The House-Moose and the Eleven Children of a Negligent Man

The House-Moose and the Eleven Children of a Negligent Man

A Story by John Lauterbach
"

A modern tall-tale.

"

I looked out my window one morning in January to find a swirling blizzard. The wind had no particular direction in mind to sweep the snow that day, forming small twisters that broke against my house. I made a fire and put on some coffee and saw out my window…

Across the frozen plane of the pond, the unmistakable silhouette came into view of a house. I do not have visible neighbors where I live, not in the woods. Now this is just nonsense because houses don't just appear in blizzards. None the less there it was and it was moving.

 As the house moved closer, I saw a moose beneath the house; carrying it without a care. “Hunh. What a strange dream.” I said to myself. I scratched my head and went back to bed. It’s absurd after all, a moose walking around, carrying an entire house.

A short while later, my phone was ringing. I groaned a “Hello?” to whoever was on the other end. It was my panicked neighbor, Alice; though she isn’t usually panicked. She exclaimed and explained; “Rocky! There’s a moose in my refrigerator! In my house! With another house!”

“… A mousse? ” I groaned. “What? Why call and tell me that?” I wasn’t helpful to anyone right now.

“A living moose! This moose barged into my house and broke my door… with another house!”

“What?” I closed my eyes again and teetered on the edge of sleep again. This moose dream is persistent.

“It shoved me out of my house. Now I’m stuck in the car with the heat on, no shoes and just pajamas.”

The heater roaring and her chattering teeth were more audible after she mentioned them. At the very least, she was in trouble and needed my help.

“Alright. Call animal control and I’ll be right there. I’ll bring some extra clothes too.”

“Thanks, Rocky.”


                       ***


I arrived at Alice’s house and saw nothing wrong, aside from her car running. I tapped on the glass to get Alice’s attention before getting in the passenger’s seat.

“So, tell me what happened again?”

The car was unbearably hot, I wanted to open a window or go back into the snow. But Alice wanted even more warmth; grabbing the clothes out of my arms.

“Oh… thank you so much for the clothes. Um… I woke up to a lot of noise downstairs. When I went to check it, there was a moose and a house blocking my way downstairs. It forced me outside through the upstairs window, and it’s still in there… What?”

Her question made me realize that I was giving her a bad look.

“Go see for yourself! And lemme get changed while you do it, Mr. I-don’t-trust-Alice!”

She kicked me out of the car, but I was glad to be back in the cold. The heat was making me sleepy again. Still, she’s acting weird today. Maybe I should check through the house, like a boogie-man hunt. That should calm her down.

I opened the front door and walked directly into a dark brown haunch of hair, like a furry wall. It surprised me, as I thought I would be walking into an open space. “Why is this here?” I wondered. I circled the house looking through the windows. It was the same thing; brown hair, some of it even had vinyl siding mashed in. None of it broke the glass though. Accepting the idea that this really is a moose packed into Alice’s house, the moose must be mousse-like to some degree. I came to the back door and wondered what would be on the other side. As I turned the doorknob, the door flung itself open and an antler shot into my stomach, knocking me over. The house sighed while I gasped. It was definitely a moose antler sticking out of the door. More than that; an ear was in the upper corner, waving the snow away endlessly. As I lay on my back in the snow, knowing there’s a moose inside my neighbor’s house, along with another house, I wondered about the importance of a proper breakfast; and about how hungry I am. I left the door open, not wanting to deal with the warped logistics of containing that antler. Besides, no one is going to get in the house like this.

At the car, Alice was fully bundled and grinning smugly at the snow and dirt ground into my coat.

“You believe me now?”

“I believe that we should go to Dianne’s for breakfast. This is too weird for an empty stomach.”

“I’ll buy, to thank you for coming to get me.” Alice said, still grinning and knowing she had won for earlier.


                       ***


            Dianne’s Diner was a classic little place with smoke-stained ceilings, faded paint and dulled chrome. I’m something of a regular here, though the era it lives in makes it something like my grandmother’s diner. All the waitresses were older women who still wanted to work, or their grandchildren. I suspect they all play bridge together. Today, there was a light blue RV with a big ox decal in the parking lot and no one else. The snow was still coming down; maybe it’s a snow day?

            Inside was empty except for 5 tables packed together in the middle of the floor. There were eleven children squalling around the tables, not even discriminating whose plate of breakfast was whose. In the eye of the storm of kids was a giant of a man; the kind of man who could shapeshift into a bear without ruining their clothes or cause too much surprise in those around him. Today, it wouldn’t surprise me if he actually did shapeshift.

            Dianne herself came to take our order. Alice and I got waffles, eggs, home-fries, sliced fruit, sausages and coffee. We tried to talk over the whirlwind in the middle of the restaurant, waiting for Animal Control to call us back about our moose problem. Eventually, the circus of kids became our way to pass the time.

The giant man and Dianne were talking as if they had known each other for years. She was asking too many questions for that to be the case, but the great graying man seemed to be interesting. We listened in on their conversation…

             "We're looking for our home," He said casually. "Sometimes I don't... pay attention entirely. Anyways, my kids and I went on a road trip last year to tour family owned diners all over the country. By the time we had finished and made our way home, our home wasn't there anymore."

"I’m sorry to hear that. You know how people are; if it's not tied down..." Dianne replied sympathetically.

"Ho, you have no idea!" He exclaimed with a bellowing laugh. "So we went about looking for our missing home…” Dianne looked confused. He continued; “sleeping in motels and camping out... We already knew where the best food was across the country." He smiled, asserting his favoritism towards diners while his kids continued to fly around the table like the snow outside. "The longer we did it, the faster things seemed to go. Even the bills seemed to get cheaper, it was great! Of course we were all tired and wanted to be home, but the vagabond life is pretty fun too."

"So you found your home finally?" Dianne asked, trying to clarify the story for herself.

"Of course we did!" the man said as he stopped and pulled in two of his children with enormous lumberjack hands. "We found it, unpacked and then noticed I only had these two with me! Gah ha ha ha!" The man laughed uncontrollably while Dianne and Alice let their shock show. This day was too strange for a proper reaction from me. I think I laughed with him.

 The bear-man continued; "So of course, I had to leave my house again and track down all these little buggers. What kind of father would I be otherwise?”

“What kind of father is he?” Alice said to me quietly.

“We do roll-call now, so I know this is all of ‘em. But now we can’t find our home again."

"Wait, you forgot where you live again?" Dianne asked patronizingly.

"Of course not! How could I forget where I live, that's ridiculous!"

At this point, I had fallen victim to the weirdness of the day. I didn’t care if I sounded crazy.

 "S'cuse me sir, is your house carried by a moose?"

The whole table looked at me, Dianne the only one obviously thinking I was crazy. His eyes brightened and his beard arranged itself into a smile. All the children stopped to grin with him, bursting with hope and certainty.

"You've seen it! Where was it?!" He asked, turning his chair towards Alice and me.

"It's squatting in my friend's home at the moment." I gestured to Alice, who waved at the man. Her bewilderment was clear, even though her house was the one with the moose in it. “It should still be there,” I continued; “we called Animal Control, but I don’t think they are taking us seriously.”

He sat up in an instant that would have tipped the table over if he were still facing it. "Take me there; I'll get that devil out of your hair. I’m Paul, by the way! C'mon kids, we're going home!" All eleven cheered in unison as if a teacher had just announced the class was going to an amusement park for the day. Alice paid our bill while Dianne sat down, exhausted from waiting on the bizarre mob.


                       ***


 Leading the blue RV back to Alice’s home, things still looked relatively undisturbed in the front yard. Paul emerged, blocking out the ox decal with his huge body seeming bigger than the whole vehicle.

“He’s in there?” Paul asked both of us.

“Yeah, but how are we going to get him out?” Alice asked after him while he orbited around the house.

“Leave it to me, you take it easy. Bruce isn’t the most hospitable and probably gave you a bad time.”

“Yeah, that’s about right.” Alice commented. Paul came to the back door, where Bruce’s snow-covered antler and snowless, batting ear were still sticking out. Paul put his hands on his hips and puffed out his chest with a grin. “This is perfect!” The children came from around the sides of the house and gathered around him. Paul grabbed the antler and dug his heels into the patch of dirt I had uncovered earlier when the antler hit me.

“Alright Bruce, I’m pretty sure I left the coffee on, so you’re coming out!” Paul pulled with incredible might, digging into the frozen soil of Alice’s backyard. The moose inside, Bruce, gave way to Paul’s strength and came loose. “Yay dad!” “Get Bruce out of there!” “He doesn’t belong inside!” All his children cheered Paul on as he liberated the moose and his home from inside Alice’s house. It all took a normal form once it was outside of the back door, stretching and contorting enough to not rip the doorframe off. Soon enough, there was a full-sized house next to Alice’s, bobbing along with the breathing of Bruce underneath it. The children all congratulated their father, squealed and cheered some more.

“Kids, get your stuff from the Ox, we’re finally home! You two, thank you so much for letting me know about this. I don’t think I could have found him in a place like that.”

“Oh… I’m sure you would have heard about it sooner or later.” Alice replied.

“You’re right, Bruce isn’t very subtle either.”

The moose scanned the ground for edibles while the eleven children came and went, unpacking the RV. Paul tied a rope bridle around Bruce’s neck and face and a large chain from the back of the house to the RV. Paul climbed a ladder up to the front door of his house and turned to us.

“Thank you again, guys. I’ll look for you at that diner if we’re in the area again!”

“Take care, Paul!” Alice and I said.

He climbed in the front door and closed it with a smile. A few seconds later, a window opened right above Bruce’s head. Paul connected some rope reigns to Bruce’s bridle and began to guide the moose.

“See you guys around!” He shouted to us. We waved to him, his moose, Bruce, and his children sticking out of various windows on each floor. I was a little disappointed to see them all leave. Alice did not agree and rushed into her open door to check on all her things. The moose was actually very considerate of her things and left most of it intact.

“Ack! He ate all my muffins!” Alice despaired.

“I’m sorry, lady, Bruce has a mighty taste for muffins.” A small child’s voice sympathized.

© 2013 John Lauterbach



My Review

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Featured Review

I started out wondering how the moose was able to fit in the house; sometimes I analyse too much. but enter Paul and the RV with the Blue ox decal...
It was a fun story, the dialogue flowed well, and I was caught up with getting the moose/house back to "normal." Minus, the muffins...

Good luck, on your story! Diane

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Diane Lockard

4 Years Ago

Yes, you explained it very well. I look forward to more of your stories. It brought to mind the fabl.. read more
John Lauterbach

4 Years Ago

Pieces of them are involved, for sure. I have a few other little nods to moose-lit in there, too.
Diane Lockard

4 Years Ago

That is great; i have some poetry about nature and family on my site if you would like to check it o.. read more



Reviews

I really liked this. The way it is written I could quite easily believe its a fable from years ago. I love the absurdity too, it reminds me of Jasper Fforde. A wonderful tale, thanks for sharing.

Posted 4 Years Ago


John Lauterbach

4 Years Ago

I'm glad you liked it, thanks for the read!
Quite an interesting read. Good job. The story flows well, and is a little absurd, but it is a children's story so there are allowances for that. =)

Posted 4 Years Ago


John Lauterbach

4 Years Ago

A kids story with an allowance - they'll love it even more!
A goofy story to be sure. I think my favorite line was, "his beard arranged itself into a smile". Very enjoyable read. I'm a surrealist at heart and love this sort of thing.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

John Lauterbach

4 Years Ago

The story I'm working on now is similar to this one in terms of weird. Has to do with werewolves and.. read more
Haha! I loved this! It was really amusing. It was written really well, and the whole story had me laughing. Great job! :)

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

John Lauterbach

4 Years Ago

Thought I responded to this awhile ago... Thanks for the read! I've been submitting this story to ag.. read more
Dark Rider

4 Years Ago

I want to see that book when it does. XD I bet it will be awesome. And you're welcome. :)
I started out wondering how the moose was able to fit in the house; sometimes I analyse too much. but enter Paul and the RV with the Blue ox decal...
It was a fun story, the dialogue flowed well, and I was caught up with getting the moose/house back to "normal." Minus, the muffins...

Good luck, on your story! Diane

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Diane Lockard

4 Years Ago

Yes, you explained it very well. I look forward to more of your stories. It brought to mind the fabl.. read more
John Lauterbach

4 Years Ago

Pieces of them are involved, for sure. I have a few other little nods to moose-lit in there, too.
Diane Lockard

4 Years Ago

That is great; i have some poetry about nature and family on my site if you would like to check it o.. read more
Such a fun story. I like the muffin ending. The dialogue was especially easy to read, everything the characters say sounds so natural.

Posted 4 Years Ago


John Lauterbach

4 Years Ago

Thanks! I usually end up talking to myself when I write dialogue. Weird, but it gives that easy/natu.. read more
A fun and whimsical tale, thank you for sharing!

Posted 4 Years Ago


John Lauterbach

4 Years Ago

Thanks for reading!
This is a bizarre and fun tale! I enjoyed the little details such as the confusion of "moose" and "mousse", your characterization of the local diner, and that final quip about Bruce having "a mighty taste for muffins". I love the character of Paul - so absent-minded (I know some people a lot like him...) :) Enchanting tale!

Posted 4 Years Ago


John Lauterbach

4 Years Ago

I'm glad you liked it! I think it'll be fantastic with pictures; I'd love a style like the Coca-Cola.. read more

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526 Views
8 Reviews
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Added on April 19, 2013
Last Updated on May 25, 2013
Tags: Moose, Children, Fairy Tale, Tall Tale, Winter

Author

John Lauterbach
John Lauterbach

NY



About
I write. Sometimes I draw, too. I love harsh, valid criticism and provide the same. Workshopping between writers is a great feeling. That said, I started reading One Piece recently. All your read r.. more..

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