Funny stories in under 500 words.

Tail of a Hippo



One day we, the class-mates, were looking through the reference book of the dog breeds.

“Look here! Doesn’t this bull-dog look like our math teacher?”

Someone of us noticed. So it began. French bulldog’s peculiar features proved to be like mine. It was the common opinion.

“Take it easy. This breed is not nice-looking, but it is clever and determined,” Makho, Caucasian sheep-dog, said to me.

He himself was a robust and aggressive guy. He turned over the pages of the book and nobody could encroach on his right to do it. But it was the lap-dog with ringlets, Irina, who named the schoolmates. Everybody had to accept that she possessed an imagination, though of a sarcastic nature. Almost all of us found ourselves in this book.

While this game was going on, Guriko was the most anxious. He was stout and fat. His unequivocal appearance did not inspire refined imagination. Nicknames associated with corpulence were his.

“Unfortunately, we could not find you in this book. It is about dogs and not about…” said Makho ironically. Guriko did not let him finish the phrase, and the two began to fight.

Despite their bickering, everybody was enjoying the game.

The crisis of genre came soon, and after a brief search, a glossy picture from "Playboy" prompted a topic. There was a girl, half-dressed, and with the piquant details of a rabbit’s fluffy tail and ears. An idea of trying on tails of the different animals was willingly picked up. Makho was awarded a jaguar’s tail, elegant and expensive.

Guriko, on the other hand, was doomed. Internally, he obediently admitted that a short and spiral tail could suit him. However, “Guriko, the tail of the hippopotamus would decorate you,” followed unexpectedly.

It was Irina’s guess, an exclamation followed by a pause. Nobody had seen a hippopotamus except for on TV. This animal itself was exotic, sure, but its tail was not the most remarkable part of its body for us. The hitch was aggravated by the fact that Irina herself, despite her broad erudition, did not know, what hippo’s tail looked like.

“Do you know what you look like? A rat! The tail of yours is long, with horn rings,” Guriko yelled.

Irina smiled wryly. There was really the something rat-like in her grin.

Quite soon holidays came. I visited my granny and cousins in Tbilisi. They presented me the last album by “Beatles” Everybody knew that I went crazy with their music. One day my relatives invited me to a circus. The well-known tamer of exotic animals was in program. Hippos were in his team…

The news that I had brought the “Beatles” album immediately spread on my return to home-town. My classmates visited me. They listened to album for several times. I told them about the circus, about hippopotamuses.

“These beasts are in fact pink color with blue specks?” I said.

But nobody listened to me. Guests were obsessed with music. Only Guriko took interest and asked me as though accidentally: “And what about their tails?”

This story was written by Guram Svanidze, who is from Tbilisi, Georgia. For 25 years he worked in human rights organizations, 16 of them - in the Committee on the Civil Integration of the Parliament of Georgia. He is an author of scientific articles on globalization, civic integration, immigration and others. His books of short stories "Town" and "Poplars" were published in Tbilisi. Repeatedly his short stories are published in Russian, American, Israeli and Georgian on-line magazines (in Russian). His stories were published in the "thick" magazines "Neva", "Friendship of Peoples", "Volga", "Siberian Lights", "New Youth", "Ural", "Neman".




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