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Holiday Drama

"I don't know what you got in those carriers;" Ken warned. "But I hope you realize I'm not fond of animals, Uncle Dirk." Dirk smiled beneath his gristled whiskers. "Aw, C'mon my boy!" He cajoled. "I bought these special for you and your wife's first Christmas together!" Ken's uncle knealt down and undid the latches on both pet crates.

"TA-DA!" Dirk shouted triumphantly. Two large white birds waddled out onto the tile floor of their entryway. "What do you want me to do?" Ken asked. "Break their necks, de-feather, gut and cook them?" Patrice let out a high pitched scream. "Darling no!" She shouted. "We can't eat the big duckies! They're cute." Uncle Dirk seemed offended by the idea as well. "Two points of clarification;" he said. "First, these are domesticated geese. Second, I didn't rescue them from the animal shelter just to be dinner! They're supposed to be good pets." 

Ken was…irritated at this unwanted gift. He had to admit he felt baffled at his uncle's actions. "So let me see if I get this;" he said. “You came up from Ephraim, drove about two hundred miles to our home here in Logan. With what is essentially poultry. Now we don't get to eat it?” Dirk looked at his nephew with huge dissapointed eyes. “Look;”he said. “I know the Jorgensen side's love of animals didn't pass on from your dad but I'm begging you give geese a chance.” Ken groaned a little at the paraphrase of John Lennon. “Fine;” he relented. “I guess since Patrice has already fallen in love I'll have to keep the birds.”

Patrice clapped her hands and did a happy dance that made her blonde ponytail wave up and down. "I'm gonna take our new friends to the pool house!" She said happily. “I'm calling that one Bruce and this one Mr. Feathers!” Ken gave his wife a puzzled glance. "How can you tell the difference?" Ken asked. Patrice gave him a big smile. “It's easy;” she said. "Mr. Feathers is the small one who wags his tail a lot. Bruce is the big one who just pooped on the floor!"

After a quick double take, Ken confirmed that there was indeed a good sized greenish-brown half splat half log shaped turd on the white marble tiles where their avian friends had stood. "I need a scotch;" Ken growled. "Thank you Dirk; you've really got this Christmas off to an…interesting start!" He pulled a shot glass and a bottle of alcohol from the kitchen cabinet.

"I'm sorry;" Dirk said. "I guess I should've let them out in Ogden for a bit…I just didn't want to take the enclosure out of the box." Ken gazed intensely at his uncle. "You mean there was somewhere else we could've kept them?" He asked. Dirk looked somewhat happier. "Yeah!" He said. "Only problem is it's for outside--"

"WE COULD'VE RELEASED THEM OUTSIDE?!" Ken screamed. Dirk winced. "But it's so cold this time of year;" he said. "Their hutch doesn't have much insulation…please I just wanted you and the geese to be happy…I even bought some bags of alph-alpha." Ken took several cleansing breaths. "For what?" He asked.

"For the geese to eat;" Dirk said. "Oh and just so you know, I cleaned the crap off your floor. Can you help me get the stuff from the car?" Ken tamped down on the last of his anger. "Okay;" he said. "But only because my wife seems to be in love with our feathered friends."

The men had just finished unloading the last 25 pound bag of goose feed when Patrice ran up to Ken in a panic. "Guys!" She shouted. "Something awfull happened! We need help! It's an emergency!" Ken grabbed his wife's arms to stop her from jogging in place like she always did when upset. "What happened?" He asked.

"Me and the geese were swimming!" Patrice said. "I think they drank some of the water! They're laying on their sides! They need a vet! Quick!"

The three of them packed the geese into their carriers and drove them to Bear River Vetrinary Hospital. Patrice led the charge to the reception desk. "We let our geese drink pool water! We need a vet STAT!" She told the lady sitting behind the counter.

The receptionist tapped some keys at her computer terminal. "Dr. Stephanie Lamour will see you soon please take a seat." She said stoiclly.

By the time Bruce and Mr. Feathers were removed from their carriers, they were both covered in their own feces and some disgusting clear goop. "You poor babies!" Dr. Lamour said. "I don't think this is just pool water. What have these birds had to eat and drink?" Ken frowned; “I don't think we fed them anything. Did you Dirk?”

Dirk shrank into the chair he sat in. "I think I might've given them some lettuce off my cheese burger;" he admitted. Dr. Lamour glared at Ken's uncle. "Assuming there were condiments on the burger;" she said. "They were probably exposed to ketchup and cheese with that lettuce." Ken folded his arms in front of himself. "Let me guess;" he said. "Those aren't good for birdies."

The vet shook her head. "All birds are lactose intolerant;" she said. “They can't have dairy. Also lettuce gives geese an upset stomach and tomatos contain solanium, a toxin common to all nightshades. Geese do not have the ability to break down this substance so it makes them very ill.” Patrice sobbed loudy. "So does this mean that Mr. Feathers and Bruce are going to die?" She asked.

Dr. Lamour pressed her lips together before answering. "I'll feed them a solution of activated charcoal and an electrolyte solution;" she said. "I'll need to keep them overnight for observation. Either way I'll call you in the morning."

Ken thanked the vetrinarian and they left the exam room quietly. After driving back to the house they had a somber Christmass dinner. No one really talked except to say "Goodnight, Merry Christmas."

That night Ken had a strange dream he was in a cemetery and Patrice was holding flowers and sobbing. To his left Dirk was playing a dirge on the bagpipes. In front of him, two tiny caskets sat in open graves. In gold letters on top of the wooden lids was embossed "RIP Bruce;" and "Gone too soon Mr. Feathers." Ken glanced around at the scene and felt his mouth say "Any final messages for the departed?"

Patrice opened her mouth but instead of speaking a ring tone came out. Ken finally woke up and realized his phone was ringing. He looked at the screen, it was a local number. "Hello?" He said.

"Yes this is Bear River Vetrinary Hospital. I am calling for Ken Jorgensen. Is he available?" The voice asked. Ken sat up. "That's me;" he said. It was the receptionist from yesterday. "We have some good news;" she said. "Your geese are ready to come home. But Dr. Lamour would like to speak with you when you pick your pets up."

Ken thanked the receptionist and explained to his wife where he was going. He packed the crates into the back of his car. This story is dumb. They lived happily ever after. Merry Bleeping Christmas every body! Whatever! 

December 24, 2020 21:04

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