Zoot and Sandy

elephant

Dream Thieves

Sandy the elephant and Zoot the dog were, without doubt, the best of pals in the whole wide world. They loved to sit by the river and watch time floating past their little seat.

They were always comfortable in each other’s company, so much so that most times they never felt the need to talk – sometimes this lasted for hours. Just the one being at their side was enough for the other.

“How come we never talk?” asked Sandy to his pal one day.

“Well, perhaps we hear too much talking in our lives away from the beach,” said a very thoughtful Zoot.

“You know,” said Sandy. “I don’t know too much about your life and you don’t know much about mine but it doesn’t seem to matter.”

“No, it doesn’t,” said Zoot but there was a feeling that he would like to have known more. “Did you never want to do something with your life?” asked the dog.

“I did, I still do,” said the elephant. “I want to be an opera singer.”

“That’s cool, I never knew that about you,” said Zoot the dog.

“What about you?” asked Sandy.

“Well, I’ve always wanted to be a footballer,” said a very proud Zoot.

“So why haven’t you?” asked a curious elephant.

“Because dogs don’t play football and if I might bring it up, elephants don’t sing in operas,” said Zoot, sadly.

And even ‘though they discussed it for the rest of the day neither of them could remember where they’d read that dogs didn’t play football and elephants didn’t sing in operas.

The following day was very like the previous one with the friends sitting by the river watching life fly by them.

“I couldn’t sleep last night,” said Sandy. “I have been thinking about the opera and my singing. What would my family say?” he asked to no one in particular. “And what about my friends?”

Zoot thought for a moment then said, “I am your friend and I would be proud if you sang and if the singing made you happy.”

Sandy asked Zoot if he wanted anything. Zoot told him that he wanted to be a footballer. Apparently dogs were very good at playing football except people never gave dogs a chance.

Then Sandy told Zoot a story about the most dangerous people in the whole wide world. Some of these people weren’t born dangerous, some couldn’t be anything other than dangerous and some didn’t mean to be dangerous.

Zoot wanted to know who these people were and where they lived.

“They live everywhere,” said Sandy.

“Everywhere?” asked Zoot.

“There have a name, one they don’t mention but they know each other by sight. They are called the Dream Thieves.”

Zoot looked confused. “So that is why you are not an opera singer and I am not a footballer?”

Sandy told Zoot that the Dream Thieves didn’t have any power of their own; after all they would prefer that everyone lived in caves – that we were all constantly in the dark.

“They live off your fear. By thinking you are not good enough feeds them with power.”

“How do we beat the Dream Thieves?” asked Zoot.

“By only trusting yourself,” said Sandy proudly.”The Dream Thieves are really the scared ones. They don’t want you to do something they are afraid to do themselves.”

Zoot thought for a few moments and then stood.

“I am off to play football, I’ll see you tomorrow,” said Zoot and whistled all the way home.

 

The Birds

As always, Sandy the elephant and Zoot the dog were the best of pals in the whole wide world and were sitting by the river.

“Them things in the sky,” said Zoot.

“The birds?” Asked Sandy.

“Yup, the birds, do you think they are happy?”

“I guess so,” said Sandy. “Why wouldn’t they be?”

“I wish I could fly,” said Zoot.

Sandy smiled to himself about flying dogs and then remembered that story about flying elephants.

“Why would you want to do a thing like that – flying , it’s dangerous,” said Sandy.

“Not for the birds, it isn’t.”

“Yeh, but they don’t know any better. Flying is all they know.” Sandy was getting worried about Zoot.

“What’s up, Zoot?”

“I’m fed up being a dog, I want to be able to fly.”

“Don’t you think, that one of those birds is looking down at us and saying, I wish I was an elephant or a dog, so that I can stay on the ground – I’m tired of always flying?”

“Nope.”

“I can bet you they do. It’s they way we are all made. Wishing to be something or someone else.”

“I do it all the time,” said Zoot. “I’m always wishing I wasn’t a dog.”

“That’s because being a dog is easy for you, you were born a dog, and despite what you wish for, you’ll probably die a dog. Unless you’ve got a hankering to tie a pair of wings on your back; it’s because you’re a dog, you don’t see how special that is.”

“I don’t know what you mean,” said a confused Zoot.

“We’re all made to be something that’s different from everything else. No matter what you say, Zoot, you’re unique.”

“I am?”

“Of course you are, and more importantly you’re my pal. Do you think I would be friends with just anyone?”

“I guess not,” said Zoot, who was a little more pleased.

“Some are made to fly, some are born to dance, some to sing, some to stand and see the stars. All of us, and I mean all of us, are different from the next thing. Even the leaves on the trees are all different.”

“So what are you saying, Sandy?” Asked Zoot.

“That you were born to be a dog, Zoot, my friend. And even if there is a dog kinda like you in the future, he won’t have been born in this time, knowing me, doing the things we do.”

“Like sitting by the river and talking?”

“Exactly. Too many people…”

“And animals,” added Zoot.

“And animals are unhappy with what they’ve got. But if they could only see that what they’ve got is a miracle then they’d stop wishing to be something else. You are what the universe made you. If you spend your days wishing it away, then you’ve turned your back on the universe. Why would anything want to do that?”

“So I should stop wishing I wasn’t a dog and just be happy.”

“You got it.”

“What about being a rich dog then?” Asked Zoot.

Sandy just looked at his buddy and smiled. That’s why he loved Zoot so much.

 

The Universe

Sandy the elephant and Zoot the dog were, without doubt, the best of pals in the whole wide world. They loved to sit by the river and watch time floating past their little seat.

“Looks like another great day,” said Zoot.

“It’s always a great day,” agreed Sandy. “Tell me something pal, what do you see when you look in the mirror?” Asked the elephant.

“Usually I notice that the paint in the wall behind me needs painting, that’s what I see. To be honest it annoys me,” said the dog.

“Anything else?” Asked Sandy in a real curious manner as elephants tended to do.

“Well I see me.”

“Aha!” Shouted Sandy.

“What? What have I said?” Questioned the dog, feeling as if he must have put his paw in it once again.

“You see what you think is yourself. What your brain tells you to see.”

“So you’re saying, that I ain’t a dog?” Asked Zoot.

“Of course you’re a dog, Zoot and if you don’t mind me saying, the best dog I’ve ever met. But you don’t see what I see.”

“Cause you see an elephant when you look in your mirror,” said Zoot smugly.

“I grant you that point, but when I look at you, I see you through an elephant’s brain and it won’t be what you see through a dog’s brain.”

“Is there a point to all of this?” Asked a perplexed Zoot.

“I’m just saying that we judge folks on what we see, and we sometimes think that they are wrong when all the time it’s just the way our brain is warping everything that makes us see them differently.”

“So we don’t really stand a chance at being fair, is that what you’re saying Sandy?”

“I’m just saying that you have to make allowances. I make allowances for you being a dog, just as you make allowances for me being perfect,” said Sandy with the biggest elephant grin.

“Oh I make allowances for you, that’s for sure,” said Zoot.

“Meaning what?” Asked a curious elephant.

“Meaning that you are much bigger than me and sometimes when you sit on the bench real hard, I shoot up several feet. Twice I’ve landed in the sea.”

“And I make allowances for you, Zoot when you get in to one of those ‘chasing your tail’ things.”

“I do it because it’s fun, Sandy.”

“Exactly Zoot. You see a wild thing that needs to be chased and I just see a dog’s tail. Beautiful as it is. No one sees the universe the same. Some people look at those birds and wonder where they’re headed. Some look at them and wonder what they’d taste like with some potatoes and some just look at them in wonder.”

“So what do we do, Sandy?”

“We make allowances for everyone and everything.”

And with that Zoot and Sandy just stared at the universe and saw different things.

 

Happiness

As always, Sandy the elephant and Zoot the dog were the best of pals in the whole wide world and were sitting by the river.

“You think them birds are going somewhere?” Asked Zoot to his pal.

“Why do you ask, young Zoot?” Replied Sandy in a fatherly kinda way.

“Oh, just wonderin’. Can’t help but wonder about life sometimes, that’s all.”

“You sickenin’ for somethin’?” Asked a concerned Sandy.

“Not that I know, I just wondered if those birds were lookin’ for happiness. You know they ain’t happy where they are, so maybe they fly on to somewhere else. Maybe happiness is a place.”

“Hold on one minute there, Buddy. What makes the birds happy might not make you happy. I mean, you’re a dog. Would eating seeds and berries and sitting on tree branches mean happiness to you?”

Zoot thought about it for a while.

“Why, I guess you’re right Sandy, ain’t nothin’ there that would make me happy. But maybe where there are trees and berries they’d be things to make a dog happy,too?”

“I ain’t sayin’ you’re right and I ain’t sayin’ you’re wrong. I’m just sayin’ to think about it different. Now we’re happy here sittin’ by the river and talkin’

about this and that and everythin’ else. Well ain’t we?”

“I guess,” said Zoot.

“All we got, is ourselves and the sea, and they ain’t chargin’ for that yet.”

“What about money ‘though, Sandy. Don’t that make folks happy?”

“Might do, for a short time,” said Sandy. “But then, if you’re only happy when you got money, you’re gonna have to keep getting’ money, to make you feel

you’re happy. Kinda like a drug or smokin’ or stuff.”

“So money don’t make ya happy,Sandy?”

“That ain’t what I’m sayin’, bud. I’m sayin’ if you need it to make you happy then you’re never going to be truly happy.”

Zoot thought about all this for a time, then said: “What about the birds. Don’t they travel somewhere else to be happy.”

“I can’t really talk for the birds, Zoot, but if goin’ somewhere else is gonna make you happy, you really need to have been happy before you started out.”

“I don’t understand,” said Zoot.

“You might travel to another place, and ‘cause it’s new or different…”

“…or both,” added Zoot.

“Or both, you might be convinced that you’re happy ‘cause it’s not where you came from. But give it long enough and the way you’re feelin’ will sink back into your thoughts, ‘cause the new place it ain’t so new anymore…”

“..or different,” added Zoot again.

“..or different.”

“So what you’re sayin’ is, if I ain’t happy here, I ain’t gonna be happy anywhere.”

“That’s about it. ‘Cause I got you and you got me and we both got the sea, and all that makes me happy.”

“And me.”

“And you, Zoot. So be happy here and now and you’ll always be happy.”

“How do I do that Sandy?”

“Just count your blessings, Zoot. Some folks would give everythin’ just to have what you have, but when you have it every day, you sometimes take things for granted. You forget how lucky you really are.”

“Tell you what, Sandy, I’m gonna walk home and count up my blessings all the way.”

“You do that, Zoot and I’ll see ya tomorrow, same place.”

“See ya tomorrow.”

Then Zoot started countin’ all the way home.
bobby stevenson 2017

never

 

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