The Things We Do For Love

Mar 16, 2022 | Fiction

All day, it had taken him, it seemed, to travel the length of the patio. He had soldiered on, putting one foot in front of the other, to escape the punishing heat of the afternoon sun on scorching cement. “I’m impressed, Marty,” Stella said, sounding anything but. “I didn’t think you’d make it past the joint.” Stella sat on the cool, damp earth, where she’d been watching Marty from beneath the shady arc of spring leaves.

Marty had to hand it to her: light-fingered Stella had stolen his heart. Now, he had to toe the line, even if it killed him. At this rate, he was pretty sure it would. Marty rolled off the cement, onto the damp, fragrant earth next to Stella. He flicked a wrist in her direction, as if to say, “It’s nothing.” It wasn’t ‘nothing,’ of course.

Farmer McNulty’s calf was happily suckling at his mama’s teat while she absently swatted a horsefly from her hip with her tail. Who would have thought that the roan calf, newly born and trembling on shaky legs, had almost been the end of Marty? He felt as if he had a million legs, and every one of them ached. If only he could be sure he’d finally earned his Stella’s favor, Marty could die contented. If only she’d acknowledge the effort he’d made to cross the patio to be near her. As his eyes closed in exhaustion, he felt the ground vibrating and heard the delicate thumping of Stella’s little feet before she gave him a sharp peck and gulped him down, laughing as his thousand tiny toes tickled her gullet.

The early bird catches the worm, but the patient one gets a real rib-tickler of a millipede.

This story was brought to you by Creative Copy Challenge #653 | Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge (, and the words Foot, Hand, Finger, Toe, Arc, Calf, Hip, Leg, Rib, Wrist

Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle, illustrated by Jordan Vinyard; A Puppy, Not a Guppy, illustrated by Ryan Shaw; and the newest release: A New Leaf for Lyle, illustrated by Carrie Salazar. She draws inspiration from her family, from her own childhood adventures (some of which only happened in her overactive imagination), and from readers both young and young-at-heart. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, J.J., whose love and encouragement make writing books twice the fun.


  1. Mitchell Allen

    Ha-ha! I didn’t see that coming! Very entertaining. (Don’t tell Mitch!)


    Mitchell Allen recently posted…Shot on iPhoneMy Profile

    • Holly Jahangiri

      Why shouldn’t I tell… Oh. Oops.

      Well there’s no PICTURE, at least!

  2. Sunita Saldhana

    Didn’t see that coming! Ouch poor Marty!

    • Holly Jahangiri

      LOL – poor Marty, indeed. It’s a harsh world out there.


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