Digital gouache by Gimlet Rose. 2008
A young wire fox terrier with the name of Sammy was walking in the woods one fine day and came upon a red tie.
It was attached to a large boor.
Now, Sammy had heard of this large boor. It had attained mythic proportions in the Fox Terrier World of which Sammy was a part. It stood guard at one corner of the Fox Terrier World, and charged a toll for all who would enter. But, coming upon the boor in the woods, it did not look so mythic. The boor looked isolated, bloated and greedy. A grim package indeed, with a bright red tie wrapped around its blotchy neck.
The boor peered at Sammy with a jaundiced eye, not liking what it saw, and determined right then, that Sammy's mere presence was a threat. The boor could tell that Sammy was curious, you see. Curiosity is a wonderful and expected trait in a wire fox terrier, but the suspicious boor saw it as a threat.
"If you want to come into this part of the Fox Terrier World, you must pay my toll," grunted the boor with the red tie.
"What is the toll and why must I pay you?" Sam evenly inquired. "This part of the Fox Terrier World is the same as every other part I have traveled. Fox terriers have famously free countries. Why does it cost to enter this part, and why are you the one collecting the money?"
"I'm too busy to answer your questions," snorted the boor. "But, this is my part of the Fox Terrier World, because I said so, and you must pay me for one year's admittance."
What do you do with the money?" Sam asked.
"Haven't I told you I'm much too busy for your questions? I am under no obligation to answer you. The money in my hoof. Now."
Now, Sam did not cotton to the boor's toll, or tone, but recall that Sam was the curious sort. And he had the money for the toll.
"Here is my money for a year's admission into the part of the Fox Terrier World you so jealously guard," said Sammy.
The boor snatched the money from Sammy's paw and then took a red tie out of a side pocket. "Here is your red tie, Dog," said the boor. "This is your ticket into this part of my Fox Terrier World. And don't forget that it is my world. In addition to the tie, you will be glad to know you are helping me educate others about fox terriers. And you are helping terriers in need, too.
"Although you have paid me, I will now set conditions on your travels here. I will not allow you contact with the other fox terriers you meet here, unless I have advance notice of what you plan to say to them."
"What?" Sam asked in surprise. "You take my money then you censor me. And just how do you educate others about fox terriers? You certainly don't appear to know very much about them, and you don't appreciate our innate curiosity. Not at all."
"I have an information booklet which I do not give out," drawled the boor. "And I do not have to tell you anything about the fox terriers in need who may or may not have received help years ago. Although ... that was so long ago, I can barely recall their names, imaginary or not.... Nonsense, Dog! I have your money. You have a tie. Now go."
Sammy placed the red tie around his neck and walked into the boor's terrier territory.
As Sammy ventured further, the tie chafed. It seemed to scour the skin on his neck. Loose threads appeared on the tie's hem and the fabric felt very coarse. Sammy took a moment to take a closer look at the tie's label.
"Made in China," read Sam. 'Wouldn't you know it. That jingoistic boor wanted top dollar for admittance into a world that does not belong to it, wanted money for an information booklet that it does not give out, and even wanted money for dogs it does not help ... it makes perfect sense that its tie was made in China."
Sammy continued on his way into the boor's part of the Fox Terrier World. He met other wire fox terriers wearing cheap Chinese ties, and many of them were very pleasant. Sammy thought it odd that all the fox terriers, although very chatty, never acknowledged each other's cheap and fraying ties. In fact, it was common for the ties to occasionally cause the wearer to trip, since they would not remain tied for very long and slide along a wearer's legs. Sammy came to resent what he termed his "Faustian Red Tie."
"What has that boor's toll done for me?" bemoaned Sammy. "I have entry into a world that is roped off, and shouldn't be; that has a toll attached to it, when it should be free; censured contact with other fox terriers, when the contact has been paid for; an information booklet that is not sent out and needy fox terriers who are not helped. All that for good money that might have actually gone to help dogs in need."
"What a rook. And what a boor."
"I see exactly what that boor is up to, and I want no part of it."
As soon as Sammy's words came out of his mouth, he stopped and pawed the cheap, red, Chinese tie that was chafing his neck. He unknotted the tie and unwrapped its hold on him. It wasn't difficult to do, since the tie was already in tatters.
"I look at this tie that represents all the false stories the boor sold me, and other fox terriers, and realize the boor took us all to the cleaners," Sammy said with deliberation. "It's one thing to cheat a dog out of some money when he has a disposable income, but when it comes to the false claim of helping needy dogs ... that is too much. Let me walk a bit more and consider what actions to take."
"I realize," Sammy spoke to himself, "that the other fox terriers who gave money to the boor did so because they thought they were helping other fox terriers. And they may be very upset and disillusioned to learn that their boor actually despises them while it takes their money. It would be better if I cut my ties with this boor and walked in other territories of the Fox Terrier World where curiosity and candor are valued. I think I'll stop by the FTC and the IRS dog inns on my way and let them know what is going on. Yes, I feel much better already, now that I will not be paying that boor again and adding to its coffers. What a weight has been removed from my shoulders.
"Not to mention that I dislike cheap Chinese ties."