Saturday, June 13, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: The Boy Who Didn’t Cry Wolf

The boy grew up keenly interested in wolves. Just one wolf could ruin the herd, killing many and spooking the females out of breeding. Sheep were the life of the tribe, so to him, wolves must have been the death. He asked many questions about them.

“How big are their mouths?”

“How much of a sheep can one eat in a night?”

“How fast can they run?”

“How big does a pack get?”

“Is this a sign that they’re stalking?”

To him this was necessary information. To the town fathers it was a nuisance, and soon the only answer he got was to ask later. That answer came increasingly with an adult turning away from him mid-sentence, and later, not bothering to turn and look at him at all.

The shepherd boy was left him feeling that he should fend for himself. Bags grew under his eyes from long nights thinking, and those bags felt full whenever wanted to ask a question.

He didn’t want to bother anyone, not with questions of wolves or requests for help. Once he sprained his ankle and limped through work for two days until one of the tribe fathers asked what was wrong, and then called him stupid for not reporting it. He was called stupid many times that night.

“What made you stupid?”

“What’s wrong with you?”

“How can we trust you with an attitude like that?”

“Don’t you have anything to say for yourself?”

“Got any smart questions now?”

He had no questions that week. They were so loud to him, even when quiet.

Still, he stood watch with his staff. Because he was so loyal he often served more hours in the field than the adults. Because he was so loyal the adults sometimes sent him out alone. Because he was too quiet to complain, they sent him out alone more often. It let them start drinking earlier.

Wolves came one night. It was a bigger pack than any of the town fathers had described. He fought valiantly, trying to stand between the sheep and the wolves, but there were too many. No matter the direction he faced, another set of teeth could come snapping from another.

No one had taught him to fight effectively. Hitting one with the blunt staff didn’t drive it away for long. He used fire, but they always got another sheep that strayed for fear of it. He needed to sound the bell, to call for the help of the adults, but something made his hand heavy.

The town fathers came the next day. A few sheep were left, but none of the boy.


  1. it would serve the townies right if they ate them all..hauntingly good per usual john...

  2. Thanks, Michael. This was actually rejected from a few places, so I decided to let it fly here. Glad it entertained at least one person.


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