Tuesday, December 3, 2013
inside the tree
She crouched and knocked on the wooden door. It opened a crack. "Hi, Stanley," she said.
"If you come look at my art it's possible for me to show you how triumphalism in a patriarchal system encumbered by fake-feathered birds who have the destructive tendency to keep robots in their clutches is the antithesis of riding on a hinny."
There was a faint rustling behind the door.
"Are you there?" said Angela.
"Yeah," he said.
"You're sitting in the grass."
"Yes. Yes, I am."
"You're talking with me."
"Correct," she said.
Faint rustling again.
"What are you doing in there?"
"Looking at my dort book."
Angela smiled. She was positive it was the first time he'd opened it of his own accord in eight years. "What part are you looking at?"
"The map in the back."
Wes called from the distance. "Hey! I'm looking for my old noodenbaker. I can't find it anywhere and I'm thinking I gave it to you."
"I don't think so," Angela called back, "But I'll check with Stanley. He would remember something like that."
"Hey, Stanley. Wes is looking for his noodenbaker. He thinks he might—"
"No! I don't have his noodenbaker! Tell him to take a hike!"
"He just couldn't remember what he did with it, that's all." She tried to spot Wes but couldn't see where he went. "Stanley? Can you give me a piece of paper?"
He slipped it through the crack and tossed out a pen.
Angela wrote in block letters. DEAR WES, WE DON'T HAVE YOUR NOODENBAKER. MAYBE YOU GAVE IT TO THE JENNINGS. Then she folded it into a paper airplane, stood up, and threw it in his general direction.
"Christmas is coming."
"Yeah," he said.
Angela crouched and inched closer to the door. "I have plans to decorate your tree. The one you're in, that is. I'll use the red garland and twist some green around it and I'll get some little sparkly bobbles that look sort of like stars and then if you'll stick out your telescope I can—"
The paper airplane landed a couple of feet away so she got up off her haunches to fetch it. Upon unfolding it she read ANGELA, I CHECKED WITH THE JENNINGS ALREADY. THEY DON'T HAVE IT. I'M GOING TO ASK JAMES.
She spoke into the crack again. "Wes says he's going to check with James about the noodenbaker."
At that, there began an awful thrashing and thumping inside the tree.
"Stanley?" Angela said. "Stanley?"
One of the tree branches looked like it was going to break from all the ruckus.
"Stanley, I don't understand why you're angry."
"Because!" he yelled. "Why go on and on about it? Just back off already! I don't have his f_cking noodenbaker!"
Then the door shut.
Angela lied down and closed her eyes. When she opened them she wondered if she had fallen asleep because there in front of her was a notebook, a red cover with white lined paper. When she opened it, there on the first page was a drawing of a black sheep. When she turned the page there was another. "Oh!" she said. "There's more than one."