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Kafka Gets a Pony

Kafka Gets a Pony

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Published by David Oppegaard
Franz Kafka finally finds happiness when his parents buy him a pony.
Franz Kafka finally finds happiness when his parents buy him a pony.

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Published by: David Oppegaard on Jun 18, 2009
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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01/19/2010

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Kafka Gets a Pony
By David OppegaardFranz Kafka woke one morning vaguely afraid. He didn’t know why he was soafraid, exactly, but that only made him more fearful. He’d slept with difficulty, tossinglike a dying fish on the bottom of a drunken boat, and now here he was, unfortunatelyawake and facing another cold winter day in Prague. Sitting up, he looked at the writingdesk near his bedroom window.“I need to write,” Kafka said. “If I don’t write, I may die. If I don’t write, I’m basically a huge waste of space.”Kafka sighed and lay back in bed. Someone knocked on his bedroom door.“Go away,” he shouted. “I’m writing.”The door opened. A big man in a business suit stepped into the room.“You can’t fool me, son! I know when a man’s writing and when he’s lying aboutin bed like some damn gadabout.”Kafka coughed. He could sense the consumption lying at the bottom of his lungs, biding its time before it could crawl up into the rest of him.“What do you want, Father?”“Don’t scowl at me, Franz. I’ve come with good news.”“No news is good news,” Kafka replied.“Pshaw,” his father boomed. “Don’t you know it, but your pony has arrived!”Kafka sat back up.“Pony? What pony?”
 
“Your pony, son!” His dad smiled, positively beaming. “You know how you’realways talking about how I’m so tyrannical and unloving? Well, I decided to make it upto you. I’ve bought you the prettiest pony in Prague!”Kafka rubbed his eyes. Was this a dream? His chest began to burn with variousintestinal acids, and he felt an uncountable urge to wash his hands. His fearful premonition was coming true already, and he had not even eaten breakfast yet.“I don’t want a pony, Father.”He father laughed. “Always, you are such a kidder. What child does not love a pony?”“I’m thirty-seven, Father.”Kafka’s father crossed his arms across his chest and became very stern. “Franz,as long as you live in this house, under my roof, you’ll love any pony I choose to giveyou. Now come along. This pony is positively prancing to meet you.”Kafka groaned and slid out of bed, still wearing his nighttime pantaloons. “Yes,Father,” he grumbled. “I’ll be down in a minute.”*Kafka took his time going downstairs. He could already picture his mother andsisters fawning over some purebred abomination of a horse, laughing and giggling whilethey slowly died, on the inside. Did they know pale, unhealthy men lurked in lockedrooms somewhere, shuffling papers and inventing new, even more elaborate paper work  procedures? Someday his family would have to fill out these forms, which they wouldnot even begin to comprehend due to their labyrinth density. What would they do then,Kafka wondered. How would a pretty pony help them then?2
 
“There he is,” his tall mother cried out as Kafka reached the bottom of the stairs.“There’s Mr. Grumpy!”“Good morning, Mother. Where is this pony I am to meet?”“Your father brought her into the backyard. She was crapping everywhere.”“She will probably crap on me, too,” Kafka mumbled to himself, leaving hismother to do whatever the hell she did with her meaningless life while he went out the backdoor and into the yard. His father stood in the middle of their Japanese rock gardenfeeding a carrot to a white, fluffy pony.Kafka stopped in his consumptive tracks.That was one pretty, pretty, pony.Kafka hadn’t expected the pony’s big, dark eyes, which seemed to gaze into theseptic depths of his soul. And those muscular flanks. That downy muzzle. This wasn’t ahorse. This was an angel in horse form.“Not bad, eh?” his father said, smiling as he patted the pony’s back. “She likescarrots and straw.”Kafka stumbled forward. Suddenly he found his arms had been flung around the pony’s neck, and his own cheek was nuzzling into hers. It was as if every dark, drearyevening of his existence now fell away from him, creeping back on its pointy insect legsto the hellish cave it had come from. The pony smelled like apricots, and peaches. It wasso warm.Kafka sighed. “I love her, Father. Thank you.”3

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