Shoe (Short Story Month #9)
On the comics page, the feathery residents of Shoe represent the purest form of newspaper metafiction, being as they are overworked muckrakers struggling against the tide of history to maintain a functional and progressive printed media. Talk about a Sisyphusian task!
Here, we find wizened osprey newspaperman Professor Cosmo Fishhawk, despairing of journalistic extinction and drowning his sorrows at the local birdbath. Catching the eye of an attractive she-bird (heron?), he attempts to engage in verbal foreplay by talking of his literary aspirations, no doubt with the hope of later on engaging in the procreative act at his nest.
Her curt response reveals a bitter truth to the Perfessor and the reader: books are dead, literature is a pipe dream, and whatever tripe does make it to print is usually nigh indistinguishable from excreta. Perhaps the Perfessor will be able to soothe his bruised ego through a night of ribald bird sex with this available she-bird (pelican?), but we all know that’s not going to happen. Even if it proceeded past second base, The Treetops Tattler-Tribune has a lousy health plan, and erectile dysfunction medication is not covered.