Birdbeat and Summer Move Challenge

Birdbeat, by Geoff Adams, is for bird lovers and fugue lovers.

The challenge, should you choose to accept: write a flash fiction story with the words bird, beat, summer, and move.

1000 words maximum.

Post it on your blog.

Link it back here.

Bask in the glory.

Oh yeah, in the next couple weeks, me and my hub unit, along with our kitties, are moving to another state, buying a house, and starting different “day jobs.” So I’ll be offline until sometime next month. I’ll put my own story in this post and reply to comments then.

Happy summer!



UPDATE: Me and my hub-unit are still looking for new jobs and a new house. Our deadline for moving is the end of October. In the meantime, the “Birdbeat and Summer Move Challenge” deadline is extended until then!



UPDATE REDUX: My hub-unit and I moved into a house, but it’s temporary housing. So we’re still on the lookout for new jobs / houses. My “Birdbeat and Summer Move Challenge” entry is below.




The clerk glances over his shoulder at the bare wall, save for a single set of keys hanging on the last nail. “Yer lucky. I got one truck left. But we usually don’t rent it out.”

My husband Stewie sighs. “Why? Is something wrong with it?”

“Naw. Not really.” The clerk shrugs his shoulders. “Jus’ haunted, that’s all.”

“A haunted moving truck?” I laugh. “Well, as long as it’s Halloween, a haunted moving truck is perfect. Where do we sign?”

The clerk pulls a clipboard of documents out from under the counter and grabs the last set of keys.

Stewie drums the countertop and frowns.

I slide the clipboard under his fingers, laugh, and turn toward the clerk. “So why is this truck haunted? Did somebody die in it?”

“Summer, please . . ” Stewie rolls his eyes.

“Oh no, not jus’ anybody,” the clerk replies. “My daddy. That truck jus’ happened to be the first truck my daddy overhauled to start Tidy Truck Rentals. He did all the upgradin’ hisself. Put his heart an’ soul into that truck, and it’s still goin’ strong today.” His eyes mist over, and he sniffs and shakes his head. “My daddy was a clean man. Prided hisself on that fact. Ran the cleanest truck rental business in the land. He died cleanin’ that truck. An’ now any customer that rents it says it cleans itself. They don’ hafta sweep it out or nothin’.

“Like I said, sounds perfect.” I press a pen into my husband’s hand. “Stewie, honey, please sign. The sooner we load the truck the sooner we can unload the truck. There’s still time to finish this move by tonight.”

Stewie mumbles and signs. “A haunted truck on Halloween. Do we get a discount for that?”

“Please, Stewie, let’s just get the truck loaded.”

Four back-breaking hours later, the last of our furniture and boxes is tightly packed in the back of the truck. We drive across town to our new address and spend four more grueling hours moving our belongings into our new house.

When the last box is shoved inside the front door, I collapse on it, panting. “I’m beat. I’m going to bed.”

“Not yet, Summer. What about the truck?” Stewie says. “We have to return it by midnight or get charged an extra day.”

“Have fun. I’ll be recuperating in our new home.”

“But you know my night vision is crap. I don’t want to hit any trick-or-treaters. You drive, I’ll navigate.”

I groan and lumber to my feet. “The things you put me through to save a buck.” We climb into the cab, I start the engine, and we pull out of our driveway.

“Take a left at Parker, then take a right after the railroad tracks. It’s the first lot on the left after the bridge. And watch out for trick-or-treaters and low-flying birds.”

“Very funny.” Bleary-eyed, I squint into the night. Fifteen minutes down the road, I ease off the gas and let the truck coast over the railroad tracks and




thunders from the cargo hold of the truck.

I slam on the brakes.

“Stewie, did you remember to strap the dolly to the cargo wall?”


“Then what the hell was that?”

“I don’t know. Maybe the truck rocking side to side over the tracks shook the dolly loose. And the empty cargo hold amplified the noise.”

I slowly press the gas pedal. “Yeah. Had to be the dolly. So . . when you strapped the dolly in . . was it, you know . . tidy back there?”


“Was it tidy because you swept up? Or was it tidy, you know, all by itself?”

“I couldn’t see very well. It was dark.”

I shiver and grip the steering wheel tight. Ten minutes down the road, I ease off the gas and let the truck roll under the bridge and




thunders from the cargo hold of the truck.

I slam on the brakes. “Let me guess- the angle of the road made the dolly slam around again?”

“That does it.” Stewie unbuckles his seat belt. “I’m gonna make sure the dolly is strapped to the cargo wall. I’m not gonna pay extra for a damaged truck.” He climbs out of the cab, walks to the back, and opens the cargo door. “The dolly . . ” he calls back. “It’s still strapped to the wall.”

“That’s weird,” I yell out the window. “Maybe the straps are spring-loaded?”

“I dunno. But I’m not gonna pay extra for a damaged truck.”


“What?” He leans out of the back of the truck.

“Is it . . tidy back there?”

“I dunno. I guess. It’s dark. Could you move it along, Summer? It’s almost midnight, and I’m not gonna pay-”

“I know, you’re not gonna pay for another day.”

Stewie pulls himself into the cargo hold and shuts the door.

I slowly press the gas pedal. “Yeah,” I mutter to myself. “Had to be the dolly.”

Five minutes down the road, I pull into the parking lot of Tidy Truck Rentals. One minute to midnight. Stewie will be pleased. I climb out of the cab and




thunders from the cargo hold of the truck.

I run to the back of the truck as the clerk steps out of the building.

“Stewie! Are you okay?” I unlock the cargo door and fling it open.

Empty, except for the dolly strapped to the wall.

The clerk chuckles. “Like I said, it cleans itself. You don’ hafta sweep it out or nothin’.”