The Battle of Gardenville

How many of you are collectors? As a youngster, I collected baseball cards. I’ve known people who collected stamps, coins, and belly-button lint. Not to be outdone, President Trump sports an impressive collection of ex-wives.

While collecting can be a fun, relaxing hobby, it can also become an obsession. The exhilaration of finding and adding a new piece to the collection is addictive and requires a frequent “fix” to satisfy the craving. Now’s the time to come clean. What do you collect?

If you are new to Friday Flash Fiction, the curator of 100-word stories is Gertrude Vanderbilt Wisoff-Fields. To learn how to submit your tale to the weekly collection, zip over to her blog for instructions. To rent a box in the FFF Hollywood Squares Authors Block click here.

copyright – Sandra Crook

“There he is,” whispered Platoon Commander Connie. “Shoot him.” She carried the flashlight while I lugged the heavy artillery, a bolt-action .22.

“Hold the light still.” The beam bounced around the backyard like a ping-pong ball in a blender. Sensing we were in a state of confusion, the armadillo launched a full-frontal assault and came charging toward our ankles.

A piercing scream shattered the night and echoed off distant planets. Rays from the flashlight ricocheted off tree limbs, power lines, and jet planes as the platoon commander retreated at warp speed–abandoning the lowly private in a vacuum of darkness.

*the above is an excerpt from a true-life adventure known as the “Battle of Gardenville.” The complete story will be included in my upcoming book.

56 Comments on “The Battle of Gardenville

  1. Dear Gomer Pyle,

    I’m with the platoon commander. I’ll leave the marauding armadillo to you. I didn’t know those things actually moved. The only ones I’ve seen are by the side of the road with tire tracks on their backs. Kind of like Possums in Missouri. As for collections, for the first few years of our marriage we seemed to be collecting sons. But after three we decided to quit collecting. Then I went on to collecting angel figures, but they started taking over the house so Jan strongly suggested a full scale evacuation. Now I mainly collect dust, word counts, and Friday Fictioneers. Not sure what to do with the latter.
    A good week to you and a hearty, Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! (I had a Math teacher from Alabama in Junior High who used to preface pop quizzes with that. Still sends shivers.)


    Gertrude Vanderbilt W(T)F

    Liked by 4 people

    • Dear Gertrude Vanderbilt W(T)F,

      Yes, we Fictioneers are a handful. Some more than others.
      I was almost taken prisoner by the armadillo and forced to live on mealy bugs and roly-polys in an underground bunker. Fortunately, the platoon commander returned and saved my bacon.

      Gomer Pyle, PFC

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a load of old codswallop!
    I love it.
    PS I collect space, can’t get enough of it, but there always seems to be more of it out there.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Surprisingly, old bean, storage is a significant problem.
        Ayr’s Third Law of Life and Other Stuff says ‘Everything expands to fill all available space’.
        Think about computery stuff (sorry to get all technical), warehouses, filing cabinets, and ladies’ shoes.
        Space disappears fast.
        One of us should write 100 words on this someday in the very distant future.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You’re right, though I don’t we could cover the vast expanse of the subject in only 100 words. Might be enough for the warehouses, etc., but the ladies’ shoes is definitely novel length material.


  3. Don’t mention collecting to me. My deceased husband was a hoarder. That’s collecting even junk with a vengeance. I’ve lived in this flat for almost fifteen years and my daughter wants me back in the U.S. I can’t even afford to ship the furniture. The junkman will have to come and come again. I have his cell phone number. Humorous post, as usual, Russell. 😀 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Terrific play-by-play account. Sorry you were captured; mealy bugs are gross but they’re “all natural.” 🙂
    We collect books. Once the bookcases overflowed I started getting rid of cookware so we could store books in the cupboards. A person only needs on pot and one fry pan, right? And we dine frequently on frozen pizza because we can’t use the freezer for books. Collections can become a problem. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, mealy bugs are 100% organic and supposedly high in protein. Once you get past the taste, you have it licked.
      I had not considered storing books in the freezer. What a great idea! Connie was wanting us to cut back on our calorie intake and this may be just the solution.

      Liked by 1 person

      • One benefit here that I hadn’t thought of until this moment: if the freezer’s full of books you can unplug it and thus save on power.
        It wouldn’t be the taste of mealybugs as much as the wiggling feet I’d have to get past. And I’d NEVER lick the things!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Personally I think El Trumpos’s collection of ex-employees is more extensive than his collection of ex-wives. But I admire you for standing your ground with that armadillo. I’m right behind you. But behind you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The fun of ex-employees soon fades, but ex-wifes have a way of reminding you of their presence from time to time.

      thanks for having my back with the armadillio, even if you are way back there and peeking around a tree.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Penny. This story won the Showcase Award at Ozark Creative Writers Conference two years ago. I was quite flattered and treated myself to several adult beverages as I squandered my prize money.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, yes. I collect books (of course), especially cook books. And novels. And poetry. Well, most any book, really. I’d like to collect expensive shiny things, involving gold and precious stones, but I can’t afford them and I don’t think I’d be very good at stealing them!


    • I bet you’re a great cook too. My mother loved cook books, and boy could she cook. Sometimes the kitchen looked more like a laboratory as she was always trying to recipes.

      Stay with the books. Don’t turn to a life of crime. It can only lead to becoming a politician.


  7. That was just enough of that story to leave me wanting more. Great description about the flashlight beam bouncing around the yard and then how it “ricocheted off tree limbs, power lines, and jet planes” on their retreat.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love your description of the flashlight’s activity – ping-pong in a blender, ricocheting off tree limbs, power lines, and jet planes. Another fun piece, Russell. I could actually see Commander Connie sprinting across the lawn.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This was a fun read! But I am sure not so much while it was happening 😀 As a child I remember my mother waking up Dad telling there was a snake by the door. He asked for a stick or a rod, Ma handed him one by the door but it turned out to be a dried stick of sugarcane which flopped over. What a hullabaloo there was! Thankfully the snake was the retreating shy kinds otherwise I may not have been alive to read of armadillo encounters 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I used to collect coins and stamps. These days I collect redundancies. Lucky it wasn’t a teenage mutant ninja armadillo, that would have added you as a friend on facebook.


    • I often wondered why teenage mutant ninja armadillos didn’t catch on (at least outside of Texas). The would also make a great mascot for a sports team.


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