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The Mole

by Brian Brock

Once there was a mole, who lived in a beautiful green flood-plain valley. He ran amok in the many grasses, which he had catalogued and classified, according to their size, availability, and edibility, in a terminology only understood by moles. He rolled around in the dirt and had a grand time all day, and at night he had a little hole he had dug himself, just the right size for a mole.

His life had followed this course for his remembered past, and indeed many generations ago his ancestors had lived in the very same spot.

Then, one day some big hairless creatures came spewing strange noises from their throat-holes. They were people, and they seemed pretty happy. The mole was less bothered than bemused, at first. Still, he was concerned, so he dug his hole a little bigger, a little deeper, so as not to be too bothered. He stayed underground until they left each day. Soon, though, they arrived riding on enormous metal things. Maybe these were "elephants".

They rode around on the machines, removing trees, smoothening dirt bumps, digging pits (which they filled with a gritty blonde dirt the mole had never seen or imagined) and moving various rocks. This last was particularly interesting to the mole. He had moved quite a bit of earth himself, but gave up on many of these rocks, which the grindingly loud men moved easily. Their project was on a huge scale, and being a little overwhelmed, the mole went down early that day, and dug deeper, and decided to stay there until the people stopped.

A few days later, or was it weeks? In the dark you can't tell, but after some time, the mole had a network of tunnels under the machinery. When he finally climbed up to the air, the mole was hungry. Looking around, he saw that most of the tastiest grasses were gone, or cut short. The whole place was different. There was a wide field, but so mown as to be useless for food, littered with sand pits, and nearby there was a little hole.

But not a mole-hole. It was a golf ball hole, and this was now a golf course.

Then, suddenly there were voices nearby. A person said "Ah! There's that mole, the little bugger! Always digging up my beautiful fairways. A menace to a good golf course, that animal. Well, let's be rid of him right now then!" Now, if moles could understand human speech, and if moles could speak it, too, well, then this mole would have explained that at first his hole had really been quite small, and that he had only deepened it out of fear of the "fairways" and "golf course" and growling metal elephants; that he actually didn't enjoy digging nearly as much as rolling in and then eating tall grasses. But as moles can neither understand nor speak words, the mole simply took his cue from the frightening sound of the person's voice. He dug deep, deep into the earth.

A little while later, the mole felt a bit less nervous, and began to wonder if he would ever leave his home again, when something happened. A little ball of sweet-smelling stuff rolled down the hole. It landed right at his feet, and he gobbled it up on instinct impelled by days of hunger.

But... it was poison, and he died. Right there in the hole. He never would return to the green valley of his ancestors.

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