Sunday, December 11, 2011

Adventures in Blunderland #1

It was night.
The world was unfocused; everything was like a mirror. Pieces of your soul would look back at you and say nothing.
The moon, that temptress in the sky, shone her light scantily, bathing everything in blue lines that stretched from end to end. The air, thick with the tangy smell of wet wood, seemed intoxicating.
There, in the blackness, something prowled; so he went towards it. In a jungle, you realize, common sense tells you whatever prowls is not the best thing to chase.
But in an urban jungle, common sense is a twit.
He pushed through the bushes, mindful of the noise he made. In a way it fit; the night had no noise, so never not think of creating your own. In a way, he was marking his presence. If nature was kind this night, the noise allowed him to be the alpha predator, one that didn't need to mask his presence. Nature is sort of unbiased that way.
The prowler turned out to be a badger, glaring at him through its beady eyes. The animal was large, easily coming up to his waist. How did he know it was a badger? Some things never change. He didn't need to specify what, because at that moment the badger sneered at him.
There is something terrifying in having a badger sneer at you. It's like the owl in The Fourth Kind, which often smiles at its victims. A chilling thought- how does an owl smile? And why does it smile? What is the reason behind that knowing stare so neutrally joyful? Why didn't the badger just go further into the bushes? Why doesn't common sense help with adrenaline, instead of letting him freeze to the spot and consider the badger's malicious sneer?
Because, common sense, in the urban jungle, is a twit.
'You shouldn't be sneering. Dumb animal you are.' So saying he put the badger in its place. The badger, thinking for a moment, stopped sneering, and indicated that he take a seat on the log behind.
'If I am a dumb animal, then would you say that I shouldn't be talking either?' it said in a crisp English accent. Strange, but he guessed that the British may have brought over more than they should have- somethings set roots deeper than revolution.
'You are a dumb animal. But for that matter I've met dumber people. So no, I think your talking to me does not make you dumb, but makes me question another aspect of this conversation entirely. Why are you talking?'
'You don't want me to talk, do you? PETA doesn't speak for all of us, you know. Some of us are inclined towards legalizing human hunting. The thing is, it just wouldn't be humane.'
'Why?'
'Hmm? It wouldn't be humane. Look at yourself. What do you have? Two legs? Two hands? You're bipedal. No claws. No nails, no scales- no teeth, no fur. To top it off, you taste like a week-old chicken corpse, what with all the nicotine and the alcohol and the substance abuse. You're a walking pollutant, and your carbon footprint's horrible.'
'I don't need to take this sort of abuse from you, do I?' He asked, slightly uncertain. If the animal didn't want to kill him and eat him, then why, oh why, the talking? Not to mention the high.
'It's because the vicissitudes of verity need a talking to. So does the monotony of murkiness; neither of them want to depress you anymore.'
'Why?'
'Because you scorn truth, don't you? Verity is by and large an unneeded phenomenon today, in these enlightened times.'
'You're like the caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland, except that was a bit more fantastical. A talking badger just doesn't cut it.'
'Pardon me. It's not my fault I don't have a liking for hookahs. And do you know the rates on a single giant mushroom these days? Thanks to deforestation they're getting rarer by the minute, so all the good ones are already taken.'
'I... see. That actually makes sense.'
'I hope so. You have a report to write tomorrow, I think.'
'Yes.'
'Then get to it, I'd say.'
'Sure.' His time done, the badger looked back once more as it walked off.
'And would you like a last bit of advice?'
'No.'
'Take it anyway. Don't talk to badgers at this time of night. Try talking to a snake instead.'
'Why?'
'Because unless I tell you to, you'll never wonder why.' So saying the badger prowled off into the bushes, its nose once again to the ground, in search of whatever savoury meats might be found.
Meanwhile our protagonist found himself walking, once more- and it seemed to him, the walk was too long, too quiet. 'I need to find a snake nearby,' he said to himself and went off to look for one.

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