Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dr. Rathberger's Clinic For Exotic Animals - #FridayFlash Fiction

Nigel Rathberger slipped on his white jacket and pondered, not for the first time that day, whether he'd made a mistake trading old women with corpulent cats and yapping dogs for the menagerie which paraded into his clinic each morning. Take, for example, the creature peacefully lying on the table and its anxious young owner.

"Can you help him, please? I don't want Sparky to die."

"He doesn't look too badly off. Let's have a look, shall we? Tell me why you think he might be ill."

"He eats a lot but then he groans and carries on something awful. You can see he's kind of blown up. And he doesn't play anymore. He just wants to sit on his heat rock. Oh, and his scales aren't pretty like they used to be."

Nigel had noticed that the usually iridescent scales had gone opaque.

"Well, let me put a bit of tape around his jaws - I know you said he's very gentle, but animals of any sort can be a bit snappish when distressed." Tape in place, he gently rolled back an armored eyelid. "Nictitating membrane looks fine. Eyes are clear. That's a good sign."  He palpated Sparky's abdomen. "Ah."

"You found something?"

Nigel cleared his throat. "I'll have to make a rather uncomfortable exploration, but I suspect that Sparky is not a him, but rather a her. And pregnant I might add. Let me see if she has any eggs."

"But he...she hasn't been out of the house."

"Yes, well, there have been rare instances of both Bearded and Komodo dragons becoming pregnant through asexual reproduction. I haven't seen it in this species though. We might have a very special event here."

After a thorough examination which confirmed the news, Nigel had the owner remove the tape from its snout and place his pet on the floor. "Walk her a few steps."

Sparky tried to dig her claws into the tile floor, straining backward against the leash. A sudden loud gurgle from the animal's inwards made them all jump.

Nigel snapped his fingers. "I'll wager there's something else making her uncomfortable." He withdrew a bottle from the cabinet and scattered what looked like rancid meat chunks on the floor. "Activated charcoal disguised in canned dog food. A tried and true method for relieving upset stomach in animals."

Sparky snapped up a few of the morsels, tilted her head up, and swallowed. Her tongue flicked out and she looked into space thoughtfully. They waited. Another wet gurgle echoed through the room; Sparky regarded her nether region with what could only be regarded as surprised dismay.

They waited.

"It's not wor..."


Sparky belched a stream of flame which curled the paint from the door as a similar extrusion shot out the rear, setting the veterinarian's pant leg on fire. Swearing, he dropped his trousers and flung them into the sink as a suffocating miasma filled the air.

"Everything alright in there?" came an anxious voice as Lily, the receptionist, peeked into the room.

"Yes, yes, PERFECTLY ALRIGHT. Just GLORIOUS I'd say. Absolutely WONDERFUL. I ENJOY taking my pants off during office visits and NEARLY HAVING MY WILLY CRISPED. Please go back to eating your lunch or answering the phone or applying for jobs where your BRILLIANT POWERS OF OBSERVATION WILL BE PUT TO BETTER USE."

Lily clucked her tongue and angrily tapped her way back down the hall.

The client slipped out after her, the now much-relieved Sparky at a running crawl behind.

Nigel set about putting the exam room to rights, opening the window, outfitting himself with a fresh pair of surgical scrubs, and running a still shaking hand through his hair. From outside he could hear the distinct sounds of hoof beats and a set of very large wings flapping. For crissake, a gryphon AND a unicorn scheduled on the same afternoon? Lily was absolutely going to get the sack.

Yesteryear's patient list of farting Bulldogs, sneezing kittens and a neurotic parrot was looking better and better each day.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Weightless - #FridayFlash

"Wow. How did you get so fat eating salads? You must really pig out after school."

The pyric words had curdled the already churning contents of her stomach. Hundreds of eyes had followed and marked her rush to the bathroom; she still felt their judgement tattooed on her back. Eric had been among them, Eric with his lithe body and shock of blonde hair which he continually flicked from his eyes. His T.M.B. was still archived on her phone. Sorry. It's not working out. She knew the reason.

Now it was gone, and she felt not only thinner, but oddly weightless. The money she'd saved up could go toward new clothes, makeup, fitness classes. They'd stop whispering and staring. She's get Eric back, too.

Cold rain was sheeting down, plastering her dress to her legs. Just as well; it would be far worse to do it on a warm, starlit night. She slid the door of the dumpster open, dropped the forlorn bundle in amongst the spilth and dashed back to the chiaroscuro of neon signs, oily puddles and shadows on Main Street.

She would always look at children of a certain age, and wonder.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Run from the Zombies! (Or With Them) - October 2013 Event - Nonfiction

Mark your calendar for October 19, 2013. What's more fun than a 5K run? How about a 5K Zombie Run? Runners will wear flag belts and try to make it to the town square while being pursued by the undead who are trying to snatch their flags (and brains). You can register as a runner for $45 or as a zombie for $20. For more info visit the website Dawn Of the Lititz Dead...... or their Facebook Page

The run is taking place in the town of Lititz (recently voted coolest small town in America) located in beautiful Lancaster County, PA, USA. Sponsors include internationally known Clair Global which handles sound, lighting and staging for major concerts and had its beginnings in Lititz and Tait Towers, designers of cutting edge staging and lighting effects.

The run will follow a course thru town; there will be obstacles like blockades and old cars as well as zombies. Runners will compete in heats of 50. The actual run is from 10 AM till 2 PM followed by a street fair.

Tired and thirsty after that run? There will be food stands and a designated area for beer and wine. Or stop in at the Bull's Head Pub for cask conditioned ale and sausage rolls.

Need knew threads? There are plenty of boutiques along main street, as well as Uncle Funky's Thrift and Vintage.

If werewolves are more your thing...well, I can't help you there. But if WOLVES are your thing, then check out the Wolf Sanctuary of PA in Lititz. October 19th and 20th are included in Wolf Awareness Week. Check out their site for events. There's also a Bed and Breakfast on site, but limited space of course so book NOW!

Lancaster is widely known for its vibrant Pennsylvania Dutch communities and family entertainment sites as well as its burgeoning art scene. Make a weekend of it; survive the Zombie Run on Saturday Oct. 19 and then spend Sunday at the nearby Strasburg Steam Railroad which has scheduled a Great Train Robbery. The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire will be open and provides entertainment for the whole family, or see the Woman In Black at the Fulton Theater , built in 1852 and considered the oldest continuously operating theatre in the nation. (Order tickets ahead of time.)

There's also plenty of outlet shopping, hotels, restaurants, museums, and art galleries in nearby Lancaster. (Most are 30-40 minutes or less from Lititz.) You might also choose one of the many attractions spotlighting the Amish community. To plan your trip, please visit the Pennsylvania Dutch Country Site. One reminder: businesses owned or run by members of the Anabaptist sects - Amish and Mennonite - are usually closed on Sundays.

I haven't made up my mind as to whether I'll be a runner or a zombie, but since I tend to be rather slow...I guess the choice is obvious.

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