Lisa* texted me, “It’s getting colder and the mice are invading the cabin.”
That’s all it took to motivate me. I told her to dress for the outdoors. She met me in the basement of the writing cabin. She had on cargo shorts and hiking boots along with a khaki shirt she tied around her waist. It noticeably highlighted certain features.
I handed her a pack frame, a selection of old pots, and a shovel. “I’ll need a sandwich too.”
“So what are you doing?” she asked.
“Just waiting on you.”
She pursed her lips and crossed her arms.
“Look, I’m an old fat guy. You’re the robot, and I’ve seen you lift about eight hundred pounds like it was nothing.”
She grabbed an old pith helmet from the shelf and pulled her hair back before placing it on her head. “So your solution to the mouse problem is gardening?”
“Carnivorous plants. There’s a nice spring a few miles from here where some good mousers grow. It’s still Indian Summer and it should be a nice day.”
We picked up a game trail near the same beaver dam where we set off our flash bombs a week or two ago. A few buffalo tracks showed up, but nothing scary.
Lisa pointed, “What’s that?” A slowly moving hill of grass moved from side to side. “I don’t like your imagination sometimes. All kind of weird crap lives in your forest. I like things I can Google.”
“Buffalo grass. Check it out with your ultraviolet and infrared. I sure don’t want one of us to wind up like that buffalo.”
“Seriously? There are plants out here big enough to eat a buffalo?”
“You should see the snapdragons.”
We followed the trail and listened to the migrating geese high overhead. Brilliant yellows from the aspens mingled with the green of pines. Squirrels ran back and forth in an attempt to cache as much food as possible.
The bog was covered with good sized mousers. “Time for my sandwich,” I said. “Dig a few up while I eat.”
Lisa pushed her helmet back with one finger and looked at me. “How do I pick a good one?”
I wandered over near the spring and showed her the right plant.
She snatched a pod off one and said, “This one has a leg sticking out of it.” She tore the pod apart and dropped a fairy on the mossy ground. The fairy was dark with a shock of thick brunette hair.
“Iris**, Is that you?” I knelt down.
“She isn’t moving.”
“I picked her up and shook her back and forth.”
Iris sucked in air and yelled, “Stop, stop! Haven’t you ever heard of shaken fairy syndrome?”
I sat her back down. She rolled in the moss and moaned. “It burns, it’s burning me.”
“It’s the digestive fluid.” I grabbed her and dunked her into the spring up to my elbow, rinsing her side to side. Then I placed her back on the moss.
Iris coughed and sputtered. “Thanks, I think. Those damned things look like a flower full of drinking water.”
One of the plants turned toward her and opened its trap wide. Its stamens wiggled back and forth, tasting the air around it. Iris pulled a tiny sword and started toward it.
I placed a hand between them. “I need them with traps.” I unwrapped my PBJ and sat on a log. “What are you doing way out here?”
“Looking for you. Cobby said to help you out, he’s too busy to come right now.”
“Typical dwarf. They’re always too busy. I’m publishing The Cock of the South soon and need you to check some facts. Why don’t you fly on out to the cabin. Lisa will be done soon and we’ll head back.”
“Can’t. I pulled some muscles in my back.” She wobbled her wasp-like wings. You’ll have to carry me.”
Lisa plopped one of the mousers into a pot and glared at me. “These things better not hurt Bunny.”
“If one of them gets big enough to eat Bunny, I’m going to be scared. Make sure he doesn’t nibble on my plants either. Dig up one for each office and one for the front and back doors.”
Lisa finished her potting and lashed everything to her pack frame. She shouldered her load and adjusted the straps.
I picked up Iris and sat her on Lisa’s pith helmet. “There you go. Let’s hurry up now, I want to set them out before dark tonight.”
* Lisa is the main character in Wild Concept. She’s a robot and helps me around the cabin these days. She’s obsessive about her pet rabbit, Bunny.
** Iris the fairy is a supporting character in The Cock of the South. Coming soon to a Kindle near you.