Andrea Tufekcic talks to Canvas Lit Board member Ana Anaya about her short story "The Fox and the Hound" and how she loves unreliable narrators.
Listen to the story
as read by the author
"THE BOOK INSIDE THE STORY" CONTEST
The Fox and the Hound
I am thrust into her hands suddenly, and She hugs me to her chest like the way all small children do to things they have thrust into their hands suddenly. A bright babble I don’t know yet serves as our background music. I’ve been talking to the other, older ones, and they all agree big meetings should have background music. I am happy.
She puzzles over my squiggles later, and I feel them settle happily into her brain where they belong. I don’t know much what they mean (and, I feel, neither does She) but the message is inescapable- warmth, friendship, love, home. I am plonked down on the shelf but don’t spend much time there- She yanks me off and crows my squiggles in that bright babble to everyone. A small yellow furry thing is an often and eager listener, and She points at my squiggles and then to it, bright squeals pouring out. She is happy.
One day, I’m plonked down and sit. I sit for a long time. When I am moved, I’m placed on a lower shelf, to make room for bigger ones with fancier faces. She doesn’t crow in that bright babble anymore. Her babble is not that bright anymore. The ones I sit with get replaced, get discarded, get forgotten. Soon only I sit, waiting. A fat yellow furry thing sniffs by me sometimes, chews me a little. She usually shoos it off, but not always. I have a tear in my top from when it munched on me unnoticed. Still, I sit.
She trails her fingers over my top slowly sometimes, reminiscing, then lets out a resigned sigh and tugs a bigger one off a higher shelf. I don’t like those bigger ones. They stay for a bit then move on, are replaced by even bigger ones with bright faces. I have a simple face, but I made her happy. These ones don’t. She doesn’t babble when She reads them- mostly She shouts and sighs and groans and for a long time doesn’t read them at all. Later this stops and She reads them all, quickly and almost shaking when She used to sleep, like they didn’t settle in her head right the first time, but they always move on anyway. The yellow thing stops chewing me, stops sniffing me. Mostly it sleeps, more and more each day. I don’t get torn.
She stands in front of us with a black bag, thinking. She picks one of the smaller books and puts it in the bag, shoves the rest over, grabs another, rearranges the order, grabs another, puts it in the bag. The yellow furry thing toddles out of the room. It has been asleep for a long time lately, and it walks slowly. She trails her finger over my top again, picks me up, looks at the bag. Then there’s a noise. I think it’s a shout. She drops me and the bag and runs. We sit on the floor for a long time. The yellow furry thing doesn’t come. Neither does She.
She walks back in later, and I stare, as best I can. Her face is covered in water, and I wonder why she doesn’t crumble. She picks me up and stares. Suddenly I am self-conscious. All the others are bigger than me, with more squiggles and better faces. Will She put me in the bag?
Another, smaller Her walks in, covered in water like She is. Smaller Her makes a babble noise, and She makes one back. Quietly, I get thrust into smaller Her’s hands. She hugs me to her chest, like all small children when something is thrust into their hands. She helps smaller Her with my squiggles, and I feel the warmth of a new mind to settle in. Warmth, friendship, love, home. Smaller Her’s mind doesn’t have enough of this. I seep into her, and smaller Her smiles. A bright babble fills the air again, and soon my squiggles are crowed just like they used to be. Smaller Her plonks me on her shelf, but I am never there for long. Sometimes She flips wistfully through my pages, and I feel the familiar echo of my squiggles in her mind. I am happy.
Andrea Tufekcic is a sixteen-year old junior at Webster Schroeder High school. She spends her days developing and dismissing story arcs, but occasionally one will wriggle out onto paper and become a story. She first began to write when she realized that the world was disappointingly devoid of magic and neat little plots, so she started to make her own. Writing is a joy and she is absolutely flabbergasted that her little scribbles will be read by an audience.