The Last Pig Standing
The pig mumbled curses unintelligibly to himself as he slapped another brick into the wet mortar, his house nearly finished.
"I am the third little pig and I have built my house out of bricks," he said with a satisfied air, raising one hoof over his eyes to block the afternoon sun.
This is a good day to be a smart pig. He smiled at the thought. Reports were on the rise of a pig murderer stalking the nearby woods, and he had followed his mother's advice to the letter.
"Whatever I do, I do it the best that I can, because that's the only way to get along in this world."
The youngest of three brothers, he'd been delighted at the opportunity to get away from his oafish elder siblings and strike out on his own.
No doubt they've built their houses out of something silly like straw or sticks.
The possibility alarmed the young hog. Glad as he was to be free, he didn't want them to be caught unprepared by this murderer.
Perhaps I'll go and find them, make sure they're all right.
He stared up at this unfinished house. His refuge. It was like a fortress compared to most of the other structures in the area. Pigs couldn't hide in the trees like squirrels or birds. They needed a home to rest their heads and wallow.
We have to stop being prey, or we'll never be safe.
His mind made up, the little pig decided to set out for his brother Harry's house. The secondborn in his family and dumber than any clod of dirt you'd ever find.
He needed to leave for shingles anyways. The whole house was finished except for the roof. The basement wasn't done either, but he'd checked his finances and he needed to wait a few months before he built a game room. Pool tables were getting more and more expensive all the time.
It took a moment for the pig to remember where he'd last seen his brother. They'd decided to separate at a crossroads in the path that split the nearby forest. He'd gone left where Clyde and Harry had gone straight and to the left. The woods were the whole world for most pigs. As far as he knew, he was the only pig to ever try to leave. And he'd only gone a few hundred yards, building his house next to a small stream that slipped into the dark shelter of the trees, a tiny thread against the immense oaks and elms.
It was this stream that he followed as he set out, his hind hooves tearing into the soft bank grass. The enormity of the trees struck him as he neared. It was a total reversal of what it had been like to step out of the leaves and into the plains of waving grass that stretched out into rolling green hills for as far as he could see.
The path was smaller than he remembered. In fact, it was nearly half the size it had been when he'd first walked this way several months ago. Whoops. Better put something on the next grocery list besides twinkies.
But it wasn't just the size. His feet stumbled several times over the uneven road. The badgers in charge of road maintenance were obviously failing to do their job again.
Yay! I can eat twinkies after all! But he couldn't help wondering what was going on. The badgers were persistent and time conscious to the point of nausea. If they weren't doing their job, then something terrible must have happened.
Don't be absurd, the pig thought to himself. They've probably just migrated somewhere. And good riddance! I'd had just about enough of their schedules and time tables and stupid little cucumber sandwiches! "Pah!" he cried aloud, voicing his apathy towards their exodus.
By the time he reached the fork in the road, the pig was starting to get hoof-weary. He was in good shape from so many long days spent working on his house, but the jagged terrain was wearing him down. He hoped it wasn't like this all the way to his brother's house.
Isn't this a bit boring? Let's skip ahead a few hours.
By the time our intrepid porker finally reached Harry's house a full moon was casting its silver light over the earth. In the dim glow the pig was able to see far better than he would have been were the moon in another phase. In a clearing he could see a mess of something that looked like hay. As he neared, he realized he was staring at the remnants of a house that had been built of straw.
"Oh dear," he whispered to himself, barely able to breathe, let alone speak. "Oh dear oh dear oh dear."
A set of bleached pig bones confirmed his worst fears. He felt his blood turn to ice as he neared the ruins. For a moment he was too numb to react. He just stood there staring dumbly, unable to connect the bones with his dear moronic brother.
While he was standing there, a shadow detached itself from the nearby trees and sidled up. When the creature stepped into the moonlight and revealed itself, the pig jumped, his heart leaping into his throat.
The pig began to take several steps backward as the fox strode towards him with a cocky air, curling a long black mustachio hanging over his lip as he walked.
"Hey. Pig." By now the pig was sweating like a pig. He wanted to flee, but he couldn't allow himself to if this was the pig-murderer he sought.
"Hey. Pig. You mute or what? Didn't your old sow of a mum teach you any manners? Goodness glaciers."
Still the pig didn't answer. He simply stared dumbly.
"Look, piggy boy. I don't want to eat you. I've sworn off pork. It's horrible for the fur. Takes the shininess right out. And don't even get me started on what it does to my diet. Do you think the lady foxes want a man with a double chin? Nuh-uh, not even."
Finally, the pig found his voice. All he could manage was another raspy whisper. "Did you…kill my brother?"
"Huh? Kill your who? Your brother? Of course not! I told you, ham-head. I don't eat pork. Don't. That means it is something I never do. Eat. That is when you insert things in your mouth and move your jaw in up and down motions. Pork. That's you buddy boy."
"Then who killed him?" he asked, anger and impatience overtaking his fear.
"What's your name, pig?" the fox asked, seemingly ignoring the question.
"I…my name…" The pig didn't like to give out his name very often. Especially to predators like this character. It helped him remain anonymous and keep in the crowd. Some predators like a challenge, and there's no greater challenge than intelligent prey like our bacon-flavored hero.
But today he was out of sorts, half his mind full with the knowledge that his brother was gone, the other half trying to figure out this fox, and the third half asking for pudding because the pig hadn't had dinner yet.
"…Edgar." The pig said, forever sealing his fate as the famous pig you couldn't kill.
"Listen, Edgar," the fox said, unaware of what he'd just done to the pig, "You seem like a bright fellow. Hungry for pudding, which will probably turn into belly fat, but bright. So I'm going to do you a favor and give you some advice…"
"Go home, Edgar. It's not safe in these woods anymore. Not even for me. There's a wolf prowling the forest. A dangerous wolf with breath powerful enough to huff and puff and blow a house down, just like that one your brother built. And I think he's just a scout. The badgers say a massive pack is headed this way. They've already fled. Badgers. Fled. You hear me? Soon these trees are going to echo with the misery of their citizens. So go home. You're not safe here."
Edgar, whose name I can now use, could not figure out what to do next. Part of him, the part that wanted pudding and safety, wanted to do just what the fox was saying and return to his fortress. He could finish the roof, dig in and live in relative safety. But how happy could he ever be without his friends and family? And no sow to raise piglets with?
Without so much as another glance at the fox, Edgar shook his head and turned back towards the path that had brought him here.
"I have a forest full of innocents to rescue," he said over his shoulder.
"Hold on, Hammy. I can't walk that fast. Well I can, but too much exercise makes my mustache droop with perspiration."
Edgar stood before a scattered pile of sticks, feeling his insides unraveling. Clyde's corpse was only half eaten, flies buzzing over the rotting meat that remained. The fox, whose name was Fredrick, had followed, wanting to help Edgar eradicate this new threat before it consumed everyone's lives.
"You should have listened to mother, Clyde…You should have done your best…" Fighting back tears, Edgar turned from the horrible sight and back towards the waiting fox. The machinery in his brain was starting to churn. At heart, he was a strategist. Plans were forming even as went about burying Clyde. He'd left Harry in his straw, but he had to bury his eldest brother. He was, after all taking his home, for he'd need every last stick.
Your death was not in vain, brother.
"What do we do now, Hammy?" Fredrick asked, shouldering the bundle of sticks Edgar had handed him.
"…I don't know. Raise an army, I suppose. For now, I'm going home."
"Home? Why? I thought you wanted to deal with those monstrous, halitosis-stricken beasts."
"I do and I will. Every army needs a garrison."
---The roof will have to be built of bricks now, obviously. Luckily I've got plenty left.
The pig had been filled with thoughts of defenses and battle formations all the ways back down the unkempt road. He had a plan. And he was sure it would work, if an enormous pack of wolves showed up, but there were two crucial variables that could wreck everything. The first was this scout. What if he showed up during preparations, or reported their actions to his leader?
And then there was this army. He needed pigs, lots of pigs. Eventually that meant striking out for the pig village at the heart of the forest, but he couldn't face another death right now. Not even the possibility of another death.
Edgar was so consumed with his thoughts that he didn't notice the little badger lying in the road until he had been sent sprawling into the dirt by it.
"Excellent! I'm so happy for you, Edgar!" Fredrick cried out. "Dirt is like a natural wrap for your face. Filled with yummy vitamins! It's about time you started worrying about your skin."
"Who in the heck are you freaks?" The badger yelled, squirming away from Edgar's hooves, which were kicking it.
"Who are you is what we should be asking!" Fredrick responded before Edgar could speak. And when was the last time you slept, brother of the skunky stripe? You've got bags under your eyes that would make a kangaroo jealous. Don't you know you need eight hours of sleep to keep your fur luxurious and shiny?"
"First of all, Zorro, I'm not your brother of nothin'. I'm a girl. Female. And second, what IN THE WORLD is a kangaroo?"
Fredrick was about to answer when he suddenly realized his curly-tailed companion was fifty yards ahead, about to exit the forest. Leaving the badger in confusion, the fox dashed after Edgar, who stopped as he reached the treeline to watch as the sun rise and smear pink and orange light over the grayscale darkness of the moonlight.
"Wait up!" The badger called. Fredrick stopped next to Edgar to look out at the view and she slammed into him, knocking his burden of twigs loose. Continuing to ignore them, the hero of story resituated his own pack heroically and stepped into the dawn glow.
"Y'all ain't seen a big group of badgers digging underground, have you?" The badger asked Fredrick, helping him pick up his sticks.
"How could we see them digging underground?"
"…er… right. I was traveling with my fam and I got lost, but I guess if you haven't seen them… Uh…what's up with the pig?"
"That wolf on the loose. It's got him worked up. I told him that worrying so much will cause wrinkles, but he won't listen."
The clatter of bricks called the two away from their conversation. When they looked back towards Edgar's house he was already frantically at work finishing the roof.
"Oh man oh man oh man. If I look at my own reflection again I am going to get seriously burned. I am SO hot." The now infamous pig-murderer, aka the Big Bad Wolf was currently standing by the little river that ran through the forest. Every few minutes he would gaze into it, stare at himself for a bit, and then make sizzling noises and finally pull back pretending to have been scalded.
"Szz." A raven standing next to him began making burning noises and hopping up and down. "Caw! Back, wolfie! Scorchin' me feadders. Caw!" The bird, seeing all the changes headed for the woods, had attempted to make friends with the predator as soon as word had reached it about the wolf pack on its way.
"Pigs, pigs, pigs," Big Bad muttered. "They'll be the death of me someday, but I can't help it. Once I've had one, I just can't stop until I've finished off the whole colony. It's like a double-edged sword. I find that village of swine that dumb pig with the straw house was talking about, and I feast like a king! But if I do find it, my diet will be totally wrecked. Oh well. The missus can't hound me now! This secret mission is the best thing that has ever happened to me."
"Handsome wolfie! Caw!" the raven cried. "Never'll get fatted! Too hot! Szz!"
"And don't you forget it. You're a smart bird, bird. You'll go far in life, I'm sure of it. You know where these freakin' pigs are holed up, dude?"
"Dis little piggy had roast beef! CAW! Dis little piggy had none! Cacaw! Dis liddle piggy went WEE WEE WEE all the way home. CAW. Last little piggy built a house of bricks and ate pudding all day! Caw!!
"A house? Like that crap I blew over? Lead on, bird. I'll get the piggy by the hair on his chinny chin chin, just like the last two, and I'll make him squeal and tell me where that village is. And then I'll report back to the head honcho that the forest is mostly empty! Muahahahahaha! My brilliance is almost as stunning as my phenomenal good looks! It's no wonder I have to beat the ladies off with a stick! Potbelly or no potbelly!"
"Caw! Potbelly hot! Burning me! Szz! Caw!"
Edgar was deleting the bulk file in his email when the wolf and the raven arrived. He wasn't particularly worried. The three (I didn't waste time introducing the badger to not use her in the story) had finished the necessary preparations hours ago. The house had become the fortress he'd envisioned it becoming. All the windows were sealed up with bricks, leaving only a tiny opening in each for a peep hole. The door had three extra locks installed, and the roof, of course, and been completed, with sharpened sticks, the very sticks that made his brother's house, sticking out like spikes to protect the chimney, now the house's only vulnerable point.
All there was to do now was wait. Edgar had waited by setting up a free month of AOL on his laptop. Fredrick had waited by combing his moustache and gazing at himself in the mirror. The badger, whose name was Tina, had waited by getting horribly ill eating an obscene amount of pudding for lunch and also coincidentally had waited by spending a large quantity of time in the bathroom.
When Fredrick announced that he had seen the wolf, Edgar climbed from his seat, waded through a large pile of empty Handi-snacks pudding cups and checked for himself, instead of a wolf, or a library, or a plate of cookies, or anything distinct at all, Edgar saw only a black blur.
After a few seconds, the blur moved and turned out to be a bird perched upon the head of a wolf with a slight beer-belly.
"Come out, little piggy. Or huff. Puff. House go boom."
"Huff! Caw! Puff! Caw! Gorgeous young wolf kill with sexiness! Szz!"
"Not by the hair on my chinny chin chin," Edgar and his two honorary pig friends cried at the same time. It was the defiant battle cry of pigs everywhere, signifying that even the hairs on their lower jaws thought you detestable and smelly and of questionable parentage. You couldn't get anything by their hair.
The wolf, being both large and mean, attempted to blow the house down as he'd promised.
But dangit, he couldn't blow that house down.
Mouth watering for the taste of shish kabobs, he decided to climb up the side of the house and go through the chimney. Unfortunately for the wolf, climbing over the spikes was nearly impossible. At least, it wasn't possible without impaling yourself. Personally, I do not think I could have made it if I'd tried to get to that chimney. I doubt you could do it either unless you are a champion pole vaulter or a frog. But that wolf, man, he could jump, and jump he did.
He landed on the edge of the chimney without a scratch, but he made enough noise that our furry heroes could tell what was going on. The wolf was worried a bit about this, but he was also hungry, fat, and out of breath after trying to blow a brick house down, so he just let himself fall down the shaft, where he landed with a KERSPLASH right into a huge kettle of boiling hot water.
…should have been that but wasn't. Rather than dying, the wolf leapt out of the kettle half cooked and half blinded, and attacked in a wild rage. Edgar snatched at the tools next to the fireplace, whipped out a poker, and brandished it at the wolf. For a moment the two just faced each other, waiting for the other to make a move.
Normally, this would have been the end for our lovable white meat friend, but scalded as he was (I'm talking actual burns, not pretend burns due to supposed attractiveness), the wolf was dazed and badly hurt. All he wanted now was to flee.
"Tell your leader pigs aren't on the menu anymore," Edgar growled, and rather than finish the wolf off as he wanted so badly to, Edgar whipped open the door and let the monster back outside, where the raven joined it. Together the two ran away as fast as they could.
"Caw! Too hot for piggy!"
"I should have known better. You make me sick, Corporal. Did you do anything but eat?" Where's my intelligence? My statistics? All the data I need to lead a pack into those woods and take control," the alpha male of Big and Bad's pack had him immobilized, caught in an expert elbow grip.
'Ow! I told you, taking the forest is going to be cake and gravy! There's no one there but some stupid fox, some birds and squirrels and a tribe of yokel pigs. Ow, ow."
"Those yokel pigs seem to have made a fool out of you!" The alpha roared. "Any one of my pigs should be able to take the place, if it's as peaceful as you say!" He raised his free paw to indicate their encampment on the prairie, where dozens of hardened wolves sat around various fires and glared at each.
"But I sent you! The son of my second in command! You should have those hicks pinned under your thumb!"
"Well…uh…so much OW the easier when we all go together."
"Oh no. I'm not helping you. If you don't want to find yourself slipping to the bottom rung, you're going to do this on your own. You'll return in two days, after your wounds have closed, with two privates at your command, and that infernal crow. Am I understood?"
"Er…yes sir! Ow!" Finally the alpha released the corporal and the two went their separate ways.
Later that day, a storm floated in and made itself at home. It stretched out, sighed to itself, and began to soak the world below in a heavy rain. It rained for the next two days, as Big and Bad made his preparations. And it rained on Edgar and co. as they set out for the village at the center of the forest, on a mission for reinforcements.
The pig, fox, and badger could barely see for all the water falling from the happy storm. The road in was even worse muddy, they discovered. Tina found herself regretting the mass departure of her people with every step as she trailed behind her new friends. She was exhausted from the hours of work that had gone into finishing the roof, and her heart still beat more rapidly whenever she thought about that wolf, his fur half singed off.
She shaded her eyes with one paw, trying to look ahead and thankful for the cloaks protecting their fur from the rain. Fred had insisted on something, and Edgar had provided. Otherwise he probably wouldn't have thought anything of it and just gone off into the rain naked. The pig was growing ever more introverted, barely speaking anymore.
Tina glanced out from the fox and pig ahead and out to the trees and gasped. Had she just seen a flash of something brown dart through the trees? "Wolf!" she whispered urgently, her heart thudding in her chest. Instantly Fredrick drew a spear from his cloak and darted into the trees, a streak of green cloak and red fur. Seconds later a hare, sopping wet, darted out onto the path and chased after Edgar, who had kept walking unawares.
The fox was right behind. Edgar finally realized something was going on and stopped, frowned, and drew his own spear. The hare stopped short, ducked under the wooden shaft clutched awkwardly in the pig's hooves, and smothered him in a massive hug.
Fred stopped short and dropped his spear. All the fox and badger could do for a moment was stare as the pig wiggled himself free, muttering and cursing. "What the HECK is wrong with you, you crazy rabbit?"
"Heyheylovepigslovepigssosocute. Cute! Piggies cute! Hughughug. Andnotrabbitsilly.Harenotrabbit."
"Whatever." Edgar growled. "Fred, Tina. Let's get shakin like bacon and jet."
"Whereyougocutepiggy? Whereyougo? Igotoo. Yougoodstrappingbigpig. Saveforestfrombigdoggies. Mehelp."
"Fine. Just don't slow us done. Goodness, we're turning into a traveling petting zoo."
"Nobody goes to petting zoos for any animals like us." Fred pointed out.
Edgar screamed in frustration and just turned back to the path and began walking again. The rest of the trip was for the most part uneventful, except for the fact that by the time the group reached the crossroads Fredrick had knocked the rabbit unconscious and thrown him over his shoulder. ("That sound will make my ears age quicker, and it's making my fur droop.")
From the crossroads, it was actually quite easy to find the pig village, but the way was kept secret to protect the entry from predators.
So, sorry, but I can't tell you, for it is secret to this day. Not even Fredrick or Tina or the unconscious bunny -sorry, hare- could tell you where it is.
In fact, I'd probably better skip ahead to the return to Edgar's house. There's really not much to tell. Edgar has a heart-warming reunion with his mother and tries to rouse the pigs to fight, and they refuse because they don't want to be eaten. Edgar gives an inspirational speech that spurs them all to war, and Edgar leaves successfully with an empty village behind, occupied only by the very old, the very young, and the very dumb. You truly should have heard the speech. It was a real tearjerker. Gets me every time. Ahem. Anyways…where was I?
Oh. Yes. So the pigs returned to Edgar's house. Or tried to. On the way there they were ambushed by the wolves and the raven, who used a cunning trap involving shiny objects and candy, and together devoured the lot of them, becoming so fat they couldn't move.
Okay, not really, but that would have been a great surprise ending, eh? I had you going for a minute there, that's for sure. Haha. I kid. I kid Anyways, our intrepid heroes got back to Edgar's house and Edgar took back point of view from the omniscient narrator. Whoops, that's me! disappears in a puff of smoke
I never thought that would work, Edgar thought, looking out at the massive pink crowd milling about in his front yard. They'd knocked over his flamingo decorations and were absolutely murdering his Kentucky Bluegrass, but otherwise things were going okay. A whole crowd of hogs and sows and even a few piglets, all hanging on his every word.
"As I said in the inspirational speech I gave in the last scene, we pigs have to work together or we will die alone! As long as we are nothing more than an item on their menu, we will never be able to live in peace and safety! Now when those wolves come back, let's not run and hide like we normally do because it is the smart thing to do. Let's fight!! Like real hogs!"
Many of the pigs cheered. They were ready to fight.
When Big and Bad returned to the forest with his two wolves and his bird, he returned to a forest wholly different from the one he'd expected to find. Not a single noise could be heard. No birdsong, no squirrel hip-hop, only the wind rustling through the leaves of the trees. Not even a bug could be heard unless you listen closely, which is what you normally have to do anyways because most bugs aren't that loud.
As they trotted, ignoring the path and trudging through the grass as all evildoers are wont to do, one of the wolves, a shaggy brown fellow named Pat, saw a flash of something black streak through the trees to the left. He stopped and started for a moment, his feet squishing into the ground left muddy by the recently departed rain. But he soon saw absolutely nothing. After a few more minutes of nothing he hurried to catch up with his companions, who had continued advancing, and simply fell back into step, deciding not say anything about what he'd seen for fear of ridicule.
But it wasn't long before the other private, a wolf named Gloopoatoxlindordaawy saw a figure leaping across a small opening between the trunks of two enormous oaks. He too stopped for a moment, but saw nothing more and with a shrug continued walking. Seconds later all three wolves were surrounded by hundreds of pigs, all wielding spears and grimacing fearsomely. At least, it would have been a fearsome grimace if it had been borne by anything other than a massive quantity of cute and pink little pigs.
Edgar took a step forward, wielding an ax. "I believe you've been informed that we are no longer prey, which makes me wonder what you're doing here." The pig spun his ax threateningly. "It makes me wonder if you want to be on the menu yourself."
"You don't scare me!" Big and Bad yelled, taking a deep breath. Pat and Gloopoatoxlindordaawy quickly curled up on the grass with the raven between them. Big and Bad's abilities at exhalation were legendary. In seconds the pigs had been scattered all over, some of them had getting hurtled into trees, all of them stunned by the sudden gust of wind. Edgar was the first to recover. Together with Fred and Tina, who had donned pig suits, he hurtled himself to his feet and charged. But before they could reach Big and Bad, the rabbit, who I will once more belatedly introduce as Donald, dropped from the sky and landed on his head. Angry at years of oppression, the rabbit did several horrible, violent things to the wolves that I could mention but probably shouldn't.
Naturally, the body of the three dead wolves were sent back to the pack, where they were promptly eaten. The alpha male of the pack, undeterred, of course attacked, and was defeated, every last wolf speared several dozen times by the swarms of warrior pigs that roamed the woods, all of them moving in unbelievably complex and strategic maneuvers devised by their leader. In continuing with the current method of summary-like storytelling, I will also skim over details of the pigs going out of control and attacking anything that moves, the return of the badgers and Tina's being reunited with her "fam" and Fredrick getting married to a small goat from a nearby farm. Edgar also got married (to a pig) and all of the pigs in the forest ate pudding, got horribly obese, and eventually died. Donald became a wondering swordsman and currently lives somewhere.
Unless you want to hear about what happened next. The day after the big battle between the wolves and the pigs, Edgar invited his mother over to his house, where lived peacefully with his wife, who'd married that morning. (They eventually have two litters together but divorced because he is a terrible communicator and she is a control freak)
The three were drinking tea together, when Ma Pig said "You see it is just as I told you. The way to get along in the world is to do things as well as you can."
Fortunately for that little pig, he learned that lesson. And he lived happily ever after.
"Hey, baby." Mrs. Edgar said. "Are you listening? I asked what you thought of the curtains. It wouldn't kill you to have an opinion once in awhile…honey."
THE END (for real this time I promise)