Archive for April, 2006

April 15, 2006

I checked in on Mumphred to see whether or not he’d stopped moaning.
I found him sitting on the edge of the shelf, looking out into the bedroom.

“Hey Mumphred! Feeling any better?” I asked.

“No. I wish I’d just die.”

“Really? You could always jump. The fall might kill you.”

Mumphred stretched his neck forward and looked down. “You think so?” he said.

“You never know. It’s worth a shot. But you don’t really want to die, do you?”

“I do. I just don’t want to kill myself.” Mumphred sat ponderously for a while, and I waited in silence. “Would you mind pushing me?”

I laughed at him. “I didn’t bring you up to the shelf just to push you off it. I’m going to help you fight the poodle.”

“Oh. I see. I’m not sure I trust you to help me, but I’m not sure it matters. I don’t know your name. Perhaps if I knew your name it might help,” said Mumphred.

“I don’t have a name because I’m just the author’s avatar. You can call me whatever you like. Earlier you seemed quite fond of ‘Dishonorable Rat.’ Maybe you’d like to call me that?”

“I’d like you to push me off the edge of the shelf. That’s what I’d like, but I don’t suppose you’re going to.
“My second choice would be to push you off the edge, but I have had no success in my previous attempts to harm you. They say ‘try and try again,’ but I’ve done that with you and with dying and with the poodle. Nothing I set out to achieve ever happens. I’m not going to set out to achieve anything anymore. Other plushies can set out things for me to achieve.
“So Rat, if that’s what you want your name to be, why’d you bring me up here? What would you like me to achieve?”

I sat down next to Mumphred and we both looked out into the messy bedroom. Down, far below the shelf, we could see the poodle roaming about and sniffing at the furniture. Looking for scraps of food. Or maybe it was looking for Mumphred. At the distant sound of the refrigerator opening, its ears suddenly perked up and it stood motionless for a moment. Then it ran out of the room at great speed.
Mumphred looked at me, his eyes empty and almost lifeless. He was like an emotional black-hole trying to suck in energy from his surroundings, but no matter what he drew into himself he would never feel sustained.
I felt a twang of pity, I wanted to tell him to just stay up on the shelf where it would be safe. The poodle would never reach him here, the torment would end, and he could live the rest of his days in peace.
But that would be an incredibly boring end to the story, and I just could not do it. I had to remain focused and dispassionate about his plight.
Instead I began to explain to him about where he needed to go and what he needed to do. I told him there was only one way to defeat the poodle.
I told him of the Vuvuzela.

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