Bonus 20: The Butterfly That Wanted to Fly Straight

The Butterfly That Tried to Fly Straight
Matt Zurbo

Lizards leapt! Cats pounced! Birds swooped! Spiders jumped! But none of them could eat little Joff, the Butterfly.
   “Help, woh, yoiks!” he would flubber as he wobbled and bobbled and zobbled all over.
   Sure, Joff was hard to catch, zigging and sagging like butterflies would, but the way he flew did his head in!

   “Hello, goodbye!” the ladybugs would hear him call. Joff had no time for anything else. Just getting from A to B made him awfully dizzy.
   “Stop the ride! I want to get off!” he would wail.
   “But all you’re doing is flying,” the bees told him.
   “That’s easy for you to say,” Joff protested. “You fly gracefully and make honey and have stingers!”
   Then a bird would attack, eating some of the bees, and Joff would flubber and blubber and wobble and dobble onwards.

   At night, Joff would dream of being able to look at horizons that didn’t seem like earthquakes. Of flying in a straight line. Oh, the thought of it! Smooth, sweet motion!
   “Please!” he would wish, until, finally, the stick insects couldn’t stand it any longer.

   “Okay, okay okay,” the moaned, while building Joff a perfect little stick frame that would hold his wings steady.
   “Oh wow! Oh, gee! Oh wibbly woo!” Joff flibbered with delight. “How can I ever repay you?”
   “Just keep being beautiful,” said the stick insects. “We’re so jealous of your amazing colours.”

   The next day, as dawn broke, Joff took flight, SPLAT! Straight into a tree! CRASH! Straight into the ground! WONK! Into a letterbox!
   “Help! Welp! Flelp! I can’t steer this thing!” he pleaded.

   So the bullants all rolled little rocks attached by silken spider threats over to Joff, to act as weights to better guild him.
   “Pull this thread to go this way…” one said.
   “And that to go that way…” said another.
   “And so on!” said yet another.
   “Yowza! So cool!” grinned Joff. “How can I ever repay you?”
   “Just keep being you,” said the bullants. “Your blues and browns and reds are fantabulous!”

   But… BOINK! BLUNK! OINGO BOINGO! Joff tumbled and rumbled and jumbled along the ground. The weights were too heavy!

   Joff the butterfly had a little cry after that.

   “Hey, why can’t you just accept who you are?” asked the dragonfly. “You make so many creatures happy.”
   “That’s easy for you to say,” Joff sooked and flooked and zuckled. “You dart and zip and zoom and hover!”
   “Ahh, but you float! I feel so free when watching you!” the dragonfly sighed. 
   “I don’t care,” protested Joff. “I’m determined! Determined! DETERMINED!”
   So the dragonfly made Joff little balloons to counter his weights, and filled them with gasses from the swamp, so he would rise with them.

   And the grasshoppers gave him springs, and the dung beetles gave him wheels on sticks for his landings and the tiny little baby geckos gave him gears and cogs so he could peddle his propeller to push all this forward.

   “This gliding gracefully is a lot of work…” Joff grunted and groaned and flobbled.

   “You’ve got to be careful,” whispered the mouse. “You don’t want to end up like them!”

   Joff looked at a whole heap of creatures surrounded by rattling, steaming, clunking machines, trying to pretend they were happy.
   There was the frog that wanted to walk, the kookaburra that needed to sing, A river trout that wanted to run and a snail that insisted on being able to disco.
   “I’m not like them, I’m different!” insisted Joff the Butterfly.

   Joff worked his way to a ledge, everybody moaning and huffing as they pushed to help get him there.
   “Oh boy, oh wow, oh gosh-a-doodle!” Joff gushoodled as he balanced on the edge.
   He was so excited! “At last! What a blast!” he cried. “Let sail! Full mast!”

   Then saw a crow swooping!

   “Woh!” Joff hollered. “Whoop! Yipe! Yibberty! I can’t duck and weave and wobble in this contraption! That bird will soon eat me!”

   Poor Joff shrieked so loud, the spitting caterpillars took pity.
   They spat and went ptoo, and yoiked some phlegm too! And built a spit cocoon around the butterfly loon.

   And the dragonflies added more balloons and the dung beetles more wheels and the baby geckos more gears, and the daddy longlegs winched him up higher and higher.

   “HEAVE, everybody!” they moaned, they groaned, they gurgled. “HO, everybody!” they insisted.  
   And everybody helped the daddy longlegs heave and ho, and work determined little Joff up onto a tall branch of the peach tree.
   “This is it, this is it, this is it…” chanted Joff, all nervous and excited.

   Up on the branch ten little ringtail possums with helmets on push, push, pushed, and moaned and grunted, to get Joff into flying position.

   “Hey,” Lucy, one of the baby geckos said, as she stood on stilts to talk to him. “Are you sure you want to do this? You bring such happiness simply by being you!”
   “I must, I must, I MUST!” chumbled and rumbled and thundered Joff through his contraption’s loud speakers. “I’m determined, determined, DETERMINED!”
   “Why?”” asked the gecko.
   “I want to be something else. You only like me for my colours,” said the butterfly.
   “What colours?” asked the Gecko.

   And poor little Joff looked in the rear vision mirror on the helmet of one of the ringtail possums and saw only gears and wheels, and a shield, and balloons, and a propeller, and a satellite dish he didn’t even know was there, and an extension cord, solar panels, a tiny roof garden and coffee maker.
   Nobody could see his wings at all any more!
   “But, bot, bit, blubber… then why are you helping me?” Joff wondered.
   “Because you’re our friend,” said Lucy the Gecko. “And you seemed so determined.”

   This filled Joff with immense pride!

   “Oh shoop, oh, flop, oh quamble! I can’t help but feel so humbled,” he said sheepishly, as he creaked and cricked forward. “And determined…” he added.

   Finally, at the edge of the branch, tear in his eye, Joff said; ‘Thank you, everybody!”
   And with bells and whistles and steam power and gears and peddles peddling, pushed off the edge… and fell like a rock!

   The wind whistled and whooshed and sizzled, rushing past poor little Joff as he plummeted.
   But Joff was overjoyed! Brimming with happiness!
   “Look!” he cried. “Wowie! Zowie! Bumblebee! Dirty knee! Look, look, look at me! I’m travelling in a straight line! Oh, oh, oh, this is glorious!”

   And, BOINK! Joff landed on a bullfrog that ate him!


The End!    




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