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Quadrupedal Stability


Rodford Edmiston

        A gust of cold, snow-filled air blasted past the small group making their way across the back patio from where they had arrived behind the Center for Gifted Research.

        "Yow, that wind is about to blow me sideways!" exclaimed Marian, as she carefully moved one hoof at a time.

        "I told you to wear your steel shoes," said Adamant, with a smirk. "Not to mention more clothes. Most of you is naked!"

        "Whoops!" yelled Marian, as a hoof slipped on the ice.

        "Ahhh!" was Sturdy's comment, as he reflexively dodged the sudden movement and in reaction slipped and fell.

        "Who ordered this weather, anyway?!" demanded Fleet, who for once was moving very slowly.

        "Ah, the challenges of Winter!" said a gleeful Adamant, who was wearing t-shirt, shorts and running shoes.

        The storm was by no means a surprise; the forecast had been for sleet and freezing rain well before they had left the Center that morning. Finding on their return that this had all come true had still been a bit of a shock, and the conditions made traversing the short distance from the Garden Express to the nearest entrance an icy travail. Adamant, the one with the least concern about injuring himself, hadn't so much as slipped. Fleet, with his hyper reflexes, could catch himself it that were at all possible, and aside from a couple of episodes of blurry footwork and arm waving was having no serious trouble. Sturdy fell sever times but was, of course, not hurt. Marian was having the least trouble of all, due less to traction - which was low even for her - than to having two extra points of ground contact for added stability. Even with all four hooves on ice, if one slipped it was no big deal. As long as it was only one...

        Sturdy swore under his breath as he clambered back to his feet.

        "Would you like a ride?" Marian asked, twisting her human torso around to look back at the strongman.

        He hesitated for a moment, actually considering it. Then shook his head.

        "As badly as I'm doing, I'd knock you over trying to get aboard."

        "Well, you can at least hold on," she countered, offering a hand.

        They proceeded together in this way with some success, but were now lagging behind the others.

        Fleet, seeing that he was almost to the rear door, became incautious in his hurry to get inside. He of course slipped badly, and no amount of superhumanly quick movement of his arms and legs could prevent him from falling. Though he did appear to hover with no support for a moment.

        Fleet hit the ground chest first, and hard.

        "Need any help?" asked Adamant, sliding to a graceful stop beside him.

        "I hate you," gasped the speedster.

        Adamant threw back his head to laugh in melodramatic fashion. Which was a mistake. Fleet grabbed his leg, yanked the indestructible man down onto the pavement, rolled over, swung his legs around, and shoved Adamant away with his feet, all in the time it took the latter to realize something was wrong. While recoil shoved Fleet all the way to the door (where he stopped with a thump) Adamant flew across the back patio, across a short stretch of icy grass, across the parking lot, across more ice-covered lawn, and into the chain link fence bounding the property.

        They all laughed but the victim, Marian so hard she almost fell even with the benefit of 4 legs. Adamant didn't help matters by getting so angry he threw caution to the wind and scrambled to his feet, only to immediately fall down again.

        "We better be well inside before he gets here," said Sturdy, finally.

        The race was a slow one. Marian and Sturdy shuffled cautiously towards the door, which Fleet stood waiting to open for them. Adamant continued for some time behaving as if he were trying out for a Three Stooges revival. Realizing his quarry was about to go inside, he finally calmed down enough to be careful. Climbing to his feet, he semi-skated towards the building. Just in time to see the others close the door behind them.

End ;-)

    This work is Copyright 2006 Rodford Edmiston Smith, who can be reached at: stickmaker@usa.net. Please contact the author for permission before reposting or reprinting. Thank you.