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The Strapping Kind
by John Young

Curly munched on corn cobs in the trough when he overheard Kinky and Stub talking about his mom.

"Look at her! Just lying in the muck on such a beautiful day," said Kinky.

"The whole clan's the same way. Always has been, always will be," said Stub.

Sue rolled on her back, exposing her fat, muddied belly. Curly trotted over and nudged her ear with his snout.

"Ma, why do you spend so much time in the mud?" Curly asked.

"Pigs have been doin' this as long as we've walked the earth, son. Keeps our skin and bristles healthy."

"Then why don't Kinky and Stub?"

"They're products of genetic alterations, Curly. You remember what I told you about their tails?"

"Yes, that only the healthiest pigs have tails like mine."

"Just look at Kinky's and Stub's tails, son. Have you ever seen such sad things?"

"No, ma," he said, returning to his trough no less embarrassed.

A group of businessmen walked between the holding pens, patting the backs of pigs. When one reached Curly, he bent over and ran his hand over his back.

"Ah, nice hair. This breed makes excellent brushes."

"Did you hear that, Stub?" said Kinky. "Brushes!"

Kinky and Stub squealed at the thought.

The businessmen continued on and stopped at Kinky and Stub.

"These two specimens are an example of the strapping kind I mentioned at lunch," the man continued. "Products of gene manipulation."

"Did you hear that, Sue?" Kinky yelled. "Strapping kinds!"

"Good for you. Obviously you've kept your hides in perfect condition," Sue said.

The businessmen left the pens. Curly returned to his mom.

"Mom, what did the men mean by strapping?" he asked.

Stub overheard and interjected, "Strong, he meant we're strong!"

Curly bowed his head in embarrassment. Sue nibbled Curly on the ear to come closer.

"Strong, indeed, son. They'll make the strongest leather belts in all of Japan," she whispered.

Curly jumped in the mud next to his mom, frolicking and giggling at her side.