Monthly Archives: May 2017

No. 607

“So, let me get this straight,” said the chicken to the pig. “Your name is ‘Ham’, but you don’t have any idea what’s going to happen to you?”

“I still don’t understand what you mean,” said Ham. “I like my name.”

The chicken shook his head. “They’re going to eat you. ‘Ham’ is a kind of meat!”

Ham laughed. “That’s not true. It’s short for ‘Hammond’. Ham is a good name.”

“I feel like you’re grasping at straws here,” the chicken sighed.

A horse wandered in from the field. “What are you guys talking about?” it asked.

“Ham, over here, he doesn’t think he’s going to end up as, well, ham,” explained the chicken.

“Yeah,” said the horse. “That’s a strong possibility. And bacon. He’ll end up as ham and bacon.”

Ham was upset. “Why are you saying this to me? Why are you being so cruel?”

The horse pointed his nose at the chicken. “Nugget just learned what his name means, and he’s sort of taking it out on everybody.”

“Shut up,” said Nugget.

“I’ve seen this a couple of times,” said the horse.

“Really?” asked Ham.

“Mmhm,” confirmed the horse.

“How come you’re not concerned?” asked Ham.

The horse rolled his eyes. “What’s my name?”

“Beauty,” said Nugget, with some resentment.

“That’s right,” said Beauty. “Nobody eats a ‘Beauty’.”

“Well, this is just unfair,” declared Ham. “Why aren’t we doing anything about it?”

“It’s not really my problem,” said Beauty.

“I don’t have teeth,” said Nugget.

Ham stomped his foot on the ground. “We’re just going to give up and be dinner?”

“Not my problem,” said Beauty.

“You just said that,” said Ham. “You’re not helping.”

“I can’t fly,” said Nugget.

Ham couldn’t believe it. “You guys are the worst.”

“I bet you’re delicious,” said Beauty.

Ham ignored him. “I have too much to live for. And I have teeth. And I can dig. Nugget, you’re useless, but you can follow me out of here, if you want.”

Nugget perked up. “I do want.”

Ham looked around. “Ok. Give me fifteen minutes, then meet me by in the far-corner of the yard.”


Beauty watched from a distance as the others wriggled under the fence and disappeared into the woods. He leaned down to take a bite of grass. “I bet a fox gets them,” he said, to nobody in particular.

“What was that?” said Angus, the bull.

“Nothing,” said Beauty. “Don’t worry about it.”


No. 606

The sun baked down on the nearly deserted beach. Two men were sheltered beneath a small, improvised lean-to.

“You’re attracting ants,” said the man on the left.

“Classic ‘man versus nature’ conflict,” was the reply he got.

“That’s not helpful,” the first man insisted.

“Oh, I’m sorry we’ve been stuck here for two weeks eating bread and Cheese Whiz you found in the cooler, but sure, ants are our biggest problem. You know what? I don’t even think this is real Cheese Whiz. I think it’s a knock-off brand, like your ridiculous ‘Somy’ GPS that stranded us here. Now we’re lost on a totally charted island, but we don’t know which one. Those ants, though.”

“If they’re leaf-eating ants, they could wreck our shelter.”

“The shelter? Have you tried burning it down? That will get them.”

“I’ve considered clubbing you with driftwood. Many times.”

“’Man versus man’. Now the conflict is getting intense! Are you scared to do it? Could we add ‘man versus himself’ to this heady mix of drama?”

“Just shut up. Maybe you never made it to shore after the wreck. Missing, out to sea. It’s the perfect crime. I didn’t want to have to kill you.”

“How noble.”

“What did I just say about shutting up? And what about these ants?”

The other man said nothing.

“Good,” said the man on the left.

He stopped talking to himself while the body beside him continued to rot.