Aug 3, 2005

HR, 32

Harlequin set the spool on the ground and placed the spoon on top of it, the long handle under the taut spring. He sat on the bowl of the spoon warily: it slowly descended to the ground, the handle straining under the pressure of the spring. As hee jumped off, the bowl rocketed upwards, coming to a sudden, vibrating halt as the spring brought the handle back to the ground. He clapped his paws together happily.

Hubert growled in confusion. Harlequin wagged a claw at him and gave a "tsk, tsk."

"Just you wait," he said. "There's more."

He produced some stray wire the squirrel's group had missed and set it down; after a few minutes of foraging, he brought back piles of dead grass and leaves and several medium sized pebbles and set them next to it. Taking a pebble, he wrapped a brittle old leaf orund it and stuffed in the browned grass; holding the assembly together with his feet, he coiled the wire around it and tied it off with a twist. He held up the resulting ball up for Hubert's observation.

Hubert still did not understand. Harlequin placed the ball in the bowl of the spoon and beckoned Hubert to come over. Under Harlequin's guidance, Hubert set a heavy paw on the edge of the bowl and brought it to the ground.

"Don't let go until I say, you hear?" said Harlequin sternly. He fetched the lighter and brought it close, fumbling with the metal wheel at the top. He got a few sparks, but he couldn't produce the flame.

"Tony!" he bellowed in English. Homeless Tony, who'd been sitting in the alley with a dazed expression, stumbled out from behind the wall and approached.

"How do you work this thing?" Harlequin asked, holding up the lighter. Homeless Tony plucked it from his grasp. With a powerful thumb he turned the wheel and produced a slender flame from the lighter.

"Hold it! Hold it!" shouted Harlequin excitedly. "Now bring it down here." Hubert shrank from the flame as Homeless Tony brought it close to the bowl. The ball caught fire and Hubert drew his paw away instinctively.

"Not yet!" Harlequin wailed as the bowl sprang upward, launching the flaming ball into the air.

Hubert gasped, watching the the fireball travel far across the field and arc downwards, smashing into the the ground in a great shower of orange sparks. The sparks dwindled harmlessly in the dirt.

"Well," Harlequin sighed, "at least you've seen what it does. That should put some fear into those dogs, eh?" Harlequin elbowed Hubert in the ribs.

Hubert nodded quietly, eyes fixed on the dying embers. "Amazing," he mumbled.

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