Hoof – flash fiction

As Sports Day loomed I went to the school to protest about another female who wins the mothers’ race every year.

‘Why must she be banned?’ asked the Head.

‘She is half Thomsons gazelle,’ I whispered.

‘What proof do you have?’ said the Head, closing the door of her office.

‘Come on’ I said, ‘she is easily startled, has unnatural speed and look at her eyelashes.’

‘I had my suspicions,’ said the Head. ‘Which half of her is Thomsons gazelle?’

‘Not her mother.’ An ordinary, head-down, plodding Granny who sometimes collected the gazelle’s children and had the air of perpetual lateness about her, nothing of the Serengeti there.

‘Are you sure this is not jealousy?’ said the Head. ‘We all see you trudging the streets winter, spring and summer. If she were banned the field would be open, so to speak.’

‘No,’ I said. ‘It’s the unfairness I object to, her physiological advantage. Let her run with other gazelle mothers.’

‘Are there any?’

I shrugged. It was not my problem. I cautiously revealed more evidence.

‘She has turned her garden into grassland, let it run wild, created an open plain, a familiar habitat, so to speak.’

The Head looked sceptical.

‘And, I have seen her children “pronking”.’

‘What?’ said the Head. ‘Is that even a real word?’

‘Yes, it means bouncing on stiff legs. Only gazelles can do it.’

‘I can’t force her to have a DNA test.’

I told her my plan. I would walk very closely behind the gazelle, and tread on the back of her trainer, thus removing it, and then I would photograph her hoof.

But I could not get close to the gazelle because of her supersensitive hearing and uncanny awareness of things within her periphery. The Head ignored my calls. The gazelle remained idolised, protected by the other mothers, so bewitched by her grace that they could not see her what for what she was.


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