The Rebellion Cricket
The Rebellion Cricket
Basil C. Bennett, with the help of his wife, strapped the package to his back and hopped to town as he did everyday. He stopped in front of the narrow bridge that was badly in need of repair. He said a prayer that the stone bridge would not choose this day to fall into the depths of the quickly moving river. Basil breathed the humid air into his lungs and proceeded to hop across. He passed the square where for the first two years of his married life he had used his grandfather’s fiddle to sing for the daily passersby in hopes of getting a coin or two to support his new bride. A traveling clan of web-footed river pirates three years prior had invaded the river town of Galafray, leaving the town under the control of Captain Gargantuan—or as the locals called him, Twitch. It was rumored that the reason he wore a patch over his left eye was that the eye opened and shut uncontrollably, thus the name Twitch. In the months and years following the invasion, finding a way to make an honest living (with emphasis on the word honest) became more difficult for the residents of Galafray.
Basil quietly entered through the doors of the Local Coop thankful to have the opportunity. He approached the front desk and addressed the golden-feathered bird.
“You’re five minutes late,” she squawked. “We have deadlines you know.”
Basil looked to the clock on the wall. He wasn’t late. “I’m very sorry ma’am.” Basil wiggled the leather strap holding the package to his front and carefully undid the buckle. He removed the package and handed it to the bird.
She leaned over the desk, nearly poking Basil in the eye with her beak. “Tell me what happens to the rabbit?”
Basil grinned. He had heard that his stories were highly anticipated by the locals, but that wasn’t why he loved writing them so much. His children loved them, and he knew that their newest cricklet would one day love them too. It was worth staying up late every night to write them—and the pay was good.
“You’ll have to wait,” he chirped happily.
She handed him a few coins; he turned to leave when suddenly a loud squawk exploded from a back room. “Is that the cricket?”
“Yes, sir,” the bird responded while keeping her eyes on Basil.
“Send him back!” he called. A lump formed in Basil’s throat. He slowly hopped to the back room where a giant black bird sat with its legs crossed and a pencil hanging out of his mouth. “They’re not pleased.”
“I don’t understand, sir.”
“Of course you don’t, you’re low on the food chain, but not my pick. You crickets are a bit too crunchy for my taste.”
That’s a relief, Basil thought.
“Nevertheless. They’re not happy. They want stories about frogs.” The bird stood up on his two skinny legs. “Mind you frogs don’t sell papers—your fluffy bunnies are what’s hot, but Captain Gargantuan wants frogs. Got it?”
“Yes, sir. I can write about frogs.” Basil would do whatever it took to feed his family.
“Not good enough.”
“Captain thinks you are a rebel. I don’t know. Somehow uniting the Galafrites against him with your sweet little hippity hoppity stories. What do you have to say?”
“Sir, I’m no rebel.”
“Arrrr you sure about that?” the gruff croak asked from behind. Basil turned around to face two giant brown toads. “You’re coming with us, rebel.”
“No, you must be mistaken! I’m not a rebel. They are just stories.”
One of the toads licked his watery lips and reached his slimy webbed arm toward Basil. “Come on, cricket.”