How Jasper Grey Cleaned his Closet

by Doxian Thump
Józef Rapacki [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
“Chata Wiejska” (A Wooden House in Poland)

I live in a forest and have very few neighbors. Nevertheless there are two who live very close by, their houses being only a few yards from my own. One of them is Jasper Grey (not his real name), a very pleasant fellow I have known for years.

The other, Lucy Thornton (also, not her real name), moved into the area only a few years ago. She is obnoxious and overbearing. This is made all the worse by the fact that when she complains, she seems always to be telling the truth.

One day, Lucy went to Jasper and said, “Your house stinks! In fact, it stinks so badly that it makes the whole neighborhood smell bad!”

Jasper, whose feelings were hurt, came to me and asked, “Doxian, is this true? Does my house stink?”

I replied, kind person that I am, “I don’t know, Jasper, I haven’t been in it for several years.”

“Does it make the neighborhood smell bad?” he asked.

“Well, the neighborhood does smell bad, but I don’t know for sure that this is because of your house, because I haven’t been in it.”

Jasper thought briefly, and then he asked, “Why haven’t you come to visit?”

“Because the last time I did, it smelled so bad that it made me sick.” Like Lucy, I try to be truthful. I just try to be kind at the same time.

Jasper went away. Over the next few months, I noticed that the smell subsided. When summer came, I could smell flowers in my yard that I had not smelled for years. Something was happening.

One day, Jasper came up to me and told me why the smell had gone away. Personally, I don’t believe a word of his explanation. Nevertheless, I offer it to those who might make something of it.

According to Jasper, he went all through his house, trying to find a place that smelled worse than any other. Eventually, he came to realize that there was a closet in the bathroom that he had never noticed before. It was behind the door, on a bit of wall that was covered by a strange sort of curtain, which had been made to be as nearly invisible as possible by giving it the color of the wall.

Anders Askevold [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
“Study of Six Pigs”

When he opened the door, Jasper was overwhelmed by a vile stench, and when he looked in, he saw that he had been sharing his house with a very ugly, horribly filthy, extremely hostile pig.

“Good Lord!” Jasper said when he saw the pig. And then he said to the pig, as though the animal could understand him, “What are you doing here?”

“I live here! And I have lived here since long before you moved in! Probably since you were a little, foul-mouthed tyke!”

So Jasper had uncovered a talking pig, right in his own home. (I want you to know, I am not making this up. I am just repeating what Jasper told me.)

“Can’t you do something to clean up?” Jasper asked.

“No,” said the pig. “I can’t get into the shower stall. The only place I could get clean is outside. I would need help from someone who would hose me down and scrub me. But the biggest objection is that all the neighbors would see.”

Jasper put up a little fence-in area behind his house. No one could see it from any other building. No one could see it from the road. And even up close up, no one would be able to see into it.

The “secret garden,” as Jasper called it, was a perfect spot to clean the pig up. The pig was quite happy to be hosed, soaped, scrubbed, and rinsed every day. And as he was, he became more pleasant along with being less smelly. Very soon, he asked if he could sleep on the bed in the guest bedroom, which Jasper allowed because, after all, no one else would use it.

Jasper soon learned that the pig was named Teddy. And Teddy Pig was made so clean that he was shiny pink and round. He was happy, and he told Jasper all sorts of happy pig stories.

After a while, Jasper noticed that Teddy was growing wings. And soon, happy Teddy Pig flew away.

Jasper was not happy, because he knew he would miss Teddy. But he was also unhappy because the smell had not gone away. One good thing was that he found Teddy had left him a gift. It was a little book, bound in faux-pigskin, containing a single short story.

He looked into the closet with the idea that maybe it had to be completely cleaned up, and what do you suppose he found there? It was another foul-smelling, dung-covered, anti-social pig.

This time, it was relatively easy for Jasper to deal with the pig that lived with him in his house. He offered to scrub it clean, listening to whatever it felt like saying as he did so. Matilda Pig (no relation to Teddy) told him her tales of woe, feeling very much better with each passing day. In less than two weeks, she was as clean, pink, and round as Teddy. Like Teddy, she grew wings and flew away. And like Teddy, she left a little book, bound in faux-pigskin, though this time it contained a poem.

After that, Jasper returned to the closet, and one by one he found other pigs. Every pig was utterly abhorrent, filthy, socially unacceptable, when he found it. And each one was cleaned, scrubbed, made into a beautiful pig, grew wings, flew away, and left behind a little book of some sort of literature. I am sorry; I forgot that two of them left little books of book illustrations, but they all left books.

In time, the smell went away, Jasper told me, because he had run out of pigs. And, in fact, he had take all his little books to the city and found a publisher who was delighted with them, gave him a commission, and was bringing them to market.

Lucy moved out at the end of all of this, saying that there was no potential left for fulminating social revolution in the area. A pretty, young woman moved in, who loved to grow flowers and play a hammer dulcimer.

Now, I can tell you, I don’t believe a single thing Jasper told me about the pigs. And though I admit that the smell has gone away, for the most part, I don’t think it has anything to do with anything he told me. Truth be told, his house still smells bad. When I mentioned this to him, he said it was probably the kitchen, because he had not opened his refrigerator in several years.

© Copyright 2019, Metamorphorica

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