It was a bright sunny day on the plains where Crispy the Lion lived.
"I believe I shall journey into the big city today!" he told a bush.
"You go right ahead and do that," said a voice from inside the bush.
"What a polite and supportive bush you are!" said Crispy, delighted. "I will be sure to bring you back some nice bush food from the big city."
"I am not a bush," said the bush. "I am a wombat. Can I go with you to the big city, Crispy?" The wombat came out of the bush and looked at Crispy. "I promise I will be no trouble."
Crispy looked back at the wombat.
"So? Can I come?"
"Howdy, Wombat!" said Crispy. "I was just talking to this bush, and it was being very nice. I am going to the big city today! Do you want to come with me?"
All of the animals in the jungle liked Crispy the Lion. He was not a very good navigator, and he was not a very good waffle iron. But he had a heart three to five times bigger than all the other lions' put together.
Crispy and Wombat said goodbye to the bush and set out. Neither of them had seen the big city before. They were very excited to see it, but they did not know the way. So when they came upon a buffalo, they asked him for directions.
"Howdy, Buffalo!" said Crispy. "Wombat and I are going to the big city! I am going to bring back some bush food for my friend, that bush back there. Can you tell us how to get there?"
Most of the buffaloes in the jungle were kind and always obeyed the laws, but this one did not. He looked at Crispy the Lion. He saw that Crispy's mane was too poofy, and that he had the wrong number of claws. The buffalo decided to play a prank on Crispy.
"Yeah. You just keep going until the sun goes down, and when you wake up in the morning, you will be in the big city!" he buffaloed.
Crispy and Wombat thanked the tricky old buffalo and continued on their way. The buffalo watched them go. "That's a shitty lion," he said to himself.
After three quarters of an hour, Crispy and the wombat came upon a duck. "Wonk," said the duck.
"Howdy, Duck!" said Crispy.
"Wonk," replied the duck.
"Never mind," said Crispy, and walked away.
Much later, it began to get dark.
"It is beginning to get dark," said Wombat.
When the sun went down that night, Crispy the Lion slept in a big can while Wombat went out hunting. He was very tired and before he knew it, he was snoring. In another couple of minutes, he was fast asleep.
"Crispy! Wake up!" It was Wombat. He was poking Crispy in the mane, and he looked very excited.
"Howdy, Wombat!" said Crispy, blinking in the bright morning sun. "Did you have a good hunt last night?"
"Yes," replied Wombat. "I ate a leopard. I think you should come out and look at this."
Crispy crawled out of his can and shook all the apple cores out of his fur. He looked around and his eyes went wide. He took in the sights. He sniffed in the smells. He stomped in the stomps and chuckled in the snorkels.
"This is a magical land!" he declared.
"It's a junkyard," said Wombat. "That buffalo tricked us."
Crispy the Lion thought on the bright side. He could not believe that such a friendly looking buffalo could have told him a fib. He looked at all the rusty cars and trucks around him and was very glad he did not bonk into them in the dark.
"How do you know that this is not the big city if you have never seen the big city before?" Crispy said.
Wombat saw the logic in Crispy's statement and the smile on his face. "You are right, Crispy! I belieeeeeeve!"
Crispy winked at a bus. He was not a very good rock climber and he was not a very good classical composer. But he was definitely not silly. He knew that this place was not the big city and he had used positive thinking to turn it into something that was just as good.
"I still need to find some nice bush food. I do not want to disappoint my new friend," he told the bus. Crispy thought about all of the food he liked. Oatmeal cookies, burritos, gummi worms and doughnuts. He did not see any of those things in this place.
So he grunted. He strained. He closed both of his eyes and wished he was a walrus! When he opened them again, everything was exactly the same as before.
He bit a wheel off the bus.
"I found a giant doughnut for my friend the bush!" he declared. "We can journey home now."
Wombat smiled to himself. Crispy sure was a splendid lion.
Burning the Middle Ground
22 hours ago