After having a discussion this morning with Ryan and Colton about David Sedaris, I decided this edition of Smorgyboard Saturday (which got an early start thanks to Brina) would be a story I wrote which is a total rip-off of his book Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk.
The book came out in October of 2010 and I pre-ordered for my friend Nate's birthday.
I wrote the first half of this story and gave it to him to hold him over until he got his copy.
**I would probably rate this PG-13 for language and violence.**
WHAT'S GOOD FOR THE GOOSE
The Panda Bear slammed down his gavel and shouted, “Order in the court! Order in the court!” as he tried to quiet the cacophony that had broken out in his courtroom. The Goose sat sobbing, covering her face with her wings. Her lawyer, a fox with an unnaturally jet-black pompadour tried to comfort her. Meanwhile, the
hugged and high-fived his friends and supporters at the opposite table. Gander
“Order in the court!” the Panda demanded. “I will read the rest of my decision, and if I hear so much as a squeak out of anyone else, I’ll hold everyone here in contempt.” The Porcupine stood at attention ready to escort any troublemakers out of the courtroom.
The Panda cleared his throat and continued, “Furthermore, I hereby award sole custody of all seven goslings to the Gander.” The words had barely left his mouth when the whole uproar began again. Boos and jeers erupted from the Goose’s side of the audience while the cheers and celebration continued from the
The whole situation started several months earlier on a cold Friday night. The
had been out with his friends, the Chimp and the Bloodhound, at a local bar celebrating the Chimp’s promotion at the factory. They had been friends since grade school and remained close ever since. All three of them had taken jobs at the wig factory and had each worked their way up from the assembly line—the Chimp to product development, the Bloodhound to human resources, and the Gander to sales. On this particular day, the Chimp had become the new Associate Vice President of Development which came with a modest raise, more vacation time, and use of the company car. Gander
“Man! That’s pretty freakin’ sweet,” the Bloodhound said. “Congratulations, pal.” He raised his glass of ginger ale and toasted the Chimp. The
signaled to the Mouse that they were ready for another round of shots. “Hey baby! Set us up again,” he shouted. Gander
“I don’t know,” the Chimp said, “I might be just about topped off.”
“Pssh! We’re celebrating! Don’t be a sissy like this queer,” the Gander said as he gestured towards the Bloodhound.
“If it’s queer to be clean and sober, then so be it,” the Bloodhound responded. “You know darn good and well I’ve been delivered from the addiction to alcohol.”
“Oh shit,” the
sighed, “Here we go again.” Gander
“What? I think it’s a story worth sharing.”
“Yeah, but we’ve heard it a thousand times. Give it a rest, Jesus-freak.”
“Hey, hey, hey. Do we have to go through this every time?” the Chimp asked.
“Tell that to Billy Graham over here,” the
retorted. “I’m surprised his Bible isn’t flat as a pancake from all that thumping.” Gander
“I’m sorry that I want to share the message of salvation with the unsaved,” the Bloodhound responded.
waved his wing in the Bloodhound’s face. Gander
The Chimp stretched and said, “Well, fellas, it’s been fun, but I gotta get home. The misses is gonna wanna celebrate too.” He patted his friends on the shoulder, hopped on the table, and swung to the door on the ceiling fans.
“I guess I’d better head out too,” the Bloodhound said through a yawn. “See ya around?”
“See ya around, Mother Teresa,” the
said. The Bloodhound laughed slightly and went to hug his friend. “Bup, bup, bup…back off homo,” the Gander said as he kept the Bloodhound at wing’s length. The Bloodhound laughed again, patted the Gander ’s shoulder, and sniffed the floor on his way to the exit. Gander
sat back down and pulled out his cell phone. As he checked to see if his wife had called, the Mouse approached the table. She struggled to carry two shot glasses filled with vodka. “Here ya go, hon,” she said as she stood on her tiptoes to put them on the table. “Did your friends take off?” Gander
responded. “One had to go schtup his cow of a wife and the other probably has to be in by curfew at the monastery.” The Mouse giggled, “Oh, you’re terrible.” Gander
“You have no idea,” the Gander said. “Hey. You wanna have this other shot with me?”
“I don’t know,” she said. “I’m still on the clock.”
“It’s only one shot. Come on. Live a little”
Several hours later, the Toad came over to let them know it was closing time. The Gander laughed as he staggered to his webbed feet, knocking over several shot glasses in the process. The Mouse sat with her head on the table snoring loudly with her almost-empty shot glass in front of her. “Hey. Hey. Wake up. Let’s get outta here,” the Gander said as he nudged her in the side with the tip of his wing. He picked her up and carried her out the door to his champagne-colored Camry. He set her on the front seat, fastened her seat belt, and got in the opposite side and started the car.
They drove in silence down the empty street as the Mouse drifted in and out of consciousness. The Gander pulled into the parking lot of the Briar Inn. He jumped out of the car and opened the Mouse’s door. “Where are we?” she slurred. “At a motel,” he replied. “Oh,” she nodded pretending like she had any idea what he had just said.
They both stumbled into the main lobby and were met at the counter by a sloth with pigtails. “Well, hello,” she said. “Welcome. What can I do for you folks?”
“One room, please,” the Gander said anxiously.
“Ok, one second. Let’s see what we can do for ya.” The Sloth slowly tapped the keyboard and sighed. “I’m afraid the only thing we have is our economy suite. It doesn’t have a lot of frills, but I can throw in free breakfast if you’d like.”
“We’ll take it,” the Gander said as he pulled his credit card out. “Do you take Diner’s?”
“Of course we do. Let me get this processed for you,” she said as she took his credit card and driver’s license. After a few minutes and a few signatures, she handed the Gander a key to room 922, and the he practically dragged the Mouse behind him as he bounded down the hallway.
Meanwhile, at the small pink house on Chestnut Lane, the Goose paced back and forth in her faded green bathrobe. She had tried watching TV to calm her nerves, but the only things on at this hour were syndicated talk shows, reruns of Perfect Strangers, and soft porn. Although she was fond of two out of three of these, she found herself unable to focus enough to enjoy the programs. She tried reading the latest crime novel with a letter in the title (R for Regicide or something like that), but again, her mind was moving too quickly to comprehend it. The Goose’s thinking was such that she would come up with a scenario in her mind and then almost immediately, one even more horrific than the last.
She pictured her husband being mugged, shot, and left for dead. Then she pictured him lying several yards away from a smashed up car, blood oozing out of his body. Then she pictured him hanging by his feet in the window of a Chinese market between a row of skinless rabbits and what appeared to be a row of terriers—and she smiled.
She fought the urge to call her lover, the Turtle, to see if the job had been successfully carried out. Their agreement was that he would call her cell phone and say simply, “Yep.” They had gone over specific details just the previous day. The Turtle was to follow the Gander from work to the bar where he met with his friends and while he was inside, the Turtle was to nearly sever the brake line of the Camry.
However, at the time the Gander was leaving work, the Turtle was in his living room rocking back and forth trying to get on his feet again. Why he chose to nap on the floor that day of all days was beyond anyone.
The Goose had been looking for a way out of her marriage for quite some time. Divorce wasn’t really an option given the looks of judgment and downright alienation she would inevitably receive from the members of their small community. She was all about image and rationalized that she’d get more sympathy if she were widowed. She had been unhappy from the very start. She only agreed to marry the Gander out of an unfortunate mixture of pity, obligation, and selfishness. They had been together since high school and dated on and off in college. While the Gander wasn’t particularly handsome or charming, he was, in the Goose’s opinion, a masterful lover. She had had her share of flings and trysts throughout her life, yet she was unable to find someone who could satisfy her like he could—hence the seven goslings that were fast asleep in their pen.
After nearly two hours had passed since the estimated time the Turtle was to call, she gave in. She picked up her cell phone and stepped out onto the front porch. She called the Turtle’s cell, but it went to voicemail three times in a row. She tried his house number which she usually avoided, but there was no answer there either. Her mind began to think of more horrific scenes: both her husband and lover dead in the street, or her husband standing over the Turtle, yanking the top part of his shell off and carelessly throwing it aside. Her mind showed her the worst possible thing imaginable: her husband and lover sharing a laugh while drinking beer and watching baseball at Chili’s. This thought chilled her to the bone. She went inside the house, locked the door to the goslings’ pen, threw on some black sweats, hopped into the family minivan and hit the road to find out exactly what the hell had happened.
No more than twenty minutes after their mother left, the goslings began to stir. The eldest, a female with a nasty overbite, was the first to wake. She had to pee and tried the door the pen, but found it was locked. She thought maybe there was something wrong with the door, so she woke one of her brothers. He had a particular knack for fixing things. Not long ago, within the span of a weekend, he had managed to fix three broken sprinkler heads, a clogged shower drain, and his father’s computer which had caught some sort of virus. He jiggled the handle and inspected all around the doorframe. As he did this, each of his siblings began to get out of bed one by one. After about an hour all seven were convinced that their parents were either dead or had abandoned them. They began to cry. The sound of a gaggle of goslings crying their poor little eyes out made a racket not too dissimilar from a metal garbage can full of nuts and bolts being rolled down an endless flight of stairs.
After hearing the noise, the neighbors had begun to gather outside the house. The parrots from next door, the bears from down the block, and several others all tried to force their way into the house. Eventually, one half of the gay tomcat couple from across the street had managed to find a window open just enough for him to squeeze through. Once he had entered the house, he unlocked the pen door and was virtually trampled by the goslings as they spilled out into the yard. They were herded and comforted by the female neighbors while the males all searched the house hoping not to make a grisly discovery. Once the goslings had been comforted and taken safely into the neighbors’ houses to be fed and allowed to rest, the gossiping began.
“Well, I bet they just couldn’t take it anymore and left,” said a squirrel in his boxer shorts.
“I mean, who does that? Who leaves seven little things home alone like that?” asked a beaver with bright pink curlers in her hair.
“They’re probably at some sex orgy,” a garter snake guessed. The others neither agreed nor protested his claim.
The Goose drove the minivan past the wig factory and saw nothing. She drove past the bar where the Gander and his friends had been earlier in the evening. There were only a few cars in the parking lot and none of them were the Gander’s Camry. After circling around the surrounding blocks for a while she headed for the Turtle’s house. There in the driveway she saw the Turtle’s car and was beyond livid. She brought the minivan to a screeching halt and jumped out without even turning it off. She ran to the door and banged on it like a madwoman. There was no answer.
She began to go around the perimeter of the house looking for a way in. When she passed a window where she could clearly see the Turtle on his back trying to get up, that’s when she really lost it. She grabbed a garden gnome from the flowerbed and hurled it through the window missing the Turtle’s head by mere centimeters. She flapped in through the window amid a flurry of feathers and unintelligible swear words. She was talking so fast it sounded like she might have been calling play by play action at a soccer game in Hebrew. She turned the Turtle right side up with her foot and promptly kicked him across the room.
“Youdumbsonofabitch!” she shouted. “Whatthehellareyoustilldoinghere?!” Her words all ran together as if she only had a certain amount of time to get them out. The Turtle tried to explain himself, but it was fruitless. She hovered over him like the grim reaper. She grabbed the garden gnome and despite the Turtle’s protests, she brought it down on his head—over and over again until there was nothing there but a gooey pile of blood and flesh. She may as well have put his head into the blender.
She sat on the sofa to try to figure out what to do next. The Turtle’s laptop sat on the coffee table opened to a losing game of spider solitaire. She called up the internet and began to log-in to various credit card accounts. When she logged-in to the Diner’s website and saw a pending charge at the Briar Inn an evil smirk came to her face that looked like a cross between the Devil and the Cheshire Cat.
Instead of going out the broken window through which she had flown in, she casually strolled out the front door to her waiting minivan. She got in and headed in the direction of the Inn. It was at this exact moment that the Gander got a weird feeling.
The Mouse was lying on the bed fast asleep with a sheet half-covering her small body. The Gander was pacing around the room in his underwear trying to justify what he had done. Just as he sat on the bed and was about to dial his home number, there was a knock at the door.
The Gander knew instinctively who it was and he was scared shitless. The knocking grew louder and more persistent. As the Gander attempted to peer through the window, a bloody garden gnome came crashing through and caught him right in the beak. As he staggered to his feet he unlocked the door and was knocked aside as his wife stormed in like a Nazi.
“Do you mind telling me exactly what you think you’re doing here?” she asked eerily calm.
“Uh…um…it was um…,” the Gander stammered.
“Who is she?” the Goose demanded. “Where’s the little hussy? Is it that swan from work? Is that big, fat, BLACK swan?”
“No, not her. Honey, listen. I’m sorry. You know I love you,” he tried to explain.
“How dare you,” she said sternly. “How dare you defile our union like this!”
The Gander was hanging his head in shame when he perked up. “Hey! What about you and that turtle?” he asked.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” the Goose said sounding highly insulted.
“Yeah. You think I’m clueless? I know what’s been going on there.”
“Well, whatever you think you knew about is over now. There’s no turtle in the picture anymore,” she explained. As she was inching closer to the Gander with a crazed look in her eye, she saw a small flash of gray headed towards her. The Mouse latched herself onto the Goose’s face and began to claw at her eyes.
“What the…?!” she yelled. “Get this piece of trash off of me!”
The Gander pried the Mouse off of his wife’s face and held her at bay. As they all stood sizing each other up like a Mexican standoff, the Mouse began to cry. This didn’t diffuse the situation so much as it made it awkward. The Goose had an open opportunity to take the home-wrecker out, but didn’t feel right beating the lights out of someone who was already crying.
By this time, flashing red lights had begun to fill the room. The herd of sheep that acted as the town’s police force stormed in and placed all three in handcuffs. After questioning each of them, the Mouse was cleared and released. The Goose and Gander however were both taken in for further questioning.
By the next morning, word had spread like wildfire about what had happened. The town became divided. You were either on the Goose’s side as the poor, neglected housewife whose husband had cheated on her, or you were for the Gander whose wife was downright cra-zy and an irresponsible parent as well. The Gander was released late the next morning and returned home to try to explain the whole situation to the goslings who were as divided as the town.
The Goose, however, was booked and placed into custody for her various crimes: child endangerment, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and murder. The Gander filed for divorce almost immediately. Both the Goose’s criminal trial and the couple’s divorce trial became absolute circuses. Daytime television was dedicated to airing every aspect of the proceedings and the nightly news was inundated with the highlights.
The Goose was eventually sentenced to 25 years in prison with the possibility of parole after 15. The divorce settlement was exceedingly one-sided. The Panda awarded all assets including the house and two cars to the Gander.
After all the trials had ended, life went back to normal for everyone in town—except the Mouse. She was labeled as a whore and a hussy. She couldn’t go anywhere without being stared at or talked about. It began to take its toll on her. She had to quit her job at the bar and move to a neighboring town where hopefully nobody would recognize her. She had taken to calling herself a rat in hopes it might help the situation, but she was too small for it to be realistic.
After several months had passed, she made contact with the Gander and asked if they could meet. He agreed and they met at a small coffee shop in her new town. The time that had passed had not been kind to her. She had gained several ounces and really just let herself go to hell. They had lunch and talked for a while. The Gander apologized for dragging her into the whole mess. She accepted his apology. As their meeting came to an end, they agreed to keep in touch. They hugged awkwardly and as they did, the Mouse plunged a steak knife into the Gander’s back. As she watched the life leave his body, she pushed him to the floor and walked away with poise.
The Pig tapped his nightstick on the bars of the Goose’s cell. “Visitor,” he said. “It’s some rat.”