Furry Normandus Ciboulette
About the book:
This is a short novel with adventures throughout its 30 chapters. The decisions which our protagonist, Drusilla, has to make account for a dynamic narrative with lots of humor. It is a quick read, action-filled page turner set in a futuristic scenario, where a confident, smart girl deals with an artificial pet technology while making every effort to preserve nature (or what is left of it): a contradiction she inadvertently falls into, and which is fundamental to present-day children and young adults.
The book includes black and white illustrations by visual artist Lucas Aguirre.
Our readers are impressed by the idea of “The Pit of Muck” and the environmental protection organization called “Earthineers”: they always ask us if they actually exist. We conducted a reading test with nine and ten-year-old children, and the result was an average of 2 days to read the entire novel, without any preestablished reading time expectations.
Warning to the reader
If I have decided to tell this story, it is out of sheer regret. It is my fault that a Felterris is now on the prowl, who knows where. “Cub Number Ten” —as it is being called in the search— could be anywhere: a pumpkin plantation, camouflaged as a household pet, flying over some park, or, as my grandma Haydee surmises, in a black hole, inhabiting another universe. Regardless of its whereabouts, I shudder when I imagine what catastrophes could be unleashed by a single specimen --or hundreds of them (it may have managed to reproduce).
If my testimony speaks to you, or if you have any information or suspect the presence of a Felterris, please share what you know with family and friends, and do not hesitate to call the Earthineers.
We must remain alert, act quickly and without hesitation. It could appear at your window at any time and, before you can even blink, cause unstoppable damage or dramatically alter the laws of nature.
Just as it happened to me. But first I should tell you my story from the beginning.
May the sprout be,
May the dawn be.
May the green roads be plentiful,
The green pathways...
1. A Furry Gift out of Nowhere
The Furry was stuck to the windowpane, knocking its head with clumsy movements to attract my attention. It resembled a big, disheveled, and luminous stuffed bird, but it had no wings or beak.
I opened the window to take a closer look, but before I could touch it, the alarm went off and my Screen lit up. It had to be something important, it is never so loud. So, I checked it out right away.
“Congratulations, Drusilla!!!,” yelled a cheerful voice, with trumpets sounding in the background. “You have been selected to own a Felterris, an extraordinary endangered species!” And then another voice, in a stern tone, warned: “Before touching the pet, please read the instruction manual.”
2. Instruction Manual
Felterris care and maintenance
1. It does not scratch, sting, or bite. It contains no added venoms.
2. Do not wash it; it is equipped with self-cleaning sensors.
3. It feeds on plants, herbs, flowers, etc.
4. It does not defecate or produce any smells (it processes food and then absorbs it through its fur).
5. It may breed only once. The cub will come out of its mouth, without any help. Keep the cub in a dry, dark place for a week.
6. The Felterris produces its own energy; it does not use rechargeable batteries nor is it connected to a wireless cradle charger.
7. It can fly.
Who could have sent it? Was it a newborn? Were there other Felterrises in the world? An endangered hybrid? Odd, I said to myself while opening the window. Oh, but it was so cute, so cute! And it could fly!
“Never look a gift horse in the mouth,” as my grandma Haydee says when someone shows signs of buyer’s remorse, or searches for some flaw in a present. If it had been sent to my home, there must be a reason for it. And that made me feel privileged.
3. Distinguishing Marks
At first sight, there were no electronic fleas, no antennas, no cameras. For safety reasons, I inspected it with a magnifier, and I wrote everything down on a file (just like I do with the hens, but I will explain that some other time):
Shape: Slightly oval (like a melon).
Circumference: 20 inches.
Fur: Long, thick hair; reddish orange.
Limbs: Four short, firm hooves.
Vision: Two silver, round eyes.
Nose: Holes below the eyes?
Mouth: In the middle. Larger, coin-sized orifice.
It reacts to the stimulus of a spoon: it opens its mouth; no tongue or teeth are visible.
Ears: Does it have any?
Sounds: Up to now, it has emitted no sound.
Although a hybrid, it looked quite normal. You know, it is no good being suspicious about everyone all the time, as grandma Haydee says; so, I took a deep breath and decided to give it a loving hug. I slid my fingers slowly from his head down, feeling the most tender terracotta body I had ever touched. Oh! It was so so soft! And so tame! I felt I was more than privileged to have received this unexpected gift. I felt I wanted to keep it as my pet forever.
4. Essential Questions
Have you ever regretted a decision you made? In my case, I have... Soon I started to have doubts about the Felterris. Would it affect the environment? What would it be like to share my home with a pet? And what burdened me the most, what would my mates from the irrigated lands say when they found out? They have always said that only cats and dogs can be pets, and that one should be careful with anything else. The news on the Screen everyone was talking about also came to my mind:
“Small animal with dog’s body and crocodile’s jaw attacks old man”
“Panic at a kindergarten. Six-eared African feline suffers a failure in its volume controls and blows into a million pieces.”
Just like any kind of technology, pets have failures, we all know that. As my mom says, now no one is satisfied with tail-wagging or yarn-playing pets. Tabletop polar bears, two-headed giraffes, fish-tank dolphins, pocket lions... Ever since the Main Office allowed people to tame any animal —even hybrids—, the catalogs have become endless: pets for decor, for domestic help, for rehabilitation, against boredom, anti-stress, cloned, edible without added sugar, air fresheners, etc., etc., etc.
Translated by Jorge Rafael Abuchedid / Cecilia Della Croce