When Elements Collide
by Patricia La Barbera
"Stop shoving! You'll start a deluge," Water said to Air as she bumped into Earth.
"Now you've done it," said Earth. "Here comes a mudslide, and everyone will blame me."
Air sneezed, and Fire stretched up to five times his size. "Cut it out. Already three forests have been destroyed. Oh, where is Balance?"
Earth rolled into a ball and said, "Gone. Her delicate nature couldn't tolerate our bickering."
Air put his arm around Earth. "Let's concentrate on getting along and staying out of each other's way."
"You just started a sandstorm," Earth said blandly. "Look at things realistically. The odds are against us. Let me call your attention to history—the Flood, the Ice Age, the volcanoes, the—"
"You have no imagination," Air blasted.
"And you have no substance," said Fire, searing him.
"Cease and desist." Water put her hands on her wavy hips. "I'm tired of putting out conflagrations."
"It's not like you're the only one who can do that," Earth said.
"In the interest of harmony, I'm going to ignore that comment."
Fire felt a spark of recognition. "We're beginning to get along."
"Don't be so impetuous," said Earth.
"Dullard," Fire crackled.
"Hothead," Earth mumbled.
"Stop it, the two of you."
"Airhead," Fire and Earth said in unison.
"You're all so immature," said Water.
"Just because you were here first doesn't make you the best," said Earth. Suddenly Balance appeared. "I think you've all done enough damage for one day—a tsunami, three hurricanes, five forest fires, two earthquakes, twenty-five tornadoes. Need I go on?"
The Elements, though, were elated.
"Balance, does this mean you're staying?" Air asked as they all gathered around her.
Balance didn't answer, but for one day at least, Water was calm, Air was gentle, Earth was quiet, and Fire behaved.
Patricia La Barbera, MFA, is the author of THE CELTIC CROW MURDERS and is a member of Mensa and Mystery Writers of America.
She has had poetry published in journals and has written prize-winning fiction.
The writer lives in the Florida Keys with her husband.
Her Web site address is www.patricialabarbera.com
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