Kreative Kue 320 asked for submissions based on this photograph:
“Would you look at that?”
“That Heffer Louise.”
“Yeah, she looks like she has put on a few pounds.”
“She has a lot of nerve showing up here.”
“Oh, do tell.”
“You mean you don’t know?”
“I’m the last to know everything. Come on, spill the beans.”
“Okay, but you didn’t hear this from me. Promise?”
“Ernestine started going out with that gorgeous Brahma Bull.”
“I think I heard that part.”
“Then all of a sudden ole Louise starts strutting her stuff.”
“Men are such fools. What happened next.”
“I think you guessed it. The Brahma makes a play for Louise and drops Ernestine.”
“I hear tell Ernestine had a calf.”
“Well, we think it was put up for adoption cause no one’s seen it. That’s not the best part, though.”
“It’s pretty good, though.”
“Get this. The Brahma wants to get hitched to Louise, and she drops him like a hot potato.”
“I know, right? Now both Brahma and Ernestine and miserable all because of Louise. Shush, here she comes.”
“Oh, good morning Louise. My, you look radiant today.”
“Why, thank you. You two were in such a focused discussion I thought you might have some gossip to share.”
“Oh, no. We were just talking about the weather. How about you?”
“The same. Well, I think I’ll go over to the hay buffet and see if anything is interesting. Have a nice day.”
“You too, Louise. Bye.”
“She has lots of nerve.”
“I’ll say. In addition to nerve, she should also take a pass on the buffet.”
“Morning Maybelle! Have anything juicy today?”
“Shh! Keep it down! Patience, Julene, I’m hungry.”
“Hmm . . . oh, sorry, just do that when I get nervous. Ooops! Pee, too. Sorry about the splatter.”
“Yuck! Hold on, let me wipe this muck off! There, better now. Well, now, Julene, let me see. Oh! Yes! See the calf lying down next to Molly? No, don’t move your head to look! Pshaw! After everything I’ve taught and you’re still a bovine! And stop rubbing your head against the buffet table! Honestly!”
“Nervous habit, sorry.”
“Annyyywayyyyss . . . as I was saying, the dreadful tail nipper is not Ferdinand’s!”
“Must you copy everything I say? Especially at the same time!”
“Sorry, Maybelle . . . wait? Did you say—”
“I’ve heard his real father is a . . .”
“A what? Tell me, or I’ll pee again!”
“Shh!! He’s a Jersey.”
“Really? Oh, how delicious! Not as tasty as the candy bar. Um, I think it’s called Jersey Malt?”
“Ugh, Jersey Milk. You are still just a b—”
“Not the ‘b’ word! I’ll tell Molly what you said.”
“Go ahead. She’ll laugh at you again and then you’ll miss out on the rest of- oh, hi Lucy! So glad to see you!”
“Wow, still synchronizing your greetings, I see. I’m well, thank you. Just a nibble and I’ll be off. Got to help scare away the bloody gophers. They keep digging holes and twisting hooves.”
“Pfff! Only women with more udders than brains.”
“Beg pardon, Maybelle?”
“She said that you look udderly amazing today! Did you just get some new lipstick? Green is the new brown, you know.”
“Huh? No Julene. I just found a fresh batch of caterpillars! Yum! So tasty, they way they pop in your mouth! Their juices running down your lips!”
“I’m going to be sick.”
“Oh well, in that case, I’ll pass on the hay. See you girls later.”
“She does that on purpose. See the smile on her face? She’s disgusting.”
“Hey-hey! What’s up?”
“Yes! That’s the spirit! Going to be a good one! Gonna’ get all up in that prune-faced farmer Macko! Or is that, Wacko! Ha! I slay me!”
“You go, baby girl! You show him the ‘what-for!’”
“Huh? What for? What are you talking ‘bout Jules?”
“Uh, whatever you are. Um, I guess.”
“Nah! Just messing with you, girl! I’m gonna’ hide the salt lick on him again! This’ll be the fifth one he’s bought this month. Oh, ya! He’ll be mutterin’ and whinin’ ‘bout cost and such. Gonna’ be righteous stuff.”
“What’d you say, Makebelief?”
“Um, I’m sorry to correct you, Tammy, but it’s—”
“I know what bigmouth’s name is, but she’s so fake, they oughta’ park her on the front lawn, with a flag saying, “Welcome to Macko’s Farm, ” stuck in her b—”
“That’s quite enough! Why, I just saw a tasty patch of hemlock, all you can eat.”
“Trying to kill me, huh? Well, that ain’t right!”
“Ugh! I’m tired of living with such common Bos Taurus.”
“What’s that! It’s growling like that weird T-Rex monster thingy. You know, the one with the large back legs and the itty-bitty front ones? But this one’s swallowed Farmer Macko whole! You can see him in the gut. Eww!”
“You mean the tractor? And no, Macko is perfectly fine. He’s driving the truck.”
“Oh ya, now I remember. Well, it’s coming this way!”
“You’re right, Julene! Remember the last time?”
“It’s stopped! Oh Maybelle, Macko’s ripped the truck’s mouth open and he’s coming towards us! He’s got that neck thingy.”
“A rope! It’s me! No! I’ve been good. Hide me! Quick!”
“Um, oh, hey look! Tammy’s running away with the salt lick! Go Tammy! So funny!”
“Not now! Julene, you need to hide me!”
“Oh, yay, um, get into those bushes. Headfirst, yes, that should do. If you can’t see him, he can’t see you!”
“Makes perfect sense! I take back what I’ve been saying about you to everyone. You’re a genius!”
“Um, yes, I’m just going to step away. Join the others and see the babies. Just shout if you need me.”
Tien Skye, who blogs at From the Widow Seat offered this tale. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
(Untitled) © 2021, Tien Skye
“I hope you learn the valuable lesson of ‘Speech is silver, silence is golden’,” I lectured. “A promise is a promise, son!”
“But -” he protested.
“No buts, you peach-skin whelp!” I cut him off before he could continue. “You made a promise. The season is changing and I told you to till the land so we can prepare for farming. What did you say?” I glared at him, daring him to lie.
He only hung his head.
“Well? What did you say?” I asked again impatiently.
“Till the land? Sure, until the cows come home,” he muttered.
“Good, you remembered. Well, the cows came home. Now, go till the land. I want it done before the week is out,” I said before turning to return to the house.
My effort was:
It was an unseasonably hot April afternoon on the farm. The few small clouds that sauntered lazily across a deep blue sky offered no shade; no respite from the relentless heat.On second thoughts, delete that beginning: trite, formulaic clichés.
The old bull stood in the shade of the massive oak next to the feeder. Or maybe the massive bull stood in the shade of the old oak. Either way, he stood there. The prime bull had been servicing this herd for more years than many could remember. Season after season he performed his duties. So effective was he that he had long ago lost count of the number of young he had sired.
“Okay, gather round,” he bellowed, “Kids too. Find a space and make yourselves comfortable. There is something I want, no, something I need to tell you all.”
The herd gathered around him, jostling for the best spaces in the limited shade the tree offered. Mothers kept their young calves close to them and offered them what comfort they could. You see, they all knew what this talk was about; they’d heard it every year since they were not much more than calves themselves.
“I don’t want you worrying about any of this,” Daisy said to her calf, Sebastian, “You concentrate on being a young calf and having all the fun you can.” Whilst you can was the unspoken end of that sentence.
Boris (that’s what the bull was called) cleared his throat and bellowed for the herd’s attention. “Listen up, my friends and my children. It’s important that you know certain things about the life into which you have been born. The information I give you today will prepare you for what life holds for you.”
“Where are our sisters?” Sebastian asked in as loud and clear a voice as he could muster.”
“Hush, Seb,” Daisy counselled him, “Don’t interrupt Boris. His mind wanders and he’ll start talking nonsense if he loses his flow.”
“Well, yah, that’s – erm – maybe… but… eh… now then” Boris blustered.
“See what you’ve done?” Sebastian’s mother asked, “You must never interrupt Boris and never question what he says. He doesn’t like it and doesn’t deal with it very well.”
“Sorry, Mum I was just wondering why it’s only the boys here.”
“I’ll explain it to you later.”
“Right… yah… well… where was I?” the blustering continued, “Ah, yes. Good. What life holds for you. Right. Each of us has a purpose in life, and that purpose is determined by the being we know as Farmer.” Boris bowed his head and pawed the ground as he uttered the Name. “He is the source of all that is good in this world: food, water, winter quarters and above all the thing known as veterinary care. That’s a long word for you young ones to take in. It means the system whereby we get health checks and injections that protect us against evils like tuberculosis, Foot and Mouth, or even BSE.” At this mention, all the older females dipped their heads and wept a silent tear for those that had gone before and fallen to that dreadful curse. “I know, ladies,” Boris went on [and going on was something, maybe the only thing he was really good at], “it’s not a topic I enjoy raising, but it has to be said. Without veterinary care that would be our future: tuberculosis, Foot and Mouth and the dreaded BSE – mad cow disease. That is the extent, the depth and the nature of the debt – the life-debt if you will – that we owe to Him; to the Farmer.” Boris again bowed his head and pawed the ground in respect.
The herd was silent. The mothers knew what was coming next. They knew that Boris would have to say it but that he didn’t want to give voice to it. You see, he knew that as soon as he moved to the next part of his prepared and oft-repeated speech, he would have to give information that the herd wouldn’t want to hear; information that would dent his popularity. And Boris liked to be a popular bull. Generally, he would say whatever he thought the herd would like to hear, whether he believed it or not; whether it was true or not.
Against his mother’s pleading, Sebastian raised his voice. “This debt of which you speak: how is it to be repaid. If it is as great as you have implied, there must surely be a cost to us. Benefits like vete… vetri… whatever it was called—”
“Veterinary care,” the old bull offered.
“Yes, that,” Sebastian continued, “These things must cost something and even the greatest – even he who’s name I’m not allowed to mention – must be able to recover that cost. How?”
“Well, yah, that’s – erm – maybe… but… now then” Boris blustered.
With that, the farm cat: a moggy with an over-inflated sense of his own importance and value to the organisation appeared and saw that Boris was trying to hide behind the feeder..
“For Farm’s sake,” Jacob [that’s the cat’s name] said, “All you lads will be fed and watered until you’re big enough—”
“Big enough? Beg enough for what?” Sebastian asked.
“Big enough to be sent to market.”
“That sounds exciting,” Sebastian said, “Is market a nice place?”
“No – you’ll all be killed and eaten.”
“Don’t start complaining. You chose to be born male. You should have thought of that before.” Jacob lifter his tail, smirked and sloped off once again leaving the mothers to pick up the pieces.
On to this week’s challenge: Using this photo as inspiration, write a short story, flash fiction, scene, poem; anything, really; even just a caption for the photograph. Either put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org before 6pm next Sunday (if you aren’t sure what the time is where I live, this link will tell you). If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be appreciated, but please do also mention it in a comment here.
Go on. You know you want to. Let your creativity and imagination soar. I shall display the entries next Monday.