Robbing Misunderstood

Once upon a time, there was a boy named Robbing. Robbing was an orphan and the village in which he lived gave him the name, “Robbing Misunderstood,” for the boy was different from many others in the village.

You see, because Robbing was familiar with misfortune, he would steal food from the rich and give it to the poor. Then, he would steal the food from the poor and give it to the animals. Then, he would steal the food from the animals and give it to the plants. Then, he would steal the food from the plants and dump it into the ocean. Robbing always saw someone less fortunate than someone else.

One day, King Porta-John was parading through the square, bragging about how he would soon be collecting food taxes now that his older brother, King Lizard, had gone missing.

King Porta-John was a crappy leader.

He would eat all day and all night with the windows to his dining room left open, rain or shine, so the starving people of the village could watch him pigging out.

Robbing first stole from King Porta-John on Robbing’s own birthday.

King Porta-John kept track of EVERYONE’s birthday in the village, that way, he could eat a birthday cake in front of whomever’s birthday it was, and send him or her an invitation to watch him eat the cake! After the local bakery was foreclosed on, this was especially maddening. On his birthday, Robbing actually stole all of the flour in the castle, making it impossible for any cake to be baked at all!

That was the day that Robbing, for the first time, gave flour to the poor, then to the animals, then to the plants, then to the ocean. And it made him feel good (albeit misunderstood). Since that day, the king had been searching for Robbing to execute him.

Robbing wasn’t all alone on his mission to make the world a better place, though. His best friend, Whittle Ron (for he loved to whittle, but that’s not really of consequence to the story), helped him on all of his missions.

That winter, the village was only permitted to eat broth and crusts of bread because King Porta-John wanted all of the good food in the kingdom for himself (even though there was no way he’d be able to eat it all).

People were hungry, getting sick, and still expected not to even eat so much as a bite of fruit or vegetables or cakes or take a sip of milk.

While King Porta-John was a terrible tyrant, the daughter of the former village sheriff before he had died, Maid Sharean (for she was all about sharing with others) continued to advocate to the king on behalf of the villagers. King Porta-John never listened and only tolerated her for he hoped to marry her someday. But Sharean had standards, so that would never happen.

As the situation in the village grew dimmer, Robbing stole more and more from the king and the villagers would know to take as much as they could of what Robbing would give them before he stole it the following night to give it to the animals, then the plants, then the ocean.

The king was becoming furious, so he fashioned a contest for villagers: Whoever could bake the best cake would receive a year’s supply of food!

Ironically, Robbing had been the son of the bakers who had lost their shop many years ago. Baking was in his blood and the king knew Robbing couldn’t resist participating in the competition.

So, Robbing disguised himself as a vegan because the vegan is always the underdog who proves himself in baking competitions.

The competition was fierce. Members of royalty who had not been restricted from eating certain foods were allowed to compete, making Robbing’s odds of winning very slim.

But still, Robbing continued to pull ahead of the competition, and Maid Sharean cheered for him all the way through.

The final round came, and it was close. Robbing was pitted against the mean old sheriff of the village himself.

The sheriff made a creative bread pudding.

Robbing made vegan ice cream over a vegan brownie.

And, of course, ICE CREAM WINS AGAINST BREAD PUDDING EVERY TIME.

Robbing had done it! He had won the competition! And King Porta-John was none the wiser. Maid Sharean was so happy, for she knew Robbing had planned to share his prize with the villagers before stealing it from them again. She gave Robbing a kiss and the two fell madly in love that very day.

Some time later, the mean old sheriff of the village came to collect the food tax (aka, steal all the food from the villagers that wasn’t broth or bread). The villagers were fed up (but not literally because they had no food).

The town friar, Friar Stuck (for he always got stuck in the most unfortunate of situations), became so upset with the sheriff that he began yelling and insulting him in front of the other villagers. The sheriff would not stand for this. He arrested the friar and sentenced him to hanging by licorice rope– the cruelest and most ironic of deaths for villagers not permitted to eat sweets.

Robbing knew he must save the friar, but also knew that the friar had been arrested because the sheriff and King Porta-John intended to trap him as well. Everyone knew Robbing would not be able to resist helping Friar Stuck.

Under the cover of night, Robbing Misunderstood and Whittle Ron sneaked into the castle and first began to steal food. An assembly line of villagers was waiting outside the walls of the kingdom to take the food back to the village. They fully intended to hide it so Robbing couldn’t steal it from them later.

But King Porta-John was a light sleeper.

Just as the last of the food was making its way out of the castle, the king awoke! And the friar still had not been rescued!

King Porta-John rushed out of his room, inadvertently knocking over a lamp (dun-dun-duuuuun).

He yelled for the guards to stop Robbing and Ron at once!

However, it was too late– Whittle Ron had reached Friar Stuck’s cell, rushed him across the courtyard, and helped him over the wall out of the kingdom. But wait… where was Robbing?!

Whittle Ron turned to see the entire castle engulfed in flames! No! Robbing was in there!

Ron yelled to the castle, “Robbing! Where are you?!”

And, from the topmost window of the fortress, Whittle Ron saw Robbing. He was poised to jump into the ocean which bordered part of the castle. It was the only way out.

As Robbing dove into the ocean, the villagers, Whittle Ron, and Maid Sharean could hardly watch. Surely, he would not survive such a long jump into such polluted waters.

Moments passed and no one was able to spot Robbing. Isn’t it ironic that the ocean which Robbing had tried to feed ended up swallowing him as well– wait a second–

There– In the distance! A cereal straw was poking out of the water! It was Robbing!

He was using the cereal straw to breathe underwater! The villagers rejoiced as Robbing made his way toward land.

Robbing ran to Maid Sharean and asked her that day to share in marriage with him and, of course, she accepted his proposal and they were married by the friar that very evening.

The next day, King Lizard had heard of the mess his kingdom was in and returned straight away. King Lizard explained he had been on an undercover mission– as a chameleon of sorts– to spy on the workings of other kingdoms and bring back ideas to better govern his own. But he vowed never again to leave his kingdom alone and returned all the food to the villagers, reopened all village eateries, and imported goods from all around the world for the villagers to eat.

Of course, misunderstandings still occurred in the village. For example, the night after Robbing Misunderstood and Whittle Ron had stolen the friar back and returned him to the village, they then stole him and made him preach to some animals, then to plants, and then threw him in the ocean. But the friar knew how to swim, so it was okay.

You see, misunderstandings are what make life lively.

And so, Robbing Misunderstood and Sharean, Whittle Ron and King Lizard, and even Friar Stuck and the villagers lived happily ever after.

THE END.

Advertisements

Showana

cropped-shell-756724_1920.jpg

Once upon a time, there was a girl who lived in a village on an island. Her name was Showana.

Showana had an adventurous spirit, but her parents and those in the village did not. You see, those on the island only believed in playing it safe and being completely boring. No one was allowed to leave the island, have fun on the island, tell jokes on the island, or even play on the island. All they were permitted to do was gather food and build shelters. It was SO boring.

Showana was next in line as village chief and her parents began training her to take over the task, but they struggled because all Showana wanted to do was show off! She wanted to sing and dance and make jokes, but this was strictly prohibited on the island.

But something strange happened. Soon, things all over the island stopped growing. The coconut trees stopped growing coconuts, the tall grasses were short, the ocean’s tides stopped rising, and none of the animals got bigger.

Showana’s grandmother, known far and wide as the village eccentric, told Showana that all of this was happening because the god of the island– Wowee– had stolen a piece of the island to be a showoff. This missing piece used to complete the island and make it fun for all. The island had been able to function without joy for a time, but after decades of lost happiness, the island could not grow and thrive.

She knew she must find Wowee and retrieve this piece of the island.

So, Showana sneaked off the island and began a voyage across the sea to Wowee. After fumbling around with the sails and navigating the boat because she had never been permitted on the sea before, Showana crashed conveniently on the exact island where Wowee lived!

Showana found Wowee and said to him, “Wowee, you’re coming with me to put my island back together or I’ll tell your mom!”

Well, it was the most convincing thing she could think to say.

Wowee refused to come with her, especially as he had actually LOST THE PIECE TO THE ISLAND LIKE A BIG IDIOT.

This was terrible news! Showana demanded that Wowee show her where he had lost the piece. Wowee agreed to take her, only because he knew that she’d probably die getting the piece.

He took her to the middle of the ocean and they both dove into the water. At the bottom of the ocean, was a giant pot! No, seriously, it was a literal pot with a bunch of sea creatures in it!

There were mollusks of all kinds, shrimp, octopuses, and squid. But, most notable of all, there was a giant oyster. The oyster saw Wowee and started freaking out because he knew Wowee was there to retrieve the piece of the island. There was no way he’d allow that to happen, though, because just having the piece made the oyster feel powerful. Basically, he was delusional.

But Showana wasn’t scared. True to her name, she challenged the oyster to a showdown.

That’s right: The two had a sing-off.

And, while the oyster was hitting one of his power notes, Showana saw the glimmer of the missing island piece in the oyster’s mouth! She swam into his mouth and snatched the piece.

The oyster became angry because Showana had tricked him! He began chanting a spell and the water got warmer… and warmer… and warmer. He was cooking them out of the ocean!

But the oyster was not very smart because as the pot reached the boiling point, Showana and Wowee had arms and legs to swim away while he did not. The pot of sea creatures became a pot of seafood in no time.

When Showana and Wowee reached the surface, Wowee realized that maybe there was more to Showana than he thought.

He agreed to go back to Showana’s island and put the piece back. After arriving on the island, Wowee soon found it was not going to be as easy as he thought. You see, the island was deteriorating at an alarming rate. He had to reach the heart of the island quickly before the heart itself crumbled into a giant sinkhole!

Wowee ran as fast as he could and Showana followed, but at the first sight of real danger, Wowee turned to Showana and said, “This is not cool. You take it from here. Honestly, there’s nothing at stake for me, so you really should have been doing this yourself all along.”

He wasn’t wrong.

But Showana knew that she could do this. It would be the ultimate show of skill and bravery! She ran through the jungle, dodging boulders and lava, raining fire and falling trees. Showana arrived at a cave and crept inside.

In the middle of the cave was a glowing hole where the island piece fit! Showana placed the piece and a bright light consumed the entire island!

When Showana emerged from the cave, the island was more beautiful than anything she had ever seen. The jungle was thriving, the sky was blue, the ocean glowed, and the villagers were smiling!

Everyone in her village was HAPPY! They were playing games and telling jokes, they were hugging one another and laughing.

Showana’s father told his daughter, “Showana, you are a brave and wonderful leader. Typically, you wouldn’t be the chief until I died, but you can obviously do a much better job than me even though you’re only 14. The throne is yours!”

So, Showana made Wowee the island’s director of entertainment, restored the spirit of fun on the island, and allowed the villagers to do whatever they wanted to do (which caused other problems down the road, but those aren’t important).

And so, Showana and her island were as happy as a clam forever after.

THE END.

Mary Shoppins

cropped-umbrella.jpeg

Once upon a time, there were two children named Pain and Smile.

Pain and Smile were terrible children. They misbehaved themselves and disobeyed their parents regularly. Although, in their defense, their father was very strict and had unrealistic expectations. Furthermore, their mother was rarely around as she was often out protesting high ice cream prices– a worthy cause, true, but not an excuse to neglect her children.

As a result, the children’s father, Mr. Stinks, decided to place an ad for a nanny for the children. While the children thought it might be a good idea to lend their ideas for qualifications, they knew their father, well, STANK.

So, while Mr. Stinks placed his ad for a nanny in the newspaper, the children whispered their ad in the ear of a carrier pigeon because they were savvy enough to know that print media is dead anyway.

The next day, an array of very boring nannies showed up to the Stink household, but even Mr. Stink knew that these nannies would not be able to handle his children’s antics. He nearly gave up all hope, until he opened the door to see her: Mary Shoppins.

Mary Shoppins was wearing a bright red pencil skirt and blazer, ruffled shirt, and tasteful brimmed hat with a large feather sticking out of the top. Her black patent leather pumps clicked on wood floor as she made her way into the house.

“Well, Mr. Stinks,” she said matter-of-factly, “This will do. This will do just fine.”

“But you haven’t be hired yet Mrs.?–”

“Shoppins, sir.”

He should’ve guessed. She was very fashionable and held in her hand an oversized Saks Fifth Avenue bag.

“I’m qualified based on your advertisement Mr. Stinks. You said you wanted someone with whimsy, creativity, and a fashion sense.” Mrs. Shoppins handed Mr. Stinks a scrap of paper with notes transcribed on it.

Mr. Stinks took the paper and exclaimed, “This is not the ad I sent out! My ad said I was looking for a nanny who was stingy, with aggressivity, and common sense.”

But it looked as if Mr. Stinks had no choice. He was sick of interviews and figured this woman would quit her job soon enough.

Mary Shoppins went upstairs to meet Pain and Smile. They were both making a mess of their rooms and throwing things out the windows because they were looking for their parents’ love and affection.

Mary Shoppins knew this wouldn’t do. She set her shopping bag on the floor and dug through it to find… A roomba! This would certainly help clean up the mess. She continued to look through the bag and also pulled out a broom, a dustpan, and two hazmat suits. This was a magical shopping bag indeed.

The new nanny told the children that they must clean the entirety of the upstairs. They protested until she told them her secret: To eat a spoonful of sugar every time they cleaned up an item.

The time passed quickly and soon, the children went out to run errands with Mary. Mary Shoppins introduced the children to her longtime friend, Spurt. Spurt was so called because he went through a growth spurt every few years, which would force him to regularly change careers. He had started out as a stock car racer, changed to being a basketball star, and then changed to being a chimney sweep because he was basically half the size of a chimney anyway.

Spurt and Mary took the children to a museum and, maybe it was magic (or the fact that Pain and Smile ate at least 4 cups of sugar apiece), but the group JUMPED INTO A PAINTING of a carnival. They spent the entire day there– playing games, eating more junk food, and buying tons of stuffed animals. At the end of the day, they jumped out of the picture, exhausted and ready for bed.

The children had many adventures and, in most of these experiences, they ate junk food and shopped. But one day, Mary Shoppins spoke with Mr. Stinks:

“Sir, I’ve been taking care of your children and bribing them into good behavior with sugar and shopping– a method proven effective by millions of experts– but I think it’s time you looked after your children for a day.”

Mr. Stinks didn’t want to do this, but he knew that Mary Shoppins wouldn’t leave him alone until he took his children to work at the garbage plant. Yes, Mr. Stinks worked at a garbage plant. Surprising?

The next day, Pain and Smiles went to work with their father. It was a good thing they already had hazmat suits.

Unfortunately, as children often do, Pain and Smiles decided it would be more fun to make fun crafts out of the garbage at the plant than to sort it. For this, Mr. Stinks’ boss called him into his office.

“Stinks,” the boss grumbled, “You’ve been with the plant for as long as I can remember, but you’ve never brought your children into work. Unfortunately, I wish you had never brought your children to work with you. That is far too progressive, so I’m firing you. Children are annoying nuisances that deserve to be left with nannies only.”

And that’s when Mr. Stinks realized: He loved his children far more than he loved his job. Hey, his job stank.

Mr. Stinks ran out of the boss’ office and yelled to his children: “Come, youngsters! You and I are going to grab a bite!”

And so, the three met with their mother at the local ice cream parlor and grabbed a bite. From then on, the family stayed together and never needed a nanny again.

As for Mary Shoppins, she finally married Spurt already and still, to this day, nannies children whose parents neglect them and whose fashion needs a boost.

And they all lived happily ever after.

THE END.

The IKEA Book

cropped-tiger-2195534_19202.jpg

Once upon a time, there was a boy named Googly.

Unfortunately, Googly had first-time parents who didn’t know how to raise a child, so one day, while they were visiting IKEA, they left Googly there by accident. The worst part was they didn’t even realize that they left him there until it was too late. Once they realized, they knew there was no point of even trying to find him because he was lost in IKEA for goodness sakes.

And so, Googly was left to fend for himself alone as a baby in the jungle– er, I mean, IKEA.

Soon, a store employee found Googly and decided to raise him as a resident of the store, for it is a well known truth that all employees of IKEA just live there and sleep there and eat there. And so, for most of his childhood, Googly was raised in the Sofa section of the store. The Sofa employees treated Googly as one of their own. Googly grew to be just as kind and as soft and as compassionate as any Sofa or employee in the Sofa section ever had been.

However, one day, one of the top-ranked employees at IKEA visited the Sofa section. He typically worked in the shipping department of the store and was so terrifying he had earned himself the name “Sheer Brawn.” Sheer Brawn had himself grown up in an IKEA with his family and had worked in every section of the store. He only now worked in the shipping department because he could lift an entire refrigerator with just his left arm.

Sheer Brawn walked into the Sofa section and sent a shudder throughout the entire floor as he snarled,

“So I hear you have a little apprentice here in the Sofa section?” Sheer Brawn growled, “When were you going to introduce him to me?”

The manager of the Sofas spoke up, “Sheer Brawn, I know that you mean harm to Googly, but he is one of us now. At this rate, he has all of the makings of the next IKEA CEO!”

“Nonsense!” Sheer Brawn yelled, “Googly doesn’t belong here. He is not one of us! He is just a man. And, when he’s grown, he will surely find that he is unable to compete with the likes of me.”

And with that threat looming in the air, Sheer Brawn took his lunch break.

Googly was scared and the Sofa employees didn’t know what to do. However, another employee– a Bagger– had been listening nearby.

Bagger was a loner. All he did was bag peoples’ belongings all day and, because he worked with customers most closely and frequently, he was perhaps the toughest of all of the IKEA employees.

Bagger stepped forward, “Sofa employees!” he said, “I will take the boy under my wing and teach him all there is to know about this store. I know all of the products inside and out. He can no longer relax in this cushy department of yours. He needs to learn how to fend for himself. And then, when he is ready, he can go back into the real world– with people.”

And so, Bagger taught Googly everything he knew about IKEA– product numbers, how to use the label machine, where to locate every measuring cup and teaspoon. It was grueling, but rewarding work.

But, one day, Googly met a friend– Igloo. Igloo worked at the IKEA slushy  stand and knew all about the fun places in the store. He and Googly would build blanket forts, eat all of the pretzels their hearts desired, and even have elevator races– all behind Bagger’s back. Igloo taught Googly all of the fun things about IKEA so that Googly never wanted to leave.

Bagger eventually found out about these escapades and reprimanded Googly,

“Googly! You are no longer allowed to spend so much time with Igloo and I’ve decided that you need to go  back where you belong immediately. You need to be with normal people.”

Googly did not like the idea of this and decided to run away one night and work at the slushy stand with Igloo permanently. However, after Googly used cherry syrup for a customer’s order instead of raspberry syrup, even Igloo realized that Googly didn’t belong in IKEA. When Igloo told Googly this, Googly became upset and ran far away– deep into the depths of the gardening department.

After escaping nearly being strangled by a garden hose, Googly decided that he was going to make his own way. He could totally fend for himself in IKEA. He didn’t need the help of Bagger or Igloo.

Just as he was hyping himself up, Googly heard a noise. It was the laughter of Funky– the manager of the ’70s furniture section.

Funky had always wanted to live amongst normal people, but couldn’t because normal people scoffed at the fact that he lived in the past. His decision to choose IKEA over people was a tortured one– so much so that he often acted crazy and people called him King Screwy. Then again, maybe his weird behavior was just the effects of living through the ’70s.

In any case, King Screwy found Googly and said to him, “Teach me how to be more like you and you can live here with me forever, man!”

This is not what Googly wanted. Besides, what did Googly know about being a normal person? He had never even seen the outside world!

King Screwy was about to get Googly his own ’70s inspired outfit as both Bagger and Igloo stumbled into the ’70s furniture section. They had come to save Googly!

They distracted King Screwy with a ’70s inspired shag carpet they snatched from the vintage section of the store, took Googly, and ran.

But little did the three know that they were running right into the shipping department where Sheer Brawn was lurking.

The shipping department was dark and cold and Googly got the willies just walking through it. Soon, he couldn’t see his own hand in front of his face– nor could he tell if he was still with Bagger and Igloo.

Then, he heard a loud THUD and a snarl behind him:

“Hello, Googly,” Sheer Brawn whispered, “You are all alone now. There’s no way you can make it out of the shipping department, back into the rest of the store. I’ll ship you to Timbuktu, where no IKEAs exist and no one will ever be able to find you!”

Googly yelled and began to run. Because he was so small and Sheer Brawn had terrible eyesight from working in the dark all the time, Googly was able to elude Sheer Brawn at the last second.

But Sheer Brawn bounded after Googly.

Bagger yelled through the darkness, “Run Googly! Run to the lighting department!”

Googly didn’t know why he had to run to this department, but Bagger had never steered him wrong before, so Googly leaped up three flights of stairs, through the kitchen section, over mattresses and bedframes, and down the window treatment aisles to the lighting section– Sheer Brawn trailing him all along.

The closer the two got to the lighting section, the brighter it got. Lights of all kinds shone brighter and brighter with each step– floor lamps, sconces, and lanterns pierced through even the natural illumination that poured in through the skylights.

It was too much for Sheer Brawn:

“Ah!!! My eyes!” he yelled, “They burn! How can you stand it?!”

And, in pain and agony, Sheer Brawn retreated back to the shipping department– crying all the while. Turns out, years of working in the darkness hadn’t turned his eyes into sheer brawn.

Bagger and Igloo were not far behind Googly. The three embraced. And, for the first time, Googly realized that he didn’t belong in IKEA, at least not in the way that Bagger, or Igloo, or even Sheer Brawn did. He belonged with normal people.

Bagger and Igloo walked Googly to the entrance of the store.

“Now, you make sure that you bring your family here to visit us one day,” Bagger said, with a tear in his eye.

“Yeah! You be sure to bring ’em right to the slushy stand! I’ll be sure to give them a discount,” Igloo laughed.

This was really it. Googly was leaving the place he had called home for nearly ten years– a big wide world of excitement and sales and furniture–  and he was stepping into the unknown.

And, so, Googly stepped out of IKEA, the automatic doors closing behind him, and  lived happily ever after.

THE END.

The Emperor’s New Clones

cropped-king-1841529_1920.jpg

Once upon a time, there was a man who wanted to be emperor. This was particularly convenient because he was in line for the throne.

The problem with this man was that, like many politicians, he was a fool and lazy and didn’t want to do work. So, when he finally became emperor, he decided to call all of his advisers for a meeting.

“I hate work!” the emperor yelled, “So, it is your job as my royal advisers to come up with a way for me not to have to do work!”

His advisers were confused, but decided to indulge the emperor nonetheless, possibly because he’d kill them otherwise.

One adviser, with fear and trembling, told the emperor that, if he wanted to feel like he had less work to do, he could get an education beyond a second grade level. That way, hard work might seem easier with his newfound skills. The emperor, of course, despised this idea. What’s harder work than school?! Besides, the emperor had a third grade education. How dare this adviser assume otherwise. So, the emperor dismissed the adviser (and by “dismissed” I mean the adviser was beheaded).

The second adviser, with fear and trembling, told the emperor that if he wanted to delegate his work to others, he could just have children. This way, his children and rightful heirs could do the work they would eventually inherit anyway. On the surface, this seemed like a good idea. Until, the emperor recalled the fact that there was no way he could win a wife because he was lazy, unmotivated, and didn’t like putting in the effort to talk to people (which is an important element of relationships, or so he was told). And so, the embarrassed and very alone emperor dismissed the adviser (and by “dismissed” I mean the adviser was sentenced to watching every season of The Bachelor ever made because he had insulted the emperor’s love life. A fate just as bitter as death).

The last adviser, with fear and trembling, told the emperor that he could clone himself if he wanted someone else to do the work in the kingdom. The emperor didn’t think this idea was half bad. So, he funded the adviser’s research to develop cloning technology.

Once the adviser created the cloning technology, he told the emperor, “We are ready for you, your majesty. After today, you will never have to work again!”

And so, the emperor stepped into the cloning chamber. Soon, there were dozens of emperors wandering around the kingdom!

But what the emperor didn’t realize was that, in cloning himself, he was the ONLY person doing work in the kingdom!

That’s right– the emperor had to watch himself do work everywhere.

When he walked into the laundry room, he was the one washing his delicates.

When he ran past the kitchen, he was the one emptying the trash. .

When he went to the bathroom, he had to plunge his own toilet.

When he watched TV, he was the one giving his own speeches.

And in a few short weeks, he was the only one of himself who was STILL SINGLE.

The emperor couldn’t believe it. He was a laughingstock. Just imagine– going to the grocery store and seeing your emperor buying his own chicken for dinner! It was maddening.

But there was nothing the emperor could do now. Which, ironically, was just the way he liked it.

THE END.

The Plant and the Showstopper

grasshopper.jpeg

Once upon a time, there were two plants: One was a small sapling that had to work very hard to grow and photosynthesize. The other was a large and beautiful sunflower that could grow anywhere at any time and be enjoyed by all. Here a couple of visual aids:

See? The small sapling on the left is almost being RIDICULED by the beautiful flower on the right. Doesn’t it just make you want to cry?

So, while the little sapling struggled and toiled through the summer, nearly being torn from the ground by the mildest of thunderstorms, the sunflower grew and thrived. Even the gardener seemed to favor the sunflower, showing her off to anyone who visited his garden, “Isn’t she just a pretty little showstopper?” he would say, “My favorite flower!” he would smile.

This was just painful.

To add insult to injury, the sunflower would taunt the sapling as she waved in the wind, “What are you doing down there little sapling?” the sunflower would laugh, “Trying to put down roots? You’re probably just a little weed– all of your work is in vain!”

But the more the sunflower jeered, the harder the little sapling tried to grow. He would soak up the sun, absorb as much rain as he could, and even began to take resources from other nearby plants (which he didn’t feel great about, but he felt that he couldn’t help it).

The sunflower continued to grow almost effortlessly. She danced in the breeze and sprouted to almost 8 feet that summer. The sapling grew only a measly foot.

But one day, it began to get chilly. Winter was moving in and the sunflower began to wilt.

“Hey!” she yelled, “Little sapling– give me some of your water or sunlight! I’m wilting!”

The sapling replied, “I can’t! I’ve been storing up all summer.”

“Fine!” the sunflower yelled, “I’m much larger than you, so I’ll probably survive the winter better than you anyhow!”

But at that very moment, the proud gardener was showing another friend his garden. He said, “During the summer, I love my sunflowers, but do you know what my pride and joy is? This little guy.”

The gardener was pointing to the sapling!

The sunflower screamed, “But how could he favor you little sapling? You are so small and quaint!”

And, almost as if he had heard the angry sunflower, the gardener said, “Yessir, I love my sunflowers too, but they’re not perennials. This little guy will grow to be a big, strong tree. He’ll be by my side for the rest of my life.”

He was right.

And so, the little sapling lived happily ever after. The sunflower froze to death.

Ah, such is the circle of life.

THE END.

Clammy

cropped-roe-deer-1396281_1920.jpg

Once upon a time, there was a boy named Clammy, poor little dear.

You see, Clammy had grown up in a family of people with notoriously clammy hands and he had, of course, inherited the trait. The only thing that made Clammy forget his problem was his kind and loving mother. Unfortunately, Clammy had to avoid other people very often because if ever he was caught in a situation in which he’d have to hold hands with someone, he’d freeze like a deer in the headlights. It is a truth universally acknowledged that if you have clammy hands, people will comment on it and you will have to apologize for it which is altogether degrading and embarrassing.

Anyway, Clammy’s mother taught him all about life: How to avoid social contexts, how to always carry a handkerchief in his pocket to wipe off his hands before job interviews, how he should never touch glass, and how to open doors without his hands slipping off the doorknob.

But, as is often the case with stories (because a conflict must be introduced), Clammy’s mother met her demise. How, you ask? Well, she had gone to the grocery store to gather some food and her feet got so clammy that she sweated through her shoes and slipped and fell, bringing 4,000 cans of clam chowder down on top of her. Why the grocery store had 4,000 cans of one product displayed, the world will never know.

And so, Clammy was all alone. He began to take care of himself and tried to make friends. Eventually, he found friends who had similarly awkward quirks: Shower– who smelled all the time (also a hereditary issue he had no control over), and Dumper– who, well, let’s just say he lost control of his faculties if he got too nervous (also an issue over which he had no control). They were a motley crew, but they loved one another despite their respective issues.

As the three grew up, they became fast friends. They even all eventually found girlfriends who admired their positive attitudes in the face of so much misfortune. Clammy’s  doe was especially kind and he even had to fight someone once because he wanted to date her! Luckily, clammy hands are especially good in a fight because if you hold your hands up to block your opponent, his fists will just slip right off your hands causing him to fall to the ground.

Clammy only wished he could give her more– that she could marry into a loving family as well.

That’s when it happened.

One day, Clammy heard a knock at his door. When he went to open it, there was a very tall, strong man standing before him. Something seemed familiar about the guy too, although Clammy couldn’t put his slippery finger on it…

The man said, “Clammy, I am your father. I know your mother didn’t tell you about me, but that is because I am the king.”

Wait a second.

Clammy hesitated, then responded, “A king? We don’t really have those here in the United States–”

“No, son,” the king responded, “You don’t understand. I am the CEO of ‘King of the Forest’– the local logging company. I just refer to myself as the king.”

This made sense.

But, how could Clammy’s father wield an ax, or even a chainsaw if he had clammy hands? Unless–

“Son,” the king continued, “I’ve come to tell you that your hands can be trained not to be clammy anymore. You can control your own fate, and I will be here to teach you.”

Could this be?

It could, and it was.

And, although the king never really explained to his son why he had abandoned him for so many years in the first place, Clammy, his father, and his family built a cabin in the woods and lived happily ever.

THE END.