Kairi Look. “Ville the Lemur Flies the Coop”

Reading sample

When the freight truck reached Paris, both the buns and jam were gone to the last crumb, not to mention the wieners. Pierre dozed with an empty basket set under his head as a pillow, curled up into a ball between the packages. Ville had also fallen asleep while letting the wieners settle in his stomach. They were awoken by the screech of brakes.

“Eeh, where are we?“ Ville asked as he rubbed his eyes drowsily and rubbed his stiff behind.

Pierre jumped to his feet and climbed eagerly onto the pile of packages next to the window to take a look at their surroundings. After a quick glance outside, he turned his nose towards Ville. “In Parr-rriiiiiiis,“ he whispered happily, and jerked his tail back and forth excitedly. “At last! After long adventures, endless trekking and anticipation, we‘ve finally arrived in the capital of the world.“ Pierre charged down the mountain of packages, threw open the truck‘s doors, and solemnly inhaled Paris through his nostrils with his eyes closed. The squirrel‘s snout-fur rippled in the gentle afternoon wind. “My darling, here I come! Where living like a breeze is now just beginning!“ he trumpeted in a low, booming voice, and raised his paws towards the sky.

Pierre’s life hadn’t always been fine and dandy in the very least. During his youth in the forest (his name was still Pete back then), everyone knew him as an expert lazybones, and as a rather untalented squirrel in general. Pierre loved praise, but he couldn‘t be bothered to master a single ability properly. He survived the winters only thanks to his family, who supported their son with room and board. Pierre regarded regular squirrel life, where the animals were supposed to help one another and stock up on supplies for dark days, as humdrum and old-fashioned. During his last winter in the forest, when the other squirrels were gorging atop their piles of nuts, Pierre turned down all the offers of food, shivering stubbornly on a branch and starving. By spring, the squirrel had dwindled down to the size of a thin rat, and decided that he‘d had enough. He took a new, cosmopolitan name for himself, and moved to Paris. In a flash, the average forest  squirrel transformed into an urbane city animal, who had exotic acquaintances in the country. And now, greeting France from the back of a truck, he had made it back to his fashionable home.

Translated by Adam Cullen