Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fred Asks for Help


What if cows gave root beer instead of milk?

He couldn’t get that stupid sentence out of his head. For days Fred had walked around, bored, waiting for Bessie to have a little bit of free time for him, when one of the Giants had asked the question. Root beer. Grr.

Well my boy would be dead, is what would happen. Don’t those Giants realize milk nourishes my calf? Bessie might have snorted milk out of her nose when I told her what Oatmeal Head said, but I don’t think it was funny at all. How would they like it if I gave their calves root beer? Maybe that’s what their mamas produce! It would serve them right.

Still fuming, his thoughts jumped track, back to the name for their little bull. So far Bessie had come up with a whole list of idiotic names, while vetoing all of his perfectly thought out names. What on earth was wrong with Taurus or Minotaur? They spoke strength and courage! Things a little bull needs! She was so stubborn sometimes! He only wished his dad had cared enough to name him so well! Frederick – a name only a mother could give. Paugh.

And what names had Bessie come up with? Alfred, Earnest, Wallace – pansy names! He’d be laughed right out of the kitchen! When he’d said as much to Bessie, she’s simply smiled and licked Fred behind the ear. The nerve! Then she had the nerve to ask if that meant he, Fred, would be laughed out of the kitchen, or their calf! Of all the … words didn’t do it justice.

He was just going to have to take matters into his own hands. Their new friends, Perry and Priscilla, the pigs who now lived in the vitamin basket, would understand. Well, Perry would understand. Priscilla, with her pink ribbon and dainty hooves, would certainly side with Bessie. He’d march right over – limp over, since his side still hurt - and get Perry’s opinion. He was NOT going down without a fight.

Of all the times for Bessie to grow a spine! Giving birth really changed her. Well, maybe it wasn’t giving birth, exactly. She came back from that glue mission a different cow. Whatever it was, she’s just wrong about this!

Hearing a grunt, Fred looked up to find Perry staring at him, almost muzzle to snout. Oop! He hadn’t realized how far he’d walked. Standing near the vitamin basket was Perry, watching Fred closely, as though he was afraid of what Fred was thinking. The anxious look faded as Fred relaxed and gave Perry his best smile. This was not a good time to trigger Perry’s anxiety disorder.

“Perry! Just the pig I wanted to see! How’s Prissy? All well in the basket? You guys making yourselves at home?” Fred paused to let Perry take all of this in, knowing he was a little slow on the uptake. Best to take the conversation at Perry’s pace.

“Fred! Prissy’s doing great! Just jealous of your Bessie, if you know what I mean. How are you, bo? The side still giving you trouble? I wish I’d been here to help when you fell.” (If Fred had to hear that one more time he was going to kick Perry’s snout in!) “Bessie and the calf doing okay?” Perry shuffled back a little, swaying his head back and forth as though sniffing the air, something which drove Fred crazy. What, was he always looking for food? Whatever. The mission; that’s what mattered. Focus.

“Perry, my swine, I’m in need of a testosterone filled opinion. One which only a true male of the species can give. You’re the first guy I thought of. In fact, you’re the only one I thought of! You got a minute?” Fred moved in a bit, winking and grinning.

“Uhh … sure, Fred. What’s going on? I don’t know how much I can help …” As Perry’s voice trailed off, head dropping slightly, Fred grinned a little broader. So close.

“Perry, we still don’t have a name for Junior over there. I’ve gone through every name I can think of – everything strong and bullish – but nothing seems to fit the little guy. I know how much Bessie thinks of your opinion, and I know you love labeling stuff … no, don’t deny it! You come up with the best names for everything! Whadda ya say? Help me out? It needs to be beefy, brawny, rugged. Help me out?”

Perry looked a little nervous. No, Perry looked a lot nervous. Had Bessie already gotten to Priscilla? No, she couldn’t have. She never left that calf long enough to talk to anyone, much less to Prissy. It was just Perry being piggish. He couldn’t help it.

“See, the thing is, Fred, I don’t think I can help you. Prissy says Bessie has already picked out names for the little guy. And I really like some of them. I mean, if you want me to tell you the ones I like the most, if that will help you make a decision and make Bessie happy, I can do that.” Perry edged away from Fred, his head swaying violently, front feet tapping a rhythm on the Formica. Fred had never seen Perry so agitated. What the heck? Did Prissy have him that fettered? “I really like Wallace. You could call him Wally. Or Wall-wall. It would suit the little bull, Wallace would.”

Could Perry see the pepper coming out of Fred’s ears? He couldn’t believe what he was hearing!

(to be continued)

No comments: