The Sloth

Ben Loory

Summer 2017

A bunch of sloths were hanging out, eating leaves in the forest, when one of them suddenly spoke up.

Hey guys, he said. I think I’m gonna get a job.

Gonna get a what? another said.

A job, said the sloth. You know, something to do. Don’t you guys ever get tired of eating leaves?

But nobody answered.

And finally, the sloth sighed.

I guess I’ll see you later, he said.

The sloth crawled down from the tree and headed off—very, very slowly—through the forest.

He came to some ants building an anthill.

You guys need any help? he said.

The ants didn’t answer, they just ran around in circles.

I’m looking for a job, the sloth said.

But the ants just looked really confused and upset.

I’m sorry, the sloth said. Never mind.

The sloth crawled on, until he came to a bear who was reaching into a beehive for some honey.

Excuse me, said the sloth, do you need help with that?

This is mine! the bear roared. My honey!

Okay, said the sloth.

He slowly backed away.

Next, he came to a stream. And on it, he saw some beavers building a dam.

You guys need help with that? he said.

What’s that? said the head beaver, who was wearing a hard hat.

I’m looking for a job, the sloth said.

Sorry, said the beaver. This here’s a union shop.

But maybe try the city? he added.

Ben Loory is the author of the collections "Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day" and "Tales of Falling and Flying," as well as a picture book for children, "The Baseball Player and the Walrus." His fables and tales have appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, Gargoyle Magazine, and The Antioch Review, and been heard on This American Life and Selected Shorts.

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