Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Toad-al Disaster

*Possibly a lost chapter from the popular children's story by Kenneth Grahame, or some anonymous author wanted to breathe new life into a beloved character of amphibious origin...or, just maybe, this is a diary excerpt from the character himself who may not be as fictional as we thought...*

I should have learned my lesson after stealing that motor car. I especially should have learned, after all of my dealings, never to trust weasels. But here I was, after I let those silver-tongued scoundrels convince me to gamble away what little was left of the Toad fortune, and now I was in deeper than at the bottom of the river. If only I could have coerced Badger to keep management of my accounts, but he had decidedly excused himself from fixing my financial fiascos.
Now I sat across from Mr. Hare, who scoured over the books before him, calculating my losses with strict accuracy (rabbits are prodigies at mathematics, as multiplying comes to them naturally). His eyes flicked up at me. “Let me be to the point,” he said with a clipped tone. “Your capability to furnish restitution for these egregious arrears is highly dubious.”
I stared blankly at him.
“You can’t pay off this debt,” he said irritably.
“I can offer compensation,” I pleaded. “Toad Hall is one of the most glorious—“
“I have no use for your dilapidated old hovel,” Mr. Hare cut in. “However…” He was quiet a moment, and an odd grin spread over his face. “There might be an arrangement we could make.”
I was never one to take time to think extensively about such matters (that was more of Rat’s department), so I immediately hopped at the chance. “Mr. Hare, I am a more than capable amphibian. Surely someone of my talents can offer decent compensation to a good rabbit such as yourself.”
“I’m sure you can.” He scribbled something down on a piece of paper and handed it to me. “This is the address of a certain rival of mine. If you could do me the favor of disposing of him, I will gladly sweep all your debts under the rug…or lily-pad, if that metaphor suits you better.”
My face blanched a paler shade of green, as I hesitantly took the paper. Already I had an idea of who he was referring to as his “rival.” It was well known throughout the woods that Mr. Hare had once had a promising career as an athlete, a competitive long distance runner. But his career and pride had been crushed when he lost a vital race to a newcomer, a Mr. Tortoise, who while was no match in speed for Mr. Hare, had been a manipulative sort who played right into the rabbit’s vanity and greed…and had also slipped a sleeping medicine into Mr. Hare’s tea before the race, causing him to pass out before the finish line.
So, honestly, what was it worth to have a dishonest, cheating tortoise in the world, if by terminating him, I would free myself from the proverbial (or, possibly literal) noose?
Little did I know before creeping over there during the dead of night, Mr. Tortoise was a collector of fine samurai swords, and well skilled in the ways of the Japanese martial arts…

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