Teapot V Pigeon

by James

Tommy risked another slow peek over the edge of the windowsill. His blood simmered briefly at the sight of his nemesis, downstairs on the path below. Tommy hated him with a vengeance – coming into the family’s lives. Usurping his rightful position as the one and only.

Tommy edged himself forward a little more. Slow and steady, that’s what was needed, like the teapot, in that race against the pigeon. Down below, his nemesis took another lolloping step, and then another. Almost there.

The aroma of the petunias in full bloom was intoxicating, the smell of them coursing through his senses, warming his blood. For a moment or three, he wavered. Why go to all this trouble, all this stress? Why not stay up here with the petunias and-

His nemesis was looking up, showing him that stupid face, and Tommy surged forward slowly, but firmly, and nudged the pot of petunias from its precarious resting point on the edge of the sill and out into fresh air. He sensed something, as though a billion nematodes living in the pot’s soil suddenly cried out as their world shifted from sun warmth and breeze and become instead one of falling terror.

Tommy hauled himself forward and was just in time to see that stupid white face of his nemesis turned skyward before the pot of petunias took him right between the eyes with a pleasing crunch. Legs quivered and flinched, then were still. It was done.

And now was the really hard part: he had to get downstairs and eat the petunias before the corpse of his nemesis was discovered. This way, when they did find the body, all they would find was a mysterious mound of earth and broken – no sign of the incriminating flowers that were Tommy’s favourite.

God, it’s hard life being a sodding tortoise. Steps? You can’t go down head-first, even with head safely in shell, because there’s a sixty forty chance you’ll catch the edge of the stair tread, flip to the next and turn turtle. And isn’t that the worst? How species-ist is that? Turn turtle? It’s fucking turn tortoise, if it’s anything.

To make it down, Tommy had to eight point turn it, then carefully lower himself backwards, legs straining for the carpet below. He had made it down three steps before his world suddenly became a much faster rocking one as Alice scooped him up and carried him back to their room. She kissed the top of his head and then put him back in his box on top of the chest of drawers.

Tommy’s world became one of lettuce that he set himself about with a philosophical shrug. His nemesis was done with, and though he had not eaten petunias off his face, the task was done.

Mummy entered Alice’s room. Her face was sad, her movements dignified. She quietened the little girl then sat on the bed.

‘Alice. I have some bad news. It’s about your brother.’ She paused to compose herself. ‘It’s about your brother’s bunny. He. Well. I know how you loved to play with him, but, there’s been an accident.’

‘Oh,’ Alice said. ‘Can we get another?’

In his box, Tommy heard and he listened. He munched his lettuce, and he began to scheme.