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Flash Fiction from Taylor Napolsky

September 27, 2019

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Trouble in the Barnyard: An Entirely Original Political Allegory

June 24, 2016

 

 

There is trouble in the barnyard. One of the cats has gone off again and killed a bunch of the farmer’s chickens. This raised the same furor that can be expected every time one of the animals goes on a killing spree.

 

“Declaw the cats! Have them neutered and spayed!” came the call from . . . surely almost half the animals. “Or at least implement some sensible cat population control policy!”

 

This had the cats hissing like Hell’s fury and, ironically, bearing their claws threateningly. But what was really surprising was all the various animals that took up the cats’ cause.

 

“We can’t take the cats’ claws,” they said.

 

“But a hundred good layers were opened up from their butt holes to their beaks! The carnage is inconceivable! Something must be done!”

 

“Regrettable to be sure . . . can’t lose our heads; could’ve happened, claws and balls or no . . . perhaps a breed of super cats to police them . . .”

 

And so on.  And when certain animals got together, some more of the truth came out. “Next they’ll come for our hooves and horns!”

 

Then there sounded a voice that was seldom heard. It gave everyone pause for its rarity, but also for it’s content. Suggested the wise, old owl, “perhaps all of us animals shouldn’t carry high-powered automatic rifles. You know, most of the chickens were shot, and Farmer’s best alpaca caught a stray.” This raised the most righteous reaction of all.

 

“Take away the guns? God, never! Why, since the inception of Farmer Farmington’s Farm the animals have always carried guns! How will we defend ourselves against roaming packs of West Texas teenagers? You’ll have us all raped!” Owl’s suggestion went nowhere.

 

Now this happens to be quite a politically charged time in on the farm. There’s an election coming up. The animals are squabbling over all kinds of issues, not just claw control, but whether mules – a mixed race animal – were threatening the jobs of upstanding horses, and whether dogs of the same gender should be allowed to sniff one another’s butts.

 

By a process designed for a maximum of confusion, the animals were left with two pigs to chose between in the barnyard presidential election. The only thing one really needs to understand about this process of selecting candidates is that was designed by and continues to be controlled by . . . you guessed it: the pigs. The “Tolerance” candidate is a sow named Mallory. Mallory is the likeliest of pigs. Her mate was one of the most popular piggy presidents in the history of the barnyard. She’s exceptionally cozy with the farmer and his family and is clued in to all the dirty tricks of barnyard government.

 

The “Pride” party candidate for barnyard president is a most unlikely candidate indeed – a hog called Cromulus. Cromulus made a vast personal fortune via the shadiest business ventures, which included siphoning off cow manure and selling it as pig slop and renting out the farmer’s sheep to local perverts. Cromulus is obnoxious, dishonest, ignorant, rash and proud. It is indicative, perhaps, of the toxic political climate of the barnyard that this disgusting pig’s offhanded foray into politics should be such a rousing success.

 

The animals, more than anything, are restless, dissatisfied. While there were signs of unrivaled prosperity everywhere, somehow the average milk cow or beef animal got nothing for it. An unnamable malaise prevails. The animals vent their vague dissatisfaction by clashing violently over issues like claw control and same-sex butt sniffing. The Tolerance and Pride parties take opposing sides of these issues, thus dividing the electorate. There are clashes between the piggy parties, of course, but the important thing is that the pigs stay in power. As long as they are in power, they will be in position to ingratiate themselves to Farmer Farmington and his family. Pigs are shrewd but simple animals. What they covet most is the farmer’s favor; cuddles from his daughter and the occasional sweet truffle.   

 

Cromulus bullied his way to his party’s nomination, preying on the barnyard animals’ angst. He spews the most simplistic and hateful tripe, “throw out all the mules and make the dogs wear long pants”, etc. His screwball nature caused the pride party some anxiety at first, but ultimately, his motivations are the same as the rest of the pigs'. He values truffles and cuddles above all.

 

The tumultuous climate on the farm produced another interesting candidate, a venerable old goat named Larry. The two major parties, you see, are not explicitly pig only. It’s only implied . . . and for all practical purposes, the parties run pigs. But Larry the goat had a vision and for the sake of making a serious run, he aligned with the Tolerants. His message was simple;

 

cat claws and dog butts should be dealt with indeed, but on one issue all animals’ interests agreed. It’s about haves and have-nots. The system is rigged! The pigs want it all and want it all for the pigs! But the power is ours, said Larry, for there’s strength in our numbers. We’ll take back our future; arise from your slumber! Horses, cows, dogs, goats and chickens; demand of the pigs to take note and listen!   

 

All Larry did was point out what should’ve been obvious. He named our malaise. There is plenty on the farm, so why should so many work so hard for so little? So a few fat pigs could fill their snouts? Larry’s message gained a lot of support amongst the animals, but, sadly, it was not enough to overcome the entrenched piggy machinery. The Tolerants sold the barnyard hard on the notion that a goat like Larry had no chance to win and held Mallory up as inevitable. Ultimately the unrelenting propaganda campaign had it’s desired effect. The Tolerants have their chosen candidate and we’re left with a choice between two disgusting pigs. Well I won’t vote for Mallorly or Crumulus. I’m buying stock in the future . . .

 

 . . .Perhaps I should introduce myself. I’m just a lowly chicken, and only an average egg-layer at that. Probably my time is short before being boiled in a pot. But I am a THINKING chicken. And even though things may not improve a great deal in my short lifetime, it would be nice to consider, in that surreal final moment when I watch my own body flee the coming darkness, that my barnyard brethren, at least, might have better days ahead.

 

Stay tuned for more from the barnyard.

 

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