not making the cut–a fable of sorts (Story #2)

 

“Would you row harder,” the Bear said to the Pig.

“I’m going as fast as I can.  Why don’t you row?”

“I told you,” the Bear said.  “My paws are sensitive to splinters, and anyway, I have a louder voice.”

“It’s not like they’re going to hear us.”

“You never know.”

“Bear,” the Pig said, still rowing but snorting heavily into the cold air. “Mr. Noah is pretty stubborn.  You’re not going to change his mind.”

“Pig, why are you so…I don’t know.”

“Don’t even say it.”

“You’re supposed to be smart.  Isn’t that what everyone is always saying?  But you don’t seem so smart to me.  You’re just a…I don’t know…you’re just a little animal.  You don’t get it.”

“I am not sad, Bear, if that’s what you mean.  And I don’t think you should be, either.”

The Bear turned to look at the Pig.  He would’ve growled, but he was too perplexed.  “We didn’t make the cut, and now we can’t be with our friends.  It’s terrible.”

The Pig stopped rowing, so he could catch his breath.  He wasn’t as slim as he’d once been, which in truth, was never very slim to begin with.  “I didn’t want to tell you this because you were so upset with the rain and all, but I think we’re better off.  Really, I do.”

The Bear ignored his friend, which wasn’t new, since he tended to ignore all other friends under a certain weight and height.   “I was sleeping when Mr. Noah was sending out the invites,” he said.  “I didn’t even know about the cruise until last week.  What’s your excuse?”

“I was rolling around in mud.”

“Bears are supposed to sleep for long periods of time.  I was acting in accordance with nature.”

“And what would you call me rolling around in mud?  That’s pretty natural, too.”

“Then why?”  The Bear asked.

“Why what?”

“Why did Mr. Noah leave us behind?”

The Pig stopped rowing yet again.  All around him, all he could see were waves made of liquefied aquamarine and clouds that looked like huge cotton balls glued together by what he imagined was a very large person.  Mr. Noah spoke of this large person a lot before the rains started happening.  But Mr. Noah, The Pig had observed over the years, was always talking craziness, and for the most part, it was better just ignore him.

“Why aren’t you rowing?” the Bear asked.

“Because, Bear, there’s no use for it.  Mr. Noah’s ship is too fast.”

“It’s not so fast.  If we were on land, I’d be able to catch it.  We don’t look like it, but we bears are really quick.”

“I believe you.  But we’re not on land, and we pigs aren’t known for rowing.”

“Where should we go then?”

“We have to find land.  We’re land animals.”

“That’s what Mr. Noah is after, too.  I wish we could be with him.”

The Pig didn’t respond.

“Why so quiet” The Bear asked.

“I’m not so sure I believe in Mr. Noah the way you do.”

“What does that mean?”

“Nothing, Bear.  I don’t mean anything.”

“Yes you do, Pig.  You’re not the only one on four legs who knows a thing or two.”

Pig snorted a laugh.

“Don’t laugh at me,” The Bear said a bit louder than he wanted to.  “Please don’t laugh at me,” he said again, but this time sounding a little meek and a lot scared.

“I would never think of such a thing.  OK, I’ll tell you—something my father told me, but I don’t want you to despair.”

“Why would I despair?  I’m a bear.  I’m big and strong and fast—even if I don’t look it..”

“No doubt about that.  But I am a pig, so my family has lived close to Mr. Noah and his family for a long time.  This is why we know a few things that you and yours might not.”

“OK, like what?”

“Well, to start, this is not Mr. Noah’s first cruise.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean every time it rains a lot—a lot a lot, Bear like it did this year, Mr. Noah talks about the Giant Man in the Clouds who is punishing us.  Then he has a boat built and he goes out with his family for a long time.”

“How long?” The Bear asked.

“I don’t know.  Like 40 days.”

“And nights?”

“Yes, Bear, 40 days and 40 nights.”

“And then he comes back?” The Bear asked, sounding hopeful.

“That’s what my father told me.  The same thing happened with his father when he was a suckling.”

The Bear looked confused.  He looked up at the sky and sniffed around for answers, but there was nothing to smell except for clouds and he didn’t much like the way they smelled.  “So then all we have to do is stay on our boat until Mr. Noah returns?  Then we can see our friends again.”

“No, Bear.  If Mr. Noah comes back, he’ll only have his family with him.  40 days and nights are a long time, and Mr. Noah and his family like to eat a lot.  Do you understand what I’m saying?”

“So what?  I’m sure he brought food.  He’s not dumb like a wolf.  He knows he has to bring food.”

Mr. Pig put his head down, his front hooves rested on his potbelly.  He wondered why it always seemed to fall to him to have to explain the hard things.  “Bear, why do you think Mr. Noah took our friends with him?”

“He said something about the Gig Man in the Clouds wanting him to.  He was saving us, right?”

“I don’t know,” the Pig said.

“What don’t you know?”

The Pig looked up at his friend and snorted.  “I’d just feel better about Mr. Noah if he were a vegetarian.”

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Categories: fiction

Author:the circular runner

g. martinez cabrera currently lives in San Francisco with his lovely and talented wife. He holds degrees from Columbia and from the Harvard Divinity School where he spent three years thinking about lofty things. Since then, he tries to write some lofty and some not-so-lofty things down so others can see how lofty he sometimes is. When he’s not writing or spending time with said wife, he tortures young people with learning. He blogs at www.circularrunning.wordpress.com and Tumbls at www.circularrunning.tumblr.com

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