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Porkington Hamm

Porkington Hamm

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Porkington Hamm

Longitud:
136 página
1 hora
Publicado:
May 3, 2019
ISBN:
9781732783768
Formato:
Libro

Descripción

Life is not easy when you look one way on the outside and feel another way on the inside. But that's just the sort of life Porkington Hamm has, after getting a dose of Doctor Morty's experimental stem cell serum.

Thinking, feeling, and (mostly) looking human, he deals with discrimination, dysphoria, and social anxiety, and must come to terms with his origin. With help from his best friend Tom, Porkington explores the city, makes friends, and develops his culinary talents. He can often be found at the library, the outdoor market, and his favorite café. And when he forgets about himself and concentrates on helping others – that's when he's at his best.

But as in every town, there are people in the city he can't trust. Someone mysterious is stalking Porkington, and when Tom leaves town she makes her move. Is it the same person who got Doctor Morty fired from the university? Will her "conversion therapy" turn Porkington back into an ordinary pig?

Fun and inspirational reading for fans of magical realism, children's fantasy, and science fiction.

Publicado:
May 3, 2019
ISBN:
9781732783768
Formato:
Libro

Sobre el autor

M. M. Rodeheaver lives in a not very old house and has never seen a ghost. She likes coffee and cinnamon rolls, and is a pretty good whistler. You can follow her on Twitter @MMRodeheaver. Learn more about her at www.MargaretRodeheaver.com 

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Porkington Hamm - Margaret Rodeheaver

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Prologue

J. PORKINGTON HAMM lived in an older, well-kept apartment building in the city, just off Park Street - a fine address for a respectable person. His best friend Tom called him Porkington. Others called him JP or Mr. Hamm. But Porkington liked the way J. Porkington Hamm sounded, like the name of one of the characters on his favorite TV show, Uptown Manor.

Porkington could often be found strolling through the outdoor market in the local park, reading in the library, or chatting with neighbors in his favorite cafe. Thoughtful, interesting, and trusting to a fault, he always acted like a gentleman.

But J. Porkington Hamm did not start life as a gentleman - or even a human - at all. He started life as a pig. A pig pig, that is; not a sloppy person. The kind of pig people sometimes turn into crispy bacon, smoky delicious ham, or savory tender pork roast with rosemary potatoes.

When a person looks one way on the outside, and feels quite another way on the inside, it can make life difficult. Not everyone treats such people kindly.

But Porkington didn’t give in to life’s difficulties. He had a good, if peculiar-looking, head on his shoulders, and a good heart, and he made a rich life for himself, even though he nearly got his goose cooked along the way.

This is the story of someone who wins.

Chapter 1

A Pet for Tom

PORKINGTON WAS BORN in the normal piglet way, to a sow named Mrs. Hamm who lived in the animal science department at City University.

You could call Mrs. Hamm a research assistant. She tested swine fodder in the university’s swine research center. The center was studying alternatives to the standard corn, soybeans, and grain, looking for low cost, nutritious food to raise healthy pigs with good temperament and behavior. Not only must the fodder taste good, it must also be visually appealing, and have just the right sort of aroma and chewiness only discriminating test animals like Mrs. Hamm could scientifically verify.

When Porkington was born, the runt of a healthy litter of ten, Tom Major could tell right off he had a good temperament. Tom was a young professor in the animal science department. He grew up on a farm, and knew all about pigs. In fact, he loved pigs. Wonderful, intelligent, clean - Tom thought the world of Mrs. Hamm and all her relatives at the swine research center, and particularly of Porkington.

Tom’s friend Morty also worked at City University, in the college of medicine. At the moment, he was developing a brain serum made from stem cells. The serum was designed to help people recover from brain injuries, but it might also enhance their memory and learning. Morty had just received the go-ahead to begin testing, and was eager to get started.

Morty visited Tom at the swine facility most afternoons, and the two old friends chatted about their projects. He would have thought Tom’s opinions on pigs were humorous if he didn’t also have a soft spot for all kinds of creatures.

Late one afternoon Morty went with Tom to check on Mrs. Hamm’s litter. That little one has hardly any tail, Morty said, pointing to Porkington. He leaned over the hog pen, trying not to get his white lab coat dirty, and pushed his glasses up on his nose. But he makes up for it in ears. Look how long and floppy they are.

He’ll grow into them. Tom lifted Porkington out of the pen and held him at arm’s length. The piglet was eight weeks old, and was used to being held by students studying animal welfare and handling. Humans may be related to the apes, Morty, but we also have a lot in common with pigs.

Morty laughed. And some humans more than others, he thought.

I think I told you about that summer when I was ten years old and kept a piglet named Bullet as a pet? Tom continued, cradling Porkington under one arm and scratching him behind the ears.

Oh, yes, I’ve heard all about old Bullet. Morty quickly cut Tom short. He had heard all about Bullet, not to mention the raccoon Tom raised from a kit, and the pair of goats that were Tom’s 4-H project one summer.

Tom had loved his pet Bullet. And his parents hadn’t objected to Bullet living indoors until one fall day, just after school started. Tom ran to catch the school bus and forgot to let Bullet out for the day. When Tom’s mother came home early from her job and found that Bullet had snuck into the pantry and eaten half a week’s groceries, it was back to the pigpen for Bullet, permanently.

Porkington squirmed around in Tom’s arms, sticking his snout into the pocket of Tom’s plaid shirt. You can’t have my chewing gum! Tom gently lowered the piglet into the pen where he shouldered his way through the litter to his mother.

A mischievous smile crinkled Morty’s face as he raised his right index finger. Say! Your girlfriend is out of town for a while. He paused and cocked his head. By the way, have you heard from Beth lately?

Tom’s girlfriend Beth, a research scientist, was working on a solar energy project in a sunny part of South America. Yep. Everything’s going well with the latest team of grad students. And they’re getting lots more energy out of the new solar panels. It’s pretty exciting, really.

Well, Morty resumed. Beth is out of town for a couple of months, and I know you’re lonely. Morty made a sad face. Why don’t you take home a pet? One of Mrs. Hamm’s piglets would be great company for you! Come on, he cajoled. You’ve named them all already - they’re like family! That cute little one - Porkington, isn’t it? Yes, Porkington! He’d make a wonderful companion.

Morty smiled gleefully. He was enjoying his joke. At least, he meant it as a joke. His friend might dress like a farmer, but Morty didn’t really think Tom should bring a piglet into his nice apartment. And Beth was pretty easy-going, but what would she say when she came back and found a pig in her favorite corner of the couch?

I’ve been thinking about a pet for a while, actually. Beth and I looked at some cats at the shelter before she left. Tom watched the piglets scramble around Mrs. Hamm, vying for a chance at her milk.

Seriously? A look of astonishment replaced Morty’s gleeful smile. You and Bullet lived on a farm. Surely you could never keep a piglet in your apartment. It’d be impossible!

Tom’s lips twitched and his eyes twinkled, reminding Morty of the time Tom had smuggled a puppy into their college dorm room. Watch and learn, Morty my friend. Watch and learn.

Tom reached back into the hog pen and gently pried an unsuspecting Porkington away from his mother. Another piglet quickly took his place and started suckling. Porkington regarded Tom with calm curiosity.

You are one fine-looking pig. Tom told Porkington. Here. He handed Porkington to Morty. Since it was your idea, you can be the godfather.

Chapter 2

A Pig is Reborn

A PIGLET CAN FIT QUITE comfortably in a laptop case, if it’s one of the soft flexible kind like Tom had. Tom brought it to work every day, but it usually only held his thermos of coffee and his mid-morning snack. He took the thermos out, and put his cotton jacket in the bottom. Then he nestled Porkington inside. It was dark and comfy, and since Porkington had just finished eating, he snuggled in for a nap.

Tom lived in an older, well-kept apartment building in the city, just off Park Street and not too far from City University. Often he walked to work. This afternoon he decided to take the bus in order to get Porkington home before he woke up and started squirming. Come with me, Morty, Tom urged. I’ll need help getting him settled in.

Morty shook his head, but reluctantly followed. He felt responsible for giving Tom the notion of taking a pig home, and hoped it would end with a trip back to the university to return the pig to the swine barn.

The short bus ride was over before Porkington woke up. Morty whistled nervously as the two men rode up in the elevator, but they got to Tom’s fifth floor apartment without being noticed. Where is the pig going to sleep? Morty asked, hoping Tom would realize how hard it would be to keep his new pet in the apartment.

"’The pig’, as you call him, is named Porkington, Tom said with a sniff, looking down his nose at Morty. The farmers’ market in the park had some small wooden crates they were getting rid of. I’ll run down and get one."

Tom lifted Porkington out of his laptop bag and set him in the kitchen. Porkington nosed around sleepily, taking cautious steps on the slippery floor.

And I’ve been thinking. Tom frowned. For some reason he’s been turning his nose up at our swine fodder. We started the rest of the litter on it at three weeks, as usual, but Porkington keeps refusing it. So I’ll find him something to eat. Meanwhile, if he acts hungry, there are some greens in the fridge you can try. And give him some water. Talk to him! It’ll keep him calm.

Tom was about to leave, but addressed Morty again. Oh, and try to keep him in the kitchen. You know - in case of accidents. I guess he’ll need a litter box. I’ll just be a couple of minutes. Tom looked at the piglet with a smile, and dashed out the

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