The sun was rising over the Wastelands. Rusty and partially collapsed buildings towered over the abandoned streets. The place should have been uninhabitable, but it was far from it.
Talia von Vulpes was already out scavenging. She had to get an early start so the fitter scavengers wouldn't beat her to the good stuff. Every day she had to venture further out, to find things in places she hadn't looked yet.
The vixen looked up. Inside one building, a familiar bear was struggling with something.
"Oh, hi, Kodiak, darling! Find something interesting?"
"Da! Come and take a look!"
With a little effort, Talia managed to climb through the window and join her friend. Now that she was closer, she could see that Kodiak was trying to open a refrigerator that was rusted shut.
"Can you help me get this open, comrade? I'll split its contents with you!"
"I'll see what I can do..."
Picking up a thin metal bar, Talia rapped the end against the fridge door's rusty joints like a chisel. Getting the idea, Kodiak picked up a piece of concrete and used it to apply force to the other end of the bar.
Several hits later, the entire door of the fridge came off, landing with a THUD on the ground. Talia and Kodiak looked down at it, then up at what was inside.
The fridge contained several large plastic bottles, well preserved and full of water.
"We've struck it rich, darling!" Talia exclaimed. "Clean water! A Wasteland luxury! We'll drink like royalty tonight!"
Kodiak nodded. "Da! We've got to share these with Steve, too!"
It was funny, really. Before she'd been disowned by her family, Talia would've disregarded clean water as quite a boring beverage. But in the Wastelands, it was one of the most valuable things one could find.
Once she'd finished her scavenging, Talia took her share of the precious water-- three or four bottles-- and began on her way home, looking the happiest she'd been in a long time. The bottles were heavy and bulky, so she had to transport them on an old handcart.
The vixen winced. She knew that voice all too well. Sure enough, a hyena girl emerged from her hiding spot behind a wrecked car.
"Donna! What do you want?"
"Word on the street is that you and that bear found a cache of clean water. It looks kind of heavy... why don't I take it off your hands?"
Talia scowled. "Oh, beat it. I don't have time for this."
Donna walked over and kicked the bottles off the handcart, sending them tumbling haphazardly.
"Ooooops! Finders keepers!"
Talia could do little but stand and watch as the hyena quickly gathered up the water bottles herself. Of course, without something to transport them in, she was at a disadvantage.
"...Let me stop you right there, 'darling'."
"You seem to have trouble carrying all that water. How about a bet? If I win, I get the water back. If you win, you get my handcart."
"...What's your game?"
"Monkey see, monkey do. I do something, you do the same thing. After five actions, we switch roles. First to screw up loses."
"Fine. But I'm only humoring you."
The fox and hyena set the handcart and water aside, then stared each other eye to eye.
Talia made a funny face. Donna mimicked it.
Talia recited a tongue twister. Donna repeated it flawlessly.
Talia took one of the bottles of water and took a drink from it. Donna took another and took a drink herself.
Talia clapped her hands twice, then spun around and clapped a third time. Donna did the same thing.
Talia spat the water she'd drunk out onto the ground.
Donna froze, having already swallowed her drink of water and thus rendered herself unable to mimic this last action.
Angry now, Donna lunged, but Talia grabbed her handcart and forced it against the hyena, knocking her down while the vixen collected the water and ran.
Phew... she actually fell for it. I'm so glad I picked up that trick. Now to go home and make sure this precious clean water is safe.