The distinct scent of bacon wafted from the Johansson house in the early morning. Nothing like a big fat slab of pork to wake yeh up in the mornin'!
The farmers of the place arose, yawned, ate breakfast and went out for the daily barn raising. At four in the morning.
The door that led to the sty opened with a resounding creak, letting the pigs out into the cool morning. Galloping to the mud, the pigs oinked and squealed, content with getting to their mud. Nothing like a big pigsty of mud to run through, roll in, oink through!
The pigs of the Johansson farm loved the mud. What pigs don't? But the pigs there loved it especially. Their lives revolved around it—playing in it, living in it. They loved to rub it on their pink bellies and flip their curly tails through, adore the grainy feeling against their snorters! They led happy lives in the little pig pen. Well, most of them.
Cow the Piglet was a most unusual pig. Small and naïve, he didn't love to run-a-muck in the mud. No. He wanted to explore. He wanted to see the world. But he was quite stupid. Ever since he came to the farm, it was apparent how stupid he was. He was even born from his mother stupidly. Don't ask how, but he was.
The farmers on the Johansson farm were also quite dumb. Come on, they're country bumpkins! And of course, they couldn't see that the little runt Cow could get out of the pen. Every day he could do that without trouble.
Cow looked around cautiously. Nobody in sight.
"Cow, come roll in the mud, yeh li'l runt!" Father Pig said. "Be normal! Stupid."
But Cow just ignored him, and exited under the wooden fence with ease. Father Pig grunted and went back to basking in the mud.
Once out, Cow began to explore, when the farm cat crossed his path.
She cackled ominously. "Hi Cow. How are you?"
Cow stared. "I'm okay."
"Out for another walk?"
"Oh. Well, if you were, I wouldn't stay out too long. You see, now's the change of season. Hotter. More deaths. Cow, you wouldn't know this," she continued slyly, "but long before you came…a pig of about your size and age and such, well, he stayed out in the sun too long. Out in the hot, burning, searing sun. And you know what happened to him?"
"What?" he asked timidly.
"He turned into bacon." Cow gasped. "You know, that stuff that you smell every morning. The farmers find it to be a delicacy. So if I were you, I'd find shade as soon as possible."
And she stalked off, smirking as she left.
Cow stood there for a moment, then finally began to saunter around.
Shade. Shade. I need shade. Where to find shade. THE HOUSE! Okay. How to get into the house.
"I'd try the doggy door if I were you," the cat added from a distance.
Cow snorted and trotted around the corner of the house. There it was. The doggy door.
"Here I go!" he said. Stepping far back, he ground his hooves into the earth. Snort.
The piglet's brisk walk turned into a small jog. Snort. His small jog turned into a small barrel. Snort. And CHARGE!
The little square hole came closer. Closer. Closer. Almost there. His head went through the door and—
WHAM! His butt was stuck.
Oh darn. Okay I can do this. He pushed hard, trying to get in. Alright, I can't. But I can get out.
He heard the distinct cackle of the cat outside.
"Stuck?" she sneered. Then he felt a small paw on his buttocks. Then another. They began to move around in small circles. "I'll help you, poor piggy." The gentle caresses suddenly stopped and he felt two pairs of claws plunge into his flesh.
"Shush, you big baby. Now push yourself out."
"TRY HARDER!" Her nails pulled and pulled more.
"Almost!" he called, sounding almost constipated.
And with a light plop he flew back out of the doggy door and landed on the soft earth. Very soft earth. A bit too soft.
He again felt the distinct pair of claws dig into him. He sprung up, and backed away. The cat laid on the ground, tufts of fur in odd directions, bits of dirt and rock speckling her fur.
"Stupid, fat, smelly pig," she grumbled as she started to stalk off again, licking at her sides. "Sorry excuse for flab of flesh…"
"Stupid furball," he quietly replied.
Okay. Shade. Shade. THE SHED!
He galloped around the house where the shed sat.
Old, rotting, and riddled with termite infestations, the shed stood precariously on the side of the house. It looked as though it were an upright coffin with a board slapped on the top, housing a vampire or another.
Cow approached the door. In the little hole for a doorknob was a rusted lock.
Darn, he thought again, stupid farmers and their locks. He stood there, his little piggy brow furrowed, concentrating. (He would have beads of sweat coming down his little piggy face, but, sadly, he doesn't. Stupid sweat-glandless pigs.)
He looked as though he were trying to set the lock on fire, or stare it to death, hoping that it would just fall off and let him enter. He was quite stupid after all. Walking around the shed, he searched for a way in.
"Is that fun?" said a voice.
He jumped back. Crawling down the side of the shed was a spider, black and white striped, eight long legs moving, almost slithering, along the wood.
"You know," it said, nearing the ground, "you're quite plump for a little one."
"Erm is that a compliment?"
"Tasty, rather." It hit the ground. "Juicy. Yes." It started to crawl closer to him. He backed away. "Don't run, my little piglet. You're juicy and plump and you will do just perfect. I don't normally go after ones who are bigger than me but you seem weak." Nice way of getting food to come near, eh?
He backed away.
"Don't be afraid. Come closer." He edged further away. "Don't leave!"
He moved faster, as did the spider, her long legs scuttling faster. "Come back!" she called out. He turned around and ran.
"Come back my plump little piggy!"
Well. Wasn't that fun, Cow? he thought when he was far away. Okay. Another place of shade. Looking around, he spotted the outhouse. Perfect.
He trotted over to the wooden thing that looked much like the shed, except that it didn't look as daunting. The wooden door was open.
YES! he practically screamed in his piggy head. Snort. He bolted in.
He shook his bulbous buttocks then sat them down on the floor, got comfy, then inhaled. And almost died.
What met his most unfortunate snorter was the worst, most acrid smell.
He let out a loud SNORT. He squealed. He writhed and withered. NOO! The agony! The utmost pain! Why did this cruel world hate him? The smell! Oh the smell! It entered his snout and felt like it was killing his olfactory! His poor beady eyes watered. Oh just take a stick and stab us out! his eyes seemed to say. The stench! It seemed to singe the little hairs he had off!
He rapidly jumped up and scurried out that outhouse faster than he had ever scurried.
Relief. Sweet, sweet clean air.
How the farmers take that, he thought, I will never know. Okay. Don't give up. The sun. The heat. The bacon. The shade! THE BARN!
And he was off, charging toward the barn. Luckily, there was a small opening at the back, just big enough to let him through. He squeezed through, found a corner off to the side of the barn, one with a little pile of hay, got comfy, and lay down.
He sighed. Stupid pigs. Nyuck nyuck. I'm not gonna get turned into bacon and they are.
And he fell fast asleep.
He dreamed of pigs, bacon, cats, spiders, and, horribly, outhouses. Each seemed to haunt him, trying to frighten him…and each had succeeded. Especially the outhouses. (He cringed in his sleep when he thought of those.) Then, he dreamed of nothing at all.
The loud creeeaaak of the barn door opening awakened him. Looking around with sleepy piggy eyes, he saw a man shuffling around.
A loud woman's voice that featured a strong southern drawl called out. "CLEMEN'! While you're at it, bring in a pig too, we're all outta bacon!"
"Yes, mama!" he called back.
He turned and spotted Cow.
"You'll do just perfect, little one." He walked over to Cow, picked him up, much to the reluctance of the piglet, and through squeals and oinks, and began to make his way to the house.
"Alright, Clement, set him right there. Your father'll be in soon to help slaughter."
And the Cat smirked and walked by on the windowsill of the kitchen, thinking, Stupid pigs…