Tell A Tale in 500 Words
THE NAMERS By Owen Townend
Three famed namers met in a rainforest.
They all stood over the pit where the new species of insect had been found. They didn't shake hands, just looked down at the nameless thing crawling around inside. It had a green and violet exoskeleton with six pin-like legs and long faded red wings.
'Dastgir,' the short one announced.
The tall one and the fat one frowned at each other then at him.
'Montefiore,' the tall one insisted.
'Masterton,' the fat one spoke louder.
Following their meaning, the short one shook his head. ‘Mazhar Dastgir,' he repeated, pointing at himself.
Nevertheless the tall one and the fat one were turned towards one another.
'Montefiore?' the fat one scoffed.
'Masterton?' the tall one snorted.
The short one pressed his fists against his sides.
'Dastgir!' he shouted.
The tall one pointed down into the hole. 'Dastgir? Really?'
'No,' the short one replied.
Both the tall and fat one laughed.
The short one raised an eyebrow. 'Masterton bug?'
The fat one squinted at him.
The tall one stopped smiling.
A fight erupted. Fists were raised as the three awkwardly sidestepped around the chasm. The short one made eyes at the fat one and suddenly they broke out into a chase. The tall one tried to step out of the way but it wasn’t long before she was caught up in it too.
She punched the fat one in the chest because he was getting too close. With all the running and the sharp blow, the fat one was more out of breath than ever.
The short one moved to check on him just as he lashed out again. The fat one used his wide bulk to force them into the hole, including himself. Though it wasn’t too deep, the wind was knocked out of each of them and soon they were all gasping and struggling to pick themselves up.
The short one pushed the fat one off him. He looked beneath them, the imprint in the earth where their combined weight had fallen.
The unknown bug’s abdomen and wings were crushed and its lower legs were paralysed, broken off in places. Its upper legs and antennae were flailing hopelessly. Its pincers opened and closed, opened and closed and then stopped moving altogether.
They all saw what they had done. Their heavy breathing wheezed out into silence. None of them looked at each other.
The tall one reached into her coat pocket. She teased something out, something transparent: a plastic bag with tweezers inside. She plucked the dead insect from its spot and bagged it. The fat one stared at her enviously. The short one just shook his head again.
They helped each other out of the hole. The tall one held up her sample.
‘Montefiore beetle,’ she said. Nobody contradicted her.
Exhausted, they left to find their respective guides.
In a rainforest this big, it wouldn’t be too long before the next unnamed creature crawled out of the dirt.
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