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Tatiana Schatten

Green Rain

Not based on true events

Sylvan was an adept hunter among the Spectacled Caimans. He, at first sight, appears lethargic  and lazy with an inability to catch even a slow Lowland Paca in his watery world. How false such a conclusion would be, and how far from reality! For it is this very patience and quietude, mistaken for lethargy, which permits Sylvan to capture his meal. And the perfect time for a meal is midday, when all animals but he are drowsy from their repast. And so it follows that on certain day, at noon, he could be found hunting- and staying still. The sun rays sifted  like a curtain through the rubbery leaves and vines above him as he awaited in the waters with only his eyes and nostrils breaking the surface. Unblinking, Sylvan visually searched the muddy bank before him for any signs of  life. He did not need to wait for long, for soon the bushes parted, and a young deer came forth and caused all of Sylvan’s reptile muscles to tense in preparation for the hunt. But the deer only daintily sipped the slew water, and ventured not into the pool. Once its thirst was quenched, it turned about and disappeared into the bush, unaware of the peril it had escaped. Next a sloth fell within the water nearby,  but that slow fellow swam t to safety before the caiman could even face its way. After came a foolish monkey which ventured into the pond, only to give Sylvan a long and fruitless chase. An owl had plunged in the water directly before him, but in a split second, it was on the wing once more, leaving behind a frustrated hunter. Many failures, though, often lead to a success, and so it seemed today, for after a half hour of the last episode, there came a prime opportunity for a meal. It came in the form of a small splash from behind Sylvan, and in his eagerness he spun about like a top and faced the cause of the noise. There, swimming boldly in the  murky water, was a Lowland Paca. Whether it had dared those depths out of recklessness or ignorance, I can not say. But I can say this: Sylvan was fully prepared to capture his daring prey. The round, brown, pale-striped figure came nearer and nearer,  but then, with a twitch of its long snout, the rodent halted its approach. Fears and suspicions, which  should have been present all along, began to form in the paca’s mind. It gazed about the pools surface with  enlargened eyes, and Sylvan was more still than ever he had been before. The paca’s bright eyes swept over him, yet  he remained unobserved. At length, the suspicions of the paca were hushed, and it continued forth, and in a few seconds was a foot and a half from the caiman. Sylvan watched and watched with eager eyes  as those paddling feet came within reach. Finally, the time for the lunge had arrived, and Sylvan swiftly gaped his jaws. His prey gave a scream of terror and attempted in vain to escape. But the escape was perhaps not as futile as it appeared, for before the paca could be snatched, there resounded a loud, rubbery “Whap!”as something green and heavy  fell flat upon Sylvan’s snout and shut it tight. Immediately after the caiman was scourged with not only one but a full downpour of these creatures from above. And what were they, these tumbling animals? They were Green Iguanas. In an immense horde they pattered upon the unfortunate caiman. For some time, there were  tails in his eyes and claws in his nose and toes in his mouth. The event was short-lived, though, and soon they swam away in a frenzy, and Sylvan again was alone. Yes, alone, for the paca had long fled and the caiman was left hungry in the water. But suddenly he heard a rubbery “Whap!” far above him and without another moment’s notice, Sylvan hastily opened his jaws, and had his meal. 

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Elisa Part 3

Not based on true events

Her entire countenance and demeanour was savage; her hair dishevelled and her ribbons tattered. At her feet, blocked from the awful rays of the sun, was the helpless snail groveling piteously in the dirt. “ I have watched you torture this harmless animal for long enough!” Elisa said stoutly, “Long enough! And I won’t stand for it anymore!” Peter, also shocked by her sudden appearance, came up behind her and asked if she were mad. “ Yes!” she declared, turning her head toward him, “ Hopping mad!” -evidently she had mistaken his meaning- “ And if you still want to bother this poor snail, you’ll have a tiff with me first!” With that, she balled her own little fists, and stood at a ninety degree angle to both the boys and looked as wild and as savage as a lioness. “ You are both bullies and cowards, and I’ll prove you such even if I get pounded!” Pounding a girl, though, was not high on the lists of things to do for these boys. Their own rascally selves would not think twice in performing such a deed,  but what would their parents say? Their teachers? The mayor? The LAW? Were they going to fight that bristling she-spider of silk and satin and lose their good repute with all of the authorities over a snail? No, no, they would not, and lowering their fists, they relaxed their stance, turned separate ways and vacated the premises, each whistling as if nothing had happened. Elisa watched them, devoting a few minutes in glaring at each. She was quite beside herself, and quite unaware of anything more than those ruffians until they disappeared, one around a bend and the other in a backstreet. It was then that she came to herself, and the ringing laughter of her mother who had been watching in amazement, sounded in her ears. Elisa also remembered the snail as well which was crawling pitifully at her feet, and without losing another moment, she took  it gently up by its multi-hued shell, crossed the cobblestone street and deposited it safely into a clump of bushes that was there. And the snail is yet there, even  to this day, and all because of Elisa.

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Elisa Part 2

Not based on true events

At this most unforeseen turn of events, Elisa’s eyes popped open and she watched the children playing before her yard with a renewed interest. The snail had already been swept from its perch and now was presumably on the ground, for Elisa could see nothing below the children’s knees for a nearby rosebush obstructed her view. But she could guess what was to happen next. Yes, she could guess, and every little muscle in that delicate body stiffened like iron and the grip in which she held on to her chair grew to a constrictor-like ferocity. Her mother, though, failed to take note of any change and continued to read. Elisa but listened to the voices of her peers now, and not to those quaint rhymes. “ Hey! It’s a big one!” Peter said, bending over and admiring the snail which Elisa could not see. The girl in the small group, though, would not draw nearer to it and shuddered. Matthew, who also was gazing at it, looked at her mischievously. “ You don’t like it, do you?” And raising himself up, he looked her straight in the eye, “ I picked up the stone, so now you pick up the snail!” But the girl only cringed away and would not obey. Then Peter himself bent over to the creature who was slowly moving away and picked it up for her. She immediately saw his intent and fled for safety. “ Awwww! It’s no fun scaring girls!” drawled Matthew with a dismissive flap of his hand,  “Let’s go to that strip of sun over there,” he pointed to a bright place a few steps away in the road, “and see how fast this snail can go!” His larger companion readily and energetically agreed. And so it was done, and the snail, under those uncomfortable conditions, did move slightly faster but not fast enough for the boys. Elisa, meanwhile, was like a spring of wire she was so tense, and would have leapt over to the scene of the crime directly had not she restrained herself. After all, the snail might yet be saved by some fortunate occurrence or abandoned out of the boredom of the boys. She, again, was wrong, for they began to prod and poke at the poor living being in attempt to speed its travels, but finally halted in the utmost frustration. “ Oh! Bother this snail!” Cried Matthew, and rising from his prostate position in a fit of rage and discontent, he lifted his foot far above the mollusk and let it come driving down - and found himself immediately bowled over and on the ground. His first thought was that it was the deed of his companion who was in an equally ill-mood, and scrambled up from the dust with his fists clenched pugnaciously. But he saw not his friend but Elisa planted stoutly before him.

Elisa

Not based on true events

Good dear little Elisa! She knew of the solace granted those who perform a deed well-done. She herself often experienced it when  she comforted a grieving schoolmate during the recess hour, when she folded her siblings’s clothes after they had thrown them in a chaotic pile on the floor, when she had  gone without a floor, when she had gone without a frivolous dress which she could have easily  bought and of which she had no need, in the thought that there were children near that very shop who had naught. It was then that she bestowed the money upon them and what did they bestow upon her? A piratic act in which she lost the remnants of her purse. But Elisa minded it not, though , only with people that she preformed these acts of generosity. Indeed not, for even to the smallest and repulsive creatures she showed kindness. In fact, this small girl had performed such an act last fall, the sunniest day before the great cold and frost. She had been seated upon her wiindowless front porch, dressed in all her pretty array of white satin and blue silk. Her mother was near beside her, reading from Robert Louis Stevenson’s “ A Child’s Garden of Verses” with her mellow sweet voice  while she was seated as prim as any matron upon a white chair of wood. Elisa listened to her voice , absorbing every lovely, pleasant and innocent word said, and the perfect cadence in which they were uttered. No misadventure could possibly occurr on such a luxuriant day, no misdeed,  and no nisdemeanor either. All children, all adults would be too overflowing with beautiful thoughts to be filled with ones of evil. But she was unfortunately wrong, for as she was seated there, an unpleasant voice trailed off into her ears. “ Oh, Matthew! You could not pick up a cat, let alone a rock!” it teased. Another voice, probably that of Matthew, replied in a huff of protest that yes, he could and would. And so he did, as Elisa imagined, for there was immediatly after a roar of boyish laughter. But it was checked by that of a girl: “ Wait? What is that, there, upon the underside?” “ It’s a snail, by George!” cried Peter who had been the teaser of Matthew, “ brush it off Matthew. Let’s have some fun!” 

Toads and Frogs

Not based on true events

Am I in any way a toad? Does the fact that I am a frog make me a toad? Does it make me a toad to take great mouthfuls, to have warty skin, to be almost 9 inches in length? Does it mean I am a selfish creature? Does it mean that I am lazy? Does it mean that I will not lift a finger in the aid of another? Perhaps it does when you are a Mrs. African Bullfrog, as I am, and abandon your children to all the numerous perils of the world, as I did. But one day, I found out that Mr. African Bullfrog was not as selfish and unheedful as I. Permit me to enumerate. I had made this discovery one day when I remained behind at the home pool where our children were, and beheld, through the dry grasses, my husband standing very near to its border. “Is he going to eat them?” thought I, “ Why bother watching things that could not move beyond a few inches? Fool! The pool is drying! You can not prevent that!” My husband perhaps could not, but he ingeniously discovered a way to preserve our tadpoles. It was only the next day that I discovered his labour-intensive device, and it was astonishing! There was the pool as dry as bone, but no dead tadpoles were within. For, as I beheld presently, there was a shallow trench that had been dug from it to a nearby pool of larger dimensions. And there was my husband and there ware the tadpoles, content in their new home. I am afraid that it was then that I thought of myself as a toad instead of a frog, and as selfish as can be. Well, perhaps, if they are mendable, I will mend my toady ways.

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Wednesday November 17, 2021