Mistica Chronicles

Welcome to Issue 34

bm1984 Winning Entry

“Have you heard?”
“Heard what?”
“About the Znake whacking contest?”
“Oh yeah! I know all about that!”
“Here we go again…”
“No really! I know this girl who swears she’s going to be the first to whack the golden znake this year.”
“Really? Where did you meet her? At slots?”
“How’d you guess?”
“I told you…”
“This is what happened. I was down at the slot machines chasing those stray coins again. And I nearly had my paws on one, when suddenly out of nowhere this whacking stick hit me right on the paw so hard I squealed!
I looked up and into the eyes of the prettiest tanooki. “I’m so sorry!” She said, and through a mouthful of smarting fingers I said, “Iz Ogay”, and she said, “What?”
“It’s okay,” I repeated, removing my paw and looking around for the lost coin. “But you could have just said it was your credit.”
She laughed and apologized again. “I’m sorry, it wasn’t mine. I was trying to hit it, not you. I’ve got to get faster…”
Well, girls are always so confusing, so I wasn’t surprised too much, but being unable to put the pieces together, I asked what she meant.
“Oh!” She said. “I’m training. I’m going to whack the Golden Znake!”
Still holding my paw, I looked at the machines and their spinning coins, trying to figure out what credits and znakes had to do with one another. Seeing my confusion and my paw, she took me by the other hand and gave me a dazzling smile.
“Come on,” she exclaimed. “Let me make it up to you. I’ll buy you a fruit tart at Keilly’s. I’m Tara, by the way.”
“Uh, Gambol.” I managed, and let her pull me along. Now I’ve gone over to Keilly’s Kafe many a time after a good day at the slots, and never had a problem getting there. But with Tara, I started to wonder how I ever got there at all.
As we started off she started telling me all about this znake whacking thing, and eyes darting all the way, she explained how they were sneaky slithery things and might even want to whack back, so you had to be quick and careful.
Before I knew it I was looking everywhere for them too, and then suddenly she swung behind me with her stick. Afraid for my tail, I whirled around looking for the znake, and got peppered with golden sand. Feeling really lost, I just looked at her.
“Sand pile,” she told me, tugging me along again. So we trudged along a little way, her just chattering about her training, and I noticed a marigold growing in the shelter of the sidewalk. Thinking how girls love flowers, I stopped to pick it, but just as I touched the stem … Whack!
“Good eye Gambol!” She said, never noticing I nearly jumped out of my skin. Again we went on, and I tell you, my heart was nearly crushed by the number of shiny things she whacked on our way. More marigolds, a yellow ball she popped, a few candy wrappers, and a poor sandi she mistook for a second sand pile, and I just had to ask.
“Tara,” I said after yet another near miss of my paw, “I thought you were after znakes!”
“Not znakes silly,” she answered. “The Golden Znake. And it could be anywhere. It’s terribly rare you know. And I figure while the other pets are whacking everything green they see, I’m going after The Real Thing!”
Just then we’d finally gotten to Keilly’s, and in her enthusiasm she whacked a red can of cola at some guy’s table. Soda went everywhere, and chagrinned she bought him another, along with one for us to share. It was pretty good, and so were the corn muffins, even after she whacked them flat.
Anyway, finally figuring out the issue, I decided to help her, cause I’m just that way, you know? Besides, I’d had enough taps from that stick, and figured not a single credit would be safe unless something got done.
That’s why I took her to Daedal’s talisman shop. When I told her I knew where she could find not one, but two Golden Znakes to whack, she was simply batty to come. I made her wait outside for safety’s sake and asked her to close her eyes. When she did, I tied the knotted znake to the end of her tail. And do you know, it worked! She started swinging on that thing like there was candy in it, turning circles like a whirlwind.
She paused and said, “Goodbye Gambol. Happy Whacking day,” and thumped off.
“Swing by again sometime,” I called as she left, glad she finally had a target she couldn’t hurt. Hey, I hope she wins and all, but really. Whacking day? Poor Znakes.”