Thought to start this brand new year off with a short story. I let the words fly, paying no attention to writing rules which I broke freely and flagrantly! Without any worries! There are some things I should not have done, and some things I didn’t do that I should’ve. See if you notice?
As she trotted briskly along, she spoke out loud to herself in a distinctly theatrical-sounding voice. ”Why? I want to know why I am here. What purpose may an inexperienced and mythical creature hope to fulfill on a cynical and crippled planet? I go here, I go there, but with no real direction, no goal and not much faith to speak of.
People think of God as a sort of large spreading personage. Crocodiles think of God as an omniscient grinning crocodile. I know for a fact that your average marsupial envisions God as a magnanimous and munificent marsupial in the sky. I, myself, being a unicorn, have up until recently considered God to be . . . what else but a benevolent fatherly unicorn. The creator of all unicorns. Folly! Phsssspft!”
She slowed her pace and nosed a few ferns as she moseyed along. Feeling utterly unmotivated, she neighed a whimsical neigh. Then, sighing a sigh full of irony, she made her way off of the path and set out for the secret waterfall that she frequented when she felt lost. She arrived at the bank of a pond and lifted her fine head to gaze up at her waterfall.
She felt more than a little melancholy as she watched multicolored drops of water toss and tumble through the air, raining into the pool at her hooves. While watching, she noticed that each droplet turned into a miniature unicorn and flashed cheshire-cat-smirks her way as they polka-stepped by. “Now that’s cute, real cute,” she said sarcastically. Suddenly, Jack Benny appeared to her in a kind of ether. His silver hair hung down to brush his shoulders, and he packed his violin over one shoulder by means of a strap.
He stated, more than asked, “What’s happenin’.” She ignored him and looked away, pretending to peer at something in the distance.
After a couple of minutes she turned to sneak a peek at the waterfall, and became upset to find that every droplet had turned into a miniature Jack Benny, each sporting long silvery hair.
“It’s a Plot,” she hissed. Jack reached over and stroked her neck.
“You know, quite frankly, life becomes simpler, even lovely when you quit trying so hard to figure it out. Just have a little fun, kid. I’ve been around for while and this is my advice to you.” With that he spun in a circle three times and vanished. The waterfall assumed the appearance of an infuriatingly normal waterfall.
Night fell. She thought seriously about picking it up, but couldn’t muster the energy. Darkness rubbed against her legs like a cat. The unicorn tried to purr at it, but she didn’t know how to hold her lips or where exactly to place her large tongue to cause the proper sound. She went to sleep and dreamed she was an enchantress, a sort of high priestess who comprehended the deepest mysteries of existence. Her pink tent, speckled with stars and riding on a silky cloud, floated the universe. Unencumbered by space or time, she watched the universe dance. She named the tent ‘Her Place’ and put a sign up. Such a cosmic dream for one female unicorn who nursed a nagging need to comprehend the meaning of her life.
The bark of a very old tree next to her began to creak. It got louder. The elderly plant worked at moving his mouth muscles. The noise jiggled her off the cloud, causing a free fall into consciousness which produced a hard landing. It jolted her eyes wide open. She blinked a few times.
The tree spoke. “How now, Madame?” Your presence inspires me to speak, something I haven’t even considered doing for centuries. You seek the reason for your existence. It’s a secret. However, I happen to know the secret. I do, I do, I do!”
This carrot of hope, dangled right in front of her eyes, triggered our sincere and unpretentious seeker to plead, “Oh tree, most venerable tree, tell me ALL you know. “Now,” she commanded. But minding her manners she promptly added, “Please.” Her body quivered. She was bursting with curiosity and desire.
The tree cleared his throat, and began to speak slowly. His voice dripped with wisdom as he said, “Madame, it may be summed up in one simple sentence. God, the real God and power that shaped the spheres is, in fact, a seriously handsome and exceedingly gigantic TREE!” The ancient tree closed his bark and spoke no more. Numbness overcame her as she stared blankly at the silent tree. She realized she’d been presented with just another case of blind misinformation. “Tricked again”, she muttered. Her body sagged with disappointment and her mind settled into a heap of gloom. Her spirit succumbed. A churlish blanket of apathy covered her soul and tried to smother it.
Days passed. Days turned into weeks, weeks into months and months into years. Our burdened friend wandered across the land, nibbling tender grasses half-heartedly. Sometimes she remembered her quest and resumed her search, interrogating an occasional woodland creature. To keep her mind busy, she once tried to learn french from a traveling bird, but she couldn’t concentrate. “Ah me, I have no attention span left for much of anything anymore. How can I go on properly until I know what my life means?”
One day she was surprised to find herself back in the vicinity of her secret waterfall. The area reminded her of days gone by and she found herself randomly wishing that someone had taught her how to jitterbug. As she wished away in vain, a tiny fairy flittered about her pearly horn and eventually perched itself neatly on the tip. It looked suspiciously like Jack Benny with wings. And if that were not enough, it had what appeared to be a railroad engineer’s cap on. “Oh right,” she sneered. “You’re absurd, absolutely absurd and I’m not about to fall for anymore tricks.” She felt exasperated to say the least. Then the minuscule apparition zoomed off, propelling itself upside down and backwards by blowing air through its nose.
“Ho hum,” muttered the unicorn in a jaded manner, and swayed rhythmically toward her waterfall. Tossing her beautiful head in the air, she stepped up her pace and broke into a gallop. She came to a sliding stop when she entered the clearing where the waterfall still spilled importantly over the high cliff. “All right, waterfall, what’s it all about?” she demanded. “You just better tell me what’s going on around here.”
Instantly, the waterfall grew a long beard and preponderantly said, “I thought you’d never ask. Step closer and I shall instruct you. Listen up. I am everything. I am the Jack Bennys and trees and hazel nuts and doctor’s offices. I am corn cob pipes and city road maps and stars in the sky. I am a HINT, do you hear? For I am always comprised of the same stuff. Water! I am little bitty droplets of water and all things are composed of this ONE thing. In reality, all things ARE one thing. ME!” The waterfall’s tone turned waggish. “Get it?”
And with further ado, it swiftly spread out to create a shiny curtain that resembled a humungous rug. Woven into it was an image of Niagara Falls looming forth from out of the heavens. Beneath the portrait were stenciled these whopping big words, HERE IS DEFINITELY A PICTURE OF GOD. And beneath these words were embroidered smaller words that read, Love from your Pal, The Waterfall. (P.S. Ha!, ha!, ha!)
Flashes of people, crocodiles, marsupials, trees and unicorns caused the unicorn to chuckle for she grokked the comic relief and appreciated it. Feeling uplifted in spirit, she winked at the waterfall, took a big cleansing yoga-type breath followed by a long, leisurely sigh. “Well, what do you know about that,” she said.
Experiencing a deep down contentment, she sauntered back to the path. God was in everything. Her unicorn life had meaning because she was in God. SHE was important to the ineffable scheme of things. And she’d latched onto a highly significant tool of the trade in this thing called life . . . a good old fashioned sense of humor. She hooted, kicked up her heels with all her might, and blasted off at full speed through the watching forest.