MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 11


I hope you’re having more fun with Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel than poor little Jimmy Rabbit is! You can catch up on my whole Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction of it here.

For those joining us now:: Jimmy Weasel accepted Old Mr Crow’s nagging to take up Grumpy Weasel’s race challenge. What Jimmy and Old Mr Crow failed do is negotiate for the race to have a finish line. Jimmy’s starting to realize Grumpy figures the only finish line is “finish Jimmy”.

I don’t think anything needs explaining here. Well, ‘Coronet Blue’, but that was explained as far as it could be on the original show.


>
>
> XI

CROW: Xi Xperling, president of the hair club for zmen.

>
> A LONG RACE

TOM: The 19th-Century struggle between Britain and Russia for mastery in Afghanistan and how it changed the world!

>
> The famous race between Grumpy Weasel and Jimmy
> Rabbit went on and on.

JOEL: They stumbled into an existentialist drama without realizing it.

> Jimmy turned and twisted this way and
> that,

CROW: No, not *that* way!

> up and down and back and forth

TOM: *And* Fortran.

> through Pleasant Valley.

JOEL: [ As Ted Stryker ] I don’t know if we’ll ever be through Pleasant Vally.

> He could still run faster than Grumpy Weasel, it is true.

CROW: Well, that would seem to settle the race then, wouldn’t it?

> But
> he was growing tired. Now and then Jimmy stopped to rest.

JOEL: Have you considered calling ‘Olly Olly Oxen Free’?

> And
> he kept hoping that Grumpy Weasel had become so weary that he
> had given up the chase.

TOM: That’s it, wait for the creature driven by anger to get over it.

>
> But Grumpy Weasel never stopped once.

CROW: He started right in on stopping twice.

> And whenever
> Jimmy Rabbit spied him coming along his trail Jimmy would
> spring up with a sigh and rush off again.

JOEL: [ As Coily ] o/` No sighs! o/`s`

>
> He began to understand that such a race was no joke.

TOM: Jimmy took a frivolous view of the sport of ‘Dare Ya to a Foot Race’?

> He certainly didn’t want to lose the race.

CROW: The only way to race is not to race.

> And he certainly
> didn’t want Grumpy Weasel to come up with him.

JOEL: Maybe Grumpy Weasel will just give you a big hug?

> He had always
> kept at a good safe distance from that ill-natured fellow.

TOM: Except on Accept-A-Dare Thursdays.

> And Jimmy felt most uneasy now at the thought of Grumpy’s
> catching him.

CROW: [ As Jimmy ] ‘What if he tickles me?’

>
> "He must be very hungry, after running so far," Jimmy
> Rabbit said to himself anxiously.

TOM: [ As Jimmy ] ‘Maybe I can get him talking about what kind of protein shakes he likes.’

> "If he’s as hungry as I am
> he wouldn’t be a pleasant person to meet."

JOEL: What if you meet him at the Chinese buffet?

> And that thought
> made Jimmy run all the faster, for a time.

CROW: But he’s not running for a time.

> But he soon found
> that he had to stop more often to rest.

TOM: Jimmy hauls off and smacks a tortoise who wasn’t even involved.

> And to his great
> alarm Grumpy Weasel kept drawing nearer all the time.

JOEL: When in the race do you figure Jimmy realized he forgot to pick a finish line?

>
> At last Jimmy Rabbit became so worried that he swept

TOM: Compulsive cleaning is at least a useful way of handling nerves.

> around by the stone wall again and stopped to whisper to old
> Mr. Crow.

JOEL: [ As Mr Crow ] ‘What? You act like this is my fault somehow!’

>
> "He’s still chasing me. And I can’t run forever.

TOM: isn’t that the lyrics from ‘The Raccoons’?

JOEL: o/` Come run forever … o/“

> What
> shall I do?" Jimmy asked the old gentleman.

CROW: [ As Mr Crow ] ‘Have you considered flying?’

>
> "I’ll think the matter over and let you know
> to-morrow,"

TOM: [ As Mr Crow ] ‘For a hamburger today.’

> Mr. Crow muttered hoarsely. To tell the truth,

JOEL: Will the real Grumpy Weasel *please* stand up?

> he
> was alarmed himself.

TOM: [ As Jimmy ] ‘Oh, *he’s* alarmed now?!’

> And he had no idea what Jimmy Rabbit
> could do to save himself from Grumpy Weasel.

CROW: Maybe have Paddy Muskrat swim at him?

>
> While they talked, Grumpy’s cousin, Peter Mink,
> watched them slyly.

JOEL: Well not *that* slyly, just sort of slyly-ish-ly.

>
> "Who do you think is going to win the race?" he
> jeered.

TOM: [ As Mr Crow ] ‘Look, why do you want to make everything a horserace?’

JOEL: [ As Peter ] ‘It’s literally a race and neither of them are horses!’

CROW: [ As Jimmy ] ‘My voice is pretty hoarse!

>
> Mr. Crow did not even turn his head. He felt very
> uncomfortable.

TOM: Really? Whatever for?

> But he tried to look unconcerned.

CROW: Don’t frown! .. Oh, perfect!

>
> "Run along!" he said to Jimmy. "To-morrow I’ll tell
> you what to do."

JOEL: Wait! I just had an idea, Jimmy, put on this Girl Weasel costume and I’ll play the sultry music!

>
> "To-morrow—" Jimmy Rabbit panted—"to-morrow will
> be too late."

TOM: o/` To-morrow will be tooooo laaaaate! o/`

>
> Then all at once Mr. Crow had an idea.

CROW: If I could stop Valentine’s Day from coming — but how?

> And he
> whispered something in one of Jimmy Rabbit’s long ears

JOEL: ‘Coronet Blue’?!

> that
> made the poor fellow take heart.

TOM: Also ears.

>
> "All right!" Jimmy cried. "I’ll see you
> again—sometime!"

CROW: [ As Mr Crow ] ‘See you soon!’ [ To himself ] ‘He’s dead.’

> And away he ran, just as Grumpy Weasel
> came racing along the stone wall,

JOEL: He’s stonewalling.

> looking as fresh as a
> daisy.

TOM: Please don’t eat the weasels.

>
> "You’d better stop and rest a while!" Mr. Crow
> croaked. "If you get too tired you’ll never win."

CROW: [ As Mr Crow ] ‘If this works Jimmy is set!’

>
> "Rest!" Grumpy exploded. "I don’t need to rest! I
> never felt better in my life, except that I’m pretty hungry.

TOM: Aw, you’re awfully cute even when you’re stuffed, dear.

> But I’m bound to win this race."

JOEL: He shows off his giant horseshoe magnet and empty bag of iron baby carrots.

> As he spoke of feeling
> hungry he cast a longing glance at Jimmy Rabbit,

TOM: [ Makes a zzzzzz noise, like a fishing reel being cast. ]

> who was just
> dodging out of sight behind a distant tree.

TOM: Grumpy just went into a bar, made the biker strip naked, didn’t even take the clothes.

CROW: Did Arthur Scott Bailey ever consider liking his protagonist?

>
> "Wait here a bit, anyhow!" Mr. Crow urged him.

JOEL: Underneath this anvil!

> "Since
> you’re sure to win—as you say—there can be no hurry."

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘If … is this some Sophist nonsense? You gonna give me that thing about how since I never lost my unicorn horn I *have* a unicorn horn?’

> And
> Peter Mink too begged his cousin Grumpy to stop just a
> minute.

CROW: Think how Peter Mink feels begging Grumpy to spend more time with him.

> And he laughed, "Ha, ha!" whenever he looked at Mr.
> Crow.

TOM: They’re coming to take me away?

>
> And strange to say, Mr. Crow said, "Ha, ha!" too.

JOEL: He’s going to dare Grumpy Weasel to race *him*.

[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 10


I have another chapter of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction for you, another piece of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel. As ever, the whole of the MiSTing should be at this link. and please let me know if something goes missing.

Previously in Grumpy Weasel: Grumpy Weasel challenged Jimmy Rabbit to a race and Old Mister Crow was all over it. Old Mister Crow’s arranged for Jimmy to get a twenty-leap lead and he’s very excited for Jimmy’s inevitable win. But what happens come the day of the race?

The Betty Boop cartoon referenced is “Ha! Ha! Ha”, where yes, the dentist’s laughing gas gets out of control. Lee de Forest was a prolific inventor of the early 20th century, mostly of electrical and radio gear and also scams that maybe didn’t quite break the law but not for want of larcenous intent. The Dick Tracy reference is to something that happened in the strip recently and I plan to talk about it Tuesday. Now, let’s read.


>
> X

JOEL: Oh no, this chapter’s all about the Quadratic Equation.

>
> HA! AND HA, HA!

TOM: Hey, it’s the Betty Boop cartoon with the laughing gas.

>
> A great outcry rang through the woods

JOEL: Somebody catch it!

> the moment
> Jimmy Rabbit set out to race Grumpy Weasel and beat him.

TOM: Gotta think about your life when everyone you know wants to see you be worse at running.

> Shouts of "Good luck!" and "Run hard!" and "Hurrah for James
> Rabbit!" followed Jimmy.

JOEL: ‘Hurrah’, because Lee de Forest hadn’t invented ‘Hooray’ yet.

> But old Mr. Crow squawked, "You
> don’t need to hurry!"

CROW: You just need to be faster than the other guy! … Wait.

> He thought that the race was already as
> good as won,

JOEL: Or as good as as good as won would be.

> for Grumpy Weasel had insisted on giving Jimmy
> Rabbit a start of twenty jumps.

TOM: And now Grumpy Weasel reveals he meant elephant jumps.

>
> Meanwhile Grumpy Weasel glowered.

CROW: A now-obscure word meaning to glow red.

JOEL: Gladiola flowered (glowered).

> But he could not
> glower at Jimmy’s friends,

TOM: He has a strict schedule for when to glower at rabbit friends.

> because he had to watch Jimmy
> himself in order to count the first twenty jumps he took.

CROW: One jump into hyperspace and Grumpy won’t be able to follow, kid.

> When Grumpy had counted nineteen and a half away he started.

TOM: Hey, that’s cheating by half a jump.

> And old Mr. Crow, as he sat staring at the race, declared
> that Grumpy Weasel hadn’t a chance to win.

JOEL: Really wondering what Mister Crow’s angle on this is.

>
> The company seemed ready to take Mr. Crow’s word for
> it—

TOM: You know the old folklore about crows knowing their rabbit/weasel racing lore.

> that is, all except Grumpy Weasel’s cousin, Peter Mink.

CROW: The polecat.

> He spoke up and said that as for him, he would wait and see
> what happened.

JOEL: The huge vote of confidence that is saying ‘I guess he hasn’t lost yet.’

> He didn’t believe old Mr. Crow knew what he
> was talking about.

CROW: It’s a crow thing, you wouldn’t understand.

>
> Mr. Crow grew almost a purplish black with rage.

TOM: Is this something to do with eggs? I feel like this is really about eggs.

>
> "We’ll all wait," he said stiffly. "We’ll all wait.

CROW: Well, Jimmy and Grumpy can’t wait or the race won’t work.

> And when the race is over you will apologize to me."

TOM: [ As Peter Mink ] ‘Jeez, fine, if it’s that important to you then Jimmy Rabbit is gonna win, take a chill pill.’

>
> Peter Mink merely grinned. He had no respect for his
> elders.

JOEL: [ Gasping at this gossip ] Peter Mink is a cad! And bounder!

CROW: Jimmy Rabbit’s the bounder.

> And now he didn’t appear to mind in the least when
> the entire company let him severely alone.

TOM: It shows real strength of character to disagree with the crowd about who you think will win a footrace.

>
> Mr. Crow shot a triumphant look

JOEL: Aaah! My antique ceramic Look!

> at him about an hour
> later,

CROW: Mister Crow is on Central Time.

> when Jimmy Rabbit came bounding into sight, with no
> one following him.

TOM: Having got badly lost on the way to the race course.

> "You may as well stop now," Mr. Crow told
> Jimmy. "You’ve as good as won the race already."

JOEL: I know they’re animals but they don’t seem very good at this.

>
> Jimmy Rabbit said that he thought so, too,

CROW: [ As Jimmy, as The Wizard of Oz ] ‘But I can’t stop my legs, I don’t know how they work!’

> but he
> supposed he’d better keep running a while longer, till Grumpy
> Weasel gave up.

TOM: This was a pretty good scheme for Grumpy to get Jimmy to run an hour away from him.

> So off he hopped again.

JOEL: Next, Jimmy runs up to meet Dick Tracy.

>
> Everybody except Peter Mink laughed heartily

CROW: Daniel Hart the deer asks what’s so funny.

> when
> Grumpy Weasel came springing up the slope a little while
> later.

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘I want my two dollars!’

>
> "You may as well stop now. You’ve as good as lost
> already," Mr. Crow greeted him.

JOEL: [ As Grumpy ] ‘I am not lost, I just don’t know where I am!’

>
> "Whose race is this—yours or mine?" Grumpy Weasel
> hissed.

TOM: It’s the rat race.

JOEL: No, Billy Rat’s not racing until sunset.

> And off he hurried, without pausing to hear Mr.
> Crow’s answer.

CROW: How long does it take to hear ‘Yours’?

>
> "We’ll wait a while longer," Mr. Crow told the
> company,

JOEL: How else would waiting work?

> "for the end is so near we may as well see it."

TOM: Is … Is Mr Crow forecasting the apocalypse?

>
> "Whose end?" Peter Mink asked him.

CROW: *Anyone’s* end, as long as it’s Henry Kissinger’s.

>
> "I mean the end of the race, of course!" Mr. Crow
> squalled.

JOEL: Oh no, they accidentally looped back, the race is a Moebius strip!

>
> "Oh! I thought you meant the end of Jimmy Rabbit,"
> Peter Mink replied.

CROW: [ As Elmer Fudd ] o/` End of Jimmy Wabbit o/`

>
> "Impossible! Impossible!"

TOM: Burgers! Burgers!

> was all Mr. Crow said to
> that. But he began to fidget—which was a sign that he was
> worried.

JOEL: Or he’s stimming, did you think of that, Mr Narrator ?

> And when Jimmy Rabbit appeared again Mr. Crow was
> not quite so cocksure when he asked if the race wasn’t over.

CROW: [ As Mr Crow ] Cocksure? No, no, I’m crow-sure, if I know anything it’s that.

>
> "It would be," Jimmy Rabbit answered, "but the
> trouble is, Grumpy Weasel won’t stop running!"

TOM: [ As Grumpy, distant ] ‘I’m stuck in second gear! HEEEELP!’

>
> "Ha!" said Mr. Crow hoarsely.

JOEL: Let me hear what Mr Horse crows now.

> But Peter Mink said,
> "Ha, ha!"

CROW: Almost ended the chapter on the title, neat.

> And there is a great difference between those two
> remarks, as we shall see.

TOM: Hey! The Narrator peeked ahead! That’s cheating!


[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 9


Please enjoy another chapter of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, only with Mystery Science Theater 3000 riffs in it. The whole of this MST3K fan fiction should appear at this link. If it doesn’t, and it’s not just because I haven’t written it yet, let me know and we’ll figure something out.

Last time you’ll recall Grumpy Weasel uncharacteristically reached out to any other animal by challenging Jimmy Rabbit to a race. Mr Crow eggs Grumpy on, stirring up what should be an exciting race between the animals. And now is it race time? … Not yet. But see what it is.

Queen Zixi of Ix is a fairy-tale book L Frank Baum wrote while he thought he could sell something besides Wizard of Oz books. It’s pretty fun, starting with a pack of fairies deciding to make a new magical wish-granting item and see what kind of trouble it stirs up. Queen Ozma is also from L Frank Baum’s books, a big player in most of the Wizard of Oz books besides the one made into the movie. It’s Motocross, Charlie Brown is properly known as You’re A Good Sport, Charlie Brown. It’s not in fact much like the described plot.


>
>
> IX

TOM: That’s one of those obscure moons of Saturn, right?

JOEL: Looking forward to meeting Queen Zixi.

>
> SAVING HIS FEET

CROW: For marriage.

>
> Old Mr. Crow and Jimmy Rabbit had a good laugh over
> Grumpy Weasel’s plan for a race with Jimmy. They thought it a
> great joke.

JOEL: Maybe you had to be there. Wait, we were!

>
> "He needn’t give me a start," Jimmy said.

TOM: ‘Needn’t’.

> "I can beat
> Grumpy easily."
>
> "Never mind that!" Mr. Crow advised.

CROW: [ As Jimmy ] ‘Well, I can *not* beat him even more easily!’

> "You might as
> well let him have his way.

TOM: You needn’t make him all grumpy.

> He’ll look all the more foolish,
> trying to catch up with you."

JOEL: Now into your clown suit and remember to let your pants fall down!

>
> So Jimmy Rabbit agreed to run the race as Grumpy
> Weasel wished,

TOM: Only two more wishes and Jimmy goes back into the magic lamp!

> saying that he was ready to start at once.

CROW: Zoom!

JOEL: [ As Maxwell Smart ] ‘Would you believe starting at *twice*?’

>
> But Mr. Crow told him he had better wait till the
> next day.

TOM: Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after …

> "That will give me time to tell everybody," he
> explained,

CROW: Including Santa Claus and Princess Ozma of the Land of Oz!

> "and then there’ll be a big turnout to see you
> win—and to jeer at Grumpy Weasel for losing."

TOM: Wasn’t this the plot of ‘It’s Motocross, Charlie Brown’?

> And one could
> tell from Mr. Crow’s remark

JOEL: That he’s one sassy bot.

CROW: He’s different.

> that he liked Jimmy Rabbit and
> that he despised Grumpy Weasel.

CROW: Or that he’s playing both sides against the middle.

>
> The next day proved to be a fine one for the race.

TOM: [ Grumbling ] Man, 25 bucks fine for racing …

> It
> wasn’t too hot nor too cold;

JOEL: It was threatening to be a little too medium.

> and early in the morning the
> field- and forest-people began gathering at Grumpy Weasel’s
> hunting ground,

CROW: Mmm, buffet.

> where the stone wall touched the clearing.

TOM: Watch out for holes!

>
> About the only persons that objected to the time set
> for the race were Benjamin Bat and Solomon Owl.

TOM: Minor characters get alliterative names, real characters get normal names.

> Benjamin said
> that he could never keep awake to watch it;

CROW: We *get* it, Benjamin, you’re not a racing fan. Stop dissing us who *are*.

> and Solomon
> complained that he couldn’t see well in the daytime.

JOEL: But they’re not *racing* a well.

> But all
> the rest of the company were in the best of spirits, giggling
> slyly whenever they looked at Grumpy Weasel,

TOM: He-he-he-he-hah

JOEL: Mwuh-uh-ha-hah-haa!

CROW: [ High-pitched cackling ]

> who seemed to
> pay scant heed to his neighbors,

TOM: I love whenever Scant Heed To His Neighbors comes up on the indie station.

> though you may be sure his
> roving black eyes took in everything that was going on.

JOEL: Tale of *Greedy* Weasel.

> He
> seemed more restless than ever as he waited for Jimmy Rabbit
> to arrive,

CROW: Well, how restless *is* Ever?

JOEL: Ever Egret.

> walking to and fro on his front legs in a most
> peculiar fashion,

TOM: It’s called warming up, Narrator!

> while he kept his hind feet firmly planted
> on the ground in one spot.

JOEL: Restless *Some* Legs Syndrome.

> Of course he could never have
> moved about in this manner had his body not been so long and
> slender.

CROW: Fatty Raccoon in the background, not moving at all.

>
> Noticing Grumpy’s strange actions, old Mr. Crow
> looked worried

CROW: No, I figure Grumpy knows what he’s doing!

> and asked him what was the matter.

TOM: Bubble wrap rehearsals.

> "I hope
> your hind feet aren’t troubling you, just as the race is
> about to begin," he said.

JOEL: Maybe his ankles are too tight, ever think about that?

>
> Grumpy Weasel hissed at the old gentleman before he
> replied:

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Sorry, my tire cap was loose.’

> "Don’t worry! You’ll soon see that my hind feet can
> travel as fast as my front ones—

JOEL: That feels like a threat, somehow.

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘And then I’ll show those fools at the Academy!’

> when I want to use them."

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘But when I remove them from their box they lose a lot of value so I want to be sure this is worth it.’

>
> "Ah!" Mr. Crow exclaimed knowingly.

JOEL: [ As Mr Crow ] ‘I have no idea what you just told me!’

> "He’s saving his
> hind feet for the race."

TOM: Yeah, close enough.

>
> When Jimmy Rabbit reached the gathering place, coming
> up in a long lope,

CROW: I love those old-fashioned vehicles like jitneys and phaetons and lopes and everything.

> Mr. Crow hurried to meet him.

JOEL: Mr Crow, do you just want to race Jimmy? Is that your game?

>
> "I advise you to save your hind feet," he whispered.

TOM: Don’t spend them all in one place.

> "Grumpy Weasel is saving his."

CROW: Just in case the boss battle really needs feet.

>
> Jimmy Rabbit told Mr. Crow, with a smile, that he had
> saved his hind feet all his life—and his front ones, too.

JOEL: El-Ahrairah looking at Jimmy after this going, ‘Eh, I guess. Fine.’

>
> "I’ve brought them along to-day,"

JOEL: Even though I needn’t.

> he said, "to help
> me win this race."

CROW: My feet, and the weasel-proof tape at the finish line.

>


[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 8


Now that I’ve reached Chapter 8 of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, the protagonist is really growing on me. I’m still not committing to turning the whole of the book into Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction. But whatever I do make from it will be up a this link. Might even finish the book.

The story so far: Master Robin, Mister Meadow Mouse, and Paddy Muskrat have all gotten away from Grumpy Weasel so far. Now to see if anyone else escapes having to interact with Pleasant Valley’s most grumpy of weasels. Or — has Grumpy Weasel done something to surprise us all?

The cryptic riff “`Makes sense,” said Glinn Gusat’ is swiped from the greatest MiSTing project of all, the Marissa Picard stories. They’re a joyfully preposterous set of Adventures where Captain Picard’s adopted daughter becomes Lord High Admiral of the Universe by age fifteen or so. Glinn Gusat’s declaration about how the lead character’s leap of logic “makes sense” became a beloved callback and I’m bringing it back here.


>
>
> VIII

JOEL: It’s King Henry Days at the Satellite of Love!

>
> THE DARE

TOM: [ To the Pink Panther theme ] The dare, the DARE, the dare the dare the DARE the dare the DAAAAAAARE!

>
> If Grumpy Weasel had been a faster runner

JOEL: [ As the ‘If Woody had gone right to the police’ guy ] … this would never have happened.

> the forest
> people wouldn’t have been so surprised when he dared Jimmy
> Rabbit to race him.

CROW: Also if he had ever chosen to interact with a person.

> Everybody knew that Jimmy was
> swift-footed

JOEL: He had feet like a bird.

> —especially since he once beat old Mr. Turtle
> (but that is another story).

TOM: Oh did he, now? Because I saw a cartoon where it came out different.

>
> When Mr. Crow, who was a great bearer of news,

CROW: And Mr Bear, who was a great crower of news.

JOEL: Wait, that makes sense.

> told
> Jimmy Rabbit one day that Grumpy Weasel wanted a race with
> him,

TOM: [ As Jimmy ] ‘What do I care if Grumpy wants a race with you?’

> Jimmy Rabbit seemed more than willing to oblige. "Where,
> when, and how far does Grumpy want to run against me?" he
> asked.

JOEL: Seems like you could talk Jimmy into it.

>
> Mr. Crow said that he didn’t know,

CROW: He just got back from Buffalo.

> but that he would
> make it his business to find out.

TOM: Some bots don’t know how to mind their own business!

CROW: Hey!

> So off he hurried to find
> Grumpy Weasel,

JOEL: Just look for the big cloud of disagreeing.

> for if there was anything Mr. Crow liked it
> was busying himself with other people’s affairs.

CROW: *Also* shiny trinkets!

>
> He did not have what you could call a pleasant talk
> with Grumpy Weasel.

JOEL: I always thought any talk that doesn’t end with a weasel biting your face off is a pleasant one.

> Once when Mr. Crow alighted too near the
> ground Grumpy jumped at him.

TOM: That *is* a good story!

> And several times he called Mr.
> Crow a nest-robber and an egg-thief, though goodness knows

CROW: He styled himself more a nest-thief and an egg-robber.

> Grumpy Weasel himself was as bad as the worst when it came to
> robbing birds’ nests.

JOEL: But the worst is going to be Fatty Raccoon?

>
> Although he felt as if he were about to burst with
> rage old Mr. Crow pretended to laugh.

CROW: [ Clearing his throat, and speaking the words, awkwardly, as though giving a bad presentation ] ‘H- hah ha hhaah?’

> He had been having a
> rather dull time, waiting for Farmer Green to plant his corn,

TOM: o/` And I don’t care! o/“

> and he thought that a lively race might put him in better
> spirits.

JOEL: If Grumpy Weasel is in good spirits does that mean he’s *more* grumpy or does that mean he’s …

CROW: Yeah, this is confusing.

>
> "Where do you want to race against Jimmy Rabbit?" Mr.
> Crow asked.

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Around the world twice! Zip! Zip! Hah, I’m done!’

>
> "We’ll start from this wall," said Grumpy sulkily,

CROW: You … sound like you’re not into this anymore, Grumps.

> "because it’s always better to start from where you are than
> where you aren’t."

JOEL: [ As Mr Meadow Mouse] ‘No running through holes, right?’

>
> Mr. Crow said that that seemed reasonable.

TOM: ‘Makes sense’, said Glinn Gusat.

>
> "When do you want to race?" he added.

JOEL: [ As a Knight who says Ni ] ‘When you bring me a shrubbery!’

>
> "The sooner we start the quicker we’ll finish,"
> Grumpy Weasel snapped.

CROW: And vice-versa.

>
> "Quite true, quite true!" Mr. Crow agreed.

TOM: [ As Mr Crow, doing Columbo ] ‘I figured it was something like that, sure … now just one more question.’

> "And now
> may I inquire how long a race you want to run?"

JOEL: [ As Grumpy ] No, you must ask how wide a race I want.

>
> "No longer than I have to!" Grumpy growled.

TOM: Is Grumpy posing a riddle?

CROW: Uh, is the answer ‘a hole’? I feel like it’s got to be ‘a hole’?

> "Not more
> than a day or two, I hope!"

JOEL: You know how hard it would be to get a hotel this close to the event!

>
> Mr. Crow snickered slightly.

CROW: [ Snickering, slightly. ]

> "I see you don’t
> understand my question," he observed.

TOM: [ As Mr Crow ] ‘Let me put it in other words. Gazortnol flebnostrilate chunk bloppily snork nobble?’

> "Are you going to run a
> mile, or only a few rods?"

CROW: A few rods? Look, I know this is 1915 but you’re being old-fashioned for *that*!

>
> "How do I know?" Grumpy cried,

TOM: Fine, twelve hogsheads, three virgates, and a ha’penny!

> as if he had no
> patience with his questioner.

JOEL: You know if you don’t want to do this you don’t have to do this. *you* started everyone on doing this!

> "How could anybody tell? I’ll
> let Jimmy Rabbit start twenty jumps ahead of me and we’ll run
> till I catch him."

CROW: Wait a minute, is this a race or is he just going to eat Jimmy Rabbit?

>
> Well, Mr. Crow laughed right out loud when he heard
> that.

JOEL: [ As Mr Crow ] ‘I enjoy watching Jimmy Rabbit die!’

> And he was about to tell Grumpy that he would have to
> run till the end of his days if he raced Jimmy Rabbit in any
> such fashion as that.

CROW: But why start trouble like that?

> But he saw all at once that such a race
> would be a great joke.

TOM: Well, it’s one of those conceptual jokes, where the comedian’s amused but we’re confused.

> And he said to himself with a chuckle
> that the laugh would be on Grumpy Weasel.

CROW: Sounds like you’re the one doing all the laughing here.

> For Jimmy Rabbit
> was so swift a runner that nobody who knew anything at all
> would ever consent to give him a start—

JOEL: What if we gave him a sudden surprise instead?

> much less propose
> such a thing.
>
> "Very well!" said Mr. Crow with a smirk, "I’ll report
> to Jimmy Rabbit.

TOM: We’ll agenda it on the next Pleasant Valley scrum!

> I’ll tell him where, when and how you want
> to race, and there’s no doubt that your plan will please
> him."

JOEL: His plan is to stand still while Jimmy runs away from him and is never seen again.

>
> "I hope it won’t!" Grumpy Weasel snarled. "I’ve never
> pleased anybody yet; and I don’t mean to."

CROW: Grumpy Weasel suddenly becomes the voice of our generation.

>
> And that goes to show what an ill-natured scamp he
> was.

TOM: He reaches out *one* time to do *one* fun thing with *one* person and suddenly it’s a whole megillah. I feel for the guy.


[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 7


I continue not to promise that I will make Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction out of all of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale Of Grumpy Weasel. Grumpy isn’t as automatically delightful as Fatty Raccoon was. But I’m feeling more inclined to try, now. And all of the MiSTing, however much I finish, should be posted to this link.

The story so far: First, young Master Robin escaped Grumpy Weasel. Then Mister Meadow Mouse did too. Who’ll get away from Grumpy Weasel next? Or will we finish a chapter with someone not avoiding our protagonist? Read on!

This week also hasn’t really called for obscure riffs. Maybe the only thing to footnote is that Barbara Lewis hat a hit song by the name Hello Stranger back in 1963, although you might recognize it from its hook, “Shoo-bop shoo-bop, my baby, ooooh”.


>
>
> VII

TOM: Chapter Five, Part II.

>
> PADDY MUSKRAT’S BLUNDER

CROW: [ As Emily Litella ] ‘What’s all this about Paddy Muskrat’s bladder?’

>
> Sometimes Grumpy Weasel found the hunting poor along
> the stretch of stone wall that he called his own

JOEL: Maybe Grumpy should take up gathering?

> —though of
> course it really belonged to Farmer Green.

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘I own it by virtue of working the hunting grounds! Read your Locke!’

CROW: [ Pointlessly hostile ] *You* read *your* Locke.

> And though he
> disliked to wander much in strange neighborhoods,

JOEL: … he likes the way his existing drives the Nextdoor biddies crazy.

> once in a
> while he visited other parts of Pleasant Valley.

CROW: Sometimes he wanders all the way to Simply Passable Hill or Mediocre Brook. Once even to Disappointing Meadow.

JOEL: Mister Meadow Mouse likes it.

>
> It was on such an excursion to the bank of the mill
> pond

TOM: o/` Down by the old mill pond … o/`

> that he caught sight, one day, of Paddy Muskrat

CROW: I want to call him Paddy O’Muskrat for some reason.

> —or to
> be more exact, that Paddy Muskrat caught sight of him.

JOEL: You know a caught sight is the most dangerous of all.

>
> Now it was seldom that anybody spoke to Grumpy
> Weasel.

CROW: And when they did it was about who has the deed to the garden wall.

> On the contrary, most of the forest-folk dodged out
> of sight whenever they saw him, and said nothing.

TOM: Wait, nobody likes Grumpy Weasel, nobody likes Fatty Raccoon, does Arthur Scott Bailey have any protagonists he *wants* to spend time with?

> So he
> wheeled like a flash and started to run when somebody called,
> "Hullo, stranger!"

CROW: He’s being visited by the Barbara Lewis?

>
> One quick backward glance at a small wet head in the
> water told Grumpy that he had nothing to fear.

JOEL: In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be here …

>
> "Hullo, yourself!" he retorted "And you’d better not
> call me ‘stranger,’ because I’m no stranger than you are."

TOM: Well, how strange are you?

CROW: Anyone who boasts about how strange they are is about as strange as white broccoli pizza.

>
> Well, Paddy Muskrat—for it was he who had spied
> Grumpy Weasel on the bank of the pond—

JOEL: No, not *that* Paddy Muskrat, the other one.

> saw at once that
> whoever the slender and elegant person might be,

TOM: Nick Charles?!

> he had the
> worst of manners. Though Paddy had lived in the mill pond a
> long time, he had never met any one that looked exactly like
> the newcomer.

CROW: Isn’t that how newcomers work?

JOEL: Not if you’re clones.

CROW: Oh.

> To be sure, there was Peter Mink, who was
> long-bodied and short-tempered,

TOM: [ As Peter Mink, from far off ] ‘Hey! Why pick on me?’

> as the stranger appeared to
> be. But when Paddy inquired whether the visitor wasn’t a
> distant connection of the Mink family (as indeed he was!),

CROW: [ As Emily Litella ] ‘The *Pink* Family?’

> Grumpy Weasel said, "What! Do you mean to insult me by asking
> whether I’m related to such a ragged, ruffianly crowd?"

TOM: ‘Ruffianly’?

>
> Somehow Paddy Muskrat rather liked that answer,

JOEL: ‘Ruffianly’, yeah, we got us a stranger who says things like ‘ruffianly’.

> for
> Peter Mink and all his family were fine swimmers and most
> unwelcome in the mill pond.

TOM: Just … just because he doesn’t like Peter Mink doesn’t mean he can’t swim.

>
> And perhaps—who knew?—

JOEL: It is a crazy, mixed-up world.

> perhaps the spic-and-span
> chap on the bank,

CROW: Felix Otter!

> with the sleek coat and black-tipped tail,

TOM: Puttin’ on the ritz!

> was one of the kind that didn’t like to get his feet wet.

JOEL: That he was wearing his swimming trunks suggests otherwise, though.

>
> Then Paddy Muskrat asked the stranger a silly
> question.

TOM: ‘If you could trade tongues with someone, who would it be?’

> He was not the wisest person, anyhow, in Pleasant
> Valley, as his wife often reminded him.

CROW: Oh you know women, always reminding you of the existence of wiser muskrats in the valley.

> "You’re not a distant
> relation of Tommy Fox, are you?" he inquired.

TOM: Tommy Fox, the lowland tenrec?

>
> Grumpy Weasel actually almost smiled.

JOEL: [ As Grumpy, hollering in pain ] ‘AAAAUGH!’

>
> "Now, how did you happen to guess that?" he asked.

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Because, man, if that idea ust popped into your head you’re a sack of doorknobs!’

>
> "Because you’ve got such a sharp nose," Paddy Muskrat
> replied.

JOEL: You know what they say, sharp nose, warm heart.

> And he was quite pleased with himself, for he
> thought that he wasn’t so stupid as some people thought.

TOM: Oh … oh, honey, please, sit down before you hurt yourself.

>
> "Any other reason?" Grumpy Weasel inquired, stepping
> to the edge of the overhanging bank.

CROW: Look out, Paddy, it’s a trap!

>
> "You don’t like to get your feet wet," Paddy Muskrat
> said.

TOM: Objection, assumes personality traits not in evidence.

> And feeling safe as anything, he swam nearer the spot
> where the stranger was crouching.

JOEL: Just think of being the phone company guy walking Paddy through moving his SIM card.

>
> Paddy saw, almost too late, that he had made a bad
> blunder.

CROW: Can’t you even tell a cabbage from a lettuce?!

> For without the slightest warning Grumpy Weasel
> leaped at him.

JOEL: Aaah! Snuggle party!

> And had not Paddy been a wonderful swimmer and
> able to dive like a flash,

TOM: What, *nekkid*?!

> he would never have dashed,
> panting, into his house a few moments later.
>
> "What on earth is the matter?" his wife asked him.

CROW: [ As Paddy ] ‘NOTHING! Nothing, uh, nothing … listen, we don’t have any holes on us, do we?’

>
> "I’ve been having a swimming race with a stranger,"

JOEL: Seems more like a diving race to me?

> Paddy explained. "I don’t know his name. But I do know that
> he’d just as soon get his feet wet as I would."

TOM: [ As Mrs Muskrat ] ‘Why would you want to get his feet wet?’

>
> "Well, why not?" Mrs. Muskrat inquired. "That only
> shows he’s sensible."

CROW: He can see, hear, smell, touch, *and* taste!

TOM: Can’t trust a stranger you don’t ever lick.

>
> "Does it show I’m sensible, too?" Paddy asked her.

JOEL: I don’t know, can you be licked?

>
> "Certainly not!" said Mrs. Muskrat.

TOM: D’oh!


[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 6


And I continue again! My Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction based on Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel gets another chapter. The whole MiSTing, whether or not I finish the book, should be gathered at this link.

The story so far: Grumpy Weasel has caught Mr Meadow Mouse poking around the stone wall along his hunting grounds. In trying to escape Meadow Mouse suggests seeing which of them can fit through the smaller hole in the wall. Before Grumpy can sneer the idea down Solomon Owl lands and declares he’ll judge the hole-crawling contest. And now, for Chapter …


>
>
> VI

CROW: Chapter Seven, the prequel.

>
> MR. MEADOW MOUSE ESCAPES

JOEL: Wonder what’s going to happen this chapter.

>
> Grumpy Weasel did not like Solomon Owl’s offer

TOM: Two wheat and one ore in exchange for Literacy and Mapmaking? What kind of offer is that?!

> to be
> umpire of the hole-crawling contest between Mr. Meadow Mouse
> and himself.

JOEL: … Busier than a one-beaked umpire at a hole-crawling contest.

> He hissed a few times and glared at Solomon Owl,

CROW: Like they say, the people with the free weasels always hiss first.

> up in the hemlock tree.

TOM: Grumpy should run into the hemlock tree’s opposite, the inseam-key tree.

>
> Solomon Owl did not appear to mind that, but calmly
> outstared Grumpy Weasel without once blinking.

JOEL: [ As Solomon ] ‘I been hissed at by bigger weasels than you, buck-o.’

> "Are you both
> ready?" he asked presently.

CROW: You know this is like the biggest mouse anxiety dream after having to give a presentation in class.

>
> "Yes, thank you!" Mr. Meadow Mouse answered.

TOM: [ As Meadow ] ‘I’ll just get ready over … there … ‘ [ Makes a ‘whoosh’ noise ]

> And
> Grumpy Weasel gave a sort of shrug, as if to say that he
> supposed he was.

JOEL: Grumpy’s too cool for school.

>
> "First you may try that hole between those mossy
> stones," Mr. Owl announced, with a tilt of his head toward
> the wall.

TOM: Mossy stones … hm … what’s your game, old Owl?

>
> "Certainly!" cried Mr. Meadow Mouse.

CROW: Remember to wear your microchip shirt so we can time you down to the millisecond.

>
> "You go first and I’ll follow," Grumpy Weasel told
> him.

JOEL: Not going to flip to see who goes first?

>
> And Mr. Meadow Mouse didn’t dare disobey. He whisked
> through the hole spryly and was back again in no time.

TOM: Why, the hole only goes halfway!

>
> Then Grumpy took his turn.

JOEL: And *only* his turn. He’s not greedy.

TOM: Greedy Muskrat is a whole different book.

> He was certainly quicker
> than Mr. Meadow Mouse.

CROW: [ As Meadow ] ‘It’s very important I do my *entire* get-ready-to-do-something routine!’

TOM: [ As Meadow, doing Ed Norton ] ‘Hello, hole!’

> Even the umpire, Solomon Owl, had to
> admit that.

JOEL: Solomon Owl is not one to gainsay the obvious.

>
> "But of course that’s not the point," Solomon
> observed.

TOM: It might be the tiebreaker, though.

> "It’s the one that gets stuck in a hole that loses
> the contest."

CROW: Much as in life, yes.

>
> Well, after Grumpy and Mr. Meadow Mouse had slipped
> through several holes, each one smaller than the one before,

TOM: They must both be shrinking!

> Mr. Meadow Mouse said that he thought it was only polite to
> let Grumpy go first.

JOEL: That’s the sort of thing that’ll shake him out of his funk.

> Secretly Mr. Meadow Mouse was afraid of
> what might happen if he should have the misfortune to get
> wedged in a hole, with Grumpy Weasel ready to follow him.

TOM: He could just tell Grumpy it’s all right to go around him. Easy.

> He
> had had some trouble getting through the last one and he knew
> that he could never squeeze through one that was much
> smaller.

CROW: Fatty Raccoon wondering what’s all this ‘squeeze through’ talk.

>
> Grumpy Weasel lost his temper at once.

TOM: Remember, the loser is the one who throws the first punch. Except if you’re boxing.

>
> "I’ll do as I please on my stone wall!" he snapped.

JOEL: If you wanna find out what’s behind these cold eyes you’ll just have to claw your way through this disguise.

> And he was angrier than ever when Solomon Own said to him,
> "It’s your turn!"

CROW: [ As Meadow ] ‘Wait, it was that easy all along? I shoulda tried this *holes* ago!’

> Probably no other of the woods
> people—unless it was one of the Hawk family

TOM: Eagle, Goshawk, Tony, and Parabuteo.

> —could have
> made Grumpy Weasel obey.

JOEL: Oh and Jimmy Rabbit now he read that book about hypnosis.

> And now he insisted that if he "went
> first" he ought to be allowed to choose whatever hole he
> pleased.

TOM: [ As Solomon ] ‘Hmm … I’ll allow it. But you’re on a short leash, counsellor.’

>
> Both Solomon Owl and Mr. Meadow Mouse agreed.

JOEL: What sort of name do you think ‘Meadow’ is?

TOM: What sort of name is ‘Grumpy’?

> So
> Grumpy Weasel popped through a hole of his own choosing, and
> he did not reappear,

CROW: Wait, I was about to *make* that joke!

> though he called to Mr. Meadow Mouse to
> "come on."

JOEL: [ As Grumpy ] ‘You’ll love it here in the Shadow Zone!’

>
> Mr. Meadow Mouse hung back.

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Come on, join me in the Never-Was!’

>
> "You’ll have to excuse me," he stammered.

CROW: [ As Meadow ] ‘I, uh, have a all-hands standup on Zoom in five. Be right back.’

>
> "What’s the matter?" boomed Solomon Owl. "Do you want
> to lose the contest?"

JOEL: [ As Solomon ] ‘Can you settle for being merely Pleasant Valley’s *second-best* squeezer-into-things?’

>
> "No!" said Mr. Meadow Mouse. "But Grumpy Weasel is
> still inside that hole. There’s no other way out."

TOM: [ As Torgo ] ‘It’ll be dark soon, there is no other way out.’

>
> "How do you know?" Solomon Owl asked him.

CROW: You know, one cork could solve the whole Grumpy Weasel problem right now.

>
> "Oh, I’ve been here before, often," Mr. Meadow Mouse
> replied.

TOM: Often enough to memorize all the one-way holes?

>
> "Are you sure?" Mr. Owl inquired.

CROW: Look, there’s one hole in the wall that leads to somewhere in the Delta Quadrant where the Caretaker’s sampling species, and that’s the hole. What can I tell you?

>
> "I’ll go on the other side of the wall and look," Mr.
> Meadow Mouse offered. And thereupon he skipped over the wall.

JOEL: You know, this really seems more like Meadow Mouse’s story here.

>
> Solomon Owl waited patiently.

TOM: Wonder what Solomon’s whole gambit here is, really.

> And so did Grumpy
> Weasel.

CROW: So did Peter Mink, but you don’t see him making a big fuss over it.

> But Mr. Meadow Mouse never came back. Once out of
> sight he scampered away.

JOEL: [ As Meadow, increasingly faintly ] ‘I’m not scampering away, I’m, I’m, I’m just looking for where the hole should be!’

TOM: [ As Meadow ] ‘Still shakin’ the bushes, boss!’

> And he never trespassed on Grumpy
> Weasel’s hunting ground again.

CROW: Because Grumpy was so impressed with the cleverness they became good friends and Meadow was welcome anytime he wanted to drop in, right?

JOEL: Um …


[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 5


I’m still not done making Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fictionout of the whole of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel. The whole MiSTing should be gathered at this link.

Mister Meadow Mouse assumed that Grumpy Weasel wasn’t going to be near the old stone wall today. He was wrong. A confident Grumpy offers to let the mouse squeeze into some of the smaller holes in the wall — and claims “I want to see if you can squeeze through as small a hole as I can”. Is Meadow Mouse doomed? Is Grumpy Weasel about to eat? Read on and find out!

> V

CROW: The Final, Belated Battle

>
> SOLOMON OWL INTERRUPTS

TOM: He’s wise, not polite.

>
> Plump little Mr. Meadow Mouse

JOEL: … Came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed …

> wished he had stayed
> away from Grumpy Weasel’s hunting ground.

CROW: Totally bogus to have the ground hunting you. The sky never does that cop stuff.

> He would have
> scampered off, had he not known that Grumpy could overtake
> him before he had made three leaps.

TOM: Hear me out now, what if you take two leaps?

CROW: One leap and a jaunty pirouette?

> So he saw no way out of
> his trouble,

TOM: Maybe declare bankruptcy?

> though he could think of nothing less agreeable
> than trying to slip through a small hole with Grumpy Weasel
> close at hand, watching him narrowly.

JOEL: I don’t know, Grumpy seems to be pretty positive about this.

>
> Then all at once Mr. Meadow Mouse had an idea.

TOM: Wait, it won’t help if you try and stop Christmas from coming.

> "You
> go first!" he said politely. "Go through any hole you choose
> and then I’ll try my luck."

JOEL: Let’s go inside and take this outdoors!

>
> But Grumpy Weasel was too crafty to do that.

CROW: He had a huge pile of origami blocking the hole.

>
> "You’d try your luck at running away," he snarled.

TOM: [ As Meadow Mouse ] ‘I’d try my skill, too!’

> "You are the one to go first; and we’ll have no words about
> it."

JOEL: [ As Meadow Mouse ] ‘Can I at least gulp a little?’

>
> Well, Mr. Meadow Mouse began to shake more than ever.

CROW: He’s getting his groove on!

>
> "Don’t you think," he quavered, "that we’d better
> wait a few days until I’m a bit smaller?

TOM: [ As Meadow Mouse ] ‘I’m growing down, you know. It’s like growing up but the other way around?’

> I’m afraid I’ve been
> overeating lately and I might get stuck in a hole.

CROW: Well, what if the hole eats something and grows a bit?

> And of
> course that would be awkward."

JOEL: Oh, we’d pretend not to look, don’t worry.

>
> "Ha, ha!" Grumpy Weasel actually laughed. But it was
> not what any one could call a hearty, wholesome, cheerful
> sort of laugh. On the contrary, it sounded very cruel and
> gloating.

CROW: Oh, great, he’s an Internet snarker.

JOEL: [ Coughing, embarrassed ]

>
> "Hoo, hoo!" Another laugh—this one weird and
> hollow—boomed out from the hemlock tree just above Mr.
> Meadow Mouse’s head.

CROW: Huh, huh?

TOM: o/` They’re coming to take me away! o/“

>
> He jumped, in spite of himself—did Mr. Meadow
> Mouse.

JOEL: A wink of his eye and a twist of his head …

> And so, too, did Grumpy Weasel. Both of them leaped
> for the old stone wall.

TOM: [ As JOEL swings his arms like a baseball umpire ] ‘SAFE!’

> And each flashed into a crevice
> between the stones,

JOEL: [ As Meadow Mouse ] ‘Oh uh … hi. Funny meeting you here?’

> though Grumpy Weasel was ever so much the
> quicker of the two. They knew Solomon Owl’s voice too well to
> mistake his odd laughter.

CROW: Whose?

JOEL: Naturally.

>
> "What’s your hurry, gentlemen?" Solomon called to
> them.

TOM: Solomon Grund-Owl, born on a Mond-Owl.

>
> Mild Mr. Meadow Mouse made no reply.

JOEL: Couldn’t quite nail the alliteration.

> But from Grumpy
> Weasel’s hiding place an angry hiss told Solomon Owl that one
> of them, at least, had heard his question.

CROW: Oh no! Daniel Snake is leaking!

>
> "Come out!" said Solomon Owl. "Don’t be shy! I’ve
> dined already."

TOM: I just want to snuggle!

>
> Well, that made the two in the wall feel somewhat
> bolder.

CROW: Going to ruin things if animals ever discover lying.

> And soon they ventured to peep out and gaze at
> Solomon, to see whether he looked like a person who had just
> enjoyed a good meal.

JOEL: [ As Solomon ] ‘I didn’t say I *enjoyed* it, just that I *ate* it.’

>
> "You’re not as hollow as you sound, I hope," Grumpy
> Weasel remarked with some suspicion in his tone.

TOM: … the heck?

CROW: No, no, the logic checks out.

>
> As for Mr. Meadow Mouse, he wouldn’t dream of making
> so rude a remark.

JOEL: But he’s already composing his review on Bird Yelp.

CROW: [ As Meadow Mouse ] ‘Is that a bird? Y-elp!’

>
> "It’s a fine evening and I hope you’re feeling
> happy," he piped.

TOM: Is he signalling for a spy? The smoked cabbage never swings the light anchor.

>
> "Oh, very! Very!" said Solomon Owl solemnly.

JOEL: How does a beak make those ‘V’ sounds?

>
> Mr. Meadow Mouse was a trusting sort of chap.

CROW: Hardly a week went by a friend didn’t trick him into looking up ‘gullible’ in the dictionary.

TOM: [ Way too defensive ] Not believing it until you saw the word missing is the *opposite* of gullible!

CROW: [ Snickering ]

> He was
> all ready to leave his cranny. But Grumpy Weasel was not yet
> satisfied.

JOEL: Not letting you go until you regret talking to him: the Grumpy Weasel Guarantee!

>
> "Which one of us are you answering?" he demanded of
> Solomon.

CROW: Was … was there a question?

TOM: No, but you can take an idle curiosity out of petty thoughts.

>
> "Him!" said Solomon.

TOM: That devil guy from the Powerpuff Girls? The heck?

>
> "Did you say, ‘Ahem?’" Grumpy Weasel wanted to know.
>
> "No, no!" Solomon assured him.

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Well, could you? I’ve go a great joke I need you to set up.’

> "I said, ‘him.’ I was
> answering your friend."

TOM: But Grumpy Weasel is a friend to everybody!

>
> Grumpy Weasel made a wry face, as if he did not care
> to have anybody speak of Mr. Meadow Mouse as a friend of his.

TOM: Well, almost everybody!

> And he did not quit the stone wall

JOEL: Oh, you can’t just quit a stone wall, you have to give them time to train your replacement wall.

TOM: Replacement well …

> until he had seen Mr.
> Meadow Mouse venture forth in safety.
>
> "Just by accident I overheard your remarks a few
> minutes ago," Mr. Owl explained.

CROW: Well, Solomon Owl sure wasn’t using any hunting ground.

> "I’d like to watch this
> hole-crawling contest.

JOEL: Pleasant Valley does not have smart phones yet.

CROW: It’s 1915, ‘phones’ are just hollering.

> And I’ll stay here and be the
> umpire—and see that there’s fair play."

TOM: [ As Solomon Owl ] It’s a little weird, but I like weird!


[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 4


I hope that you like nice fresh Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction. I continue with Arthur Scott Bailey’s Sleepy-Time Tale, The Tale of Grumpy Weasel. The whole of the MiSTing should be at this link, although I don’t promise to do the whole story. We’ll see whether I do.

The story so far: all the animals in Pleasant Valley agree that Grumpy Weasel is grumpy and a weasel. Young Master Robin escaped his plans, but will every animal be so fortunate?

Crow’s riff about ‘flord digorznip’ owes a lot to a Robert Benchley essay warning about speaking improper English. I recommend a fair bit of reading Benchley.


>
>
> IV

TOM: Chapter One, Part Two, Part Two, Part Two.

>
> HUNTING A HOLE

JOEL: Where the rain gets in …

CROW: You said that.

>
> Usually Grumpy Weasel did not stray far from a
> certain corner of Farmer Green’s wood lot.

TOM: How much wood does Farmer Green have?

JOEL: A lot?

> He preferred to
> hunt where he knew the lay of the land.

CROW: Pretty sure it just hangs out on top of the bedrock underneath?

> And since he liked
> especially to hunt along old stone walls,

JOEL: Those *new* stone walls aren’t good for anything.

> he picked out a
> long stretch of old tumble-down wall that reached through the
> woods towards Blue Mountain.

TOM: Now why would you build a wall to keep the mountains out?

CROW: West Virginia didn’t and look what happened to them.

>
> He picked it out as his very own hunting ground and
> never asked permission of Farmer Green, either.

JOEL: Grumpy Weasel fighting back against the Man.

>
> Now, near the lower end of this wall—the end toward
> the pasture—

TOM: Don’t mistake which end is toward the pasture, it *will* be on the final exam!

> a fat person known as Mr. Meadow Mouse
> sometimes wandered.

CROW: Mr Meadow Mouse sleeps in the park, shaves in the dark —

JOEL: We did that too.

CROW: Why is every name doing this to us?

> But he never visited that spot without
> first inquiring whether Grumpy Weasel had been there the day
> before.

TOM: Why wait a day between asking and going to the place?

> Mr. Meadow Mouse had learned somehow that Grumpy
> usually moved on each day to a different part of his hunting
> ground.

CROW: I’m going to guess he walked, maybe ran to other places?

TOM: Maybe he has a Weaselmobile? Or a tiny helicopter?

JOEL: A series of weasel-bearing trampolines scattered across the yard.

> He was surprised, therefore, to meet Grumpy Weasel
> face to face one time, when he felt sure that that surly
> rogue must be a good safe distance away.

CROW: At the tavern, trying to get the bard to stop picking fights with farmers.

>
> Mr. Meadow Mouse cast a quick glance around. But he
> could see no place to hide.

TOM: The hiding place was hidden?

JOEL: It does one thing and it does it well.

> So there was nothing for him to
> do but to put on a bold front. He bowed pleasantly enough,

CROW: Everything else has failed, so let’s try courtesy!

> though he was trembling a little, and remarked that it was a
> fine day

JOEL: 35 dollars and two points on his license.

> and that he hoped Grumpy was feeling happy—all of
> which was quite true.

CROW: Yes, it is truly quite.

>
> Grumpy Weasel glowered at Mr. Meadow Mouse, for that
> was his way of replying to a kindly greeting.

TOM: Ugh, don’t talk to me before I’ve had my morning mouse.

CROW: Arthur Morning Mouse, last seen in The Tale Of Solomon Owl.

>
> "You’ve not come here to hunt, I hope," he growled.

JOEL: ‘Cause you’re not wearing orange, I’ll have to ticket you.

> "I’ll have you know that this is my private hunting ground
> and I allow no poaching."

TOM: How do you feel about scrambling or omelette-making?

>
> Mr. Meadow Mouse hastened to explain that he was
> merely out for a stroll.

CROW: [ As Meadow Mouse ] Look, there’s one now! [ CROW leans out of frame, going ‘Whoosh!’. ]

>
> "I never hunt," he declared. "Of course,

JOEL: ‘Course, I am hunting for an easier way of life, but aren’t we all? Hah ? Ha ha? Ha? … Uh … ‘

> if I happen
> to see a tiny seed I may stop to eat it. But that’s all."

TOM: Got him on a technicality, that’s grazing, not hunting.

>
> "You’d better be careful what you say!" Grumpy Weasel
> snapped.

CROW: You don’t want to accidentally say something like ‘Flord digorznip flompty hoopnay’, since that’s nonsense.

> "Unless I’m mistaken, you were hunting something the
> moment you saw me. You were hunting a hole."

JOEL: Oh, you can’t get a hole this time of year, they’re all hibernating.

>
> Mr. Meadow Mouse gasped slightly. He hardly knew what
> to say.

CROW: ‘I wasn’t hunting *a* hole, I’d take *any* hole.’

>
> "Be very careful where you go around here!" Grumpy
> Weasel warned him. "The holes in this stone wall are all
> mine.

TOM: The stone wall itself is the Monolith aliens’, so, attempt no landings there.

> I shouldn’t want you to use a single one of them
> without my permission."

CROW: [ As Meadow Mouse ] ‘Oh, I’m okay in all the others, though?’

>
> Mr. Meadow Mouse assured him that he wouldn’t dream
> of trespassing.

TOM: No trepanning, now, that just makes more holes for Grumpy Weasel.

>
> "And these holes among the roots of the trees—they
> are mine too," Grumpy Weasel snarled.

JOEL: Well now Grumpy sounds like he’s aggrandizing.

CROW: Yeah, some of those holes are historically part of the Badger-Mink Commonwealth’s.

>
> "Oh, certainly! Certainly!" Mr. Meadow Mouse cried.

JOEL: Maybe!

TOM: I guess?

> He was so quick to agree that for once Grumpy Weasel couldn’t
> think of anything more to find fault about.

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Give me a minute, I just woke up.’

>
> "I’ll let you crawl into a few of the smaller holes
> in the stone wall, if you’ll be careful not to hurt them," he
> offered grudgingly.

TOM: How do you hurt a hole?

JOEL: Same way you hurt anyone, run roughshod over its fillings.

>
> Mr. Meadow Mouse made haste to thank him.

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Oh, oh, I can’t have haste anymore. Too much sugar too close to bed.’

>
> He said, however, that he thought he would wait till
> some other time.

TOM: That’s the sort of thing it’s easy to say when you’re in 1915.

>
> "There’s no time like the present," Grumpy Weasel
> grumbled.

CROW: That thought is the only thing that’s kept me going lately.

> "To tell the truth, I want to see if you can
> squeeze through as small a hole as I can."

JOEL: [ As Meadow Mouse ] ‘Mr Weasel are you hitting on me?’


[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 3


I hope you’ll enjoy another chapter Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel. The whole of my Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction based on his book should be gathered at this link.

The story so far: everyone in Pleasant Valley is talking about Grumpy Weasel. Young Master Robin has paid no heed to all the other birds getting so worked up about this. And then a strange, grumpy voice is right behind the young bird.


>
>
> III

TOM: Chapter One, Part Two, Part Two

>
> MASTER ROBIN’S LESSON

CROW: [ As Robin ] ‘Always — I mean never — I mean don’t avoid — I mean make sure not to miss — ‘

>
> When young Master Robin heard the strange voice that
> sounded so grumpy and so near him he was terribly frightened.

JOEL: Grumpy Bear?

TOM: Oh no, we got Care Bears staring at us.

> He forgot that he thought himself grown up, and very wise,

CROW: Wise people are never cornered by the grumpy!

> and quite able to go about alone. He didn’t even look to see
> who was speaking,

JOEL: Robin sounds ill-mannered.

> but fell backwards off the limb of the
> apple tree.

TOM: Hit every iPod on the way down.

CROW: [ As Robin ] ‘Ow! Ow! Owie! Ow! Ouch!’ Thud!

>
> It was lucky for him, too, that he fell just when he
> did.

JOEL: [ As Robin, weakly ] ‘It *was*?’

> For a long brownish person, white underneath, took
> Master Robin’s place on the limb so promptly

TOM: Is he wearing an apron? Did a sous-chef just hop in?

> that you could
> hardly have said he jumped into it from somewhere else.

CROW: So put thoughts of claiming he had jumped into it from somewhere else out of your head, you wicked fool, you.

> He
> seemed to have popped out of the tree somewhat as a freshly
> popped kernel of corn bursts forth.

JOEL: Inside a microwave bag?

> A moment ago it was not
> there! You were watching, but did not see it grow big.

TOM: What kind of a knob are you? Why do I have you on staff? Begone!

>
> Well, all at once there was silence in the orchard.

JOEL: ‘Silence in the Orchard’ was my favorite Jethro Tull song.

> Everybody was holding his breath, waiting to see what
> happened to young Master Robin.


TOM:
[ Whistles the opening bars from ‘The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly’. ]

> Though he had lost his
> balance and tumbled backward he righted himself quite like an
> old-timer and flew off across the orchard.

CROW: Real Buster Keaton move there, you admire the stone beak.

>
> "I didn’t know snakes could climb trees," he
> stammered to Mr. Chippy, who had followed him.

JOEL: [ As Mr Chippy ] ‘What do you know about fish that do parkour?’

CROW: ‘Have you ever considered a whale who BASE jumps?’

>
> "Snakes!" Mr. Chippy piped. "That wasn’t a snake!

TOM: [ As Robin ] ‘Was it two snakes?’

> That was Grumpy Weasel…. And it’s a wonder you ever
> escaped," he added. "I must learn that backward somersault.
> It’s a good thing to know."

CROW: ‘You make it look as easy as falling out of a tree — say!’

>
> You can see that Mr. Chippy was a very humble person.

JOEL: Well everyone knows to expect humility from a whatever a Chippy is.

> But Mr. Jolly Robin’s eldest son was quite proud. Already he
> began to feel that he had been very skilful in escaping.

TOM: The escape room can’t hold you if you just fly out!

> But
> of course it was only an accident that he got away.

CROW: Yes but given the contingent nature of history aren’t all events ‘accidents’ really?

>
> For once in his life Grumpy Weasel had been careless.

JOEL: If Grumpy Weasel had gone right to the police this would never have happened.

> It had looked so easy—catching that clumsy young robin! He
> had spoken to Master Robin, not dreaming that he could save
> himself.

TOM: Well if you’re not going to save yourself who do you expect to?

> To make matters worse, Grumpy had found Mr. Chippy’s
> nest empty.

JOEL: Mr Chippy lost everything in the Panic of 1907.

> And Grumpy Weasel was the sort of person that
> liked to find a bird at home when he called.

TOM: When he cawwed.

CROW: [ Turns and looks at TOM. ]

> It always made
> him more ill-natured than usual to make a call for nothing.

JOEL: I mean, who does like making calls these days?

> And now he had let a stupid young Robin escape him.

CROW: Like they say, it’s not the number of breaths you take, it’s the number of stupid young Robins you stop from breathing.

> So it is
> not surprising that his big black eyes snapped nor that he
> said something in a fierce voice that sounded like "Chip,
> chip, chip," but meant something a good deal worse.

JOEL: Soggy chip, soggy chip, soggy chip.

>
> And to add to Grumpy Weasel’s rage, somebody had
> laughed hoarsely—somebody that sat in a tall elm across the
> road.

TOM: The trees are mocking Grumpy too? That seems excessive.

>
> If he could have caught Mr. Crow there is no doubt
> that Grumpy would have made that black scamp sorry that he
> laughed.

TOM: Lure him in with comic books and opinions about butter!

CROW: I told you those in confidence!

> But old Mr. Crow was too wary to let anybody
> surprise him.

CROW: I did not expect that!

> "Haw, haw!" he laughed again. And Grumpy Weasel
> actually couldn’t bear to hear him.

JOEL: Wallace Bear, meanwhile, couldn’t weasel to crow him.

> Some of the onlookers
> claimed afterward that they saw Grumpy Weasel start down the
> tree. And that was as much as they could say.

TOM: Somehow he lapped himself and ended up right back up top of the tree.

> No one knew how
> he managed to slip out of sight.

JOEL: Grumpy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

> And the field people say
> that he was never seen again in that exact spot.

CROW: Ah yes, they say weasels never strike twice in the same place.


[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 2


Though I said I didn’t promise to make Mystery Science Theater 3000 out of the whole of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, I did say I might. And here, I did a little bit more. I hope you enjoy. The whole MiSTing, however much there ends up being, should be gathered at this link.

The story so far: The birds of Pleasant Valley agree that Grumpy Weasel is a skinny old critter. And that’s about it; we have yet to meet him ourselves.

I don’t think any riffs here need me to explain them, but if you disagree, let me know. I can probably guess what was in my mind back on Monday or so.


>
>
> II

TOM: Chapter One, Part Two.

>
> AT THE OLD STONE WALL

CROW: o/` Down by the old stone wall! o/`

>
> Little Mr. Chippy suddenly set up a great twitter.

JOEL: It’s the Rankin/Bass Screenshots Without Context account.

> Anybody could see that he was frightened. And one of Jolly
> Robin’s sons,

CROW: Joel Robinson?

JOEL: Hey! That’s …

CROW: Can’t take it, huh?

> perched in an apple tree near the stone wall
> where Mr. Chippy lived in a wild grapevine, wondered what
> could be the matter.

TOM: Is that reindeer?

CROW: It’s some fox sulking about grapes again.

>
> Presently, as he looked beneath him, he saw a long,
> slim shape dart from a chink of the old wall, and as quickly
> disappear.

JOEL: Romulans!

>
> "Huh!" said young Master Robin.

TOM: [ As Alfred the Butler ] As Mister Wayne said you might, sir.

> "Foolish people who
> build their homes on walls must expect snakes for visitors."

CROW: Checks out, yeah.

> And feeling quite wise and grown up, he turned his back on
> Mr. Chippy,

JOEL: You know in the British edition of this book he was Mr Crispy.

TOM: In the British edition Mr Chippy is a nightmarish blob that’s been a children’s show host since 1978.

> as if it really made no difference to him if Mr.
> Chippy did have a dangerous caller.

CROW: Just let it go to voice-mail and then never check it.

>
> Meanwhile others of the bird neighbors began to echo
> Mr. Chippy’s warning notes.

TOM: Oh, it’s retweeting.

> And young Master Robin thought
> everybody was silly to make such a fuss over the misfortunes
> of a humble person like Mr. Chippy.

CROW: Not caring if a little person gets hurt will never have a bad consequence for a bigwig like me!

>
> "If they don’t look out they’ll scare all the
> angleworms back into their holes," he grumbled—a remark
> which shows that he knew little about the ways of the world.

JOEL: Youth has such naive ideas about angleworm homes, yeah.

> And when Rusty Wren swerved near him and called to him to
> look out for Mr. Chippy’s visitor

TOM: Look out! Look out! The old man of the Chippy!

> —that he was "a bad
> one"—young Master Robin actually puffed himself up with
> rage.

CROW: You know to the angleworms all the birds freaking out is a good thing.

>
> "He seems to think I’m in danger of falling out of
> this tree," he sneered aloud. "He doesn’t know that I can
> handle myself in a tree as well as he can."

JOEL: Is … is he drunk?

TOM: [ As a drunk Robin ] ‘You’re all just jealous! You can’t handle me! You all are lucky my *chick* is here!’

> As he spoke,
> Master Robin all but tumbled off his perch.

CROW: Whoops!

> But he caught
> himself just in time, then looked around hastily to see if
> anybody had noticed his awkwardness.

TOM: Shouldn’t have gone bragging how even the Ancient Greek Gods couldn’t make him fall.

>
> All this time poor Mr. Chippy’s cries continued.

JOEL: [ As Bob Newhart ] ‘So if you see our copilot running up and down the aisles screaming things like, oh, you know, we’re gonna die, maybe put your life jackets on just in case.’

> There was really no reason for his alarm. For his wife was
> away from home, with all their children.

CROW: Ooooh. Yeah, we get it.

> But Mr. Chippy kept
> flying back and forth in a great flutter. He too called to
> young Master Robin that he’d better go home.

TOM: If there isn’t actual danger then this is just cyberbullying.

CROW: Cy-bird-bullying.

TOM: Joel, make him stop.

>
> Still that knowing youngster paid no heed to his
> elder’s advice.

JOEL: If the tweets are too loud you’re too old, man.

>
> "If snakes climb trees I’ve never seen them do it,"
> he scoffed.

CROW: You’ve never seen snakes climb trees? It’s, like, the coolest thing! They double up kinda like a paperclip?

>
> "Hi, there! Haven’t you seen——" Mr. Chippy
> started to say.

TOM: Howdy!

JOEL: Friendly ol’ sucker, isn’t he?

> But before he could finish his question
> Master Robin interrupted him rudely.

CROW: If Master Robin’s like this what do you suppose the Apprentice Robins are like?

>
> "Certainly I saw him," he cried. "I saw him come out
> of the wall and go in again."

TOM: You sawed him in two?

>
> "He’ll get you if you don’t go away!" Mr. Chippy
> shrieked.

JOEL: Unless he’s away waiting for you to get there, I mean.

>
> "Let him try!" Master Robin scoffed. He was sorry
> that Mr. Chippy did not hear him.

TOM: *That’s* the line you come up with?

JOEL: Birds don’t get staircase wit.

.

> But that distracted little
> person had already hurried off to warn somebody else.

CROW: Mr Chippy’s going to be up for a Pleasant Valley Medal of Honor.

TOM: Sounds like _Tale Of Mr Chippy_ is the book we should be reading.

>
> It was no time at all before Rusty Wren’s wife gave a
> piercing scream.

JOEL: Rusty Wren’s wrife.

CROW: Rusty Wren wife, Rusty Wren life.

>
> "That fat Robin boy—he’ll be caught!" she wailed.

CROW: [ ‘Batman’ announcer ] What’s *this*?

>
> Now, it made Master Robin very angry to be spoken of
> in such a way as that.

JOEL: Fine, ‘That fat Robin boy — he’ll be *captured*.’ Happy?

>
> "Fat!" he burst out in a loud tone as he stared in
> Mrs. Wren’s direction. "Who’s fat?"

TOM: Fatty Raccoon plummets from a broken branch behind them.

>
> "You are!" said a strange, grumpy voice right behind
> him—or so it seemed to young Master Robin.

CROW: Is this it? Has Grumpy Weasel finally entered his book?

JOEL: He’s like Columbo, he shows up the latest he possibly can.


[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 1


Happy Turkey Day! I was thinking of things to share here and bring you an all-new, just-written Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction! For this I turn back a century or so and into the public domain for another book by Arthur Scott Bailey. Please settle down with me and enjoy a bit of The Tale of Grumpy Weasel.

I don’t promise, at this point, that I’m going to do the whole of the book. Arthur Scott Bailey doesn’t hate Grumpy Weasel in the way he loathed Fatty Raccoon, so the story hasn’t got that same immediate draw. On the other hand, I felt really good working on this first chapter. Tom’s riff about who wants to be of use in life bodes well to be one of my all-time favorites.

In any event everything that I do with The Tale of Grumpy Weasel should be at this link and if it’s not, don’t make a weasel even more grumpy. You won’t like how that turns out.

The riff with Lum Edwards and Abner Peabody refers to long-running old-time-radio show Lum and Abner. A recurring gag was Abner not understanding one of Lum’s idioms and explaining why the metaphor would not actually work. I promise, the way they performed it the bit was funny. The bit about an animal checking its manual was lifted from one of Richard Thompson’s Cul-de-Sac comic strip. Mr Danders, the class guinea pig, had to look up whether he was nocturnal or diurnal. The “weird Picard laugh” is that throaty huh-huh-huh-huh-huh thing he did in the episode where everyone gets Space Drunk by accident. Picard wasn’t even space-drunk when he laughed like that.


> SLEEPY-TIME TALES

JOEL: Good-night.

> (Trademark Registered)

TOM: Copyright trademark do not steal I already mailed it to myself.

>
> THE TALE OF

CROW: Terrors!

> GRUMPY

CROW: Or mild crankiness!

> WEASEL

TOM: We’s al what?

> BY
> ARTHUR SCOTT BAILEY

JOEL: Weasels are by Arthur Scott Bailey?

TOM: That’s not as good as the time Beatrix Potter created kangaroos.

> Author of
> "TUCK-ME-IN TALES"

CROW: The official tales of Forrest Tucker!

> (Trademark Registered)

TOM: Copyright trademark do not steal.

>
>
> ILLUSTRATED BY

JOEL: Pictures! Your leading image source!

> HARRY L. SMITH

CROW: CBS News.

>
>
>
> NEW YORK

JOEL: Illustrated by Harry L Smith *and* New York?

> GROSSET & DUNLAP

TOM: Wallace and Grosset?

> PUBLISHERS
> Made in the United States of America

CROW: o/` Made! In the USA! o/`

>
> Copyright, 1920, BY
> GROSSET & DUNLAP

JOEL: The tire people?

>
> CONTENTS

TOM: Malcontents!

> CHAPTER PAGE
> I A Slim Rascal 1
> II At the Old Stone Wall 5
> III Master Robin’s Lesson 9

CROW: A haiku!

> IV Hunting a Hole 13

JOEL: Where the rain gets in …

> V Solomon Owl Interrupts 18
> VI Mr. Meadow Mouse Escapes 23

CROW: A crossover with the _Tale of Mister Meadow Mouse_? Dare we hope?

> VII Paddy Muskrat’s Blunder 28
> VIII The Dare 33

TOM: The Double Dare!

CROW: We do dare!

> IX Saving His Feet 38

JOEL: For marriage!

> X Ha! and Ha, Ha! 42

CROW: They say it’s hard to understand old-time humor but I don’t know, this makes sense to me.

> XI A Long Race 46
> XII Winning by a Trick 51
> XIII Silly Mrs. Hen 56

TOM: Silly Mrs Hen sleeps in the park, shaves in the dark, trying to save paper.

> XIV Grumpy Vanishes 60
> XV The Great Mystery 64
> XVI Guarding the Corncrib 69

CROW: Corncrib?

> XVII Grumpy’s Mistake 73
> XVIII Pop! Goes the Weasel 78

TOM: I bet Arthur Scott Bailey wrote this whole book just for that chapter title.

> XIX Hiding from Henry Hawk 83

JOEL: ‘Enery the ‘Awk, ‘e is.

> XX A Free Ride 88
> XXI A New Suit 93
> XXII Grumpy’s Threat 98

CROW: Wait, we only spend five pages on the new suit?

> XXIII A Bold Stranger 103
> XXIV Fur and Feathers 107

TOM: Sounds like a New Wave band’s big song.

> XXV Peter Mink’s Promise 112

JOEL: I knew a Peter Mink back in high school.

> XXVI How Grumpy Helped 116

TOM: Did he slug someone? I bet he slugged someone.

>
> ILLUSTRATIONS
> FACING PAGE

JOEL: Oh, that’ll make them easier to see.

> Grumpy Weasel and Jimmy Rabbit Run a Race. Frontispiece

CROW: ‘Tis piece, ’tis.

> Master Robin Escapes From Grumpy Weasel. 10
> Grumpy Nearly Catches Paddy Muskrat. 34
> Grumpy Calls on Mrs. Hen. 50

TOM: [ Yelling ] Yo! Mrs Hen!

> Grumpy Weasel Visits the Corncrib. 74

JOEL: Corncrib.

> Sandy Chipmunk Runs from Grumpy Weasel. 98

TOM: Sounds like this book is all people avoiding Grumpy Weasel.

>
> THE TALE OF GRUMPY WEASEL

CROW: What kind of animal do you suppose Grumpy is?

JOEL: Oh, he’s a pronghorn antelope.

TOM: Named ‘Weasel’?

JOEL: That’s why he’s grumpy.

>
> I

TOM: I, Weasel.

JOEL: I M Weasel.

CROW: Eh.

>
> A SLIM RASCAL

CROW: But a cute little dickens!

>
> Old Mr. Crow

JOEL: [ Nudges CROW ]

CROW: WHat?

> often remarked that if Grumpy Weasel
> really wanted to be of some use in the world he would spend
> his time at the sawmill filling knot holes in boards.

JOEL: It’s a weird hill to die on, but Old Mr Crow’s chosen it.

TOM: Who wants to be of use in the world? I want to play Animal Crossing and eat cheese.

>
> "He’s so slender," Mr. Crow would say,

ALL: How slender is he?

> "that he can
> push himself into a knot hole no bigger round than Farmer
> Green’s thumb."

JOEL: Huh.

CROW: Welp, guess that *is* slender.

TOM: Not going to match *any* celebrities on that one. Even Richard Dawson is like, really? You’re leaving me with *that*?

>
> Naturally it did not please old Mr. Crow

CROW: I don’t know, I feel pretty indifferent about hearing this myself.

> when Solomon
> Owl went out of his way one day to tell him that he was sadly
> mistaken.

TOM: Classic Solomon Owl, though.

> For after hearing some gossip repeat Mr. Crow’s
> opinion Solomon Owl—the wise old bird—

CROW: [ As Solomon ] Bird? Oh, no, no, I’m a dikdik, my family married into the Owls is all.

> had given several
> long hoots and hurried off,

JOEL: Well, you want me to hoot I’ll hoot but that’s your business.

> though it was broad daylight, to
> set Mr. Crow right.

CROW: I tell you, I have no emotional investment in whether Grumpy Weasel should be filling knotholes down at the sawmill.

>
> "The trouble—" Solomon explained when he had found
> Mr. Crow on the edge of the woods—

TOM: Trouble? In River City?

> "the trouble with your
> plan to have Grumpy Weasel work in the sawmill is that he
> wouldn’t keep a knot hole filled longer than a jiffy.

JOEL: [ As Lum Edwards ] OK, Abner, I was sayin’ Grumpy Weasel *could*, not …

TOM: [ As Abner Peabody ] And another thing, Lum …

> It’s
> true that he can fit a very small hole.

CROW: Or one medium-size divot.

JOEL: A decent-sized pock mark.

TOM: Heck near any rilles.

> But if you’d ever
> watched him closely you’d know that he’s in a hole and out
> the other side so fast you can scarcely see what happens.

CROW: So the whole watching thing is pointless, right?

TOM: The *hole* watching thing.

> He’s entirely too active to fill the bill."

JOEL: No bill-filling. Try a Kyle or a Tom first.

>
> Old Mr. Crow made a queer noise in his throat, which
> showed that Solomon Owl had made him angry.

CROW: All I can imagine is doing that weird Picard laugh?

>
> "I never said anything about Grumpy Weasel’s filling
> any bills," Mr. Crow spluttered.

TOM: Good, cause if you fill a bird’s bill how can they talk?

> "Knot holes were what I had
> in mind.

JOEL: If they’re not holes how can you fill them?

> I’ve no doubt, though, that you’d like Grumpy Weasel
> to fill your own bill."

TOM: [ As Solomon ] Wait, are you telling me to eat Grumpy Weasel? Dikdiks don’t eat weasels! I’m pretty sure? Let me check my manual.

>
> Now, if Solomon Owl had not tried more than once to
> catch Grumpy Weasel perhaps Mr. Crow’s retort wouldn’t have
> made him feel so uncomfortable.

JOEL: Oh, they got *history*.

CROW: Yeah, this is like Will Smith’s slap only about weasels filling holes.

> And muttering that he wished
> when people spoke of his beak they wouldn’t call it a bill,

JOEL: Maybe call it a william, show some respect?

> and that Mr. Crow was too stupid to talk to,

TOM: OooooOOOh! Hey, Crow?

CROW: Shut up.

> Solomon
> blundered away into the woods.

JOEL: Bonk!

CROW: Ow ow owie ow ow who put a tree —

JOEL: Crash!

CROW: My bills!

>
> It was true, of course, that Grumpy Weasel was about
> the quickest of all the furred folk in Pleasant Valley.

CROW: Also we’re in Pleasant Valley.

TOM: Also the birds count as ‘furred folk’.

> Why,
> you might be looking at him as he stopped for a moment on a
> stone wall;

JOEL: It’s your business, not mine.

> and while you looked he would vanish before your
> eyes.

TOM: *Your* eyes, maybe.

> It was just as if he had melted away in an instant, so
> quickly could he dart into a crevice between the stones.

JOEL: Weasels melt in your mouth, not in your stones.

TOM: What?

>
> It was surprising, too, that he could whisk himself
> out of sight so fast,

CROW: Is this some introvert-pride brag?

> for his body was absurdly long. But if
> he was long in one way he was short in another.

JOEL: Y’know if you have too much of one spatial dimension the others will shrink to balance out.

> Yes! Grumpy
> Weasel had the shortest temper of all the field- and
> forest-folk throughout Pleasant Valley.

TOM: Short but deep. Dimensions again.

> Even peppery Peter
> Mink was not so short-tempered as he.

TOM: Boy, everybody’s talking about Peter Mink these days.

>
> So terrible tempered was Grumpy Weasel that whenever
> the news flashed through the woods that he was out hunting,
> all the small people kept quite still,

CROW: Well wait, if they were so small, then they’d compensate by being the widest beasts in town!

> because they were
> afraid. And even some of the bigger ones—a good deal bigger
> than Grumpy Weasel himself—felt uneasy.

TOM: Not from his temper but from his tiresome political lectures.

>
> So you can see whether or not Grumpy Weasel was
> welcome.

JOEL: Uh … yes?

TOM: I’m going to say ‘no’?

CROW: I’m writing in ‘The Beatles’.


[ To continue … ? ]

What’s Going On In Rex Morgan? Why is there a superhero in Rex Morgan? January – April 2022


Terry Beatty, besides writing and drawing Rex Morgan, M.D., also illustrates used to, up to 2017, illustrate The Phantom weekday continuity. So I surmise he feels comfortable with action scenes and likely that he gets a fair chance to draw them. The just-started storyline has a masked vigilante prowling the mean-ish-esque(?) streets of Glenwood, though.

It appears Beatty is exploring “real-life superheroes”, a minor phenomenon that does exist. Most “real-life superheroes” are people who cosplay for publicity or educational purposes. A handful try, as in the comic, actually confronting “evildoers”. That’s more rare, I imagine from a mix of people realizing they don’t have actual plot immunity, and how even if you’re assaulting a mugger you’re still the one committing assault. But it’s hard to make a good story where nobody makes bad life choices. So this plot recap focuses heavily on Rene Belluso, who enjoys a Wile E Coyote-like talent for bad life choices. At least, he has the talent, and we enjoy watching people fly in from across the world to sucker-punch him. This should catch you up to mid-April 2022 in his antics and in the new superhero in town.

If you’re reading this after about July 2022, or if news about the strip breaks, a more up-to-date recap should be at this link. And on my mathematics blog I did another short essay about mathematics topics in comic strips. You might enjoy that too.

Rex Morgan, M.D..

31 January – 16 April 2022.

Sarah Morgan’s joy at being the coauthor of a Kitty Cop book was spoiled when Rene Belluso claimed she copied the Doggo Twins characters from him. Belluso had been her art instructor, back before Terry Beatty took over writing the strip. Sarah doesn’t think she stole the characters from him, but she doesn’t know. A car accident gave her a soap-opera amnesia that wiped a year of her memory. (It also brought her art skills down to good-for-her-age, not remarkable-prodigy.) So the gang was getting together to figure what they know about this.

Belluso sure seems likely to be running a scam. In his spare time from art instructing he also ran a mystic-healing cult, and got busted for phony Covid-19 cures. But they can’t find evidence that Sarah drew anything resembling the Doggo Twins before she was taking classes from Rene. Kyle Vidpa — formerly blocked writer of Kitty Cop — believes in Sarah’s innocence but that’s not something they can act on. Their lawyer advises at least listening to what Belluso would want to settle out of court.

Belluso: 'This man is lying! I created the Doggo Twins years before the Kitty Cop book was published!' Thorson: 'I ain't no liar, Mr B'luso. You know that. All what I said here is a hunnert percent truthful.' Lawyer: 'Mr Belluso, according to Mr Thorson, you planned to use Sarah's amnesia to support the false claim that she stole the Doggo Twins idea from you.' Belluso: 'HE MADE ALL THAT UP!' Lawyer; 'Including the detail that you planned to use vintage paper to make your drawings appear old? A common tactic in art forgery, something with which you have much experience.' Belluso: 'True, I once used my art skills for less than legitimate purposes, but that was a logn time ago.' Lawyer: 'We have records of Internet sales of forged cartoon art traceable to you, from within the last two years. Between Sonny's word and your record, it's clear your claims are false, and we'll not be settling with you for *any* amount. in fact, we'll be filing suit against *you* for the damages that your false claims have caused the Kitty Cop brand.'
Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D. for the 27th of February, 2022. Not to detract from the repeated sucker punches delivered to Rene Belluso here, but is his planning to use vintage paper the sort of insider knowledge only an expert would have? All I really know about forgeries is that I’m an American who’s heard of Hugh Trevor-Roper, but I’d still think “have paper that’s at least as old as the drawings on it are supposed to be” was the first necessary step.

Sonny Thorson enters the picture. He comes to the Morgan clinic, spilling what he knows about his former cellmate Rene Belluso. He says that Belluso, hearing the news that Sarah Morgan was the mysterious coauthor of the new Kitty Cop books, saw an opportunity. He could make money, and get back at Rex Morgan, by forging some older Doggo Twins art and claiming to be their author. (Rex Morgan had foiled Belluso’s Celestial Healing scam.) Thorson doesn’t care one way or another about Rex, but he didn’t want a kid scammed like that. Thus, his report, one that he repeats to Belluso and his lawyer.

With this, and with evidence Belluso’s sold forged cartoon art in the last two years? Vidpa’s lawyer announces they won’t be settling but will be suing for damaging the Kitty Cop brand. Belluso storms out, declaring they haven’t heard the last of him. We might have; when we next see him, mob-type people are demanding to know how he’s going to get them their money. Terry Beatty even inserts a panel saying we the readers can imagine his fate, as he doesn’t know whether we’ll ever see Belluso again.

If that’s not enough stomping on Belluso’s head, there, his lawyer admits he’s not really a lawyer. He’s an actor Belluso hired and possibly even paid under the guise of “some sort of performance art”. This would explain why Belluso gave press conferences about suing but didn’t file any actual documents in an actual court. The acting lawyer gives Rex Morgan and all tickets to see him in Hairspray.

And if that’s still not enough stomping on Belluso’s head? Sarah, busy thinking up names for Kyle and Lauren’s newborn child, finds a sketchbook from before she was taking art lessons. It’s got a date, a sketch of the family from before Michael and Johnny were there, and a dog drawing recognizably a forerunner to the Doggo Twins. So they’ve got plenty to force Belluso to make a public statement of how he’s big dumb dummy who’s soooooo big and dumb and stupid. He flees before he can be forced to make it, but into the hands of those mob types mentioned above. And with the 2nd of April that brings this story to an end.


The current story starts on the 3rd of April, with a Sunday strip re-introducing the strip and main characters. Rex Morgan has a new patient, Clayton. (I don’t know his first name.) He’s there for a rotator cuff injury, which calls for rest, ice, physical therapy, and time. There’s also a bunch of other bruises that Clayton explains as boxing and mixed martial arts lessons. Morgan advises taking a break from them, too, until he heals. Clayton promises he will, but is lying. He has a mission.

Would-be car thief: 'The *Street Sweeper*? What are you going to do --- hit me with that broom?' Clayton, presenting himself as The Street Sweeper: 'If you insist.' He thwacks the thief with his push broom. Thief: 'Ow!!! Hey --- knock it off!'
Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D. for the 14th of April, 2022. Absolutely magnificent strip here. The only thing that could possibly improve it is if Clayton/The Street Sweeper were hitting Les Moore instead.

So we see him that evening, on his mission, “to protect the streets of Glenwood”. I mean, he took an oath and everything, what choice does he have? He confronts a guy who’s checking for unlocked cars. The would-be car thief asks what his deal is. Clayton explains: he’s keeping the streets safe and clean. He is … The Street Sweeper. While the would-be car thief laughs at this superhero name, Clayton whacks him with a push broom. While the readers laugh at this, the comic takes the lead for Funniest Story Strip of 2022. Clayton prides himself on a job well-done. Meanwhile an onlooker takes his photo, launching the “superhero” as a local human-interest-piece.

And that’s our standings for mid-April 2022.

Next Week!

Betting! Betting and eyesight accommodations! It’s Neal Rubin and Rod Whigham’s Gil Thorp in a week, is my plan.

What’s Going On In Rex Morgan, M.D.? What does Buck Wise do? February – May 2021


Buck Wise, who’s been the conduit for a lot of the stories in Rex Morgan, M.D., since I started recapping, is … uh … He does merchandising somehow, and that’s got him in touch with a bunch of comic artists. Some, like “Horrible” Hank Harwood, were famous in the old days. Some, like Kyle Vidpa, are rising stars of today.

This should catch you up on the strip to late May 2021. If you’re reading this after about August 2021 and need a recap? Or if news about Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D. breaks out? An essay at this link might be more useful to you. Now let’s get into details.

Rex Morgan, M.D..

28 February – 23 May 2021.

My last checkup with Rex Morgan, M.D., saw Buck Wise acclimating to living with diabetes. Some diet changes, some exercise changes, and all that. It wrapped up about a week later.

And since then? … It’s been a gentle plot even for a story strip that was already full of gentle plotting. This started with Sarah Morgan feeling neglected by her parents and having a string of fantasies. So she imagined what if her father wasn’t a doctor? What if he was, say, a Western cowboy? So this started a series of fantasy sequences which let Terry Beatty show off different ways he could draw the strip if it had a different theme. The first sequence, Tex Morgan, ran from the 9th through the 17th of March. It was about Tex Morgan saving Sarah from kidnapping desperado Butch Belluso.

[ Sarah imagines Rex is a cowboy in the old west. ] Villager: 'Who's that *other* feller ridin' into town?' Tex Morgan: 'That's my sidekick, Buck. The ol' Buckaroo.' Second Villager: 'Why, sure. Every hero has to have a sidekick, don't he?' Villager: 'How come, though? All they ever do is get captured and such.' Third Villager: 'Well, that drives the *story*, see? Creates a conflict and all that here.'
Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D. for the 13th of March, 2021. One can admire young Sarah’s understanding of the needs of drama without wondering why she doesn’t depict her teachers or babysitter or anyone besides her dad’s friend’s friends.

As happens, Sarah got tired of the setting, so she changed genre, and Beatty changed art style. And we got a couple weeks of Rod Morgan, a Dick Tracy-esque figure. This carried on her rescue from Shinytop, who’s another representation of Rene Belluso. So that ran from the 18th through the 26th of March. From the 27th, it shifted once more into a Batman ’66 pastiche, Doctor Rex and Princess. Here, again, foiling The Forger, another Rene Belluso figure, who’s been forging all sorts of classic bits of comic art. And that went on through the 8th of April, when Rex had some time away from not seeing patients to talk with Sarah. He promised to spend some more time with her, alone. And she promises to write out these stories she’s making up.


We get a short visit with Jordan Harris and Michelle Carter, from the 25th of April through the 2nd of May. They now plan to get married over Zoom, we get into the next and current story. It’s again through Sarah Morgan. Her new favorite books ever are the Kitty Cop series of books, by Kyle Vidpa. Who’s a client of Buck Wise’s, it happens. She can’t wait for the next book in the series. She starts writing a fan letter, encouraged by Buck Wise’s promise that he can get him to actually read it himself. Before you know it, Sarah’s on page 782 of her letter.

Which may work out for Kyle Vidpa. He’s been suffering writer’s block. After having Kitty Cop fight a giant robot, a giant robot dinosaur, a giant robot monkey, and a giant robot squirrel, what’s next? (My suggestion: two regular-size robot bunnies.) His wife offers limited sympathy since she figures children’s books are silly and thus easy. It’s an attitude I imagine gets her talked about when they go to professional conferences. But she does offer the advice that they’ve been stuck in one house for a year-plus now. Any kind of visit, even to see family, may help him.

Lauren Vidpa: 'Maybe you should just focus on the business stuff today. Look over those toy designs and get back to Buck. Don't worry about the new book.' Kyle Vidpa: 'Easy for you to say. You don't have FIVE MILLION nine-year-olds desperately waiting for YOU to deliver a new volume.' Lauren: 'You can't think about that. Just take a day to do the business stuff, and relax --- a new story will come to you --- it always does.'
Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D. for the 15th of May, 2021. Sure, Lauren here doesn’t have five million nine-year-olds waiting for the new Kitty Cop volume. But she does have several hundred parents of those nine-year-olds who are blaming her, specifically, for the Kitty Cop books not coming out faster. And they’ve found her Facebonk page, so she’s having a great time, really.

And that’s where things stand. We have a children’s book writer with no ideas for his next work. We have a child about to unleash an 86,398-page fan latter on him. The child’s been shown to have an energy for creating at least fragments of stories in traditional comic-strip or pulpy modes. Will those come together? I don’t know. My experience with writers block is sometimes someone else’s ideas, without my using them, will shake my own thinking loose.

Couple curious things in Sarah’s imaginary versions of her father. One is that these stories are self-aware, with the characters talking about how they know they’re sidekicks or villains or whatnot. Sometimes complaining about their parts in the story. I’m fine with that, though. Self-aware stories are some of the most liberating and wonderful things a child can discover and it’s natural to imitate that.

[ Sarah Morgan's imaginary adventures of DOCTOR REX and Princess - It's not over yet, folks! ] Belluso, The Forger, to the camera: 'I'm the villain of this thing, and I'm STILL on the loose! So MANY clown portraits left to paint!' He's in front of an erzatz Emmet Kelly clown portrait. [ SARAH's imaginary adventure continues. Having escaped the Forger's death trap in the art museum, DOCTOR REX and THE PRINCESS track the nasty and notorious FORGER to his secret lair! ] Rex and Sarah crash through the skylight. Rex: 'Time to take your MEDICINE, you dime-store doodler!' The Forger: 'ARRGGHH! You escaped my trap! Impossible!' Buck: 'Well, it's clearly *possible*, Boss. I mean, look, they're right there!' Forger: 'You are the WORST henchman ever. You know what? You're fired. Just FIRED. I am SO done with you.' Buck: 'Do I still get my severance package?' Forger: 'WHAT? NO! Now get out so I can defeat these caped crimefighters!' Buck: 'NEITHER of them wears a cape. LOOK --- no CAPES. Y'know, for an ARTIST you're really not very OBSERVANT.' [ To be concluded --- SOOON, we hope! ]
Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D. for the 4th of April, 2021. All right, he doesn’t pay attention to capes, but he can just nail a bicycle, from memory. Anyway, you see how much fun Terry Beatty was having with this. I’m not sure how much of this reflects how fun it can be to do a bunch of story beats without worrying about needing a resolution.

More curious is that in all of them Rene Belluso is a villain, and particularly an art forger. The real Belluso is both. Last we saw him he’d been arrested for running scams on Covid-19 victims, and before that he was running a Celestial Healing health scam. Before that, he was forging art, too, yes. But when Sarah did know him (mostly before Terry Beatty took over the writing) it was him as an art instructor. Does she actually know any other side of him? I do not remember. But we can suppose Sarah’s parents said something about why she was suddenly no longer seeing this adult. I can’t answer what Sarah knows about Rene Belluso is all.

Next Week!

High school sports! Which gets us hip-deep into Public Library Politics. How? I’ll explain as I recap Neal Rubin and Rod Whigham’s Gil Thorp in one week, unless circumstances interfere.

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Raccoon, Conclusion


I decided to write a concluding host sketch for my MiSTing of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale Of Fatty Raccoon. It’s just the Brains aboard the Satellite of Love. If I ever did reassemble these chapters into a full, complete, MiSTing, I might rewrite or replace this.
https://nebushumor.wordpress.com/tag/fatty-coon/


[ SATELLITE OF LOVE. TOM zips in, wearing a nightshirt, cap, and an eye mask over his transparent dome. CAMBOT is close on TOM. ]

TOM: I’ll change, I’ll change, I’m not the raccoon I was! [ Looking to the opposite corner of the screen ] You there!

[ CAMBOT pulls back, revealing GYPSY in front of the desk, at the corner of the screen ]

GYPSY: Me?

TOM: What day is it?

GYPSY: What day? … Why it’s Thursday.

TOM: Thursday! Then I haven’t missed it! The spirits must have done everything in one night!

GYPSY: Uh-huh.

TOM: Well, of course they can, they’re spirits — Tell me, Farmer Green’s house, does he still have those turkeys there?

GYPSY: The ones as big as me? They’re still there.

TOM: Quick, run there and tell them I’m not going to eat them! Do it in less than five minutes and I’ll give you half a crown!

GYPSY: Uh-huh.

[ GYPSY leaves the frame; CAMBOT pans back in on TOM ]

TOM: [ Sing-song, dancing about ] Oh, I don’t know anything, I never did know anything, I don’t know anything … I need to … I need to stand on my head!

[ TOM wiggles a bit and, of course, does not ]

TOM: I *don’t* need to stand on my head! … Oh, oh, to work, now. To setting things right.

[ TOM zips off-camera, and reappears with a decent coat and a hat on. As he crosses the desk, the off-camera voice of CROW becomes audible. He’s singing ‘Barbara Allen’. TOM comes up to MIKE, who’s holding a feather duster and wearing a ruffled collar to evoke a maid. TOM looks wistfully out of frame, in CROW’s direction. MIKE gently takes TOM’s hat, smiles the tiniest bit and nods, and steps out of frame. CAMBOT pulls back to reveal CROW, wearing rabbit ears, and pink eyes. CROW is singing and whooping it up in front of an imaginary party. ]

CROW: [ Singing ] For love of Barbara Al — [ Abruptly stopping ] Uncle Fatty!

TOM: Jimmy … is it too late to accept your invitation to dinner?

CROW: Too late? Too late! I’m delighted, Uncle Fatty. [ Talking to the air ] Brother, look who it is!

TOM: Can you forgive a pigheaded old fool? For clinging to my soreness about the barber shop thing? For not visiting you recovering from your pink eye?

CROW: Of course, dear Uncle! Oh, bless you, you’ve made me and my brother [ waving his arm out to nothing ] boundlessly happy!

TOM: Yes, Jimmy. You … [ looking to the camera, shaking his head ] … and your ‘brother’. [ He looks down, sad, a moment ]

CROW: Jasper, a polka! o/` Pol-i-tics and foreign wars! o/`

[ Music; CAMBOT focuses in on TOM as the light dims and he moves back to the original side of the desk. After a short while, the lights come on again. MIKE, holding a pitchfork, enters from the opposite side of the screen. ]

TOM: [ Surly ] Farmer Green! You’re late! What do you mean coming in this time of day? Mmm?!

MIKE: [ Baffled ] I’m … sorry?

TOM: Well, we won’t beat around the bush. I’m not going to stand for this sort of thing any longer; I have *no alternative* but to raise your corn. …

[ MIKE shows no sign of understanding any of this ]

TOM: Oh, I haven’t taken leave of my senses, Green. I’ve come to them. I’ve seen what my gluttony, my selfishness, my pettiness has done. I — I want to try to help you and that boy Johnnie of yours. No one should grow up without benefit of raccoon.

MIKE: [ Jabbing TOM with the pitchfork ] Shoo! Shoo, raccoon! Go on! Get out of here!

TOM: No! Wait! I’ve learned the errors of my — Ow! Ow! Stop! I know what —

[ MIKE jabs a bit more ]

TOM: These spirits showed me how my refusal to connect —

MIKE: Git on home!

[ MIKE connects with the pitchfork again; TOM moves away, eventually going off-screen ]

TOM: Stop it! We could make viral videos together!

MIKE: Crazy old forest animals. Don’t know what gets into …

TOM: [ Simultaneously ] I HOPE YOU GET EATEN BY A FLIVVER!

CROW: [ Leaning into camera ] God … bless us? Everyone?

                            | 
                         \  |  /
                          \ | /
                           \|/
                         ---O---
                           /|\
                          / | \
                         /  |  \
                            | 

Mystery Science Theater 3000, its characters, its setup, and whatever else I’m overlooking are the property of someone who isn’t me. Satellite of Love, LLC, I guess. Arthur Scott Bailey’s _The Tale of Fatty Raccoon_ is in the public domain and so *does* belong to me, and to you, and to anyone else who wants to create something new that brings joy to the world. So now you go out and bring some world-joy with all this. No pressure. But start … *now*.

> “Ho, ho! That’s a good one! That’s a good joke!” The tramp
> raccoon laughed heartily.

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Raccoon, Chapter XIX


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.


> XIX

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.

> And
> perhaps the best of all was a piece of cornbread, which Fatty fairly
> gobbled.

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
> drank.

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
> read,

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
> apples.

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
> uncomfortable.

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.

> But
> when morning came she knew that Fatty was out of danger.

CROW: Aaah?

> 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 … ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Raccoon, Chapter XVIII


And welcome all to the 18th chapter of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Fatty Raccoon, in MiSTed form. Yes, I don’t know what I’m going to do when I reach the end, which should be in a couple more weeks. I’m open to suggestions. Basically if you’ve got Fatty Raccoon in a Kids Crew adventure? I’m interested.

This chapter stands on its own. But if you’d like to read what led to this point, all the chapters of this Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction are at this link. Enjoy.


> XVIII
>
> THE LOGGERS COME

MIKE: Episode 18 … I don’t know, the Star Wars movies aren’t doing it for me anymore.

>
> Fatty Raccoon was frightened;

CROW: By what? Everyone in the forest mocking him, Jimmy Rabbit shaving him, or Farmer Green’s son trapping him?

> he had just waked up and he heard a
> sound

TOM: ‘Waked up’?

> that was exactly like the noise Farmer Green and his hired man
> had made when they cut down the tall chestnut tree where he was
> perched.

MIKE: Major breakthrough in the tree-falling-in-a-forest problem.

>
> "Oh, Mother! What is it?" he cried.

CROW: ‘Oh, Mother!’? Is Fatty dressed in a Lord Fauntleroy costume?

>
> "The loggers have come," Mrs. Raccoon said.

MIKE: Yup, this year’s got brood-X cicadas and brood-IV loggers.

> "They are cutting
> down all the big trees in the swamp."

TOM: The final week of _Pogo_.

>
> "Then we’ll have to move, won’t we?" Fatty asked.

CROW: Picturing Fatty’s family tromping off somewhere with a bunch of bindles.

TOM: Oh so cute!

>
> "No! They won’t touch this tree," his mother told him.

MIKE: ‘They signed my quitclaim deed, the fools!’

> "It’s
> an old tree, and hollow—so they won’t chop it down. It’s only the good
> sound trees that they’ll take."

CROW: Yeah, keep telling yourself that.

>
> "But I thought this was a good tree." Fatty was puzzled.

TOM: Fatty about to learn his home is actually on the wrong side of the deer tracks.

>
> "So it is, my son! It’s a good tree for us.

CROW: Wallpaper peeling off.

MIKE: Cabinet falling loose in the pantry.

TOM: Raccoon infestation … wait, wait.

> But not for the
> loggers. They would have little use for it."

CROW: But what if the loggers are just jerks?

>
> Fatty Raccoon felt better when he heard that.

MIKE: Just to be sure, Mom hires a spider to write out ‘SOME RACC’ in the branches.

> And he had a good
> deal of fun, peeping down at the loggers and watching them work.

TOM: Joking around with that Robin Williams Bat and watching the loggers summon that liquid ooze monster.

> But
> he took care that they should not see HIM. He knew what their bright
> axes could do.

CROW: They could curl his moustache!

>
> When night came Fatty had still more fun.

MIKE: More fun than watching loggers? Sure you can handle that, Fatty?

> When the loggers
> were asleep Fatty went to their camp in the woods beside the brook and
> he found many good things to eat.

TOM: Ah, playing his hits. Nice.

> He did not know the names of all the
> goodies;

CROW: ‘My name’s *Jimmy*!’

MIKE: ‘Yeah, and I remember your barber shop!

> but he ate them just the same. He ‘specially liked some
> potatoes which the careless cook had left in a pan near the open
> camp-fire.

TOM: Potatoes au gratin? In only fifteen minutes!

> The fire was out.

MIKE: It had errands in town but if you want to wait, I’ll let you know when the fire gets back in.

> And the pan rested on a stump close
> beside it. Fatty Raccoon climbed up and crawled right inside the pan.

CROW: [ As Fatty ] ‘FOUND ANOTHER THE MOON!’

> And
> after he had had one taste of those potatoes he grew so excited—they
> were so good—

TOM: They weren’t *that* good. They were only *so* good.

> that he tipped the pan off the stump and the potatoes
> rolled right into the ashes.

MIKE: Oh no, the potatoes are getting dirt on them!

>
> Fatty had jumped to one side, when the tin pan fell.

CROW: [ muttering ] Tin pan … alley … all … eat?

TOM: Needs work.
[ CROW grunts, agreeing ]

> It made a
> great clatter;

MIKE: Quick, rush to the window and see what’s the matter!

> and he kept very still for a few moments, while he
> listened. But no one stirred.

CROW: Not even a mouse.

> And then Fatty jumped plump into the
> ashes.

TOM: Hey, Fatty wins a cricket tournament.

>
> WHEW! He jumped out again as fast as he could; for beneath the
> ashes there were plenty of hot coals.

MIKE: It’s ‘hot’ as in ‘spicy’. Don’t be a food wimp.

> Fatty stood in them for not more
> than three seconds, but that was quite long enough.

TOM: Don’t want to over-braise your raccoons.

MIKE: That’s … not braising.

> The bottoms of his
> feet burned as if a hundred hornets had stung them.

TOM: Is it parboiling?

MIKE: No, not even remotely.

>

TOM: Sous-vide?

MIKE: I’m not letting you cook anymore.

> He stood first on one foot and then on another.

CROW: And still had two feet to go!

> If you could
> have seen him you would have thought Fatty was dancing.

MIKE: It’d be a cakewalk if someone brought some cake.

> And you might
> have laughed, because he looked funny.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘Hey, I’m in actual pain here! Also I need potatoes.’

>
> But Fatty Raccoon did not laugh. In fact, he came very near
> crying.

MIKE: Jeez. This book was *fun* back when it was Fatty eating sweet corn.

CROW: Tom Batiuk wrote the back half.

> And he did not wait to eat another mouthful. He limped along
> toward home.

CROW: Loggers wake up to this scene and figure, job well done.

> And it was several days before he stirred out of his
> mother’s house again. He just lay in his bed and waited until his
> burns were well again.

TOM: Mom writes a note to keep him home from Raccoon School.

>
> It was very hard.

CROW: I don’t know, I wouldn’t mind if I had never stirred from bed since 2015.

> For Fatty did not like to think of all those
> good things to eat that he was missing.

TOM: Like … sausage and Duraflame logs.

> And he hoped the loggers would
> not go away before his feet were well again.

MIKE: And before he gets his new tongue installed.

TOM: It’s wireless!

>
>

[ to be continued ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Raccoon, Chapter XVII


I hope you’re all still enjoying this MiSTing of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Fatty Raccoon. If not, don’t worry, there’s only a couple more chapters and then I have no idea what I’m going to do.

This chapter stands on its own. But if you’d like to read what led to this point, all the chapters of this Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction are at this link. Enjoy.


> XVII

MIKE: I usually take a 2XVII but I’ve been feeling thin lately.

>
> FATTY FINDS THE MOON

TOM: Not *that* The Moon, mind you. A different The Moon.

>
> Wandering through the woods one day,

CROW: In the very merry month of … December.

> Fatty Raccoon’s bright eyes
> caught a strange gleam from something—something that shone and
> glittered out of the green.

MIKE: Oh yeah, it’s Gleam Squirrel season.

> Fatty wanted to see what it was,

TOM: Raccoon laser eyes on.

> though he
> hardly thought it was anything to eat.

TOM: Oh. Raccoon laser eyes off, then.

> But whenever he came upon
> something new he always wanted to examine it. So now Fatty hurried to
> see what the strange thing was.
>
> It was the oddest thing he had ever found—flat, round, and
> silvery;

CROW: Fatty discovers his first flying saucer.

> and it hung in the air, under a tree, just over Fatty’s head.

MIKE: A shower head?

TOM: Jeez, there’s got to be nicer ways to tell him to take a bath.

> Fatty Raccoon looked carefully at the bright thing. He walked all around
> it, so he could see it from all sides.

MIKE: So someone hung a half-dollar from a tree?

> And at last he thought he knew
> what it was. He made up his mind that it was the moon!

TOM: Oh, yeah, I can see where — *what*?

>
> He had often seen the moon up in the sky;

MIKE: Okay, yeah, sky, that checks out.

> and here it was,
> just the same size exactly,

CROW: *Exactly*?

TOM: I think Fatty’s one of those people who doesn’t believe you can see the moon during the day.

> hanging so low that he could have reached
> it with his paw.

MIKE: ‘Could have’. Big talk there, Fatty.

> He saw nothing strange in that; for he knew that the
> moon often touched the earth.

CROW: Fatty studied astronomy at an un-accredited college.

> Had he not seen it many a time, resting
> on the side of Blue Mountain?

TOM: Uh … all right, Counselor, I’ll let this continue but you’re on a short leash.

> One night he had asked his mother if he
> might go up on the mountain to play with the moon; but she had only
> laughed.

CROW: [ As Mrs Raccoon ] ‘The Moon is a cow place. We raccoons have Toronto.’

> And here, at last, was the moon come to him!

TOM: This is so awkward because The Moon’s meeting someone else there.

> Fatty was so
> excited that he ran home as fast as he could go, to tell his mother,
> and his brother Blackie, and Fluffy and Cutey, his sisters.

MIKE: And Jimmy Rabbit’s imaginary brother.

>
> "Oh! the moon! the moon!" Fatty shouted.

CROW: Tattoo’s catchphrase for _Fantasy Island: 1999_.

> He had run so fast
> that, being so plump, he was quite out of breath. And that was all he
> could say.

MIKE: He’s thinking of making Moon Pies and … Moon cakes …

>
> "Well, well! What about the moon!" Mrs. Raccoon asked.

TOM: Moon salad, Moon pudding …

CROW: Moon sausages? … I don’t know, this category’s stumped me.

> "Anybody
> would think you had found it, almost." And she smiled.

CROW: Is … is ‘you found the moon’ some 1915 slang or something?

MIKE: [ Shrugs ]

>
> Fatty puffed and gasped. And at last he caught his breath
> again.
>
> "Yes—I’ve found it! It’s over in the woods—just a little way
> from here!" he said.

TOM: And up a considerable bit!

> "Big, and round, and shiny!

CROW: Huh … well, that sounds like the Moon, sure.

> Let’s all go and
> bring it home!"

MIKE: Oh, I don’t know. You never play with that Ceres you brought home last year.

>
> "Well, well, well!" Mrs. Raccoon was puzzled. She had never heard
> of the moon being found in those woods;

TOM: Oh, now our woods aren’t good enough for the Moon?

> and she hardly knew what to
> think. "Are you sure?" she asked.

CROW: Have you checked it for any identifying Apollo landing sites?

>
> "Oh, yes, Mother!" Fatty could hardly wait, he was so eager to
> lead the way.

TOM: He’s going to be so embarrassed when he gets back and it’s just Pluto.

> And with many a shake of the head, Mrs. Raccoon, with her
> family, started off to see the moon.

MIKE: This reminds her of the time Fluffy brought home a Lesser Magellanic Cloud.

>
> "There!" Fatty cried, as they came in sight of the bright,
> round thing.

CROW: Oh, that’s not the Moon, that’s just Callisto.

> "There it is—just as I told you!" And they all set up a
> great shouting.

TOM: Finally a Raccoon Moon.

MIKE: Man in the Moon wearing in eye mask.

>
> All but Mrs. Raccoon. She wasn’t quite sure, even yet, that Fatty
> had really found the moon.

CROW: If this is the Moon why does it have a sticker saying Made In Queens?

> And she walked close to the shining thing
> and peered at it. But not too close!

MIKE: Screen falling off the door, door hanging off the hinges …

> Mrs. Raccoon didn’t go too near it.
> And she told her children quite sternly to stand back.

TOM: Don’t want you to get scrooched by mistake.

> It was well
> that she did; for when Mrs. Raccoon took her eyes off Fatty’s moon and
> looked at the ground beneath it—well!

CROW: Wait, that’s no moon …

> she jumped back so quickly that
> she knocked two of her children flat on the ground.

CROW: It’s a space station!

>
> A trap!

CROW: It’s a trap?!

MIKE: Subverted expectations.

> THAT was what Mrs. Raccoon saw right in front of her.

TOM: Sharp eyes on Mrs Raccoon.

MIKE: She learned from that time she tried to bring home Saturn’s rings.

> And
> Farmer Green, or his boy, or whoever it was that set the trap,

CROW: Like there’s another person in the story?

MIKE: [ Shaking his fist ] Jasper Jay!

> had
> hung that bright piece of TIN over the trap hoping that one of her
> family would see it and play with it—and fall into the trap.

TOM: The trap of carrying your old-timey tintype photograph around the amusement park all day.

> Yes—it
> was a mercy that Fatty hadn’t begun knocking it about. For if he had
> he would have stepped right into the trap and it would have shut—SNAP!

CROW: Jeez, who tries to trap a perfectly innocent Moon?

> Just like that. And there he would have been, caught fast.

TOM: All right he’d be trapped, sure, but he’d have a Moon, too.

>
> It was no wonder that Mrs. Raccoon hurried her family away from
> that spot.

CROW: What can I say? This house is falling apart.

> And Fatty led them all home again. He couldn’t get away
> from his moon fast enough.

MIKE: Leaving the trap as a little surprise for Brownie Beaver there.

>
>

[ To continue … ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Raccoon, Chapter XVI


For this week I bring you chapter 16 of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Fatty Raccoon. This and all previous chapters of this into Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction are at this link. If that seems like a lot to read to get up to speed here, yeah, and don’t worry. The chapter explains itself pretty well. But it does reference Chapter 13, when Jimmy Rabbit and, he claims, his brother played a prank on Fatty.


> XVI

TOM: Everyone who used to be a Vi, stand up.

>
> FATTY RACCOON PLAYS ROBBER

CROW: Stealing Farmer Green’s cornfield, as a bit.

>
> After Fatty Raccoon played barber-shop with Jimmy Rabbit and his
> brother it was a long time before he met them again.

CROW: So Jimmy Rabbit’s brother is a figment of his imagination, right? That’s why he doesn’t have a name?

> But one day Fatty
> was wandering through the woods when he caught sight of Jimmy. Jimmy
> dodged behind a tree.

TOM: Gee, why?

> And Fatty saw Jimmy’s brother peep from behind
> another.

MIKE: One more peep and we turn this forest around and go home.

> You see, his ears were so long that they stuck far beyond the
> tree,

CROW: Whoops!

MIKE: Be fair, now, why would a rabbit learn how to hide?

> and Fatty couldn’t help seeing them.
>
> "Hello!" Fatty called. "I’m glad to see you."

TOM: Mwuh-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-haaa!

> And he told the
> truth, too. He had been trying to find those two brothers for weeks,
> because he wanted to get even with them for cutting off his moustache.

CROW: And hiding his fez and penny-farthing bicycle.

> Jimmy and his brother hopped out from behind their trees.
>
> "Hello!" said Jimmy. "We were just looking for you." Probably
> he meant to say, "We were just looking AT you."

TOM: [ As Fatty ] Well, I was looking *through* you.

CROW: [ As Jimmy’s brother ] But you’re not there.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] Like you even exist!

> He was somewhat upset
> by meeting Fatty; for he knew that Fatty was angry with him.
>
> "Oh, ho! You were, were you?" Fatty answered. He began to
> slide down the tree he had been climbing.

MIKE: [ Sings the Batman 66 transition theme, slowly ]

>
> Jimmy Rabbit and his brother edged a little further away.

CROW: [ As Jimmy ] Have to … go … wax a … squirrel?

>
> "Better not come too near us!" he said. "We’ve both got the
> pink-eye, and you don’t want to catch it."

TOM: Why, a pink-eyed raccoon would be adorable!

MIKE: Or haunt your nightmares.

>
> Fatty paused and looked at the brothers.

MIKE: [ Making air quotes ] ‘Brothers’.

> Sure enough! their
> eyes were as pink as anything.
>
> "Does it hurt much?" Fatty asked.

CROW: Only when we look at stuff.

>
> "Well—it does and it doesn’t," Jimmy replied.

MIKE: [ As Jimmy ] Like, my brother? Nothing bothers him, because he’s made of nothing! Neat how that works, right?

> "I just stuck a
> brier into one of my eyes a few minutes ago and it hurt awful, then.
> But you’ll be perfectly safe, so long as you don’t touch us."

TOM: And you don’t jab a brier into your eyes. Sheesh.

>
> "How long does it last?" Fatty inquired.

MIKE: How long do you hold a grudge?

>
> "Probably we’ll never get over it," Jimmy Rabbit said
> cheerfully. And his brother nodded his head, as much as to say,
> "That’s so!"

CROW: Cut that out! You don’t get to support your brother if you don’t exist!

>
> Fatty Raccoon was just the least bit alarmed. He really thought
> that there was something the matter with their eyes.

TOM: Oh, they just need reading glasses. It’s nothing.

> You see, though
> the Rabbit brothers’ eyes were always pink (for they were born that
> way), he had never noticed it before.

MIKE: Also raccoons are maybe colorblind? Who knows?

> So Fatty thought it would be
> safer not to go too near them.

CROW: Fatty is the most bluffable raccoon out there.

TOM: He’s used to just chewing his way through life.

>
> "Well, it’s too bad," he told Jimmy. "I’m sorry. I wanted to
> play with you."

MIKE: [ As Jimmy ] Oh yeah? What game?

TOM: [ As Fatty ] Well, it’s 1915, so the only games are tiddlywinks, whacking each other with rolled-up newspapers, and baseball.

>
> "Oh, that’s all right!" Jimmy said.

CROW: Hey, there’s stuffing ferrets down your trousers, that’s something.

MIKE: Crow! They’re *children*!

> "We can play, just the
> same. I’ll tell you what we’ll play. We’ll play—"

TOM: PLINKO! For a chance to win up to FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS!
[ MIKE, CROW cheer ]

>
> "Not barber-shop!" Fatty interrupted. "I won’t play
> barber-shop, I never liked that game."

MIKE: Even though I started playing it with my brother right away.

>
> Jimmy Rabbit started to smile. But he turned his smile into a
> sneeze.

CROW: Awwwww, bunny sneezes, too adorable!

> And he said—

MIKE: Yes yes, go on?

>
> "We’ll play robber.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] Robert?

MIKE: [ As Jimmy ] Robber.

> You’ll like that, I know.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] But how do you play Robert?

MIKE: [ As Jimmy ] It’s Robber. You play a robber.

> And you can be
> the robber. You look like one, anyhow."

TOM: [ As Fatty ] How can I look like a ‘Robert’? Anyone could look like a ‘Robert’, there’s like four kinds of Robert out there.

MIKE: [ As Jimmy ] I … you know what? Yes.

>
> That remark made Fatty Raccoon angry.

TOM: ‘You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry … heck, our author doesn’t like me at all!’

> And he wished that Jimmy
> hadn’t the pink-eye. He would have liked to make an end of him right
> then and there.

CROW: You know what Fatty could use? A peer group.

>
> "What do you mean?" he shouted. "Robber nothing! I’m just as
> good as you are!"

TOM: Really curious how this scene plays out in _The Tale of Jimmy Rabbit_.

>
> "Of course, of course!" Jimmy said hastily. "It’s your face,
> you know, That black patch covers your eyes just like a robber’s mask.

MIKE: [ As Fatty ] Oh! I thought you were talking about this giant bag with a dollar sign on it.

> That’s why we want you to be the robber."
>
> Fatty had slipped down his tree to the ground; and now he
> looked down into the creek.

CROW: Right next to the mirror department of the forest.

> It was just as Jimmy said. Fatty had never
> thought of it before,

MIKE: But how *do* you tell a cabbage from a lettuce?

> but the black patch of short fur across the
> upper part of his face made him look exactly like a robber.

CROW: Fatty had gone his entire raccoon life without considering human melodrama stage conventions for marking someone a robber.

>
> "Come on!" said Jimmy. "We can’t play the game without you."

TOM: We can’t ditch you without you coming along!

>
> "Well—all right!" said Fatty. He began to feel proud of his
> mask. "What shall I do?"

TOM: Well, first, rob something.

CROW: *Robert* something.

>
> "You wait right here," Jimmy ordered. "Hide behind that tree.

MIKE: … Bob’s your uncle …

> We’ll go into the woods. And when we come back past this spot you jump
> out and say ‘Hands up!’ … You understand?"

CROW: [ As Fatty ] OK, so, the Robert I’m playing, is he motivated by avarice or desperate need?

TOM: [ As Jimmy ] Buh?

>
> "Of course!" said Fatty. "But hurry up! Don’t be gone long."

CROW: [ As Fatty ] It affects how intense the Roberting is! What directions it might go. So I’m imagining my Robert as someone who turned to crime after losing his savings in the collapse of the Knickerbocker Trust Company.

TOM: [ As Jimmy ] Uh … sure?

>
> "Leave that to us," said Jimmy Rabbit. He winked at his
> brother; and they started off together.

CROW: [ As Fatty ] Oh, I know, you pretend to have documents relating to the United Copper Company, that’ll really make this scene crackle!

>
> Fatty Raccoon did not see that wink.

MIKE: And with that, his life changed forever.

> If he had, he wouldn’t have
> waited there all the afternoon for those Rabbit brothers to return.
> They never came back at all.

CROW: Be cunning and full of tricks! Also have the author hate Fatty, that’ll carry you far.

> And they told everybody about the trick
> they had played on Fatty Raccoon.

TOM: ‘We told him we were gonna play with him, and then we didn’t! What a loser!’

> For a long time after that wherever
> Fatty went the forest-people called "Robber!" after him.

MIKE: Well, this has been a merry descent back into middle school.

> And Jasper
> Jay was the most annoying of all, because whenever he shouted
> "Robber!" he always laughed so loudly and so long.

TOM: You suppose Jay is the bird we’re supposed to try to be naked as?

> His hoarse screech
> echoed through the woods. And the worst of it was, everybody knew what
> he was laughing at.

CROW: This chapter’s making me understand why Fatty wants to eat everybody he knows.

>
>

[ To be continued … ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Raccoon, Chapter XV


Hello again and welcome to a bit more of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Fatty Raccoon. I have been able to turn the previous 14 chapters of this into Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction. And now? Chapter 15. If it helps you set your expectations, this chapter is set in February.


> XV
>
> FATTY VISITS THE SMOKE-HOUSE

CROW: It’s so nice of Fatty to visit the smoke-houses stuck at home like that.

>
> The winter was fast going.

MIKE: Until someone grabbed its tail through the hole in the sycamore.

> And one fine day in February Fatty
> Raccoon crept out of his mother’s house to enjoy the warm sunshine—

TOM: February, the Sunshine Month.

> and see what he could find to eat.
>
> Fatty was much thinner than he had been in the fall.

CROW: So be with us for next week when we start _The Tale Of Thinny Raccoon_.

> He had
> spent so much of the time sleeping that he had really eaten very
> little.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘Wouldn’t mind eating little if I did it more often.’

> And now he hardly knew himself as he looked at his sides. They
> no longer stuck out as they had once.

MIKE: You know, the ‘sleep-and-pretend-barber-shop’ weight plan is the most successful diet plan.

>
> After nosing about the swamp and the woods all the afternoon
> Fatty decided that there was no use in trying to get a meal there.

CROW: What if I offered to pay someone Tuesday for a hamburger today?

> The
> ground was covered with snow. And except for rabbit tracks—and a few
> squirrels’—

TOM: And a fox.

CROW: Three deer.

MIKE: That band of river otters.

CROW: Those penguins.

TOM: That team of dressage armadillos.

MIKE: Four elephants all wearing berets.

> he could find nothing that even suggested food. And
> looking at those tracks only made him hungrier than ever.

CROW: Man, never go eating on an empty stomach.

>
> For a few minutes Fatty thought deeply. And then he turned
> about and went straight toward Farmer Green’s place.

TOM: Oh, you can’t eat a *place*. Fatty, you want to look for *food*.

> He waited behind
> the fence just beyond Farmer Green’s house; and when it began to grow
> dark he crept across the barnyard.

MIKE: So he got up in the sunlight to wait for nightfall.

>
> As Fatty passed a small, low building he noticed a delicious
> smell. And he stopped right there.

CROW: Tell me it’s a pie cooling on the windowsill.

MIKE: ‘Tramp raccoon’ already snagged that.

> He had gone far enough. The door
> was open a little way.

TOM: Ah, that’s all he needs for probable cause.

> And after one quick look all around—to make
> sure there was nobody to see him—Fatty slipped inside.

CROW: Bonk!

MIKE: [ As Fatty ] OW! … I meant to do that!

>
> It was almost dark inside Farmer Green’s smokehouse—for that
> was what the small, low building was called.

TOM: Or the smoke-house, if you edit the titles of chapters.

> It was almost dark; but
> Fatty could see just as well as you and I can see in the daytime.

MIKE: Course, him bringing the flashlight helped.

> There was a long row of hams hung up in a line. Underneath them were
> white ashes, where Farmer Green had built wood fires, to smoke the
> hams.

CROW: Wait, really? Like, that’s how smoking meat works?

MIKE: [ Shrugs ]

> But the fires were out, now; and Fatty was in no danger of being
> burned.

TOM: The passion was gone from the hams.

>
> The hams were what Fatty Raccoon had smelled. And the hams were
> what Fatty intended to eat.

MIKE: If he can just get them away from the guy who draws ‘Heathcliff’.

> He decided that he would eat them
> all—though of course he could never have done that—at least, not in
> one night; nor in a week, either.

TOM: Nine days, though? That would do it, if he ate through dinner breaks.

> But when it came to eating, Fatty’s
> courage never failed him. He would have tried to eat an elephant, if
> he had had the chance.

MIKE: Imagining him slurping the elephant’s trunk up like a strand of spaghetti.

CROW: Asking the elephant to rub a little alfredo sauce on him .. .

>
> Fatty did not stop to look long at that row of hams.

MIKE: He only wept, for the lack of new worlds to conquer.

> He
> climbed a post that ran up the side of the house and he crept out

TOM: If he ran out he’d be showing post-haste.

> along the pole from which the hams were hung.

CROW: Oh, they’re hamstrung.

>
> He stopped at the very first ham he came to.

MIKE: And asked for directions to town.

> There was no
> sense in going any further.

TOM: Unless you’re being whimsical!

> And Fatty dropped on top of the ham and in
> a twinkling he had torn off a big, delicious mouthful.

MIKE: [ Low-key ] o/` I wanna hold your ham … o/`

>
> Fatty could not eat fast enough. He wished he had two
> mouths

TOM: And six eyes, not all on his face!

> —he was so hungry. But he did very well, with only ONE.

CROW: You know, an expert eater can use only the one mouth and you never notice the difference.

> In no
> time at all he had made a great hole in the ham.

TOM: Oh, ham and Swiss.

> And he had no idea of
> stopping.

MIKE: ‘I will not start stopping’, he said.

> But he did stop.

CROW: ‘Wait, I started stopping anyway!’

> He stopped very suddenly.

TOM: Have you tried stopping stopping?

MIKE: Or starting not-stopping?

> For the first
> thing he knew, something threw him right down upon the floor.

CROW: [ Upbeat ] Hey, hey, hey! It’s the crushing sadness of modern life! Great to see you!

> And the
> ham fell on top of him and nearly knocked him senseless.
>
> He choked and spluttered;

TOM: He never expected to live a ‘death by snu-snu’ meme.

> for the ashes filled his mouth and
> his eyes, and his ears, too. For a moment he lay there on his back;

MIKE: Surprised he isn’t trying to eat his way out of the ham.

> but soon he managed to kick the heavy ham off his stomach and then he
> felt a little better.

CROW: On to seconds!

> But he was terribly frightened. And though his
> eyes smarted so he could hardly see, he sprang up and found the
> doorway.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘Lead on, my trusty moustache! … Oh no!’

>
> Fatty swallowed a whole mouthful of ashes as he dashed across
> the barnyard.

CROW: And then he remembered he could’ve eaten the ham off him instead.

> And he never stopped running until he was almost home.
> He was puzzled. Try as he would, he couldn’t decide what it was that
> had flung him upon the floor.

MIKE: But he suspects Jasper Jay.

> And when he told his mother about his
> adventure—as he did a whole month later—she didn’t know exactly
> what had happened, either.

TOM: [ As Mrs Raccoon ] ‘Why didn’t you just eat your way out of the ham?’

CROW: [ As Fatty ] ‘I panicked, okay?’

>
> "It was some sort of trap, probably," Mrs. Raccoon said.

TOM: [ As Mrs Raccoon ] ‘I bet they were catching hams and you just got in the way.’

>
> But for once Mrs. Raccoon was mistaken.

MIKE: It was in fact an ordinary reconnaissance mission, not trapping.

>
> It was very simple.

CROW: Allow me to explain until it is complicated and you are tired.

> In his greedy haste Fatty had merely
> bitten through the cord that fastened the ham to the pole.

TOM: In his defense, that was Cajun spiced cord.

> And of
> course it had at once fallen, carrying Fatty with it!
>
> But what do you suppose?

CROW: Oh, that pet mice all just assume they’re really good at foraging because look, there’s always food blocks right when they want.

> Afterward, when Fatty had grown up,
> and had children of his own,

TOM: Wait, Fatty grows up? Spoilers!

> he often told them about the time he had
> escaped from the trap in Farmer Green’s smokehouse.

MIKE: Raccoons don’t have a lot of epics, you understand.

>
> Fatty’s children thought it very exciting. It was their
> favorite story.

TOM: Above even the barber-shop saga.

And they made their father tell it over and over

> again.

CROW: And he never suspected they were putting him on.

>
>

[ To be continued … ]

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 … ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Raccoon, Chapter XIII


Thanks all for being with me for another chapter of this Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction. I’m still looking at Arthur Scott Bailey’s 1915 children’s novel about animals, The Tale of Fatty Raccoon. You can read earlier installments of the MiSTing here. This chapter doesn’t demand much knowledge of what’s gone before, though. If you want to jump in all you really need to know is that Fatty Raccoon would like to eat you, and Arthur Scott Bailey hates Fatty Raccoon for it. Enjoy!


> XIII

CROW: How x-i-ting!

>
> FATTY MEETS JIMMY RABBIT

MIKE: Jimmy meets Fatty Rabbit.

TOM: Rabbit meets Jimmy Fatty.

>
> For once Fatty Raccoon was not hungry.

CROW: *What?!*

TOM: Hold me, Mike, I’m scared!

> He had eaten so much of
> Farmer Green’s corn that he felt as if he could not swallow another
> mouthful.

MIKE: So he’s taken to just rubbing corn on his belly and hoping for the best.

> He was strolling homewards through the woods when someone
> called to him. It was Jimmy Rabbit.

TOM: Y’know, if Fatty had an ear of corn to introduce to Jimmy, but was indifferent to how the meeting went, Fatty could say, ‘Jimmy, Green’s Corn, and I don’t care.’

MIKE: [ Sighing ] You too?

>
> "Where are you going, Fatty?" Jimmy Rabbit asked.

CROW: The big meeting in Toronto.

>
> "Home!" said Fatty.
>
> "Are you hungry?" Jimmy Rabbit asked anxiously.

MIKE: [ As Jack Benny, putting his hand on his cheek ] ‘Well!’

>
> "I should say not!" Fatty answered.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘Um … should I? Did I get my line wrong?’

> "I’ve just had the finest
> meal I ever ate in my life."

MIKE: By ‘finest’ he means ‘most recent’.

CROW: Say this for Fatty, he’s a great person to cook for.

>
> Jimmy Rabbit seemed to be relieved to hear that.

TOM: [ As Jimmy ] ‘Hooray! It wasn’t me!’

>
> "Come on over and play," he said. "My brother and I are
> playing barber- shop over in the old sycamore tree; and we need you."

CROW: Wait … why are rabbits playing barber shop?

MIKE: Why are they not playing hare salon?

CROW: And we’re being the problem.

>
> "All right!" said Fatty. It was not often that any of the
> smaller forest-people were willing to play with him,

TOM: Wonder why that could be.

> because generally
> Fatty couldn’t help getting hungry and then he usually tried to eat
> his playmates.

MIKE: You know, when we make that joke it’s just sick, but when the book makes it it’s …

CROW: Ugh.

> "What do you need me for?" Fatty asked, as he trudged
> along beside Jimmy Rabbit.

TOM: We need somebody to be the guy off in back complaining about the Giants.

>
> "We need you for the barber’s pole," Jimmy explained. "You can
> come inside the hollow tree and stick your tail out through a hole.

CROW: [ As Fatty ] You need me to do a stick’s job?

> It
> will make a fine barber’s pole—though the stripes DO run the wrong
> way, to be sure."

MIKE: Well, you could lean sideways a little?

>
> Fatty Raccoon was greatly pleased. He looked around at his tail
> and felt very proud.

CROW: A fine horsehair tail, one of the most elegant … wait, I’m being handed a bulletin.

>
> "I’ve got a beautiful tail—haven’t I?" he asked.
>
> "Um—yes!" Jimmy Rabbit replied, "though I must say it isn’t
> one that I would care for myself…

TOM: Frish — *Frith* Worshippers have to say that.

MIKE: Hard saying ‘Frish Wor’ — that *is* hard.

> But come along! There may be people
> waiting to get their hair cut."

CROW: I’ve lost all understanding of the level of anthropomorphization here.

>
> Sure enough! When they reached the make-believe barber-shop
> there was a gray squirrel inside,

MIKE: Can touch that up with a little Just For Squirrels.

> and Jimmy Rabbit’s brother was
> busily snipping the fur off Mr. Squirrel’s head.

TOM: Uh-oh …

CROW: What?

>
> "How much do you charge for a hair-cut?" Fatty asked.

TOM: Fatty! Get out of there! IT’S AN IMPROV TROUPE!

>
> "Oh, that depends!" Jimmy Rabbit said. "Mr. Squirrel will pay
> us six cabbage leaves.

CROW: But for you?

MIKE: Yes, yes?

CROW: Six cabbage leaves, who do you think you are?

> But if we were to cut your hair we’d have to
> ask more. We’d want a dozen cabbage leaves, at least."

CROW: Oh, dang.

MIKE: This is about that time I ate your best friend, isn’t it?

>
> "Well, don’t I get anything for the use of my tail?" Fatty
> asked.

CROW: Well, what does your tail need to use?

> He had already stuck it out through the hole; and he had half a
> mind to pull it in again.

TOM: Just picturing the dignity of Fatty here.

>
> Jimmy Rabbit and his brother whispered together for a few
> moments.

CROW: [ As Jimmy ] ‘No, no, no, no. I don’t know your name either.’

>
> "I’ll tell you what we’ll do," Jimmy said. "If you’ll let us
> use your tail for the barber’s pole, we’ll cut your hair free.

TOM: I mean, all hair that’s cut is free. That’s how it can fall off.

> Isn’t
> that fair enough?"

MIKE: [ As Fatty ] ‘Will I have to bring my own hair?’

>
> Fatty Raccoon was satisfied. But he insisted that Jimmy begin to
> cut his hair at once.

TOM: Me, I demand to know if they have, like, rabbit-size scissors or what.

CROW: Oh, man, those stupid bunny scissors that you can’t actually cut anything with.

>
> "I’m doing my part of the work now," he pointed out. "So
> there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do yours."

MIKE: Jimmy counter-offers with Fatty leaving his tail there and comes back for it later.

>
> With that Jimmy Rabbit began. He clipped and snipped at
> Fatty’s head, pausing now and then to see the effect.

CROW: [ As Jimmy ] ‘So, uh, no eating each other right?’

> He smiled once
> in a while, behind Fatty’s back, because Fatty certainly did look
> funny with his fur all ragged and uneven.

TOM: Oh, now, how bad could it OH MY GOD! RUN! RUN FOR THE HILLS!

>
> "Moustache trimmed?" Jimmy Rabbit asked, when he had finished
> with Fatty’s head.

MIKE: Ah yes, the most renowned feature of a raccoon’s markings: the moustache.

>
> "Certainly—of course!" Fatty Raccoon answered.

CROW: You feel like Fatty shows up a lot in Animal Reddit threads about jerk customers.

> And pretty soon
> Fatty’s long white moustache lay on the floor of the barber-shop.

CROW: That’s *lie* on the floor.

TOM: No it’s not.

MIKE: Do I have to separate you two?

TOM: I mean, you do.

> Fatty felt a bit uneasy as he looked down and saw his beautiful
> moustache lying at his feet. "You haven’t cut it too short, I hope,"
> he said.

CROW: Aw, c’mon, you’re not hardly bleeding at all!

>
> "No, indeed!" Jimmy Rabbit assured him. "It’s the very latest
> style."

TOM: This is all the rage in Raccoon Paris.

>
> "What on earth has happened to you?" Mrs. Raccoon cried,—when
> Fatty reached home that night. "Have you been in a fire?"

MIKE: [ As Fatty ] ‘You should … see … the other fire?’

>
> "It’s the latest style, Mother," Fatty told her.

CROW: [ As Fatty ] ‘It’s by Mangee. On the Left Bank.’

> "At least,
> that’s what Jimmy Rabbit says." He felt the least bit uneasy again.

MIKE: [ As Mrs Raccoon ] ‘Did you tell him your Jimmy-Green’s-corn joke? Is that why he did that?’

>
> "Did you let that Jimmy Rabbit do that to you?" Mrs. Raccoon
> asked.

TOM: There was also his brother, what’s-his-name!

>
> Fatty hung his head. He said nothing at all. But his mother
> knew.
>
> "Well! you ARE a sight!" she exclaimed.

CROW: I guess? Since so far all we’ve been told is his fur’s uneven and he lost his moustache?

MIKE: Telling us there’s something funny without showing what it is; very Funky Winkerbean-y.

> "It will be months
> before you look like my child again. I shall be ashamed to go anywhere
> with you."

MIKE: Who’s gonna see? You go everywhere in the middle of the night.

>
> Fatty Raccoon felt very foolish. And there was just one thing
> that kept him from crying. And THAT was THIS:

TOM: For three months, he’ll be the chupacabra!

> he made up his mind that
> when he played barber-shop with Jimmy Rabbit again he would get even
> with him.

CROW: Jimmy and his brother are some those nasty prank-playing children from a 1910 comic strip.

MIKE: The Katzenjam-hare Kids.

>
> But when the next day came, Fatty couldn’t find Jimmy Rabbit
> and his brother anywhere. They kept out of sight.

TOM: They were wearing his eye mask as *their* eye masks!

> But they had told
> all the other forest-people about the trick they had played on Fatty
> Raccoon.

MIKE: Also they could see he was shaved naked-ish … we guess?

> And everywhere Fatty went he heard nothing but hoots and jeers
> and laughs.

TOM: [ As Forest-People ] ‘Hah, hah, doesn’t have a moustache!’

CROW: [ As Forest-People ] ‘Look at the uneven fur on that raccoon!’

MIKE: [ As Forest-People ] ‘We assume there’s something else funny about your appearance!’

> He felt very silly. And he wished that he might meet Jimmy
> Rabbit and his brother.

CROW: Funny thing is by the time he finds them, Fatty’s decided this look really works for him.

MIKE: Life, y’know?

>
>


[ To be continued, someday ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Raccoon, Chapter XII


Hi, friends, and I hope you’re still enjoying Arthur Scott Bailey’s 1915 The Tale Of Fatty Raccoon. I still am, and that’s why I got another chapter riffed and published this week. If you’re tired of me giving the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment to a harmless book that’s caused nobody any trouble, well, maybe you’re right. But it’s fun writing, too.

To catch you up: Fatty Raccoon and his family are facing the hard, cold winter. There’s not a lot of food left and what there is, Fatty’s eaten already. But Jasper Jay brought the news that Farmer Green has forty fat turkeys, ready for the eating. Are you ready for how Fatty hopes to turn this to his advantage, and how things maybe go wrong? I’m not sure you are!


> XII
>
> FORTY FAT TURKEYS

CROW: If the Twelve Day of Christmas *never ended*.

>
> When Jasper Jay told Fatty Raccoon about Farmer Green’s forty fat
> turkeys

TOM: Jasper was being a gossip.

> Fatty felt hungrier than ever.
>
> "Oh! I mustn’t go near Farmer Green’s house!" he said.

MIKE: You mustn’t?

CROW: He daren’t.

> "My
> mother told me to keep away from there. . . .

TOM: On the other hand, food. Well, she’ll understand.

> What time did you say
> the turkeys go to roost?"

CROW: It’s after the chickens come home to roost, but before the cows come home.

>
> "Oh! they go to roost every night at sundown," Jasper Jay
> explained. "And there they sit, up in the tree, all night long.

CROW: [ As Fatty ] And … turkeys just go into trees and sleep?

MIKE: [ As Jasper ] Yup! That’s totally normal behavior for turkeys!

CROW: [ As Fatty ] Of course as real wild animal I know this I just … wanted to know I got it right?

> They’re fast asleep. And you would have no trouble at all in catching
> as many as you wanted.

TOM: [ As Japser ] Assuming you want none! None is a many, right?

> . . . But of course, if you’re afraid—why
> there’s no use of MY talking about it.

MIKE: [ As Fatty ] I’ven’t given you cause to question my *courage*.

TOM: Mustn’t doubt it, really.

> There’s a plenty of other Raccoons
> in these woods

CROW: [ As Jasper ] I’ll find love with one of them instead!

> who’d be glad to know about those turkeys. And maybe
> they’d have the manners to say ‘Thank you!’ too."

TOM: Wait, why would the turkeys say thanks for having to meet Fatty?

> And with a hoarse,
> sneering laugh Jasper Jay flew away.

MIKE: [ As the devil from ‘The Undead’ ] ‘You’re stuck here!’

>

TOM: [ Getting it ] Ooooooooh, wait.

> That was enough for Fatty. He made up his mind that he would
> show Jasper Jay that HE was not afraid.

MIKE: He whips a can of spinach out of his tail.

CROW: [ Humming the Popeye fanfare ] Da-dadada-dah-dadah!

> And he wanted a turkey to eat,
> too.

TOM: [ As Citizen Kane ] ‘I think it would be *fun* to eat a turkey?’

> He said nothing to his mother about Jasper’s news.

CROW: Wait, you’re not getting the gang together for one last heist?

> But that very
> night, when the moon came up, and the lights in Farmer Green’s house
> were all out, Fatty Raccoon went stealing across the fields.

MIKE: Sneak sneak sneak sneak sneak trip ow a rock!

CROW: Sneak sneak sneak sneak sneak trip aaah the creek! Splash!

TOM: Sneak sneak sneak sneak sneak trip aaaaaaah the ravine aaaaaaaaaah!

>
> He was not afraid, for

MIKE: For the Angel of the Lord had spoken upon him.

> he knew that Farmer Green and all his
> family were in their beds.

CROW: The Angel said, ‘Behold, I bring you good tidings and raw hot dogs’.

> And it was so cold that Fatty felt sure
> that Farmer Green’s dogs would be inside their kennels.

TOM: Awww, pups in a blanket, so cute!

>
> Fatty did not intend to make any noise.

CROW: Then he stepped on the clown nose.

> The turkeys were
> asleep—so Jasper Jay had told him—

MIKE: They nestle in after having a good game of Five Hundred with the neighbors and a small dish of pistachio ice cream.

> and he expected to grab one of them
> so swiftly and silently that the other turkeys would never know it.

TOM: [ As Narrator ] I mean, they’d know eventually, when they went looking for their friend and found him gone, but … look, I’ll come in again.

>
> When Fatty Raccoon came to Farmer Green’s yard he had no trouble
> at all in finding the spreading oak.

CROW: Bonk!

MIKE: [ As Fatty ] ‘Found it!’

> He could see the turkeys plainly
> where they dozed on the bare branches.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘Huh … uh yeah, turkeys. In trees. Wow.’

MIKE: ‘Man, and I thought peacocks in trees were something.’

> And in less time than it takes
> to tell it

CROW: Oh, never mind, it’s done.

> Fatty had climbed the tree. On the very lowest limb there
> was a row of four plump turkeys, all sound asleep.

TOM: [ Snoring in ]

MIKE: [ Snoring out ]

CROW: Gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble.

> And Fatty reached
> out and seized the nearest one.

TOM: I seez him! He’s right dere!

> He seized the turkey by the neck,

CROW: Eek?

> so
> that the big bird could not call out.

TOM: Well, this just got less fun.

MIKE: Thanks, Arthur Scott Bailey, we needed a touch of ‘serial killer’ in this story.

> But Fatty was not quite quick
> enough.

CROW: Man, predation is so much less cool when it’s not just lions running at antelopes and stuff.

> Before he could pull her off her perch the turkey began to
> flap her wings,

MIKE: [ As Fatty ] ‘Wait, you’re reacting? You’re not allowed to react!’

> and she struck the turkey next her, so that THAT
> turkey woke up and began to gobble and flap HER wings. Then the next
> turkey on the limb woke up.

TOM: It’s a Rube Goldberg turkey roost!

CROW: It’s a 82-step process to butter a piece of toast.

> And the first thing that Fatty Raccoon knew,
> every one of the thirty-nine turkeys that were left was going
> gobble-gob-gob-gob-gobble!

TOM: He knocked down ten, that’s a strike, knocked down another ten, that’s another strike, knocked down another ten …

CROW: That’s a turkey.

MIKE: Oooh.

> And some of them went sailing off across
> the yard.

MIKE: Henry Cabot Henhouse!

CROW: That’s Super*chicken*!

> One of them lighted on top of the porch just outside Farmer
> Green’s window and it seemed to Fatty that that one made the greatest
> racket of all.

TOM: Ladies and gentlemen Ringing Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus brings you … the greatest racket of all!

MIKE: Eh, I’ve seen greater rackets.

>
> Farmer Green’s window flew up; and Farmer Green’s voice called
> "Spot! Spot!"

CROW: Stop bothering Lady Macbeth and chase that turkey thief!

>
> Fatty Raccoon did not wait to hear anything more. He dropped the
> turkey he had seized and slipped down to the ground.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘Uh … no hard feelings, turkey?’

MIKE: [ As Turkey ] ‘Seriously?’

> And then he ran
> toward the woods as fast as he could go.

CROW: Just one more pleasant night wrecked by having Fatty show up in it.

>
> Farmer Green’s dog Spot was barking now. And Fatty wanted to
> climb one of the trees by the roadside. But he remembered, the narrow
> escape he had had when the dog had treed him near the cornfield. So he
> never stopped until he reached the woods.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘Yes! That’s what I’m thinking! I totally didn’t miss the Turnpike!’

> Then he went nimbly up into
> the trees.

MIKE: So excited he climbs ten feet past the top of the tree.

> And while Spot was barking at the foot of the first tree he
> climbed, Fatty was travelling through the tree-tops toward home.

CROW: Ah, a good night’s work.

>
> He never said anything to his mother about Farmer Green’s
> turkeys.

MIKE: His mom gets home saying she was going to grab a turkey but some fool went and unsettled them all.

CROW: Unsettlegate.

> But the next time he saw Jasper Jay Fatty told him exactly
> what he thought of him.

TOM: Hey, this heist went wrong because of you, Fatty, don’t go blaming Jasper …

>
> "Ha! ha!" Jasper Jay only laughed.

CROW: Wait …

> And he did not seem at all
> surprised that Fatty had fallen into trouble.

MIKE: Hang on, yeah, did …

> To tell the truth, he
> was only sorry because Fatty had escaped.

TOM: I think … wait …

> Jasper Jay did not like
> Fatty Raccoon.

MIKE: It’s a third-act plot twist!

> And he had told him about the forty fat turkeys because he
> hoped that Fatty would get caught if he tried to steal one of them.

CROW: Jasper played Fatty! He played us all!

>
> "Wait till I catch you!" Fatty said.

TOM: You can’t hold on to a sleeping turkey, you think you’re grabbing a jay, Fatty?

>
> But Jasper Jay only laughed harder than ever when Fatty said
> that. He seemed to think it was a great joke. He was most annoying.

MIKE: I … *dang*.

CROW: Intrigue and subterfuge! I’m stunned.

TOM: Two characters in this chapter and now I don’t know which one to dislike more.

>
>


[ To be continued, someday ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Raccoon, Chapter XI


So I decided to go ahead and riff another chapter of Arthur Scott Bailey’s 1915 animal-adventure novel about how much he hates his own raccoon protagonist. Not to worry, I posted it to Usenet first, so that I have something new written this year to give rec.arts.tv.mst3k.misc.

There is a little change, though, as you saw in the title. The title The Tale of Fatty Coon has bothered me. Yes, I’m aware that anyone reading this would quickly realize this is literally about raccoons. But, you know? This is supposed to be lighthearted Mystery Science Theater 3000-style fun pointed at a harmless target. Why force anyone to have to ask, even briefly, what the intentions of Joseph Nebus are? And ultimately, I remembered: Eric Cartman chose to name his raccoon-themed superhero “The Coon”. Avoiding the choice Eric Cartman would make is a good first approximation to how to live.

And happily, Bailey’s novel is in the public domain (one reason I felt comfortable riffing it to start). It belongs to us all. I can make my own version, even if all that’s changed is the family name. I still have the past chapters up under the old name and the old tag. I’ll change that if and when I have the energy.

For those just joining us: Fatty Raccoon is a really really fat raccoon who’s out to eat the world. Farmer Green’s son Johnnie has tried but failed to catch Fatty as a pet. There is more, mostly the stories of things Fatty Coon has tried to eat, with surprisingly mixed success. But that will get you going. Now, please, enjoy.


> XI

CROW: The toll for being in this chapter is the excise tax.

MIKE: D… do …

>

TOM: Don’t encourage him, Mike.

MIKE: Do I *know* you, Crow?

> JASPER JAY TELLS SOME NEWS

TOM: Then the five-day weather and then Mister Food’s Test Kitchen.

>
> It was quite late in the fall,

CROW: Not so late as to have hit bottom.

> and the weather had grown very
> cold. Mrs. Raccoon and her family had not left their home for several
> days;

MIKE: Join the club.

> but on this day she thought it would be pleasant to go out in
> the sunshine and get a breath of fresh air and a bite to eat.

TOM: Maybe run down to the comics shop, see if her pulls are in.

>
> Fatty was the only one of her children that was not asleep;

CROW: If these are ‘Sleepy-Time Tales’ why aren’t we following the sleeping kids?

> and he complained of being very hungry. So Mrs. Raccoon decided to take
> him with her.

MIKE: So hard finding a babysitter this time of year.

>
> The hunting was not very good. There were no birds’ eggs at
> all to be found in the trees.

TOM: [ As Fatty ]*Technically* eggs would be found in the *nests* in the trees.”

MIKE: Great, he’s becoming a “well, actually” raccoon.

> The river and the brook and the creek
> were all frozen over, so Fatty and his mother could not catch any
> fish.

CROW: Fish gathering underneath, sticking their tongues out at the raccoons.

> And as for corn

MIKE: It’s that “excise” joke Crow brought.

CROW: Hey!

> —Farmer Green had long ago gathered the last
> ear of it. Fatty wished that it was summertime.

CROW: o/` Summertime’s nice with a place to go, bedtime, overtime, halftime too … o/`

> But it only made him
> hungrier than ever,

TOM: How?

> to think of all the good things to eat that summer
> brings. He was feeling very unhappy when his mother said to him
> sharply—

MIKE: [ As Fatty ] “Cheddar! I mean, what?”

>
> "Run up this tree! Hurry, now! Don’t ask any questions."

CROW: [ As Mrs Raccoon ] “Wait, first put on these clown shoes and don’t let this businessman’s valise out of your grip! But no questions!”

TOM: [ As Fatty ] “Whuh — huh — ”

CROW: [ As Mrs Raccoon ] “And only answer people who speak to you in Ubby-Dubby!”

TOM: Pig Raccoon …

>
> Now, Fatty did not always mind his mother as quickly as he
> might have.

MIKE: Why, I’ve never minded Mrs Raccoon at all. She’s always been a wonderful companion and magnificent storyteller.

CROW: A real raccoonteur?

MIKE: Yeah, I was leaving that for people to work out on their own.

> But this time he saw that she had stopped and was sniffing
> the air as if there was something about it she did not like.
>
> That was enough for Fatty. He scrambled up the nearest tree.

TOM: That’s a shrub!

CROW: Thud! … OK, well, the second-nearest tree then!

> For he knew that his mother had discovered danger of some sort.

MIKE: Too late Mrs Raccoon realized the danger was raccoon-eating trees!

>
> Mrs. Raccoon followed close behind Fatty. And they had no sooner
> hidden in the branches than Fatty saw what it was that his mother had
> smelled.

CROW: Tim Horton’s doughnuts?

>
> It was Johnnie Green!

TOM: Tell us what they’ve won, Johnnie Green!

> He passed right underneath the tree
> where they were perched. And as Mrs. Raccoon peeped down at him she

MIKE: ‘Peeped’?

TOM: [ As Mrs Raccoon ] ‘If I hear one more peep out of me I’m turning myself around and going home!’

> shuddered and shivered and shook so hard that Fatty couldn’t help
> noticing it.

MIKE: Mrs Raccoon’s powering up!

>
> "What’s the matter?" he asked, as soon as Johnnie Green was
> out of sight.

CROW: Oh, Johnnie’s an ex. Messy breakup.

>
> "His cap!" Mrs. Raccoon exclaimed.

CROW: That propeller can’t be fast enough to lift off!

> "He is wearing a raccoon-skin
> cap!" Now do you wonder that she was upset?

TOM: Oh.

MIKE: Yeah, Mom’s being fair there.

> "Don’t ever go near Farmer
> Green’s house," she warned Fatty. "You don’t want to be made into a
> cap, or a pair of gloves, or a coat, or anything like that, do you?"

CROW: No, I want it to be by my free choice!

>
> "No, indeed, Mother!" Fatty was quite sure that such an
> adventure wouldn’t please him at all.

TOM: Now, being turned into a beer can cozy? Don’t knock *that* until you’ve tried it.

> And he told himself right then
> and there that he would never go anywhere near Farmer Green’s house.

MIKE: [ As Mrs Raccoon ] ‘Now let’s explore this tree you found for us!’

TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘It’s, uh, Farmer Green’s chimney … … … Sorry?’

> We shall see how well Fatty remembered.

CROW: Hey, foreshadowing!

>
> That very afternoon Fatty Raccoon heard some very pleasant news.
> It was Jasper Jay who told him.

TOM: Oh yeah! The *chapter*!

>
> Jasper Jay was a very noisy blue jay who lived in the
> neighborhood.

CROW: [ As Jasper ] ‘You know unlike other blue things I just *look* blue!’

TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘Yes, all things that look blue look blue, that’s how looking blue *works*.’

> He did not go south with most of the other birds when
> the cold weather came.

MIKE: He migrated east. It started one year as a mistake he was too stubborn to admit.

> He liked the winter and he was forever tearing
> about the woods, squalling and scolding at everybody. He was a very
> noisy fellow.

TOM: Man, Arthur Scott Bailey really makes nature sound like it’s full of jerks.

>
> Well! when Fatty and his mother had reached home after their
> hunt, Fatty stayed out of doors.

MIKE: What did they hunt?

TOM: Oh, they went to the thrift scores. Scored this ceramic coaster with the Harvey Wallbanger cartoon guy on it.

> He climbed to the top of a tall pine
> tree nearby and stretched himself along a limb, to enjoy the sunshine,
> which felt very good upon his broad back.

TOM: Boy, remember being young enough you could just spend the evening flopped out on a pine tree?

> It was there that Jasper Jay
> found him and told him the pleasant news.

CROW: “Jules Rivera’s doing an AMA? We can ask her why she hates Mark Trail and wants it destroyed? Let’s go!”

> And Fatty was very glad to
> hear the news, because he was still hungry.
>

> This is what Jasper Jay told Fatty: he told him that Farmer
> Green had as many as forty fat turkeys,

TOM: Fatty wondering if he’s being insulted here.

> which roosted every night in a
> spreading oak in Farmer Green’s front yard.

CROW: Turkeys … … roost … in trees?

MIKE: I guess?

CROW: I feel weird.

>
> "If I liked turkeys I would certainly go down there some night
> and get one," said Jasper Jay.
>
>

MIKE: Wait, that’s the whole chapter?

TOM: “Jasper Jay Tells Some News, after 800 words about other stuff.”


[ To be continued, sometime ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Coon, Chapter X


Ah, thought I might be done with Arthur Scott Bailey’s forgotten 1915 novel, did you? Fair enough. But I did take some time last month to riff the tenth chapter of this little story, and posted it to Usenet for the good old times. And now? Let me share it here. I don’t promise to go riffing the remaining ten chapters of the book, but, we’ll see what I do get to in time.

Some recaps for those who’ve joined late.. Fatty, our nominal hero, is a raccoon. He wants to eat. His author is torn between punishing him for this and letting him get away with it. He tried to eat goshawk eggs, and got attacked by a goshawk. He’s tried to eat turtle eggs, and got away with it. He tried to eat squirrels. He got scared by a “tramp raccoon”. He tried to eat a fishing lure, to the delight of Farmer Green. And he has eaten green corn, successfully. Farmer Green’s son tried to catch him, unsuccessfully. And then tried again, chopping down a tree. But this failed, thanks to the presence of other trees. Who tries to catch Fatty Coon this week? The answer might just surprise you!

> X
>
> FATTY RACCOON AND THE MONSTER

CROW: My favorite bubblegum psychedelic band!

>
> One night Fatty Raccoon was strolling along the road that wound
> through the valley.

MIKE: His evening constitutional is when Fatty has all his best songwriting ideas.

> He was in no hurry, for he had just left Farmer
> Green’s apple orchard, where he had bolted all the apples he could
> possibly eat.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] Oh, narrator, you sweet innocent child.

CROW: He means the farm ran out of apples.

> The night was dark and though it was not very late, all
> the country people seemed to be in bed.

MIKE: [ As country person ] ‘Yup! See me in bed? That’s me!’

CROW: ‘Me too! No need to come check!’

> There were no farmers driving
> along the road.

TOM: They’d already harvested this year’s crop of potholes.

> Fatty had it all to himself. And so he walked slowly
> homewards. It was then that the terrible monster almost caught him.

CROW: Well, that’ll happen.

>
> This is how it all happened.

MIKE: If you believe the *official* account.

> There was a br-br-br-r-r-r in the
> air. Fatty really should have heard it long before he did.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] OK, so it’s a sound, then?

MIKE: [ As Narrator ] Of course it’s a sound! What else could it be?

TOM: [ As Fatty ] I thought it was maybe a chill in the air? Like you were being metaphorical?

MIKE: [ As Narrator ] Why would I start being metaphorical on you?

TOM: [ As Fatty ] You’re the narrator! You can do what you want.

> But he had
> eaten so many apples that he had begun to feel sleepy;

CROW: Oh no, Snow White!

> and his ears
> were not so sharp as they should have been. And when at last Fatty
> heard that br- r-r-r it was quite loud. He was startled.

TOM: But you never expect a pack of feral leaf blowers.

> And he
> stopped right in the middle of the road to listen. Fatty had never
> heard such a sound before.

CROW: The heavenly host calling to give Fatty the good news of oleomargarine.

>
> The strange animal was on him before he knew it. Its glaring
> eyes blinded him.

TOM: [ As a nervous Fatty ] ‘Sc … sc … science?’

> And if it had not screamed at him Fatty would never
> have escaped. It was the terrible screech of the monster which finally
> made Fatty jump It was a frightful cry — like six wildcats all wailing
> together.

MIKE: It’s terrifying but it’s also kinda metal.

> And Fatty leaped to one side of the road just before the
> monster reached him.

CROW: It’s Johnny Appleseed and he’s MAD!

>
> The great creature went past Fatty like the wind and tore on
> up the hill. He seemed to be running so fast that he could not stop.

MIKE: Is this *our* Fatty?

> Fatty could hear him panting as he climbed the sharp rise of the road.

MIKE: Oh.

>
> Fatty Raccoon hurried away. He wanted to get home before the
> monster could stop and come back to look for him.

TOM: Weird feeling like Fatty’s doing the right thing here.

>
> When Fatty told his mother about his narrow escape Mrs. Raccoon
> became much excited. She felt sure that Fatty was not mistaken, for
> had she not heard that strange cry herself?

CROW: Mrs Raccoon thinking back of monsters who ran past her in her youth …

>
> There it was again! Woo-ooo-ooo-oo-o! It began low, rose to a
> shriek, and then died away again.

MIKE: Is it the Creeping Terror?

>
> Mrs. Raccoon and Fatty climbed to the very top of their old
> poplar and gazed down the valley.

TOM: That tree’s only pop’lar in its own clique.

>
> "Look, Mother!" Fatty cried. "He’s stopped at Farmer Green’s!

CROW: I wonder what Farmer Green’s name is in the raccoon tongue.

MIKE: You mean like, does it translate to green as the color or green as in inexperienced?

CROW: Right, that sort of thing.

> You can see his eyes from here!"

MIKE: [ Waving eagerly ] Howdy, eyes!

>
> Mrs. Raccoon looked. Sure enough! It was just as Fatty said. And
> that horrid call echoed across the valley once more.

TOM: [ As Mrs Raccoon ] Looky there! A gen-u-ine 1915 Dort Motor Company Rampaging Monster! Don’t hardly see them anymore.

>
> Farmer Green stuck his head out of his chamber-window, to see
> what the man in the automobile wanted.

CROW: [ As Farmer Green ] A travelling salesman joke? I’m sorry, I don’t know any.

>
> "Where’s the nearest village, please?" the stranger asked.

MIKE: [ As Mrs Green ] This isn’t the village?

> And
> after Farmer Green had told him the man drove his car on again.

MIKE: [ As Mrs Green ] No, take me with you!

>
> From their tree-top Fatty and his mother watched the monster
> dash down the valley.

TOM: On Dasher! On Dancer!

> They knew he had gone, because they could see
> the gleam of those awful eyes.

MIKE: o/“ There ain’t no way to hide those awful eyes … o/“

>
> "Do you suppose he ate up Farmer Green and his family?" Fatty
> asked in a frightened voice.

CROW: Fatty, there are ways to interact with people besides eating them.

MIKE: Deaf ears, Crow.

>
> "I hope so," she said. "Then perhaps there’ll be no more traps
> in the woods."

TOM: But without traps how are we going to keep the woods’s tree population in control?

>
> "But who would plant the corn?" Fatty asked.

CROW: The … the Little Red Hen?

>
> Mrs. Raccoon did not appear to hear his question.

TOM: Serious moment of growing-up as Fatty learns his mother’s fallible.

>
>

[ To be continued, someday, I suppose. ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Coon, Chapter IX


And now for the ninth chapter of Arthur Scott Bailey’s 1915 children’s novel The Tale of Fatty Coon done over as a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction. This is as far as I got in the MiSTing I posted to Usenet for 2019 and I hope you enjoy reading it. Next week? … Well, let’s just see what I do.

Let me recap the past. Fatty is a raccoon who eats a lot. Or tires to eat a lot. He has tried to eat goshawk eggs, to get attacked by a goshawk. He’s tried to eat turtle eggs, and got away with it. He’s tried to eat squirrels, and been scared off by a “tramp raccoon”. He’s tried to eat a fishing lure, which Farmer Green laughed at. And he’s eaten green corn, so he could laugh at Farmer Green. Farmer Green’s son tried to catch him, and failed. And then tried again, by chopping down a tree Fatty was in.

For people who don’t need fat jokes in their recreational reading: yeah, you’re right. There are a couple in this and you should skip on to another thing that you’ll enjoy instead.

The first riff is a legitimate joke because I posted chapters six through nine I posted as one long file, so there was no break in the action after last chapter’s cliffhanger.

>

MIKE: Tune in tomorrow for the next exciting installment of …

>
> IX

MIKE: Oh, we’re just continuing right now, then.

>
> JOHNNIE GREEN LOSES HIS PET

TOM: Oh.

CROW: Short chapter.

>
> Now, Farmer Green and his hired man had not chopped long
> before they stopped to breathe.

TOM: Now, not telling you your business, but if you breathed *while* chopping you’d be done in like half the time.

> They had not chopped long—but oh! what
> great, yawning holes they had made in the big chestnut!

MIKE: Frisky Squirrel pops out to ask why the heck you’re dragging *him* into *your* Drama.

> From the limb
> where he clung Fatty Coon looked down. The tree no longer shook. And
> Fatty felt better at once.

TOM: Well, once the wobbling dies down anyway.

> You see, he thought that the men would go
> away, just as Johnnie had gone away the night before. But they had no
> such idea at all.

CROW: [ As Fatty ] ‘A-HEM! I SAID, you’re GOING AWAY, just as Johnnie had gone away the night before!’

>
> "Which way are you going to fell her?" the hired man asked. He
> said HER, meaning the TREE, of course.

MIKE: The more people use ‘fell’ as a verb the less I believe it is one.

>
> "That way!" said Farmer Green, pointing toward the woods.

TOM: Pointing down.

MIKE: [ As Johnnie ] ‘Oooooooohhhhh.’

> "We’ll have to drop her that way, or she’ll fall right across the
> road, and of course THAT would never do."

CROW: It’d be a fun little surprise for rush hour, though.

>
> "But will she clear the trees on the edge of the woods?" The
> hired man appeared somewhat doubtful.
>
> "Oh, to be sure—to be sure!" answered Farmer Green.

MIKE: [ As the hired hand ] ‘So you’re sure?’

TOM: [ As Farmer Green ] ‘Eh, we give it a try, we see what happens.’

>
> And with that they set to work again. But this time they both
> chopped on the same side of the tree—the side toward the woods.

CROW: [ As Fatty ] ‘You guys do know I’m in the other tree, right?’

TOM, MIKE: D’oh!

>
> Now, if Fatty Coon was frightened before, you will believe
> that he was still more frightened when the big chestnut tree began to
> sag.

MIKE: [ As Fatty ] ‘No, no, trees sagging is pretty normal, thanks.’

> Yes! it began to lean toward the woods. Slowly, slowly it tipped.

TOM: Step by step! Inch by inch!

> And Fatty was scared half out of his mind. He climbed to the very top
> of the tree, because he wanted to get just as far away from those men
> as he could. And there he waited.

CROW: [ As Fatty ] ‘If I wait long enough the tree will grow taller and I’ll be farther away!’

> There was nothing else he could do.
> Yes! he waited until that awful moment should come when the tree would
> go crashing down upon the ground. What was going to happen to him
> then? Fatty wondered.

TOM: What was going to happen to the *ground*?

> And while he was wondering there sounded all at
> once a great snapping and splitting.

MIKE: [ As Fatty ] ‘No, no, it’s just my pants … wait … I don’t wear pants! AAAAAUGH!’

> And Fatty felt the tree falling,
> falling. He could hear Johnnie Green shouting. And he shut his eyes
> and held fast to his branch. Then came the crash.

TOM: o/` Leader of the pack! o/`

>
> When Fatty Coon opened his eyes he expected to see Johnnie
> Green all ready to seize him. But to his great surprise he was still
> far above the ground. You see, Farmer Green had been mistaken.

CROW: It turns out Fatty was a sparrow all along!

> Either
> the big chestnut tree was taller than he had guessed, or the woods
> were nearer than he had thought.

MIKE: [ Hired hand ] ‘Maybe chopped trees don’t fall, you ever think of that, Mr Green?’

TOM: [ Farmer Green ] ‘Maybe we need to update the BIOS?’

> For instead of dropping upon the
> ground, Fatty’s tree had fallen right against another tree on the edge
> of the woods.

CROW: [ As Other Tree ] ‘Let me bear you in your troubles as you bore me in mine, my brother!’

> And there it lay, half-tipped over, with its branches
> caught fast in the branches of that other tree.

TOM: [ As Fatty’s Tree ] ‘My faithful friend! Let your name be recalled as long as the world-forest thrives!’

>
> It was no wonder that Johnnie Green shouted.

CROW: [ As Johnny ] ‘Hey! There’s no fulcrums in raccoon-catching!’

> And he shouted
> still more loudly when he saw Fatty scramble out of the big chestnut
> and into the other tree,

TOM: [ As Fatty’s Tree, burden relieved ] ‘Aaahhhhh.’

CROW: [ As Other Tree, burdened ] ‘Oooof!’

> and out of that tree and into another,

CROW: [ As Other Tree, burden relieved ] ‘Aaahhhhh.’

MIKE: [ As Another Tree, burdened ] ‘Oooof!’

> and
> then out of THAT tree.

MIKE: [ As Another Tree, burden relieved ] ‘Aaahhhhh.’

CROW: [ As Next Tree, burdened ] ‘Oooof!’

> Fatty was going straight into the woods.

CROW: [ As Next Tree, burden relieved ] ‘Aaahhhhh.’

TOM: [ As Next-after Tree, burdened ] ‘Oooof!’

>
> It was no wonder that Johnnie Green shouted. For he had lost
> his pet coon. He had lost him before he ever had him. And he was sadly
> disappointed.

MIKE: Ferdinand Frog and Dickie Deer Mouse look at this scene and hide out of Johnnie’s sight.

>
> But Fatty Coon was not disappointed, for he had not wanted to
> be a pet at all.

CROW: Until he hears about how pets get fed every day.

MIKE: Um, it’s 1915. They hadn’t discovered taking care of pets back then.

> And he was very glad—you may be sure—to get safely
> home once more.

TOM: I *may* be sure, but I’m not perfectly convinced.

>
>

CROW: That’s enough. You think …

MIKE: Yeah. Let’s blow this popsicle stand, yeah.

[ ALL file out ]


 		 \  |  /	 
		  \ | /	 
		   \|/		 
		 ---O---	 
		   /|\		 
		  / | \	 
		 /  |  \

Mystery Science Theater 3000 and its characters and settings and concept are the property of Satellite of Love, LLC. I’m just playing with their toys until any of them notices. _The Tale of Fatty Coon_ was written by Arthur Scott Bailey and published in 1915, so it’s the common property of all humanity to enjoy and develop and use as any and all of us see fit.

Keep Usenet circulating, says the guy who’s posted as recently as August to it.

> "I’d like to," said Fatty, with a sigh. "I’d like to eat all
> the corn in the world."

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Coon, Chapter VIII


Here’s the eighth chapter of Arthur Scott Bailey’s 1915 children’s novel The Tale of Fatty Coon done over as a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction. What’s happened so far?

Well, Fatty is a raccoon who eats a lot. Or tires to eat a lot. He has tried to eat goshawk eggs, to get attacked by a goshawk. He’s tried to eat turtle eggs, and got away with it. He’s tried to eat squirrels, and been scared off by a “tramp raccoon”. He’s tried to eat a fishing lure, which got Farmer Green laughing at him. And he’s eaten green corn, and would kind of like to never do anything else again. And then, in a change of pace, he got chased by Farmer Green’s son, who thought he wanted a pet raccoon. Fatty escaped, though.

For people who don’t need fat jokes in their recreational reading: yeah, you’re right. There are a couple in this and you should skip on to another thing that you’ll enjoy instead.


>
>
> VIII

MIKE: Chapter VI, part II.

>
> A TERRIBLE FRIGHT

CROW: o/` Let’s give thanks to the Lord above … o/`

>
> It was the very next night after old dog Spot had treed Fatty
> Coon in the big oak near the cornfield. They had finished their
> evening meal at Farmer Green’s house. The cows were milked, the horses
> had been fed, the chickens had all gone to roost.

CROW: Wh … wait, chickens actually do that? Like, for real?

MIKE: [ Shrugs ]

> And Farmer Green
> looked up at the moon, rising from behind Blue Mountain.
>
> "We’ll go coon-hunting again to-night," he said to Johnnie

MIKE: Uhm.

> and
> the hired man. "The corn has brought the coons up from the swamp.

TOM: Yeah, thanks, this story was feeling real comfortable up to now.

> We’ll start as soon as it grows a little darker."
>
> Well—after a while they set out for the cornfield. And sure
> enough! old Spot soon began to bark.

CROW: [ As Fatty ] Snitch.

>
> "He’s treed!" said Farmer Green, pretty soon. And they all
> hurried over to the edge of the woods,

TOM: [ As Farmer Green ] ‘Where’s that forest?’

> where Spot had chased a coon up
> into a tall chestnut tree. In the moonlight they could see the coon
> quite plainly. "Another little feller!" cried Farmer Green.

CROW: Little?

MIKE: Most improbable thing Fatty’s ever been called.

> "I
> declare, all the coons that come to the cornfield seem to be young
> ones. This one’s no bigger than the one we saw last night."

TOM: [ As Fatty ] I’m still big. It’s the *trees* that got small.

>
> Now, although Farmer Green never guessed it, it was Fatty Coon
> who was up there in the tall chestnut.

CROW: It could’ve been *any* raccoon heavy enough the tree bends over.

TOM: And sinks three feet into the ground.

> He had run almost to the woods
> this time, before he had to take to a tree.

MIKE: He’d have got to the woods if he hadn’t got to the tree?

TOM: I … I was joking before.

> In fact, if Spot hadn’t
> been quite so close to him Fatty could have reached the woods, and
> then he would have just jumped from one tree to another.

MIKE: Jumped, rolled by Oompa-Loompas, whatever.

> But there
> were no trees near enough the big chestnut for that. Fatty had to stay
> right there and wait for those men to pass on. He wasn’t afraid.

CROW: [ Fatty ] ‘I’M NOT?!’

> He
> felt perfectly safe in his big tree. And he only smiled when Johnnie
> Green said to his father—
>
> "I wish I had that young coon. He’d make a fine pet."

MIKE: On what grounds do you make that claim?

>
> "A pet!" exclaimed Farmer Green. "You remember that pet fox
> you had, that stole my chickens?"

CROW: Yeah, just letting you know if we’re reading The Tale of Tommy Fox I’m outta here.

>
> "Oh, I’d be careful," Johnnie promised. "Besides, don’t you
> think we ought to catch him, so he won’t eat any more corn?"

TOM: Pets, famously, eat no food.

>
> Farmer Green smiled. He had been a boy himself, once upon a
> time,

CROW: In the Tale of Ferdinand Farmer.

> and he had not forgotten the pet coon that he had owned when he
> was just about Johnnie’s age.

MIKE: The raccoon says he owned a pet boy when he was about Fatty’s age.

>
> "All right!" he said at last. "I’ll give you one more chance,
> Johnnie.

CROW: Now recant everything bad you ever said about springs!

> But you’ll have to see that this young coon doesn’t kill any
> of my poultry."

TOM: Maybe train Fatty to do some light filing and typing …

>
> Johnnie promised that nothing of the sort should happen. And
> then his father and the hired man picked up their axes;

MIKE: His mom sets up her drum kit …

> and standing
> on opposite sides of the tall chestnut tree, they began to chop.

CROW: [ Farmer ] Ow!

TOM: [ Hired Hand, immediately after CROW finishes ] Ow!

CROW: [ Farmer, immediately after TOM finishes ] Ow!

TOM: [ Hired Hand, immediately after CROW finishes ] Ow!

>
> How the chips did fly! At the very first blow Fatty knew that

CROW: [ Farmer, immediately after TOM finishes ] Ow!

TOM: [ Hired Hand, immediately after CROW finishes ] Ow!

> this was an entirely different sort of chopping from that which

CROW: [ Farmer, immediately after TOM finishes ] Ow!

TOM: [ Hired Hand, immediately after CROW finishes ] Ow!

> Johnnie had attempted the night before. The great tree shook as if it

CROW: [ Farmer, immediately after TOM finishes ] Ow!

TOM: [ Hired Hand, immediately after CROW finishes ] Ow!

> knew that it would soon come crashing down upon the ground.

CROW: [ Farmer, immediately after TOM finishes ] Ow?

>
> And as for Fatty Coon, he could not see but that he must fall
> when the tree did.

TOM: It’s only fair.

> He, too, shivered and shook. And he wrapped himself
> all the way around a limb and hung on as tight as ever he could.

MIKE: Oh no!

TOM: Oh goodness!

CROW: Whatever’s going to happen?

>

MIKE: Tune in tomorrow for the next exciting installment of …

[ And it’ll pick up next week. Promise. ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Coon, Chapter VII


I hope you’re ready for a bit more of my big Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction. Here’s the seventh chapter of Arthur Scott Bailey’s 1915 children’s novel The Tale of Fatty Coon with jokes added in. And who is Fatty Coon?

Well, Fatty is a raccoon who eats a lot. Or tires to eat a lot. He has tried to eat goshawk eggs, to get attacked by a goshawk. He’s tried to eat turtle eggs, and got away with it. He’s tried to eat squirrels, and been scared off by a “tramp raccoon”. He’s tried to eat a fishing lure, which got Farmer Green laughing at him. And he’s eaten green corn, and would kind of like to never do anything else again. What’s this week’s eating extravaganza?

… Before that, a bit of a content warning. There’s a bunch of jokes here about Fatty’s weight and his over-eating. He hasn’t got a lot of properties otherwise. But, again, if you’re not up for fat jokes in your recreational reading, then, yeah, skip this. We’ll catch up on some better material.


>
>
> VII

TOM: Sequel to the classic miniseries V.

>
> JOHNNIE GREEN IS DISAPPOINTED
>
> It made Fatty Coon feel sad, just to think that there was that
> field full of corn, and that he could never eat all of it.

CROW: Yeah, well, no matter how long you grow your hair you can never have all the hair, ever think of that?

> But Fatty
> made up his mind that he would do the best he could. He would visit
> the cornfield every night and feast on those sweet, tender kernels.

MIKE: You know, this is hard enough without the text making the jokes we want to make about Fatty here.

>
> The very next night Fatty set out toward Farmer Green’s. It
> was hardly dark. But Fatty could not wait any longer.

CROW: So he stood up and eclipsed the sun.

> He could not
> even wait for his mother and his sisters and his brother. He hurried
> away alone. And when he came in sight of the cornfield he felt better.

TOM: He finally reached the downhill part.

> He had been the least bit afraid that the corn might be gone. He
> thought that maybe Farmer Green had picked it, or that some of the
> forest people had eaten it all.

MIKE: ‘The forest people’? The heck?

> But there it was—a forest of corn,

TOM: A jungle of maize.

CROW: A glacial moraine of quinoa.

> waving and rustling in the moonlight as the breeze touched it. Fatty
> felt very happy as he slipped through the rail-fence.

MIKE: [ Snickering ] How?

>
> I wouldn’t dare say how many ears of corn Fatty ate that
> night.

TOM: Numbers don’t run that high.

> And he would have eaten more, too, if it hadn’t been for just
> one thing. A dog barked. And that spoiled Fatty’s fun.

MIKE: Now he had to post something snarky about the dog on Twitter.

> For the dog was
> altogether too near for Fatty to feel safe. He even dropped the ear of
> corn he was gnawing and hurried toward the woods.

CROW:*Dropped* the ear of corn’? Not buying it.

>
> It was lucky for Fatty that he started when he did.

TOM: ‘Hey, look, a raccoon!’

> For that dog was close behind him in no time. There was only one thing to do:
> Fatty knew that he must climb a tree at once. So he made for the
> nearest tree in sight—a big, spreading oak, which stood all alone just
> beyond the fence.

MIKE: [ As the tree ] ‘I’m sure my friends will be back for me any day now.’

> And as Fatty crouched on a limb he felt safe enough,
> though the dog barked and whined, and leaped against the tree, and
> made a great fuss.

TOM: [ The dog, as Margaret Dumont ] ‘Oh, Mister Firefly!’

>
> Fatty looked down at the dog and scolded a little. He was not
> afraid.

CROW: [ Fatty, to narrator ] ‘I’m not?!’

> But it made him cross to be driven out of the cornfield. And
> he wished the dog would go away.

CROW: [ Fatty, as Groucho ] ‘Why can’t I dance with the cows until you come home?’

> But the dog—it was Farmer Green’s
> Spot—the dog had no idea of leaving.

MIKE: [ As Groucho ] ‘Rush to Freedonia! One raccoon is trapped in a tree! Send help at once!’

TOM: ‘If you can’t send help send two more trees.’

> He stayed right there and barked
> so loudly that it was not long before Farmer Green and his hired man
> came in sight. And with them was Johnnie Green and a little, young dog
> that had just been given to him.

MIKE: Ooh, puppers!

CROW: Who’s a good boy? Is it you?

>
> When Farmer Green saw Fatty he seemed disappointed.

TOM: ‘Aw, man, Fatty Coon? Why couldn’t we be in The Tale of Frisky Squirrel instead?’

> "He’s too
> young to bother with," he said. "His skin’s not worth much.

CROW: Well, yeah, but you multiply that by the size and …

> We’ll go
> ‘long and see what we can find."
>
> But Johnnie Green stayed behind. He wanted that young coon.

TOM: [ As Fatty ] ‘You only want me because you don’t know me!’

> And he intended to have him, too. Leaving the young dog to watch Fatty
> Coon,

CROW: [ Dog, as Margaret Dumont ] ‘Mister Firefly! Are you still here?’

MIKE: [ Fatty, as Groucho ] ‘No, no, I just went up this tree to leaf.’

> Johnnie went back to the farmhouse. After a while he appeared
> again with an axe over his shoulder. And when he began to chop away at
> the big oak, Fatty Coon felt very uneasy.

TOM: You can’t cut this down for your Christmas tree! It’s not tagged.

> Whenever Johnnie drove his
> axe into the tree, both the tree and Fatty shivered together.

CROW: Fatty’s going to be wobbling for *days* after this.

> And
> Fatty began to wish he had stayed away from the cornfield. But not for
> long, because Johnnie Green soon gave up the idea of chopping down the
> big oak.

MIKE: But his plan is foolproof, unless raccoons can jump out of trees!

> The wood was so hard to cut, and the tree was so big, that
> Johnnie had not chopped long before he saw that it would take him all
> night to cut through it. He looked up longingly at Fatty Coon.

TOM: o/` Sometimes, when we touch … the honesty’s too much … o/`

> And
> Johnnie started to climb the tree himself. But the higher he climbed,
> the higher Fatty climbed. And Johnnie knew that he could never catch
> that plump young coon in that way.

MIKE: [ As Johnnie ] ‘I don’t get it, I saw the Kratt Brothers try this.’

TOM: Did they catch the raccoon?

MIKE: ‘No, but they did *this*.’

>
> At last Johnnie Green started off, calling his dog after him.
> And then Fatty Coon came down. But he did not go back to the
> cornfield. He decided that he had had adventures enough for one night.

CROW: ‘On to Farmer Green’s workshed!’

> But Fatty had learned something—at least he thought he had. For he
> made up his mind that once he climbed a tree, no man could reach him.
> TREES COULD NOT BE CHOPPED DOWN!

TOM: Fatty’s become a sawing denier?

CROW: ‘But Fatty, what about — ‘

MIKE: ‘STUMPS ARE A NATURAL FLUCTUATION!’

> That was what Fatty believed. Perhaps
> you will know, later, whether Fatty ever found out that he was
> mistaken.

CROW: ‘But about this pile of logs?’

MIKE: ‘IT’S A CONSPIRACY BY BIG TIMBER!’

TOM: That’s … true.

[ Does he ever find out? We’ll see in future weeks or you can just read the book on your own if you have a free hour. ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Coon, Chapter VI


And now more of Arthur Scott Bailey’s 1915 children’s novel The Tale of Fatty Coon. This is the sixth chapter. I’d written this, and through to chapter nine, to post as Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction last year. I didn’t have the time or energy then to surround it with host sketches introducing and resolving the piece. My excuse was that if I ever completed the book I’d put all the chapters together in a big project and have several sketches throughout, the way a real episode might. I’d posted this to Usenet several years after the first five-chapter block which is why there’s some refreshers about the story in text.

Some content to warn about. One is that there’s a riff this chapter that’s rather more risque than you’d think I could make. I had to go by what the text offered. And, as the premise behind Fatty Coon is that he’s really fat and eats a lot, there’s fat jokes. If you don’t need that in your reading for fun, you’re right. We’ll catch up later instead.


Previously, we met Fatty Coon, who combines being fat with being a raccoon. He has tried to eat goshawk eggs, and failed. He’s tried to eat turtle eggs, and succeeded. He’s tried to eat a family of squirrels and failed, instead getting scared by a “tramp raccoon”. And he’s tried to eat a fishing lure, which defies characterization as “success” or “failure”. What will he try to eat this time? Just wait and see.


[ ALL file in to the theatre. ]

> SLEEPY-TIME TALES

TOM: Oh yeah, these guys.

> THE TALE OF FATTY COON

CROW: So what exactly happened the first five chapters of this thing?

> BY ARTHUR SCOTT BAILEY

MIKE: I remember it. Fatty Coon is a raccoon who eats a lot, and his author hates him. … There, you’re caught up.

>
> VI

TOM: MURIEL!

CROW: THELMA!

>
> FATTY AND THE GREEN CORN

MIKE: That’s my favorite psychedelic pop album.

Continue reading “MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Coon, Chapter VI”

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Coon, Chapter V


This is chapter V of my Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction, based on Arthur Scott Bailey’s 1915 children’s novel The Tale of Fatty Coon. And this was the first block of the book that I’d ever written up as a MiSTing. So it has a closing sketch and “credits” and a post-credits stinger.

I don’t intend this to end my MiSTing post. I have several more chapters MiSTed, and never before published on WordPress. So next week I’ll continue with those. I hope to get at least to Chapter 10, of the 20 in the book, before going back to normal writing. We’ll see how far I do get.


Previously, we met Fatty Coon, who’s just what you’d think. He’s been beaten up by a goshawk, but bounced back to eat a turtle’s clutch of eggs, and then attempt to eat a family of squirrels only to be shamed by a “tramp raccoon”. I don’t know what makes a “tramp raccoon” either.


>
>
> V

TOM: It was [ Fatty Coon’s well-punishment ].

CROW: Maybe the real punishment was having to be Fatty Coon all along.

>
> FATTY COON GOES FISHING

MIKE: A very special episode.

>
> One day Fatty Coon was strolling along the brook which flowed
> not far from his home.

CROW: Swift Creek?

TOM: Foster Brook.

MIKE: That’s … actually too new a reference for this.

> He stopped now and then, to crouch close to the
> water’s edge, in the hope of catching a fish.

CROW: ‘What if a fish was a goshawk egg pie?’

> And one time, when he
> lay quite still among the rocks, at the side of a deep pool, with his
> eyes searching the clear water, Fatty Coon suddenly saw something
> bright, all yellow and red, that lighted on the water right before
> him. It was a bug, or a huge fly.

MIKE: Or a tiny flying saucer.

TOM: Fatty eats the aliens’ peaceful expedition before they get started.

> And Fatty was very fond of bugs—to
> eat, you know.

ALL: We *know*.

CROW: As opposed to the ones he trains for pets.

> So he lost no time. The bright thing had scarcely
> settled on the water when Fatty reached out and seized it.

CROW: But he already seezed it! It was right in front of his eyes!

> He put it
> into his mouth, when the strangest thing happened. Fatty felt himself
> pulled right over into the water.

MIKE: Finally he crosses the Chandrasekhar limit and collapses into a black hole.

>
> He was surprised, for he never knew a bug or a fly to be so
> strong as that. Something pricked his cheek and Fatty thought that the
> bright thing had stung him.

CROW: Then this family of nutrias comes up and slaps Fatty silly.

> He tried to take it out of his mouth, and
> he was surprised again. Whatever the thing was, it seemed to be stuck
> fast in his mouth.

TOM: He’s delighted by something wanting him to eat it for a change.

> And all the time Fatty was being dragged along
> through the water. He began to be frightened.

MIKE: Hungry and frightened: the Fatty Coon story.

> And for the first time
> he noticed that there was a slender line which stretched from his
> mouth straight across the pool. As he looked along the line Fatty saw
> a man at the other end of it—a man, standing on the other side of the
> brook!

CROW: ‘I don’t know how but I caught a human!’

TOM: ‘That’ll be eating for *hours*!’

> And he was pulling Fatty toward him as fast as he could.
>
> Do you wonder that Fatty Coon was frightened?

TOM: He didn’t have a license to catch men.

> He jumped
> back—as well as he could, in the water—and tried to swim away.

CROW: ‘Dive! Dive! Dive!’

> His
> mouth hurt; but he plunged and pulled just the same, and jerked his
> head and squirmed and wriggled and twisted.

MIKE: *Extremely* Chubby Checker!

> And just as Fatty had
> almost given up hope of getting free, the gay-colored bug, or fly, or
> whatever it was, flew out of his mouth and took the line with it.

CROW: I wonder if Fatty Coon will go on to learn nothing from this?


> At
> least, that was what Fatty Coon thought. And he swam quickly to the
> bank and scampered into the bushes.

MIKE: And ate his cover.

TOM: ‘Needs peanut butter!’

>
> Now, this was what really happened.

MIKE: Our story begins with the Algeciras Crisis of 1905.

> Farmer Green had come up
> the brook to catch trout. On the end of his fish-line he had tied a
> make-believe fly,

CROW: For the discerning fisher who doesn’t exist.

> with a hook hidden under its red and yellow wings.
> He had stolen along the brook very quietly, so that he wouldn’t
> frighten the fish.

TOM: He brought some presents in case he did, to reassure any scaredy-catfish.

> And he had made so little noise that Fatty Coon
> never heard him at all.

CROW: [ Fatty ] Hey, it’s hard to hear someone over the sound of my deep-fat fryer!

> Farmer Green had not seen Fatty, crouched as
> he was among the stones. And when Fatty reached out and grabbed the
> make-believe fly Farmer Green was even more surprised at what happened
> than Fatty himself.

TOM: Sammy Squirrel falls out of a tree, laughing.

MIKE: Fatty eats him.

> If the fish-hook hadn’t worked loose from Fatty’s
> mouth Farmer Green would have caught the queerest fish anybody ever
> caught, almost.

CROW: Well, there was that mermaid-cerberus this guy down in Belmar caught but that was something else.

>
> Something seemed to amuse Farmer Green, as he watched Fatty
> dive into the bushes; and he laughed loud and long.

TOM: See? Fatty Coon brings joy to the world, at last.

> But Fatty Coon
> didn’t laugh at all. His mouth was too sore;

MIKE: And full.

> and he was too
> frightened.

CROW: And awful.

> But he was very, very glad that the strange bug had flown
> away.

MIKE: And he learns the most important lesson of all, which is …

CROW: I dunno. Preferably food things.

TOM: Let’s blow this popsicle stand.

MIKE: Yeah, before Fatty eats it.

[ ALL exit the theater. ]

[ 1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 6… ]

[ SATELLITE OF LOVE. TOM SERVO, MIKE, and CROW at the desk. ]

MIKE: Well.

TOM: So.

CROW: Well *and* so.

MIKE: So in his defense —

[ TOM, CROW groan. ]

MIKE: OK, but name something Fatty did that a real raccoon —

CROW: Don’t care.

TOM: Look, we already know Nature sucks. That’s why we have indoors. And animal stories where we like the animals.

CROW: And that is *all* the reminder of the cruel nature of the world that we ever need. Thank you.

MIKE: I .. well, over to you, Pearl.

[ CASTLE FORRESTER. PEARL, OBSERVER, and BOBO cackling. ]

PEARL: They don’t even suspect!

OBSERVER: Why would they?

BOBO: Suspect what?

[ PEARL, OBSERVER glare at BOBO. ]

BOBO: What?

OBSERVER: Chapters Six …

PEARL: Through Twenty.

BOBO: [ Not getting it. ] Oh. [ Getting it. ] Oh!

\  |  /	
 \ | /	
  \|/		
---O---	
  /|\		
 / | \	
/  |  \

BOBO: [ Off screen ] Of this?

Mystery Science Theater 3000 and its characters and settings and concept are the property of … you know, I’m not sure. It used to be Best Brains but now I think that’s different? Well, it belongs to the people it really and truly belongs to and this is just me playing with their toys. _The Tale of Fatty Coon_ was written by Arthur Scott Bailey and published in 1915 and accessed via archive.org, which is why I am reasonably confident they’re in the public domain and can be used this way.

Keep Usenet circulating.

> Fatty Coon’s eyes turned green. It was a way they had,
> whenever he was about to eat anything

MiSTed: The Tale of Fatty Coon, Chapter IV


Don’t worry; I’ve still got a fair number of weeks of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction before I get back to stuff I have to work to write. The last several weeks, and the next several, I’m looking in detail at Arthur Scott Bailey’s 1915 children’s animal-adventure book, The Tale of Fatty Coon.

We met Fatty Coon, a fat raccoon who likes to eat, and then saw him get beaten up by a goshawk whose eggs he tried eating. He then went on to successfully eat a turtle’s clutch of eggs, so you know who it is we’re dealing with. What does he eat, or try to eat, this week? Read on …



>
>
> IV
>
> FATTY COON’S MISTAKE

TOM: Not getting editorial approval on this hit piece.

>
> Fatty Coon was very fond of squirrels.

CROW: Oh, Lord.

> And you may think it
> strange when I tell you that not one of the squirrels anywhere around
> Blue Mountain was the least bit fond of Fatty Coon.

MIKE: Is there anybody here that likes Fatty Coon?

CROW: There’s flocks of locusts that admire his work.

TOM: But even they won’t share a room with him.

> But when I say
> that Fatty Coon was fond of squirrels, I mean that he liked to eat
> them.

CROW: Yeah, yeah, we kinda saw that one coming.

TOM: People reading other stories saw *that* one coming.

> So of course you will understand now why the squirrels did not
> care for Fatty at all.

MIKE: Because the last three chapters didn’t make it clear?

> In fact, they usually kept just as far away
> from him as they could.

TOM: It’s as though they aren’t looking for chances to die.

>
> It was easy, in the daytime, for the squirrels to keep out of
> Fatty’s way, when he wandered through the tree-tops, for the squirrels
> were much sprier than Fatty.

CROW: But then the trees are sprier than Fatty.

> But at night—ah! that was a very
> different matter. For Fatty Coon’s eyes were even sharper in the dark
> than they were in the daylight;

MIKE: And his mouth was twelve hours bigger.

> but the poor squirrels were just as
> blind as you are when you are safely tucked in bed and the light is
> put out.

CROW: Now I want to get squirrels their own night lights.

MIKE: I want to check I’m not going to get eaten by a raccoon in my bedroom.

>
> Yes—when the squirrels were in bed at night, up in their nests
> in the trees, they could see very little. And you couldn’t say they
> were SAFE in bed,

TOM: Are they literally beds or nests or? I’m trying to work out the anthropomorphism level here.

> because they never knew when Fatty Coon, or his
> mother, or his brother, or one of his sisters, or some cousin of his,
> might come along and catch them before they knew it.

MIKE: Oh, good, it’s not just his protagonist he hates, Arthur Scott Bailey has it out for every raccoon.

TOM: The important thing for children’s animal fantasy is make your lead character as much like a serial killer as possible.

>
> Fatty thought it great sport to hunt squirrels at night.

CROW: He loves his reputation as an unstoppable random death-bringer!

> Whenever he tried it he usually managed to get a good meal.

TOM: So frogs stump him but squirrels are easy?

> And after
> he had almost forgotten about the fright the goshawk had given him in
> the tall hemlock he began to roam through the tree-tops every night in
> search of squirrels and sleeping birds.

CROW: It’s like they say, when you fall off a bike you have to get back up and eat it.

>
> But a night came at last when Fatty was well punished for
> hunting squirrels.

MIKE: At this point any punishment is a good start.

> He had climbed half-way to the top of a big
> chestnut tree, when he spied a hole in the trunk. He rather thought
> that some squirrels lived inside that hole.

TOM: ‘I’d leave then in peace but it’s been two hours since I ate the last five hundred passenger pigeons!’

> And as he listened for a
> few seconds he could hear something moving about inside. Yes! Fatty
> was sure that there was a squirrel in there—probably several
> squirrels.

CROW: Maybe one squirrel, two chipmunks, and a groundhog serving in an advisory capacity?

>
> Fatty Coon’s eyes turned green.

MIKE: Whoa!

TOM: Cyborg raccoon!

> It was a way they had,
> whenever he was about to eat anything, or whenever he played with his
> brother Blackie, or Fluffy and Cutey, his sisters; or whenever he was
> frightened.

CROW: Or when his laser batteries are running low.

> And now Fatty was so sure that he was going to have a fine
> lunch that his eyes turned as green as a cat’s.

TOM: Cyborg cats?

MIKE: This is why nature just isn’t a good idea.

> He reached a paw
> inside the hole and felt all around.

CROW: ‘Hey, there’s nothing in here but a paw-remover!’

>
> WOW! Fatty gave a cry; and he pulled his paw out much faster
> than he had put it in. Something had given him a cruel dig.

TOM: A … ?

CROW: Somebody really got at his paw’s emotional weaknesses.

> And in a jiffy Fatty saw what that "something" was. It was a grumpy old tramp
> coon, whom Fatty had never seen before.

MIKE: Buh?

CROW: What makes a *tramp* raccoon?

TOM: Raids the trash bins on a freight train I guess?

>
> "What do you mean, you young rascal, by disturbing me like
> this?" the ragged stranger cried.

CROW: He can call Fatty that because ‘rascal’ is a raccoon word.

TOM: They’ve reclaimed it.

>
> "Please, sir, I never knew it was you," Fatty stammered.
>
> "Never knew it was me! Who did you think it was?"

MIKE: I dunno, but I’m reading this with a W C Fields vibe.

>
> "A—a squirrel!" Fatty said faintly. And he whimpered a little,
> because his paw hurt him.

TOM: He sees what it’s like to get eaten some.

>
> "Ho, ho! That’s a good one! That’s a good joke!"

CROW: [ As the tramp ] ‘Thinking a squirrel might be hiding in a squirrel-hole in a tree! A rich jest, yes. Now let me get back to eating these squirrels.’

> The tramp
> coon laughed heartily. And then he scowled so fiercely that poor Fatty
> nearly tumbled out of the tree. "You go home," he said to Fatty. "And
> don’t you let me catch you around here again. You hear?"

MIKE: Or your paw shall get more digs and a few sharply barbed comments!

>
> "Yes, sir!" Fatty said. And home he went. And you may be sure
> that he let THAT tree alone after that. He never went near it again.

TOM: Wait, was that his well-punishment?

MIKE: Sometimes having to talk to someone is punishment enough.

%d bloggers like this: