The Notorious Vagabond and/or Scallywag

Once upon a time there was a vagabond who was possibly also a scallywag. This vagabond wondered and wandered hither and yon, taking in the sights, rolling over and under hills and vales, generally avoiding the affordances and moral and ethical conundrums posed by the peoples of the farms and cities. The vagabond (who might’ve been a scallywag) once met a baboon hiding under a tree trunk and at first there was much screeching and to and froing, but eventually things settled down and they had teatime on an old mouldy stump.

Moral: Just because you’re a vagabond (or maybe a scallywag) doesn’t mean you can’t resolve your differences in a civilized way.

The Cold and Infamous Wintertime

It was winter. It was cold. It was wet. It was almost snowing, but not quite. And the sun had gone packing off to, er, sunnier climes. The bear was hiberating. The rabbit was hibernating. The wolf was hibernating. The marmot was hibernating. The long haired guinea pig was hibernating. The hedgehog was hibernating. The earthworm was hibernating. The people were scurrying around trying to get stuff done, some of them miserable in wet socks and trousers. At least a couple had left their brelly at home.

Moral: On some of these winter days, hibernation sure does sound nice.

Up is Down, Black is White, Left is Right, the Mumpler Cried

Once there was a monster called the Mumpler. The Mumpler basically constantly screeched things that everyone knew to be false. At first it was just an annoyance, really just a headache inducing scrawp. Some people just wanted to eat breakfast, but it was tough to enjoy the buckwheat pancakes with marionberry syrup with a side of bacon and a fruit cup with all that nonsense screaming by. The Mumpler sure bounced around a lot and seemed especially agitated when no one was paying it any mind. Some people tried reasoning with the Mumpler, providing evidence for things like, you know, left being left and black being black and other things like that. Really, they couldn’t even get a word in edgewise. To everyone’s horror, soon there were some people who thought that Mumpler was all right, wearing “white” shirts and dangerously signaling the opposite turn direction when driving. There were still others who, wanting to appear fairminded, discussed the possible merits of blue being red or zero being one. This was enough to get people to tear their hair out, not literally, but still. Finally, they decided they had enough. They used a shrink ray to shrink the Mumpler down to a manageable size and then stuck him in a sound-proofed terrarium. They weren’t monsters. There was plenty to eat in there. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Except for all the people in the “white” shirts, of course.

Moral: Sometimes it sure would be nice to have a science fictional solution to one’s problems.

The Lost Fable

Once upon a time an idea for a fable occurred to me while I was stepping into the shower. Instead of writing the idea down, I took a shower instead (cat sitting stoically nearby). I thought that I would (of course) remember the marvelous idea–it seemed so memorable! The thought of it had made me smile. Perhaps it involved a pirate or a wombat or a robot made of matroshka nesting dolls. Or maybe the idea led with a funny character name like Nebood Farmalpoops or Brestige Nickelwomper. Or maybe the idea led with a moral such as “Moral: Maybe next time listen to your mother.” or “Moral: You can always dig yourself deeper.” Anyway, I took a shower, got distracted by coffee, and only hours later remembered that I had come up with an idea I loved that I then completely forgot about.

Moral: Some ideas are worth writing down so that you don’t have to rely on your brain to remember it.

The Shoemaker Who Put All the Hats in the Wrong Place

Once there was a shoemaker. (Name of Barrister, go figure.) This shoemaker was a real dab hand at making shoes. Just shoes of all varieties, materials, and colors. Her real specialty, though, were simple, longlasting, durable, plain, comfortable shoes. Pretty much entirely ignored by the fashionable set, but highly prized by those who valued ache-free feet.

One day her friend the Haberdasher (went by Toothpuller of the Eastern Toothpullers) needed a whole mess of hats moved into a new hat warehouse. Toothpuller wondered if Barrister could make her a sign letting people know about the new hat emporium, so to speak.

The shoemaker made the sign, because the haberdasher was such a good friend. Unfortunately, neither of them noticed the address was missing from the sign until much later.

Moral: Sometimes you’re much better off hiring the right person for the job at the start.

The Walled Garden

Once there was this jungle. It was kind of shady. Also, there were tigers in it. People sort of wandered around and picked fruit and berries and sometimes built treehouses and then swung vines between them. Everyone was having a pretty fun time swinging between the treehouses. Sometimes the vines would break or you would swing to a treehouse that wouldn’t end up being there anymore, but that was mostly ok, because there were a lot of treehouses. Some of them were pretty fancy, with bright flashy lights and spinning signs and sometimes just a lot of construction work that never seemed to end. Even though there were always new people showing up, it always seemed like there was enough room for everybody. Then, one day, this walled garden showed up. People who swung into there tended not to swing out again. I mean, they could leave, there was nothing nefarious there, but they did tend to stick around. There was so much fruit to eat in that walled garden. It was so sweet! But, you know, it didn’t seem very filling. And some of the fruit seemed sweet at first, but then led to some real digestive issues later. Yikes! Still, it seemed like kind of a “friend garden” because it seemed like your friends were already there already. Also, since they were just hanging out there people just kind of started to work in that garden. The work mostly involved moving fruit from one side of the garden to the other. Sometimes someone would try to build a sort of on-the-ground treehouse, but those never seemed to work out. For some reason. One day this monkey just started throwing shit into the garden. And then it seemed like a LOT of monkeys started throwing shit into the garden. People just sort of shrugged and kept on hanging out in the garden. The fruit didn’t taste nearly as good, because it had shit on it. Yuck! Then everyone realized, boy, we shouldn’t be blaming monkeys, it was really just someone in this garden dressed in a monkey suit! Some people had been swinging outside in the jungle (remember that?) this whole time. They were still having a pretty good time, hanging out in treehouses and stuff. Occasionally, they tried to let people in the garden know how fun it was.

Moral: Why work in someone else’s garden, when you can swing through the trees with the greatest of ease?

The Hacker and/or the Mongoose

Once there was this hacker. She was so good at computer things it was insane. Like, people literally thought they were going insane watching her typing away at a computer, there’d be like these visual artifacts swirling around, vision zooming in and out like an out of control music video director, this feeling that time was fragmenting and sharding out into these teeny weeny pieces, these just throbbing bass notes and wild keytar riffs, and at the end of it, in what felt like seconds, she’d swivel around in her chair, and boom!, it’d already be done. One time Horatio Moonbats watched her “hack” a Gooseberry 7000 Mainframe (in the cloud, obvs (literally in the clouds, even more obvs)) and then when she swiveled around triumphantly, all H.Moonbats saw was a mongoose, looking very self-satisfied to be sure.

Moral: I didn’t say she couldn’t hack reality, too.

Some Very Thick Spectacles

Once upon a time there was an owl who had astigmatism. This made swooping and pouncing on small rodents pretty tough. The owl was pretty sad, because he didn’t like eating toast at all. Not even with marionberry jam. Also he kept flying into tree branches or flinching away from non-existent ones. He put off going to the eye doctor for months. Really, just the longest time. Too proud maybe or perhaps there was a bit of fear there or just an aversion to “eye stuff”. But finally, after the third time pouncing on a dog toy in one night, he went to the eye doctor. It wasn’t fun. Imagine you’re an owl and then you get your eyes dilated. Yeesh! The owl spent a really long time picking out frames. Were the yellow horn rims more him than the indigo rounds or the rectangle wire frames? (Being a horned owl, he thought maybe the horn rims might be a little too much horn?) Finally, he settled on these classy aviator glasses with a rose-colored tint on the lenses. Very stylish! said the mouse as he swallowed it whole.

Moral: Style aside, it’s tough to stay on target when your vision is fucked.

The Secret Santa Who Was Too Secret

Once there was a secret Santa* who was so secret no one knew about him or even if he was. This was a real bummer for that Santa because he really wanted to give out presents. They were really nice presents too. A box made of boxes. An extremely polite and tidy badger. A sword made of chocolate and almonds. A sword made of pickled beets. I could go on and on.

Moral: I could go on and on, but won’t.

* Santa Flues, natch.

A Snowglobe of Spiders

Once there was a witch. She made many terrifying crafty type objects. A blender made from a human skull. Dice–knucklebones, natch–that always come up snake eyes. A deck of ominous tarot cards. Some really unpleasant tea, otherwise harmless. But her most terrifying creation is a snowglobe full of spiders. When wound, it plays Little Drummer Boy.

Moral: Spiders, amirite.