As Quilly’s legion of fans mostly knows already, her latest venture is the production of study guides for children’s literature, to be used in the elementary school classroom. You can find out more about her first two study guides, to Sounder and Treasure Island, here.
Naturally, she is at work on additional titles for this series. Which is how it came to pass that Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba found lying about the house (he won’t say where), and read, a copy of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. You know, the wolf’s version of the tale? Where he says he got into all this trouble with the pigs over a cup of sugar?
(YFNA didn’t think that third graders were supposed to know about the kind of sugar that comes from bulls … oh wait, we’re talking about wolves here, not bulls. Never mind.)
Anyway. It occurred to YFNA that the pigs, two of them at least, could have saved themselves a whole lot of trouble, not to mention their lives, by choosing the right materials for their houses. It’s dumb to build a house out of straw, right? Right? Or is it …?
3 LP [the bricklayer]: “Straw?!? You’re building a house outa straw? Are you trying to be the centerpiece at a luau or something? Don’t you remember what happened to Great Uncle Ham?”
1 LP [guess]: “That story’s bogus. A wolf might have dog’s breath, but even so, it ain’t knockin’ down no houses. I don’t care how hard he huffs, puffs, or sneezes. Ham was probably snufflin’ up funny mushrooms and got caught in the open. Grampa Brick dreamed up the ‘blow your house down’ nonsense to cover his …'”
3 LP: “And just how do you propose to cover yours, hay?”
1 LP: “Don’t diss the hay, hey? You pack it in thick and tight and it’ll keep you as snug as you want. And it’s cheap. How many pounds of your flesh are goin’ to bacon to pay off that pile of rocks of yours, huh?”
3 LP: “Very funny. In case you haven’t noticed, rates are nothin’ these days. And of course I refinanced.”
1 LP: “So you can pony up for the earthquake insurance? The earth moves once, like they’re sayin’ it will any time now, and we won’t have to build a crypt for your bones, you’ll already have one!”
2 LP [only one option left]: “You could at least use sticks and get some sturdiness into that … that thing of yours. And wood frames will survive earthquakes.”
1 LP: “Oh wow, another country heard from. I bet you even think that stick stuff is a permanent building material. I got a bottle of bugs right here says it ain’t.”
2 LP: “You keep those damned termites in that bottle or I’ll take your little piggie to market myself! Besides, they’ll just as happily chew up your straw as my two-by-fours.”
1 LP: “In which case I just knock the place down and set up again someplace else. Our African boar ancestors did just that and lived happily ever after. And you won’t see no picket signs about savin’ trees or spotted owls, or stoppin’ global warmin’, ’round my place!”
2 LP: “Ducking out on your satellite bill again?”
1 LP: “With what they’re charging for ESPN these days, you betcha!”
3 LP: “Alright, alright, TMI. Enough already. Do as you’re going to. And I hope that whatever it is is enough to keep the wolves from your doors, brothers.”
2 LP: “Likewise, brother.”
1 LP: “Yeah. But I’m tellin’ you, if the earth moves, get the hell out of that place of yours. You can always stay with me if the worst happens. If you can stand the thought, that is.”
3 LP: “Only if you ain’t servin’ crow for dinner.”
1 LP: “Humble pie.”
3 LP: “Oink.”