Midnight Moose Raid


Molly fingered the green cube suspended from a strand of monofilament fishing line knotted to the branch of her lime tree. Hundreds of identical cubes dangled from her lemon tree. Hundreds more swung from the branches of her orange tree.

Molly kept her tone light. “Kev, darling, the point was to wash the bugs off. Not…decorate the trees.”

Kevin smiled at her. It warmed her all over, even when she was annoyed, the same as when she’d met him eighteen months and a whirlwind romance ago, when the oil company transferred him from Alaska to Australia. “In Alaska, we hang Zest all around the garden to keep the moose out.”

Molly counted three stink bugs on the branch closest to her. A fourth attached itself to a lime and start sucking the juice from it. “Love, stink bunks aren’t moose.”

Kevin smiled, his teeth bright against his tanned skin. “True, very true. But Zest stinks all the same. I figured it was worth a try.”

Molly scanned the garden and counted to ten. Behind Kevin, beyond the wooden fence ringing the garden, beyond the snarl of roadways, Melbourne’s Eureka Tower rose into the spotless blue sky. Kevin had felt trapped living in the Tower. So they’d moved. He’d redone the house, the landscaping, put her trees right where she’d wanted them. Did everything she asked, never complained.

“Kev, what’s Zest smell like to you?”

Kevin’s forehead wrinkled briefly. Then his grin was back. “Like Sprite and wax. Fake lemon-lime, I guess I’d say.”

Molly nodded. “So, if the bugs are eating my citrus trees, maybe Zest isn’t the best bug repellant?”

Kevin took a breath then paused. “Yeah, you’ve probably got a point there, babe.”

Molly nodded. “So, you’ll — .”

Kevin raised a finger. “We’ll both sleep better knowing we don’t have to worry about moose raiding the garden in the middle of the night.”


Prompted by Veronica F. (stink bug, Melbourne, Zest soap)

Leave a comment with a living thing, an inanimate object, and a location and I will write a story based on your prompt and tag you when I publish it.

Photo by Hari Nandakumar on Unsplash

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