Sunday, June 1, 2014

Two Satirical Pieces by Jeffrey Zable

by Jeffrey Zable

I was walking down the street near Notre Dame Cathedral
when a big, fat, bald headed guy wearing an overcoat
walked past me. His huge face was perfectly round with eyes
that looked like they were popping out of his head. But what
struck me as most odd was his wearing a heavy overcoat
when it must have been close to 80 degrees outside.

I turned around and saw that he had stopped about 50 feet
from me and devoted his attention to something inside one
of his overcoat pockets. Walking across the street, I stopped
on the other side to observe him.

A few people passed him but no one paid him much attention.
Then I saw that a pretty young woman was walking his way.
She was wearing a fashionable looking dress and blouse and
I could tell she was someone who took care of her appearance.
As she was about to pass the strange looking man, he stepped
in front of her and from his pocket he pulled out a rat. It was
fairly large and he held it with both hands. With a wicked grin on
his face, he held the rat in front of her and moved it back and forth

The woman was so stunned that she was frozen to the spot,
but it wasn’t long before the rat jumped out of the man’s hands
and darted down the street. Immediately he started running
after it, but I knew he wouldn’t catch it.

The woman put her hands over her face and began to cry--
or at least I thought so— but when she removed her hands
I saw that she had not been crying at all. She looked around 
for a moment, and when she saw that the man was gone she
continued walking down the street as if nothing had happened.

I considered the whole scene to be very odd, until I remembered
I was in Paris, the city in which some of the greatest Surrealist painters
and writers of the 20th century lived, loved, and worked together.

I headed back to my little apartment wondering about the rat--
if anyone would find it, and give it a good home.


by Jeffrey Zable

   My name is Smokey the Bear Junior and as far back as I can remember, I’ve preferred staring fires to putting them out. This may seem ironic given that my father is the original Smokey the Bear. 
   As a child I set my first fire at about the age of two and from there it just escalated. My father would always give me tremendous beatings, but no matter how many he gave me, my thirst to start fires never waned.
   I remember one time I set a fire near a campsite that must have burned down ten to twelve trees before the fire fighters were able to put it out. The only one who knew I did it was my father because when I returned home I smelled of smoke and had ashes all over my body. The beating he gave me that time was the worst I’d ever gotten, and I remember he said to me, “You are my son, but I can’t bear to look at you!”  He said that eventually I’d get caught and that it would completely ruin our family’s reputation. He said there would be nowhere we’d be able to go without being the laughing stock of the community, not mention he’d have a son in jail. 
   Somehow after this beating and lecture I was able to curb my fire-setting-ways for about a month, but finally the urge became too great. I set fire to the gardener’s tool shed and also set fire to the truck in front of it. Again, my father knew that I had done the deed and this time he said that he hoped to never see me again. He pointed toward the opening of our cave and said, “You’re now on your own. Good bye and good luck!”
   Most of the time, I slept in empty caves or right out in the open in any secluded place I could find. And yes, I continued to start fires at all hours of the day and night. I had the fire fighters very busy, but because there
were never enough of them to go around, it often took hours to put out a fire. I was destroying a lot of nature with my uncontrollable habit.
   Finally got I caught in the in the act of starting a fire right near a lake where the salmon spawned, and I was put in a cell to await trial. I assumed that when it was all over, I would be put to death or spend the rest of my
life in a zoo.
   Strangely enough, I went to trial but was brought to a room to meet the Head Ranger who sat there with his feet up on his desk. “Listen Smoky Junior” he said to me, “I have a proposition for you. These are bad
economic times, and as a result they are laying off park rangers, fire  fighters, and all kinds of Park Personnel. Even my job is in jeopardy! If you’ll work with us and do what we tell you to do, I guarantee you’ll never go hungry another day in your life, you’ll sleep in a furnished cave, and we’ll provide you with the sexiest female bears in the entire park. What do you say?”
   Of course my first words were, “What do I have to do?”
   Leaning forward the Head Ranger said to me, “We want you to start fires where we want you to start them. We want a lot of timber to burn so that the government will have to hire more rangers and fire fighters. We want
to know that our jobs will always be secure and that our children will have secure jobs for the rest of their lives!”
   And with that I immediately started setting fires where I was told to, which wasn’t as much fun as deciding where I wanted to start them, but  at least I was alive and living a life like no other bear in the Park.
   I never once saw my father, but heard that he was still on television urging campers and visitors to the park to do everything in their power to prevent forest fires.
   There were days I wondered what he would say to me if he knew what I was up to. He was right to say he couldn’t bear to look at me, and I must admit there are days when I have a hard time looking at my own reflection
in the water.
     But as the saying goes. . . I am what I am!

Author bio: 

Jeffrey Zable has appeared here there and nowhere for many years. The great Surrealist/Beat poet Harold Norse wrote the introduction to his fifth chapbook. It didn't make him famous, and 90% of the people who know him don't even know that he writes. Present or upcoming work is in Subliminal Interiors, Mas Tequila, Literary Juice, Boston Literary Magazine, Muse, Owen Wister Review, Epigraph, Yellow Fox Quarterly, and others.

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