Sneeze

The bedroom was quiet. She, on her laptop. He, reading his book.

Suddenly she sneezed. “Excuse me,” she snuffled.

He clamped his book closed. It was a paperback, so it didn’t make the satisfying clap he intended. “Okay, I get it,” he said, drawing out the words angrily. “I got you sick. You don’t have to keep reminding me about it.”

She blinked and dabbed the raw spot under her nose. “Do you think I’m sneezing on purpose?” Her voice leapt at him before he could respond. “Are you kidding me right now!?”

“Feels like it,“ he grumbled apologetically.

Brook

The little brook behind our house drowned out the noise of foot traffic on the opposite bank. It drowned out the passing bicycles crunching over gravel and leaves. Every so often you could hear a dog dive in the water, their tags rattling against their collars when they climbed out and shook off the wet. The little brook drowned out the trucks rumbling over the road beyond the path, and the hum of business in the shops on the other side. No one noticed the power of the little brook. They had their minds on more important things, I suppose.

Dormouse

We love the book. Love the illustrations. Just have one note.

Okay.

The mouse’s home, well — The dormouse collects trash.

Right. The little spool with a fan of hairpins. Cute chair, right?

That, and the peeled open sardine can bed, the comb love seat…

Not cute?

You’re romanticizing waste.

Am I?

It’s an ecological disaster out there. Not a good message for the kids.

It’s supposed to be cute.

What if the trash isn’t cute. It’s a threat.

The barn owl is the threat.

What if instead of the owl, the dormouse is attacked by, say, a plastic bag…?