[The following, an old story from 2001 that I dug up on my computer, is the first full-length (in other words, completed) short story that I can remember. It’s nothing momentous, and the plot’s a little strange, but I figured it would be fun to put up.]
The Three Beavers in City Hall
(And A flea)
The Strange Beginning
Hi. I’m a flea on the back of a beaver. Sure, it would seem kind of bizarre, but that’s why I’m telling you this tale.
It all started last year, in the summertime. We, (that means the three beavers, Be, A, and Ver, and I) were all feasting on some bread some slothful person left behind. Close to us was our big dam in which we lived in. It was all a casual, leisure-free life for us.
Well, I don’t want to swagger. Let me get to the yarn. We were all playing horse, which is pretty mild, since most beavers don’t even care about one tiny flea on their back, when Ver saw a pipe.
“Let’s go inside it!” Ver said curiously. It was resolved, to my unfortunate dislike.
“Hey”, I gasped, “I can’t brea”- oh, well, I guess I’ll leave the misery out for you.
Finally, we reached a part of the pipe that was elevated above the water level so that I could inhale. I took in limitless gulps of the matter. The others followed suit.
“Where are we?” I asked.
“I don’t know”, Be replied. He smiled. “But we can always journey back.”
Next time, I hoped that way wouldn’t be underwater.
* * * * * * * * * *
We had come to the end of what seemed to be a large drainage pipe. We had no way to go but forward. Every once often or so, some water came spilling out. We trudged up the sludgy pipe, water sloshing at our feet. We walked this way for an hour or so until it curved sharply upward.
“We can’t go any further!” A exclaimed. Besides the fact that it had curved upward, the other main difference was that the pipe was strangely illuminated with artificial light, which came flooding down into our eyes.
“We’ve got to get up there!” Be exclaimed. “We’ve been walking in darkness for hours.”
I tried to jump up, but it was too tall. We had no hope but to go back. Unless –
“Ver, I said, you can jump up pretty high, right?” “Sure,” he said with a grin.
“Then you can jump up and grab it, right?”
“Well – “ Ver stopped to think. For a strange reason, he seemed to be a lot older than I thought.
“Come on, Ver, give it a try. You were the one who wanted to explore in the first place, right?”
The light from the pipe sparkled in his eyes. “Well, I guess I’ll give it a try.”
He jumped up with tremendous strength and grabbed the top, which happened to be a drain. He did a pull-up and waddled out.
“How is it?” A asked.
“Interesting,” Ver replied, examining the interior. “How are you going to get up?”
“We’ll cling to your legs and pull ourselves up. Anything to hang onto.”
“Well, there’s a toilet . . .”
“Fine,” A replied. “We’re coming up!”
After some difficulty, we all grasped his legs and pulled ourselves up. Standing around, blinking in the sunlight, one thought crossed our minds.
We were inside.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Out of The Shower
I guess it would be best if I just tell you that we were in a weird situation. That is, if you think a weird situation is coming out of a shower drain budged loose by hanging on to a toilet and finding yourself in a shower that is richly decorated with panels that have awards for hunting beavers. Thank goodness it doesn’t say anything about fleas.
Well, let me get to the story. The main thing was that the shower pipe had tightened and we did not know how to get out.
“I could try and budge it loose again,” Ver suggested.
“Believe me, Ver,” Be replied, “Nothing could budge that pipe except whatever budged it loose the first time.”
Ver gave all of us that strange ‘that’s me’ look. A caught his drift.
“Oh, fine,” he replied. “Try it.”
Ver went to the drain and tried to pull it. No luck. A second time he yanked, but got nothing out of it except a sore muscle. Massaging his arm, he came back and informed us that he had failed.
“Well, let’s get out of the shower and see if there’s anything else to get out of,” he said later. We agreed. It was the only thing we could do.
Cautiously we pulled back the cloth curtain (was it cloth? It seemed more like silk) and found ourselves in a richly carpeted room. Mirrors replaced walls, and there was a huge glass/gold chandelier on the wall.
After we scanned the decorations, Be spotted a door that looked like Ver could reach it. (Having budged loose a screwed shower drain, most of us thought he could budge loose a door on top of the Empire State Building.)
Ver jumped up, grabbed the door, but missed, and instead of budging loose a door handle like we had expected, He budged loose a faucet. Water poured from it at top speed.
“Quick, Ver, give it another try! I shouted. “Our else you might drown us all!
The Three Beavers in City Hall
(And A Flea)
It was suprising how fast water gushed from those faucets. It looked like you had never seen a waterfall in your life. It was obvious this was Ver’s last chance to get the door open. (Before he slipped on the ground, that was.)
Ver realized that too. With a mighty leap he flew into the air and seized the doorknob with his hands. Then he leaned to the right and turned the knob. The door creaked open but all the pressure made it close again. Luckily, Be prevented this by holding his hand out between the opening, though this was not of all use because the door slammed onto his hand, which looked worse than Ver’s arm.
The water started to flood out of the room and into whatever was outside. (Unfortunately, it happened to be a maid’s face inspecting the bathroom and the flood inside it.) She gave a yelp of anguish and immediately barged in, looking through her wet eyes at what had happened. Three beavers and a flea ran under her.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
We ended up in a hall so bright we shielded our eyes. When we got more adjusted to the light under our hands and feelers, we looked around and saw that the light was given by one small lamp, but it was reflected on all the mirrors in the room. There were more beaver catching award panels and a few trophies, which added to the reflection of the light. We were just about to look more closely when we heard a shrill voice:
“There! There! Get he beavers! Get the beavers!
We ran as fast as we could down a stairwell into a wall decorated with red white and blue stripes. Bad choice. The room was a dead end and the catchers were right behind us.
One of the catchers swung a net forward. It got us. I could easily get out of the holes in the net, being a flea, but I decided not to. Hey, what are friends for?
Before the catcher caught us, I could make out a banner that said Wookome oo sity halll. Okay, maybe my eyesight wasn’t too good at that time.
The catcher tied all of us up and was just about to take us away when he noticed the American flags. I had a feeling something was ticking in his mind.
Politics and Epilogue
Later I didn’t exactly know what happened but I read the signs around me and this is what I made out.
The 3 beavers were in some kind of race for mayor of the city, which I didn’t really understand. Whenever I looked at a newspaper it talked about polls and that the three beavers were winning.
One night when I finished my daily walk around City Hall (We were allowed to go outside now), I saw a lot of people standing by the three beavers. People kept congratulating them that they had won the election. I didn’t get what they were talking about then, but I do now.
The three beavers are now mayors of the city. City Hall belongs to us now, and we can go out and in as we please. The three beavers became famous as the first animals to rule a city (ducks had taken up first to rule a country), and we went on adventures through the woods.
Me? I am too small to even sit at the desk chair, and nobody noticed me when I went into the net. But I’m still good friends with the beavers, and I’m still content whatsoever. But adventure has overcome my fears, and if we ever go home through the pipes again, I would be willing to do it underwater.