Here is my response to yesterday’s challenge (The Last Straw). Do you have a pet peeve?



Glibert leaned closer to the book. It was hard to make out the text in the fire light. He brought a candle closer. “Those who bear the Mark, must ever give their life in service of their King,” he read aloud.  He slid his finger down the text, looking for the line he needed.


“Acts of valor in service to the King…”

Tick-tap-tap TAP.

“…including self-sacrifice…”

Clickity-tap. Clickity-tap.

Gilbert grunted. “Self-sacrifice,” he muttered.


“Henry. Really. Stop,” growled Gilbert, casting a stern look at Henry who was warming himself directly in front of the fireplace.

“I have a new rhythm in my head. This could be a fun march,” smiled Henry in return.

“I have work to do here. Must you tap so loudly?”


Gilbert went back to his reading. Henry was silent. “Self-sacrifice.” He straightened up. “Why am I reading this?”

“Hanna suggests posthumous honor to families.”

“Yes. I know. This is not the book I want.” Gilbert set the book aside, and scratched his head. “But what for Dean? This helps him not.”

“Ah. The babe?”


“Give him to me. I should love to hold him.”

Gilbert chuckled. “Aye, until the child cleared his bowels.”

“Well. Is that not what the Ladies are for?” Henry grinned.

“Try that with your Queen, aye?”

Henry pulled up a chair beside Gilbert and pulled a book toward himself. “The babe cries. Dean is frustrated. He cannot blame himself.” Henry leafed through the book.

Gilbert tapped the open pages. “Everything written is for Ladies who lose their Lords, not for men who lose their wives and the mothers of their children.” He dragged another book in front of himself. “Medicine,” he muttered as he flipped open the cover. “Not a damn thing on child-rearing.”

Both men scanned the pages of their books.

Scrape. Scrape-scrape.

Gilbert looked at Henry’s fingers. He was stroking the pages of the book rhythmically. Gilbert frowned and went back to his book. “Children of Lords,” he hissed softly. The scraping stopped. Gilbert nodded and turned the page.

Scrape. Tap. Scrape-scrape tap.

Gilbert sighed.

Scrape. Tappity-tap-tap. Scrape. Tappity-tap-tap. Thump.

“Henry, I love you but you must stop that!”


“The tapping! The constant tapping! I want to break your fingers.”

“What these?” Henry wiggled his fingers in Gilbert’s face. “Hah! You’ll have to catch me!”

“That I can!” Gilbert grabbed at Henry’s fingers but Henry leaped back and away from the table, sending his chair clattering to the wooden floor. Henry giggled. Gilbert stood slowly, deliberately.

“Oh really?” grinned Gilbert.

Henry walked to the fireplace and put his hands on the mantle. He grinned at Gilbert and started tapping with his finger tips. “La-La-La,” he teased.

Gilbert slammed the book closed. “Really.”

“Really.” Henry continued to tap.

Gilbert smirked. “Oh, I’ll have you stop.”

“Whatever,” shrugged Henry.

Gilbert launched himself across the room toward Henry with a fiendish grin. A few dodges, and some hearty laughs and squeals later, Gilbert managed to wrestle Henry to the floor.

The laughter stopped. The tapping ceased. “Got you,” whispered Gilbert. Silence prevailed.

About paleololigo

Scientist (Paleontology, Geochemistry, Geology); Writer (Speculative and Science Fiction, plus technical and non-technical Science); Mom to great boy on the Autism spectrum; possessor of too many hobbies.
This entry was posted in Short Story or Scene and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Tap-Tap-Tap

  1. Oh yes. Add that to the list of various things that irritate the crap out of me. My mom actually has a really bad habit of doing this exact thing, particularly in the car. She’ll be in the driver’s seat, I’ll be in the passenger, and her hand will reach out for the back of my headrest and…drum drum drum drum. I almost always tweak out on her for it.

Comments are closed.