Once a scientist bred a pigeon the size of a horse. The creatures name was Celery and I can tell you she was magnificent.
Celery's neck was the size of a man's chest. Her wings were like Dobermans and her beak was like a wrapped Christmas present if the present was a birthday hat. Her creator, a scientist by the name of Mortimer, loved Celery very much and they ended up changing each other’s lives irrevocably. Some say for the better, others for the worse, and even some say nothing on the subject at all, but I'll leave that up to you to decide for yourself.
Perhaps you are wondering why a scientist would do such a thing? Was it because Mortimer liked squab, but thought pound for pound it was too expensive at the supermarket? Or was it to further our knowledge of genetics? Was it that Mortimer wanted to fly, fly free from the shackles of a bleak world on the back of giant winged beast, splashing in and out of the clouds like a dolphin? Or was it as simple as Mortimer needed a friend...a friend with benefits (Of course benefits refer to the fact that Celery could fly, NOT in the usual sense that people have friends with benefits. The latter of course never truly working as eventually one party always wants something more by means of commitment. But in Celery and Mortimer's case it was strictly about flight. Seriously, Mortimer was not the type of scientist to fool around with pigeon-horses, or horses, or pigeons for that matter.)
The truth is Mortimer hadn't meant to breed a pigeon the size of a horse at all. He had intended to breed a horse the size of a pigeon, as he was commissioned to do so by the Brain Consortium, whose new venture was to have frogs deliver mail by horseback. Mortimer must have forgotten to "carry a one" somewhere along the line, but he vowed to himself to never let Celery know the truth. Nothing is more damaging to a child than the revelation that they're a mistake.
When the Brain Consortium came knocking, looking for the fruits of their investments, which were considerable, they found Mortimer's lab abandoned. Celery and Mortimer had long since hit the road (sky), looking to carve out a piece of the world (Southern Ontario) for themselves. Little did they know that the Brain Consortium in cahoots with the PFU [(Poultry Farmers Union) (Who were afraid that pigeon-horse production might seriously damage squab market prices)] had hired a group of Danish mercenaries to hunt them down.
Mortimer was flying over what he thought was Haliburton Ontario, but in actuality was Hilltop, Ontario when he took Celery down to a peaceful spot near a creek so that they could rest. It was the perfect spot: dewy blades refracting honeyed light, the creek babbling a nap-inducing poem that went something like dribble-dribble-plop-dribble (Repeat until frost). Celery could graze and drink from the river, and the ground was soft enough that Mortimer could rest, using his giant feathered friend as a pillow.
It wasn't until morning that the Danish mercenaries had caught up to them. Mortimer had forgotten that he allowed the Brain Consortium to implant a GPS device into his eyeball. They were ambushed. The mercenaries, full from a greasy spoon breakfast, but still ravenous for blood, had them surrounded. Each mercenary had his own personalized AK-47 and a bazooka and super atomic bomb laser (This story takes place in the year 15768). Mortimer, acting on instinct, jumped on Celery and took off to the skies. Mortimer and Celery stared into the sun and clouds, and let the warm breeze wash over them as the bullets caught up.
Mortimer's last thoughts were of the past three weeks he had spent in the skies with his best friend. Soaring and swooping and laughing and yes, even crying (Pigeons-horses, unlike pigeons and horses can cry). Mortimer thought of the time before Celery had come into his life, when he was just a scientist, working in a drab laboratory, eating Chef Boyardee every night for dinner, contemplating if he and Hector Boyardee would get along in real life. He thought of all his years before Celery, and then smiled when he realized that the three weeks he had with her added up to more than the forty-five years before.
And that is the most interesting side-note in the history of how it came to be that frogs deliver our mail.
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WATTY 2016 WINNER of the HQ Love Award! Strange Yarns is a ball of tangled tales. Twisted, knotted, and intertwined. Like Tales of the Crypt, the Twilight Zone, and The Outer Limits. Strange Yarns is not just a collection of ghastly tales, these are...