Soli Deo gloria
DISCLAIMER: I do NOT own the Lorax. I'm experimenting with this one; tell me what you think of my characterization of the Lorax and the Once-ler. Thanks for reading!
The Once-ler sat by the window in his tent, sitting in a sprawled position on the chair to his desk. Outside of his comfortable, messy home lay the Truffula Tree forest, and it was not looking like the idealistic place he had first found himself with Melvin and his guitar. There was a wicked wind blowing through the trees, which were now growing sparse. They used to be all over the meadow, but now they could be only found in patches, leaning into each other as their thin bodies bent with the wind.
It looked like it was going to rain, which annoyed the Once-ler. With rain falling, his family would absolutely not work under such conditions, and with that, the tufts of the Truffula Trees would be soaked and would need to dry before they could be knitted into Thneeds. It was just all very terribly inconvenient, especially when the Once-ler had a factory to start building.
He sighed and turned his chair when he heard someone at his door.
"Come in," he said.
His mother peeked her head, squeaking, "Oh, Oncie, darling, whatEVER are we going to do about this weather?"
"We're going to have to wait it out, Mom," the Once-ler said.
His mother tsked. "Oh, this weather. It's ruinin' EVERYTHANG!"
"Hey, don't worry about it, Mom," the Once-ler said, standing up. "It'll be fine."
His mother sighed and said, wearing a big smile, "Of course, Oncie. Now, you just keep working on your plans for the factory, and I'll be with your brothers in the camper." She turned sharply and yelled, "CHET! BRET!"
She turned back to the Once-ler, who had winced at the tone of her voice, and said, "See you in a bit, Oncie."
"See ya, Mom," he said, and his mother nodded and closed the door behind her.
The Once-ler turned back to the window and instantly sighed, a frown on his face as he watched the wind blow some tufts off of the Truffula Trees, rain falling on the rest.
"Great, great, this is just GREAT," the Once-ler said, scowling as he sat on his bed. "This just puts another big dent in my plans."
He wiped a hand over his forehead and then reached for his knitting needles, which had a long snake of a Thneed hanging onto them. He started to knit, knowing that it was the only thing that could help his business and the ever growing need for Thneeds in this sort of weather.
There was another knock on the door, and he looked up, saying, "Come in, Mom."
The door opened, and instead of his mother with her wavy dark blonde hair, there was a neon orange little thing with a hairy yellow mustache. The Lorax. The bane and pain of the Once-ler's existence.
The Lorax, frowning as usual, had his hands on his hips, and was looking none-too-please with the Once-ler. The Once-ler had grown used to that look. He now groaned and said, "Ugh, what do you want? And how did you get into my tent?"
"I have my ways," the Lorax said.
"'Course you do. Are you here trying to save your precious trees? 'Cause I think we've had this argument WAY too many times," the Once-ler said, stubbornly turning back to defiantly knit his pink Thneed.
"No. I can see that there's no point in arguing with a person who lets words go in one ear and out the other," the Lorax said.
"Oh, you FINALLY get that," the Once-ler said.
"But there's one thing I want you to see," the Lorax said.
"What?" the Once-ler said.
"C'mere," the Lorax said, and the Once-ler rolled his eyes and stood up, putting his knitting back on his bed. He walked over to the Lorax, who in turn walked to his window.
"Hey, I was already looking out there. What else is there to see besides wind and rain?" the Once-ler said, waving his hands around.
"Just look a bit closer," the Lorax said, and he pointed one of his spindly little orange arms out into the rain.
The Once-ler stooped down and said, "I don't see anything."
"Closer, kid, c'mon," the Lorax said a bit sternly.
The Once-ler moved an inch closer. "Nothing."
Another inch. "Yeah, NOTHING."
The Lorax sighed and grabbed the Once-ler's chin and brought him down to his size, and pointing with his other arm out the window, he said, "There, right there!"
The Once-ler followed the Lorax's pointing finger to see one of the larger Truffula Trees in this region. It was bending a bit, but not too much, and because of that lots of the animals were hiding under its tufty roof, which was sparse from the Once-ler's handling. A couple of soaked bar-ba-loots were hugging the tree trunk while a couple of swo-mee swans were hiding in the tufts of the tree, hoping that it'd protect them from getting too wet. There was a bunch of humming fish singing something along the trunk of the tree, something sad and melancholic to go with the weather.
"See them? This is what they use when it's raining this hard out. Those trees are the life in this valley, beanpole. They're providers, with homes in the wet season and places to hide and places to play in and sleep in," the Lorax said.
The Once-ler instantly looked from the shivering animals back to the Lorax, saying accusingly, "I thought you said you weren't going to try to save the trees."
"I know," the Lorax said. He sighed and said in a calm voice, "I just want you to see what you're doing to the animals. They're a part of the valley, too."
"What? Are you now a representative of the entire valley or what?" the Once-ler said.
"I represent the trees and remind you of your humanity and compassion on these poor guys," said the Lorax. He let go of the Once-ler's chin, allowing him to wince and rub his chin, wiping away the feel of the Lorax's strong, annoyed fingers. The Lorax looked back up at him, and said sternly, calmly, "Just remember that, beanpole. You may be improving your life, but not the life of the valley."
"So you'd rather me be a penniless, worthless nobody?" the Once-ler said, annoyed.
"I'd rather have that on you than THAT" - he pointed outside - "on them."
"Oh, really?" the Once-ler said, bending down, his angry face a few inches from the Lorax's.
"Yes!" the Lorax said, leaning closer, angry.
The two of them nearly bumped noses, both positively livid with each other, when the door to the Once-ler's room opened.
The Once-ler scowled and said, straightening, "What, why is everyone constantly coming in here?" He noticed the visitor was a red-faced Aunt Grizelda. He shrugged and said in a more cheerful voice, "Oh, hey, Aunt Grizelda."
"This peanut annoying you, boss?" Aunt Grizelda said, her greedy little eyes looking to the Lorax.
"He-he was just-" the Once-ler started, but the Lorax interrupted him.
"Leaving," the Lorax said. He walked to the door, frowning at the wickedly grinning Aunt Grizelda, and said, looking to the defiant Once-ler but speaking to Aunt Grizelda, hoping that the kid was listening, "I'm leaving. There's just no convincing him that killing the trees kills the valley." He then looked to Aunt Grizelda and said, "I can walk myself out."
He turned and walked out, and Aunt Grizelda said, looking to the Once-ler, "Should I follow him, boss?"
"No, just . . ." the Once-ler sighed, wiping his forehead and letting his hand slide down to the back of his neck. He looked back out over the sad weather and said, "Just . . . leave him alone."
Aunt Grizelda snorted, but said, "If you say so," and slammed the door behind her.
The Once-ler sighed again and turned away from the window. He was doing good for the people who wanted Thneeds; he was helping the market. He wasn't TRYING to be a bad person; he was a businessman, a big businessman now, and these were trifling matters.
He shook his head and pulled down his metal shade with a frown on his face, closing his eyes to make the animals disappear out of his mind as the shade slammed against his tent.
He turned back to his knitting, a tighter frown on his face. He had a demand to meet, and he needed those tufts quickly.
The Lorax just didn't understand.
Little did he know as he picked up his knitting needles and started to concentrate on his rows that he was the one who didn't understand.
Thank you for reading!