With Christmas imminent, and knowing that all of you have a child (by definition … a fun person aged 4 to 104) inside you, here is Part 1 of a story which is a little out of season … but fun all the same. It is taken from “The Odessa Chronicles” which is available in eBook, paperback and hard copy formats, and can be purchased worldwide from all the usual online book retailers.
Note to new Followers: Dewey is a cat. Jaxon is a Jackalope. Odessa is a Barn Owl, and the Man-Servant is just the poor human who has to live with them!
The Pumpkin Games
It was that time of year again at Moonbeam Farm. There were pumpkins of all sizes everywhere. There were two really big ones outside the farmhouse door, two more by the barn door, and many smaller ones throughout the farm.
Over the past few days, both Dewey and Jaxon had noticed that, when they were out on their walks, the number of pumpkins appeared to multiply. There were always many more of them upon their return to the farm.
Late on one particular night, Jaxon and Odessa were leaving the farmhouse to go back to the barn when they both stopped and stared. “What do you think they are?” asked Jaxon.
Odessa did not blink, but just looked directly ahead. “I haven’t seen any creature like those two before,” she said. “They have orange eyes and an orange mouth with large teeth. You stay here while I do a fly-by and see what they are.”
Odessa took flight and flew over the yard to the barn entrance, where the creatures were, and then immediately flew back to Jaxon. She was grinning! “It’s okay!” she said. “The man-servant has been busy! He has hollowed out two large pumpkins and put candles in them! It’s a pity that he has nothing better to do with his time!”
“Thank goodness for that,” said Jaxon. “I was worried for a moment there!”
They both went into the barn, and Odessa flew up to her roof beam for a nap, as she would be out looking for food later. She had barely settled on her beam when she heard a yell from Jaxon, and immediately flew down to his end of the barn. “What’s up, Jaxon?” she asked.
“There’s something beneath my straw. I stepped on it and it moved!”
Odessa carefully hopped around Jaxon’s straw bed, and then stopped and stared at the straw. “Stand back!” she said to Jaxon. She then flew around in a very small circle, and then dove into a precise spot, with her claws outstretched. She then flew upward and out of the straw. Held tightly in Odessa’s claws, there was a very small pumpkin!
“How did that get there?” asked Jaxon.
“Well,” said Odessa, “I think the man-servant is having some fun at our expense. He scared us both with those pumpkins at the door … and now this!”
Jaxon was now smiling. “Perhaps we can get our own back? Perhaps tomorrow, we should talk to Dewey. I bet he would love to help us!”
The next morning, Jaxon and Odessa went over to the farmhouse. “Hi, guys!” said the man-servant. “Anything interesting happen last night after you left here?”
Odessa noticed the smile on the man-servant’s face. “Not really, Man-Servant,” she said. “Somebody put two pumpkins by the barn doorway, which was nice. We could see the door opening very clearly.”
When the man-servant was out of the room, Jaxon went up to Dewey. “Hey, Dewey! Do you want to join us in playing a joke on the man-servant?”
Dewey suddenly had a big grin on his face. “What are we going to do?”
“Meet us by the gate this evening after dinner!” said Odessa.
Dewey was giggling while he was eating his dinner. He was thinking of all the possibilities of getting back at the man-servant! The man-servant noticed! “Dewey,” he said, “you seem very happy this evening.”
“I am Man-Servant. I am! I am meeting Jaxon for an adventure!”
The man-servant smiled. “Well, you go and have a good adventure, because I have a few things to do around here.”
When Dewey had finished, he went to the gate, but there was no sign of either Jaxon or Odessa. What he did see, however, was a long piece of wood lying across a steel drum that was lying was on its side, creating something much like a child’s teeter-totter. Alongside it was a pile of small pumpkins! Suddenly he heard a noise behind him! He turned and saw Jaxon and Odessa coming towards him with more small pumpkins!
Odessa put her pumpkins down. “Well, Dewey,” she said, “are you ready?”
Dewey looked at her. “Yes … but what for?”
Jaxon hopped over to him. “I shall explain! Odessa is going to make a lot of noise in the yard, so that the man-servant will come out and investigate. We are going to put a pumpkin on the end of this piece of wood, and then I am going to jump as hard as I can on the other end!”
Dewey looked confused. “What will that do?”
Odessa moved closer. “Jaxon! Load a pumpkin!” Jaxon rolled a pumpkin onto the end of the piece of wood. “Okay, Jaxon,” continued Odessa, “now jump up onto that old tree stump.” Jaxon jumped onto the tree stump while Dewey watched with interest. “Jump when ready!” said Odessa. Jaxon waited a moment and then jumped onto the end of the piece of wood.
Dewey watched in awe as the pumpkin took flight and sailed almost halfway across the yard. “That looks like fun, but what are we going to do with flying pumpkins?” asked Dewey.
Odessa had a big smile on her face. “We’re going to aim for the man-servant. When he comes out of the farmhouse, we will launch pumpkins at him!”
Dewey looked a little stunned. “Odessa! There is a huge flaw in your plan!”
Odessa turned sharply. “I really don’t think so!” she said.
“Well,” said Dewey. “your demo only managed to go halfway across the yard!”
“I know,” said Odessa. “We just need more weight in the jump, which is where you come in. I want you and Jaxon to jump together!”
Not long after the sun had set, and it was starting to get dark, Odessa decided that the time had come! “Listen up!” she said. “I am going to make a lot of noise over by the farmhouse door, so that the man-servant comes out. You guys load the pumpkins and jump as fast as you can, while I fly to about halfway between you guys and him, and let you know whether your aim needs correcting.” They all smiled at the possibilities.
Odessa flew over to near the farmhouse door and stated squawking as loud as she could. It was not long before the man-servant opened the door and looked out. Dewey and Jaxon jumped onto the piece of wood and the pumpkin flow over towards the farmhouse. It landed right after the man-servant had gone back inside and closed the door!
Odessa flew back to Jaxon and Dewey. “Okay, guys, this time I will flap around on the ground closer to the barn, so he will want to come over and see what is happening.” She once more flew over to the farmhouse and made some terrible squawking noises. She then landed near the barn and kept on squawking!
The man-servant once again came out, and as soon as he saw the shape of something clearly in trouble on the ground, he ran over to see what it was. Odessa took flight and signaled to Dewey and Jaxon, who both jumped onto the wood, launching another small pumpkin. While the man-servant was standing near the barn wondering what was happening, a small pumpkin landed with a dull thud near the farmhouse door!
Odessa flew back to Jaxon and Odessa. “I guess it didn’t cross your minds to wait until the man-servant was nearer to the farmhouse, did it? Of course, you could have also turned the wood just a little, so that the pumpkin would have landed nearer the barn! Shall we try again?” Jaxon and Dewey both nodded.
Odessa repeated her squawking demonstration, and as before, the man-servant came outside and went over to the barn where he could see the vague shape of a creature clearly in trouble. Odessa quickly took off before he recognized her, and signaled Jaxon and Dewey. Within a few seconds, Odessa saw Dewey flying by her and landing near the man-servant!
The man-servant was really surprised to see Dewey land next to him. “Where did you just come from?” he asked.
Dewey looked a little shaken. “Oh … I was up on the barn roof when I slipped. Good job that cats always land on their feet, eh? See ya!” He then walked off into the darkness, heading for the pumpkin launcher and Jaxon. When he got there, Odessa was waiting!
She looked at him in despair. “What on earth went wrong that time?” she asked.
Jaxon looked a little guilty. “I got a bit too excited I think. As soon as I saw Dewey getting onto the wood to place the pumpkin down, I jumped! He dropped the pumpkin off the wood, and then took flight himself!”
“Okay,” said Odessa, “let’s try once more!”
Odessa went through the now-familiar routine, but this time, although the man-servant stayed outside for quite some time, there was no pumpkin flying through the air. The explanation?
“We were both laughing so hard at the thought of getting the man-servant this time that, when we jumped, we landed on the same end of the piece of wood that the pumpkin was on!”
Odessa just shook her head. “You two are both hopeless!” she said. “How can we ever get the man-servant, if you can’t even jump together onto a piece of wood! How difficult can that possibly be?”
“Let’s try again,” said Dewey.
Odessa just rolled her eyes. “Okay! One more time!”
Odessa once again flew over to the yard and made as much noise as she could. She saw the man-servant looking out of the kitchen window, but he did not come outside this time. Just as she was about to fly back to Dewey and Jaxon, she heard an ominous sound … getting closer and closer and…
… Part 2 will be posted tomorrow!