Just at dusk, I spied some movement in the woods. I thought it was a deer and grabbed the nearest pot and wooden spoon to chase the critter away from our garden. Sure enough, an enormous creature came silently out of the woods and began to chomp away at my husband’s heirloom tomatoes. “Shoo!” I shouted as I began banging the pot and charging towards it.
When it raised its head and spoke to me, its voice was shrill and nasally. “Why should I leave?” He spit out the remains of the green tomato he’d just crunched.
Finding a mythological creature in my yard that spoke was bad enough, having it trash our tomatoes and then littering, well, that was plain bad! “You’re making a mess! I’m supposed to clean that up?”
“I thought you humans worshiped the earth. Those remains will bio-degrade and help more things grow, and feed the animals that find it, so you should leave it there.” He pawed in annoyance and flattened one ear. I began to consider whether I wanted to tick off a sentient creature with a large horn on its head and four hooves. My pot and spoon were looking pretty feeble as a defense.
“Those are our tomatoes. We grew them from seed.”
“Well, I didn’t expect you to grow them from rocks. All things start small..” He flicked his tail. “I only destroyed one. You’ll grow others.”
“But that plant was special. We only got one of that kind to grow.”
“Well, you have more than you need. You should have threaded out this garden a bit. It’s overpopulated.”
“Then you wouldn’t have had breakfast.”
“True.” The Unicorn brushed his coat with his horn, there was a splotch of mud on the side of his left flank that his horn was unable to flick off. “But I would have eaten another one instead.”
“Why are you here? You shouldn’t exist.” I asked.
“Why not? You people deny things that are real have being and things that have no being, you exhaust yourselves proving lack of proof, why shouldn’t I be here if I choose.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, let’s see, the world is flat. You believed that forever. You guys love your stories that explain the world, all your myths. Why shouldn’t I be real?”
“Well, we don’t believe the world is flat anymore. We’ve proven it to be round.”
“Okay, conspiracies about 9-11, about global warming, about who shot JFK, about landing on the moon, and then there’s Wikipedia..” He began whinnying in laughter. “Roswell. War for Oil. Weapons of Mass Destruction never existed in Iraq, All the News that’s fit to Print…” and he began to paw the ground leaving big divots in my yard, guffawing.
“You’re ruining my grass!”
“I’m sorry, did you grow this too?” He asked.
“No, but we take care of it.”
“Is every blade special like the tomatoes?”
“No but…The whole effect of all the grass is a beautiful carpet of green, and that carpet is only possible with the overabundance of blades. Holes in the yard injure the appearance of the whole yard, just as surely as mud affects how beautiful you are.”
“I am beautiful.” The creature was very vain.
“Yes, but you’ld be even more lovely if we cleaned that off.”
“I don’t see how.”
“Let me wash it.”
The unicorn considered it. “There is no stream nearby, how would you manage?”
Now it was my turn to be puzzled. “What do you mean?” We had a hose and a house with a faucet. Surely if the creature were so informed about all our misconceptions, he understood how I could get water.
“Sorry, I can only see truth and falsehoods. I can smell the tomatoes though.”
“So you can’t see my house?”
“No, but I can see your children and I can smell apples and chocolate and that one of your kiddos needs a diaper change.” He snorted.
“I’ll be right back.” I responded.
“Can I eat another tomato?”
“Only the ones on the ground.” I headed back to the house to take care of my charges. Maybe I’d bring back an apple. I was definitely bringing back a camera!
Returning with the fruit, the unicorn was still waiting. “Can I take your picture? I brought you an apple.” I looked over at the spot and ventured to touch it, brushing off the mud with my hand.
“Very nice, thank you.”
“Ready for your picture now?” I asked.
He nodded, “But it won’t do any good.”
“What do you mean?”
“People won’t believe the photo is real. They’ll say it’s doctored, fake, a clever illusion.”
“How do you know?”
“Please. I’ve been a mythological creature for eons. You people can look at an ultrasound and if you will it, it’s a baby, and if you do not, you simply do not look and call it a mass of tissue. You can see truth and falsehood too, but only humans can tell themselves the truth is a lie and the lie a truth. Thanks for the apple though.” He munched it up and turned to leave.
“Are you truth or falsehood?”
“I’m neither, I’m myth. I reveal truth while myself being illusory but at least illustrative.” He smiled and pointed with his horn, the divots had disappeared. The tomato was back on the vine and the apple on the ground.
“Will you come back again?” I called as he began to blend with the back woods.
“Maybe,” he called, “if there are sugar cubes.”