Some Animal Tales Are Very Strange
|The old unicorn sat in a chair as he looked at the package of cigarettes. There’d once been a time he hated the idea of smoking, but now, it helped him to relax. He pulled one out, placed it in his mouth, got out the lighter, opened it, and struck the flint, so that it held a flame as he lit the cigarette. He then closed the lighter, put it away, and puffed on the cigarette for a bit. The doctor always complained, telling him that he should stop, that it would mess up his lungs. The unicorn had to laugh at this – cancer would be a relief to deal with, compared to what he’d been through. He set the cigarette in the ash tray, and looked off into the distance.
“General, your noon appointment has arrived.”
The unicorn looked at the guard, a young jaguar. “Which one was that one again?”
“The Evening Sun,” the jaguar said.
The unicorn nodded. “Send him out here.” He picked the cigarette back up, and took another puff.
Soon enough, a rabbit came to the back porch that the unicorn sat at. “General Jacob Unihorn, it’s an honor to speak to you.”
“I’m sure it is,” the unicorn said, as he knocked the cigarette out.
The rabbit looked at the knocked-out cigarette. “You smoke?”
“People keep telling me I should quit,” said the unicorn. “I tell them that I have every right to do so. Besides, Sergeant Hardhead liked to smoke this brand, and he died saving my life. The smell of this stuff makes me feel like he’s still around.”
“A soldier under your command?” the rabbit asked.
The unicorn chuckled. “I was under his command, back in Basic Training over forty years ago. He was one tough bastard to deal with, but everyone I met had this to say about him, he made sure you stayed alive out there.”
“He was your original Drill Sergeant back then?” the rabbit asked.
The unicorn nodded. “That old goat was always smoking these things, and if half of what they said about him was true, he deserved to smoke them. They say that one time his unit was ambushed, and he killed fifty of the enemy just by head-butting them. It was probably only a few of the enemy he did that to, but you know how stories get exaggerated over time.”
“I’ve heard a few stories about you and your horn,” said the rabbit.
“And they are probably exaggerated,” the unicorn said.
“You know, you’ve never really told anyone about your time in Basic Training,” the rabbit said. “I think my readers might want to know more about that, and learn about this Sergeant Hardhead.”
The unicorn looked at the rabbit and chuckled. “The old bastard once told me that no one would ever find his story worth more than the time it took to rip a page out of the book during the times they found themselves without good toilet paper.”
The rabbit blinked. “What do you mean by that?”
“Sometimes out in the field, you find a reason to grab a handful of big leaves,” the unicorn said. “Either that, or a page from a book.”
“Not what I was talking about,” the rabbit said.
“He always told me that his story wasn’t all that interesting,” the unicorn said as he picked the cigarette back up, got out his lighter, and relit it. He then took a puff. “To be honest, I don’t think my story’s all that interesting either.”
Word Count – 589