Storytime: In the Bog.

October 19th, 2016

“Hello there.”
“What are you doing?”
“Well, I can see that. But d’you mind telling me how that happened?”
“Oh come on, I won’t make fun. It’s just the two of us here.”
“Fine, fine. Have it your way. I won’t make a fuss. It’s YOUR funeral. Your bog. Your bog-ridden, slow-sinking funeral.”
“Thank you.”
“Oh, don’t mention it. No stranger to that myself. D’you know, half my siblings died in bogs?”
“Yes! They saw a mammoth stuck in one and they ran in after it and got stuck too and it sunk the lot of ‘em before you could say ‘saber-toothed.’”
“I’m sorry to hear that.”
“Sarcasm doesn’t become you.”
“Soon, mineralization will become me. I don’t really care what you say.”
“Oh PLEASE. We all die sooner or later, and we all know it. What makes THIS moment so special that you’re going to discard all society and manners so you can…wallow in it?”
“I’m dying.”
“You were doing that this morning and I’m sure you were positively lovely company then. It’s just more obvious now, that’s all.”
“What do you WANT?”
“You know you can’t eat me, and you’re not trying to. You know you can’t help me, and I know you’re not trying to. All you’re doing is sitting there on the edge of the bog and chattering like a bald glyptodont in a snowstorm. Shouldn’t you be snoozing under a tree somewhere, waiting for dusk so you can murder something fuzzy and harmless in its sleep?”
“You know, I don’t HAVE to eat and sleep all day.”
“Are you sure you’re a predator?”
“Of course I am. See these teeth? Look at these canines?”
“I’m looking.”
“They’re bigger than bananas, aren’t they?”
“Sure. What are bananas?”
“Search me. In contrast, compare your own set of gnashers.”
“Flat. Broad. Ridged.”
“Yes. Good for mashing things with tough husks, not stabbing big soft flabby hunks of meat. More like cobblestones.”
“Right. What are cobblestones?”
“Who knows? And besides that, if you compare our bodies-”
“Don’t make me laugh.”
“-IF you compare our bodies, you can see that I’m fairly short and stubby and tight around the tum. I don’t need a big intestine, see, because what I’m eating is pretty well packaged for digestion already. “
“Yay for you.”
“By way of contrast, you’ve got a great big barrel-belly, sort of a mobile fermentation factory for all those plants you’re gobbling up all day.”
“Thank you oh so very much.”
“You are quite welcome.”
“And you said I was being sarcastic.”
“Well, you’re contagious. And fair play is fair play.”
“What kind of play? You never did tell me why you’re still here.”
“I’m bored and you look like you could use the company.”
“I’m dying.”
“Again, this is not a new problem for any of us. And who wants to die alone?”
“If you’re so in love with the idea of sociable death why didn’t you play follow-the-leader with all your siblings and leave me in peace?”
“…you know, that was a very heartless thing to say.”
“Can’t be; my heart’s the size of your torso. And I put my heart into it, believe me. Hey, where you going? Did I touch a nerve? Did I twiddle your whiskers?”

“Well, good.”

“About time.”

“This is better.

“Hello again.”
“Hello. Again.”
“I’ve decided to forgive you for your interminable snappishness once more.”
“Once more?”
“It’s been an ongoing process.”
“Oh boo-hoo for you. I’m sure it’s an absolute martyrdom.”
“Well, as you’ve pointed out, I COULD be spending all day napping. Unlike some people I have to work for my meals, and outsmart them.”
“You call an hour’s work every three days work?”
“You call chewing as you walk work?”
“Herbivore. Agree to disagree?”
“If it gets you to stop talking.”
“About this, yes.”
“Fine. And you still haven’t told me why you won’t go away.”
“Well, you still haven’t told me how you ended up in there. Fair’s fair.”
“I’m sorry?”
“Shut up. And if you laugh, I’m not saying another word. Got it?”
“There was a tree.”
“Well, there are an awful lot of those around here.”
“Shut up. There are gradients. This was a good tree. A nice little sapling with plenty of fresh shoots. It was like candy.”
“What’s candy?”
“Shut up. And I had to rear up, just a little, to reach the upper branches, to drag it down, and…”
“The whole thing tipped over and you stumbled and tripped and rolled right in?”
“Shut UP! Why can’t you SHUT UP? Why’d you even ask me to say anything if everything I say is just going to be drowned out and blanketed by and covered with you NOT SHUTTING UP!?”
“Well, I could see the sapling sticking out of the bog already, so I’d sort of guessed myself. I just thought it might be healthy if you could bring yourself to talk about it.”
“Healthy? I’m dying. In ten minutes you’ll be talking to a few bubbles and you’ll be able to babble until your lips fall off.”
“Yes indeed. It’s healthy not to dwell on that sort of thing.”
“You’re practically dwelling in my face. Either tell me why you haven’t gone away or jam your head in the deep end.”
“If you really must know-”
“-it’s a nice day, and I had a good meal last night, and-”
“Who was it?”
“-some little squeaky thing that was trying to run up a tree – and as I was looking for a nice place to lie down and sleep –”
“KNEW it-”
“-I saw someone who looked very lonely and tired and decided to give them some company.”
“Because they reminded me of my siblings, and how sad it would’ve been if they’d each been alone.”

“Do you know, I think you’re sinking faster now.”
“It’s cumulative.”
“I suppose.”
“Oh, very well if you insist. Here, budge over.”
“Are you sure?”
“Please. I was dying this morning anyways. D’you know, that little squeaky thing had FOAM dripping out of its mouth? Should’ve known.”
“Thank you.”
“It’s no problem at all. Now, let’s watch the bubbles.”

Jen’s Bog predator trap:
A classic fossil site in the mode of the famous La Brea Tar Pits; Jen’s Bog has given up the remains of dozens of trapped animals since initial excavation began in 1923. Many, such as this Smilodon, were lured in by the prospect of easy food, only to become ensnared and face death alongside their prospective meals; in this case a giant ground sloth. Predator and prey died side by side.

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