Don’t Bring a Tiny Gun to a Monster Fight

Grendel, having been grievously insulted by the cat, drew himself up to his full height, puffing out his chest. “This is not a good idea, cat,” he growled.

Hansel agreed. “Yeah, thanks, but I kind of need him to take me to Linda’s, and my sister wasn’t great.”

The cat wasn’t listening. His little pistol was pointed at Grendel’s midsection, and he was hissing. His hat began to slide off sideways over his flattened ears. His striped tail lashed back and forth with prejudice.

“Your hat’s falling off,” Hansel said helpfully. The cat was ungrateful for his help, to his detriment. As the hat slipped, his crazy kitty eyes rolled toward the wobbling feather, throwing off his aim.

PEW! The report of the tiny revolver was so comically small, Hansel was surprised a little flag didn’t pop out of the barrel.

Grendel jerked his foot off the ground and yelped. Definitely real bullets, then. Hansel couldn’t see where he was injured. The foot looked hairily intact and wasn’t spurting blood everywhere. The gigantic monster grabbed his foot and hopped up and down while the cat tried to aim to shoot him again, one paw on the gun, one on his slipping hat. The ground shook as Grendel whined, “My toe, my toe, ow, ow, ow!”

Even if the bullets weren’t big enough to blow off a monster’s foot, they clearly hurt. Hansel had to do something before the cat hit a more vital body part.

“Here kittykittykitty!” he crooned, using the universal catcall. To his surprise and misfortune, it worked. The tomcat turned his head swiftly, pointing his gaze and his tiny revolver at Hansel. His hat flew off, hitting the ground a few inches from his dazzling right boot. The revolver discharged, hitting Hansel in the stomach with a short plunk sound. A stain slowly spread on his hoody pocket.

“You shot me!” he said as the cat went back to his main target, the hopping monster.

“Yeah, whoopsie,” the cat said, taking a shooter’s stance and tracking the monster’s midsection. He squeezed off another two quick shots, but Grendel’s erratic movement saved him from another puncture.

Hansel felt his midsection and held his hand up, expecting bright red blood even though it didn’t hurt much. Instead, the tips of his fingers were spicy brown. A quick sniff verified that Puss Who Shoots had killed the can of baked beans. His nauseated fear that he’d been mortally wounded turned to annoyance.

Grendel was slowing down. Hansel knew if he were still, the markscat would hit him. “BAD KITTY!” he exclaimed. Puss’s ears flattened, but he wasn’t going to be distracted again. Hansel lunged toward him and the cat nimbly avoided him, hissing. Another shot went wild.

Hansel landed on his face in the dirt. Five shots, he thought, he only has one more. He learned that watching westerns with his Grandpa. Grendel was making a grumbling noise of complaint about his big toe being “blown off,” which it clearly wasn’t. Hansel raised himself up in a girl’s push-up, ready to get up and try again as soon as the sixth and final bullet was expended. That’s when he saw Puss reach to his bandolier and take out a second tiny revolver.

Every one of the slots on the bandolier held  another revolver, not ammunition. Grendel was going to be a colander before this was over. His pain tolerance was pretty lightweight for a monster, too, if all the hopping and moaning was any indication. Hansel needed a new plan.

As he got to his feet, one caught on something. The cat’s ridiculous hat wobbled before settling again. Hansel grabbed it and whacked it on his leg. “Hey, cat! Your hat!” he yelled, waving it in frantic semi-circles like a frenetic feathery frisbee. Grendel had stopped hopping and was peering closely at his big toe, which did look like it had been bleeding a small amount.

Puss Who Shoots was trying to ignore the boy and his avian temptations to line up another shot. Hansel took a few big steps toward the cat, putting the hat squarely in his field of vision. He was close enough to see the cat’s pupils enlarge, suddenly enormous and black. YAHTZEE. He had him now.

A few more wiggles of the peacock feather and the cat’s hinder was wiggling back, tail whipping. “That’s right, here kitty, wanna play,” Hansel crooned, backing away, dragging the feather in front of him. The cat made a few quick steps toward him and froze, dilated crazy eyes locked on the feather. Hansel had him. Now he had to decide what to do with him.

Hansel glanced at Grendel and saw he was no longer studying his offended tootsie. There was markscat murder in the monster’s eyes.