The Curse of the Terrapin
Bat Segundo walked his terrapin among the promenading poodles, avoiding gin pails, wincing whenever a stiletto snarked his bunions. Now he understood why his mother always wore Army boots. He could laugh all he wanted, but her bunions had been protected.
He hated having to walk the terrapin daily, but the terrapin kept him from chasing the will of the wisp of Fame.
He used to have a galleycat, but the galleycat liked to bolt into stores after the same Fame that teased Bat. Especially bookstores. The galleycat clawed up onto the table, scrambling for bestsellers, dragging Bat behind her. When she finally ate her fill, she'd curl up on a remainder stack and leave Bat to clean up while angry bookstore clerks bellowed, "Drop everything and give me ten...books! Get them back on the table. Now!"
Bat led a better life now. The terrapin left no muddled stacks of half-chewed books. Bat seldom remembered all-night drives to the next town, stages hot under the lights, sweat and greasepaint and moth-eaten costumes pinned together where the seams had ripped. This life was much better.
But Fame never gave up. Today she sparkled from the corner, then danced behind the pretzel vendor's wagon. She munched two pretzels while she waited for the terrapin to cross the street, then perched on the hydrant --
Oh, the poodle in the pink tam got her good. Bat grinned.
"Help!" screamed Fame. "I'm melting."
"Serves you right," replied Bat, as the terrapin plodded past the sparkling puddle.
"Save me! You know you need me. You know you love me."
"I gave you up long ago." Bat wanted to kick her. Hadn't she kicked him, time and again, when he wanted to stop? She never let him rest. She would never admit how they failed.
Fame writhed against the hydrant. She smelled of smoke and dog piss. She stretched her hand to him. "But you love me. You followed me from Omaha to Ticonderoga. All the stages of the great Midwest opened their wings to us. You were the best, Bat. You could be the best again. The roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd -- "
Bat wished the terrapin possessed the poodle's ability to salute fire hydrants. He wished the terrapin would move faster so he didn't have to listen to Fame's dying moans.
With a last heave, she conjured a sparkling finger and touched the terrapin's toenail.
The terrapin turned its head to look at her. Its ancient black eyes reflected Fame's glitter.
"We can do it," she whispered.
The terrapin nosed her. She wrapped her arms around his neck to pull herself away from the pavement. Stronger now, she clambered onto his shell.
"Westward," she said. "We'll try Hollywood this time."
The terrapin nodded. He turned west, dragging Bat behind him. Bat tugged, but it was no use. Bat, the terrapin, and Fame plodded into the sunset, heading west.
Day of the Locust meets Miss Snark's comrades in blog...yowza.
Scoring to come