Sunday, May 3, 2015

Connor and Daphne -- a Fred Classic.

First run two years ago (and given High Praise! at the time by the tastemakers at IMAO.us), "Connor and Daphne" seemed due for a rerun, it being spring at all. As always, your comments are welcome.

----

Connor and Daphne: A True Enough Story

By Frederick Key

Connor was a bear who was polite to his neighbors but not your warm, huggy type. Connor was proud of his bountiful garden and his lush green lawn, which he tended faithfully every year.

One spring, a big family of meerkats moved in next door. Connor met Daphne, a dewy-eyed kid with a bubbly personality.





It being spring, a couple of dandelions popped up on Connor’s lawn. Connor came out of his shed with his tools and sprays, ready to do battle with the weeds.

But Daphne stopped him. “Connor, look how beautiful that little yellow flower is!” she cried. “How can you be hating on such a sweet little thing?”

“If I don’t get rid of them as soon as they pop up, they ruin the lawn,” he grumbled.

“They have every right to be here—as much as that grass that you have to buy seed for,” she said. “These so-called ‘weeds’ are native to the area, you know. And they’re useful too! You can eat them, or even make wine.”

“But—”

“Why do you hate flowers so much, Connor?”

“I don’t! I’ve planted all kinds of flowers in the garden.”

“Oh, I see. You only like the ones you planted. The ones that nature provides you have to blast with all kinds of horrible poisons, is that right? Those sprays are dangerous, you know. They make the wildlife sick and they get into the water supply!”

Finally Daphne wore Connor down. He promised to let the little yellow flower live, and grumbled all the way back to his shed.

In a couple of weeks, little yellow flowers popped up all over Connor’s lawn. He had to admit that Daphne was right—the yellow flowers were pretty, and a nice contrast with the green. Then they turned into white heads, and then the puffs blew  away. With all the seeds gone to ruin other lawns, Connor was left with a patchy landscape and ugly naked stalks with ragged leaves. Which, in addition to the other weeds Daphne wouldn’t let him kill, left…




Connor was pretty sore by now, you can bet. The dandelions saved by Daphne had ruined his grass, exactly as he’d predicted. He went down to his cellar to get his shovel and pick to start digging deep, for now the roots of the dandelions were well beyond his ability to dig them up with hand tools.

While in the cellar, Connor noticed he had an unexpected and unwelcome guest—a rat had taken up residence in his home. He steamed upstairs to go to the store and get a trap.

Daphne was outside. “What’s wrong, Connor?” she asked kindly.

“Got a rat in the cellar,” he said. “Going to the store to get traps and steel wool and things.”

“No, no! You mustn’t do that!” she said. “The rat isn’t hurting you, is he?”

“Not yet, but—”

“And yet you want to break his little neck? Connor, how cruel! And poisons, too, I’ll bet—that’s always your answer, isn’t it? Poison! Why do you hate living things so much?”

“Damn it, Daphne, I—”

“Anger is a sure sign that you’re losing the argument, you know that? That poor little rat! With his sad little whiskers and sad beady little eyes!”

“Why do you always have to go straight to the emotional appeal? It’s completely unreasonable.”

“Unreasonable? I’ll tell you what’s unreasonable. Ask yourself, who was here first, Connor? You and your artificial man-made house, or the native wildlife?”

“Fine! You go down there and catch him, and you take the rat home!”

“Why would I do that? He’s obviously happy where he is.”

Once again, Daphne wore him down.

But a couple of weeks later, when Connor found he had carpenter ants attacking his deck, he snuck out to the big hardware store and made a purchase.




Daphne and the dandelions and the rats and the carpenter ants and the termites tried to throw him a going-away party, but Connor had already left.

We asked Daphne what the moral of this story is.




We tried to ask Connor but—oh, well.





The end.
Post a Comment