20 May 2010

Just Write What You Know

So here's the last column I wrote for the parenting newsletter that I never sent in for publishing. I didn't think it worked as well as I wanted, plus there was some discussion about whether or not the parents in my neighborhood would be sufficiently appreciative of the subject matter. Hey, you never know.

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I have a few friends who have expressed an interest in getting into the field of writing children’s books. The problem, they say, is writing a good enough story to get noticed in such a competitive field. Personally, I don’t see what’s so hard about it:

Fluffy Bunny raced down the green path through Happy Forest. The trees had never seemed so welcoming before. Fluffy was just about as happy as he could remember being in a long, long time. The parole board had granted his request and he was out of the pen on good behavior after serving only two years of a five year sentence for possession of illegal substances. His best friend and dealer, Silly Puppy, hadn’t been so lucky. He was still serving his 25 year sentence for distribution of illegal substances to minor woodland creatures. But Fluffy’s lawyer, Rabid Robin, had convinced the jury of furry animals that although Fluffy was certainly there when the meth lab blew, the D.A. couldn’t prove it actually belonged to him.

Rabid Robin had been there to welcome Fluffy upon his release from the hoosegow and they decided to meet up again for a celebratory drink afterwards.

“Thanks again, Rabid. You really did a great job back then. Can I buy you a shot?”

“Oh, no thanks, Fluffy. I’m still in AA you know--my sponsor would have a fit. I had that relapse back when Cheeky divorced me and I can’t afford to let him down again. Speaking of which, I’d like to officially apologize to you for being intoxicated during the majority of your hearing two years ago. Restitution you know.”

“No worries, Rabid. You did a-okay by me. I gotta run anyway. I’m meeting Adorable Kitty in an hour.”

“Your old cellmate? You better not let your new parole officer see you with that old trouble maker or you’ll be in big for it. Who did they give you again? Cuddly Squirrel, right? He’s one bad fellow, friend. You mess with him even one little bit, he’ll jack you up good.”

Fluffy thanked Rabid Robin for the warning and left. He stopped long enough to verbally harass his ex-girlfriend outside the diner where she was a waitress before the cook stepped out wielding a greasy spatula and a threatening look. Fluffy skipped along Happy Trail, hoping to avoid Main Street where he knew his P.O. was most likely to hang out. He ducked into a pawn shop off of Chipper Bird Drive and walked straight to the proprietor, who was none other than Adorable Kitty himself. A.K., as he was known to his friends, had been released three months prior after an appeals court found him not guilty of the first degree murder of eight judges. (Coincidentally, the judge who had initially sentenced Adorable had gone missing the day after his release from prison and was found floating in Joyful Pond two days later with a 9mm slug in her back. The police were positively perplexed.)

“Well if it isn’t the Meth Lab Muskrat! How’s my ol’ buddy these days? Have you had a chance to see Bubbly Chicken yet?”

“Yep, I just stopped by the diner to yell at her. She looks good. Angry, but good. I still can’t imagine why she issued that restraining order against me, but I’m sure with enough verbal and visual contact outside of 100 yards, she’ll come around. She still loves me, I know it. Loves me too much is all.”

“Yeah, I’m sure that’s it. So what mischief are you up for now that you’re out of the big house? There’s a new judge in town—something-or-other Raccoon. Finally convinced one to work here again, can you believe it? I’d like to get a look at his new digs. See what sort he is, you know? Up for a walk?”

“Nah, I’ve got a guy to see about a loan. Maybe later, huh?”

As Fluffy skipped toward Skid Row to meet the infamous loan shark who dressed like a 70s pimp, he felt good. Free. Happy. He had learned many valuable lessons during his 26 months in the clink. He had learned to value friendship, loyalty, and most of all what a pack of cigs on the inside will get you. He had learned to hoard food, make shivs, join the right gangs, make tats with a ballpoint pen, and bribe guards to the best of his ability. Yes, he had learned all this. And yet, he had learned so much more about his soul. He learned he’s happy being on the outside in Happy Forest, among his free friends, among good citizens who won’t shank him in his sleep for a slice of bread.

And he had learned to deny all knowledge of anything when that new Judge Raccoon turns up as a bullet-ridden floater in a few days.

THE END

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Honestly, why would anyone object to that? Weird.

5 comments:

We live in a Zoo! said...

Lol! I guess the problem would be finding the right illustrator ;D

Heidi said...

Come on, doesn't this describe life in your neighborhood? The way things are going in our area, it will be an appropriate children's book to pass out to my neighbors. They can use it to explain the facts of life to their children.

elesa said...

I think a lot of people would be greatly benefited by learning to appreciate being among good people who won't shiv you in your sleep for a piece of bread. That is a lesson you don't really want to learn the hard way.

greta said...

this is truly a very very important tale. i'll be reading this to my girls tonight before bed. aubrey might have already learned this lesson with her ability to deny deny deny and lie about never doing anything so it might be a mute point for her....

Jody said...

Would love to see the illustrations that would go along with this work of art!!