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The Farm

by Eileen Kos 11 months ago in Short Story
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There is no Grace in an Empty Well.

Gladys, Elsie and Mable before the freedom march

“Elsie? Look! The humans are here!”

“Yes Gladys, as soon as the weather gets warm they start showing up.”

“So, what do we do? Should we put on a show or something?”

“Why? All they do is take, take, take. The young ones point at us, drool on us, and throw objects to get our attention. My advice? Just walk on back to the barn and hunker down. If you don’t give them the attention, they leave. Of course, you can always walk over toward them and at the last minute turn around and give them the two-step trot and leave some mementos along their path. It's my version of a social statement. “

“Ha!, Elsie, you’re too much!”

“Think about it, Gladys. Farmer Brown over there opens up this place to strangers every year. These strangers gawk while FB hooks up our teats, freezes our milk, and sells it to them AND that ice cream? He puts all kinds of stuff in it like sugar, berries, nuts, and chocolate. No wonder humans are all fat. Think about it, these strangers won't even let their own kind nurse their babies in public but they will bring in bus tours to watch ole FB get his kink on with the teat machine. “

“Elsie, you’re right! Why we shouldn’t have to put up with that! I say we organize a protest!”

“Whatcha gonna do Gladys? Are you going to sour the milk? She laughed.

“Is that a thing? Can we do that?” Gladys remarked.

“I was joking Gladys. The only way to sour the milk is to get yourself sick. I don’t think that’s a good option.”

“I know what we can do!” Gladys exclaimed. “C’mon over here and ill fill you in.”

Elsie and Gladys headed off to the shade of the barn determined to put their heads together and hatch a plan.

“Okay girls, is everyone ready?” In the back, Mable shook her head. She thought this was a very bad idea. Not one to be a spoilsport though she moved into place with the rest of the group.

They waited until they heard the gate swing open. It was dusk and they knew that Farmer Brown had come to refresh the feed for the herd.

“On my count, we go, pass it on,” said Gladys and watched as the information was passed.

She lifted her leg and dropped it down. “One!” She said scratching the earth with her hoof.

Those in the back of the herd perked up. They were actually going to do this!

“Two”, Gladys said lowering the hoof with a bit more emphasis this time.

The herd moved into the proper attack formation!

“Three!” For the last time, Gladys dropped her hoof into the ground.

All at once, there was movement! The line of cows quickly surrounded Farmer Brown.

He backed up quickly and attempted to get out of the way but, alas, this was not to be. The herd moved closer.

“Get back! Get back!” He shouted, waving his arms furiously.

Gladys showed no mercy. She pushed Farmer Brown deep into the grain bin and began to spread the feed over the farmer's body.

Farmer Brown was now subdued. Only his head was visible above the feed line. “Help me!” He whined. “Please!”

The only response to his plea was a chorus of bellows.

“C’mon girls let's just leave him here,” Gladys said.

“Gladys, I’ve got to hand it to you. Who knew you had this in you?” Elsie remarked.

Feeling proud of themselves the herd spent the night reveling in their success.

When the sun rose with its muted morning colors, the herd, all awake now, headed toward the feed bins.

“Do you think he’s still alive”, asked Mabel?

Gladys, feeling proud answered. “Who cares?”

Mabel shrugged and moved toward the bin. She was beginning to feel a little full and wondered about her milk.

“Um, Gladys?” She said. How are we gonna, you know, get the milk out?”

“Were not Mabel. We are going to just dry up. No more getting hooked up to those horrid machines.” Gladys answered.

“What about him?” Elsie asked nodding toward Farmer Brown.

“If I could manage it, I’d give him a squirt of the white stuff to keep him alive.” Gladys snorted.

“Please…” Farmer Brown pleaded with the herd.

“I have to find Frannie” Mable said thinking of her calf.

Farmer Brown laughed. “Yup, let me know how that goes.” He coughed spitting out grain dust.

For the first time Elsie looked worried.

It wasn’t long before Mable came back in looking upset. “ I can’t find Frannie” She said. Groaning, she added. “And I feel so full.”

Gladys went over to Farmer Brown and nudged him with her snout.

“Ah! so now you want to discuss this,” said Farmer Brown. “Let me out of here and we can talk about it.”

“Please”, Mable said. “Talk to him. I need to find Frannie.”

Some of the herd was feeling some discomfort. Usually, their udders were emptied by this point in the day. The tenderness and swelling were leaving some in need of relief.

“Okay,” Gladys said. This was her revolution so she needed to get control back.

“Here’s what we are going to do.” The herd circled to hear the latest.

Gladys, Elsie, and Mable approached the grain bin and began to uncover the farmer. His arm became visible and he raised and shook his arm to regain the feeling that was lost from his long night stuck in the feed bin. Soon the herd had freed both his arms and legs.

Farmer Brown raised himself from the bin, dusting off the detritus. He reached for a nearby branch and began swinging it toward the herd in a menacing arch.

“What do we do?” Mable asked, fearful now. “If anything happens to me please take care of Frannie.”

Farmer Brown was in control now and he was using that control for all its worth. Soon the herd was cowered into compliance.

Each day he hooked them up to the milking machines extracting their beautiful milk. They felt defeated but knew they had to find a way out. If only they could find Frannie! Mable wondered where she had gone.

On the morning of the fourth day. Clarissa came into the barn. She came up to Mable and whispered excitedly “I saw Frannie! She's in the lower meadow!”

“Are you sure it's Frannie? asked Mable.

“Yes, I am positive,” said Clarissa. “She wants her Mama too!”

Armed with this new information the herd once again formed a plan.

On day five they let Farmer Brown move them in the yard. There were customers to entertain later today and ice cream to buy.

Just beyond the ice cream shed, was the well. Once they were in place the plan was implemented. One by one the herd pushed into the farmer. He moved backward watching his front but had forgotten to watch his six.

Elsie gave the first nudge. “That” s for my sore teats she scolded.”

Next came Gladys. She gave a sharp push. “And that’s for your cruelty”

Farmer Brown was backed up to the well and nervous. Mable approached him. She reared her head and snorted. “And this, she said is for my Frannie!” And with that, she gave him a final push into the well and heard his body hit the bottom of the decorative well with a heavy thud.

“Okay ladies, let's go find Frannie!” said Gladys moving toward the lower field.

“To freedom”, said Gladys

“Indeed,” said Elsie. “To Freedom”

Elsie

Gladys

Short Story

About the author

Eileen Kos

A New Englander loving my mixed up world of work, family and friends. I’m currently in the Medical field but I’ve worn a lot of hats in my life: waitress, armed security agent, teacher, airport ops agent and whatever else paid the bills.

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