Shelley, co-winner of Turtle’s Caption Contest, won 500 words on the topic of her choice. She chose the topic, “the weeds among the flowers, or the flowers among the weeds”. This is my offering, Shelley, based on a friend’s explanation of “giraffe” as a verb. I hope you like it!
The cattle appeared nervous. Huddled in a little knot, muzzles together, they kept staring across the road. Scott slowed his car, and peered across the deserted highway. Yes, there was something moving through the tall grass, away in the distance. Not a mule; those things weren’t ears. A deer? It was coming closer.
Scott was still early for work anyway, so he pulled onto the shoulder and got out. Something about that animal was definitely queer; was it injured? The neck was dislocated, or the poor creature had been born with too many vertebrae. Scott wondered if he should call Animal Control and put the thing out of its misery.
As the object of the cows’ curiosity came closer, however, the truth slowly dawned on Scott. He shuddered with horror: this animal was perfectly healthy! It was strong. It was big. With its long neck it towered above any species of cattle, in a startling yellow and brown patchwork coat, with strange spike-shaped horns and soft brown eyes.
Scott thought it beautiful. Immediately he wished it dead. How dare it show its face here, where there had never been anything like it before! This was a peaceful land, familiar and safe; this stranger must be up to no good.
Back in his car, Scott drove immediately to Animal Control, where he described the dangerous beast to Brendan, the chief officer.
Brendan smiled. “So I see you’ve met Svenson’s giraffe, Mandy.”
“That abomination has a name? And no, of course I didn’t meet it!”
“Pity. She’s a real sweetheart. Eats the leaves off Svenson’s overgrown apple trees. Saves him having to climb that rickety ladder with the pruning fork. Anyway, you’ll be seeing her around.”
“You don’t mean to tell me she’s a permanent resident! What will Pastor Barnes say?”
“You mean, what did he say. I was there when Svenson first broached the subject. Pastor said something about God delighting in diversity. I’ve always respected that man.”
“So you’ll do nothing.”
“Of course I’ll do something! I’m helping Svenson renovate his barn on Saturday, so Mandy’s stall will be more comfortable. Are you busy Saturday?”
Scott turned on his heel and stalked out of Animal Control. At his office in the department store, he kicked over his wastebasket and pounded his desk, furious that such a menace to society should be allowed to live in his community. As he drove home that night, he shook his fist at Mandy.
As the days passed, Scott’s fist shaking became a one-finger salute, then a dismissive wave. Heedless of Scott’s turmoil, Mandy wandered the grassy fields and the orchard, day in, day out.
One day in the Spring, Scott stopped his car on the shoulder of the road. Mandy was near the fence, and the road was deserted. Scott stepped to the back of his car. Mandy rested her warm, brown eyes on him as he pulled a long, slim object from the trunk and softly shut the lid. She leaned her head down as he crossed the road towards her and came up to the fence where she stood.
Hooking the blossom-laden cherry bough through the wire, Scott returned to his car, hoping no one had seen him. Stupid animal.