Matt the Pig, who called himself “Matt the Magnificent,” strolled along the hill when he heard a curious sound. It sounded a little like the roar of a lion but very distant. He turned to his companion, Marjory the Muskrat and asked, “What could be making that sound?” 

Marjory Muskrat, who secretly called herself, “Marjory the Magnificent” flung her backpack off her shoulder and searched for an idea hiding among the many assault weapons, but she couldn’t find an idea anywhere. That was not surprising because she had not really had an idea for many years. Nonetheless, she smiled at Matt the Pig and said, “I know exactly what that is!” 

Matt tilted his snout and stared at Marjory with his beady pig eyes and wiggled his pig ears and said, “Really? What?” 

Marjory Muskrat wriggled her muskrat nose and said, “What what? What are you talking about?” 

Matt sighed in a porcine manner and said, “You said you knew what made that roaring sound. What is it?”

Marjory Muskrat never felt obligated to answer a question, especially when she didn’t know the answer (which was usually) and would be caught in a lie (which was always) so instead she said, “Follow me and I’ll show you!” With that, she scurried up the side of a nearby dune.

Matt the Pig came snuffling after her. His cloven hooves spiked deep into the soft sand. Marjory, on the other hand, found that her feet allowed her to climb up the dune quite easily. She waited at the top for her more cumbersome companion to join her. Finally, he clumsily clambered up beside her. He huffed and he puffed. He wanted to ask her again, but he never got the chance. Marjory Muskrat was skittering down the other side of the dune toward the seashore. 

Matt the Pig ran a few more steps before he tripped himself up with one of his own lies and somersaulted head over hooves down the far side ending up in some wet sand. It felt good. For awhile, he forgot what he had wanted to ask Marjory. 

The roaring noise returned, much louder than before. “What is that? What’s making that noise, Marjory? You said you knew?” 

“That” began Marjory, “is the sound of a million billion trillion migrants swimming ashore on our borders!” 

Just then, a Teacher walked by. Having overheard the Misguided Muskrat, he said, “Nonsense. It’s just the roar of the ocean waves.”

Matt the Pig oinked with delight. “At least, it’s not a lion! I like the sand. I’m going to build a house here! Do you want to help, Marjory?” 

Marjory Muskrat grinned so broadly that all fifty of her little white needle teeth showed. “No, you go ahead. Since you’ll be working hard building a house with your oh-so-powerful snout and hooves, I’d better go find us something to eat. I’ll be back in a jiffy!” 

Matt muttered, “Typical. I’m left to do all the work. It’s okay. It’s easy to dig here in the soft sand. I should have a house in no time at all. Matt the Pig began shoveling with his powerful long snout.” 

No sooner had he begun, however, than the Teacher said, “Excuse me. My name is Teacher. If you build your house here, the ocean will wash it away.” 

Matt the Pig scoffed at the teacher. “What do you know? It’s easy to dig here. I’ll make the quickest house ever. I shall name it, The Sty at Seaside. 

Teacher cocked his head to one side and said, “You’ll want to rename it Bye Bye Sty, because, as I said, within a few hours, the ocean will come and wash it away.”

Matt the Pig didn’t see any reason to believe a teacher of all people. “Nonsense! You’re just jealous you didn’t think to build a house here first! What do you know, anyway?”

“I walk this beach nearly every day. Also, I look at the tide charts. Every high tide, the ocean comes in much further than where you are digging and … “

Matt the Pig grunted. “Hah! I see where the ocean is. I see where the house is. Foolish man!”

Teacher shook his head and walked off. He muttered, “Suit yourself. You’ll see.” 

Matt the Pig continued to wallow and snuffle and snuggle into the sand. He began to grow hungry and he looked up to see whether Marjory Muskrat had returned with their lunch. No sign of her. As hungry as Matt the Pig was, he realized that all the hard rooting around had made him very thirsty. He wobbled over to the ocean and began lapping up the water. 

A Doctor who was out for his morning constitutional noticed that the swine was swizzling seawater. “Hey!” Said Doctor. “That’s salt water! You can’t drink that!” 

Matt snorted. “Hah! That shows how much you know. I just did drink some. Though not enough because I am still thirsty.” 

Doctor sighed. “Yes, I mean you can drink it, but it’s bad for you. It will only make you thirstier! It’s salt water. I’m a Doctor. Believe me when I tell you that it’s bad to drink it!” 

Matt snorted. “Hah! Who cares what a Doctor thinks. Water is water! Everyone knows that! I’m plenty thirsty so I need some more so I can finish the work.”

Doctor shook his head and walked off. He muttered, “Suit yourself. You’ll see.” 

Matt realized that despite having drunk quite a bit, he was thirstier than ever. He decided he would see whether the Doctor was telling the truth so he pulled out his smart phone and googled, “Do Doctors Lie?”

Matt looked at the results page. Over 8000 results! Matt snorted. “I guess that proves it! Eight thousand results! Of course, Doctors lie!” 

Matt the Pig was getting seriously hungry as well as thirsty. He glanced at the dunes, but didn’t see any sign of Marjory Muskrat. He wondered out loud to himself, “Surely, there must be something to eat along this beach. Clams? Oysters?” 

Matt began rooting for shellfish. It wasn’t long before he dug one up. He was about to smash it on some nearby rocks, when a Wild Boar came crashing up beside him, “Whoa there, fellow! Can’t you see the Red Tide? Don’t eat shellfish now! You’ll get deathly ill!” 

Matt snorted, “And who are you, pray tell, that you should interfere with my dinner?” 

“I’m a Wild Boar. My friends call me Crashing Boar, but you can call me Mister Boar. Everyone knows that you don’t eat shellfish during the Red Tide. Why are you digging up such a large part of the beach anyway?”

Matt snorted. Again. “I’m making a new home here. I’m naming it The Sty at Seaside.”

The Wild Boar frowned. “This is not a good place for a home. You’re right near the ocean!”

Matt snorted. He seemed to be snorting a lot these days. He didn’t care. He said, “That shows how much you know! This happens to be a perfect location! It’s easy to dig. There’s plenty of water and food within easy reach!” 

Wild Boar nearly gored himself with his own tusks. “What?! Listen, Pig. The tide will come in and wash away your home. And the water is not potable. The shellfish can sometimes be eaten, but not now. You best find another place for your home.”

Matt snorted yet again. “Hah! You just want this excellent location for yourself. Leave me alone. And, no, I am not sharing my clams with you. Nor can you have any of that water which I claim for myself.”

“That’s the ocean! You can’t “claim it” for yourself! It belongs to everyone! But anyway, you can’t drink it.”

Matt snorted until his nostrils bled. “Don’t tell me what I can and cannot do! I’m perfectly capable of making my own decisions! Be on your way. And let your more civilized cousin finish his house.” 

The Wild Boar galloped up a nearby hill and began crashing through some underbrush. He looked one last time back at Matt the Pig, shook his head, and sauntered off. 

Matt the Pig, meanwhile, realized that all his work and arguing had made him uncommonly thirsty so he went back to the ocean and took a few more tremendous gulps of brine. It didn’t help. “I must be very hungry. That’s the problem,” Matt muttered. So, he dug up a few more clams and smashed all of them on nearby rocks and ate them all. That satisfied his hunger but he still found himself to be extremely thirsty. He decided to take a short nap in his new seaside sty. He lay down in the nice soft sand. 

Matt lay basking in the hot sun. Matt lay in his new home and enjoyed the sound of the name of his new home, The Sty at the Seaside. The many clams he had eaten satisfied his hunger, but he still felt terribly thirsty. He closed his eyes and thought back to the sty where he used to live. He remembered the girl in the gingham dress who filled his water trough with cold clear water. He wished Marjory Muskrat could be more like the little girl. It felt to Matt as though the world was spinning around. Or, that he was spinning around. Or that everything was spinning around. Suddenly, he felt very sick. He wanted to go somewhere else. But the roar of the water. Confusion. Where was that Muskrat, he thought to himself. Why is my home so wet? I’m so smart I know everything. But I don’t know why my sand home is so muddy now. And I’m so thirsty. 

No-one knows even to this very day whether Matt died of food poisoning, or dehydration, or drowned. Marjory didn’t care. She knew he was still fresh enough to eat and that’s all that mattered to her. He went very well with the Russian dressing she had gotten at the market. He tasted okay — but way too salty. She felt oddly tired and distant as she finished off the last morsel and stared at his well gnawed bones. I’m too tired to move, she thought to herself and then mumbled, “Best to just let the waves wash over me. They make a nice wet blanket. Later, I’ll turn him over and eat the other half. Right now, I just need a long, long nap.” 

Indeed, Matt had been right about one thing. The Sty at Seaside did make a nice home.

For the crabs.  

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