There once was a group of middle-aged animals who decided they wanted to move to a new city and build a life of their dreams. There was a donkey of impeccable vanity, a bear of exquisite naivete, an elephant of near immaculate egotism, and then there was a two-legged dog.
They chose a four bedroom house right in the middle of town, and then they sat down to make a plan for their living situation. This proved challenging.
Donkey and Elephant already had quite a bit of stuff. They had couches and beds and chairs and a kitchen table and all the other ancillary furnishings. Bear had a lot of stuff, too. He had some paint and tools and cleaning supplies and a lawnmower that he offered to bring because he wanted to spruce up the place a little. The two-legged dog had almost nothing, but a dog who had been shot twice, run over by a mail truck, and had girlfriends from seventy-four different countries had by far the best stories.
So they furnished the house and fixed what was broken or ugly, but then they ran into a few snags. It’s easy for anybody to say, “Hey, let’s live together” and then put a bunch of crap in a house. It’s another thing to actually go about the daily act of living together in a house with four very distinct personalities. It became quite clear very early on – mainly with Donkey and Elephant – that they had never had to share anything before in their lives.
The first major dust up happened because of yoga and propaganda. Odd combination, obviously, but such is the coexistence of donkeys and elephants. They can literally take organized stretching and organized lies and use them to get what they want regardless of who the result actually benefits.
There were only three televisions in the house, and one of them had to go in the living room. That meant two animals didn’t get one in their respective bedrooms. Donkey argued that he needed a television because of his yoga videos and Elephant was addicted to a state run news network, and since Bear’s only argument was, “Well it would be nice to have if I’m ever bored” and Dog only watched videos of dogs eaten up with mango worms because the visuals helped his two remaining legs reach incredible distances to scratch desperately itchy nether regions, Dog and Bear did not get televisions in their bedrooms.
And speaking of bedrooms, there was only one bedroom – the master – that had its own bathroom. Elephant gave himself the master bedroom simply because he said he was the biggest and therefore deserved it. This meant that the other three animals had to share the hall bathroom. Of course, with Donkey’s marathon visits to the bathroom and all the self help audio books blasting from inside, Bear and Dog decided to just go to the half bath downstairs and shower outside in the hose.
After only a day or two, the animals took a very democratic vote – meaning only Donkey wanted it and whined enough that he got it – and they decided to turn the fourth bedroom into a home gym. That meant the two-legged dog had to sleep in the laundry room. It also meant that Elephant could more acutely control what Dog did in his little makeshift bedroom. He had already seen that dog sniffing other boy dog’s butts. There would be none of that lascivious behavior in his house.
Well the next day, Elephant’s suspicions were proven incorrect. Or at least that’s what he assumed when he caught Dog watching a Mango worm video in the den and with all the scratching noticed that Dog did not have testicles. This was notable because Dog never did sleep in the house again. Elephant forbade it. Couldn’t prove WHAT Dog was, so he just kept calling Dog a “tranny.”
Things just did not go well at the house that first week. Donkey and Elephant refused to eat together, they blamed each other for everything that wasn’t perfect, they refused to clean up even the slightest crumb that the other left behind, Elephant threw the DVD player in the yard because they couldn’t agree on a movie, Donkey brought all of his weird friends over and tried to convert everybody to a new secular religion his friend was trying to invent.
Elephant countered this by beginning a house calendar without telling anybody and scheduling Bible Study at the house every night of the week so as to keep such nonsense from every again happening at his house. Lastly, Donkey kept stealing money from everybody to give to the homeless people in the tent village behind the house. Elephant couldn’t prove it was Donkey stealing from him, but just in case, he went and sat on all the tents one day just to piss everybody off. When he got back to the house, his wallet was gone and Dog had a new paw-held back scratcher.
Throughout this entire first week, Bear just wandered around trying to make friends with his new roommates and soon began to feel like it was just not going to happen. Donkey made him feel like he wasn’t all that normal because he wasn’t all that different. It didn’t make much sense to Bear either, but he couldn’t really figure out why so many people in the world needed either constant reassurance or constant help. And when Bear pointed that out to Donkey, the big ass called him a racist!! And he was brown!!
Bear tried to get to know Elephant, too, but he gave up on about the third day when Elephant tried to tell him what Jesus would say about dogs with no testicles and people living in tents and even about watching too much television and how Elephant was saving Bear from hell by not letting him have a television. When he went and said that Jesus looked the other way on the Ten Commandments when it meant squashing donkeys, Bear walked away a little scared and went outside to talk to Dog.
Well during that trip outside on the porch to talk to dog, Bear was already mentally packing his bags. Dog announced that he had had a dream that he was pregnant, and Elephant must have overheard this because he rushed outside to call him a Tranny again and say that those damn puppies weren’t living in his house. Next it was Donkey out the door carrying brochures for seven different ways to get rid of unwanted babies. Dog just threw his hands up and screamed, “It was a dream, you idiots!! Who could love a two-legged dog anyway?!?!”
But things really came unglued when they went to the grocery store for all the things they would share in the house, and Donkey and Elephant got in a huge fight because they refused to compromise on the brand of toilet paper. This was not a one-ply versus two-ply argument either (because that’s never a decision that needs to be made; one-ply was designed for throwing in trees and nothing more.)
The entire time in the grocery store was a fight between Donkey and Elephant, and it got pretty heated, so after Bear gave up on trying to get them to calm down, he just sat down near the honey and snacked and waited for somebody to back down. He paid for the honey first, of course. He figured he’d be sitting there well past closing time.
The two-legged dog was dragging himself around the store trying to steal food and showing off for the ladies how he could bounce on one leg, and he got Bear to buy him a sandwich and some beer after he gave up trying to steal food. Dog thought about going to work, but then he realized he didn’t have a job, so he just took a nap in front of the meat freezer. Proximity dreams, he figured.
What happened next was the lesson, Bear surmised. The argument about the toilet paper tore apart the new living arrangements for all four of them. Donkey refused to accept Cottontail Two-Ply because a rabbit had once offended him, so he moved into a one-bedroom apartment on one side of a bridge-less river, and with him he took everything that wasn’t bolted down, even the stuff that wasn’t his originally. The two-legged dog followed him because he knew he could take advantage of Donkey pretty easily and never have to struggle too much in life. Donkey had even taken care of the itchiness. There wasn’t much more reason for Dog to even try to get a job in the new city.
Elephant stayed in the house and let it deteriorate to nothing. His bedroom, the kitchen, and the living room stayed pretty much spotless, but the rest of the house was a cobweb, rat-infested nightmare.
Bear made the best of it and stayed pretty quiet, even when his tools and lawnmower were stolen by Donkey and he came home one day to find that Elephant had decided to turn his bedroom into a bathroom. You just can’t ever live in a room where an elephant has pooped. It’s not salvageable. And so Bear left and moved in with a salmon.
After a few months, he realized he was living with a salmon and not hungry.
But it was in that moment that Bear decided to set out on a mission to become a bear, and even though Salmon was his friend, not ALL salmon were his friends. Neither were donkeys and elephants.
Or The Beginning.