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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

Featured Review on this writing by Mark A George

This is what I learned from The Three Little Pigs.

Ing walked on the dirt trail, through the forest, until he reached the spot he was looking for.  A small meadow, healthy weeds indicating there was sun enough to grow a garden.  The land was level, suitable for construction.  Beyond the clearing, the trail wound downhill, ending at a small river.  The net in his pack would catch plenty of fish.
A thick stand of bamboo grew at the shore.  Perfect for building. Ing swung his machete and carried the hollow reeds on his shoulder up the trail.  By dark, he’d lashed together a four posted structure, with roof and floor, large enough to sleep on.  This will be a porch when the hut is complete.
The moon rose while Ing chewed on fish.  He thought about the town a few miles away.  The job he’d walked away from the day before.  It was good to have coins jingling in your pocket but Ing had reached his limit.  No more bosses, no more landlords, no more rules.
Ing smiled.  He knew the key to happiness was self-sufficiency.
In a few days, Ing finished his bamboo hut.  He piled up stones to form a fireplace and chimney.  The fire kept him warm at night and cooked the fish he caught and vegetables he grew in the garden.  When he tired of fish he hunted with a bow and arrow.  Life was good, until the day the storm came.
Dark clouds gathered and the wind began to blow.  Ing secured his belongings inside the hut and tied things down as best he could.  When the rain started falling, he huddled in front of the fire.
This was like no other storm Ing had seen.  After an hour of howling wind and pounding rain, water began dripping through the roof.  He’d arranged the straw, sedge, and reed in several layers, carefully interlocked and woven together.  But no thatch roof could survive such a storm.
Soon a hole appeared in the roof. Ing could see a hint of the moon through the clouds and the raging rain.  With one angry gust of wind, the rest of the roof tore off, tumbling into the garden.  The ropes that held the walls together loosened when they became soaked.  One by one, the walls fell over.  Ing huddled in the root cellar, cold and wet, and rode out the storm.
As the sun rose the next morning, Ing surveyed the damage.  The hut was destroyed.  He leaned the largest piece of wall against a tree to make a temporary shelter.  Then gathered the belongings that hadn’t blown away.  He grabbed his axe and surveyed the hillside for suitably sized trees.  His next house would be made from solid wood.
Ing’s axe cut down many trees and he pulled the logs to the clearing with a rope.  He scraped off the bark with an adze and cut notches in the ends.  One by one, he stacked up the timber.  His new house was strong enough to withstand any storm.
The log cabin was warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer than the bamboo hut.  Well worth the extra effort building it required.  He thought about the sweat he shed, hauling the logs out of the forest.
Ing smiled.  He knew the key to happiness was hard work.
The vegetables grew and the fish practically jumped into his net.  Life was good, until the day the lightning came.
A massive boom woke Ing in the middle of the night.  He shook his head, not sure what had happened.  The smell of burning wood cleared up the mystery.  He ran outside to see flames wicking from the roof.
As fast as he could, he leaned a ladder against the cabin, filled a bucket with water from the trough, climbed up, and poured it on the flames.  Filling the trough meant carrying the heavy buckets uphill from the river.  It only held eight buckets of precious water.  Not enough to put out the fire.
Ing had time to carry a few belongings out before the smoke got too thick.  He watched helplessly as flames engulfed his home.
The remnants of the bamboo hut still leaned against a tree.  For the second time, it became his shelter while building a house.  This time, he would use a material that could not burn.  Stone.
He fashioned a sled from what remained of a burned table.  For weeks, he loaded chunks of granite and limestone on the sled, and pulled them down the slope to the meadow.  He carried buckets of sand up from the river.  And chopped what was left of the log cabin into firewood.
The granite will become sturdy walls.  To make them stick together, Ing needed cement.  He piled up wood and started a fire.  He covered the flames with limestone.  Then more wood, and more limestone.  Soon, the rocks were making hissing and popping sounds as they heated.  By the time the moon was overhead, the fire had died down to embers.  The limestone had expanded, cracked and turned white from the heat.
The next morning, Ing pulled a chunk of limestone from the ashes and pounded it with a piece of granite.  It didn’t take long to grind it into a powder.  He repeated the process with the rest of the stones.
He’d already filled the trough with water.  He mixed sand, limestone powder, and water in a bucket.  The resulting paste filled the gaps between the granite blocks, as he laid them out in a rectangle.  By the time Ing finished the first layer, the cement was already drying.  Each new layer of granite was laid on top of the last.  Slowly, walls arose.
The stone house took longer to construct than the log cabin.  His muscles ached from the effort and he cursed himself for not building this way from the start.  It didn’t matter.  He’d learned from and overcome his mistakes.  He was warm, sitting in front of the granite fireplace.  He sipped tea made with mint and chamomile from the garden.
Ing smiled.  He knew the key to happiness was adaptability.
Vegetables kept growing and fish kept jumping into the net.  Life was good, until the day the earthquake came.
It was warm and sunny.  Ing was in the garden, picking tomatoes.  The ground began to shake, violently enough to make him fall to his knees.  His house emitted a strange grinding sound, as the walls toppled over, one after another.  When the dust cleared, the only thing standing was the chimney.
That was the moment Ing said, “Fuck it.”  He pulled his iPhone from his pocket and scrolled down the contact list until he found Mayes IT Consulting.  His former employer.  Ronald Mayes was chuckling when he answered.
“Of course you can have your job back, Ing.  You’re the best SQL database administrator I know.  I didn’t expect your backwoods vacation to last as long as it did.  Regardless, your office is exactly how you left it.”
After he hung up, Ing did a Google search for mortgage companies near me.  Then walked down the trail to where he’d parked the Land Rover.  He drove to town, checked into the Motel 6, and had a shower and a shave.
Each day after work, he caught up on progress at the meadow.  Electric, telephone, and water lines went in.  An excavator dug the septic tank.  The foundation, walls and roof went up.  Plumbing, wiring, HVAC, drywall, painting, appliances and carpet.
The steel frame made the house impervious to the strongest winds.  The treated lumber would not catch fire.  Hundreds of metal straps connecting the wood and steel gave the structure enough flexibility to sway without collapsing in an earthquake.
In less time than it took Ing to build his stone house, the new one was complete.  He reclined in a Stratolounger and sipped from a Heineken.  He tuned the 70 inch TV to the Patriots game, in time to see Cam Newton drag some cornerback across the goal line.
Ing smiled.  He knew the key to happiness was technology.  And, a 30 year, fixed rate mortgage with zero down at 2.42% APR.

Submitted: September 30, 2020

© Copyright 2020 Serge Wlodarski. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:


Criss Sole

Ah! So many keys to happiness. Glad Ing FINALLY found the right one.
Great story!

Wed, September 30th, 2020 2:46pm


Thanks! We'll have to see if Ing will put up with his job long enough to pay off the mortgage.

Wed, September 30th, 2020 2:14pm

Mark A George

I enjoyed your story, Serge! I was thinking Ing's next calamity could be that his smart tv/Alexa overhears his rantings about having to stay on the grid which are then fed into the NSA database which in turn triggers FBI operatives to show up and arrest him for sedition.

Wed, September 30th, 2020 4:53pm


Hehehe. Sounds like a good followup story. Thanks for reading.

Wed, September 30th, 2020 2:17pm


Ha! Self-sufficiency is not so easy, is it! Very entertaining, Serge.

Wed, September 30th, 2020 5:27pm


It isn't. Nor is sitting through all day meetings listening to salesmen lie about their company's software. Red pill or blue pill, there's a price to pay either way. Thanks for reading.

Wed, September 30th, 2020 2:26pm


Ha very good! Until the blackout! Then what? Those who love silver are never satified with silver! There is always something better and always a way to bring that thing down! But thats life haha!

Wed, September 30th, 2020 9:45pm


After the blackout Ing will put in a backup generator. There's always something... Thanks for reading.

Thu, October 1st, 2020 3:35am

Sharief Hendricks

We are all slaves to corporate, financial institutions and the technology that keeps us trapped...

The key to happiness is just that, "momentary happiness"...nothing lasts forever...

Loved it Serge !

Wed, October 7th, 2020 9:42am


Thanks! I wonder how long it will take for Ing to sell the house and buy a houseboat.

Wed, October 7th, 2020 3:39am

Cap'n Parrotdead

Well, 2.42% is a very good rate. lol

Fri, October 9th, 2020 12:03am


It's even lower today! Maybe Ing will take out a second mortgage and put in a swimming pool. Thanks for reading.

Fri, October 9th, 2020 5:16am


I see what you learnt from the three pigs get someone else to build your house lol

Sat, October 10th, 2020 7:59am


Hehehe. That seems to be the current trend. Thanks for reading.

Sat, October 10th, 2020 3:13am


We are all slaves to the system, because life is a long marathon of struggle. Although Ing gave up by the end, he proved himself patient and strong. I believe he can survive the urban life, unless his boss is cruel.

Wed, October 21st, 2020 3:09pm


Now he's working from home so he's not as frustrated. Thanks for reading.

Thu, October 22nd, 2020 5:01am

Marvin Thomas Cox-Flynn

Ingeniously and wonderfully written in starkest truth of reality: Adversity is a bitch, but a determined man shall improvise and overcome ...


Tue, October 27th, 2020 11:44am


Thanks! I bought a 64 year old house last year and I'm still improvising and overcoming.

Wed, October 28th, 2020 5:24am

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