The Principle of the Thing

He wants nothing to do with that little red-shirted bastard at the door. Despite the pounding, the incessant calls of his name, the promise of information leading to his long lost tail, our hero will not budge. This pot of honey is his, all his, and no silly old bear is going to take it from him.

He’s not much of a fan of honey, our hero—sticks to his fur, he tells the owl later, and never comes out, at least not entirely—but it’s the principle of the thing. Nobody has ever given him a gift before, and the bear can’t have it just because he wants it. The bear needs to cut down—everybody says so. Last week, he got his fat ass stuck in the rabbit’s hole, for Pete’s sake.

The pounding continues as the others gather outside: the speed-freak tiger with his stutter and his lisp, the effeminate halfling pig, the homeless kangaroo and that joey of hers. Did that flipping kid ever say anything other than “Me, too”? Failed school system, if you asked our hero.

“What do I do?” he asks his roommate. “This racket—I just can’t.”

The bald kid strokes the head of the sleeping beagle on his lap. “I don’t know. All they gave me was a rock, man. I got a rock.”

“Oh well,” says our hero, unlatching the door, letting the lot of them in, watching as the bear thrusts his gluttinous maw into the pot, honey splattering over the sides, dripping down onto the thistle-lined floor.

“Good grief,” says the bald kid, turning his head in disgust.

“Indeed,” says our hero. “In-deed.”

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