Once upon a time, there was a stick in the road that nobody liked.
“I very much dislike this stick,” muttered John.
“And who are you to make such a proclamation?” asked Lydia.
“I’m John,” said John.
Lydia raised an eyebrow. “I see. I’m Amy.”
“Are you, now?”
“No. I’m Lydia, actually.”
“I was hoping you’d say that,” John sighed.
“It is a rather awful stick, isn’t it?” Lydia crossed her arms and stared distrustfully at the little piece of wood lying in the middle of the street, doing no one any good at all.
“Quite so. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s worse than the half-eaten sandwich my employer threw at me in a fit of anger earlier this morning.”
“That does sound dreadful.”
John put a hand on Lydia’s arm, appreciating the sympathy. “What would you say should be done about the stick? We could give it to a dog, I suppose. Or put it in a museum.”
Lydia shook her head. “I think that would be a disservice to both dog-kind and society as a whole. No, I think it must simply be done away with.”
“But how?” John frowned, shifting awkwardly as he let the thing re-enter his field of vision. “How does one get rid of such an unpleasant stick?”
“I have a pistol at home,” Lydia offered. “Perhaps we could shoot it?”
Collin strolled by the two, sneering at the road as he passed. “Lousy, good-for-nothing stick.”
“Who was that?” whispered Lydia.
“I think it was Collin,” John decided.
A small yellow vehicle pulled up to the stick, paused, then reversed and backed up the way it came.
“Whatever it is,” Lydia insisted, “something must be done.”
“You’re right.” John swallowed, tugging nervously at his collar, then stepped out into the street and approached the stick.
“John?” Lydia called. “What on Earth–”
John picked up the stick and tossed it into the brush on the other side of the road, then returned to Lydia’s side.
“Oh, thank heaven,” a woman in front of a flower shop called as a portly man down the sidewalk said, “About time,” and a few other onlookers submitted their chorus of relief.
“Well done, John,” Lydia beamed. “I dare say that stick won’t be bothering anyone any longer.”
“It was truly a despicable thing,” John agreed.
“Do you think we ought to be married, now?”
John nodded gravely, gazing off into the horizon. “I believe so, yes.”
They linked arms and walked off down the street, and no one knows what became of them, as they were not very important.