Elmer learned that Maggy descended from Pacific Northwest beaver royalty. Her mother served in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the New Deal as one of the socialist beavers released into the wild to help rebuild ecology in Oregon and Washington watersheds stripped of vegetation. Her father volunteered for an elite unit of beavers that parachuted inside wooden crates into the remote back country of Montana. He, along with 2500 other beavers, chewed their way out of the crates when they landed and went to work restoring the health of wiped-out watersheds. Some 75 years later, Maggy met Ernie near a river extolled in a classic of Oregon literature that no one reads anymore, and they settled in, procreated, and earned a stellar reputation for kick ass dams and lodges.
As Maggy narrated, she nibbled on the rolled lily pads. At turns, she became wistful as only beavers can be.
Ernie died at the hands of a fiendish trapper who sold his pelts to a far flung furrier who sewed them into loincloths for a super model who modeled them in a magazine read by sociopaths. Maggy had received many offers for a new mate, but she rejected the suitors, preferring to remain alone rather than partnering with a mediocre beaver and damming watercourses with mediocre constructions. Maggy wanted excellence in love, life and architecture.
Maggy finished her story and asked Elmer about himself. He told her he didn’t really know who he was or where he’d come from. It was as if he had materialized out of the clouds. He just knew he loved the life of the beaver and the simple purpose and total anonymity it offered. He also loved chewing and gnawing trees and watching strange humans pick up the pieces he left behind.
“Why don’t you stay here in this lodge?” said Maggy “and we can hang out and get to know one another.”
Elmer looked at Maggy, the lodge, the cans of unopened porter. He could hear the stream crackling outside, flowing, flowing, running down, down, down to the ocean, and completing the eternal cycle (he still retained a tiny bit of Siddhartha) that began with evaporation, traveled upward to the clouds, fell to the land as rain, and then found its watery way to the great creator of all life. He sensed beavers were at one with this cycle in a way most humans were not—and never would be. Elmer also sensed that one day, beavers would (re)inherit the earth or at least what was once known as North America.
“That’s a wonderful idea,” said Elmer.
Maggy brought over two cans of porter and handed one to Elmer. They hoisted their cans to each other. Maggy punctured Elmer’s and Elmer punctured Maggy’s. They shotgunned them down and then embraced.