Published Online February 4, 2018
This story is for this year’s Furry Fiesta: Lone Star Wonderland, which is taking place this weekend! Sadly, it was completed too late to be printed in their conbook, but here it is for your reading pleasure!
In a clearing surrounded by oak trees, a young female bear dressed in blue warm-up pants and a blue hoodie with white trim sat in an oversized chair at the head of a long table. Her gaze darted back and forth at the animals seated around her. In turn, they stared back at her while engaged in a debate:
A pair of tortoises stood nearby, both wearing striped shirts and pants. “She’s a curious one.” The one on the left said, his eyes narrowing at her.
“A very curious one.” His twin said.
“Darn it, Bobby, I just said that.” The first tortoise chided his twin.
At the opposite end of the long table from the bear, a jackalope sat. He wore a top hat and coat. “Our new friend is definitely curious. She’s a uniquely strange curiosity.” He said. He reached over for a glass and took a swig of it’s amber-colored contents. “Ahh! But what is she? What, indeed?”
“She has little ears like a mouse, but she’s too big to be a mouse.” A bobcat observed to the jackalope’s right.
“She has a nubby tail like a jackalope but she no antlers like a jackalope.” A coyote sitting across from the bobcat said.
At this point the bear spoke up: “Look guys. I’m not a what, I’m a who. My name is Ally. I followed a white rabbit to this weirdo place and now I’m just trying to get home.”
The jackalope nodded. “Mmm-hmm. Well, you’re here now, missy, and you can’t leave without having some breakfast with us. It just wouldn’t be right!” He reached for a platter upon which sat a pile of breakfast tacos sat. He took one, placed it onto his plate and then handed the platter to the bobcat. “Please, Miss, take one when they come your way! Take two! I insist!”
The bobcat took a taco, placed it onto his plate, and passed the platter to Ally. “Here you go, ma’am! Just the thing to start your day!”
Ally tentatively reached for the platter. She gingerly took one taco and placed it upon her plate. “Shouldn’t these be yellow?” She whispered under her breath before mustering a smile. “Uhh, thank you. Maybe, after breakfast, could one of you can help me get home?” She asked, passing the platter onwards.
“Thank you, miss.” The coyote said, taking the platter. “First things first, dear! We gotta eat!” He placed a taco onto his plate and then placed the platter in front of the jackalope.
“Indeed! Afterwards, we can only promise that we won’t make you any more lost than you already are!” Jack smiled. A concerned look came over him. “Oh no, you simply can’t have breakfast without something to drink! Would someone fill our new friend’s glass, please?” He requested.
The bobcat reached for a large silver pitcher. He began to fill Ally’s glass with tea.
“Thanks.” Ally said, watching the tea flow into the tall glass. “This is a really big glass of tea!” She observed.
“Chow time!” The jackalope cried. Except for Ally, the animals reached for their tacos, took huge bites and began to eat. After a few moments, they turned and stared at her.
“If thomething rong?” the jackalope asked though a mouthful of breakfast.
“No. I’m fine.” Ally sighed. She looked at her food for a moment, and then smiled. “I guess I should, like, eat something. I haven’t had anything since that cookie this morning.” She reached for her taco, took a large bite, and began to chew. Her eyes quickly widened and she spat out the mouthful of food onto her plate. “BLEH! Like, oh my gosh! Guh-ross!” She cried. Ally reached for the glass of tea and took a large drink. She immediately spat it out, spraying tea and bits of taco all over the table.
“Oh my gawd, what is this stuff?” Ally asked. She grabbed a napkin and wiped her tongue and mouth with it as the other animals looked on in shock. “EEE-YUCK! Tacos with beans and cheese? Cold tea?” She howled. “This is not how we do things in California!“
A collective gasp came from the other animals at the table.
“What?” Ally asked.
“Oh, no.” Bobby said.
“She said it.” His twin said.
“Don’t say that word again, Ally!” The bobcat shushed, a finger to his lips. “She’ll hear you!”
“What word? California? And who’s going to hear me?” Ally asked.
The animals at the table waved their hands, shook their heads, and placed fingers to their lips in an attempt to shush the young bear, but she continued.
“What’s wrong with California?” Ally asked. “It’s where I’m from! It’s where we eat normal food and speak English the right way! You-all? Ain’t? Like, are those even real words? I’ll say it if I totally feel like it, you freaks! CALIFORNIA!” She screamed.
“WHAAAT!” A woman’s voice boomed from just out of sight.
The pair of tortoises ducked their heads inside of their shells. “Uh-oh.” They said in unison.
“Here she comes.” The jackalope gasped. He took off his hat, placed it to his chest and gave a small wave to Ally with his other hand. “It was nice knowing you, ma’am.”
The bobcat shook his head. “We warned you, Ally.”
“Who is that?” Ally asked.
The coyote explained: “She is Ann, the Queen of the Lone Star. She rules over Texasland, and there’s one thing that she hates more than anything.”
A female armadillo with half-red and half-white armor and a pale blue-tinted beehive hairdo burst into the clearing. Atop her hair, a blue cowboy hat with a large white star on the front tilted about, constantly threatening to fall off, but never doing so. “WHO SAID IT?” She demanded. The Queen walked up to the tortoises and snarled: “Was it you?”
“No, ma’am!” The pair quickly replied from within their shells.
The Queen turned to the table and yelled: “WHO WAS IT?”
“It was her, Ann!” The jackalope squealed. He pointed a shaking finger at Ally. The other animals, (except for Ally, of course) followed suit.
The Queen stomped to Ally and bellowed: “YOU! How DARE you defile the air of my kingdom with that awful name!”
If Ally was frightened by the Queen’s bluster, she made no showing of it. Instead, she stood from her chair, thrust out her chest at the Queen and hissed back: “I’ll say whatever I want, lady!”
The Queen gasped. She prepared to launch a rebuke, but upon seeing the terrified looks of the animals seated around the table, she paused for a moment. The Queen smiled, wagged a finger at the young bear, and calmly said: “Yes, y’all may say whatever y’all want, my dear. Just so long as you don’t be saying that name.“
Ally sighed, let out a deep breath, and began to prattle: “Look, Queenie. I don’t even know why I’m here. This whole day has just been like, totally crazy. This place is crazy and you people are crazy and you eat crazy things and drink crazy things and say crazy things and I just want to go home.”
The Queen (mostly) managed to maintain her calm and asked: “Oh! And where is home, dearie?”
“California.” Ally said, eliciting another gasp from the animals at the table.
The Queen’s face turned sour. She wrung her hands briefly, then placed them on her hips. “Doggone it, girl! I asked you to not say that name! I asked you so very nicely and you just had to do it again.” She sighed and adjusted her hat. “I’m afraid y’all are going to have to pay the price for your insolence now.” The Queen lifted her chin and made a slashing motion across her throat.
Ally gasped: “Off with my head?” She asked.
The Queen recoiled at the statement. She placed a hand on her chest and proclaimed: “Oh, no, my dear. We are not barbarians here…we are Texans.”
The Queen turned and shouted: “Get a rope!”