Part plant, part animal, all man. That’s how Plantimal described himself, at least to the ladies. Of course nobody really bought it, but they didn’t give him too much shit about it either. They knew he was another failed experiment of the mad wizard Keltazard and that was punishment enough. No one saw the use in making the little feller feel bad.
Keltazard was always churning out shit like Plantimal. Once he made a popsicle that would start melting right after the first lick “So you can challenge yourself!” he explained. This other time he made a nickel that was only worth three cents. He flat out refused to explain that one at all. He said no one would get it anyway. Everyone agreed that was probably true.
These inventions, while stupid, were basically harmless since nobody besides Keltazard would go anywhere near them, but Plantimal was different. He was a living breathing (well whatever it is that plants do) thing and people felt bad for him, what with his having to exist and all.
For starters he wasn’t a mix of a cool plant and animal, like an eagle and a sunflower, or a wolf and marijuana. He was a cross between a cucumber and a rabbit. Now you might be thinking to yourself “Hey but both of those are delicious!” and yeah, sure they are, but it’s not like Plantimal wanted to eat himself, and he sure didn’t want anyone else eating him (although believe me, they tried). Truth be told, there were moments late at night when the rabbit part of him did kind of want to eat the cucumber part of him, and let me tell you, that made for some particularly gruesome nightmares.
One night, Plantimal was at a party bragging about how he had outwitted a fox who tried to eat him. What had actually happened was that the fox freaked out when it got within biting distance and got a good whiff of him, but Plantimal had taken a few liberties with the story. Just then a gnome, who was new to the area, couldn’t take it anymore.
“Me thinks this pathetic excuse for a creature has had one too many fermented berries!” shouted the gnome hopping up on a chair “His tale has more filthy holes than a harpy whore house, and it stinks even worse!” Here the little man put his hands on his tiny hips and looked around the room expectantly waiting for a laugh, or at least an appreciation of his alliteration.
But instead the room had fallen completely silent. Everyone looked at Plantimal with such concern and pity that the gnome climbed down off the chair with shame painted all over his face.
“Oh! Ha ha ha!” Plantimal pretended to laugh while fighting back tears “Maybe… you know, maybe you’re the one who has had too many berries my friend! Why don’t you go back to… to… um, standing still in some boomers yard!…if you aren’t too drunk to stand up!”
“Oh hey,” said the gnome, “Sorry. That was out of line. What were you saying about the fox again? You asked him that tricky riddle about the garbage truck and the flies?”
“DON’T CONDESCEND TO ME!!” yelled Plantimal, hopping out to the back porch on his little cucumber legs.
After a few minutes the gnome went out and found him sitting in a corner mumbling to himself and smoking a cigarette.
“Listen,” said the gnome, “I know what it’s like to be small and weird. You think it’s fun to have dwarves call you pipsqueak?”
“I’m not weird!” cried Plantimal, “I’m special!”
“Of course! Of course!” said the gnome throwing up his hands “I am too. That’s what the big people will never understand. Guys like us have a lot to offer.”
“Yeah.” agreed Plantimal “But do they ever think of us when they’re choosing teams for jousting! Oh no! It’s all: ‘You’re too little Plantimal.’, or ‘You’d just fall off the horse Plantimal.’ Well maybe I’d just like to try!”
“I hear ya, I hear ya,” said the gnome, “… hey you know I really did have a few too many berries. I don’t suppose you could give me a hop home?”
“Oh… well,” said Plantimal straightening up, “I mean if it would help you out…”
“It would! It truly would!” answered the gnome “I just live by the big thicket on the other side of the moor.”
“No kidding?” said Plantimal, “I used to live in that thicket! Old man weasel still charging too much for rent?”
“You know it,” said the Gnome, “And he still hasn’t done anything about that bog sprite who makes all that noise at night.”
“Oh my god that guy’s still there?!” asked Plantimal, “What a character! Okay hop on.”
They were almost to their destination when Plantimal decided to come clean. “You know you were right about the fox,” he said “He said he didn’t want to eat me because he was a strict carnivore. Said he was trying to make better decisions about his health now that he’s older or something. I was just too embarrassed to tell the truth.”
“Oh that’s nothing,” said the gnome, who had almost gone to sleep on his companion’s back, “You wanna know the real reason the dwarves call me Pipsqueak? Cause that’s my actual name. Pippin Hieronymus Squeak.”
Plantimal tried to stop himself but he couldn’t help but chuckle.
After a few seconds the gnome started chuckling too. Soon they were both rolling around on the ground laughing hysterically. “It’s actually a very common name where I’m from!” he said between bouts of laughter.
That set Plantimal off again and the moon was sliding down the other side of the sky by the time they finally got to Pippin’s house.
“Well, goodnight Pipsqueak.” said Plantimal with a wink.
“Goodnight Cumberbun!” returned Pippin.
The two friends laughed until morning.