On a crag high over the highway, Wile E Coyote brooded.
Below him, the remains of the Acme Corporation’s latest wonder gadget still smouldered. The infernal contraption had been guaranteed to turn any road runner within its range into barbecued birdmeat, and Wile E had been certain it would work...this time. It hadn’t, because he had neglected to read the small print, which specified that it would not work if the road runner was running. The Road Runner was running, and the gadget had wrapped itself round its own frame trying to follow the fast moving feathered fiend. Wile E had been lucky not to have been roasted himself.
Away along the ribbon of roadway, a small dust cloud came racing along. Wile E licked his lips hungrily, watching the cloud. His heart began to race and saliva to flood his mouth. As the cloud passed below his crag, he could no longer resist, and launched himself into the air in a leap that ended in him going splat on the road just below the cloud, which went beep beep and raced away.
Wile E got up slowly off the road surface, muttering balefully to himself. It was only after he had dusted himself off that he noticed that he was clutching a sheaf of feathers in his hand – road runner feathers.
“Why,” he thought to himself, “that’s the closest I’ve ever been to getting him!” This was surprising, very surprising. He had tried without any success for so long that getting a handful of feathers without any instruments at all counted as an amazing achievement. It was so amazing an achievement that he went away among the rocks and thought and thought until his head hurt, so he stopped thinking.
A long time ago, Wile E had heard of a wise old owl who lived in a hole in a saguaro cactus. He decided he needed to visit that owl. So he took his board, brush, and can of black paint and went along the desert until he reached that saguaro and hammered loudly on it.
Once Wile E had stopped jumping and yowling from the pain of the spines, he looked up and saw the owl looking out of a hole at the top of the cactus. “What dooooooooooo yoooooooooooooo want?” hooted the owl, squinting in the daylight.
Wile E painted quickly on the board, “I WANT ADVICE ON HOW TO CATCH THE ROAD-RUNNER.”
“Why?” asked the owl simply.
“BECAUSE ROAD RUNNERS ARE NUTRITOUS AND ABSOLUTELY SCRUMPTIOUS!”
“Well then, yoooooooooooo will have tooooooooo catch it. Have yoooooooooooo tried everything?”
“I’VE TRIED EVERYTHING THE ACME CORPORATION HAS TO SELL.”
“Gooooooooooooo for the simple then.” And the owl popped back into his hole.
Wile E went thoughtfully back to the road and looked around until he found a good long stick. He hefted it and decided it was perfect. Then he hid behind a rock near the highway and waited for the Runner. He did not have to wait long.
The Road Runner came racing along, his legs spinning at the speed of a Formula One car. He came like the wind, and left a cloud of dust behind him like a plume. He came so quickly that Wile E almost missed him, but not quite. At the last possible moment he stuck his stick into the Runner’s path, and the bird went cartwheeling in a beeping mass of feathers and broken legs.
It was the best meal Wile E had ever had, not the least because he had waited so long for it. But he did not enjoy it long.
The coroner’s report said it was death by anaphylactic shock.
Wile E Coyote had been allergic to Road Runner roast all along...
Copyright B Purkayastha 2010/12