Listening – Short Story

12 Jul

I know, I know, it’s been too long once again. But I think I am finally starting to get back on track. I have been busy today. Finished up a column for a different site, wrote two comic book reviews (one still yet to go), finished writing a new song, and edited this bitch! And I loved every minute of it. No more delaying, I’ll shut up and get to it.


The sun gleams off Trevor’s computer screen as he sits outside trying to enjoy the warm weather – he doesn’t want to be cooped up inside. The gigantic bright star beats down on Trevor, the slight breeze being the only thing allowing for him to stay outside for any extended period of time. Sweat drizzles down his forehead and neck, slowly making its way down his body and finally being soaked up by his clothes. Rings around his armpit are starting to form, creating unattractive pit stains. Trevor is not phased as he sits alone in his backyard on this beautiful evening.

Trevor stares at a blank computer screen. He stares and stares and stares until his eyeballs start to hurt – feeling as though they are glued open and needles are starting to poke through the sclera. Writers block has set in as he tries to begin his next assignment.

Trevor is a journalist for his local paper. The paper is a small little thing – nothing compared to the likes of the New York Times. His articles are typically pop culture related; anything from the unjustified cancelation of Firefly, the terrible business practices of the mainstream comic companies, Zooey Deschanel vs Katy Perry – basically, whatever he can take out of that so called idea maker.

Trevor finally decides to take a break. “Staring at a computer screen until your eyes start to bleed clearly isn’t helping,” he thinks to himself. He reaches for the case of beer beside him and pulls out a Stella. He roots around looking for the bottle opener before finally being able to crack that fresh cold beverage. Taking the first sip of a beer is a heavenly experience Trevor absorbs down to the tiniest cell. After finishing the amazing first sip, Trevor reaches for his jacket that lay behind him. He digs and ruffles around through pockets.

“Fuck! I forgot to pick up smokes.” Trevor says aloud to himself.

Shrugging it off, Trevor takes another sip of his beer and stares into the sky. He sits there and ponders – Thinking about anything and everything that will take his mind off his pending deadline. Trevor takes in the scenery. The trees plumb and full of dark green leaves sway back and forth giving a rippling effect of throwing a stone into a pond. The aroma of flowers and freshly cut grass are almost too much to bear.

As Trevor sits, topics start popping into his head that are not relevant to the article he needs to write.

*Hard-core Atheists are just as bad as religious fanatics. I don’t want them shoving their values and opinions down my throat… Atheists shouldn’t be any different. People just need to try and be a decent human being. Even that is hard for some people*

*Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album by far is the best. The only problem is that my friends and I only listen to it on vinyl, when hung over, and only side 1. Maybe we should try to fix that*

*Fart and poop jokes are classic!*

As Trevor contemplates the important things in life a little black dot starts flying around his head. Ignoring it, Trevor continues on to his next thought. Before he knows it the black dot smashes into his forehead with the same force as an airsoft gun – not overly painful, but enough to get your attention. The tiny black dot drops to the wood deck paneling.

After Trevor realizes it was a fly, out of reaction says, “Hey there little guy, you okay?”
“…Yeah… just a little dazed. Do you realize you have a pretty thick skull?” a soft little voice comes from the fly.
“What the fuck!” Trevor yells.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa. There is no need to use a potty mouth like that. I am Fredrick the fly.”
“Um… is this actually happening? I don’t remember doing any drugs today.”
“Yes, this is actually happening. Why wouldn’t it?”
“I… I.. I don’t know. Maybe because animals don’t actually talk.”
“Of course we do. It isn’t our fault that you guys never listen.”

Trevor sat there flabbergasted not knowing how to properly react to this situation. While trying to figure out how to cope, he stared back into the sky. As he did this he noticed a robin doing figures eights and then b-line directly at him. Trevor ducked his head as the robin flew passed – just missing him by a couple of centimetres.

“Way to pay attention,” said the robin in a high pitched raspy voice.
“Again… whoa. I have to be imagining this,” stated Trevor.
“Nope, not even in the slightest. My name is Robin. I know it isn’t that original, but my parents were hippies and thought it was funny.”
“You got to be kidding me. This is ridiculous.”
“While my name may be ridiculous, I am not kidding you.”

Again Trevor gazed blankly into space. How was he supposed to react to animals talking to him? This is not a normal thing for a human to experience. In fact, he thought he had just one too many beers.

“Okay, I guess if this is happening I might as well embrace it,” Trevor said trying to convince himself.
“Yup, you better. I think we have more company on the way,” Fredrick said.
“Really? Awesome. Who else is coming?” said Robin.
“I think Frank and Lucy said they were going to try and make it.”
“I haven’t seen those guys in forever.”
“Wait, wait. There are more?” Trevor questioned.
“Yup.” Fredrick and Robin said together.

Trevor, baffled, eyed the two animals in front of him. Fredrick was a generic black fly. He sat there twitching his front legs over his compound eye looking up at Trevor waiting for him to calm down and realize the situation was real. Robin on the other hand was moving his head back and forth in a shifty manner; the same way all birds seem to be sporadically looking at everything.

“So…” Trevor said while still trying to figure out the situation he was in.

All three of them looked toward the back gate as noises emerged from behind the fence. Two animals stealthily slipped through the gate through the gap in the bottom. A dog and a cat had made their way into Trevor’s backyard. The dog was a golden retriever. The dog’s fur shimmering as it walked toward the group. The cat was a Siamese with orange streaks running through its face and back.

“Frank! Lucy! You made it,” shouted Fredrick.
“We sure did. No thanks to Frank here,” joked the dog.
“Bullshit. If it wasn’t for you having continuously licking yourself to make yourself look pretty, we would have been here 10 minutes ago,” Frank the cat retorted.
“Either way, I am glad you guys made it,” shared Fredrick.

The animals sat there and chatted amongst each other for a few minutes while Trevor, once again, had to deal with the situation randomly thrust upon him. He thought to himself: How could this even be happening? Am I that drunk and don’t even realize it? Or am I dreaming? But I guess I need to be a good host now that they are all here.

“So… anyone need a drink?” questioned Trevor.
“I’ll have a cap full.” Fredrick said excitedly.
“Took you long enough to ask,” Robin replied.
“Can you pour mine into a saucer?” asked Frank.
“None for me thanks. I am on an exclusive gluten free diet,” Lucy pronounced.
“Alright, coming right up.” Trevor yelped.

Trevor went and grabbed all the beer as requested. He presented the drinks as requested to all of his impromptu guests.

———– A few beers later ———–

“The contrast between faith and science plays a predominant role in some of the greatest science fiction related televisions shows of all time. The perception of Gias Baltar in Battlestar Galactica shows the audience how someone can go from a non-believer and be transformed into an icon and advocate for a brand new religious view. Even though he took advantage of the situation and didn’t truly believe it at the beginning – and was worshiped as a false idol – that experience pushed Gias into the proper direction. Then in LOST there is faith verus science, in season two episode one: Man of Science, Man of Faith, in which two of the main characters argue over personal ideals. The fact that believeing in faith is never easy for one of the characters, who eventually loses all faith later on in life, while the science character sticks true to his guns is a great dichotomy. The science character eventually does take a leap of faith, but it is rooted in doing what is good for the benefit of others – the main teaching of the bible. Either way, in both cases the resulting outcome is the betterment of the whole over the individual – even if there are some slip ups along the way” finished Robin after a 10 minute rant.

“Sorry man, but everything you said went through one ear and out the other. Do you know you sound like the Aflac Duck?” Trevor made out while busting a gut.

“What is the Aflac Duck?” Robin questioned.
“You know… the commercial? With Gilbert Gottfried voicing him.”
“Yeah… I don’t know what you are talking about.”
“Come on! Really?”
“While we can talk to you, it doesn’t mean we watch television. We do have better things to do you know” Frank snarked.
“Oh! I just assumed, because Robin when on a 10 minute rant about Battlestar Galactica and LOST.”
“You know what happens when you assume, right?” Lucy joked.
“The answer is Netflix. My nest just happens to be situated in an awesome location.”
“You guys are missing out. You could aspire to be like Lassie, Ari Bud, Babe, or even the new concept for a Sebastian like character. I bet you would love it.”
“We’ll have to look into it,” stated Frederick, “but it’s getting late, I think we best be going. That way you can go back to your ever important starring into the sky aimlessly.”
“Oh… okay,” Trevor sadly said.
“Thanks for the beer. See you,” said Robin.
“See you”
“Have a good one”

And with that, Trevor was once again by himself starring at that blank screen, wishing his new found friends had not left him. As Trevor pondered he wondered if he had just gone through serious nicotine withdraw – but even so, animal figures starting popping into his head. Some of these were based on real animals, and others were pure fiction. Trevor turned to his keyboard and started to type:

The connection animal characters play in movies can have a profound effect on the individual watching. In each situation the relationship these animals possess (with the viewer) can range from personal, fantastical, and even relatable. The movie Marlee and Me is a great example of personal – many families partake in the experience of raising a pet – cats and dogs are the most popular. However, dogs seem to have a more personal investment in the family. The relationship – and ultimate heartbreak – that spawns with Marlee and Owen Wilson’s character is one almost everyone can personally recall in their own family experience.

The fantastical comes into play when dealing with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. How many kids have grown up watching and idolizing these giant, human like turtles -with each member representing a different facet of personal life. There is the relatable connection in the individuals – personally I grew up loving Donatello due to the scientific nature of the character – but the aspiration of the group is really the connection people are tuning into each week. These characters DO have faults and flaws, but the teamwork they demonstrate in order to achieve an agreed upon goal are lessons everyone should learn. The lessons range from how to work as a team with different individuals and personalities, and accomplishing tasks for the greater good. Whether you are a part of the children’s versions, or the adult versions, the lessons run hand in hand. Also, it doesn’t hurt if our heroes kick some bad-ass shell!

Harry and the Henderons ride the line between fantasy and being relatable. While I choose to believe the infamous Sasquatch exists – it is debateable – the message of accepting something that is not known is a lesson we all need to learn at some point. That movie seems like eons ago, but it can be a metaphor for things of today. People are afraid of things they can’t understand. Simply, they fear because they don’t know. Is this not the same as racism? What about discrimination of women, LGBT community, jocks, nerds, hipsters? There is hate devouring our societies because people do not take the time to understand different groups outside of their own. The world does seem to be getting better. But slowly – very slowly.

Then there are films like Finding Nemo and Homeward Bound – adventures that allow the watchers to understand the importance of family. Working together as a family – blood or not – you can accomplish some amazing feats

As humans maybe we should stop being so blind to our fellow neighbours of the world. Maybe we should take some time out of our busy days and stop – if we stop and listen, our animal friends might have something interesting to say.



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