"No," the girl hissed under her breath.
"Come on," the raccoon coaxed. "It'll be fine. I'm curious."
They turned to the wild-eyed man capering in the meadow. With a sigh, the girl bent to pick up a stout stick before following her companion.
The moment he lay his sights upon the pair, the unkempt man let out a gleeful cry and ran to meet them.
"Why are you tan?" He ran around them, repeating the phrase over and over. The girl was ready to swing. "Because there is sun! Because there is skin! Because there is life!" The madman laughed.
Suddenly he turned to the girl. "Why are you holding a stick?" He leered, leaning closer. The raccoon growled, hackles raised.
"Going to hurt me, girl? Going to hit me with that stick? Hurt? Hurt?" He laughed again. Without warning, he spun and ran towards a tree at full sprint. He crashed into the bark and staggered back, a trickle of blood running down his face.
"Hurt?" He repeated, before his knees gave way and he landed with a thump on the floor.
"He's off his rocker," the raccoon muttered. "Nutty as a fruitcake."
The girl glanced at him. "Is your curiosity satisfied?" She asked dryly.
"Just wait here a moment," the raccoon said as he pattered towards the mumbling man.
"Why did you do that?" The raccoon asked. "Why did you hit your head against the tree?"
"Hit me before the girl hits." The man slurred. Blood dribbled down his beard. "Got me before she did."
"You don't know she was going to hit you for sure," the raccoon countered.
"Gonna be hit one day anyway."
"You might get hit, as you put it, even after hurting yourself."
The man giggled. "You're hurting me. You're hurting you. I'm hurting me, you. We all hurt."
"I hurt - you hurt. True, raccoon? True?"
"I cry, you cry, raccoon?"
"If I die, you die."
"Are you having fun?" The girl asked, walking over.
The raccoon swung his tail. "However did you know?"
Placing the end of her stick on the ground, the girl leaned on the branch. "Be careful, he might like roasted raccoon."
"That's a distasteful joke," the raccoon turned back to the madman. "Okay. You die, I die. So?"
"So - we're same! We're the same!" The madman yelled, before crashing to the ground. After a moment, his snores filled the silence.
After glancing at each other, the pair walked out the meadow.
"Hey, if he dies, wouldn't the 'me' who knew him, who knew myself in relation to him, not exist either?" The girl asked suddenly.
"Hmmmph." The raccoon snorted. "You ought to be better than that crazy fellow." He stretched luxuriously before following after her. "I am not my past. Just as I am not my future, or my present. I am not my emotions, feelings, or thoughts."
"And so you are...?"
"Not just me - you too! You and every other living thing."
"Okay, and so we are?"
"Whatever is left. Come to think of it," the raccoon cocked his head, "in that sense, the fellow might just be right."
Excerpt from Tales for Young Cubs, 6th Edition
Daniela Andrade - crazy in love
(because the madman has a story too)