Short Story: Into The Woods

Another Story Art story written a while ago. This one was to use the prompts “checkbook”, “CD”, and “grid paper”. I was surprised at how much extra came out as I was thinking of how to make those interesting.
Into The Woods

 I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised at how little Marcel knew. He had been raised by wolves and could not be expected to, well, know anything, really. But it was my job to integrate him into human society, and I always take my jobs seriously.

 “That,” Marcel practically grunted when he talked. It was still disconcerting that he could understand so much more than he could say. He was pointing at a CD lying on the table. I’d brought a whole box of stuff from my house. I took it in my hand and, at the same time, said “It makes music.” I sang a few bars of Bob Seger, who seemed to be his favorite, and then handed it to him. He looked me, looked at the CD, sniffed it, held it up to his ear, looked at me again, and threw it across the room. Typical.

 Our sessions were almost always like this. Me, doing lots of talking and explaining. Him, the wild man, the wolf boy, who had been kidnapped at age five, left to die in the woods and been taken in by animals. At least, that was the conclusion of the rescuers. The Times had shown a healthy bit of skepticism, what with the rash of new performance artists attempting in one way or another to make a name for themselves. This might just be a struggling kid from junior college off in Pig’s Nipple, Arkansas trying to pull a fast one. I had been assigned to either retrain him correctly or expose him as a fraud. Either way, he was going to be a real human being again, and the paper would get all the glory.

 Once I had tried to kiss him. Actually did, too. He seemed surprised at the sensation of my lips touching his, unsure of what to do with the beginnings of a hard-on. I blushed for the two of us and returned to my work, displaying bananas and apples as things to eat. Showing what a wristwatch is, and the differences between digital and analog ones. Writing a letter. Showing him my checkbook, running perilously low.

 Marcel wasn’t really a good student. He seemed to be more interested in returning to the forest than in learning the ways of man. And I thought, too, about whether we were really saving him. And if we were, from what? Had he not been taken care of very well during his time in the forest? Had enough to eat? To drink? To play? To stay warm in winter and cool in summer?

 And if he was a fraud, wouldn’t letting him go back to that place expose him even faster than forcing him and I to perform this charade?

 Pencil. Pen. Notebook. Grid paper. Law. Rules. Society.

 I wanted to let him go, of course, to see him flourish or fail on his own. We were doing him no favors, but my supervisors wouldn’t budge. We have an obligation to every single member of the human race not to allow them to fall into perdition, they said. We must take care of those who cannot take care of themselves, or we are no better than the beasts, they said. We must demonstrate the innate primacy of man over nature, they said.

 Bull. They just want another headline. They just want another all-expenses paid tour. They just want to go on Letterman and talk about how damn great they are.

 I’m on to them. I don’t believe their lies. I don’t buy into their sanctimonious half-smiles. I’m calling their bluff. Tomorrow morning the truck is coming, and we’re going to go back to the woods, Marcel and me, and we’re going to show them just who’s stupid. Together. For today, though, we have one more lesson. Naked. Penis. Erection. Orgasm.


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