Will Durst: The little red hen
Once upon a time, there was a little red hen who lived on a farm past the woods. She was friends with a bossy but politically connected pig, a groveling sheep who worked as a flunky for the village and a scared little mouse who specialized in running away and hiding. Hey. Sometimes your friends are whoever lives on the farm next to you.
One day the little red hen found some seeds. Since everyone was busy, she planted them and, lo and behold, not long after, a large field of wheat lay right behind the back porch. A funny thought came into her head that she could use the wheat to bake some bread. Lots of bread. Enough bread that she and her buddies could retire comfortably by selling it to animals on the other farms in her village.
So she formed an LLC with her friends. After all the papers were signed, and paws and wings and hooves were shook, a party was held and all the animals on the farm attended. The dog got drunk. Finally, it was time to gather the wheat and the little red hen went around to each of her friends to see who would help.
Citing confusion over stalled congressional action on the agricultural bill, the pig demurred, maintaining this was not a good time. It was a big farm. The sheep’s lawyer, the duck, urged caution, not wanting to offend their good friend, the pig. The mouse was unavailable for comment but the hen heard toenails on the floor of his hole like someone was scurrying away from grave danger. So the hen gathered the wheat by herself.
Needing help to grind the wheat, the little red hen once again approached the pig, who declined, not wishing to exacerbate the generally explosive union situation. The sheep couldn’t possibly commit without first consulting his foreman, the horse, who was vacationing in Aruba. According to an informed source, the mouse was in conference with the duck and not to be disturbed. So, the hen ground the wheat.
Sadly, the grinding took so long the hen lost the option on an industrial oven she had lined up in the valley. Warily, she went to the pig, but he had already leased his oven space to a Chinese bakery concern. The sheep was waiting for a similar yet intrinsically different offer and didn’t dare tie himself up. An unnamed staff member intimated the mouse was compiling evidence to support a harassment charge against the cat. The hen eventually got a grant from the feds for an alternative production plant and baked many loaves of bread keeping all the profits for herself.
The pig and the sheep sued for breach of promise, winning the entire baking operation as a settlement. The mouse never knew what was going on. The hen got revenge of sorts when the pig, who had sheared the sheep in a hostile takeover, was jailed by the mule who found moose pellets in the crust of the sourdough.
The dog scored big by selling a fictionalized script of the whole affair to Netflix as a 12-part miniseries in which the hen appeared in a cameo as a sexy yet conflicted FDA inspector possibly suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome. The end.
Will Durst can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.