Taking control

He laughed in their face. “You think you can be one of us?”

They didn’t react like everyone else expected them to. They squinted through the breath that was aimed at their face and when he was done laughing and talking, they wiped their face off with their sleeve. This turned his amusement, cruel and fanatical, into something more angry.

“I think I can be something,” they replied. Their voice was cool, so much cooler than anyone else’s had been that the rest of the troupe remembered. But the group stayed quiet, hidden in the trees, waiting for what would happen. “One of you, maybe not. In charge of you? That’s another thing.”

“How dare-”

Everything happened too quickly. There was no one who knew what happened next. They floored the man and all of them attacked, their defense of their own. But the person took them all out. Not a one of them could say they knew how it happened. They were all on the ground, their weapons useless to them or taken away.

They stood there, in the centre of the mess they had created. They looked down upon the entire troupe with a critical eye. “You could be much better,” they said. “I will make you so.”

And they did.

Fifteen of ’em

Aup learned a long time ago to stop wanting things. It was a lot easier to just take a thing and decide if you wanted it later.

This was how they ended up with fifteen whisks. “What am I supposed to do with these?”
Pau rolled their eyes. “I don’t know. Why did you bring them in the first place.”

Aup bit their lower lip. “I didn’t do this all at once or anything. This was more like a one at a time.”

“Then how?”

“I’m cleaning,” they told Pau, sitting down at the table. They had two of those. It was easier to remember that they had two tables. It was harder to remember that they had any whisks. “I just… found them all.”

“I see you found the box of masking tape I told you I’d brought.”

Aup made a face. “I said I was sorry.”

“Such accusations.”

“And I am sorry!”

Their little tiff notwithstanding, Aup still had fifteen whisks and no idea what to do with them. Perhaps their way of life wasn’t the best way of going about it.

No, that was fine. They preferred trying to figure out what to do with it then needing one and not having it. In this way, Aup learnt nothing.