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Original Short Fiction: "Over the Fence"
Girls with Slingshots
In fable number 9 from Jiggery-Jee's Eden Valley Stories, Jiggery-Jee's nieces find themselves in hot water with a neighbor. But their ability to think fast cools the situation and shows that they are young girls of good character.
Nieces Come for Visit
It was the first day of July, and Jiggery-Jee’s nieces had come to spend the rest of their summer vacation with their uncle and Miss Fuzzy Bunny. At first both Shana and Jessi Dawg were excited about visiting Eden Valley. Jiggery-Jee took them to the swimming pool, and to the movies, and every day they would stop at the Golden Spoon for some delicious ice cream.
They loved Miss Fuzzy Bunny and her stories about Carrot Valley, and they enjoyed the wonderful food that Miss Fuzzy Bunny prepared for them. They thought Mr. Cat Fink was very funny the way he’d slink past the house on his way to work at The Happy Feline, a store he opened selling fancy necklaces and dainty furniture to the other felines of Eden Valley.
Uncle Makes a Slingshot
But by the third week the girls began to get a bit bored. So Jiggery-Jee had to think of a way to keep the girls entertained. After puttering around out in the garage for a couple of hours, he had the perfect solution to their boredom—he made them a slingshot. After he had finished putting the slingshot together, Shana walked into the garage and said, “What are you doing, Uncle Jiggery?” And Jiggery-Jee held up the slingshot and said, “Look what I made for you, so you won’t be so bored. When she saw it, she cried out, “What is that?” And her uncle said, “It’s a slingshot. Here, try it out.”
“But, what does it do?” asked Shana. So Jiggery-Jee showed her how to use rocks with the slingshot to hit cans. And he told her to be careful not to shoot a rock over the fence; it could hit someone and that might hurt. So Shana began to practice with the slingshot, and she got pretty good. She could hit the can every time.
Shana then remembered that Jessi had been a little bored too, so she ran to find her sister to show her the new prize.
“What is that? Oh, I see, it’s a slingshot,” said Jessi. “Billy Beagle had one of these at school, and he got in some serious trouble.”
Over the Fence it Went
“Well, we won’t get in trouble. Come on outside and let’s shoot cans,” said Shana.
“OK, let’s go. Why not?” said Jessi.
Shana set up the cans and told Jessi to try to knock them off the picnic table. Jessi picked up a nice-sized rock and let it fly, but instead of hitting a can, it kept on flying and over the fence it went. From the other side of the fence they heard a scream and some angry words. They looked at each other, and said, “Uh-Oh!”
Oops, A Miss and a Hit
“Oops, Mrs. Krane. I must have hit Mrs. Krane,” said Jessi. Just then Mrs. Krane’s face popped over the fence, and she shot them a furious glance. When she saw the girls, she began to shake her fist and yell, “Where is your uncle? Does Jiggery-Jee know you’re out here injuring people with that weapon?”
“Oh, we’re awfully sorry, Mrs. Krane,” said Jessi. “We won’t do it again. Promise.”
“Just wait till I see Jiggery-Jee. You bet you won’t do it again,” said Mrs. Krane and then she vanished.
Shana turned to her sister and said, “Why did you say ‘we’ are awfully sorry. You did it. You shot the rock over the fence, not me. Now I’m going to get in trouble for something you did.”
“No, you won’t. I’ll tell Uncle I did it. Don’t worry,” said Jessi.
“When should we tell him?” asked Shana.
“We should tell him before Mrs. Krane does,” answered Jessi. “Look, Shana, Uncle’s car just turned the corner. Let’s run before Mrs. Krane gets a chance to tell her side of it.”
But just as they were running around the house, they saw that Mrs. Krane had beaten them to it, and there she was telling their uncle. But they kept running anyway, and as they got closer to their Uncle Jiggery-Jee’s car, they could hear that they were only talking about the weather. That meant that they weren’t too late.
“Uncle, we got something to tell you,” said Jessi. “Excuse me, Mrs. Krane, but we want to explain something to our uncle.” And Jessi explained how she was trying to shoot at the can with a rock, and how she missed it, and that the rock went over the fence. When she finished, she looked at Mrs. Krane and said, “We are awfully sorry, really. We didn’t mean to hit you with the rock.”
“Jessi, you keep saying ‘we’ and it was really only one of us who shot the rock. Remember?” said Shana.
“Oh, yeah, it was me. I was the one who missed the can and hit Mrs. Krane. And I’m awfully sorry,” said Jessi.
“Well, girls, it’s more my fault than it is yours. I made the slingshot and showed Shana how to use it,” said Jiggery-Jee. Then he said to Mrs. Krane, “I’m sorry too, Mrs. Krane. I know Jessi didn’t hit you on purpose. I’m sure that rock must have hurt. Did it do any damage, do you need to see a doctor?”
“No, no, Jiggery-Jee, I don’t need to see a doctor. I’ll be fine. I just didn’t want this to become a habit. And it did scare me,” said Mrs. Krane, and turning to the girls, “I accept your apology, and I’m glad to know you girls are such fine girls. You told your uncle before I got a chance to.” And as she turned to walk off, she said, “I admire you for that.”
© 2017 Linda Sue Grimes