APRIL 3, 2015
Illustrated by Kathrin Schädlich | schaedlichdesign.com
The four of them were having tea in a raindrop as it plummeted down toward a dirty city street.
The first was Shuvamy Toawshuly, a professor of psychobiology at Hammersworth-Smithe but dressed as though ready for a 1980’s aerobic workout- neon spandex stretched taut over her curvaceous physique. Next was Felmore Snowcamp, a giant tortoise seated uncomfortably on a pink leather ottoman and using both fore-claws to raise a tiny teacup to his beak. Continuing clockwise we meet Snorvath Dumppe, an average-looking office manager in a white button-down shirt and stained slacks. Dropping three too many sugar cubes into his teacup he turned to the forth member of the raindrop teaparty, Yankfestle Toawshuly, younger brother to Shuvamy, himself a hairy man clad just in board shorts and sporting an anchor tattoo and a long and unruly beard.
Facing Yanfestle, Snorvath raised his teacup. I propose a toast, Snorvath began.To all those living and dead who know the simple struggle of daily existence. To the sometimes insurmountable struggle to tie your own shoes in the morning. I toast to those who choose to pass though life without really paying attention.
Yanfestle grabbed hold of his own beard and pulled at it violently before proclaiming, Here here, and raising his own tea goblet.
Meanwhile Shumavy had turned her attention to her smartphone and her thumb moved erratically across the screen.
Felmore the tortoise had very carefully set his tiny teacup on the table beside the golden tea service and turned his scaly head to no one in particular. Now that’s good tea, he said.
Just then Shumavy lifted her doe eyes from the screen of her phone. We have three seconds, she said. Three seconds? Until what? Asked Snorvath, looking unhappily at the empty sugar bowl.
Until this raindrop hits the street, honey, Shuvamy said. Ridiculous, said Snorvath.
My sister ain’t never wrong, said Yankfestle, after a sip of tea. She’s a PROFESSOR. She knows more about what yer thinkin’ right now than you do.
I’m not thinking right now, I’m emoting! shouted Snorvath. DEATH!
We may not all die instantly, said Felmore.
What do you mean? We’ve been dropping from a twenty thousand foot high cloud to a very hard surface- Avenue D!!! exclaimed Snorvath. INSTANT DEATH!
Well, some of us have shells, the tortoise said.
Snorvath emptied six artificial sweeteners into a new cup of tea. His hands shook and the cup clattered against its saucer and spilled some on the way to his quivering lips.
Shumavy batted her eyelashes. We’re more than half-way, she said.
Well, what do you propose, sis? said Yanfestle, raising his voice. You’re the smart one in the family. We’re having tea in a raindrop and we’re about to make contact with cement on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. What should we do now? I’m serious!
Shumavy got up from her chair and said, Okay everyone stand with your legs apart and rotate your arms in small circles like this: one, two, three, four! Now back two, three, four! Yanfestle and Snorvath set down their tea and followed suit. Snorvath kept up with the workout, wide-eyed and frantic.
And two, and three, and four, continued Shumavy.
The tortoise Felmore had managed to pour himself another tea and raised this one for a sip. He looked down through the watery curve of the raindrop floor and saw the ground approaching way too rapidly. Then he looked back at the others and their synchronized aerobics. He took one last drink before withdrawing into his shell, hoping for the best.