Dan and Canon, A Story of Friendship

17 01 2012

“The world is so full of a number of things. I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.” Dan turned to his friend and fixed him with one beady eye.

It didn’t matter that twenty of Dan’s eyes would have fit inside one of Canon’s. Size is immaterial to all creatures of good sense. Dan and Canon are nothing if not sensible.

“You are right, of course.” Canon commented in the slow and ponderous speech of a creature larger than a semi truck. “But are we happy, I wonder.”

“Do you mean “we” sentient creatures or “we” you and I?” Dan spoke quickly, punctuating his words with quick tail flicks.

“I meant the word to reference the world at large.”

“You’re pretty large. Are you happy?” Dan chittered at his small joke. All his jokes were small, as indeed was everything that he did.

“Why yes. I think so. In general.” Canon moved his flippers in slow circles, blowing air noisily out his blowhole.

“CANON!” A soaking wet Dan strode to the edge of the dock and bellowed at his retreating friend. “I asked you not to do that when we’re talking! It’ll take me hours to dry off.”

“My apologies, Dan. I forgot.” Canon swum apologetically nearer to the dock.

“I thought whales were supposed to remember everything.”

“I believe that colloquial wisdom refers primarily to elephants. As you know, whales and elephants share only the most tenuous of biological connections. No-one expects whales to remember anything.”

“Well I do. And I, for one, am NOT happy.”

“At this moment or in general?”

“In general.”

“Whyever not?”

“Because, Canon. I am a squirrel. We have a very limited scope, you know. There’s no ADVENTURE in my life. I want to travel.”

“Dan, I had no idea.”

Dan sunk his small face into his smaller paws and stared out over Canon’s broad back to the horizon. “I know. No-one thinks squirrels care about that stuff. We’re supposed to store nuts and climb trees and run away from dogs. But I’ve done all that and now I want something more.”

Canon’s large face was incapable of much expression, and he had no paws with which to hold his face but he did have a warm heart. He loved his small friend very much. Since they had met several seasons previously they had often met to talk and share thoughts on the world. Dan spoke of the sunlit tree tops and Canon told stories of the deep mystery of the sea. Both friends regretted that they could never see life through the other’s eyes.

But Dan’s latest words struck deep in Canon’s very large heart. He excused himself and swam out to sea, thinking hard all the while.

Dan retreated sadly to the trees.

It took Canon three days to come up with a plan. He was a slow and deep thinker and his plans formed slowly. Good plans took at least a day and great plans took longer. He spent several weeks gathering driftwood and pulling apart shipwrecks to find nails and a hammer. Early in the process he recruited three seals, four crabs and a pair of eels. Between all of them they managed to build a platform to Canon’s specifications. The rest of his pod helped him attach the apparatus to his broad back.

A month or so after their initial conversation Canon swam proudly back into the bay. Attached to his back was a platform with a cask for water and a box for food.

“Dan!” Canon’s sonorous tones echoed around the bay.

Dan came running, bounding down the dock to it’s furthest edge. “Canon what IS that thing?!”

“You said you wanted to see the world. I can’t swim quite that far but we could certainly go on an adventure or two.”

The squirrel’s tiny face almost cracked from smiling. Joy radiated from his nose to the tip of his tail. “I’ll grab some food and a handkerchief and we’ll go. Can we go now?”

“As soon as you are ready.”

It was the work of less than an hour for Dan to fill the box with snacks and spare handkerchiefs. Sunset saw the two friends heading out of the bay.

A watcher would have seen only the silhouette of a squirrel, pushing forward to the farthest edge of the platform, watching his fondest dream come true.

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