Jewish World Review Sept. 22, 2004 / 7 Tishrei, 5765

David Grimes

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Consumer Reports

Big Bad Wolf sets the record straight | First off, you need to know that there was nothing "little" about the so-called Three Little Pigs.

Those suckers were huge, 500 pounds each, minimum. Violent thugs is what they were, if you want to know the truth. Gambling, prostitution, drugs. You name it, they were into it.

But, see, I didn't know any of this at the time. I had just moved to the area, on doctor's orders, so I wasn't really up to speed yet on the neighborhood gossip. Oh, I picked up a few tidbits at the potluck suppers down at the recreation hall. The usual stuff. So-and-so's fooling around with so-and-so. So-and-so inherited some money from a rich uncle. So-and-so likes to clamber on top of her mobile home and do rope tricks while wearing nothing but a sequined pair of cowboy boots. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Truth is, I'm kind of a shy wolf. I don't like to go out a lot. Some porridge and weak tea in the morning, maybe work the crossword puzzle, do a couple of loads of laundry — that's a big day for me. So I had to really screw up my courage to walk across the street and introduce myself to "Tiny," the youngest of the Three "Little" Pigs. Tiny's house was a mess, even by pig standards. It kind of looked like he had just piled up some grass clippings and stuck a satellite dish on top. But I said to myself, Hey, don't be so judgmental. Your 401(k) sinks any lower, you'll be living in a place like this.

So I lean on the doorbell and — I swear I'm not making this up — the entire front wall of the house just collapses! It was freaking unbelievable!

But I'm thinking to myself, Calm down. You didn't do anything wrong. This probably happens all the time.

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And then Tiny comes to the door, or at least comes to the place where the door used to be, and he doesn't look happy.

"What the (bad word) did you do?" he says.

So I'm real nervous and flustered now and I don't know what to say, so I just blurt out the first thing that pops into my head.

"Hello. My name is Cornelius T. Wolfe and I just moved into the house across the street and I was wondering if I could borrow a cup of dry white wine — a sauvignon blanc would do nicely — because you see I'm making this chicken dish and the recipe calls for "

"You (very bad word)! You blew my house down!"

"No, no, you've got it all wrong," I said, sweating profusely. "That would be quite impossible. You see, I have very bad asthma. I even have a ventilator at home. I'd be glad to show it to you if you'd like to see it. It was all I could do to walk across the street let alone huff and puff and blow your house down."

Then Tiny got right up in my face. His breath reeked of Chee-tos and cheap beer, undoubtedly a domestic brand, probably lo-carb, though judging by Tiny's gut, he wasn't a strict dieter.

"You'll pay for this, wolf," he said, jabbing his sausage-like index finger into my chest.

"That's Wolf-ee," I said stupidly. "Two syllables, long e, accent on the first syllable."

I don't really remember much of what happened after that. When I woke up I was in the Burn Unit at George Orwell Memorial Hospital. The pain was incredible. The doctors told me that I suffered second- and third-degree burns over 40 percent of my body when someone — or some ones — shoved me into a kettle of boiling water. Fortunately for me, the kettle was as cheaply made as Tiny's house and it shattered when I fell in, or else I wouldn't be around today to share with you the real story of the Three "Little" Pigs.

P.S.: It's been two years since that terrible day and most of the physical damage has healed, though emotionally I don't think I'll ever be the same. Police questioned all three of the "Little" Pigs but they never had enough evidence to make an arrest.

I moved away from that awful place, of course. I can't tell you where I am because I'm afraid the Pigs will find me and finish what they started.

I'm pretty much a shut-in now. All of my doors are double-locked and pot luck suppers down at the recreation hall are a thing of the past.

A couple of sheep and their three lambs just moved into the house across the street. They seem nice and their house seems sturdy enough — concrete-block construction, storm shutters and hurricane straps securing the roof joists — but I just can't make myself go over there and introduce myself.

The moral of my story? I guess it's this: If you find yourself short of dry white wine, just substitute water.

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JWR contributor David Grimes is a columnist for The Sarasota Herald Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


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