> FATTY VISITS THE SMOKE-HOUSE
CROW: It's so nice of Fatty to visit the smoke-houses stuck at home like that.
> The winter was fast going.
MIKE: Until someone grabbed its tail through the hole in the sycamore.
> And one fine day in February Fatty
> Raccoon crept out of his mother's house to enjoy the warm sunshine---
TOM: February, the Sunshine Month.
> and see what he could find to eat.
> Fatty was much thinner than he had been in the fall.
CROW: So be with us for next week when we start The Tale Of Thinny Raccoon.
> He had
> spent so much of the time sleeping that he had really eaten very
TOM: [ As Fatty ] 'Wouldn't mind eating little if I did it more often.'
> And now he hardly knew himself as he looked at his sides. They
> no longer stuck out as they had once.
MIKE: You know, the 'sleep-and-pretend-barber-shop' weight plan is the most successful diet plan.
> After nosing about the swamp and the woods all the afternoon
> Fatty decided that there was no use in trying to get a meal there.
CROW: What if I offered to pay someone Tuesday for a hamburger today?
> ground was covered with snow. And except for rabbit tracks---and a few
TOM: And a fox.
CROW: Three deer.
MIKE: That band of river otters.
CROW: Those penguins.
TOM: That team of dressage armadillos.
MIKE: Four elephants all wearing berets.
> he could find nothing that even suggested food. And
> looking at those tracks only made him hungrier than ever.
CROW: Man, never go eating on an empty stomach.
> For a few minutes Fatty thought deeply. And then he turned
> about and went straight toward Farmer Green's place.
TOM: Oh, you can't eat a *place*. Fatty, you want to look for *food*.
> He waited behind
> the fence just beyond Farmer Green's house; and when it began to grow
> dark he crept across the barnyard.
MIKE: So he got up in the sunlight to wait for nightfall.
> As Fatty passed a small, low building he noticed a delicious
> smell. And he stopped right there.
CROW: Tell me it's a pie cooling on the windowsill.
MIKE: 'Tramp raccoon' already snagged that.
> He had gone far enough. The door
> was open a little way.
TOM: Ah, that's all he needs for probable cause.
> And after one quick look all around---to make
> sure there was nobody to see him---Fatty slipped inside.
MIKE: [ As Fatty ] OW! ... I meant to do that!
> It was almost dark inside Farmer Green's smokehouse---for that
> was what the small, low building was called.
TOM: Or the smoke-house, if you edit the titles of chapters.
> It was almost dark; but
> Fatty could see just as well as you and I can see in the daytime.
MIKE: Course, him bringing the flashlight helped.
> There was a long row of hams hung up in a line. Underneath them were
> white ashes, where Farmer Green had built wood fires, to smoke the
CROW: Wait, really? Like, that's how smoking meat works?
MIKE: [ Shrugs ]
> But the fires were out, now; and Fatty was in no danger of being
TOM: The passion was gone from the hams.
> The hams were what Fatty Raccoon had smelled. And the hams were
> what Fatty intended to eat.
MIKE: If he can just get them away from the guy who draws 'Heathcliff'.
> He decided that he would eat them
> all---though of course he could never have done that---at least, not in
> one night; nor in a week, either.
TOM: Nine days, though? That would do it, if he ate through dinner breaks.
> But when it came to eating, Fatty's
> courage never failed him. He would have tried to eat an elephant, if
> he had had the chance.
MIKE: Imagining him slurping the elephant's trunk up like a strand of spaghetti.
CROW: Asking the elephant to rub a little alfredo sauce on him .. .
> Fatty did not stop to look long at that row of hams.
MIKE: He only wept, for the lack of new worlds to conquer.
> climbed a post that ran up the side of the house and he crept out
TOM: If he ran out he'd be showing post-haste.
> along the pole from which the hams were hung.
CROW: Oh, they're hamstrung.
> He stopped at the very first ham he came to.
MIKE: And asked for directions to town.
> There was no
> sense in going any further.
TOM: Unless you're being whimsical!
> And Fatty dropped on top of the ham and in
> a twinkling he had torn off a big, delicious mouthful.
MIKE: [ Low-key ] o/` I wanna hold your ham ... o/`
> Fatty could not eat fast enough. He wished he had two
TOM: And six eyes, not all on his face!
> ---he was so hungry. But he did very well, with only ONE.
CROW: You know, an expert eater can use only the one mouth and you never notice the difference.
> In no
> time at all he had made a great hole in the ham.
TOM: Oh, ham and Swiss.
> And he had no idea of
MIKE: 'I will not start stopping', he said.
> But he did stop.
CROW: 'Wait, I started stopping anyway!'
> He stopped very suddenly.
TOM: Have you tried stopping stopping?
MIKE: Or starting not-stopping?
> For the first
> thing he knew, something threw him right down upon the floor.
CROW: Hey, it's the crushing sadness of modern life! Neat!
> And the
> ham fell on top of him and nearly knocked him senseless.
> He choked and spluttered;
TOM: He never expected to live a 'death by snu-snu' meme.
> for the ashes filled his mouth and
> his eyes, and his ears, too. For a moment he lay there on his back;
MIKE: Surprised he isn't trying to eat his way out of the ham.
> but soon he managed to kick the heavy ham off his stomach and then he
> felt a little better.
CROW: On to seconds!
> But he was terribly frightened. And though his
> eyes smarted so he could hardly see, he sprang up and found the
TOM: [ As Fatty ] 'Lead on, my trusty moustache! ... Oh no!'
> Fatty swallowed a whole mouthful of ashes as he dashed across
> the barnyard.
CROW: And then he remembered he could've eaten the ham off him instead.
> And he never stopped running until he was almost home.
> He was puzzled. Try as he would, he couldn't decide what it was that
> had flung him upon the floor.
MIKE: But he suspects Jasper Jay.
> And when he told his mother about his
> adventure---as he did a whole month later---she didn't know exactly
> what had happened, either.
TOM: [ As Mrs Raccoon ] 'Why didn't you just eat your way out of the ham?'
CROW: [ As Fatty ] 'I panicked, okay?'
> "It was some sort of trap, probably," Mrs. Raccoon said.
TOM: [ As Mrs Raccoon ] 'I bet they were catching hams and you just got in the way.'
> But for once Mrs. Raccoon was mistaken.
MIKE: It was in fact an ordinary surveillance mission, not trapping.
> It was very simple.
CROW: Allow me to explain until it is complicated and you are tired.
> In his greedy haste Fatty had merely
> bitten through the cord that fastened the ham to the pole.
TOM: In his defense, that was Cajun spiced cord.
> And of
> course it had at once fallen, carrying Fatty with it!
> But what do you suppose?
CROW: Oh, that pet mice just assume they're all really good at foraging because look, there's always food blocks right where they want.
> Afterward, when Fatty had grown up,
> and had children of his own,
TOM: Wait, Fatty grows up? Spoilers!
> he often told them about the time he had
> escaped from the trap in Farmer Green's smokehouse.
MIKE: Raccoons don't have a lot of epics, you understand.
> Fatty's children thought it very exciting. It was their
> favorite story.
TOM: Above even the barber-shop saga.
And they made their father tell it over and over
CROW: And he never suspected they were putting him on.
[ To be continued ... ]--
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