites that came and went in both extremes and often not for what she’d taken the time to prepare.

So he agreed. And washed. And dressed in something less wrinkled than what he’d been living in. And they went.

The air did do him good.

The open space. The light. The breeze. The views.

Until.

She’d seen them first and tried to shield him, but his mother has never been very good at hiding her distress, and he read through it and looked in the direction she was clearly hoping he would not.

His ex. The girl who’d left him at the altar, who abandoned him to do all the explaining and pay all the bills and mollify all the aunties and absorb all the pitying looks and lose face and his dignity and eventually his job.

There she was. Pressed into another man.

His blood rushed into his ears as he remembered: he had the same photo taken. With her. Wearing the same smitten look.

And he wondered if someone had stared at them, too, at the time, and considered him the next man she’d rob.

 

 

 

(Note: This story is fiction. I don’t know anyone in this photo and no real connection between the photo prompt and the content is intended.)

For Keith’s Kreative Kue #244

 

 

Walk The Line

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“He’s never going to make it,” Benji declared.

Shelly shrugged. “I think he can.”

Benji twitched in irritation. “Mark my words. He’s never gonna make it. Not after all the eggnog he’d snagged.”

Shelly sniffed. Eggnog? There was eggnog? He wanted some!

Tilly wriggled between them and squeezed herself onto the couch. “What’cha doing?”

“Nothing.” Benji huffed.

“Ignore Benji, Sis, he’s just being his grouchy self.” Shelly scooted over a bit to make room for their sibling, who was younger by whole two minutes and by that officially the baby. Well, till the next babies had arrived.

“What is he doing down there?” Tilly squeaked. “If Mama sees him on the floor in the middle of the living room he is toast!”

“He’s trying to walk the line to the other side,” Shelly explained. Toast? Why’d she have to mention toast? Now he wanted toast.

“He’s walking funny,” Tilly noted.

“Of course he is. He’s drunk.” Benji muttered. “Now hush.”

“Sorry, Benji,” Tilly demurred, but true to form could barely keep herself still for half a second. “His tail is droopy. It is all in the tail, you know. He can’t keep to the line if his back-end is all draggy. Hey, Giddy,” she called, her whiskers trembling in excitement, “you can do it! lift your tail! It’ll give you better balance! It’s my turn next!”

 

 

 

For Keith’s Kreative Kue #242

 

 

 

Under The Wire

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One needed a long leash.

One needed to be kept on a short one.

Metaphor for her life, it was.

She adopted both as babies. Whelped at the same time by the same stray dog, they were, and yet they could not be more different. People did not believe her when she told them that the two were litter-mates. Had she not seen it with her own eyes she might’ve doubted, too. She wondered sometimes if it was possible that they were fathered by two different dogs altogether.

A little like her own sons. Who had.

Only that she had survived her children’s births. Unlike the dog, who didn’t.

It had been a cold spell then as well. The roads had become ice-sheets and her breath had hovered so close that it was as if the air itself did not want to leave the warmth of her body for the arctic chill. A storm had been forecast and she’d just returned from the store with extra essentials when she’d heard the whine of something small and vulnerable coming from the crawl space under the house.

The laboring dog did not resist when she’d reached for the writhing pup. Panting and with her head hanging low, she just rose heavily to her feet and followed the pup to the garage. She must have recognized help, or perhaps she was just beyond protesting.

Three pups were born. One large, two small, one of which did not survive. Neither did the birthing mother, who suckled the pups but was dead by morning. Perhaps she bled internally or was too weak or otherwise beyond recovery. With the storm in full force there was no way to call the vet. Or to bury anything. She dragged the mother and babe outside, where the cold would preserve them till she could find a way to properly farewell them. And she took the two mewling wrigglers in. Where they’d stayed. Milo and Martin.

After her uncles. One robust and placid. One short and wily.

She’d padded a box with an old blanket, kept it by her bed, and set a timer. She’d fed them with an eye dropper first, then a turkey baster with a piece of cloth tied on for suckling. It wasn’t till their eyes opened and they’d began exploring that she’d let herself realize that she’d be keeping them.

And that they will be keeping her.

From the plans she’d been making.

Her sons no longer needed their mother. But the puppies did.

So she stayed.

And three years later, they were all still there.

One with his long leash. One with the short. And her, in the middle. Held by both.

 

 

 

For Keith’s Kreative Kue 241