Stanley and Fluffy

This is a silly little story I wrote.

Back in the days when man was still young and Earth and Heaven were still getting used to him, a sage old monk named Stanley lived high up in the mountains to be closer to God. Mostly so God didn’t have to walk as far for their bi-weekly backgammon games. Stanley lived a blissful life with a beautiful mountain view in an adorable one bedroom a-frame with eco-friendly faux-wood laminate flooring and slim-line solar panels to fuel the adorable cherry red oven where Stanley baked his vegetable potpies.

God saw the mark of enlightenment in Stanley through his love and talent in making these pot-pies. It was so strong in this one, God came to 10 year old Stanley in a dream and invited him to live on the mountain. (Sure; everybody knows pot-pies are a Godly food now, but Stanley was a sage and profit for his time.) So, for countless happy years Stanley had been living in solitude with his buddy God and pot pies and peace and enlightenment. All was totally cool.

Until God laid a bomb on Stanley during a roll of the dice: “I think some evil is going to test you, Stanley, in the form of a white dog.” He casually– as casually as God can, as all his mannerisms are inherently dramatic and awe-inspiring– collected a checker.

“Hm,” said Stanley, taking up the dice cup. Stanley, though infinitely wise, is not a native English speaker, but is doing his best for the sake of starring in this story, and erring mostly on the side of brevity.

But what Stanley was thinking while he was saying “hm,” was, “God, I have been tested ‘n’ tempted with inclement weather, physical challenges, row upon row of high-kicking Rockettes, a very difficult bonus round, and I have passed all challenges to my faith, so, yes, a little white doggy, great, please, BRING it,” and then he snatched up his last checker from the board. “Gotcha. Next time we go out, you pick up tab.”

Stanley stepped out of his a-frame the next morning with a lovely artisan coffee mug full of fair-trade decaf mellowed with a little vanilla rice milk and noted the arrival of The Little White Dog of Evil. “Hm,” said Stanley. The dog was surprisingly small, maybe fifteen pounds soaking wet after a pot-pie, and a solid buff color. He looked like a miniature and feminine version of a wolf. And fluffier. Stanley was fairly confident he had this one covered. “No problem, dog,” he said over his shoulder as returned to the pleasant meditative soaking of lentils.

And yet…that dog didn’t really seem that evil. God couldn’t have made a mistake, right? God had never misled Stanley. This, though, was a little fluffy white dog…destined to test Stanley with evil? This did not add up to Stanley.  Still, God was, well, you know, GOD, and Stanley vowed to keep his defenses up against his fuzzy little visitor.

For two weeks the cute little dog hung around Stanley’s yard and Stanley’s mood just absolutely plummeted. His perfect enlightened day to day life was shattered by the presence of constant evil! (Even if the evil seemed hard to spot.) How could Stanley meditate when this little monster was licking his face and running around in circles barking like he was having the time of his life? How could Stanley keep his brain steady and calm under the incessant pressure of keeping his defenses strong against such fuzzy malevolence? Turns out, he couldn’t. He was stretched to the end of his knotted prayer belt. “You’re ruining my life!” he yelled at Fluffy, in a very un-monklike manner. Fluffy barked twice, ran in a tight circle and dropped his chest to the ground, wagging his tail like Stanley had told him he would be kept in kongs and peanut butter the rest of his days. “What do you know? You eat your own poop.”

Stanley turned sharply to make the short journey to the backgammon game, further up the mountain in a secluded pine  grove.  He was next to tears, and marched angrily along the path, holding his orange monk’s robes and his head high like a Southern belle wronged. Fluffy joined him, orbiting his angry silken sun at a rate of speed envied by non-metaphorical planets.

Stanley burst into the pine grove. But. There was no God.

God hadn’t missed a backgammon game in all of Stanley’s years on the mountain. Stanley sank to the ground in despair. Obviously he had failed. Obviously God knew that Stanley had come today to ask for Fluffy to be taken away. Obviously God was ending their friendship because of it. Gosh, God’s wishes are so obvious! Thought Stanley.

Stanley fell into an exhausted dreamless slumber in the soft pine straw.  When he awoke at dusk, the grove was nearly dark as night, but certainly not as dark as Stanley’s mood. Fluffy was there. Duh. Fluffy was always there, anymore. Stanley pulled himself up to sitting and the effort was like righting a boulder. He stared down the little fuzzy Evil, the cause of his desperate loneliness. Fluffy stared back, letting his constant wag fall into the relaxed pendulum swing of the habitually happy tail. Stanley ran his palm over his bald head.

Fluffy wagged.

Stanley sighed.

Fluffy wagged.

Stanley looked at his cuticles.

Fluffy wagged.

Stanley picked his nose a little.

Fluffy wagged.

Then Fluffy walked over and sat in Stanley’s lap. Stanley was too drained to react. And Little Fuzzy Evil was so soft and warm and friendly, and pretty darned cute. “Well,” thought Stanley, “It’s over between me and God, so, what the hell?” He gave Fluffy just the sort of loving old monk hug you’d think he was capable of. It was really nice for both of them.

They went back to Stanley’s a-frame and had some organically farmed chive and onion goat cheese sandwiches on sprouted gluten-free toast, and then later, some strawberry Pop-Tarts.

In the days that followed, Stanley opened up to Fluffy more and more, did his walking meditations with Fluffy at his side, and started to take closer notice of the joyous stretches Fluffy did upon waking. Imitating them really helped Stanley with his aching old back.

Yet, Stanley had not given up hope that he and God could be friends again, despite having welcomed Evil into his very home (but not his bed.”Farting doggies sleep on the floor,” said Stanley.) Frankly, Stanley doubted the very evil in the dog God had warned him about. The hope grew and grew and with a little help of some creative justification, Stanley and Fluffy took the hike up to the Backgammon Pine Grove. God was there.

Stanley was overjoyed, overwhelmed, and grateful beyond his fondest dreams! “Yo,” said Stanley nonchalantly. God was pretty happy, too.“Yo,” said God. They were guys, after all. They each took a die to roll for turns. Their hands accidently touched. Tee hee! thought Stanley. We’re back, baby!

God had almost won the game when Stanley broke their usually thoughtful quiet. “Hey God, I think maybe dog is not so evil.” God glanced down at Fluffy, sleeping across Stanley’s feet with his happy propeller of a tail on autopilot, or perhaps fueled by dreams of the doggie-sized pot pie Stanley had made him this morning. “Yeah, maybe not,” said God. “My bad.”

-AH

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6 comments
  1. Heather said:

    This must be published – and illustrated!
    This story tickled me in all the right places. I want to read it over and over again. If I were a cartoon, little hearts would be floating above my head and popping in little fits of amusement.

  2. Alison said:

    <3!!! yay! thanks Heather!!

  3. Amy Feucht said:

    Grrreeaaat . Thank You. This is perfect.

  4. betsy said:

    I love this story!! It makes me very happy. And your writing is so “you” it made me feel like you were actually telling it to me. I’m going to share this link if that’s ok.

    xo

    • Alison said:

      Oh, good! Gosh, feel free to forward :) thank you BB!

  5. Ellen and Peter said:

    Ali,
    We loved this story!!!

Tell Ali all about it!

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