Flash fiction – ‘Non-native’ by Vivian Thonger

Don’t you love hedgehogs? Look at him, snuffling about in broad daylight, isn’t that special? A nice change from all these noisy bloody birds. Back in Cheadle, we used to put a saucer of milk on the patio for our hedgehogs, and a leaf pile for hibernation, we’re well into wildlife and eco. They have sanctuaries here in New Zealand too, I might volunteer when George does his pottery.

So Baz who does our garden — he’s cheap and he’s got a ride-on mower — he started off keen but he knows nothing about gardening: spraying the agapanthus, with those lovely blue flowers, whatever next! When I objected he looked at me right funny, muttered something about natives, seemed a bit racist, and when I asked him to cut down those scruffy conifers that spoil our view, kauri is it, he just whistled. Still hasn’t done it.

Baz is a nice lad though — I say lad but he’s got a big white beard — wearing his little shorts and big workmen’s boots day in day out, hard hat, ear defenders, it’s comical watching him riding his yellow mower like a go-kart; I think George might be a tiny bit jealous. Anyway, we were just chatting about how strong the sun is, when I spotted this little fella and I said, look a hedgehog, and Baz said, I’ll get the shovel, and dashed off. Isn’t that kind? He’ll have him in the shade in a jiffy.

Here he comes now, with his shovel.

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