Kafka Gets a Pony

By David Oppegaard

Franz Kafka woke one morning vaguely afraid. He didn’t know why he was so afraid, exactly, but that only made him more fearful. He’d slept with difficulty, tossing like a dying fish on the bottom of a drunken boat, and now here he was, unfortunately awake and facing another cold winter day in Prague. Sitting up, he looked at the writing desk near his bedroom window.

“I need to write,” Kafka said. “If I don’t write, I may die. If I don’t write, I’m basically a huge waste of space.”

Kafka sighed and lay back in bed. Someone knocked on his bedroom door.

“Go away,” he shouted. “I’m writing.”

The door opened. A big man in a business suit stepped into the room.

“You can’t fool me, son! I know when a man’s writing and when he’s lying about in bed like some damn gadabout.”

Kafka coughed. He could sense the consumption lying at the bottom of his lungs, biding its time before it could crawl up into the rest of him.

“What do you want, Father?”

“Don’t scowl at me, Franz. I’ve come with good news.”

“No news is good news,” Kafka replied.

“Pshaw,” his father boomed. “Don’t you know it, but your pony has arrived!”

Kafka sat back up.

“Pony? What pony?”

“Your pony, son!” His dad smiled, positively beaming. “You know how you’re always talking about how I’m so tyrannical and unloving? Well, I decided to make it up to you. I’ve bought you the prettiest pony in Prague!”

Kafka rubbed his eyes. Was this a dream? His chest began to burn with various intestinal acids, and he felt an uncountable urge to wash his hands. His fearful premonition was coming true already, and he had not even eaten breakfast yet.

“I don’t want a pony, Father.”

He father laughed. “Always, you are such a kidder. What child does not love a pony?”

“I’m thirty-seven, Father.”

Kafka’s father crossed his arms across his chest and became very stern. “Franz, as long as you live in this house, under my roof, you’ll love any pony I choose to give you. Now come along. This pony is positively prancing to meet you.”

Kafka groaned and slid out of bed, still wearing his nighttime pantaloons. “Yes, Father,” he grumbled. “I’ll be down in a minute.”

*

Kafka took his time going downstairs. He could already picture his mother and sisters fawning over some purebred abomination of a horse, laughing and giggling while they slowly died, on the inside. Did they know pale, unhealthy men lurked in locked rooms somewhere, shuffling papers and inventing new, even more elaborate paper work procedures? Someday his family would have to fill out these forms, which they would not even begin to comprehend due to their labyrinth density. What would they do then, Kafka wondered. How would a pretty pony help them then?

“There he is,” his tall mother cried out as Kafka reached the bottom of the stairs. “There’s Mr. Grumpy!”

“Good morning, Mother. Where is this pony I am to meet?”

“Your father brought her into the backyard. She was crapping everywhere.”

“She will probably crap on me, too,” Kafka mumbled to himself, leaving his mother to do whatever the hell she did with her meaningless life while he went out the backdoor and into the yard. His father stood in the middle of their Japanese rock garden feeding a carrot to a white, fluffy pony.

Kafka stopped in his consumptive tracks.

That was one pretty, pretty, pony.

Kafka hadn’t expected the pony’s big, dark eyes, which seemed to gaze into the septic depths of his soul. And those muscular flanks. That downy muzzle. This wasn’t a horse. This was an angel in horse form.

“Not bad, eh?” his father said, smiling as he patted the pony’s back. “She likes carrots and straw.”

Kafka stumbled forward. Suddenly he found his arms had been flung around the pony’s neck, and his own cheek was nuzzling into hers. It was as if every dark, dreary evening of his existence now fell away from him, creeping back on its pointy insect legs to the hellish cave it had come from. The pony smelled like apricots, and peaches. It was so warm.

Kafka sighed. “I love her, Father. Thank you.”

“I knew you would like her, Franz. Sorry I’ve been so hard on you lately. I just want what’s best for you and the family, you know. I know I never really got in touch with my sensitive side, but I’m thinking of taking a class.”

“Can I ride her?”

“Hmmm. I don’t know about that. Your weight would probably snap the pony’s spine.”

“Oh,” Kafka whispered. “We wouldn’t want that, would we Snugglekins?”

Kafka’s father chuckled and slapped him on the back. “You should go show her to your friend, Max.”

“Max will love you, won’t he Snugglekins? Yes he will. Yes he will.”

*

The next day Franz Kafka woke up and went immediately to his writing desk. He took out his best ink pen, and his favorite sheet of cream-colored paper. He poised the ink pen over the paper, prepared to write a story about the adventures of a flying pony and her happy, smiling owner.

“Okay,” Kafka said. “Here goes.”

He touched the pen to paper, but nothing came to him. Not one single letter, or word, or line of dialogue.

Nothing.

His mind was as clear as a cloudless, sunny day.

“Maybe I should take Snugglekins on a walk,” Kafka said, and stood up from his desk. He never went back to it again.

20 comments:

Kelly said...

Well, it's certainly better than that wood louse crap.

Amethyst Vineyard said...

When I get old and need some type of animal to assist me, because my loved will have abandoned me long before, I'm going to get a miniature pony to pull my wheelchair and open doors. They wear diapers and shoes. I'll glue a horn to its forehead and dye it pink, too.

mikey said...

David, do you want a pony?

Voix said...

Snugglekins.

Holy crap, how did you come up with

SNUGGLEKINS?

Brilliant.

Something dirty said...

I sort of like Kafka with a pony. Kafka and Snugglekins, Snugglekins and Kafka, roaming around, fighting crime. I bet instead of writing, he takes up a new medium: craft paint on denim totes.

Herbach said...

when do we film?

Blogagaard said...

Sweet. My blog was featured on City Pages yesterday:

http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/2005/12/1205_morning_co.asp

I e-mailed the MN blog guy just to put me on their MN blog list. i never dreamed i would achieve such fame.

Blogagaard said...

I want no stinking pony, but I am intrigued by SD's Kafka/ Snugglekins crime fighting idea.

Thanks, Michele! But I don't feel very brilliant.

Blogagaard said...

For some reason, my posts don't show the complete city pages link address. Try adding _co.asp to the previous link. Sorry.

Kelly said...

Here you go. And here you go.

Do you think that was your 15?

Clurg said...

This wuld be a fun comic. If I had time to draw it I would.

I love ol' die "like a dog" Kafka.

But Kafka and a pony--that would be a fun comic.

Or short film if the Captain gets the finances together.

Voix said...

I got a link there once, but then they never called. . .

Story of my life.

Blogagaard said...

Thanks for the help and the pony pic, Kelly.

Something dirty said...

Well? Does Max like Snugglekins?

Blogagaard said...

sorry, SD, the story ends where it ends. sigh.

Amethyst Vineyard said...

My dad said he was going to give me his 165-cc motorcycle when he's done with it. Is that enough like a pony to make me a happier, more well-adjusted person? Will I have nothing to write about, once I have my steel pony? Will I look ridiculous on a motorcycle?

Blogagaard said...

Motorcycles are called donorcycles by ER nurses. I hope you know that, missy.

Amethyst Vineyard said...

Motorycles get excellent gas mileage. See, its a practical choice.

Blogagaard said...

Yes, I can see you practically smeared across the highway already.

Amethyst Vineyard said...

I'm an excellent driver. Kind of. Don't ask Clurg to confirm that, though.

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