Flash Fiction Challenge: The Nutty Detective

Photo by K.S. Brooks

I’m Buck Bushtail, squirrel detective. I’d been hired by gorgeous Foxy Redfluff to track down a prize acorn someone had nabbed.

I’d been running my paws ragged looking into every hole in every tree in the forest. I was afraid I’d lost the scent, when a little bird told me he’d seen something suspicious over at the dam.

Those are some busy little beavers over there. I thought I’d investigate. Little did I know there was an eagle who’d been watching me like a hawk. It seemed I’d picked up a tail. I mean an extra one…

In 250 words or less, tell us a story incorporating the elements in the picture. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until Tuesday at 5:00 PM Pacific Time.

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On Friday afternoon, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature. Then, at year end, the winners will be featured in an anthology like this one. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

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8 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge: The Nutty Detective”

  1. Jackson’s eyes widened, and his mouth dropped. “Grandma Birdie, do eagles eat squirrels?”

    “Yes, they do, but Buck was a very tricky squirrel. He had a plan for getting away from the eagle.”

    “A plan?”

    “He decided to find something he could hide under.”

    “Like leaves and moss and stuff?”

    “No, they wouldn’t offer any protection from the eagle’s sharp talons. He needed a place that the eagle couldn’t get into—and it had to be something really heavy.”

    Jackson leaned closer. “I bet he was scared. What did he do?

    “He scampered under a branch, but the gigantic bird grabbed it and released it over the pond. Although Buck’s heart was beating so quickly he thought it might jump through his throat, he had to keep moving. He discovered a tunnel in the ground, and dived in—but he dashed out again, chased by an indignant jackrabbit. Then he spotted a huge piece of bark. He skidded under it and tried to catch his breath.”

    Jackson gulped. “O-h-h-h-h.”

    “Suddenly, the bark disappeared and soared into the air. Buck was blinded by the sun for a moment—and then he spied it: a small wooden shed. There was a teensy hole near the bottom that would be just big enough for him to squeeze through. His little legs moved in a blur and his tail twitched as he ran. Aha! Safe at last.”

    “Was Buck OK then Grandma?”

    “All except for one thing: the shed was a stinky, old outhouse.”

  2. It hit a down draft as it dove toward me. It was the flapping of wings that alerted me at the last second. I tucked and rolled as the eagle shot past me in its dive. In evasive mode I dodged and darted away from the eagle.

    I lost the element of surprise with the beavers but it was too late to stop now. They were shutting the doors to their dam but that couldn’t stop me now.

    I flew into the air in a forward rush. My nosedive into there dam didn’t leave them any chance of shutting me out. Though that might not have been my best idea of the day.

    Two beaver goons toward over me as I lay prone on the floor. The third, a bruiser of a beaver, he was the real charmer.

    I forgot the acorn for a moment as my mind raced to figure a way out of this. With as big as beavers are it is really the tails you have to watch out for. Those things pack a wallop.

    I let them all get in real close. You’d be surprised at how patient a squirrel can be. When they swung around for the tail thwap I fell back letting them smack into each other. They hit so hard the dam shook the acorn loose from the wall.

    A quick dodge and dart and me and the acorn were out of there. Foxy was overjoyed when I returned it.

  3. Blending in

    Ernie scratched his head, befuddled by what he was reading. There was no way this was going to end well, but it was his job as editor to turn this into something positive.

    “Son,” he said slowly, trying to cushion the blow. “I know it says we publish anything on the door, but if I let this through—I wouldn’t be doing my job.”
    “Look, I might be able to say that this is a parable, but if I try and pass this off as ‘True Crime’ I’d be laughed out of here.”

    He paused unsure if he was getting through or not. “Now, we have a children’s branch—and you’ve got the humor and word play that would make the story perfectly enjoyable for parents as they read it to their kids but…”

    He shook his head, and sighed. “There is no way anybody’s going to want to read about a Squirrel Detective… let alone believe it’s real.”

    He watched the kid’s shoulders fall and felt like a heel, but it had to be done. He quickly pulled out a card for editor of the children’s division, and waited for him to leave.

    When he did, Ernie shook his head and looked at the squirrel that had carefully balanced himself on a tree outside his office window. “That’s another one you owe me Buck.”

  4. Give Them a Run-a-Round
    Limbs are good for lounging when the woods are quiet. When hunters are about, however, you’d best be wary. I trust my natural Real Tree camo-coat to hide me against the tree trunk.
    Whether hunters sit in wait or walk in search, they look to the limbs. They’re looking for that red fox squirrel coat contrasted against gray bark or a head silhouetted against the sky.
    Two years ago… it was my cousin. We were running in a stand of cottonwoods where the doe squirrels hang out there when they’re in the mood. I warned Benny of the approaching hunters.
    I heard the two hunters before I saw them. Benny and I took to the trunks of two separate trees. Camouflaged against the tree bark we stayed rock still.
    When the hunters came into view, Benny panicked and took off for the tree top. I stayed still on the tree trunk. The hunters didn’t see me.
    They caught the movement of Benny fleeing for the treetop though. He disappeared into a three-limbed crotch at the very top of the old cottonwood. With the hunters focused on finding on Benny, I rounded the tree trunk until I could see Benny. I froze when I saw him. His head was silhouetted against the sky.
    The hunters circled too. A rifle cracked! Benny heard my warning and ducked just in time. The hunters came after me but I stayed to the trunk and gave them the run-a-round.

    1. High noon. Deep forest. No birdsong, just buzz-saw cicadas. Above the canopy raptors circle lazily, sharp-eyed for the foolish, the unwary. Hidden, Buck is squirrel-quick, smart, thinking hard. Foxxy Redfluff says she loves only Buck. Buck has suspicions. Foxxy fond of Weasel? Too fond maybe. He’ll fix Weasel for sure.

      Foxxy had called in a favor: “Buck, my acorn’s gone! Some rat here stole it, I know. Get it for me, Buck . Do whatever you have to do. You know I’ll be grateful.”
      Foxxy’s acorn. A diamond, nut-big, priceless. Her fortune.

      Word is Weasel lifted the acorn right off Foxxy’s nightstand. Has it still. So now Buck is at the stakeout, opposite the Beaver Lodge Bar. Foxxy’s waterfront joint, where she hangs with her low-life friends.

      The raptors soar endlessly above, waiting, watching.

      Weasel steps out. Buck tenses, poised. Risky? Hell yes! But if he’s quick enough?

      “Weasel. Over here!”

      Weasel almost halfway across turns back, runs like the wind.
      Buck breaks cover in hot pursuit, thinking only ‘Gotta Pop that Goddam Weasel!’ Sees too late the raptor’s skyfall shadow.

      Buck’s hit. Talons rip flesh, arteries. Blood spurts.
      Foxxy and crew burst from the bar. Buck falls free. Cheated, the raptor shreiks, dips, slashes Weasel stone-dead before lofting skyward.

      Buck’s fading fast, barely hears Foxxy’s last kind words:

      “Dump those suckers in the lake!”

      Buck lets go at last. Foxxy’s acorn, her diamond, tumbles from his grasp, shatters on stone. Buck’s hopes, dreams, life’s-blood mingle, staining crimson the shards of cheap glass.

      [Please note: this entry is 253 words. – The Admins]

  5. Some squirrels want their names to go down in history. Me? I wanted to rekindle flames in that forlorn female now standing in my doorway. She wore her fur well; squirrel-dome’s paradigm of grey-tailed femininity.

    “I heard you’re good at finding things,” her sultry voice delivering a subtle aroma of memories past.

    “That’s the rumor.”

    “I lost my nuts and don’t know where to find them. My babies’ll starve,” eyes emulating Niagara Falls.

    This’d be a snap. A engaging game of chase, nose to the ground, locate the nuts then she’d be gone before dinner. It’d happened before. Permanence was not in a squirrel’s vocabulary.

    She laid her trembling paw on my arm. My skin quivered. Our green eyes locked. Sucker that I am, I knew I’d find her nuts. A squirrel with a torch, that’s a first. I’d to do it. I’d take the chance one more time. After all, finding her buried stashes is why I’d become a detective. My card read, Bloodhound J. Detective, BSL (Broken-Hearted Squirrel at Large), Knight in Shining Armor, Finder of Lost Nuts.

    I wanted permanence. I prolonged the day I’d uncover her stash. I eked two days… two glorious days.

    “Your babies’ll be fed.”

    She smiled moving inside my personal space, “Mike, I want permanence… with you… your partner .”

    I took her. My smoldering lip-lock spoke my heart.

    “That’s a yes?” Velda asked.

    As my lips touched hers, I whispered, “Yes. Wanna be my secretary? Keep me straight?”

  6. The sob story Foxy Redfluff had come to me with was implausible, but if money talked, hers was a deft raconteur capable of painting even the fishiest tale as gospel. It wasn’t Foxy I believed, but the den full of nuts, seeds and berries she brought to the table. I knew she had paid me more than if she’d been telling the truth about the “horrible theft of my prize acorn,” much more—enough more to make me go along with her yarn, no questions asked.

    To learn what the red-haired vixen who’d hired me was really after, I’d have to play her game. So here I was, at the edge of the dam, with an eagle soaring overhead. I kept close to the tree line, ready to run for cover. It didn’t take long for the need to arise. In an instant, the bird swooped down, I dove out of the way, and Foxy sprang forward. She pinned the eagle down and pulled out a tail feather with her teeth before the raptor struggled free.

    Foxy looked up to where I was safely ensconced in the crook of a tree.

    “Oh, Bucky Bushtail, could you scamper down here and tie this feather behind my ear with your little squirrel hands?”

    “Not a chance, sister.”

    “I’m not bad,” she drawled. “I’m just drawn that way.”

    “Wrong movie, sweetheart. Oh, and consider my services fully rendered,” I said, tossing down a golden acorn that hit her pretty red noggin.

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