The Bitter Cow

 

There was a cow named Elderflower. She had too much to do. She had to get up at 4 am every day to give milk to the farmer and his family. She had to eat the encroaching weeds from the southeast corner of the field, but it always grew back fast. She had to go in and out of the barn, up and down the hill, back and forth across the field, day in day out. She was exhausted.

One day the dog came trotting up to her. “What’s wrong, Elderflower?” he asked.

“You wouldn’t understand,” the cow said. “I just have so much to do! I’m busy!”

“Busy!” the dog laughed and laughed, rolled on his back laughing until Elderflower felt quite affronted. “Busy!?” He said again when he could breathe. “You don’t have anything to do! The dog has to do everything around here. I have to keep you all and the sheep from wandering into the neighbor’s pasture. I have to come running whenever the farmer calls me. I have to keep the kids from getting hurt, I have to keep the animals from fighting, and I have to run off the coyotes.”

“Pft,” said the cow.

“Alright,” said the dog. “I challenge you then. We’ll swap jobs.”

“Oh, that’s a tired trope,” said the cow.

“Excuses,” the dog muttered, and walked away.

The next day she got up and saw that the night’s rain had made the weeds explode over a quarter of the pasture. She couldn’t take it anymore. “Dog,” she said, “Don’t you think you could help me?”

“Only if you help me,” the dog said.

So the dog dug up her weeds, she kept the cows in line. It was hard to pay that much attention to where they were going, but she managed alright. She saw something that might have been a coyote in the woods, took a run at it until it fled. She almost got lost on her way back, but the sunlight guided her back to the homestead. Then the chickens started fighting, and she had to go break that up.

She was so busy, she forgot to stop for her milking. By the time she realized the discomfort she was in, the farmer had already gone in. Her udders were fit to burst!

“Achh,” Elderflower said. “I missed the milking!”

“Don’t worry, I’ll get the humans,” said the dog. “Lay down, be dramatic. You’re good at that.”

“I hate you,” the cow retorted, but she did as he asked, laid down and lowed like her life depended on it.

The dog went to the door of the little stone farmhouse and barked, barked, barked. Eventually the farmer came to the door and saw the cow. He shook his head, but he gave Elderflower her milking anyway. All the while the children pulled at her ears and poked her face.

“Never again,” Elderflower said as the family walked away with a bucket of milk.

“Did you learn a lesson about positive thinking?” the dog said. 

“No! My life is so terrible. Never again will I miss a milking. I can’t stand the cost. Everything is awful.”

The dog laughed and laughed, until Elderflower kicked a clod of mud on him. He stopped laughing to dodge the clod, but his tail kept wagging, which was just as annoying in its own way.

“I’m going to change your attitude one of these days,” he said as he went to his kennel. “I’ve got a new mission!”

“Never,” the ornery cow replied. “Come back tomorrow and try again. Do your worst!”

She went to the barn and curled up with the rest of the herd. The wind cut through the loose board in her stall, just like it did every night. Somehow, it didn’t feel as cold as it used to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Grandma’s Hands

Another good one from Ivor.

Ivor.Plumber/Poet

I wonder what mum and grandma are thinking

Mum was born after the First World War

A child of the roaring twenties

Then she became a poor teenager, of the great depression

And a young nurse, during the horror’s of a second World War

A time when everyone’s supplies were rationed

Everyone helped each other, when things run out

Everyone knew a son, that been killed in the war

Everyone gave you a soft shoulder to lean on

Everyone shared each others pain

Our parents and grandparents survived

And taught us compassion, and the value of every single life

Ivor Steven (c)  March 2020

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A peep out of me

 

Smashwords is having a special Authors Give Back sale. People can download my book for free. We haven’t got a lot else to do, right? If we’re very, very lucky, boredom will be our worst enemy. The less lucky have to face loneliness, deprivation, sickness, and grief.

Well, I can’t fix that. But I can fix Bored. For several hours anyway.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/599602

I have this insurmountable to-do list on my phone, which I mostly ignore, and periodically angst over. I’m working my way through it at an alarming pace. I wonder how long it’ll last me. My freezer is getting really organized. I’ve figured out how to fight the ants back from the sink. Why aren’t I writing?

I guess I’m still adjusting, still reeling. I haven’t had the confidence to speak about what I’m seeing. For a while there, I wasn’t sure if this was worth worrying about or what.  Then came mental adjustment to new facts. Then came house arrest. Then I had to make fish cakes. Then came denial. Then I just absolutely had to learn how to tune the gears on my bike. Now I think I’ve come to terms, more or less, with whatever the hell is happening.

Have I mentioned how lucky I am? Maybe grateful… blessed… are better ways to put it. My work was already partially remote, so they’re letting us work from home. I didn’t really have that much put away in the stock market… money’s all made up anyway, it comes and goes. I’ve got a cabinet full of grits, rice, and beans if it comes to that. I really have nothing to worry about except other people.

Other people. That’s the only thing worth worrying about, isn’t it? I’m a type B, not a worrier by nature. Not by anybody’s standards. Well, you don’t have to worry about me. I’m not going anywhere. I mean that quite literally.

Missouri’s only got forty-something cases yet. That is, cases which have been tested and reported. Who knows what’s been hacked up out there, invisible, unreported.

It’s strange, behaving like I’m sick when I don’t feel sick. Next time I go out, I’ll get to play bandit with a kerchief on my face. That’s right, a handkerchief. My friends give me shit, because handkerchiefs are my religion. YOU SHOULD HAVE BROUGHT A HANDKERCHIEF, I’ll say, and whip mine out to save the day in every situation.

But I digress. It’s a writer’s prerogative.

So I’ll post more often, because we all need something to read, and it’s nice to know that we’re all alive out there.

Speaking of which… everyone alive out there? My precious reader friends and blogger friends? DO YOU HAVE ENOUGH TOILET PAPER? 

Count off!

 

P.S. Bloggers might appreciate this. The diary of Samuel Pepys, written in the 1660’s in London during a bout of the Bubonic Plague. 

https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/

I haven’t read a lot of it, but one part sticks in my mind: he was having a little house party, everyone was having a nice time, singing songs, then the party had end because two people got toothaches and wanted to go to bed.

Add modern dentistry and modern nutrition to my gratefulness list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Ancient Astrology

 

She handed me a holocopy of a fragmented newspaper from the 1990’s.

“Is that me?” I said, pointing at a sign: Virgo. 

“Yes,” she replied. “We haven’t determined how they came up with these facts, but they’re always correct. The ones written by Madam Zorastra are especially reliable.”

“That’s amazing,” I said. “So we just line up today’s date with the ancient American calendar?”

“Yes. I have the templates here. First, the fee.”

I leaned forward and she tapped my head with a data drawing wand. I blinked several times before regaining my equilibrium.

“So we just line up today’s date with the ancient American calendar?”

“Yes. First, though, the fee.”

“Go ahead,” I said, leaning forward. She tapped it with the data drawing wand. I blink. Red flashes through my eyes.

“Hang on… my defense software is detecting fraud. That can’t be right.”

“Of course not. You haven’t even paid yet.”

“Right, right… Virgo…”

“It says here: ‘your trusting nature makes you incredibly valuable to anyone around you.’”

“Wow! Do you think it’s true?”

“There’s no debating this science. The ancients had stringent scientific standards for anything published in a newspaper.”

“Amazing. I haven’t paid yet, have I?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

The Empathy Fixer

 

Here’s a short sci-fi I wrote:

https://shorts.quantumlah.org/entry/empathy-fixer

This does not count as being published. It’s just up there for consideration. If you’re interested in reading a zillion other quantum-inspired flash fiction stories, well, you can read them until you don’t know which direction you’re going, whether you’re alive or dead, or what universe this is… right here:

https://shorts.quantumlah.org/new-fiction

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

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