• Jabe Stafford

New-County Fauna Inspector

A whole world on a single page!

The short story morsels of One Page Worlds are flash fiction adventures of all flavors. Every Wednesday will feature a complete story in one page, or the first page of what could be a novel or novelette.

Sharing the fun and geekery is the best part of writing! Please tweet or comment with your guesses on what genre, character, and job is central to each tale. Enjoy touring new universes each week with One Page Worlds!

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Nibbling at a 1/4inch wrench with his beak, Mitch pumped his wings when the door with the decal "Talon Auto" slammed open. Snow swirled into the shop behind the trench-coated man. He stomped his jackboots on the mat, squinting through the grungy lighting at the register, the cars on rigs behind it, and the parrot with the wrench. Mitch screeched and ruffled his grey feathers, rocking his perch next to the register and dropping the wrench. It clanged to the shop floor behind the register.

“Visitor,” Mitch squeaked. That got Maxe’s attention.

“Not open till seven, sir,” Maxe called. She poked her dreadlocked head out from behind a pickup’s rear tire. Her brown eyes flicked from the man to the coat and back. Inhaling oil-soaked air, she huffed. “The last Fauna Inspector gave me the all-clear.”

“All-clear,” Mitch squawked.

“I’m Darryl Mertens, F.I. with the New County’s Office.” He brandished a card with a side profile of a tiger’s head-the New County Office’s logo. Both his name and his Fauna’s recorded stats stood out beneath Darryl’s office-boy face.

“Cute badge,” Maxe said, crossing the floor to examine the I.D. “You got a sixty mile an hour footspeed? Bet the zoo’s got a comatose cheetah because of y—“

Darryl seized her smock and yanked her face to his. “The keepers train animals for our use. Bestials like your sorry ass use Fauna to commit crimes.”

“And we use cameras to film yours,” Mitch said, the voice a challenge.

The F.I. locked eyes with the African Grey. “They’re ours to use, not yours to prey with.”

Mitch took wing and flew overhead to perch on an old box camera that looked like it belonged in a 90s movie prison yard. Maxe’s lips moved, but her voice issued once again from Mitch’s beak. “We help people. Lend them tools. Fix their beaters. What do you do besides abuse the power you steal? From animals.”

Darryl let go of Maxe and she bent to scoop up the bird’s wrench. She tossed it overhead and Mitch swooped down, snatching it in his talons and cackling with Maxe’s laughter.

The F.I. flinched, then fled into the blizzard. He wouldn’t be coming back if he thought a wrench-wielding parrot would kick his ass.

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