Tales for Awful People

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How the Snail Got out of His Rut
October 15, 2010, 1:23 pm
Filed under: Life's Journey | Tags:

A snail who often spent his time on the shady end of the lettuce patch was minding his business one day when a giant hand came from the sky and picked him up by his spiraling shell and put him in a sack.

“This is a pretty turn of affairs,” said the snail. “I wonder what will happen now?” He munched some of the lettuce upon which he rode, and looked out of the burlap sack in the afternoon sunlight. The speed of his journey was dizzying. “I didn’t know I could survive this level of transportation,” said the snail, for he was used to living alone, and like many eccentrics, he had the habit of speaking outloud. “Surely soon everything will fall to pieces.” Suddenly, there was a jolt, as someone set the sack down.
Then, with a whoosh of leaves, the sack was overturned and the lettuce and the snail fell upon the counter. “I’d better just see what happens next,” said the snail.

With that, the leaf of lettuce he had adhered himself to and all of its near neighbors were sent under a bath of cold tap water and shaken vigorously. “Well!” said the snail as he went flying, “This is a far cry from the garden.”

He landed beside the kitchen door, and to his chagrin, he noticed that a large foot was approaching fast, and another one behind it! “I can’t outrace that,but I will try,” said the snail, and try he did. The foot missed him by so narrow a margin that the wind of its passing bent one of his horns. “I should get back to the country I understand,” said the snail, “but how can I? This new country is ridiculous!” He stood on his one long foot and watched the goings on of the kitchen. He was so fascinated that he didn’t notice that he was getting drier by the minute. When it occurred to him, he tried to walk on his slow march back towards the garden, but nothing happened. “How curious!” said the snail, and he blinked (he wouldn’t tell me how).

The problem was solved when the cook dumped a bucket of warm soapy water on the floor, and swept the broom after it. “I didn’t wash to travel in this manner, but I suppose it’s perfectly logical,” said the snail, as he was carried out the door, down a narrow worn path from where the cook dumped the water each day. “What an exciting afternoon! I can’t say as I care for these suds, but I will soon be out of it.” He was. The water soaked down into the dirt, and the snail was left just a few inches away from the lettuce patch.

“You know,” he said, “Maybe I don’t like lettuce so much after all,” and he left that garden as fast as he could to see the world. It took years, because he was a snail, but they’re eating his dust now, back in the lettuce patch.

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The Little Lost Puppy
October 15, 2010, 1:21 pm
Filed under: Life's Journey | Tags: , ,

Once my grandmother met an old Tom cat, who told her the one about the lost puppy. Seems the puppy was some kind of lab mix, and had tried retreiving a stick thrown into a current that was just too fast for him, and was carried far downstream. “Oh, woe is me,” he cried. “I’ll never get home now.”
And he didn’t. He never got home. Poor, poor puppy. I don’t remember what-all he was supposed to have done, but that Tom cat was a rough character, and I’m sure it was sordid. That puppy shouldn’t have gotten in over his head

Technorati 3VQ683W2G7GJ

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The Understanding Water Buffalo
October 14, 2010, 1:08 pm
Filed under: Life's Journey | Tags: ,

In humid Southeast Asia, hospital a herd of water buffalos gathered at a river delta. A shy female buffalo found herself plagued by a cloud of biting insects. She gently shifted to the left, the right, and even five feet forward, but still they persisted. She figured they must really like her and even need her, so she vowed to tough it out. The other water buffalos said “Why, why do you allow this? Come submerge yourself in the water, as we do! This delicious mud acts as armor.”

But the shy water buffalo was torn. Sure, the bugs were annoying, but who was she to judge? They had problems too, what with being so small and easily squashed. Maybe she could teach them to be less needy if she just showed some love first. This internal dilemma went on for days, and the other water buffalos looked on in horror as she grew wizened and scabby from the constant assault. “They are sucking your life’s blood,” they lowed.

“Well, I can’t help it if I give off positive energy,” said the female. In return, the insects gave her a blood-born parasite, and she starved to death.

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The Ironic Wombat
October 11, 2010, 11:01 pm
Filed under: Life's Journey | Tags: ,

There was a wombat who used to talk endlessly about his love for pro-war country songs. He always ate unnaturally colored foods, because, as he told whatever other animals who’d happened to be standing nearby, “Their very existence is totally amazing!” The wombat spent his evenings watching reality tv so that he could parse its deeper meaning-visible only to cultural studies buffs, such as himself. He was always referring to the rest of his countrymen as “a bunch of stupid sheep.” for doing the things he did without his spirit of covert mockery.

One night he was drinking cheap beer for the thrill of it, and holding forth, when he felt a tap on his shoulder. “We are not sheep,” said the dingos’ leader. The wombat doesn’t go to that bar anymore, or at least I haven’t seen him. I wonder why?

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The Badger Who Didn’t Belong
October 11, 2010, 10:59 pm
Filed under: Life's Journey | Tags: , ,

A badger lived under the green hill next to the forest and had a difficult time relating to other animals. He cared about bright sun and cool shadows and the time his 18th-great grandfather had frightened Laura Ingalls Wilder, but the other animals cared about bands, and were proud of all their esoteric knowledge.

The badger was lonely, so he went and put on a suit like the deer’s and walked up to a herd, but they saw right through him and ran away. He tried a rabbit’s long ears and cottony tail next, and it took the rabbits longer to catch on, but when the badger misspoke the name of a famous rabbit singer in casual conversation, they hopped off, laughing their rabbitty laughs. The badger tried a new suit, then, and he felt confident, because it was the most beautiful one available. It had sharp-pricked ears and shining silver fur, plus a plumy tail. He was also custom-fitted for yellow contact lenses.

When he tried loping over to join the wolf, however, the wolf bowed to the badger. “It’s a nice try,” he said, “but you better just go on home.”

“I–I’m a wolf,” said the badger.

“As you wish,” said the wolf, “But as soon as I learn otherwise, you will be my dinner.”

The badger was so scared he cried and shook, and his beautiful silver coat fell off, and the custom made contact lenses welled right out of his eyes.

“You could have tried to keep some dignity, at least,” said the wolf, and he ate the badger up.

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The Homely Civet Cat: a rough draft
October 11, 2010, 10:56 pm
Filed under: Life's Journey, Misc | Tags:

vomitola: i am thinking of a homely civet cat who goes into the village and is met with jeers.
vomitola: he goes home and cries to his mother, and she says “well, shucks, you go back there and show them!”
vomitola: so he returns, and he eviscerates five people and urinates all over market square.
fights crime: ha ha
vomitola: his homely head is stuffed and mounted in the zoo!
fights crime: but! his musk is used for perfume, and in his way, he lives on
fights crime: and his smell gets to attend parties with rich and important people
fights crime: that’s v. hans christian Andersen

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The Billy Goat Collaborator
October 11, 2010, 10:54 pm
Filed under: Life's Journey | Tags: ,

Why, this jolts me back to the story of the meek little Billy goat. Now this Billy goat lived under a bridge, with some trolls. He didn’t mind that they weren’t so much to look at, after all, who was he to judge? They would do all sorts of trollish things, like scalping traveling medicine show performers and throwing old rotten pumpkins at children. The Billy goat followed along half-heartedly, his conscience pricking him a bit upon hearing screams day in and day out. Then one day the trolls clubbed him in his sleep and he woke up trussed to a spit, his little trotters unpleasantly warm.

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The Pony’s Blind Spot
October 11, 2010, 10:52 pm
Filed under: Life's Journey | Tags: , ,

When the world was new and all the little animals of the barnyard and forest and sea were unsure how they were shaped, some of them were content to wait and see what shape their lives might make them, and some wanted desperately to be the best shape of all. (Although what that was, they did not know!)
One day several of the newest animals sat together, drinking birch beer and talking. “I need sharp, sharp teeth and strong, swift feet,” said the wolf, “for the job that is mine is running and chasing and eating what needs to be eaten.”

Who needs to be eaten you mean,” the hippo snorted, and the wolf gave a little bow, and the hippo continued. “Well, I’ve reviewed my own needs, and I feel it would be feasible to be as big, big, big and fat as I choose! And if anyone would like to discuss it in an unpleasant manner I want mouth as big as big can be, with teeth like ivory clubs.”

“That’s well and good for you,” said the mouse. “But suppose I was big as big could be? Where would I be then, I ask you. I need to be small and quick and hard to see, so that I can sneak around and find my food. I also wish to play amusing practical jokes on the elephant.” The other animals in the circle laughed, because the elephant had picked out a shape early, and they all thought she was showing off.

The pony sat near the edge of the firelight and sighed, “I don’t know what shape to be. I can’t be as fast as the wolf nor as big as the hippo. I can’t be as small and quick as the little brown mouse. What kind of shape in the world is let for a pony?”

The other animals shuffled their feet and looked away, since they had no real advice for the pony. “Maybe you should go to grad school,” one of them said politely, but the word were lost in the night around the fire, and the pony mourned on.

“If I am not as fast as the wolf, he will surely catch me and eat me when the world is sorted out and this truce of creation is over,” and here again, the wolf gave a little bow. Someone giggled. The pony went on. “I cannot be as big as the hippo, because the hippo is bound to the stream, and I do not wish to become pruny.” The hippo laughed with its huge mouth wide.

“If I’m as small as the mouth, and as hard to be,” said the pony, “how will I ever get the attention I deserve? It’s useless, useless. I might as well be a big mass of jelly.” Someone reminded the pony that that shape was taken already, by the jelly fish.

“Useless,” said the pony dejectedly.

“You could be a climber, like the monkey,” said the mouse.

“I don’t know,” said the pony. “That’s not really my thing,” and the mouse shrugged its little shoulders and scampered away.

The talk went on until the small hours of the morning. One by one, the other animals snuck away into the black darkness at the edges of the fire, because they did not know what to tell the pony, who refused to be consoled. As the sun came up, however, it became clear that in the night, something had happened.

The pony’s hands had become hard and round from being clinched into fists, and the pony’s feet had done the same, from the pony’s habit of drumming them against the log on which it was sitting. The pony’s neck had grown long from craning it around to see if there was someone whose shape was better sitting over on the other side of the circles somewhere. Its ears were pricked up on top of its head, to catch whattever anyone might be saying about it. Its bottom had become broad and round from sitting on the log and agonzing all night, and it had developed a thick, furry hide, impervious to constructive criticism.

The pony was standing up, trying out its new hooves, when it noticed the wolf coming up behind it. “I can see you!” the pony neighed, and cantered away. “Just checking,” smiled the wolf. “Hey, wait!” the pony neighed. “I saw you! I saw you coming. My eyes–they’re off on either side of my head!  I can see anything, anything at all.” The pony still hasn’t noticed that it cannot see anything ahead of itself, and will neigh and bite if you mention its blind spot.

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The Abnormally Attractive Chimpanzee
October 11, 2010, 10:49 pm
Filed under: Life's Journey | Tags: ,

Way back when, patient pith-helmeted scientists began to travel to far away Africa to learn about our brethren, the apes. Past some rolling hills, and just a hop and a skip away from a waterfall, they found a forest teaming with chimpanzees. They saw mamas and papas, baby sisters and brothers, and wise old grandparents. One chimpanzee in particular seemed to be special. Others lined up to groom her and bring her delicious tidbits of food. She had a particular appetite for the brains of red colobus monkeys.

The scientists hung back in their drab shirts, fascinated. She looked like any other chimp to them, but clearly she held almost supernatural appeal. They posited that she must be an attractive chimp, as attractive humans usually receive favorable treatment, no questions asked.

So they tossed a small pocket mirror out of the bushes to test her self-awareness. A teenage male chimp hustled over, hooting softly, slavishly pleased to give her this gift. She snatched it away, shrieking, and pressed it up to her nose, gazing at herself cross-eyed.

This went on for days and days. The scientists became concerned when she ignored the other chimps and their offerings of food. She swiped at them viciously when they tried to groom her, and her coat became bedraggled and infested with lice. Still she stared, turning the mirror this way and that, as if to find her best side.

Eventually she became so weak that she could only lounge on her side, the mirror propped against a tree branch. The other monkeys hooted and prodded – Alarm! A leopard was headed for the clearing! She ignored them as if they were but trivial ants, so they scattered and left her behind with her scrap of glass. And that’s how the most beautiful chimpanzee became the most gorgeous meal that leopard ever had.

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The Yak Who Feared Success
October 11, 2010, 10:46 pm
Filed under: Life's Journey | Tags: , ,

I heard one about a young yak who felt that he was a little more special than the others–he had longer fur, surer feet, and a throbbing sense of his own general giftedness in creative fields. Sometimes he would scratch pictures in the muck by his feet, and his yak friends would compliment him endlessly.

“I would go to the big city,” he said, “and do this for a living, but I don’t know–” “Oh, do it, do it,” his friends would cry. “But perhaps I should focus on my poetry,” the yak would say, and recite a line or two of original verse. The lady yaks would practically friggin’ swoon. One day somebody’s cousin from another mountain came to visit and called the yak on his shit.

“Come to the big city with me, if that’s your thing,” the cousin said. “I’m going next week. We can carpool. I know people who can help you.”

“Oh, I feel a bout of depression coming on,” said the yak, “I can’t go.” “But being a success will help you feel better about yourself,” said the cousin. “Oh, jeez, I guess I just fear success,” the yak said. The cousin left, disgusted, a few days later, and the creative yak is still up on that mountain, wondering why his friends don’t call anymore.

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