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October 2007 Flashers

Flash Fiction written by members and friends of the MuseItUp Club. Submissions are invited for this page.*




Endangered Species


by Susan Stephenson



William Bird glared at the gulls perching on his pool fence. He’d moved to his dream home at Coastal Shores in Northern NSW upon retirement. No one warned him seaside life meant salt-rimed windows, stunted plants and smelly gull guano.


William hated gulls. He focussed all his energy on driving them away. They ignored his netting, tap-danced on his trip wires and defecated on his traps. When William swung the broom, they flapped above his reach. When he stopped, they settled, lifted snowy tail feathers and deposited their contempt on pool-side furniture. William declared war.


When he wasn’t patrolling, broom over his shoulder, William was in the workshop, perfecting gull deterrents. Police confiscated the air rifle after his neighbour, Mavis Gumm, complained about two broken windows. But he had high hopes for his Sticky End Gull Glue which tested out at 200psi adhesive strength after 24 hours. It should be like having bird statues by the pool.


As backup, he’d wired the pool fence and patched it into the grid. Gulls landing on it would get 240 sizzling volts where the sun didn’t shine. William cackled with delight. That would deter the feathered fiends.


Rubbing his beaky nose, William wondered how long it had been since he’d eaten. He stuffed a home-made energy bar into his mouth. It tasted toxic, just like the Gull Glue smelled. He forced it down and returned to the war.


“We shall fight on the beaches. We shall fight by the pool…,” muttered William.

He glanced through the window. Incoming gulls. He grabbed his camouflage hat and crept out. He wanted to see the first bright-spark gull land on the fence.


“Coo-eee, Mr Bird. Could I have a word?”


Drat, it was that pestiferous Mavis Gumm.


“Not now; busy.” William peered through a lavender bush at the five gulls. They were huddled around something on the pavers. What were they doing? He craned his neck but still couldn’t make it out.


“Just a quick word…” chirped Mrs Gumm.


“Shut up, you silly bitch,” snapped William. He vaulted over the lavender and ran to open the pool gate.


 Pzzzzt! There was a blue flash, a metallic smell and William bounced four metres backwards, out cold. When he came round, Mavis Gumm held him in her hands.


“Poor little birdie, you must have hit the power line,” she cooed. She set him down. “Off you go. Find your family before Mr Bird comes back.”


William peered down at his feathered breast.  He looked way up at Mrs Gumm.

No dream could be this real. Perhaps he should have stuck to a recipe for those energy bars. Perhaps he should have foregone the 240 volts. A sudden flurry of wings told him other gulls were taking flight.


“Mama,” Billy croaked and a single tear tracked from his beady yellow eye. He forgot his humanity and his war.  With a hippety-hop, he took flight, winging desperately after Mama Bird as she flew low over the foam-crested waves.



Susan Stephenson 2006





Susan Stephenson is an Australian freelance writer, published in print and online. Editors and readers applaud her ability to weave factual text with creativity and humour. Susan’s latest article, Zen and the Art of Butterfly Maintenance, was in the September 2007 edition of Australian Traveller. Link to other published credits here:




*Send Flash Fiction submissions to .

Please include the words “Muse Marquee Flash Submission” in the subject line.


The Flashers page is edited by Lea Schizas and Les Stephenson.