Just Once - Page 9

“Okay,” Art said to himself as he wandered the lonely back acres of his grandfather's property, underbrush crunching under his rubber boot shod feet as he did so. “Meet a girl, any girl, that's the plan.” He glanced around the desolate-looking wooded area until his eyes happened upon a gray squirrel. “I probably should have been more specific,” he told the squirrel as he favored it with his best grin. “No offense, sweetheart, but you're not my type.”

The squirrel seemed equally unimpressed with Art, chittering its disapproval at Art's presence and throwing a few nuts his way for good measure. One bounced a bit painfully off of Art's head, further encouraging his hasty retreat. “I'm going, I'm going!” he laughed. “You're just lucky I never developed a taste for squirrel meat!” A parting shot from the squirrel fell short, but Art felt himself ducking reflexively nonetheless. “Keep it up though, and I'll make an exception in your case!” he added by way of good-natured warning.

The squirrel flicked its tail in a manner that Art couldn't help but feel was intended to be insulting, then skittered back behind the tree, prompting further laughter from Art.

“Well,” Art said to no one in particular. “Thus endeth my grand adventure for the day, methinks. At least I managed to kill . . .” He glanced down at the worn watch on his wrist. “Forty-five whole minutes!” Art sighed. “Fan-tas-tic!” he swore dejectedly.

As if in response, he heard the squirrel's angry chittering once more.

“Oh for heaven's sake!” Art began, then stopped as he realized there was another sound behind the squirrel's scolding, and that it sounded remarkably like the word “ow” being gasped around feminine laughter.

Being a reasonably smart fellow, given a few more seconds to process this information, Art would have easily come to the obvious, if improbable conclusion, but he was saved the effort by being hit in the chest by a projectile larger and with far more pleasant curves than a squirrel-thrown nut. And while said projectile was considerably softer than what had hit him previously, it was also traveling at a greater rate of speed, so Art ended up hitting the ground like a pole-axed steer from the collision, more from surprise than the actual impact.

Page 9

Previous ~ Index ~ Next