This drawing was sent to me by a friend from her 6 year old. The words, “Look at the Chetah. The Chetah has spots” hover above the image of 2 lines and a tilted oval. We had a good laugh, then I begged her to allow me to use it for this series.
In a small English town of Worthfordshiptonborough, there lived a traditional English family called, the Boonbees. The Boonbees had 3 children, one dog, 6 chickens and two tortoises. Their titchy thatched cottage sat upon a massive and lush garden overlooking a single church spire in the distance and 6,000 sheep in the foreground. It was picturesque and almost certainly how one would envision the opening scene of any BBC drama series.
Worthfordshiptonborough was a bleak town. Some years ago, the already struggling economy in England took a turn for the worse and most of the local shops were forced to close. First the butcher, then the baker and next, the candlestick maker. One by one, the residents left Worthfordshiptonborough and moved to London where vital resources like clean water, foods and reliable Internet were less scarce.
The Boonbees, however, refused modern life in London, favoring a simple existence, albeit a hard-working one, as farmers of their own meat and vegetable crops. Each day, the perfect Boonbee children would tend the farm, collect the chicken eggs, weed the garden and help their mum with the masses of muddy laundry while eating raw spinach – and never once ask to play on the iPad. Little did the children know however that life was about to dramatically change.
Just outside the garden fencing, floating above the empty road, was an oval. What a curious sight! The children decided to take a closer look. As they neared the oval, it became clear from its sounds that it was, in fact, an animal. The children called their parents to the street to inspect the geometrically shaped creature. Being farmers themselves, the parents were well aware of the needs of animals. And a head was certainly one of them! With a bit of resignation sprinkled in with some hidden excitement, the family set off to London, where the only remaining veterinarian lived.
London was a curious site for the Boonbee children to behold, to say the least. Big buildings instead of miles of grass, streets full of cars instead of farm animals and people, oh the people! All bearing different colors and shapes, but particularly, all wearing what appeared to be prescription glasses.
From the distance, a man shouted in joy at the Boonbee family, “Look at the cheetah. The cheetah has spots. Such glorious spots!” As you can imagine, the Boonbee family was terrified to learn that the oval they had brought with them in such a close and confined proximity on the drive to London, was actually a highly dangerous animal. More disturbing however, was the fact that this cheetah clearly had no spots, nor a tail for that matter! But the man was not the only one to remark on the animal’s mysterious spots. People from all over the city came running towards the Boonbee family to see the remarkable cheetah with the spots of amber.
It wasn’t long before the Boonbees began to notice, or not notice rather, the things the local Londoners spoke of. The sun, for instance, that was said to be shining brightly on what was actually a very bleak and overcast English day. One local man also noted that London was far nicer now that the mayor had rid the city of the entire pigeon population. This was said, of course, while a pigeon was pooping on the man’s shoulder.
Mr. Boonbee was curious. He looked at the glasses upon the man’s face more closely and saw the words, Shelling Industries inscribed on the frame. Luckily for Mr. Boonbee (and the increasing length of this story) the building that housed Shelling was directly in front of him, making further investigation incredibly convenient and easy.
Inside Shelling Industries, Mr. Boonbee became aware of a massive experiment taking place within a mock-village. With each press of a simple green button, part of the village completely vanished. Mr. Boonbee put on the pair of complimentary glasses he grabbed at the entrance and was taken aback by what he saw. Behind the lens of the glasses, the mock-village shined with 13th century buildings, blue skies and green grass. He took the glasses off just to confirm what he was seeing, and yes, it all disappeared as soon as his eyes broke contact with the thick lenses.
Behind Mr. Boonbee stood a homeless man, as the wise characters of dystopian stories often are, clothed in rags and a layer of dirt as thick as stage make-up. Mr. Boonbee threw on his glasses just to see if the man would turn into something wonderful like Daniel Craig, but his image remained weathered and in tattered clothes. He told Mr. Boonbee he was once named the CEO of Shelling Industries based on an theory he had that would create compost bins that did not smell of rotting garbage. But, instead, he created a hole in London’s space-time vortex parallel universe force field, therefore obliterating all non-human items found in a “Baby’s First Words” book. Things like dog, cat, spot, tail, bird, house and head never had a chance of survival. He went on to say that he was forced out of the company and replaced by a team of mad Ophthalmologists that “fixed” the damage caused by the hole by altering reality through prescription glasses.
With life so splendidly fabricated in London, the homeless man felt that no human would return to the countryside. He visited the zoo and released the altered shapes of the animals from captivity in hopes that they would flee the city in search of food that wasn’t fish and chips or Indian take-out. He hoped the animals would travel so far that they would find a family without prescription glasses that could see them for what they had become.
Mr. Boonbee waited anxiously for the homeless man to tell him what to do next, but all he did was hand him 4 pairs of the glasses and said, “Here is a pair for everyone in your family. Wear them, but at least know that you can take them off and see the world for what it has become.” Mr. Boonbee took the glasses and smashed them in protest. He grabbed his family and his oval shaped new pet and returned to the sanctity of his farm in Worthfordshiptonborough where he planned to live happily ever after.
Epilogue: Unfortunately the cheetah was hungry when he returned to the farm and ate all 6 chickens and all 6,000 sheep. Fortunately, he left the tortoises alone as he did not fancy the dry taste of their shells.