Saturday, January 4, 2014

Doleful Creatures: What Might Have Been

NOTE: Found this while cleaning out some really old files on my computer. It comes from the first attempt to what's now Doleful Creatures. Certainly a different approach from the one I've taken now. And certainly a lot more exclamation points . . .

Humming coming! 


I’m still not sure. . . 

Button your beak! 

The man idly hummed out of tune to something he’d heard on the radio earlier in the afternoon. He was a dreamer, of course, prone to long walks he took to avoid doing anything really constructive with his dreams. He felt if he enjoyed the sights of nature and wrote a poem about leaves when he got home, he’d had a good day. Spotting a squirrel ranked a bit higher, while talking to cows sent him home in the giddiest of moods to write convouluted short stories about how much he hated cars. It was only when he walked near the auto salvage yard that his mind wandered to animals. 

He thought today, after his walk through the woods and along the pasture fence - which really wasn’t a pasture fence, but the property line between his own and that of Mr. Grundy, who owned the salvage yard across the street - he’d write about how much he hated his job. That was certainly nothing he’d ever tried before. 

He’s almost in range, Quentin! 

Quentin? I’m Morbley. 

I’m Quentin, and he was talking to me. You’re just a lieutenant. 

Since when do we have ranks in this flock? I thought we were equal opportunity. 

All that rot got us was dissention and a bunch of freelancers who wasted their energies on cats! 

But that tabby never came through here again, did he? 


The birds, he thought - undescript and rather raggy-looking sparrows- were a bit louder than usual, but as the sun was shining after nearly a week of steady drizzle, they, like he, were apt to make a little more outdoor noise when the noisemaking was good. 

I’m not sure we have an affect on him, really. If I had my way, we’d do something a little more permanent. 

I just worry about the transitory nature of our efforts. There one day, gone the next, and he never even wipes that silly grin off his face. 

I just wonder about some of the louts in my outfit. 

There he goes militarizing everything again. Are you sure he’s not a jay? 

Less beaking, more sneaking! Here he comes. 

I’m putting in for a transfer to a different flock. 

He’d written a sonnet about spoons yesterday, but wasn’t quite satisfied with the rhymes he’d chosen. Writing a sonnet about spoons was not a cliche, but all the rhymes were. Poltroon. Maybe he could work poltroon in there somehow. Maybe, he thought, these are Bowie spoons, a weapon so ludicrous only a coward would use them. That would be a little Ogden Nashery. Babboons weilding Bowie spoons? That went beyond Nash and right into Shel Silverstein. 

That was the tack. 

Not a sonnet, but a song. A song about . . . naw. 

Sonnets were literary. Songs about spoon-carrying monkeys sounded like something from a Disney movie. If he despised anything, it was anthropomorphism. 

Damn damn damn! Morbley! He was right under your group! 


Who? WHO! The hummer! 

Oh. Him. 

I think we’re in trouble, Lyle. 

Why didn’t you fire? 

Why should I? 

Well, let’s see. Maybe it’s because that’s what we’re up in these trees to do in the first place! 

It all seems a bit pointless, don’t you think? 

(Probably not very often by the looks of it.) 

I heard that! 

(See? I told you the dumbest ones always had the sharpest hearing!) 

What was that? 

Nothing, sargeant. 

Perhaps he’d be better off forgetting about spoons for the moment.

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