MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Raccoon, Chapter XIV


I thank you again for joining me in rewriting Arthur Scott Bailey’s 1915 children’s book about animals, The Tale of Fatty Raccoon. You can read the entire story, so much as I have made into Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction, at this link. This chapter builds directly on Chapter XIII, when Jimmy Rabbit and Jimmy’s Brother Rabbit set up a pretend barber shop, only to use it to give Fatty a humiliating shave. Enjoy!


> XIV
>
> THE BARBER-SHOP AGAIN

CROW: Barber-Shop *again*?

MIKE: Well, spruce it up with some frozen vegetables and bake it into a casserole and it’s like new.

>
> Although Fatty Raccoon never could get Jimmy Rabbit and his
> brother to play barber-shop with him again,

TOM: But if he asked for a rousing game of ‘patent attorney’? They were up for that.

> Fatty saw no reason why he
> should not play the game without them.

MIKE: [ As Fatty ] ‘If they won’t humiliate me I’ll humiliate myself!’

> So one day he led his brother
> Blackie

TOM: [ Grunts, in pain ]

> over to the old hollow sycamore.

MIKE: If the sycamore is hollow isn’t that a syca-less?

> His sisters, Fluffy and
> Cutey, wanted to go too.

CROW: Wait, I thought Blackie was one of his sisters?

TOM: [ As though tired of explaining ] If Blackie were a girl he’d have long eyelashes and a bow in his hair, Crow.

> But Fatty would not let them. "Girls can’t be
> barbers," he said.

MIKE: Ah, see, sexism, it’s the flaw keeping Fatty from being too good to be true.

> And of course they could find no answer to that.

TOM: Heck, they didn’t want to talk to him ever again.

>
> As soon as Fatty and Blackie reached the old sycamore I am
> sorry to say that a dispute arose.

CROW: [ As Narrator ] ‘I was hoping to get through one chapter where nothing happened but, tch.’

> Each of them wanted to use his own
> tail for the barber’s pole.

MIKE: Well, I mean, *naturally*.

> They couldn’t both stick their tails
> through the hole in the tree at the same time. So they finally agreed
> to take turns.

CROW: [ As Narrator ] ‘The dispute wasn’t exactly the Great Schism of 1054. Sorry if I set your expectations too high.’

>
> Playing barber-shop wasn’t so much fun as they had expected,

MIKE: [ As Fatty ] ‘I don’t get it, last time a couple rabbits shaved my face bald and I was hideous for months! Why isn’t this as good?’

> because nobody would come near to get his hair cut. You see, the
> smaller forest- people were all afraid to go inside that old sycamore
> where Fatty and Blackie were.

TOM: They heard it’s haunted.

MIKE: Fortunately a couple of meddling young goats wandered through town …

> There was no telling when the two
> brothers might get so hungry they would seize and eat a rabbit or a
> squirrel or a chipmunk.

TOM: [ As Blackie ] ‘Hey! I’ve got self-control, *thank* you.’

> And you know it isn’t wise to run any such
> risk as that.

CROW: The marmots, though? They like their chances.

>
> Fatty offered to cut Blackie’s hair.

TOM: With what?

> But Blackie remembered
> what his mother had said when Fatty came home with his moustache gone
> and his head all rough and uneven.

MIKE: [ As Blackie ] ‘I remember it like it was yesterday!’

CROW: [ As Fatty ] ‘It *was* yesterday!’

MIKE: [ As Blackie ] ‘I didn’t say it was hard to remember!’

> So Blackie wouldn’t let Fatty touch
> him. But HE offered to cut Fatty’s hair—what there was left of it.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘But we can’t get Jimmy to play with us!’

CROW: [ As Jimmy, from a distance ] ‘I’m a *rabbit* not a *hare*!’

>
> "No, thank you!" said Fatty. "I only get my hair cut once a
> month." Of course, he had never had his hair cut except that once, in
> his whole life.

TOM: The barber-shop plot is *not* helping me understand the level of anthropomorphization here.

>
> Now, since there was so little to do inside the hollow tree,
> Fatty and Blackie kept quarreling.

MIKE: I mean, you know, brothers.

CROW: They’d come home with black eyes but who could tell?

> Blackie would no sooner stick his
> tail through the hole in the side of the tree than Fatty would want
> HIS turn.

TOM: Turns out raccoons are easier to keep occupied than I figured.

> And when Fatty had succeeded in squeezing HIS tail out
> through the opening Blackie would insist that Fatty’s time was up.

CROW: I’m starting to think this isn’t just about the hole.

>
> It was Fatty’s turn, and Blackie was shouting to him to stand
> aside and give him a chance.

MIKE: Man, to think of all the afternoons I spent sticking body parts in tree holes …

>
> "I won’t!" said Fatty. "I’m going to stay here just as long as
> I please."

CROW: [ Sighing ] Remember Winnie the Pooh? Winnie the Pooh was great.

>
> The words were hardly out of his mouth when he gave a sharp
> squeal, as if something hurt him.

TOM: It’s called a brother and that’s what they do, yes. There’s punching, there’s biting, there’s name-calling …

> And he tried to pull his tail out of
> the hole. He wanted to get it out now. But alas! it would not come!

CROW: Alack!

> It
> was caught fast!

MIKE: If he can’t move isn’t it really caught *slow*?

> And the harder Fatty pulled the more it hurt him.
>
> "Go out and see what’s the matter!" he cried to Blackie.

CROW: It’s a rival barber shop run by Grandfather Mole!

>
> But Blackie wouldn’t stir. He was afraid to leave the shelter
> of the hollow tree.

TOM: Really? Why?

>
> "It may be a bear that has hold of your tail," he told Fatty.

MIKE: Now why would a bear want a used tail?

TOM: Better than no tail.

> And somehow, that idea made Fatty tremble all over.

CROW: ‘Somehow’?

>
> "Oh, dear! oh, dear!" he wailed. "What shall I do? Oh!
> whatever shall I do?"

CROW: I mean, whatever the bear wants you to.

> He began to cry. And Blackie cried too.

MIKE: Good survival skill here. Bears are afraid of awkward emotional scenes like this.

> How
> Fatty wished that his mother was there to tell him what to do!

TOM: He regrets using up that genie’s three wishes all on fudge.

>
> But he knew of no way to fetch her. Even if she were at home
> she could never hear him calling from inside the tree.

CROW: Unless she’s next door visiting Master Meadow Mouse playing savings bank.

> So Fatty gave
> up all hope of her helping.

TOM: Dad’s not putting on a good show for his kids here.

MIKE: [ Nerdy voice ] ‘It’s biological *authenticity*.’

>
> "Please, Mr. Bear, let go of my tail!" he cried, when he could
> stand the pain no longer.

CROW: [ As Fatty, choking ] ‘No no don’t grab my neck instead!’

>
> The only answer that came was a low growl, which frightened
> Fatty and Blackie more than ever.

TOM: If Fatty had gone straight to the police, this would never have happened.

> And then, just as they both began to
> howl at the top of their voices Fatty’s tail was suddenly freed.

MIKE: As Walter Moose frightens off the bear to make his 2:15 mani-pedi.

> He
> was pulling on it so hard that he fell all in a heap on the floor of
> the barber-shop. And that surprised him.

CROW: This lets the bear claim he’s ‘technically’ eating free-range raccoon.

>
> But he was still more surprised when he heard his mother say—

TOM: His mother?

CROW: The heck?

>
> "Stop crying and come out—both of you!" Fatty and Blackie
> scrambled out of the hollow sycamore.

MIKE: Wait, how do you know that’s not a bear pretending to be Mom?

> Fatty looked all around. But
> there was no bear to be seen anywhere—no one but his mother.

TOM: Be bear aware!

CROW: There’s no bear there.

TOM: Be no bear aware!

>
> "Did you frighten the bear away, Mother?" he asked.
>
> "There was no bear," Mrs. Raccoon told him.

CROW: [ Gasp ]

MIKE: Fatty was found alive and of normal size three thousand miles away.

TOM: The heck?

> "And it’s lucky for
> you that there wasn’t. I saw your tail sticking out of this tree and I
> thought I would teach you a lesson.

TOM: Three chapters in a row we’ve been taken by a plot twist!

CROW: Yeah, the author outthinking me is really making me resent this book.

> Now, don’t ever do such a foolish
> thing again. Just think what a fix you would have been in if Johnnie
> Green had come along.

MIKE: But Johnnie Green’s too young to shave!

> He could have caught you just as easily as
> anything."

MIKE: Ohhhhhhhhh.

>
> Fatty Raccoon was so glad to be free once more that he promised
> to be good forever after.

CROW: Well, he can’t promise to be good forever before.

> And he was just as good as any little raccoon
> could be—all the rest of that day.

TOM: I mean, fair.

>
>

[ To continue … ]

Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there. He/him.

5 thoughts on “MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Raccoon, Chapter XIV”

  1. How would you caption that shot from “The Enterprise Incident” when Scotty first sees Kirk in his Romulan disguise in Sickbay? I was challenged to that and all I could come up with was “Captain, those eyebrows would make a good mix with scotch.”,followed by him reaching over,and tearing Kirk’s still implanted brows off his face and using them as swizzle sticks for his scotch and Klingon nerve gas cocktail.
    What would you have done?

    Like

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