All was quiet in the vale where Landsquid lived. For now, at least. You see, Landsquid’s neighbor and arch-nemesis, the Alpaca, would be over shortly. There was some sort of sports competition to be watched and, out of principle, they would pick opposing sides and insult the other’s intelligence over their choice. They didn’t much care which sport or what teams; they just liked to argue.
It kept things interesting.
Landsquid had just started setting out mugs for cocoa on the coffee table – though he didn’t know why it was called that, he never served coffee on it – when there was a commotion at the front door. Landsquid paused, glancing at the clock. It was still quite early, but perhaps the Alpaca thought it would put an interesting spin on things to come over prematurely and then complain about Landsquid’s poor hosting.
Darn that alpaca and his devious ideas!
Landsquid purposefully ignored the door and filled up the cocoa mugs. But then he got to thinking that perhaps the Alpaca would then accuse Landsquid of not being neighborly enough to open the door, and so he wandered over and threw the door open, preparing to blast his enemy with a polite, “Oh, I’m so sorry, I was in the shower.”
However, it was not the Alpaca. It was Turtleduck. Poor Turtleduck – half-duck, half-turtle, and all an aberration of nature. She had to work to stay on her two feet as the mild wind from the door rocked her shell. “Finally!” she said. “I’ve come to warn you!”
“Come to warn me!” echoed the Landsquid in surprise. “Surely Alpaca’s not up to his usual tricks right now – it’s game day!” Though perhaps the Alpaca thought it would shake things up to not show up at all, and instead steal all the top hats from the local millinery. But he rather hoped not; Landsquid always looked forward to game day.
“Oh, no,” said Turtleduck. “He was watering his begonias. But the Sky Shark has been seen in the vicinity again!” Here emotion overwhelmed Turtleduck, or at least her legs, and she tumbled onto her rump and disappeared into her shell.
The Sky Shark! Terror of the Skies! It was said that it lurked in the clouds and the treetops, just waiting for unsuspecting woodland creatures to come into range. It could smell blood from a million miles away, and it never stopped hunting.
“What will we do?” moaned Turtleduck.
“Well, come inside,” said Landsquid gently, tucking Turtleduck’s shell under one tentacle. “We’ll stay inside and let the authorities handle it. You can join Alpaca and me for the game. Who are you going to root for?” Landsquid wasn’t quite sure who was playing – or what – and hoped she wouldn’t ask.
“The authorities? Which authorities?”
“Oh, you know,” replied Landsquid, who didn’t actually know what an authority was but thought that it sounded good. Perhaps they ran sports. “Now sit down, have some cocoa, and make yourself at home while I call Alpaca and tell him to stop watering his begonias.”
The Sky Shark could wait until after the game.