Beset (Flash Fiction)

Bob and Catherine were the last to sit cross-legged in the green grass. The others were there and patiently waiting. Bob gave an anxious smile for apology, but the others weren’t having it.

“Well then,” Brian said, “now that we’re all here, I’ll just lead us off.” He gave a heavy sigh and looked around at the small group. The area they sat in was shaded by a weeping willow that danced slowly in the warm breeze. “What the hell do we do?” asked Brian.

“I don’t think it’s that big of a deal,” said Susanne. “I mean, really? Do we have to even have a meeting about this? I thought the whole point was to embrace nature.” A low grumbling rippled through the men-folk as they squirmed in their seats.

“Tell that to Leonard,” said Bob. “He loves nature just as much as anyone, and he’s pretty upset.” The grumbling and squirming shifted into mumbling approvals of this mention.

“I think Leonard’s blowing it out of portion,” Catherine said. “He’s kind of a baby.” The women chuckled and the men gasped.

“Excuse me!” Brian exclaimed. “I don’t mean to be rude, but you haven’t any idea his pain!”

“Fuckin’ A,” said Bob who was promptly given a slap on the shoulder from Catherine.

“What I’m saying,” resumed Catherine with a fixed glare on Bob, “is that there are other solutions. We don’t have to dissolve one of our commune’s laws simply because of one incident.”

“We make the rules as we need them, Catherine,” said Brian. “We live openly and free as nature intended. No one questions that.” He pointed to his exposed genitals to make his point clear. “Anyone who joins our nudist commune is well aware of our philosophy toward nature.” Another mumble of approval was received from the men-folk. “However, that doesn’t mean we can’t work to improve things.”

Susanne laughed. “Improve things,” she said with a voice buried in sarcasm. “Right. Expelling nature from our nature commune would make for what kind of improvement again?”

“Listen!” Brian said, shifting his pointed finger from his genitals to Susanne. “You don’t understand!”

Catherine shook her head and sighed. A leaf from the willow was carried by the breeze and landed on her bare breast. She brushed it away absent-mindedly. “Geese are beautiful creatures,” she said. “I like having them here in our commune. I think Leonard has some part in this. I think he should take some of the blame.”

“I agree,” said Susanne. “That asshole is always putting peanut butter on his balls.”

“We agreed that we wouldn’t question another’s lifestyle,” said Bob with as much courage as he could muster. Without realizing, he braced for another slap from Catherine again.

“Enough!” shouted Brian. “Look, I’m going to be honest, okay?” He placed a hand on his forehead and used the other to cover his groin. “I’m scared, alright? I’m scared that I’m gonna be next. I love going for walks by that pond, and those geese are everywhere now that their chics are born. I’m scared one of those fuckers is gonna run up and bite me next.”

“It can’t be that bad,” said Catherine.

The men-folk gasped together in unified shock.

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