Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – July 3, 2004
Arthur, Roger & Duncan
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – July 3, 2004 – I’m intrigued by how easily we humans form relationships with inanimate objects. Pets, I can understand – they relate to us as we do to them. They have personalities, character and daily care requirements. They love us unconditionally (dogs) and conditionally (cats, birds, rabbits and reptiles). They interact with our lives and when they leave us, we grieve their loss.
On the other hand – an inanimate object may be rare, beautiful, greatly sot after, expensive or dollar store cheap. It doesn’t welcome us home, help with the dishes or soothe us in difficult times. It can however, give us great pleasure – as in art, sculpture, lovely furnishings and beautiful homes. We do form a relationship of sorts with these things.
This brings me to my fondness for my garden gargoyles. Arthur came to live with me around 1998. He is the typical gargoyle – dog like in appearance, big wide wings and a heavy chain around his neck. His face is a little punched in, his ears are short, and without being too unkind, I think he may be a little slow and dim-witted. You might find his picture under “thug” in the history of his species. He could probably be a bouncer or an enforcer and you probably don’t want to mess with him.
Underneath his tough exterior, he has a heart of gold, and in his homeland he probably watched over the little gargoyles when their parents went out for a rousing evening of neighbourhood shenanigans. I think you could count on Arthur in a pinch and he’s probably enormously loyal, although his commitment is not based on a well thought out evaluation of his circumstances.
He’s a follower not a leader, a bit shy, very physical and fearless. He undoubtedly carries a grudge and has a well-contained mean streak that runs just below the surface. He frequently laughs at jokes he doesn’t get and I don’t think he made it through high school. If you’re thinking of Holly heavyweights and the rolls they’ve made famous- Arthur is the Joe Pesci of gargoyles.
Roger found his way into my garden in May this year. He’s squat, with sharp pointy ears and thick wings. He has a wicked grin on his face. He is a leader – never a follower and a tireless instigator. He has no time or patience for the care and feeding of little gargoyles. You’d never catch him at a parade or lounging around a pool with friends. He is intelligent, street smart and cunning.
He’s given to moments of pettiness and he never forgets a slight. He makes up for his lack of physical good looks by being charming and personable, but this display of good natured bonhomie is for effect – never genuine. He has a stinging sense of humour, always gets the joke and never lets anyone else take centre stage when he’s in the garden. Roger is not a gargoyle to be trifled with, ignored or underestimated.
He is concerned with his interests only and can discard another with the casual flap of a wing. If he owes you, he will always pay up, because he has an unexpected sense of duty and obligation, but once things are square with you, don’t expect special treatment or recognition because of your past association. Never mess with this fellow – he can be ruthless. Roger is easily the Bob Hoskins of gargoyles.
Duncan came to live in my garden in June, this year He’s a tall elegant Griffin. He is highly intelligent – not street smart, dashingly good looking, arrogant, shrewd, charming, conceited, self-centred, witty not funny and impatient. He is a ceaseless gossip but can be kind and caring to the few whom he deems to be worthy of his attention. He has a soft spot for Arthur but always hedges his bets around Roger.
Duncan is thorough, thoughtful, capable of organizing great amounts of information and paying attention to every detail. He is a tireless pursuer of the ladies but not interested in clinging commitments. He never does the dirty work himself, preferring to wash his paws of the mundane. Duncan is to be trusted cautiously, if at all. He will honour a debt. He is definitely the Pierce Brosnan of gargoyles.
You can see why I have these three fellows guarding my yard and the back entrance to my home. At night I’m sure they fly out of my garden and sneak away to plan elaborate bank heists and other assorted smuggling and robbery capers. However, they’re always back home by sun up – perched on their familiar spots, daring me to question their night time activities. Cheeky fellows.
The garden wouldn’t be the same without their presence. Now that the sparrows have found my bird feeder and Trouble the black squirrel has found the bowl of nuts I put out for him on the concrete bench, the gargoyles are forced to endure birds perched on their heads, while they preen and watch for their turn at the feeder. But just wait until nightfall, when a young gargoyle’s thoughts turn to other things more important than presiding over a city garden in Toronto. Do you think it’s possible that I have altogether too much time on my hands? I’m betting that there is more to these gargoyles than meets the eye but I may never know for sure …