That's My Giant Friend's Furry Tail You Are Talking AboutBy Timothy
"That was a twenty," I told the cashier. As he was counting his cash drawer and the customers were starting to become restless, I looked with pride at the new book I had just bought. It was a book for my girlfriend. It was the first volume of cartoon drawings of giant and small animals, by a Mr. B. N. I can't wait to see my girlfriend's expression, when I give it to her on her birthday.
I do not mind the small animal pictures, but big animals, giants and so on, make me nervous. I think that is due to the fact that I am afraid of heights.
Finally, after the cashier found I had indeed given him a twenty, I could now pay for the book and get going. A few of the customers, who were waiting in line, gave me a few disdainful looks and mumbled a few not so nice words under their breath. Geez, I wasn't the one who made the mistake.
It was getting dark and I was aways from home. I climbed into my car and pulled out on to the main street. Forty minutes into my drive I found myself on a real quiet road. I was outside of the city and in more pastoral area. Up ahead, I noticed a bright light. A really bright light. It was so bright it was blocking my vision. I pulled off to the side of the road.
The lights were still blazing. "Maybe their had been an accident. Yes, that must be it," I thought to myself. I left my car to see if I could be of help. When I came nearer to the lights, I heard voices. But they seemed to be coming from above me.
I heard one voice, and it sounded like a boys voice, say, "I can't find anything Hueky would want."
Another voice, but this time it was a girl's voice. "Well, we better be getting going. You know we can only stay in this sector for only a few more minutes. Otherwise, we will be stranded here."
The next thing I heard, before something hard fell on my head, was, "No! Don't drop it , I see something moving..."
When I came to, I heard singing. At first, I thought maybe it was the songs of angels in their heavenly choir. No such luck. Instead, it sounded like a group of kids singing off key and very loudly. The words weren't quit right, but it sounded like a birthday song.
I was becoming worried, when all I could see was a few round circles of light. I was thinking something must have happened to my eyes. As I was wondering about my eyes, and where the HECK AM I, I found I was being rocked about. The sound of the children's voices increased with excitement.
The light was overwhelming at first. But when my eyes adjusted, I felt relieved to find my eyes were undamaged. However, when I saw the giant raccoon face smiling down on me, I figured I had brain damage.
Other giant raccoon faces started to appear around the first one. A giant paw came reaching in towards me. Seeing those long finger like claws, I didn't know what was going to happen. I was firmly grasped in its paw. I was brought right up in front of its face. It was definitely a raccoon's face, with a humanoid shape to it.
"And it is mine to keep," it said, in a very happy voice.
"Yes it is," said another, but older sounding voice.
The giant raccoon started to tickle my stomach. The more I resisted, and asked for it to stop, the more pleasure it seemed to be having. Soon, the other raccoons joined in tickling me.
I heard, that older voice again, "Hueky, what do you say to your brother and sister."
"Thank you, Zimosk and Melojudra!"
Hueky, with youthful excitement, squeezed me up against his furry face. To my fears of all fears, he placed me on top of his head. Getting down on my hands and knees, I inched my way over to his nearest fifteen foot black and gray ear. I grabbed on to it for dear life. I buried my face in the fur of Hueky's ear.
Gaining courage, well, some anyway, I looked up and out. There was about twelve of these giant racoons, though most of them appeared to be children. As I said before, they looked like raccoons but in a humanoid shape. Their clothing was similar to ours, except everyone including the adults wore shorts.
I saw one larger racoon get up. This was the one Hueky called Zimosk. This must be Hueky's older brother. He was wearing something like a black leather vest. He wore a large gold chain around his neck, to me, it looked like the type of chain you would attach to a boat's anchor. He came over and before I could react, picked me up by my mid-section. His face seemed tense to me. After studying me for a moment, his face lightened up. And a smile appeared on his face. I did find those pearly white fangs of theirs a bit frightening at first.
One raccoon child, spoke up and said to Hueky, "Hey, your brother finds your pet cute." Zimosk's smile faded and he got that strained look again. He must think it is un-cool to show any feelings in-front of kids. Maybe, he is a teenager. Well, that proves there are certain constants in the universe: not to appear un-cool in front of your younger brother's friends.
While I was studying the giant raccoons, I forgot my fear of heights. At least for a moment, when I looked down, I became so scared, well, I had to have a change of clothes.
Later, after the party, Hueky took me into his room. He placed me on the floor. He loomed over me for a moment. I was actually becoming charmed by Hueky's big wide smiling furry face. I couldn't help and give out a chuckle seeing him in blue shorts with a fuzzy tail coming out in back.
Hueky, got on the floor and stretched out. For a while, he was telling me about all the cool things he had. He pointed out several of the more prominent things with one of his longer finger-claws. He then said to me, "You are no longer an orphan. I will take good care of you."
I asked, "An orphan?"
"Yeah. By mistake, my brother dropped something on your head. He brought you aboard his star cruiser. After he fixed you up, there wasn't time to bring you back to your planet. And your solar system is out of range now."
"Hueky?" I asked. "When will it be in range again."
"Not for many of your centuries. But, now, you are part of my family and you are my life charge. That is why I said you are no-longer an orphan."
At bedtime, Hueky slept in a circle on a circular bed. I had something like a sock to sleep in, which Hueky kept under one of his paws. Sleep came slowly to me. And before it came, I realized this is my new home. Strange to be sure---but home.
Hueky, took me to school, to show me off to his school-mates. When one raccoon kid approached, Hueky whispered to me, "That's Awfel, he is a big dope. He is always teasing me, about my little tail. He says I will always have a baby's tail."
When Awfel, came over he said, "What you got there, small tail." Hueky became silent.
I looked at Awfel's snout and saw it looked more like snout on a bulldog. When he came closer, I yelled up to me, "What is wrong with your snout". Several kids started gathering around.
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"Well," I said. "It looks like you ran into a wall. Maybe say, a few hundred times." Several kids started laughing. Awfel was trying to show it didn't bother him.
I motioned for Awfel to bring his face down to mine. I said to him, "No one likes to be made fun of. Get my drift?"
He gave me a slight nod of the head and I suppose, to save face, he said, "Oh, you sound like a stupid adult." He then left.
Hueky, put me back into his chest belt pocket. He then said, "Hey, that was supernova what you said. But come to mention it, what you said did sound like what an adult would say."
Looking up at Hueky, I told him kidding around, "No need to be insulting." He gave me a friendly tap to the top of my head.
After he put the shirt on, Hueky put on his chest belt that ran diagonal from his right shoulder down to the left side of his waist. "They're going to have a party for me at school. Wait until you see the great food-- we will have Varmora, it's supernova!" He then started fastening his chest belt to a clip on his Khaki like shorts.
Varmora, I found after my first week here among these giant Raccoons, meant life charge. In fact, during these first two months here, I never told Hueky my name. I proceeded to jump up and down on the floor to Hueky's bedroom trying to get his attention. When he did notice me, he squatted down, resting his paws on his two knees. "What's up?"
"I wanted to tell you my name."
"You already have a name," said Hueky.
"Yes, but I haven't told you my Earthly name." I was about to tell him my name when I backed up a tiny bit, and I rubbed up against something sharp. "Ouch!" I shouted.
Hueky cocked his head. "Ouch. That's an alien sounding name." I wanted to tell him that wasn't my name but a mistake. Before I could tell him anything, he started parading around his room yelping loudly, "Ouch, Ouch, what strange names you plain skinned little creatures have." I was glad that I hadn't used a different curse word, especially with Hueky loudly proclaiming it. Of-course, they wouldn't know (I think) what those words meant.
When he stopped parading around, I ran up to the front of Hueky's gigantic paws, where the long black saber shaped nails jetted out. I reached over and pulled on a few strands of paw fur. "Yeah, little Ouch," he giggled. "What is it?"
I shouted up to him, "That isn't my name." He wiggled his snout. I explained to him, "Ouch is a word we use (sometimes) when we hurt ourselves. I had backed up into something that had pricked me."
"So, what's your name then?" Hueky asked.
Hueky bent down and brought his face right over me. He was about to say something to me but stopped. He turned toward his bedroom door, knocking me over with his whiskers in the process. Getting back on to my feet, he then whispered to me, "When we get hurt, we sometimes say...WORD CENSORED BY THE INTERPLANETARY LITERARY COUNCIL..." After Hueky had told me the word, he let out a nervous laugh.
From outside his door, Hueky's mother said, "Watch your mouth young man." We looked at each other with surprise. How did his mother hear that? Well, those are mothers for you!
Hueky placed me in the pocket of his chest belt and headed off for school. I didn't see Awfel when we got to school. He wasn't pleased with me, ever since I made fun of his snout. Many students throughout the day congratulated Hueky on his promotion among the student body. A few of them jokingly told Hueky they hoped this advancement wouldn't go to his head and he wouldn't start acting cosmic. I think the word cosmic for these giant Raccoon kids was the equivalent to the phrase: stuck-up, for us humans. Several of the students who were above Hueky in rank made a circle around him. These students, I observed, had gold lining going down the sides of their chest belts. Though their shirts were still purple like Hueky's. One larger raccoon kid pulled on Hueky's ears. They told him to make sure that he keeps his place.
They were about to leave when one kid said, "Look at the funny little creature." The kid who had pulled on Hueky's ears reached in and pulled me out of the chest belt. He then tossed me over to his buddy, who likewise threw me over to another kid. I was getting dizzy and sore from being grabbed by those large Raccoon paws. Not to mention, I am afraid of heights. Meanwhile, Hueky was trying to get me back.
The giant Raccoon kid holding me remarked, "Strange how this creature has no fur. Must get cold." I started asking the kid to let go. He ignored me. He then threw me back to one of his friends. When that friend tossed me over to the next one, I saw a large spinning object. The next thing I knew, I was in a pair of paws again. It was Hueky's! He had jumped up, made a spin and caught me. All within a few seconds. The giant kid who had remarked about me being fur-less, told Hueky, "Pretty good jump." The kid, in a surprisingly friendly act, rustled up Hueky's head of fur. The giant raccoon kids walked away.
Hueky put me back into his chest belt pocket and said to me, "I hope they didn't rough you up too much. You will feel better when we have that food later in the day." I had to cover my mouth when he said food, for I felt sick after all that tossing about.
It wasn't until the end of the school day that Hueky had his party. From what I could see out of the chest belt pocket, there were cakes, pies and cookies. It looked very much like a party back on Earth. There were other kids in purple shirts and others who were not. I was baffled about what exactly was happening. A teacher rang a bell and all the students became attentive. Maybe, I will find some answers.
The teacher folded her arms and said, "Today Hueky has attained his third level in academics. May he continue to study conscientiously during the remainder of this school cycle. With the increase of knowledge, we hope will come wisdom and his readiness to share it with others." The teacher started clapping and soon the entire class joined in---and me too.
Hueky took me out of his belt pocket and placed me on a table next to what appeared to be a chocolate cake. A cake that rose above me like a hill of sweet delight. I love chocolate. The room was becoming loud with the laughter and talking of children. Many children came up to me and asked questions. I had the inevitable pokes of giant finger-claws in my belly. It was a strange and comical sight, all those bobbing tails and attentive Raccoon ears. A group of girls came over to my table and I overheard one say to her friends how she thought it was cute the way Hueky wiggled his whiskers. The girls all giggled. I saw Awfel briefly in the crowds of kids. Hueky however, from what I could see was having a great time. One of Hueky's friends did tell me, when Awfel went to congratulate Hueky, he was reputed as saying, "You may be growing academically but you will always be a runt with a short tail." If that did happen, it's small potatoes on the part of Awfel.
After the party, it was time to go home. All the students had bags of goodies to bring home with them. On the way home, Hueky goofed around with his friends. When we returned home, Hueky told his parents and brother and sister about the party. His brother Zimosk lifted Hueky up and told him, "My little brother is growing up. Soon your adult whiskers will be coming in." He spun Hueky around a few times. It was one of the few times I saw Zimosk drop his "cool". After he put down Hueky, he asked his brother if he could take his chareg (me) to a friend's house. Hueky wasn't too keen on the idea. Neither was I. "I would be careful with your Varmora."
Hueky told his brother and the other members of his family, "His name is Jonathan."
"Whatever you say, Hueky. Anyway, you will be having friends over here tonight." This was the start of the giants' weekend. Hueky looked down with worried eyes at me. Seeing the worried look in his brother's eyes, Zimosk said, "I would let nothing happen to him. But if you are really worried about it, I don't have to bring him with me."
Hueky looked at me, at his brother, back to me and finally back to his brother. "Ok Zimosk, you can bring him with you." Zimosk thanked his brother and even gave him a quick hug. Zimosk picked me up and placed me in the front pocket of the black vest he had on. This was the first time I had ever gone anywhere without Hueky, who then gave me a little nudge with his cold snout. After which, Zimosk rushed into his bedroom and started combing a large ruff of fur on his upper-chest. I had noticed that on other older males. They comb that bit of fur, as we do the waves of hair on the top of our head. When Zimosk was done with his fur, he put on his gold neck chain.
A beeping sound came from a inside vest pocket. "That's my friends-- they are here now." He quickly said good-bye to his parents and left the dwelling. The vehicle his friends were in, was a dark circular object. Once inside, Zimosk showed me to his friends. One of his friends, a girl, held me and lightly stroked the top of my head.
Another friend, a guy named Wantag, grabbed me rather aggressively with his paw. When he set me upright in the palm of his paw, I gasped for air. Wantag was wearing a yellow golf shirt and had the smell of cologne on him. The girl he had taken me from slapped him in the arm and told him to be careful with me. He patted me on the top of the head and in a child's voice said, "I hope I didn't hurt you, tiny one." I was about to tell him not to speak to me like I was a child, when Zimosk told Wantag that I was an adult.
"I wish I could go to the planet where you found him. I would like to have one," said Wantag.
I told Wantag, "The planet is called Earth." I then started thinking that my last time on Earth was during the elections for a new president. Candidates talk about issues of security, money and why they should be elected, and yet little do they know, there are creatures in the deepest reaches of space that would see them as nothing more than pets.
We arrived at the home of one of Zimosk's friends. Like parties back on Earth, there was music playing, bowls of food and a parent's voice in the background telling the teenagers not to play the music too loud or stay up late. Several of these giant adolescent Raccoons had different tinted fur. Wantag had streaks of blue in his fur. Others had red, orange and streaks of blond. For most of the party, I was passed around everyone and I told them bits about myself. The Raccoon with streaks of blond in his fur, for a while, kept sliding me down his furry leg. He was telling his friends that I enjoyed it, when in reality, it was him. Zimosk gave me something like beer to drink. It was good. Very good. I had a few. And a few! And that is all I can remember of the party.
When we came back home, I do remember singing some song. Zimosk, kept me tucked away behind his vest, lest his parents heard my drunken stammering. I found his warm fur and the steady lub-dud, lub-dud of his heart starting to lull me off to sleep.
The next thing I knew, it was the next day. I found I had been sleeping in a shirt of Zimosk. My head felt like it was a thousand pounds. Zimosk, who was out of the room when I awoke, came lumbering in. He held a bottle cap between two finger-claws and told me I should drink from it. It would make me feel better. I asked him how smashed was I at the party. He said, "I don't know what smashed means but you had a good time tickling the ears of the girls. Nothing topped your getting sick in a platter of sliced meat."
"Sorry," I told him. Zimosk said I should forget about it. Hueky, came into Zimosk's bedroom followed by two of his friends. Hueky got on to his knees and quickly gathered me up in his enormous furry hand. He rubbed me up against his furry face. Hueky's two friends were jumping up and down on Zimosk's bed. Zimosk swiftly chased them out of his room.
At breakfast, which I had very little of, Hueky was telling all of us that the parents of one of his friends wanted him to join them on Oggentul Mountain for a little air-cruising. Hueky's parents talked it over and thought it would be ok for Hueky to go. Hueky wanted me to come. I wasn't in the mood for a trip, but I didn't want to disappoint my furry friend. Before we left, I slipped into a fresh pair of clothes that Hueky's sister Melojudra had been so good to make for me.
It was about a thirty minute trip by air-car; we had to drop off one of Hueky's friends, then on to the summit of Oggentul Mountain. The summit was leveled off so it could accommodate large numbers of people, their flying cars and a few restaurants. Hueky started to tighten the pocket I was in. I couldn't figure why so I asked him, "Hey, why are you tightening the pocket."
"So you won't fall out while we are flying."
"Flying!" He then told me he was going to be doing a little air-cruising. From Hueky's pocket, I could see a technician coming with a large orange hang-glider. He was also handed a pair of headphones. "Hueky, aren't you kind of young to do this?"
Talking more to his friend's parents, than to me, he said, "I'm an experienced flier." Two technicians came and helped Hueky into the gliders aluminum seat and strapped him in. When I saw we were taken to the edge of the mountain, I thought I was going to faint. Hueky said to me, "I know you hate heights but trust me."
I closed my eyes when we were pushed off the edge of the mountain. For a minute I felt air rushing past my face. A sensation of upward movement then over came me. I opened up my eyes. We indeed were flying! Hueky's world spread out beneath us. It gave me a chance to really see his world. Instead of the square strutures as we do on Earth, these buildings were more cone shaped. The towns too were a series of cones. The landscape reminded me of the rolling and gentle hills of Missouri.
I heard a voice come over Hueky's headset saying, "Extend main wings for atmosperic cruising." I saw one wing open up majestic beauty. I waited for the other wing to open up. A sickening feeling came over me, when I heard Hueky report he had a problem.
"Didn't they teach you any emergency procedures," I shouted up to Hueky.
"I lied to my friend's parents. I never took flying lessons. And I lied to my parents. I told them I was just going to watch." Another voice came over the headset telling Hueky to keep calm and told him several things to try. When all those things failed, Hueky contacted them. "I tried everything you said, nothing is working." Hueky stopped talking for a moment. He then resumed. "I see a little metal hook dangling from where the wing should extend." They told him what we both knew. It had to be connected.
Meanwhile, several gliders came around us. Hueky said, "Maybe they can help us." However we were losing altitude. I knew what had to be done. I started to squeeze myself out of the pocket. "What are you doing?" asked Hueky. I told him I had to get to his right arm and crawl along it to the broken spring. I was so scared, my entire body went numb.
When I got to his arm, I started to inch my way across. I looked down for a moment. "Oh man," I shouted out loud to myself. To keep my mind off the terrible height, I started singing. I made up the song as I made my way for the spring. "We are giant Raccoons from outer space, look at us fly." I noticed that the other gliders that were trailing us, were verging away. I could see why. We were heading for a three column building. When I got to the spot, I realized I had to stand up if I was going to reach the spring. Standing up, I looked toward Hueky and looked at his expectant eyes. I knew we hadn't much time before we plunged into the ever growing struture.
I grabbed hold of the spring. Hueky let out a joyful yelp. With all my strength, I pulled down on the spring. I was almost there, yet not all the way. A quick thought came into my mind and it was, "Sometimes, it is a simple thing that can decide whether life goes on or stops." I wasn't going to stop. With what strength I had left, I forced the hook end of the spring into the slot. The wing opened up. I yelled over to Hueky, "The rest is up to you!"
We were almost on top of the building. Turning sideways slightly, Hueky took advantage of an up draft which took us up and over the top. The draft from our tail knocked over a few people who were eating out on the open terrace. I could hear them hurtling their insults at us. But who cared, we survived! I crawled over to Hueky's shoulder and climbed up on to his head. I stood there hanging on to his huge furry ear. "You did it Hueky," I said to him. "Hey, I am no longer afraid of heights."
"You mean you did it Jonathan. After what you just did, I think you can say good-bye to your fear."
"No! We both did it." I was so happy, that I kissed his ear. He chuckled. It was a beautiful sight when we glided into an empty field. Hueky unbuckled himself from his seat and took me in hand.
He looked at me sheepishly for a moment and then said, "I guess what I did was stupid. We both could have died." He gave me a stare with his big soulful eyes. "I suppose I should tell everybody what happened." I knew he was looking for advice from me. I just explained to him that it is his decision and his alone to make. I knew that he would make the right decision.
And he did!
That's My Giant Furry Friend Who's RockingThe time of Hueky's punishment, being grounded for a month, for nearly getting himself and me killed in a gliding affair, was over. He celebrated his liberation by inviting a growp of his friends for a sleepover.
They were an active bunch. Two of his friends started tossing me back and forth with their tails as if I were a tennis ball. Hueky put a stop to that. One of his friends, named Genthu, wanted to carry me on his furry head. I hung on to his black and gray ear that rose above me. A few times I stuck my arm into his ear and tickled him. He made a loud sound, that I guess was a giggle. It sounded to me something like a combination of a yelp and a gurgle.
Later, they talked about few of the female students that caught their eyes. They are growing up!
When bed time came,finally, they all slept on Hueky's bedroom floor. I slept in Hueky's curled up tail.
In the morning, the hyper-energy of youth resumed. Hueky's brother Zimosk wasn't too pleased with all the questions and teasing Hueky's friends inflicted upon him. His mother made stacks after stacks of what appeared to look and taste like pancakes.
His friends wanted to go to a nearby park to play a few games. Hueky left me at his home for he was afraid that I could get hurt. I spent most of the day alone in his room. I looked up and out his bedroom window and started thinking about Earth and my girl friend. By now, she and everyone else would have given up on me. I would be one more file among the many other files of missing people, gathering dust in a police file cabinet. I also thought, if my girl friend looked up at the night sky, little did she know, I was somewhere in that cosmic light display.
When Hueky returned, he noticed my melancholy. He picked me up in his huge furry paw and took me out in his back yard. I pointed to a growp of stars that reminded me of the Milky Way. (see picture)
Back in his room, he was telling me of a school talent show. He and his friend Genthu wanted to do something different and fun. Hueky thought maybe do a few songs since he and his friend had been learning to play the Othupaian, from his description, sounded like an Earth guitar. I asked him, 'I didn't know you could play an instrument or sing?'
'The cycle (year) before, I was in the school's choir.' A smile then appeared on his face and his tail started to whip back and forth. 'There is this girl I like, Payora. I would like to come up with something special to perform for her.' I put my hand to my mouth trying to think of something.
After a few minutes of silence as we thought, Hueky said, 'Jonathan, what songs do they sing on your planet?'
I told him, 'I am not fond of vocals. Except--- there is a singer who I think is great; named Roy Orbison.' An idea struck me. 'There is a famous song of his, maybe you might like.'
Hueky, was excited by the idea. As best I could, I explained the song and its words to my furry giant friend.
After he turned off the lights, he brought me up against his furry face in an affectionate jesture. 'I guess, you would miss your own kind. But, I will always be your friend and you will always be family too.' He gave me a nudge of his cold black snout. Another sign of friendship and respect. I nestled up against his furry face.
The next day at school, Hueky, wanted me to explain the song and the melody to his friend Genthu. Taking me into a room full of all sorts of fancy looking computers, Hueky and Genthu tried to find the melody I was talking about. I tried singing it. Meanwhile, the two raccoon pre-teens worked on their sophisticated computer.
Afterwards, as they were leaving school, Hueky ran into that girl,Payora. He was kind of awkward as he spoke to her. When we were walking home, I told him, 'Don't be shy, my giant friend. You're a cool dude (I told him what that meant)-- strut your stuff.'
For a span, I guess,of about two weeks, Hueky, Genthu and a few of his other friends worked on their musical number.
It was the BIG NIGHT! In the school's assembly hall, on a stage was the set up for Hueky's group. The instruments were very similar to those on Earth. I was all excited for Hueky. My heart was racing. I also wondered how his peers will like this music from a planet of 'plain skinned ones.'
I was with Hueky's brother, standing up in his vest pocket. The lights in the assembly hall dimmed, several colored lights flooded the stage. Walking up to the mike, Hueky said to the audience, 'This is a song by a famous Earth singer, named Roy Orbison.' I didn't think he was going to do it, for he had told me wearing them made him nervous. But he did do it! He put on a pair of dark sunglasses.
First came the steady beat of the tom-tom. Then the first guitar, followed by the bass guitar. When the first words appeared, 'Pretty woman walking down the street...', I nearly jumped out of Zimosk's vest pocket with excitement. I was really surprised and pleased to hear what a great voice Hueky had. And it was so weird seeing giant raccoon kids singing this song as their tails swung to the beat.
I looked around to see, the best I could, how everyone liked the song. They loved it. Especially the male raccoons. They all were yelping and howling.
During the words, '...I need you.' He looked toward Payora. Hueky and Genthu, during the instrumental, jumped and spun backwards in the air, while still playing their guitars!
When it was over, Hueky and Genthu got many cheers. When they were leaving school, Payora went up to Hueky and told him how great she thought he was. Walking off with her, I could see Hueky walking with a real strut in his stride.
That's my giant boy raccoon who is a-grooving.
PS---Story inspired by "Shrinkingman's story and cartoon!