Prompt: "This is my desperation in action."

"If I had my Melt Ray with me, you wouldn't survive another minute," Billy informed the thorny branch digging into his cheek. "Or garden clippers. You wouldn't survive that either." He brushed the pesky limb away again, knowing that it would snap back into place.

Which it did.

Smack against his nose.

Billy growled under his breath and deftly reached out, breaking the branch in two. "Ha ha! Feel my wrath, tree!" He looked down at the limb and frowned. Ok, maybe the twig didn't deserve death. After all, he was the one who had been the invader. And then, without warning, he had ended its entire existence. For no real reason. The tree didn't deserve it.

That's what she would say, anyway. Billy gazed down at the reason he was precariously perched in the tree. There she was, lovely as ever with her copper hair shining like her namesake.

Oh Penny, she was worth a thousand tiny scratches on her arms and face. She was worth global domination, as far as he was concerned. Bad Horse might disagree, but what did that stupid quadruped know? He could just go eat some hay.

Penny was sitting in the park, reading a book. Billy had followed her here, although he hadn't planned on it. He'd spent his usual Saturday sitting in the laundromat, waiting for her arrival. And once she had showed up, it had taken him two hours to work up the courage to say hello but she was already halfway out of the door.

Grabbing his laundry basket, he was about to sulk home when he spotted a disposable camera in the lost and found. Inspiration struck. Or maybe desperation. Inspiration sounded better, and made him feel an ounce less like the creepy stalker he suspected he might be.

The camera was full except for a single precious shot. He had one chance to snap the image of his beloved and he wasn't about to miss it. Leaving his basket behind, Billy had raced after Penny and trailed her to the park.

The green foliage was the perfect background for his picture. Green was a good color for her. Granted, any color was a good one for her, but green seemed particularly perfect today. He squinted through the tiny viewfinder, lined her in the middle, and pressed down.

Click. Success.

Except for the flash. Why was there a flash? It was the middle of the day! Was that what the glowing red light had meant on the camera? He assumed it meant low battery! Weren't red lights on electronics always an indication of battery level? Wait. Had Penny seen the flash? O. M. G. She was looking over!

Billy stifled his scream as he slid backwards off the branch in his attempt to hide. He landed on his backside, muffling another cry as he landed on the bruise he had received from Captain Hammerhead last Tuesday. He scrambled backwards in the bush and curled into the smallest manageable shape.

One second passed.


Billy slowly released his baited breath and opened his eyes. Apparently Penny hadn't heard the commotion. Or if she had, she wasn't investigating the noise. But a squirrel was. It chittered at him from an overhead branch, cocking its curious head from side to side.

A triumph grin spread across Billy's face as held the camera up to the critter. "Got it!" he whispered with more than a hint of glee. The squirrel was obviously not as impressed by his accomplishment, chattered its teeth a few more times and bound away. Billy stayed hidden in the bushes a few more moments, until he was sure Penny had left the park, before he scurried off to have the film developed.