The Thistlebury Tales, part 1

Outside the City of Smith, in the valley of buried furs, there's a small fiefdom known as Thistle Park. This domain is so named because of an abundance of birds, mostly the little black kind that make a shrill, annoying, single-note call and do such endearing things as building nests, hatching eggs, and letting their little ones fall to their deaths, all inside the exhaust vents of furnaces, thereby rendering said furnaces inoperable and causing their owners to have to saw the pipes in half to flush the rotted corpses of baby birds out into a bucket. Oh, my mistake. It's named for the chest-high thistles festooning the grounds.

In the eastern estate of Thistle Park, where the thistles grow thickest and tallest, is a quaint, old Butler grain silo twenty feet across and about eight feet high at the wall. No grain has laden this structure for many years, and a small flock of odious birds have taken up residence within. They aren't the little black kind that make a shrill, annoying, single-note call and do such things as...well, they're not the ones I was talking about earlier. These nefarious fowl are of several breeds: Buff Orpington, Ameruacana, and most diabolically, Golden Sex-Link. How the last arrived at their designation, I shall never know.

In other words, the granary's got chickens in it.

Our story begins, not three paragraphs ago, but when the master of the eastern estate at Thistle Park stepped out his front door this very evening, only to find the garage doors shut and locked. Returning through the front door, which, inexplicably, is on the same side of the manor as the back door, the undaunted master of the house walked through to the back door, which, inexplicably, is on the same side of the structure as the front door, and boldly opened the garage door from the inside.

Thus freed to take up his water bucket and grain scoop, our hero proceeded fearlessly, and directly to the old granary to tend to the uncouth brood. His path, though carefully cut and cleared of obstacles, nevertheless took him through an ankle deep patch of noxious weeds.

Suddenly! something cold and slimy found its way right between the master's third and fourth toes. You see, the good man had made the mistake, once again, of wearing sandals to do a shoes sort of job. And what, you may ask, was between the unfortunate goodman's toes? Nothing less than a--the faint of heart may wish to cease reading at this point--a slug!

Now, some may say that wearing sandals into deep, slug-infested weeds is a foolhardy approach. I say that the brave master of the eastern estate at Thistle Park merely has a proclivity for taking life by the horns, as it were, and braving the unknown dangers of his realm the way a true hero should: in sandals. Socks, I maintain, are for wimps.

Our hero skillfully extracted the hapless mollusc from between his lower phalanges and continued on his mission of hope, daring, and avian dangers incomprehensible to the uninitiated. But the story of how he fearlessly walked directly under roosting hens not once, not twice, but four times, and the harrowing tale of the field of thorns which he crossed shod with nothing but thongs (oh, wait. They call them flop-flips these days, do they not?) must wait for another day.

The hour grows late, and the songs of the crickets call me to my bed. Goodnight for now, sweet reader. May flights of those little black birds that make a shrill, annoying, single-note call sing thee to thy rest.

I've got to get those crickets out of my bed.


  1. That's it? I write all that and that's all you have to say? I could have just said, "I stepped on a slug today," but where's the fun in that?

    Not that stepping on slugs isn't pretty fun to begin with, of course.


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