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Rodential Patrols
by Lucinda Kempe

In the noon heat, on the North West side of Gough Island, near Isolda Rock, a small white figure with a tufted tail-tip is standing upright on the shore, swinging a lasso like a cowboy.

“Gotcha!” says Mouf to the long, curved beaked bird as the lasso tightens round her figure, and pulls her down towards the sandy beach.

“Aw, shit,” squawks Tristina D. Albatross.

“I’m gonna eatcha, too.” Mouf gleefully roars, and reels her in.

“Awwwak,” she screeches and coughs simultaneously as Mouf drags her closer and closer. She bends her elegant neck back when she finds her beak touching his pink nose. She considers chomping on his dandy button, when an overwhelming aroma zips into her nostrils.

“Holy shit,” she says. “You stink!”

“Miss Lawdy-Mighty-Tighty, limburger cheese is a delicacy. Its smell is heaven,” says Mouf eminently offended.

“Mr. Uncouth Rat, undo this noose! There’s no munching happening today. “Tristina bats the eyelash of her single eye, which is right in the middle of her forehead.

“Hmmm…” says Mouf, who whiffs under his armpit, then looks at the bird girl. “You have a good nose but by god, are you ugly.” Unnerved by her sole orb, he loosens the rope. “What’ll we do instead?” He asks, covering his fraying courage.

“Nothing. You’re one nasty fraud.” She cleans her mussed feathers.

“Wanna watch a show ‘ bout a Chilean who ate himself sauced with tomatoes? Just you and me tugetha snuggly?” Mouf smiles. His pointy canines spark in the sunlight.

“Awwak-ha. Just like a sugar-talking, low-dealing rat. No.” Tristina preens her feathers, and perches on a low-slung rocky abutment. She throws her head back, opens her throat and screams.

“I think I hear Mama calling,” says Mouf. “Gotta go. Maybe we could do this again sometime?”

“Sorry,” says Tristina who looks behind Mouf and sees an enormous bunting with a cross-bow aimed right at the middle of his torso. The bunting winks at her. “I’ve got a date with a hundred thousand sucking mosquitoes the rest of my life.”

The arrow whooshes through the air. Its tip thwacks as it pierces Mouf’s body which is lifted up and over Tristina’s head and dropped into the green water of the quay.

Tristina nicks round in time to see his body kerplunk into the Atlantic’s depths. The last vocal sound heard before the waters swallow him forever is “Olyfryqt!”

“Got the little lush! Way to go Bettina! Same time tomorrow?”

“You betcha!” B. Bunting slings her bow’s strap over her shoulder and toddles off.

Tristina twitches her elbows prepping for takeoff to Hag’s Tooth Peak known for its rodential abundance.

“Catching residual criminals is a job. The damned Anglo Saxons brought the miserable critters here. Worse than the buggering Greeks! How many more oily slickers can creature dome take? Mancruel? You betcha! Ha-waaack!”

She flicks her neck, and her white wings flicker as she propels into the bluing atmosphere to search for the next scurrying white body with murderous intent and cosmic ruination in its mind.