Flash Fiction: Afternoon Anthropologist by Val Muller

Welcome to The Spot Writers. This week’s prompt is to find a new article, and choose five words from the article, using them in a story or a poem. This week’s story is from Val Muller, author of the Corgi Capers kidlit mystery series.

She chose an article about monkeys attacking humans to steal blood samples from COVID-19 patients, which seemed more to her like the beginning of a Planet of the Apes movie than anything.


Afternoon Anthropologist

By Val Muller

Midnight Raven mounted the bench, hands on hips, cape blowing in the wind.

So stereotypical.

Her nemesis, Muddy Shark, crouched menacingly in the water below. He roared up at her, reaching for what she clutched so dearly in her hand.

“Mine!” he roared.

“No, not yours.” She held it high in the sky, like a wand. From the safety of the picnic table, the onlooker watched, half expecting her to summon a bolt of lightning with the passion that glowed in her eyes.

“Mine!” the Shark demanded again. He rose from the water, dripping, bright red beads dribbling down his chin. Red as blood.

Anger boiled, rampant in the hot summer sun, and her scowl matched his.

“You’ll never have this!” She stretched her arm impossibly higher. The object she clutched glistened in the sun, shedding bright purple drops that speckled her arm.

A few drops landed on the Shark. Puzzled, his face softened. Tension decreased for an instant, but then he understood, and his eyes narrowed, further enraged.

The battle was impossible. Clearly, the Raven would end it all to deprive her nemesis of a single iota of pleasure. She would end them both.

The onlooker pocketed his phone and put down his lemonade, preparing to rise, preparing for the inevitable.

This would not end well.

The Shark fell back into the water, thrashing before making a final strike. He was airborne, his wet outfit glistening in the blazing sun. His enraged, chubby fists clenched, his guttural scream a nonverbal invective.

“If you’re too stupid to hold onto your own ice pop, there’s no way you’re getting mine!”

And then it happened. The Raven’s purple pop had been exposed to the summer heat for too long. It lost all structural integrity, like the onlooker’s last shred of sanity evaporating. Then it landed—splat—on the patio.

Enraged, the Shark plopped down into the kiddie pool, its water still red from his dropped pop. The Raven, defeated, chucked her impotent ice pop stick at her brother before joining him in the cool relief of the pool, their tears mixing with the sticky-sweet of melted pops and hose water.

The onlooker sat again, relaxing, reopening the book he had been reading on his phone. Disaster was averted for now, and he waited for his pulse to slow again. It wasn’t much as far as superhero plots were concerned, but for a COVID summer day, it was typical. And around these parts, it was about as exciting as things got.


The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com

Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.ca/

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