Spring has finally sprung
My inner alarm clock sounds, it’s Spring! I rush from the toe-end of the boot and by the time I’ve reached the opening I discover I am still one with sock. As I’m shaking – with – the sock I notice I am not alone: a tiny pair of eyes, heavy with sleep, look up at me.
“Will you keep the noise down?!”
“Wha-t?” I stutter, surprised I had a bed partner in the first place.
“Look, if you can stop all that dancing…”
I’m incensed. Tortoises do not dance. I have a question of my own: “Why are you in my bed? I don’t remember inviting you.”
The eyes blink. And shift. I now realise there are four pairs of them.
I’ve been sleeping with a mite!
Has Giles the butler had foot-mites all this time? Is that why he walks funny? Have I been peacefully slumbering in infected socks?
The mite yawns. It looks impatient.
Does Lady Millicent know of this uninvited
sock house-guest? When I leave the confines of Giles’s boot will I encounter a mite infestation of Dandelion Hall? Something alike a zombie apocalypse but more insidious and itchy. It doesn’t bear thinking about. The thought alone almost sends me scurrying back to bed – until I realise that my bed is infested.
I decide to be bold. “I demand that you and your co-fellows leave at once!”
It laughs at me. In short staccato
bites bursts. “I am Zorro, loner of the Palace Boot! I have no associates!”
Well. Gone is that theory of a mite-y apocalypse. The threat is paled now yet I’m still not happy: this is – sort of – my boot. And I don’t care for sleeping with strangers. Especially those with strange accents and four pairs of eyes. And Teeth.
Oscar Dandelion barks from somewhere far down the hallway. I hear his approaching paw-falls.
Good, he will get rid of the mite!
I start shaking the sock again, trying to rid myself of it – and at the same time, to rid myself of the other it. The woollen threads are always getting entwined in my clawks. I’ll have to have a serious talk with the butler to get him to change his socks.
“Happy Springtime!” Oscar says poking his head in the boot. His wet dog nose brushes my cheek.
I’m about to open my mouth to utter my own words of greeting, but us tortoises are not the quickest of speakers.
“Oh, hello!” Oscar is saying in a peculiar way. I see he is looking at the mite. Good. He can deal with the matter, being lord of the hall and all.
“I was going to mention…” I begin but Oscar is already interrupting me. (Who said hares are the fastest?)
“Meet Zorro! Daisy Elizabeth this is Zorro. Zorro this is Daisy Elizabeth.” Oscar says. I’m dumbfounded (rare for tortoises). He’s formally introducing us!
The mite is visibly grinning – with yellowed pointy teeth – in the semi darkness of my boot.
“How? What?” I querulously query.
And the mite jumps out of the boot.
Well, it turns out that Zorro isn’t a mite after all. He’s a flea. Oscar met him while visiting his mother, Ruby Dee – the famous actress – in Hollywood. (Apparently dogs are almost as important there). Zorro was down on his luck, thumbing lifts on the backs of street cats, working in greasy spoons for a bite. When all this time he was looking to make it big in the world of film. But the revelation had come to him that the days of the Flea Circus were really over. There was little chance of little him making it big now. And Oscar, with that big Chihuahua heart of his, brought him back to England with him (on condition he wasn’t bitten). Once in the vastness of Dandelion Hall they easily lost touch with one another, each going their own separate ways.
But – I hear you ask – what about the four pairs of eyes? I would blush if I could, tortoises are not prone to making mistakes. I must admit though, they were just spots where I wrongly saw more eyes.
Oscar pointed out that it is only spiders that have all those eyes.
I’m not sure I like those either…
Dearest Reader, please enjoy the Spring! And don’t get bitten by out-of-work actors!
Copyright Faith McCord 2016
Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.