Category: Sentient Animals

A Short Tale About a Lot of Things

Jane sat up in her bed as her mom started to leave the room. “Wait! I need another story.”

Her mom turned with a sigh. “Jane, it’s time for bed. I already read two stories. My voice is tired.”

“I’ll tell you a story.” Jane patted the bed. “Come sit down. Please? It’s a short story. You’ll really like it. Pleeeease?”

With a smile, her mom sat on the edge of the bed. “All right. As long as it’s a short story.”

“It’s going to be short.” Jane cleared her throat. “Once upon a time…”

“Oh, it’s a fairy tale,” her mom interrupted. “Which one?”

Jane frowned. “It’s not a fairy story. There aren’t any fairies. It’s a story about a lot of things. Just listen. No talking.”

“Okay. I’m sorry I interrupted. Please continue your lots-of-things tale.”

“Once upon a time there was a ladder…”

“A ladder?”

“Listen!” Jane looked upset.

“Sorry.”

“Once upon a time, there was a ladder. It was green and tall and lived on someone’s back porch for when they needed to pick apples or climb on the roof to fix things. If they didn’t need it, they didn’t really look at it, so they didn’t know the ladder was really an alien…”

“An alien?”

“Mom!”

“Sorry.”

“It was an alien. It was studying people and animals and houses and back porches. One day, it was done studying everything, and it was ready to leave. What the ladder didn’t know was that someone was watching. The family dog saw the ladder was going to leave, and he followed him when he left, because the dog was really an alien, too.”

“Wow. I wouldn’t have guessed that.” When Jane frowned, her mom looked embarrassed. “Sorry. Keep going.”

“The dog was an alien, and he called his friends at home to tell them about the ladder alien. But he didn’t know that someone was watching. It was the tree.”

“Was the tree an alien too?”

Jane rolled her eyes. “Of course not. That would be silly. The tree was a dinosaur.”

“Really? Wouldn’t people notice?”

“No. She was in disguise.”

“How did that work?”

Jane shrugged. “It was a big tree. The dinosaur was waiting a long time and watching. When the dog left to follow the ladder, the tree followed the dog.”

“He didn’t notice?”

“He was an alien. He thought some trees could move. And really, some trees can move. So, he wasn’t wrong. Except this wasn’t a tree, really. It was a dinosaur.”

“What kind of dinosaur?”

“Velociraptor. Let me finish!” After her mom nodded, Jane continued. “When the ladder was going to get beamed up on the spaceship, the dog and the dinosaur went too. They wanted a ride home.”

“I thought the dinosaur wasn’t an alien.”

“She wasn’t. Dinosaurs are from earth. They just moved somewhere else. They come back to visit sometimes. The dog and the dinosaur both needed a ride because they lost their spaceships.”

“How did they lose their spaceships?”

“A wizard stole them. He lived in the house they were watching, but they couldn’t get in because of a force field. The ladder didn’t know he was a wizard that stole spaceships. Good thing he hid his spaceship in invisible space.”

“Or nobody could go home.”

“Right. Because the dog and the dinosaur waited a long time to try to get their spaceships back and the wizard’s force field was too strong.”

“Why did he need spaceships?”

“He collected them. He liked them. They’re like big sparkly rocks.” Jane pointed to her windowsill. There was a line of pretty rocks she’d found on various adventures.

Her mom nodded. “That makes sense. What happened next?”

“They went home. The wizard was mad the tree was gone. He planted a new one and used magic to make it grow fast. The end.”

“Already?”

Jane grinned. “I told you it was a short story.” She fell back onto her pillow with a giggle and pulled up her covers. “Good night!”

“Good night, Jane. Will you tell me another story tomorrow?”

“Yes.”

The Very Lazy Cat

Once there was a supremely lazy cat who loved to eat fish. However, he loved fresh fish best, and he lived far from the ocean. He dreamed of living right next to the ocean, so that he could be closer to his favorite food.

Perhaps, he imagined, it might be even better to live inside the ocean. He had visions of just opening his mouth and having dinner swim inside. It sounded marvelous.

Of course, the problem was that the ocean is a bit wet, and he didn’t want to deal with that. Being all wet was uncomfortable. It meant that his fur felt odd and stuck up in the wrong direction for days and days afterwards.

The cat did some research by stepping on the remote until the magic box showed him what he needed to know. This took longer than expected. The magic box seemed much more interested in people than fish. Well, that left more fish for everyone else.

However, his patience finally paid off, and the cat managed to learn a number of different interesting things about the ocean. Using this information, he began to develop some plans. Each, of course, had their pros and cons.

His first idea was to find a submarine. Inside a submarine, he wouldn’t have to get wet, even at the bottom of the ocean. After some thought, he realized that there would be no way to actually touch the fish from inside a submarine.

Another possibility was becoming a mercat. This seemed to be a great way to effortlessly enter the water and approach fish. Unfortunately, then he’d always be wet all the time. Even worse, he’d be half-dinner. That sounded dangerous. He really loved to eat fish.

His final idea was to convince the fish to walk up on land and into his mouth. On second thought, he wanted them to walk into his supper dish. Then he could eat around the bones. It was much easier that way, and he really was a very lazy cat. He wouldn’t have to move, and he wouldn’t have to get wet. This idea didn’t seem to have any downsides.

First, the cat needed to learn hypnosis. He experimented with convincing his humans to feed him more often. Unfortunately, the magic box made it all look easier than it really was. He soon realized that he needed more information than the box could provide.

And so, the cat ran away to join a university. After a year of attending lectures of various levels of boredom, the cat had learned enough information to hypnotize passing students into sharing their lunches.

He was ready develop a plan. That may seem quick, but he was a smart cat. It takes a lot of brains to develop the ultimate lazy scheme.

With some effort he left plans in the homework folders of various engineering students, tricking them into building and fine-tuning a solar-powered megaphone. He used the skills gained from a year’s worth of graduate-level theater classes to record an appropriately hypnotic and enticing suggestion. It was easy to convince the computer science students to program the recording into the megaphone as an extra, ungraded assignment.

The cat tested his new fish-attracting device. It sounded like masses of fat, juicy worms and buzzing flies. Research on the magic box told him that fish liked worms and insects, but the reason why remained completely mysterious. How often did worms and bugs go swimming? Why would fish go seek them out?

With his new device in hand, the cat ran away to the beach. With a little searching, he found an abandoned home in an out-of-the-way place near a small stream. If the people who left it returned at some point, he was fairly sure he could charm them into letting him stay.

He set up his fish-attracting device facing the ocean, turned it on, and waited. It didn’t take long for the fish to come. It worked so well, that he turned it off after a few seconds. He didn’t want to empty the ocean, after all.

Now that he had water, and fresh fish, and shelter, the cat was perfectly happy. He had everything he’d ever dreamed of. He hardly had to move at all. He lived to a fat, happy, old age. He was a profoundly lazy cat. Probably the laziest cat of all.

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