Ten Whisker Lengths of Fun - Jonathan Hunter
Daz cleaned Weston Pier every night as if his life depended on it. The benches shined even more than the cutlery at the Ritz. However, when Daz arrived for work each morning, the pier was strewn with more trash than the number of piranhas in the Amazon River.
“I should recruit vermin, at least they would eat the trash,” grimaced Les, his manager. “No more rubbish excuses,” he demanded.
That evening, Daz lingered on the beach, waiting for the prankster. By 2 am, the rats were seething, wanting Daz to leave. Sir Smellus, who had narrowly lost to Cheese Whiff last night, ran out of patience.
“Raid the bin at the far end of the pier, so he does not hear,” Sir Smellus fiercely demanded. “It is a Bank Holiday night, so there will be loads of rubbish,” he craved lustfully.
Without hesitating, Cheese Whiff dived into the bin like an excited old lady grabbing reduced knickers at Marks and Spencer. “What a selection,” he gloated.
“The coke bottle is best for these sea conditions,” Sir Smellus confidently bragged.
Hearing the commotion, Daz madly beat his mop against the rocks in a rage, readying himself for a fight. Unfortunately, his Pound Land mop snapped. “The prankster has climbed up onto the pier from below. The gate is still locked,” Daz fumed. Paddling sluggishly through the murky brown sea, Daz grimaced as much rubbish floated past, with rats clinging to each piece. Daz shouted, “No respect for anything,” furiously before he cupped his mouth, remembering he was trying to creep up unnoticed.
However, the rats were racing on these rubbish pieces. Tonight’s race was neck and neck between Sir Smellus and Cheese Whiff. Cheese Whiff rode on a Cheese & Onion sandwich wrapper, whilst Sir Smellus balanced on a Coke bottle. The other rats were at least ten whisker lengths behind the leading pair.
Clambering up the rusty, old frame of the pier, Daz’s Clarks shoes had no grip. He slid mercilessly back down into the muddy goo of the sea. “Why did mum have to polish my heels,” Daz raged. “All these rats remind me of the holiday pool in Benidorm,” he mumbled as they floated past. “I may not be able to see the prankster, but I will film their mischief,” Daz vented.
As the first rat reached the beach, Daz cried, “Drat, I thought the rat was celebrating. This prankster is sending me crazy.” Indeed, Sir Smellus had narrowly beaten Cheese Whiff and was dancing triumphantly. His prize was a half-drunk Fosters can, which he took home proudly.
Arriving at Les’ office at dawn, Daz sensed it was his moment. With all of his footage of the rats, Les had to believe him. However, as Daz knocked on his door, Les yelled, “Not today, Daz. I spent all of last night trying to find my son’s blasted pet of a rat. I didn’t sleep.” Daz didn’t say a word as the door was slammed into his mud-covered face.
Seething with anger, Daz posted the video online instead and raged, “At least the prankster will know I caught them.”
That evening, Les was pounced on by his excited son, who beamed, “Tommy has gone viral and Emily’s and Johnny’s rat too. Twitter is calling it the Weston 2021, Rat-Olympics.”
Les exclaimed, “Oh boy, what a fortune I can make out of Daz. Even vermin like him have some use,” as he marvelled at the video.
However, the next morning, Les was in shock when he found Daz’s resignation letter. It read, “Have been headhunted as a filmmaker. The vermin have already joined my team. Good luck catching the prankster.”
All Les could muster was, “Rats.”
Jonathan Hunter is a Flash Fiction Writer from Solihull, UK. He enjoys writing funny fiction that stretches the imagination and has had pieces published in the Secret Attic Anthologies, the Bombfire Literacy Magazine, Corner Bar Magazine and on the Free Flash Fiction website. Jonathan is a Public Librarian.