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Beavers in my Kitchen
A crash in the garage alerted me to the invasion. The toppled recycled pop cans meant a beaver army would soon be at the inner citadel that was the kitchen. I sounded the alarm. “Alert! Alert!" it sounded, "we are all about to be hurt!” I clutched some fabric near a window; it was the curtain, I ripped it to pieces and chewed on the ragged morsels. It was December and I needed more fibre in my diet. The curtainy bits were delicious and I belched Fur Elise. But the chewing beavers would be equally ravenous.
For 15 years I had been attacked in my home by beavers. The loathsome critters had chewed the outer walls to the foundations, despite my resolve not to suffer such repeated humiliation. To that effect I had instituted a tyrannical regime in my kitchen. All shipments of wood or wood-based products such as napkins, papertowels and even inky dinky juice cups had to pass approval by my purchasing department, of which I was sole chair and acting supervisor. This would quell the invasive disaster to a certain degree, but no bureaucratic measures could guarantee 100% security, especially after the harrowing events of March 4.
* * * * * * *
I was dumbfounded. “I must scold you,” railed Znoosle, “so be shamed at my grievance!” In this way he chided, and in truth I felt a sting. I saw my digital watch’s electro-calendar: the date was March the 4th - my first encounter with an anthropomorphized fish.
Not much later I would be dealing with beavers who also spoke, were grouchy and made grievances like so many plaintive elderly voters. Beavers would plague my house, and not even my precautionary ‘Beavers Beware’ signs could sway them from such noxious sorties into my sacred innerspace. Instead they razed my home and left me exposed to winter cruelty.
Many hours I sat on the toilet, tracing in vain the connection between my crank of a talking fish, and the talking beavers who robbed my house of all load-bearing supports; beavers who chewed things apart for their atavistic lustplay, damming up the arteries of nearby creeks with beams of my hallowed house - my house, the physical representation of my hopes and dreams. I lived in
Flash-forward 15 years and four World Cups of Soccer later –
Then, an inspiration: I had a blowtorch in my kitchen, a device I used to glaze over my delicious crème brulés. I lit the torch and poked it through a hole the lead beaver had by now chewed into the kitchen. Zzzzp! Flooom! Fffft! A miracle: the lead beaver burst into flames! He rolled around, aglow with flame and light and shrieking in his halting rodent’s dialect: “My folly was my eagerness; my own teeth turned against me!” And he flamed until he was a black mass of ashes. The beavers had oiled themselves with lubricant to squeeze into my kitchen more easily. But this beaver paid the price: the lubricant was a most flammable one, and my blowtorch meant his fiery combustion and agonizing death.
I cried in a voice hot with vengeance – “I singed your lead critter, you eager beavers, and I can torch the rest of you too!” The words quelled the assault for the moment. I yelled a few more incoherent syllables, hoping to scare the piss out of them. Then, a voice from the beaver troop; it was their second-in-command. “Halt your remonstrances, oh human we like to chew on,” and I bent forward to hear more – “we have long chewed at your walls, yes. But your latest show of force leads us to compromise.” By golly - I was dumbfounded at their crumbling resolve. The beaver lieutenant continued, “May I enter your home and can we have some tea, Mr McCullers?”
I was shocked at the beavers’ sudden cordiality. I immediately opened the door. In walked the lieutenant with a few of his peltsmen and I started to boil a pot. They had ruined my casa with their decade-and-a-half of determined chewing, but the second-in-command was a true gentleman and I was never one to hold a grudge. An air of forgiveness came over us and some of the beavers even started to weep, which set me off too and soon I was thinking of the sweet warm breezes of my childhood summers at
Lieutenant Beaver Von Beaversmith (they all took the first name ‘Beaver’ and their surname often was beaver-related too) crawled upon the chair I set for him and lapped at the bowl of tea I made for him. “Thanks,” he said, “the physiognomy of our forepaws doesn’t allow us to use proper mugs so I appreciate the lapping dish.” So he lapped and he lapped - his appetite for hot brewed tea was monumental. This Beaversmith was a mountain; had we schooled together we might have been lifelong friends, but evolution and the delicious timbers of my house had set our people at loggerheads. The rift was wide; I only hoped the healing could coalesce everything into a breezy loveliness. I also hoped the insurance company would believe my story and validate my claims about the beavers. But insurance adjusters could be feisty, and I was ready to turn my blowtorch against them too.
Lt. Beaversmith looked at the paintings hanging from the remaining walls of my kitchen citadel. “Ah, Linard - a favourite of mine...” he said; “The French had colours to shame the rainbow itself.” I wondered at his words while refilling his lapping dish, for this beaver was a gentleman and clearly a connoisseur. “You know I once dabbled in art myself, useless forepaw and all,” he added. I grinned and hummed. “You know McCullers,” he sniffed at me approvingly, “had we both grown up beavers, or both men, we might have been great allies.” The psychic coincidence was compelling – this was more than a mountain-to-man connection, this was an intimate telepathic kinship. “That’s exactly what I was thinking,” I said staring in awe. I’d be a fool not to have Lt. Beaversmith state my case to the insurance adjusters.
We drank enough tea to undo that famous
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