Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Another Short Story But Don't Worry--There's Also a Picture of My Penis

Franz was a mouse who did not like chipmunks. He couldn't remember when or how he started disliking chipmunks, but he knew that it had been for quite a while. He hated everything about them. They were smelly, sneaky, and good for nothing. He hadn't met a single chipmunk that he liked, so he concluded that all of them were unlikable.

One day he was at a tea party with a badger, a squirrel, and a beaver. They were laughing and sipping on their tea and eating cakes. Franz, who had been quiet for much of the party, spoke up.
"Hey, you know who I hate?" Franz chirped. "Chipmunks! Who needs 'em? They're a bunch of lousy bums. They should go back to wherever it is they came from!"

Everyone stopped laughing, and the smile slowly died from Franz's lips also as the rest of the animals stared at him in shock. He began to sweat. After several long moments, the badger spoke.

"I have a number of very honorable friends who are chipmunks," said the badger solemnly. The squirrel and the beaver nodded in agreeement.

Franz turned his eyes to the ground and took a furious sip from his teacup.

"It's very interesting that you think that, Badger," Franz said coldly, his lips pressed tightly together.

The following week, Franz had lunch with one of his neighbors, a songbird. As the songbird took a little bite from her pimento cheese sandwich, Franz said through a mouthful of tuna, "Hey, you know, I really hate chipmunks, badgers, squirrels, and beavers. They're all ugly and stupid. They can go eat some sour berries." Franz chuckled.

The songbird chirped disapprovingly. "That's not nice. I know a lot of perfectly decent chipmunks, badgers, squirrels, and beavers! I think you're making unfair generalizations," she said.

Franz blushed, embarrassed that this was happening to him again. He crossed his arms and just said "You think so, huh?"

The next day, while playing a game of cards with a cricket, Franz loudly interrupted one of the cricket's stories about his mother, who was currently in the hospital with a very serious and untreatable disease.

"You know who really gets on my nerves?" he practically shouted. "Chipmunks, badgers, squirrels, beavers, and songbirds. Especially songbirds! Gee, they're the worst."

The cricket put down his cards and frowned. "I don't think you should say that. It's mean, and it's not at all true," he said.

Franz said, "Oh, I apologize." Then he added under his breath, "You disgusting insect."

This pattern continued, and the number of animals which Franz did not find agreeable grew and grew and grew. Soon, there were too many to remember, so he started keeping a list. Every day, he would post the newest list on the biggest oak tree in the forest for all of the animals to see. No one really paid attention to it, but soon it began to get on their nerves.

"I'm sick and tired of that mouse Franz and his ridiculous list," said one frustrated toad. "How can he just say these things about us?" The other animals agreed.

No one wanted to see Franz anymore, so he rarely left his house. The only times he did leave were to post the new list on the oak tree. He would put on a long, dark cloak with a lowered hood so that no one could see his face. He left his home late at night, clutching the list tightly to his chest. He scowled at anyone who crossed his path, marvelling that such filth was permitted to walk to the streets. He hammered the list to the tree every few nights, muttering to himself and hammering as noisily as possible to compensate for the emptiness he felt inside him.

After several years of doing this, Franz began to run out of creatures to add onto his list. He added "Snowy Owl" onto his list one night, but it had been weeks since he added the one before that. As he nailed on the new list, he was surprised by a voice behind him.

"Are you the one who's been posting these lists?"

Franz turned around to find a zebra towering over him. Franz put his little paws on his hips and gave what in his mind was an intimidating look but what most would consider to be just adorable. "Yeah. What's it to you?" he said.

"Oh, I just think it's great," said the zebra. "There's a lot of trash in this forest, and it's nice to know that someone is here to sort it all out. Why, just yesterday I saw a squirrel and a skunk walking hand in hand by the creek, clearly in cahoots. No shame. It was disgusting. And I'm glad you put porcupines on the list too. Those things walking disasters. I want to take a fistful of those quills and shove them down their pie holes."

Franz was delighted and surprised. "I know! And don't you hate rabbits, too? You gotta watch those guys or they'll steal something and you won't even notice. They're sneaky."

"Yes! And salamanders? They're like worms with legs!" the zebra added excitedly. Franz smiled at him, and he knew then that they would make very good friends.

For the days following that first encounter, Franz and the zebra spent a lot of time together. Sometimes they had tea or played cards, but much of the time they just sat by the big oak tree and watched the passerby, whispering comments to each other about each animal that walked by them.

"Hey, you see that black bear? You know what bears need? They need side mirrors to see around those big fat hips," Franz would say.

"Ha ha, yeah," the zebra would reply. "Ooh, digusting, it's an opossum! I heard they eat their young. Ugly creatures."

The animals who passed by them would give them strange looks, increasing their pace and casting worried glances at Franz and the zebra as they passed. Sometimes Franz could hear some of their whispers.

"Oh, look at that Franz sitting up there looking at us like he's King of the World. He doesn't have a clue, does he?"

"Well, that's it. Franz is finally going senile. He's lost it."

"Look, there's Franz. Do you think we should say hello? No, you're right. I forgot we're on his list."

Franz knew they were making fun of him and the zebra, and he could only hope that the zebra couldn't hear them whispering too. The zebra was his only friend anymore, and he couldn't bear to lose him. They were united by their shared dislike of the other animals.

They started spending more and more time together. Sometimes they would paint slurs over the doorways at the home of perhaps a fox or a duck. Sometimes they would sneak up to sleeping deer and tie their hooves together, so that they couldn't get up. But their favourite thing to do was stealing eggs from cardinal nests and dropping them from the trees.

Finally, one day at a town meeting, the issue of Franz and the zebra's shenanigans was brought to the attention of the animal assembly. Franz and the zebra had gone for kicks. They thought it was a such a huge joke that the town mayor was a turkey. (They knew what swine turkeys were. Franz brought it to the attention of the zebra that turkeys carry diseases.) It came as a surprise, then, when Franz was called to the stand. He stared at the zebra in surprise, pulled his hood over his face, and walked before the assembly.

The turkey banged his gavel and said, "Franz Mouse, it has been brought to the attention of the assembly that you have been committing a number of hate crimes against the community. We have no interest in punishing you, we only wish to see that the problem does not persist."

"That's all very fascinating, Mr. Thanksgiving Dinner," Franz hissed, glancing sideways to make sure the zebra heard his clever joke. "But the only reason we are doing these things is because all of you are abhorrable, disgusting creatures who need to be stamped out and annhilated. And it is our job to remind you of that. That is all I have to say."

The turkey cocked his head sideways. "Who is this 'we' you keep referring to, Franz? As far as I know, you are the only one in this town who has been committing these crimes."

Franz looked confused. "Why, the zebra and I, of course."

The assembly was silent for a moment. All of the animals were exchanging glances with each other. The turkey massaged his temples and set down his gavel.

"What?" Franz asked. "What is it?"

"Franz," the turkey explained slowly. "What zebra are you talking about? There are no zebras in the forest. You know that. Zebras live in Africa. I think you must be imagining things."

As understanding came to Franz, he shook his head and looked back at the zebra. The zebra had never been real. He had been a figment of Franz's imagination. A part of him had known it all along, but it still came as a shock. He called out to the zebra.

"You're not real?" Franz demanded, tears gathering in his eyes.

The zebra shrugged.

Franz was silent for a moment. Then the tears began to run down his face. The assembly stared at him in embarrassment, everyone afraid to say anything. Even the turkey was left speechless. But then Franz stood up, slowly and deliberately, and walked over to the oak tree where the list was posted. He took out a pen, stared for a moment, and then wrote the word "Zebras" on the list, no longer caring about the stares of the other animals on his back.

Suddenly the zebra was at his side.

"Hey!" the zebra said indignantly. "Why'd you write that on the list?"

"Because you're not real," Franz said, wiping another tear from his eyes.

"So?" the zebra said. "Neither are you."

Franz paused, looked back at the silent crowd of animals staring back at him. For that moment, all was silent. Then he turned back to the list, picked up his pen, and wrote the word "Mice" on the list.

At that moment, Franz disappeared. He was simply there for a moment, and gone the next. The animals all thought he had disappeared into thin air, but when they looked closer they saw a small pile of little, glowing white stones lying in a circle at the foot of the tree.

The animals stared. Then they stared some more. And then they stared some more. And before long, someone started laughing. Then everybody was laughing. They laughed and laughed and laughed and put their arms around each others' shoulders. And they walked off toward the sunset.

That little circle of stones is still there. No one really knows how they got there, but all they know is that life is full of little surprises we'll never really understand. Franz Mouse was one of those surprises, to say the least.

I don't know where Franz is now, or what happened to him, but I like to think that he's staring at the same sunset that I am, on this warm summer evening. And I like to think that wherever he is, he's happy.

Movie Quote of the Day: "Welton Academy, hello. Yes he is, just a moment. Mr. Nolan, it's for you. It's God. He says we should have girls at Welton." -Dalton, Dead Poets Society

That Blond Guy

10 people secretly have a crush on me:

Bookish.Spazz said...

This should be a children's book.

Just saying.

Katie said...

I agree with Bookish.

And the Dead Poets is my favorite movie, so kudos on the quote choosing.

Anna said...

I scrolled down for the picture of a penis, and was disappointed. It's okay though, because the story was great too.

Eeshie said...

While reading this, I was reminded of Hitler (mainly because I'm currently reading The Book Thief) and then I was reminded of a certain movie.

But I liked it. And I liked the name: Franz.

Lemons Don't Make Lemonade said...

Even though you lied about the picture, I forgive you, because that story is pretty damn great.

And I love the Dead Poets Society quote - it's one of my favorite movies.

Anonymous said...

I love this story.

L. said...

How do you come up with these stories? I was home sick today, and reading this made me feel better. So thanks.

Oh, and the Dead Poet's Society is one of the best movies ever made. Just saying. So awesome quote choice.

Your writing keeps getting better. How do you do it?

Gabi said...

I really, really enjoyed this.

Hanis. said...

<3 the story.

Anonymous said...

Was that a Kafka reference, or was the mouse just named Franz for fun?