Hannibal Horrible lifted from the top of the great pine and headed back to the yard…”Ah, the catch of the day, fresh and sweet. Life is good, on this nice summer day”. He breathed into the wind.
The human returned home and saw the yard men finishing up two houses down, good they would be in her yard soon. She could put away the groceries and straighten the back porch for the evening guests knowing the yard would be cut and edged, and the porch blown clean with the loud smelly blowers. She began making the martini that was her late afternoon ritual on the porch. She put away the folded towels, took supper out of the freezer to thaw and decided to take a ten minute power nap. She could hear the mower coming into her yard and the sound of the big engine always made her feel safe… it was part of being home.
Thirty minutes later, Jake the Pine Snake gave up. He had lain under the spigot in the front yard coiled and ready but the humans stepped over him several times with nary a gasp or a notice. He was slithering home as his heart wasn’t in the prank anymore… besides, he couldn’t get his own back yard troubles out of his mind. Scott and Zelda and their vanishing families were a part of his world, a world he had chosen many years ago, and weren’t they a part of the whole that made up his world? Could he really be so disloyal as to turn and slither away? Jake loved that word, slither… he loved to slither… he was the only one in the back yard that could slither, and he was proud of his slithering abilities. He slithered over to the pond just as the humans opened the gates to the backyard and drove their terrible machine through. The conspirators at the pond disappeared just as Hannibal Horrible came cruising overhead. The machines didn’t bother him, he had no truck with them, and their worlds were millions of miles apart. If anything the humans with their mower loved to watch him soar above their heads. Once one had even taken a picture of the great owl perched on the limb of a big Sweet Gum tree. Yes, they were fans of Hannibal as they pointed and drew each other’s attention to the big bird.
Amy was watching in the dogwood tree as the great Owl returned. The big bird searched the trees looking for the little Robin. So, she was to be the target along with Scott and Zelda? Amy had made a promise to the fish she was afraid she couldn’t keep, but she sure as hell would try. When Amy gave her word it stood for something in the back yard. She began to prepare herself and gather strength for the oncoming battle.
Bull was under the eave of the roof watching for any signal from Amy. A squirrel had to do what a squirrel had to do and if it meant getting killed, well… oh crap, getting killed? Suddenly he had an urge to bolt back to Bill, the big Chinquapin Oak and crawl in next to Precious, cuddle up and deal with all of this another day. But a loud sharp bark from Precious resounding from the nest, reminded him that the joy of his fantasy was just that lately, a fantasy, and suddenly being a hero seemed safer and a little less challenging than trying to make Precious happy. He puffed up to twice his size, began to bark an angry bark and prepared himself for battle.
“Battle with a bulldozer.” Said Bull to himself. “Great odds here…” He almost whimpered.
Amy was watching Hannibal circle as she kept an eye on Bull. When they attacked, it would have to be very fast, and very sure.
Jake the Pine Snake suddenly saw an opportunity to help. One of the humans was walking toward the pond with a clean filter for the fountain. The human was sitting on the porch holding the small, weird little birdbath she held every evening. Good, it was still full, she would not be too calm to care what was going on, she would help… he knew it… hell he counted on it. He positioned himself between Bull and Amy just under the edge of the porch. Amy smiled and acknowledged his presence and was more than glad for whatever help Jake had cooked up. Then Lil Bit, trembling and scared came up beside Bull, she was little, but she was wiry with strong teeth.
“Go home Lil Bit, this isn’t for you…” Bull barked in his meanest voice.
“I won’t leave you Bull, so don’t ask me, I can help”. Bull was totally bumfuggled, how was he ever going to save himself and her in the bargain. What to do now?