Story of: The Magic Toilet



The tree had stood in that same spot for countless years. Tall arms covered in leaves reached for the blue sky as they sought the warm sunlight. Around the base of the tree, the ground had cracked and lifted as the tree grew and grew. When the wind howled, the tree creaked and groaned, swaying to the strong winds. Occasionally a branch was torn loose from the tree and then the branch toppled from on high to the ground where it soon became soil as the tree watched stoically on. Yet, the loss of a branch was no great matter for the tree, as there were still more branches seeking the sunlight and the tree had time

My, the things that tree had seen in its great long life span. The tree was surrounded by human –made trees which competed with the tree for light. The strong winds which rose from time, and the tree had known they always would, made the human-made trees creak and groan too. Over the years the winds occasionally blew strong enough that the some of the nearby human-made trees crashed to the ground with a loud roar whilst the soil below the tree furiously shook and heaved. But the tree still remained unharmed and lived on.

It just so happened that on that tree lived a huntsman spider. The huntsman spider was very proud of her eight long legs. And she was a fast spider. The spider ran up and down the huge old tree and around and around the trunk hunting for insects. Fortunately for the spider, there were plenty of foolish insects flying and walking around for her to snack upon. That spider knew every hiding spot on that tree too and over the short winter she would bury herself between the bark and the trunk of the tree and wait out the cooler and damper weather. That cooler weather made the huntsman spider sluggish. The tradition of the spiders handed down over countless generations of arachnids was that the winter seasons were shorter than they used to be, but who knew what the truth actually was?

Over the years as the cracks in the ground around the tree had grown larger and other different plants had begun growing around the tree. And in one of those plants a tree frog was waiting in the deep shade of the vegetation for the cooler weather to arrive. When the cooler weather arrived, the tree frog could leave the deep and cool shade of the vegetation and climb the tree trunk looking for tasty morsels. Up into the tree, higher and higher that frog climbed and hopped. The leaves captured moisture during the nights and the tree frog enjoyed both the moisture whilst eating the many insects drawn to that water.

One day, the tree frog spied a leg of the huntsman spider carelessly sticking out from under its hiding place between the bark and the tree trunk. The spider of course was hiding from the cold and damp weather of the few short cool months. The tree frog turned a thoughtful gaze upon that protruding leg whilst thoughts of dinner began forming in its amphibian brain. A huntsman spider is no easy foe for a tree frog and the frog knew it had a challenge before it. Stealth and surprise was the order of that day and the tree frog bounced upon the huntsman spiders leg. Before the spider knew what was going on (in its sluggish state), the tree frog was enjoying a very tasty meal.

The winds had torn branches from that old tree and deep hollows formed in the trunk. In one of those hollows a marsupial bat lived with its family. When the sun was low in the sky and the colours in the sky burned all purples and reds, the little bat flew forth from the comfy tree hollow in search of insects. Back and forth the bat flew in all sorts of apparently random directions. No flying insect was safe during those dying hours of the sun. From a height near to the top of the tall tree, the little bat eventually spotted the small tree frog clinging to the side of the trunk. Down out of the sky the bat dropped and before the tree frog knew what had happened, the bat had whisked the frog off to its hollow to feed its young. The night was now complete for the bat.

All these things the possum could see from even higher up in the canopy of that old tree. The possum knew that high up in the canopy was where the freshest and greenest leaves grew. Down on the ground below the tree, the possum could see that occasionally foxes, dogs and cats roamed around, and it was dangerous. This was not a problem for the possum as he could climb from one tree to another without having to drop to the ground, because the branches of different trees touched. The elder possums claimed that a story is told that once long ago, the trees were all separated one from the other. However, now as any clear sighted possum could see, the trees clearly all touched. Of course there was the mystery of the human-made trees which grew no leaves, but that was a problem for other possums to worry about, because for now there are plenty of fresh green leaves to eat. The possums cavorted through the leaves and there were games, fights, love and intrigue.

There was also danger high up in the trees for the possums. Every now and then a powerful owl would sweep through the trees looking for possums. And after the owls possum feast, they would move on. The powerful owls loudly hooted their presence and scared the lesser possums into revealing themselves in their fear. Owls enjoy a tasty possum.

The owls are the lords and ladies of the night time air and they mostly fly silently in their ones and twos over the mingled forest of trees and the now dark still standing human-made trees. The owls see all during the night time and no other bird or animal is their equal. These particular owls flew over huge areas and in their flight, they soon left the forest of the trees which had mixed in with the dark human-made trees. Once the human-made trees had disappeared, intermingled fields and actual forest sweep by beneath the owls.

Eventually those owls stopped for the day in another tall tree that they knew well. The tree has served those owls well over the years and the owls have also served that tree well. Around the tree is a wide stretch of grass land and in the middle distance are more trees. This area is perfect possum hunting grounds and so the owls settled into their comfortable tree for the day whilst the hated sun rose in the east.

A small mob of kangaroos lazily grazes the grass lands below the tree. Some of the kangaroos keep a close watch on the surrounding land. Other kangaroos take the time to enjoy the rising sun and scratch a monumental itch. Over the day the kangaroos move along the grass lands. Towards the late afternoon the kangaroos across a short stretch of human-made black grass where small chunks of vegetation bravely poke out of the cracks. The kangaroos shun this human-made black grass and bounce quickly over, past and away from it. The human-made grass is pervaded with fear and kangaroo legend has it that once fast moving humans raced backwards and forwards along this human-made black grass. Of course in these enlightened marsupial times, all right thinking kangaroos know that nothing moves as fast as a mob of kangaroos at full speed.

The hot day wore slowly on. Grass was grazed and inscrutable altercations occurred in the kangaroo mob, but as night set in the kangaroo mob retired to grass lands closer to the forest. The look-out kangaroo alerted the mob to the presence of a wallaby lurking in amongst the trees in the forest. The kangaroos had nothing to fear from their smaller lone forest dwelling cousin.

The wallaby on the other hand had everything to fear from a large mob of kangaroos and so the wallaby wisely kept to the quiet of the trees and forest. As the wallaby went off in search of grass, saplings and herbs to eat, it thought to itself that it looked like it was going to be a warm and still night. Off the wallaby bounced, in a direction leading away from the mob of kangaroos and deeper into the forest. The wallaby knew of many clearings in that forest where good food could be had. It also knew that the human-made black grass ran through the forests and near to the clearings. The human-made black grass provided for fast movement through the forest and the lack of trees on that black grass caused more light to enter the forest floor and so the grass and herbs are particularly tasty there.

Whilst the wallaby was enjoying some choice plants, a wombat with her young wombat trailing in tow waddled past and then stopped.

“Evening Mrs Wombat” said the wallaby.
“Evening Mr Wallaby” replied the older wombat.
Then the older wombat quipped: “Junior’s after a bit of carrot, so we’re off to visit the farm of the magic toilet”.
“Well, it’s not far from here. I won’t be joining you tonight, so good luck to you both” replied the wallaby.

The older wombat with her young wombat following dutifully behind waddled off along the human-made black grass in search of carrots.

Wombats have poor eyesight, but an incredible sense of smell and before too long the two wombats came upon a small building smelling strongly of human. This was the destination of the magic toilet, and the paddock to the side of the small building was every wombats dream destination, a field full of diverse vegetables all growing in rich soil

The older wombat knew by long practice, how to get into, and then out of again, the field of diverse vegetables. So into the field went both of the wombats, and they enjoyed a few choice carrots and their fill of greens. It had been a tidy night’s work for the wombats and before too long, they were safely off and way down the human-made black grass and back to their burrow before the day broke.

The next day a human walked down that cracked road in the direction of the farm. The human had been walking for many days now heading in the direction of the ruined city

To be continued...

15 comments:

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Very nice. Lyrical. Nice imagery. But I kept wondering when we were going to get to the darned magic toilet :-). Whew. Finally made it. I also had the thought that this was shaping up to be something much longer than a short story.

What! No koala bears? :-). Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

I wasn't going to comment at all until I read Lew's excellent comment. I completely concur with him. My intended avoidance was because I am a precis addict and would therefore, cut, cut and cut.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thank you and I was trying for a rolling lyrical story. I was wondering about one aspect of the imagery. When the editor read the story, she thought that the man-made trees, as seen by the tree in the story was some sort of wind turbine. I intended it to be seen as a derelict building which will come back into the story at a later time. She also felt that the black man-made grass as seen by the kangaroos and other marsupials was a burned or poisoned patch of earth when I'd intended it to be seen as the remains of a road. I was curious as to your opinions about that interpretation and does it even matter? Dunno. Maybe it should be left as an ill defined part of the plot and people can see what they will? Dunno.

Ha! Well we did get to the magic toilet later rather than sooner. I believe at some time in the past you mentioned the ancient Japanese farmers who very cleverly established public toilets on busy roads so as to capture humanure. That was where I was going with that. It is a genius idea.

The next part of the story deals with tourism and the sourcing of materials. Why wouldn't people in the future want to take a walking tour in a derelict and abandoned city? That is the plan anyway.

Maybe, the story size may double, but for now the farmer may look at the road and see and talk to whomever passes by and maybe he may take a journey himself? Who knows maybe a future Samurai may ease herself at the magic toilet?

No, koala bears are boring and they'd probably be drunk and surly. They make for unpleasant company you know, despite being very cute. Look at the claws! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for taking the time to read the story. I really need help with fiction writing as it is not my forte. I'd be curious as to your opinion with the matter that I raised in the reply to Lewis about interpretation of the various plot devices. I really just don't know at all.

On another note, I am rather grateful that you didn't take your big precis knife to the story! Hehe! You be careful with that knife! Perhaps you need a precis sword to really go the hack on the story? :-)!

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, I got that the "man made trees" were probably buildings. But I was about halfway through the story before I realized I was reading "man made grass" as "man made glass". Who knows why. So, I was thinking (early on) the black glass substance left from a nuclear bomb. But once I started reading it right, I got it. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I got the derelict buildings and the roads however, once I got it, I became irritated by your continued use of your terms. Am not sure what to do about it; I'll go on thinking.

This is so difficult as I don't want to upset you with my comments, creation is such a personal thing.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

and again

In all fairness to the editor, wind turbines does sound more likely.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Hmm. Clearly the imagery from the point of view of the non humans in the story needs a bit of work. Have you got any suggestions as to how I could approach that imagery? Maybe a description of what they are looking at may be in order? I didn't really think about that side of things.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Yeah, don't be stressed about it, my skin is pretty thick. The editor said exactly the same comment - almost word for word. That word "irritated" was bandied about. And stories are about entertainment, not irritation! Hehe! Have you got any suggestions for how I could approach that imagery, given I have to mention it a few times in the story? Maybe set the scene with a proper description which leaves no uncertainty in the first place, and then just allude to it as the story progresses?

I told you I needed help with this fiction business. :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge and Lewis,

What about switching to the narrators voice to describe what the tree was surrounded by and then use the trees point of view? Or would that be confusing? And then pull the same trick for the road?

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Your story is haunting me and I don't think that you will approve of my suggestion:
Turn it into a children's book. The title is perfect. Illustrations will take care of the current problem and cut, cut and cut will apply.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

That's a great idea. Mr Greer mentioned something a long while back about there not being any children's books depicting a de-industrial future. There is a certain wry irony in me writing children's books! Hehe! Have you got any idea where to start with such a venture?

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I'm not sure as to what you mean by 'where to start?' seems to me that you have started.

You don't have to like children in order to write for them. Lack of illusions is probably a good thing joined with detachment. You have been a child so can't claim ignorance.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Of course, that makes total sense. You have to understand that I am a comparative newbie to any fiction writing. That was very motivational too.

Thanks for sharing that perspective and I can find no fault with your logic. I appreciate the guidance.

You know, I'm thinking what I might do with the story is to flesh it out in the mode that it is currently written in and then utilise - how did you put it? - a solid precis edit and cut, cut, and then cut again and convert the story into a children's tale. I may also attempt the illustrations in a cartoon style, and put them up here for comment side by side with the text as the story gets cut down to its bare bones. Anyway, that is my current thinking on the process from here. I can do the cartoon drawings on my whiteboard here (which is currently full of story ideas for the blog) and just scan them to image computer files when they are ready.

The project will have to fit in around everything else so it may be a slooooooow process, but there seems no point in rushing this process.

Thanks for sharing your wisdom and support as I wade into these murky and unclear waters.

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I think that your plan is spot on; excellent. The one later decision to make is what approximate age group you are aiming at. The younger the age group, the greater the number of illustrations required.

You really could have a winner here.

Inge