StorySeep

Before our births, void of choice, we became part of the story,
During our lives, with a choice, we can't escape the story,
After death, abandoned choice, the story continues to seep.
- Andrew Mansell

City Dweller and Bush Brother

Photo by Ed

A city dweller went home to visit his brother who lived in the bush. The city dweller’s shady financial dealings and unpaid debts had led to threats on his life if he didn’t pay up. He hoped over lunch to convince his brother to lend him some money although he knew his brother was doing it tough. For lunch Bush Brother served baked beans on toast and half a glass of water to wash it down. City Dweller ate the food with contempt and Bush Brother knew his brother only ate to be polite.

After the meal the brothers had a long talk, well rather City Dweller told his brother of a glamorous life working on the share market and how he needed 50 grand, right away, to kick off an even better life. The only money the bush brother mentioned was his superannuation for when he was too old to work. City Dweller did his best to convince Bush Brother to access his retirement money and promised he could double it within a month. At night Bush Brother let City Dweller sleep in his bed while Bush Brother slept on the couch. Bush Brother dreamt of fancy restaurants, fast cars and beautiful women that City Dweller had told him about. In the morning when City Dweller asked Bush Brother to come to the city in his limousine, he instantly agreed.

When they reached the restaurant below City Dweller’s penthouse suite, Bush Brother felt he was in heaven. He looked at the menu and decided on smoked oysters, a sour cherry roulade and French champagne. A waiter came to the brothers’ table and whispered in City Dweller’s ear, ‘Jazzy says you have one week to pay up, otherwise you’ll be used as fodder for his four legged piranhas.’ City Dweller told Bush Brother there was a crisis at work and they would have to eat later.

Bush Brother stayed all day in City Dweller’s suite, reading glossy magazines, admiring gold framed paintings and staring out the window at the million dollar view, waiting for his brother to return. At last when he did return, Bush Brother was hungrier than usual but City Dweller had some bad news. The share market had crashed and he had no money to pay for the meal. ‘Unless you can access your retirement money, all of this is gone. Come on brother, we need that money, otherwise you may also have to walk home,’ City Dweller said.

‘Alright, what do I have to do?’

City Dweller pulled some forms from his back pocket. ‘Sign these,’ he said.

Three days later the money came through and City Dweller paid off some of his debts. He still had more debts though and decided he needed his brother out of the way in order to inherit his bush property.

‘As you’ll be living the high life with me soon, you won’t need your bush home City Dweller said. ‘How about we sell it?’

‘I don’t think so, that’s all I have left besides you.

‘You’re making a big mistake.’

Bush Brother, although disappointed with City Dweller, was not angry. ’Let’s walk together down to your limousine and you can drive me home,’ he said. ‘We could get another tin of baked beans after sowing some barley?’

City Dweller decided to drive. Half way back to the bush he stopped the limousine on a deserted track and told his brother to get out. As Bush Brother began to breathe in the clean bush air, City Dweller shot and killed his brother then pushed him down into a gully.

City Dweller has the rest of his life now to pay off his debt. He sits in a small prison cell and has plenty of time to look through the bars of a tiny window that offers a glimpse of the bush.

 

 

Short Commentary

Fairy tales (along with fables as in my case) have been the inspiration for my creative response. City Dweller and Bush Brother is based on Aesop’s fable The Town Mouse and the Country mouse, one of my favourite fables that I can distinctively remember from my childhood. My version or the fable keeps the basis of the original by having the interaction of only two characters which lends to the story being easy to follow and understand. I have also tried to keep a moral in my adaptation to keep consistency with the elements of the original fable.

In the tradition of fairy tales being far more gruesome in their origins than their watered down contemporary versions, I decided to create a more sinister adaptation of my initial creative response that is less suited for children but still captures a moral as do most traditional fairy tales.

Fairy tales in their origin were not for a sheltered mind although they often seem on the surface to be just for children. If you delve deeper into their history, it becomes clear they were originally written for adults. Scenes of rape in the original version of Snow White and the murder of children in the original tale of The Pied Piper would have the classification makers of today quickly removing their children’s ratings. I have drawn on these dark fairy tale origins and applied them to my full version of City Dweller and Bush Brother. When City brother drives Bush brother to a deserted track, he kills him and pushes his dead body down into a gully.

If you feel uncomfortable with sharing the content of City Dweller and Bush Brother with children, in the spirit of fairy tales not being what they seem, I reveal below a version of my short tale that is more suitable for a younger audience. Every word from the watered down version, in order, is found in the full version Just as fairy tales are not always as they seem so is the modern fairy tale I have written. A fable lies beneath. Is this fable a tale on its own or is it the beginning of a fairy tale?

 

City Dweller and Bush Brother (watered down version)

A city dweller went home to visit his brother who lived in the bush. For lunch Bush Brother served baked beans on toast and half a glass of water to wash it down. City Dweller ate the food with contempt and Bush Brother knew his brother only ate to be polite. After the meal the brothers had a long talk, well rather City Dweller told his brother of a glamorous life working on the share market. At night Bush Brother let City Dweller sleep in his bed while Bush Brother slept on the couch. Bush Brother dreamt of fancy restaurants, fast cars and beautiful women that City Dweller had told him about. In the morning when City Dweller asked Bush Brother to come to the city in his limousine, he instantly agreed.

When they reached the restaurant below City Dweller’s penthouse suite, Bush Brother felt he was in heaven as he looked at the menu and decided on smoked oysters, a sour cherry roulade and French champagne. A waiter came to the brothers’ table and whispered in City Dweller’s ear. City Dweller told Bush Brother there was a crisis at work and they would have to eat later. Bush Brother stayed all day in City Dweller’s suite, reading glossy magazines, admiring gold framed paintings and staring out the window at the million dollar view, waiting for his brother to return. At last when he did return, Bush Brother was hungrier than usual but City Dweller had some bad news. The share market had crashed and he had no money to pay for the meal. ‘You may also have to walk home,’ City Dweller said. Bush Brother, although disappointed with City Dweller, was not angry. ‘Let’s walk together,’ he said. ‘We could get another tin of baked beans after sowing some barley?’

Andrew Mansell, Dec 2012.

   

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