By Bill Turner All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Humor

Chapter Eighteen

The inaudible peck on Griffin’s cheek rang through Martha One’s head like a cymbal crash as she watched Jayne plant her lips on her new found obsession. She trembled as the two canoodled.

“That bitch!” she thought. “What does she have that I don’t? A baby? I have a baby. Hell, my baby is way cuter than that little shit! Blonde? I could be blonde in a half of an hour!”

Martha One’s hands pulled feverishly at the roll of duct tape as it responded with the sticky crackle only duct tape makes as it is freed from its tightly wrapped hold on its cardboard core. Her arm wind milled as she ferociously wrapped the stem of a newly created rose, never once taking her eyes off of the harlot that was mere inches from the man she so desired.

“Ow, ow, OW!” cried the poor child that now had a duct tape rose as a prosthetic hand. “You taped me!”

The crying child ran off in the direction of the little girl with a zebra-striped duct tape bun still stuck to her head.

As with Martha One, Martha Two was having a horrible time dealing with her blossoming ardor for the wine merchant. Her junior archery range was a handful of booths from the wine tent, the arts and crafts booth midway between them. From much too great a distance she watched the truck-side flirtations between him and the blonde chippy. Adding insult to injury she witnessed a growing desire rising like waves of heat off of the woman she considered to be her best friend.

“Lady! Lady!”

Martha Two was pulled back from distraction by a tug on her sweater and a voice coming from somewhere around her waist.

“I can’t get the feathery part to fit on the stringy part.” The mini archer held out his arrow and bow.

“Okay,” Martha Two started, taking the equipment from the boy. “The feathery part is called the fletcher and this little groove at the end is called the nock. The stringy part is actually called the string, so you got that part right.”

Martha Two slid the arrow onto the string and showed the result to the lad. She placed the nocked bow into his hands and adjusted his grip and then his stance. She squatted behind him and guided his movements.

“Just let the arrow move freely across the little ledge on the bow. That is called the rest. “

Martha pulled slightly on the arrow, enough to bend the string. Then she eased the tension and allowed it to slide forward on the rest. She repeated the motion and nodded an affirmation to her student.

“Then, when you’re ready to shoot, you pull the arrow back and aim at your target by lining it up with this site.”

She pulled back on the arrow as she rotated the boy to face the arts and crafts booth. Without hesitation she released and eagerly watched it arc skyward. The projectile continued its flight as it descended toward its destination. Martha One’s head bucked forward as the bolt struck its target.

“Oopsy!” Martha Two giggled to the horrified youngster.

The foam head that covered the arrow’s tip combined with the fact that it hit Martha One’s head in the center of her tightly wound bun kept the damage to a minimum. Her bun unraveled as she yanked the shaft from her head. She felt blindly around the point of impact checking for any signs of a wound. Damp red fingertips hinted at the small split in her scalp. She spun toward the archery range in time to witness the terrified tot drop his bow and run from between Martha Two’s arms. Two waved sheepishly as she slowly stood up.

“Are you insane?” One wagged the arrow at the offender as she powered across the square.

“It just got away from us. Honest,” Two lied.

“Got away from you? Got away from you? Get away from this!”

Martha One’s open hand swung in a wide arc at the end of her fully extended arm. Unfortunately she had forgotten that Martha Two was the self-defense instructor at their local ladies’ fitness center. Two ducked below One’s arm and grabbed it by the wrist as it passed over her head. She spun her body a full revolution and returned to an upright position behind her assailant, pinning her wrist between her shoulder blades.

“That wasn’t very ni . . . .”

Two’s retort was cut short by Martha One throwing her head backward. A smudge of blood transferred from One’s arrow wound to Two’s lower lip. Two’s own blood soon supplemented the smudge. She was stunned momentarily then almost impressed by One’s defensive move. She tightened her grip on the wrist and jerked it toward the nape of the neck, driving Martha One forward. She halted abruptly a few yards short of the nearest archery target, hurling One forward through one of the paper bulls-eyes. She turned and started toward the wine booth, doing the clichéd wiping her hands clean motion.

Martha One wriggled furiously to extract herself from the wooden hoop that held the paper bulls-eye to the target. She fell backward into the dirt in a seated position, the hoop still around her shoulders. She jumped to her feet as she threaded herself through her restraint. A rumble that turned into a growl which escalated into what best could be described as a war cry vaulted from One’s voice box as she charged toward Two. Fueled by a jealous rage she threw herself at the woman who, like herself, was inexplicably drawn to the winemaker.

The cacophonous mangle of girl on girl carnage bowled through the recently manicured flora lining the brick walkways that meandered through the center of the town square. A confetti of chrysanthemum petals sprayed across the pavers as the shrieking combatants toppled toward the gazebo. Breaking free from the human tumbleweed, Martha Two scrambled up the steps and into the middle of the high school concert band’s rendition of “I Put a Spell on You”, scattering the young musicians. Most of the students vaulted over the railings to the safety of the freshly mowed grass below. The one exception was the husky sousaphone player who was unable to extricate himself from his massive brass horn. Martha Two dashed behind him and peered over his shoulder.

Martha One had reached the top of the steps and was plowing through the folding chairs and music stands, littering the air with sheet music. She grabbed a music stand by its base and tore the sheet metal ledge from the top. She wagged it back and forth to check its weight and balance.

“Step away from the tuba player, bitch.”

Martha Two maneuvered behind the portly brass player clearly defining his role as human shield.

“The world will do just fine with one less tuba player. Don’t think I won’t off him to get to you!”

“Thouthaphone,” whispered the trembling high-schooler.

“What? What did you say?”

Staring at his feet, the human shield rattled off a lisp-filled dissertation.

“Um, technically ith a thouthaphone. It wath developed for John Philip Thoutha becauth he wath dithatithfied with the heliconth being uthed in hith marching band.”

“And why are you telling me this?”

“Thorry, I tend to ramble when I’m nervoth.”

“Aw, Daffy, there’s no need to be nervous. You just have to remember to duck when I tell you to. . . DUCK!”

Martha One swung the music stand with all the grace and finesse of Mickey Mantle. A metallic clang echoed through the gazebo. The tuba player’s reflexes fell far short from One’s expectations as she connected squarely with the sousaphone. The recoil vibrated up through the stand and stung her hands. The boy and his instrument crashed to the floorboards through the folding chairs that had contained the woodwind section a few short moments ago.

Martha Two clambered backward frantically piling chairs between her and her music stand wielding attacker. She grabbed the last of the chairs with both hands and held it in front of her like a carnival’s lion tamer. One poked at its legs with her weapon, knocking it from side to side.

Girl fights draw a crowd like cats to a can opener and this fight was no exception. Griffin’s all too brief romantic interlude was interrupted by a combination of the raucous commotion and a vibrating cell phone sporting the message “GAZEBO NOW!!!”.

“Wow! All caps and three exclamation points.” Griffin flipped the phone towards Jayne to show her the screen. “Hannah needs help, I’ve gotta go! Wait right here!”

Before Jayne could acknowledge his request, Griffin dashed toward the gazebo with Jacob in tow.

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