OK, the previous post reminded me about this piece, which I wrote for some English class assignment after having read Heminngway’s “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.” I know it’s cornball, but I got an A+ on it.
That Afternoon, in the Meadow
It was lunchtime and they were all sitting under the spread of a great oak in the middle of the Hundred Acres Woods.
“Will you have some lemonade? Milk, perhaps,” asked the bear.
“Lemonade,” Christopher Robin told him.
“Well, I think I’ll have a pot of honey, if that is okay with you,” said the bear.
“Don’t get your head stuck in the pot again,” said the girl in an level tone. She was angry that she didn’t have another line of dialogue in this narrative.
It was not very hot, but sweat dripped off the bear’s nose. The drips made a puddle on the table. He wondered of the others noticed. “Tra-la-la, tra-la-la,” said the bear, because he never learned how to whistle. “Tra-la-la, tra-la-la. Rum-tum-tum-tiddle-um.” The woman he called Slim had once tried to teach him how to whistle. “Just put your lips together and blow,” she said. But that is another story.
The bear had, only earlier that afternoon, shown himself to be a bear stuffed with the stuff that brave bears are not stuffed of.
“Here’s to the heffalump,” he said to Christopher Robin. “I can’t ever thank you enough for what you did.”
“Let’s not talk about the heffalump,” the girl said. She had deviated from the script and was now improvising.
The bear thought back to the morning, when he first heard the heffalump roar. “Ho-ho!” It was a load, bellowing roar, far away, somewhere near Owl’s house, but it sounded much closer.
“Noisy bugger, isn’t he?” said Christopher Robin. “I guess you’ll just have to quiet him up, eh Pooh?”
“Oh, um, yes. Do you think the cork in my pop-gun is big enough to bag a heffalump? asked the bear.
“Certainly, silly bear,” answered Christopher Robin. “It was big enough to bring down a woolery, which is much larger than a heffalump, only not near as mean.”
The bear was not heartened by this turn in the conversation. He was not such a brave bear. He was, once, during the war. He felt down his tummy to where the scar was. He was restuffed with unbrave stuffing. But that is another story.
Ever since Christopher Robin made it to the first grade, he has not been as lighthearted as before. “The world is an evil place, Pooh,” he would say. “There are people out there who would take your milk money, and then laugh at you. I guess we all have our heffalumps to face.”
“Oh, yes. As long as they don’t have long teeth or sharp claws or knows Kung Fu,” said the bear, trying to keep his voice from trembling.
“That doesn’t make much sense,” said Christopher Robin.
“No, I guess not,” said the bear. “But it did when I began to say it. I don’t know what happened between when I thought it and when I said it. Think, think, think. What did I mean?” The bear has had a hard time concentrating lately. He missed his friends. Tigger had joined the Mixed Martial Arts tour and was fighting in Thailand. Kanga had finally gotten her divorce settlement and moved back to Australia with Roo. And Piglet, sweet little Piglet, is now the national spokesman for Ballpark Franks. None of them would return his calls.
Earlier that afternoon they had tracked the heffalump on a trail that led them from the Outland to the Forest. But before it reached the Forest, the trail was bisected by the River near a long, narrow meadow.
“Chances are that he’ll come to drink along here,” whispered Christopher Robin. “Keep and eye out.”
A fish broke the surface of the River, made a little flop, and dove back underwater. The bear had once hooked a big fish, he remembered. It was on the first day of the World Series that year. “Are you trying to kill me?” he remembers asking the fish. But that is another story.
“There he is,” the bear heard whispered into his ear. “Ahead, and to the right. Go on and take him.”
The bear saw the heffalump now. He was sitting, legs crossed, on a tree stump in the meadow. His large ears pink ears reflecting the afternoon sun. The heffalump had his right arm wrapped over his head, so his paw could scratch the bottom of his left jawbone. His left paw was in front of his face, with his thumbnail resting on the tip of his nose, and his little finger stuck into his right ear. He looked very comfortable.
“Go on, shoot him,” he heard Christopher Robin whispering loudly.
“Shoot him!” hissed the girl.
The bear raised his pop-gun to his shoulder and took aim at the biggest heffalump he had every seen, although he had never seen one before, but if he had, this one would have been bigger. He lined up the crosshairs of the sight on the huge pink form. His finger tightened around the trigger.
Just at that moment, the heffalump saw the bear and said “Ho-ho!” and charged at him, his enormous ears flapping wildly as the great beast bared down on the bear. The bear stood frozen. He couldn’t move a muscle as he watched the heffalump charge. He could feel the impact of the collision. He could see all of his not-so-brave stuffing scattered all over the Hundred Acre Woods, near and far, alighting like snowflakes on the warm ground.
Christopher Robin hit the heffalump square on the nose with a switch just as it was about to ram the bear. The heffalump stopped dead in its tracks. Its eyes welled up with tears. “That was not a very polite thing to do, Inglese,” cried the heffalump, who turned and walked away, sniffling.
The girl, ashamed at the bear’s unbravery, turned and sulked back toward camp.
Christopher Robin looked down at the bear. “Silly old bear. That was probably the only chance you’ll have to bag a heffalump. Oh well, Pooh. Tomorrow we’ll try your luck at woozels.”
“Oh bother,” said the bear.