When I was a teenager, my mother brought books into the house written by Stephen Cosgrove. Some of them, like "Serendipity" and "The Dream Tree", were really cute. However, there was this one piece of work, a wrong-headed attempt to write about obesity / disordered eating called "Catundra". Mercifully, the book appears to be out of print, but as a low-risk exercise in closure, I wrote an Amazon.com review here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-
Yesterday morning, I started to think about the kind of story I WOULD have liked to read. I wasn't sure where it was going to go, but I typed furiously on my phone (a first for this kind of writing), and before I knew it I had something finished. I edited a couple of things. I know of a friend who is looking for a children's story for a project, but at this point I'm not sure this works for anyone but me.
Once upon a time there was a strong, beautiful fat cat named Phoebe. Phoebe was often very unhappy because the other animals were mean and rude to her. When they spoke to her at all, it was only to ridicule her and call her names like ''Fatty Fatty Phoebe''. She used to eat anything she could find, sometimes with tears streaming down her face, because she KNEW she was only going to get fatter, but eating was the only thing that made Phoebe feel better.
One day, as she was finishing a large sandwich (she tried not to think about where a cat with no thumbs would get a sandwich), another fat cat came into her house and said, ''Why are you crying?''
Phoebe answered, ''I'm so fat and nobody loves me!! The other animals all laugh at me!! Why aren't YOU sad--you're as big as I am!''
For indeed, the other cat (whose name was Orion) was the same size as Phoebe, but what a difference! His head was up, his ears and tail were perked with curiosity and friendliness, and he appeared completely comfortable in his skin--er, fur.
''Why should I care what the other animals think? I'm a cat, and cats EAT animals. If some animal is too big to eat, I'm strong enough and quick enough to run away. Now, tell me about these animals who torment you--what kind of animals are they?''
''Umm...bunnies, rodents, little animals like that. One of them came to the house and tried to tell me I should go on a diet. I think he was a mouse or a mole or something, and he kept telling me to run all the time and just eat vegetables, and it worked for a little while but then all the weight came back no matter what I did and WHY ARE YOU LAUGHING AT ME??!!''
Orion stopped rolling on the floor laughing (displaying a gloriously fuzzy belly), and gasped, ''I can't help it. You are the funniest cat I have ever seen. A cat? Taking advice from a MOUSE?''
Indignant, Phoebe retorted, ''I said I'm not sure he WAS a mouse--'' but this only sent Orion into peals of laughter again.
Finally, he stopped laughing, and said, ''My dear, beautiful, silly kitty, You. Are. A. CAT. CATS. EAT. MICE. AND BIRDS. AND FISH. AND, most importantly, BUNNIES!! These bunnies who think they know SOOOOO much about how a cat ought to be--they have no idea what it's like to face a cat with no fear. Have you ever tried to pounce on one of them and catch them?''
Phoebe was stunned. ''No, I haven't chased down any animals for years. I'm so fat and slow...''
Orion waved his paw. ''Oh, I think you are not so slow. Out of practice, perhaps. The best pouncing practice for a cat is to try and catch another cat. Try to catch me!''
And with that, Orion jumped away from Phoebe, waving his tail in a teasing manner. She remembered how much fun it had been to watch and run and pounce on things when she was a kitten. A slow smile pulled at the corners of her mouth. Phoebe went into a crouch, tensed her back legs and JUMPED for the other cat. Orion leaped away at the last second, but now the game was on. Phoebe and Orion spent the rest of the afternoon running and pouncing and chasing each other.
Later, they went to a nearby stream and caught fresh fish for dinner, which they enjoyed very much. Cats are natural born hunters, so they like to catch their own dinner when they can.
Orion stayed with Phoebe for many days, and they played and hunted and ran and talked and laughed. They ate when they got hungry and stopped when they got full and moved around, enjoying the motion.
One day when they walked between the trees, they came upon a pair of the bunnies who'd been so mean to Phoebe. As soon as they spotted her, the bunnies started in just like always--''Fatty Fatty Phoebe! Fatty Fatty Phoebe!''
Orion looked at Phoebe, who had frozen in place. ''Are you okay?''
Without taking her eyes off the bunnies, she quietly said, ''I think so.'' To the bunnies, she said, ''You've never met any other cats, have you?'' As she went on, she bent into a crouch, getting ready to spring. ''Do you know what cats eat? Cats. Eat. Bunnies.''
The bunnies (who were a little slow on the uptake as well as being mean) said, ''You couldn't catch a cold! You're too fat and slow!''
''Really?'' said Phoebe. That slow smile curved her lips as she growled, ''LET'S FIND OUT!!''
Then she pounced.
One of the bunnies did get away, but Phoebe had the other one pinned under her paws. She told it, ''You go home and tell all your friends how you got caught by slow, fat Fatty Phoebe. If I was hungry, you wouldn't make it home at all. do you understand?''
As she lifted her paw, the terrified bunny bolted away and vanished as if by magic.
Orion turned to Phoebe. ''I thought you told me you didn't like eating bunnies. You said they taste funny.''
Phoebe laughed. ''I DON'T eat bunnies. But I'm not telling THEM that. Let's go home.''
And Phoebe and Orion went home. They ran, and played, and hunted, and laughed, and lived happily ever after.
ETA: I'm creating a link to this page for someone not on my friends list, which means I have to unlock it. If you want your comments not to be publicly visible, please contact me by private message. Anybody want what they already wrote screened?