So now I reach nearly the end of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale Of Fatty Raccoon. Again, I don’t know what I’m doing with myself two weeks from now. This chapter is one you can understand without reading much of what’s gone before. It does refer to a loggers’ camp established in chapter 18. But now that I’ve mentioned that, you know as much as you need to from that chapter. Still, that and the rest of Fatty Raccoon’s adventures are at this link. Thank you.
TOM: Xixi of Ix.
> FATTY GROWS EVEN FATTER
CROW: [ As Fatty ] ‘I thought we were dumping the fat jokes!’
> When Fatty Raccoon’s burned feet were well once more,
MIKE: Ah, continuity again. Serial adventures.
> the very
> first night he left his mother’s house he went straight to the
> loggers’ camp.
CROW: [ As Fatty ] ‘I swear if they’re doing Monty Python routines I’m giving them all dysentery.’
> He did not wait long after dark, because he was afraid
> that some of his neighbors might have found
TOM: That sweet Moon that Farmer Green’s son was leaving out.
> that there were good
> things to eat about the camp. And Fatty wanted them all.
MIKE: Fatty’s a big fan of Queen.
> To his delight, there were goodies almost without end. He
> nosed about, picking up potato peelings, and bits of bacon.
CROW: Pumpkin scraps.
TOM: Remaindered butter.
MIKE: Irregular porks.
TOM: Off-brand onions.
CROW: Second-hand hash browns.
MIKE: Good-as-new eggs.
> perhaps the best of all was a piece of cornbread, which Fatty fairly
MIKE: Fairly. He gave the cornbread a chance to get away.
> And then he found a box half-full of something—scraps that
> tasted like apples, only they were not round like apples,
TOM: Ah yes, ‘Fool’s Apples’.
> and they
> were quite dry, instead of being juicy.
CROW: Then there’s the spikes they eject and the wailing of the doomed they emit, but otherwise? Great stuff.
> But Fatty liked them; and he
> ate them all, down to the smallest bit.
MIKE: Animals are famous for liking to eat strange and painfully dry foods.
> He was thirsty, then. So he went down to the brook,
CROW: Raccoons are natural problem-solvers.
> which ran
> close by the camp. The loggers had cut a hole through the ice,
TOM: [ As the author ] Uh — did I mention it’s winter? … Because it’s winter.
> so they
> could get water.
MIKE: [ As the author ] Oh and, uh, maybe I didn’t say before but the loggers are all French-Canadian but *not* Catholic. Not sure it’s important, just think you should know.
> And Fatty crept close to the edge of the hole and
CROW: [ As the author ] Oh yeah, also remember the animals all wear clown hats, that’s going to be really important next chapter.
> He drank a great deal of water, because he was very thirsty.
TOM: [ As the author ] Sorry, one last thing, they’re all robots who don’t know they’re in a band.
> And when he had finished he sat down on the ice for a time. He did not
> care to stir about just then.
CROW: Lucky thing he’s at one of those newfangled self-stirring rivers.
> And he did not think he would ever want
> anything to eat again.
MIKE: What’s a ‘fangle’ and what makes a fangle ‘new’?
TOM: Um …
> At last Fatty Raccoon rose to his feet. He felt very queer. There
> was a strange, tight feeling about his stomach.
MIKE: [ As Fatty ] ‘Am I being strangled by a boa constrictor — *again*?’
> And his sides were no
> longer thin. They stuck out just as they had before winter came—only
> more so.
CROW: Raccoon with attached porch.
> And what alarmed Fatty was this: his sides seemed to be
> sticking out more and more all the time.
TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘I keep seeing this happen to cartoon characters but never dreamed it could happen to me!’
> He wondered what he had been eating. Those dry things that
> tasted like apples—he wondered what they were.
CROW: Bad luck of Fatty that this was the summer of the apple-flavored self-inflating life-raft fad.
> Now, there was some printing on the outside of the box which
> held those queer, spongy, flat things.
MIKE:> Oh yeah, there it is on the label: ‘Queer, Spongy, Flat Things to Inflate Your Raccoon’, should have expected that.
> Of course, Fatty Raccoon could not
TOM: Of course?
> so the printing did him no good at all. But if you had seen the
> box, and if you are old enough to read,
CROW: Arthur Scott Bailey pandering to his audience here.
> you would have known that the
> printing said: EVAPORATED APPLES
TOM: E … Evaporated apples?
CROW: Consolidated grapes!
MIKE: Abbreviated radishes!
CROW: Imaginary corn!
TOM: Dark matter potatoes!
> Now, evaporated apples are nothing more or less than dried
MIKE: To the lay audience, anyway.
> The cook of the loggers’ camp used them to make apple pies.
TOM: Not to get in good with condensed teachers?
> And first, before making his pies, he always soaked them in water so
> they would swell.
CROW: [ As Logger ] ‘How do the apples look?’
MIKE: [ As cook ] ‘Swell!’
CROW: [ As Logger ] ‘So they’re ready to go!’
> Now you see what made Fatty Raccoon feel so queer and
TOM: He missed out on apple pie?
> He had first eaten his dried apples.
CROW: Okay, okay wait, let me write this down.
> And then he had
> soaked them,
CROW: All right, keep laying out the clues, I’ll figure it out.
> by drinking out of the brook.
MIKE: Brook water? What’s wrong with *real* water?
> It was no wonder that his
> sides stuck out, for the apples that he had bolted were swelling and
> puffing him out until he felt that he should burst.
TOM: So evaporated apples take revenge. Got it.
> In fact, the
> wonder of it was that he was able to get through his mother’s doorway,
> when he reached home.
MIKE: Not because of the fatness, because he was out after curfew.
> But he did it, though it cost him a few groans. And he
> frightened his mother, too.
CROW: Mrs Raccoon is a long-suffering character this book.
> "I only hope you’re not poisoned," she said, when Fatty told
> her what he had been doing.
TOM: Oh, c’mon, where would humans even *get* poison from? Be realistic!
> And that remark frightened Fatty more than ever.
CROW: [ As Fatty ] ‘Poissoned? I didn’t even *see* any fish!’
MIKE: [ As Mom ] ‘No, I … you know, I’ll let this one go.’
> He was sure
> he was never going to feel any better.
TOM: This is me whenever I have *anything*.
> Poor Mrs. Raccoon was much worried all the rest of the night.
MIKE: Wonder what Fatty’s siblings are up to tonight … ah well.
> when morning came she knew that Fatty was out of danger.
> She knew it
> because of something he said.
MIKE: Oh, classic Fatty line coming in.
> It was this:
TOM: He’s gonna say it? He’s gonna say it!
> "Oh, dear! I wish I had something to eat!"
[ ALL go wild as a sitcom audience, cheering and clapping. ]
[ To be concluded … ]