Kids are running up and down the street with abandon. The full moon is out and I’m enjoying a nice glass
of the red while passing out candy. There’s
another knock at the door; I open it to find one strange little
“Trick or treat,” he said, in an unusually gruff voice for
what I assumed was a toddler. He held up
a Unicef box in a furry hand.
“Whoa! Um… what are you supposed to be, sweetheart?”
“I’m a platypus.”
“Oh my Go… I mean goodness, THAT is the most realistic
costume I’ve ever seen! Where are your parents?” I craned my head to look down the sidewalk
for the master costumers.
“No parents. I’m
really a platypus.”
“You’re really a…” I
“I’m not kidding. I’m really a platypus. Are you gonna give
to Unicef or what?
“Whoo! I drank a little too much wine!” I said, still laughing, and reached for a
handful of chocolate goodies.
The platypus sighed. “You know, I could sting you. We platypi have poisonous barbs.” He made a half turned and slapped my leg with his tale.
“OW!” I jumped. That sure didn’t feel like rubber. “Hey… oh my… what…?”
“Feeling flabbergasted? Yeah, I get that a lot.”
“Well, we animals have always been able to talk; we’ve just
kept it hidden. But recently the Grand Consortium of Animal Interests put it to
a vote and we’ve decided to come out of the closet.”
“Are you serious?!”
“Yeah, right! You
think if all the animals – in the whole world, mind you – talked we could have
kept this secret? Nah, there’s just a
few of us. Run-off from a semiconductor plant made a few changes around the
“Oh! Gotcha. That seems to happen around here.”
“Yep. Soooo…,” he shook the Unicef box again.
“OK, here you go,” I retrieved a five-dollar bill from my
purse and shoved it into the box. (I mean, if a platypus was collecting for
Unicef in your neighborhood wouldn’t you give?) “You have a good night, platy.”
The platypus grunted, “Thanks.” As he turned away I caught a very satisfied
look on his face. Suspicion niggled at
my alcohol-befuddled brain.
“WAIT a minute!” I called. The platypus froze and turned. “That
really isn’t for Unicef, is it?!”
The platypus froze, sighed and turned back. “OK, you got me. I’m sorry for trying to scam you… but you
gotta understand how things are at the homestead since we’ve began talking! It’s all going to a worthy cause, I promise!” He held up a conciliatory paw.
“The wife, see, she’s gotten very material since the change. She suddenly wants all these things she was
never interested in before! She says
that, ‘if we want to make it alongside humans then we’ve got to live up to
their lifestyle.’ And what can I do? I love her! I want to see her happy!”
“Well,” the platypus suddenly drops his head, looking
ashamed, “She’s got her eye on this purse… It’s my own fault; I just can’t say ‘no’
to her. She’s still as hawt as the day
she first buried her eggs! Sleek fur, perky
He looked ready to wax poetic. “So which purse?” I interrupted.
“Oh, it’s um… a Coach.”
I snorted, and rolled my eyes. “You can keep the money. I’m not a fan but at least it’s not Juicy. You’re gonna have to hit a lot of houses
“Tell me about it.”