This Means WAR!

We’ve coined a new slogan here at the Gayer Plantation; “What doesn’t kill you will make you so sore you can’t move without pain.” Connie’s been putting in long days in the flower farm while I work two-hour stints in the vegetable garden.

Spring may be in the air, but there’s not much of it left in my step. When I have my hearing aids in, I can actually hear my joints creak. In the evening, I lubricate them with a magical elixir known as Rum & Coke, which tends to prove quite effective in providing temporary relief.

If you’re new to Friday Flash Fiction, our rheumatoid specialist, who offers a weekly prescription for 100-word arthritic writing, is Verna Write Wisoff-Fields. If you’d like to participate in this exercise of madness, head over to her blog for step-by-step instructions. To view the ensemble of practicing fic-titioners in the writers in FFF Hollywood Squares Authors Block click here.

copyright – Karen Rawson


“Something has to be done about these armadillos.” The anger in Connie’s voice whistled like a teakettle at full boil.

“Are they putting possums out of work again?”

“No! They’re destroying my flowerbeds. Half of my plants have been dug up and there’s a maze of trenches throughout the mulch.”

Her once beautiful garden now resembled an artillery-ravaged battlefield. Prize plants lay wounded and dying, their tender roots left naked and exposed beneath a merciless summer sun.

Earlier attacks had been random potshots. But now, the flowerbeds looked so bad even the Narcissus was having a tough time loving himself.

*the above is an excerpt from the award-winning story “The Battle of Gardenville.”  This story and more can be found in my latest book, One Idiot Short of a Village.

56 Comments on “This Means WAR!

    • It’s not so funny when they lasso your ankles, drag you into their burrow, and force you to live on scant rations of mealy bugs and roly-polys while hoping your wife will pay the ransom.

      Liked by 4 people

    • I thought you might recognize it. I had another story in mind, but was pressed for time as I’m leaving for a writer conference in OK City early in the morning. This story also won the Showcase Award at Ozark Creative Writers in 2016.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This story brought to mind a similar problem my mom had with a mole one year. My nemesis every spring is this particular robin that tries to build a nest on one of the patio lights and then dive bombs me whenever I try to go into the backyard. I try to tell the little bird to build its nest in the lilac bushes farther away from the house, but she refuses to listen. We’ve had many a squabble over the issue. A robin’s average lifespan is only 13 months, but if they make it past that 13 months, they can live at least six years and I believe there’s been one documented to live for 14. I’m fairly certain we’ve had this one around for more than six years. I don’t think I’m going to make it if it lives for 14 years.
    I loved the last line of this piece “the flowerbeds looked so bad even the Narcissus was having a tough time loving himself.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Loved the robin story. We had some barn swallows that took up residence on the porch and would dive at us as well. And moles, well I just can’t say enough bad things about them. It’s a wonder more people don’t get broken ankles because of those little critters.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Right now, we have reached a cease fire with the armadillos, but with summer coming on I wouldn’t be surprised if the fighting doesn’t escalate again.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Armadillo Stalker,

    I can always tell when I’ve reached the southern most tip of Missouri and into Arkansas. A possum once dropped out of tree in the path of my car. I was on my way to work at 4 in the morning. I don’t which shocked me more, having a living creature fly by my windshield or seeing a possum without tire tracks across its back. Good luck in your battle against possums on the half-shell.


    Verna Write W(T)F

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dear Verna Write W(T)F,

      I think you should open a possum homeless shelter for the poor critters. They sleep (or play dead) most of the time and will eat anything you feed them whether it’s kosher or not. Perhaps you could find them some work with the highway department.

      Best wishes,
      The Armadillo Stalker

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It is amazing how destructive Armadillos can be! We have those critters here and they love to ruin flower beds, especially up against our house where it is cold and damp. Grrr! Hopefully she can get rid of them! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Does Connie know her voice whistles like a tea kettle? Be careful it doesn’t boil over!
    As for the armadillo situation… I thought those buggers favoured Texas? I’m thinkin’ you should set up a firing squad and do ’em in…

    Best of luck to all a ya’all!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, okay, maybe more like a freight train whistle (but I was hampered by the 100 word limit). You should read the whole story, Dale. We DID use artillery.


      • We’d love to have you visit. Bring your own flashlight if you plan to go armadillo stalking with us. Connie won’t let anyone else hold hers.


  5. Great story – made me smile! Being in the UK I’ve never had armadillos in my garden, but I have had badgers, and they, too, are destructive. You wouldn’t believe the size of the boulders they can move with apparent ease!
    Good luck with the garden!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Perhaps they thought they were providing a service–removing grubs and bugs, but their methods were way too destructive for Connie’s liking.


  6. I feel your pain. We’ve just spent days building fences to try to keep the deer and badgers out of the vegetable patches. And then last night a fox spent his evening leering at us from the bushes. Still, rum and coke is a good way to ease the pain of an evening. I find it’s more effective when imbibed, rather than spread on the afflicted areas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I chuckled at the end of your comment. I’ve haven’t tried using Rum & Coke as a topical medication. Taken internally seems to work well for me.


  7. So funny Russell. Love the playful contrast of the garden turned battlefield. While I feel for Connie, I’m still chuckling over your poor Narcissus.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. But, but… armadillos are such fascinating critters. As are moles… LOL. Now voles, that’s an entirely different story… I love this, very funny and great lines. Isn’t gardening an endless battle? I also love the intro, have to try the rum and coke too, some time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gardening is hard enough without having your plants dug up every morning when you awake. Rum & Coke does help ease the pain.


  9. Amusing tale, sir, but as usual I have nothing constructive to contribute.
    Being from the other side of the Big Pond, I don’t even know the way to Armadillo.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Those poor ravished plants. The pictures you paint of exposed and shrivelling roots are quite horrifying. Maybe Connie needs one of your restorative Rum and Cokes. 🙂


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