Jeff stared up at the tree and scratched his head. How a pig could manage to get up in the branches remained beyond his understanding. “Tell me again how you got up there?”
Had Quentin any fur, he might have bristled. As it was, his smooth, pink skin faintly wobbled in the light. “I told you, I flew. How else would I get up here?”
Jeff scratched his head again. “See, now, you keep saying that. But pigs don’t fly. They can’t ‘cause… you know…” He lowered his voice to a whisper, “They don’t have wings.”
“Why are you whispering?”
Jeff blinked. “I don’t know, I thought maybe it would help soften the blow.”
“The only thing that needs softening around here is the ground so I don’t break my neck when I fall.”
Jeff peered at the ground, half-expecting the soil to obey the pig’s command. “If you flew up, why don’t you just fly back down?”
Quentin shuffled his hooves—as much he could upon his precarious perch—but said nothing.
“Well?” Jeff said.
“The moment has passed,” Quentin said.
“So, get it back, then.”
“If I could get it back, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”
Jeff was silent a long while, then said, “I suppose I could fetch a ladder. It’ll take a while though, to get there and then back again.”
“No!” Quentin’s voice turned squeaky and he coughed. “No. I… uh… wouldn’t want to be a bother.”
“I think we’ve already passed that stage,” Jeff said. He started to walk away.
“Don’t leave me,” Quentin said in a mewling voice.
Jeff sighed and turned back around. “Why not?” When Quentin remained silent, he took long, single step backward.
“All right!” Quentin squealed. “The sun’s going to set soon and, well… I’m afraid of the dark.”
Jeff blinked, feeling deflated. “Oh. Why didn’t you just say so?”
“Because it’s private.”
Jeff shook his head. “So, how else are we supposed to get you out of there?”
“I don’t know!” Quentin quailed, sounding on the verge of despair.
Jeff scratched his head and looked around. He thought about climbing up the tree to get the pig, but then was unsure how he’d get back down. Quentin wasn’t as big as most pigs, but still an armful, and the last thing Jeff needed was a hoof in his face as he tried to keep himself from falling out of a tree. There didn’t seem to be any other options, though, except for maybe finding a long branch and prodding the pig down from the branches.
Jeff shoved his hands into his pockets and then pulled out a handful of brown, shiny nuts. “I have nuts,” he said, waving his hand.
Quentin peered down at him. “How’s that supposed to help?”
“You like nuts.”
“Yes, but I still don’t see how that’s useful.”
“Catch!” Jeff said and lobbed one up at Quentin.
“What?” Quentin said just as the nut pelted him in the snout. “Hey!”
“You’re supposed to catch it.”
“I wasn’t ready! Here, try again.”
“Ready…?” Jeff said as he lowered his hand, preparing for the throw.
Quentin hunkered down on the branch. “Ready.”
Jeff threw the nut and Quentin snapped it out of the air and ate it.
“Oh ho! Good one!” Jeff said.
“Do another,” Quentin said.
Jeff threw another nut, but this time threw it a little too far. Quentin leapt off the branch, catching it in his mouth before falling to the ground. He let out a high-pitched squeal as he fell, landing on his hooves with an undignified grunt.
“I… I’m down,” Quentin said.
“So you are,” said Jeff.
Quentin narrowed his eyes. “You did that on purpose! I could have broken my legs, or neck!”
“Yeah, but you didn’t. Figured if you could really fly, then you could land without breaking anything.”
Quentin’s mouth hung open, and so Jeff popped a nut into it.
“Come on, lets go home,” he said.
“All right,” Quentin said, chewing. “But you owe me the rest of those nuts.”