Tag Archives: fun

Pastila de râs

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Ca să mai schimbăm registrul – faze cu prichindei:

“Mama, mai am trei pusi în mine. Îţi dau?”

Eu: “Hai să mergem la biserică să ne rugăm să-l vindece Dumnezeu pe frate-tău degrabă.” Ea: “Daaa, şi de tuse.”

“Copiii nu poate să spună R. Poate numai să scrie.”

“Io nu vreau la Consulat… Nu vreau să mă consuleze, că nu sunt bolnav.”

“Mami, eu am ieşit din ou de crocodil, de aia sunt aşa zăbăuc.”

Ea: “Ceau. Ceai. Ce-ai în cap?” Eu: “Nu ştiu, tu ce ai?” Ea: “Limonadeeee!”

 

 

 

 

 

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Put a sock in it!

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Ca să parafrazez un binecunoscut gânditor, înclin să cred că numai două lucruri se găsesc în cantitate nelimitată pe lumea asta: prostia (în general) şi ciorapii (cei murdari, ai bărbaţilor, în special).

Experienţa mă face să cuget că simpla spălare, sortare pe perechi, întindere pe sârme, împachetare post-uscare şi aşezare în sertare a şosetelor consorţilor noştri ar merita o meserie separată şi bine plătită, în genul “preparator învelitori tălpoaie” sau “manager ştrimfi”.

Se oferă cineva?

flotsam-948679_1280

#igiveup!

Sursă foto: Pixabay.

P.S.  Asta în cazul în care nu renunţăm complet la spălatul şosetelor şi ajungem ca în bancul ăla:  stadiul 1 – se lipesc de perete; stadiul 2 – se înfig în uşă; stadiul 3 – le punem şireturi… 🙂

 

 

Poveste de Crăciun

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Aşaaa, dragii babei. E Ajunul lui 2016.

Afară toarnă cu găleata la 4 grade, după ce Noiembrie şi Decembrie au fost uscate ca o smochină zbârcită şi mai însorite decât multe luni de vară tipic germane. Cer azuriu, păsărele, tufe în floare – idilă de Klimawandel.

Anticlimax programat.

Ştiţi pozele alea cu “before” and “after”? Realitatea e de obicei în sens invers, adică mutilată. Ia, de pildă, chestia asta cu vacanţa de Crăciun.

Spiritele mai credule – cum se găsesc din păcate multe în cadrul speciei aparte numite “părinţi” – s-ar putea lăsa înşelate şi purtate spre visări tihnit-euforice: “ah, în sfârşit două săptămâni de relaxare şi odihnă, de timp de calitate petrecut cu copiii, două săptămâni în care nu mai trebuie să trag ca animalul în jug la serviciu, după cea mai obositoare perioadă a anului, şi mă pot bucura tandru de colinde şi de cozonaci, de pacea familiei, de niscai cultură şi de binecuvântările Sărbătorilor…

Îţi şi mărşăluiesc prin minte imagini clişeistice cu voi patru cuibăriţi în linişte la căldurică pe canapea, citind vreo poveste magică, admirând sclipirea luminiţelor în globurile de pe brad…. te mângâie orgasmatic ideea că vei apuca în fine să te afunzi în cartea aia, începută de mult, să ieşiţi la un concert sau la muzeu şi, poate, să-ţi continui şi studiile la ale căror sesiuni de examinare nu te-ai mai prezentat din paleolitic…

Ho, ho, ho! Ho, că ţi-au derapat fanteziile, adică. Razna rău.

Încă din seara penultimei zile de şcoală, bucurie mare. A mică se dă lovită, se cere la somn. Când îi iei febra, 39 cu 4 şi creşte. Sari cu resturile de antitermice care ţi-au rămas de la boala lu ăl mare, care abia ce s-a ameliorat după 3 săptămâni de tuşit sec, sacadat, zdrumicător, în creierii nopţilor. Următoarele zile le trăieşti în abur de Ibuprofen şi gâscă friptă, că bradul e deja prea uscat să mai răspândească vreo aromă. Şi oricum, împodobeşti brazi de 40 de ani, te-ai săturat până peste cap, în final tot mor şi-ţi umplu casa de ace.

Efectul medicamentului e imediat, în 10 minute copila pleoştită devine un ghem de energie, sare încoace şi încolo, se ceartă cu frate-su, ţipă, miorlăie, zbiară, hâsâie ca un motan călcat pe coadă. Vrea activităţi, vrea jocuri. Mamaaa! Tatiiiii! Ce să-i faci, ce să-i zici, e beteagă… Nici celălalt nu se lasă mai prejos, cum să-l facă pe el o puştoaică gripată. Mamiii!!! Tataaaa!!!  Trec ore de deliciu şi de delir.

A doua zi descoperi că ţi-a pasat cu maximă generozitate viroza şi ţie, îţi plezneşte capul şi te ustură nasul de la sinusurile infectate, tuşeşti dureros şi ai vrea să mori undeva în linişte.

Nici o şansă.

Împreună cu consortul (ăl de nu ţi-a mai fost de ani de zile amant cu normă întreagă), ai de îngrijit bolnavi, curăţat cartofi, copt cozonaci, umplut maşini după maşini de spălat vase, ca apoi să le goleşti ca apoi să le umpli din nou. Pun-te masă, scoală-te masă de 3-4-5 ori pe zi, într-un merry-go-round în care, ca prin vis, trece şi Merry Christmas cu două colinde răguşite.

În fine, după câteva zile, febra pare să-i scadă şi te apuci să faci tardive planuri de Revelion. Când te întorci din oraş afli că ăl mare tocmai a vomitat un sfert de kil de mâncare, e galben la faţă ca ceara şi are 38 jumate febră, de tremură tot.

Mai destupi o sticluţă de doftorii şi, cumva, doarme până dimineaţă. Când te trezeşti străpunsă de ţipătul de panică al celei mici, pe care o credeai vindecată. O doare urechea! Cânţi cântecele şi inventezi poveşti în timp ce-o ţii în poală şi-o mângâi pe genunchi, doar-doar se opreşte din urlat şi din rulat lacrimi în jos pe obraz, până pe pantalonii tăi. Scoţi iar Ibuprofenul. Vrei programare la medic, dar e în concediu. Încerci cu picături în nas, ţii tu minte că odată ţi-a spus ca alea ajută să nu se mai acumuleze mucozităţi în urechi. Whatever. Miracol, trece. Durerea,  nu febra. Tu, de atâta keeping it cool, oricum n-apuci să dezvolţi febră.

Noroc că bărbatu’ pare sănătos. Ghinion că-i bărbat. Adică nicio şansă să facă bine lucrurile care, în actuala-ţi etapă de nevroză acutizată, trebuie făcute FOARTE BINEsau divorţezi.

Tu vrei să profiţi de vacanţă să schimbi mobila, să pui tablouri, să înnobilezi cuşca în care te găseşti legată.  El, săracul, vrea doar să facă ordine în nişte foldere uitate, pe calculator. Oricum are lumbago, cine naiba să mute mobile? Renunţi la amenajări interioare, te întrebi de ce ţi-a trebuit cuib in the first place. Renunţi, aştepţi, te resemnezi, mai renunţi puţin, te căzneşti să vorbeşti calm. Apoi urli de atâta caznă.

Totuşi, te-ai scos, duce el copiii la doctor, la cabinetul de consultaţii de la spital, unde coada-i de trei ore…

Între timp exişti ca să fii ceea ce vezi la majoritatea mamelor din jur: life support system for your kids. Cam la asta se rezumă rolul tău actual, şi conjuri toate textele filosofice (plus predicile rubedeniilor) care îţi spun cât e asta de însemnat, de frumos, de înălţător şi de aducător de satisfacţie automată. Nu-ş de ce naiba eşti aşa ciufută, after all. Din punct de vedere freudian ai, pe bune de data asta, penis envy.  (Ca să nu mai vorbim că te întrebi – total iraţional – cine a avut strălucita idee să închidă grădiniţele taman când ai avea cea mai mare nevoie de ele…)

Pe aia mică n-o mai dor urechile, dar tuşeşte câte puţin. Medicul nu-i găseşte nicio hibă, dar ea continuă să aibă 38 febră. Anulezi planurile de Revelion la prieteni. Ăl mare pare vindecat ca prin minune, mai ales de când a primit un snop de cartoline cu Star Wars de la tanti aia drăguţă de la supermarket. Neînfrântă în naivitatea ta, cumperi pocnitori şi artificii.

Aiurea, e 31 după amiaza şi plouă mărunt sub cerul cenuşiu şi jos, convalescentul are din nou greţuri şi dureri de maţe… iar tu ţi-o vei încasa de la mamele eroine de serviciu pentru textul ăsta. 😉

La mulţi ani!

P.S. Orice legătură cu persoane reale e şi evidentă, şi exagerată. 🙂

P.P.S. Şi… şcoala a reînceput cu invazie de păduchi, şi dă-i şi spală toată rufăria, hainele şi căciulile, 4 maşini de spălat pline, şi dă-i şi întinde-le prin casă la uscat, şi dă-i şi aplică şampoane de omorât lighioanele şi perie cu piaptănul des! Pe scalpul fiică-mii a descoperit ieri tac-su un păduchi şi o păduche (sau o păducă? hă, hă 🙂 ) în plin coitus.

 

 

 

Pastila de râs…

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…şi de meditaţie. 🙂

Azi dimineaţă o lăsasem pe fiica mea de 3 ani jumate în cameră cu un snop de haine, să se îmbrace.

Revin după 5-10 minute ca s-o găsesc perorând ceva neinteligibil pe Germană, cu ciorapii lungi doar pe jumătate traşi, picioarele bălăbănind pe marginea patului şi mâinile desenând febril în aer cu gesturi rotunde.
O ridic în picioare ca s-o ajut, la care ea, oţărâtă:
– Heeei, mama, de ce îmi strici curcubeul?

All things German

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Well, maybe not all of them. But a few. What on Earth is the deal with this weather in July? To paraphrase an old Romanian joke, of the 4 seasons typical of this latitude, Germany only has 3: rain and… more rain. 🙂

I realize this is subjective. From my window, I can see people in T-shirts as busy as a beaver in the pouring rain. Let me explain my problem. We don’t do squat in the rain. Where I come from, a south-western Romanian city with a rather Mediterranean weather pattern, the winters are short and wet (with the occasional bout of ass-freezing temperatures, -15 Centigrade and so on), but the summers are long and dry and sun-soaked. July is called “the month of the oven” – that’s how unbearably hot it can get. When it rains, people just stay inside, bundle up, and wait for it to go away. Unless it’s the usual bubbling summer rain that lasts for 20 minutes… That’s why I could never grasp the concept of “dauergrau” and why I was so confused by the institution of the “Matsch-Hose” and the “Gummistiefel”. Why would anybody need those? What?! You mean you want to take my kids out in this weather?!…

Whenever it rains, my Timisoara gene kicks in and I cannot get myself to do anything that involves going outside. Not to mention that I do not take off my winter jacket until it’s at least 25 degrees Celsius. To the horror of small children playing barefoot in 18 degree weather. I no longer buy any dresses, it’s too cold for me to wear them. To my dismay, I discovered that I no longer own any sandals, either. I only wear them when I travel south (or south-east) and it simply does not pay off to keep closet space occupied. 🙂

So, people, if you’re reading this, could we, maybe, please, make some kind of unanimous mental effort to dispel the clouds? Otherwise I am going to keep writing blogs, tweets and Facebook posts until the rain lets up. That’s a threat! 🙂

But now, in all fairness to Germany, my lovely second home, I would like to end with another Romanian joke my father used to tell me when I was a child:

“Soccer is a game played by two teams of 11 players each, for a period of 90 or 120 minutes, and in which Germany always wins.”

Go, go Germany, on Friday, against France! I bet you have nice weather in Bahia, where you are. Which is probably why you’re not completely focused on the ball, either ;-). Tststs… Where would this country be if it had nice weather and warm sand beaches all year round? Who on Earth would still be working?

Pilula de râs (încă una)

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Dialog suprarealist cu fiică-mea de 3 anişori care uită vertiginos limba română. Eu, de colo:

“Tu mai vrei un frăţior sau o surioară?”

Răspuns stupefiant după câteva secunde de gândire:

“Nu, mulţumesc, AM MÂNCAT DEJA!”

🙂 🙂 🙂

Asta e din categoria “Imi mâncaţi toţi nervii capului!” la care mi s-a răspuns spontan şi ingenuu de pe scaunul din spate al maşinii: “Leckerrrr!!!” (Delicios! – n. mea)…

Lumi paralele, ce mai. Sper să nu ajungem complet lost in translation mai încolo. Recent am descoperit că nu mai ştie ce înseamnă “prăjitură”. Asta chiar e grav! 😉

Laughing stock

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My daughter (2yrs. 7 months) just chose a profession.

I was putting nose drops into her nostrils, an action which – as was to be expected – led to a certain amount of hysterical yelling and rivers of tears rolling down her cheeks.

Me:

“Lady, you sure have a nice pack of loudspeakers on you! People can hear you all the way to the stadium… I think you’ll be a soprano when you grow up.”

Her (quick at repartee):

“Nooooo.”

Me:

“Oh, really, then what are you going to be?”

Her (as if, ‘duuh, mom, that is soooo obvious‘):

“A clown!”

I think she is well on her way.

PS:

Oh, and my son, who dreads blood but wants to be a veterinarian, was quite concerned yesterday when I complained about feeling lonely. He got so emotional, he actually allowed me to play with his stuffed elephant while he’s in school. Like, ‘Geez, mom, use your brain! You’ve got all these toys to keep you company…’

You see, I already live in a circus. Right there, just off the rails, in the mothers’ compound…

Of tools and men

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Seriously, what is the deal with men and their tools? What is the bond of virility that connects them? Give a man a (preferably loud and useless) tool, and it’s like a shot of Viagra. Oftentimes have I wished I were a big red button, a pair of pliers or a screwdriver – these babies get a lot of action.  Not to mention how much care men take of their precious tools. My husband never once offered to drive me to the beauty salon or the hairdresser’s, but if as much as a petal falls on his beloved car, he obsesses for weeks and just HAS to have it washed.

Men.

Take today for instance. The first sunny day with temperatures above freezing of what has so wrongfully been dubbed “summer” this year, and no shortage of men hard at work with their demonic instruments. After two of the most deplorable, bleak weeks of May ever recorded (I’m pretty sure the razor blade industry had a small boom this year – and it wasn’t for shaving, if you know what I mean), you’d think people would be desperate to just soak up as much light and warmth as they can (the prognosis for the following days isn’t great either). There’s always time to cut the grass, right? Wrong. It just HAS to be cut during the most beautiful lunch hour. I am having soup, but it feels like I’m constantly swallowing larger-than-life meatballs. The frigging noise. Sounds like they’re tearing down the building across the street. Oh, no, wait,  it’s just the lawn-mower!

You’re trying to have a pleasant healthy stroll with your children for the first time in weeks, or play nicely outside to give your skin the chance to remember what it was created for, and the garden crew from hell arrives. Every square meter of hedge has to be trimmed with engines that could easily propel a Boeing 747, patches of grass no larger than your comforter are being run over by lawn-mowers the size of a small tractor. The louder the better. Oh, and let’s not forget the futility of all futilities: the leaf-blower. I just love that machine. Good results, too, last for about 3 minutes, until the next gust of wind. But, it’s probably procedure. No way around it. No way. I used to think the Germans work so hard because there’s nothing else fun to do, with it raining the whole time and all. But now it appears they can’t enjoy a sunny day either. Duty calls.  If tomorrow were the end of the world, most of the Germans would be toiling fervently away to leave everything preppy behind them. And it takes heavy machinery. A man’s job, you see, is to let engines work for him.

Has anyone even heard of good old sweeping anymore? I am pretty sure I can handle a broom faster than that guy pulls the cable on his leaf-blower.  And ride one, too! 😉

PS. I tip my hat to the Ukrainian construction worker who still has time to bawl Italian operas up high on my neighbor’s roof. At least he is still taking it slowly and enjoying himself.

Pigli and Cleo (12)

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CHAPTER TWELVE

‘Oh, shit, I stepped in something!’, Neil said visibly disgusted. The sun was rising. ‘Looks like dog poop’, he added. ‘Do you suppose the posse came this way?’

Pigli was at his side in less than a second.

‘Let me see!’, he urged. Immediately, he knew. The worry lines on his forehead suddenly leveled, his tired features relaxed as lighted by the glory of an epiphany and his face broke into as big a smile as they’d ever seen. ‘This is no dog poop, guys’, he exulted, ‘It’s a wolf’s! And it’s fresh! Hurray!’ he said and hugged them so hard he almost broke their ribs. ‘Oh, what a great discovery, what bliss! This means she’s got to be here somewhere! She can’t be far now!’ he said, bouncing up and down with impatience. ‘We’re not far from the northern entrance to the reservation. Less than an hour, I reckon, no more. If she came through here earlier in the day, there’s a good chance she’s made it!’, he cried.

‘Uh-oh!’, Neil suddenly said in a really somber voice.

‘What is it? I don’t like the sound of that!’, Pigli cried and turned around.

‘Maybe you should see this, too’, Neil answered and his face was pale. Three drops of dark red blood were evident on the forest floor only two steps away. Pigli nearly fainted.

‘It’s only a little blood. It can’t be a large wound. I’ll nurse her. You guys will help me. She’ll heal. I’ll hunt for her’, he said, looking for solace. Cleo and Neil nodded in silence trying to appease his grief, but their faces told a different story. They were staring into the ground, pale and tragic.

Then the shot gun irrupted. It seemed to come from several dozen yards below them, to their left. It drove a murderous, burning dagger through Pigli’s heart. ‘Oh, no, you don’t! ‘, he shouted, completely beyond himself. ‘Not again! Not when I’m so close!’, and darted forth like a spring. He seemed wrought in steel. He felt invincible.

‘Stop!!!’, cried Neil.

‘You’re going to get yourself killed!!!’ yelled Cleo. One more shot was heard. Then there was a loud yelp and angry voices were filling the valley.

‘Tiiiinaaa!’, Neil bellowed and rushed forward stumbling over his wings.

‘Boooss!’, Cleo roared in tears and raced along.

‘Yes?!’, they both replied at unison and the four of them bumped into each other in a crossroads in the middle of the forest.

It took a while before reality settled in and they became aware of it. All four of them were gaping at each other, not knowing who they were, what had happened or where to begin. Then Tina and Pigli fell into each other’s arms and wept.

‘Tina, you’re here! Are you alright, my love? I’ll protect you now, I will, I promise’, Pigli said, between sobs.

‘Oh, my darling, I missed you so much!’

‘Me too. I’m so sorry I let them take you away, so sorry.’

‘There was nothing you could do, I know that.’

‘I’ll never leave you again. Oh, my love!’, he soothed her and caressed her. They smiled and he tickled her ears and covered her with kisses. ‘Come on, let us cross into the reservation, there we’ll all be safe.’

A few minutes away, they saw the brown signpost with the park’s logo and map. They were out of danger now.

‘What was that last shot then?’, asked Neil, who was still a little dumbfounded.

‘The fools shot one of their own dogs in the foot’, Tina said and giggled .

‘Oh, your foot, I completely forgot! Let me see the wound! Does it hurt?’, Pigli wanted to know.

‘Oh, that healed a long time ago.’

‘No, dear, the new one. Where did they get you?’

‘Which new one, darling?’

‘I saw the blood in the forest, don’t try to be brave now, show me.’

‘Oh, no you silly’, she laughed. ‘That’s no wound. I’m just getting my period.’

‘So, you mean, it’s a good time to…?’

‘Mhmmm….’

‘Oh, I love you, Tina!’

How typically male, Cleo thought. Barely a “Hello, how are you” and already he’s thinking about sex… Neil gave a shriek of joy, leaped up, batted his wings and began to sing “For he’s a jolly good fellow” really off-key.

‘Neil?!’, Tina said languorously and stopped him before it was too late.

‘Yes, Tina?…’, he answered and dilated his pupils, completely won over by the sweetness of her voice.

‘You need to take some singing lessons, honey’, she whispered, amicably.

‘Ahm, I… see’, he replied. ‘Uh, my voice’s a little hoarse’. There was a latent tear in the corner of his eye as he swallowed his pride.

‘The French Quarter in New Orleans is supposed to be great for artists. Don’t waste such a talent as yours’, she offered a kindhearted suggestion.

‘Right. Ok. I hear you. I’ll make you proud!’ he said, his enthusiasm thus reinstated.

Cleo gave a pleasant laugh and patted him generously on the back. ‘I’m sure you will’, she encouraged him. Her eyes were moist. ‘Come on. Let’s give the love birds some space. What do you say we do a little sightseeing’, she said and – nudging Neil along – started down the pebble paths of Hollow Peaks National Park.

AFTERWORD

Pigli and Tina lived happily in the woods. Cleo eventually went on air for a documentary-maker and clarified the whole story. She even starred in one of the episodes. The wolves were safe now and so were the people, by learning more about them. Damaris and Alexander, the couple’s first pups were born in early June. A bunch of late bloomers, but strong, playful and lively. Cleo was of course invited to the pups’ christening, as their godmother, and took her task seriously. She delivered a long and touching speech. She was very good in that role. Cleo had grown quite accustomed to speaking in public. Not before the tabloid press, though. She had found another way to people’s hearts and to their minds. Through good deeds. Her civic activism was the talk of the forest. She had begun volunteering for various organizations and was currently working as a teacher and counselor at the Sheep Day Care Center for Preschool Lambs. In the evenings, she was giving self-assertiveness classes to their moms and since her involvement, the domestic violence rates had dropped dramatically.

She had also heard from Neil. He was sending his best. ‘Since I have left the forest, no less than eight people have tried to catch me and stuff me into a bag, terrified that I might be carrying the dreaded H5N1 virus’, he wrote. The constant aggression had weakened his heart, but definitely strengthened his wings as it had prompted him to learn how to fly. He was now quite good at it. One of the best in his Avian Fitness Club.

Since he had thus toppled his mental barriers and begun flying like an eagle, he had really turned his life around. He was off drugs. He had dropped the “dude”. He had begun cultivating his voice and was now a lead singer in a New Orleans night club. He was making good money, a large portion of which he had already donated to the reconstruction effort under way after Hurricane Katrina. ‘It’s the least I can do for the poor victims, apart from warming their hearts with my music’, he said in his missive. In his spare time, when he wasn’t composing or working on his contralto, he was writing his memoirs, advising young chicken against dope. ‘There’s more euphoria to be had in real life than in these treacherous surrogates’, he worded it. There was little about women in his letters, and surely nothing had perspired about a girlfriend, but Cleo’s exceptional emotional intuition was quick to read between the lines. ‘He’s so shy and private’, she said. And then imparted the news that he was enjoying a hot love-affair with a ravishing brunette – in her opinion, the barmaid.

THE (HAPPY) END.

Pigli and Cleo (11)

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CHAPTER ELEVEN

 

They ran without interruption all through the night and into the early hours of the morning. The tiny birds of the forest started chirping, putting their homes in order, calling out for their mates or demanding their servings of food, and the first rays of light were on the leaves as the three friends decided to pause and rest. Neil was tempted to discharge his daily morning quaver into the world, but Pigli’s appalled look froze the music in his throat.

‘Ahm… sorry. Instinct, dude, what can I do?’, he quickly apologized.

Immediately after, they fell on the ground exhausted, both physically and emotionally, and sunk into a deep sleep, devoid of dreams.

They awoke two hours later and continued to climb stealthily. They had to be particularly cautious so they were forced to take a lot of detours. Pigli was intent on the tracks. He knew Tina’s thinking and, assuming she was still alive and free, she would not have walked in broad daylight either. There was a pleasant spring breeze in the air but with all the surrounding tension, it was difficult for them to enjoy it. For one thing, they were glad that it directed Tina’s scent into their nostrils, but on the other hand, they worried it would make it just as easy for the posse to locate them, should there be dogs on the trail behind them. They had to keep as quiet and be as inconspicuous as possible and that was hell for Cleo.

‘From ecstasy to agony…’ she kept mumbling to herself. ‘Now would be a good time to be constipated’, she said. ‘But unfortunately I’m not’. That gave Pigli an idea.

‘That’s excellent, actually! Go ahead and go. Your strong smell will throw the posse off target. They’ll never imagine a sheep and a wolf walking together!’

‘And have the dogs on my tracks? No, thank you!,  she whispered terrified.

‘Fine! Hold it in, then!’, Pigli replied, a little upset. ‘I offer you a solution that would benefit everyone, and all you can say is No.’ But what Pigli didn’t quite grasp was that Cleo was a runaway too, and she had no intention of being dragged back to her flock tail between the legs by two raging canids. As for Neil, he didn’t even dare to clear his throat, much less tune his voice. He was dead worried he’d fall out of practice but remained silent as a fish. They only stopped once, around noon, to cool down because it was getting warm. There were plenty of insects filling the air. The conditions were strenuous, but they managed to put a considerable stretch of road behind them until late afternoon, when they arrived at the Spruce Rift weather station.

A man was out and about. As they approached, Cleo carelessly stepped on a twig and it snapped. The sound had a tremendous effect on the meteorologist, because the man went back inside and returned only a few minutes later carrying a rifle of mythical proportions. He was looking warily around him all the time, and practically slid alongside the cabin walls to the fenced enclosure where his measuring instruments were. In his hand he had a loose piece of paper, typed in bold capitals, which he hurriedly attached to the enclosure door.

‘What’s he doing?’ Neil asked. ‘I can’t see very well.’

‘It looks like he’s putting up a notice, or something’, Pigli answered.

‘What does it say?’, inquired the cock.

‘Cleo!’, Pigli summoned her. ‘You go! Go read what it says. I can’t show my face here. Please!’, he added.

The man went to check all his instruments, one by one. When he re-entered the cabin, to compile the readings and mail in his report, Cleo crept out of their hiding place and scuttled off. She stopped in front of the notice, and as she started reading her eyes grew bigger and bigger, until she finally gave a shrill gasp and put her hoof to her mouth. She rushed back to the other two like an arrow. They were both tense, holding their breaths.

‘Well, what is it?’, Pigli asked.

‘You’d better sit down’, Cleo uttered gravely.

‘How about I roll over and play dead, too, while I’m at it?!’, Pigli growled. ‘Will that do?’

‘Ok, ok, but it’s serious. It says, ‘BEWARE! BEWARE! RUNAWAY WOLF ON THE LOOSE. WAS SPOTTED LAST NIGHT IN JELLYVILLE ENGORGING RABBITS. SHE IS CONSIDERED DANGEROUS. RANGERS HAVE ORDERS TO SHOOT ON SIGHT. It doesn’t say whether with real bullets or tranquilizers. And it gives Tina’s description.’

‘Oh, no!’, cried Pigli.

‘Sure, they mistook you for her’, said Neil. ‘After all, I did too. You see, they don’t have your description, because it was night and my master caught only a glimpse of you in the flashlight, but the Zoo must have a detailed description of her. And to humans, all wolves look alike.’

‘Sure enough’, attested Cleo.

‘Poor Tina! At least this notice is fresh, which means they haven’t captured her yet. We have to find her! We have to make it to the reservation!’, Pigli pleaded.

‘I was just thinking’, Neil said. ‘We’re looking for Tina but so is the posse. What if they get to her sooner? What if they’ve made another sighting today and are closing in on her as we speak? I mean, we’re following tracks that are at least two days old. What if they have information we don’t have? Why don’t we do a little spying?’

‘What are you suggesting?’, Pigli asked.

‘If they do know more about her, it’s bound to be in the press’, Cleo chipped in. ‘They wouldn’t miss it for the world. They’re probably going to say something during the seven o’clock news, a warning to people or something like that, and we might find out more.’

‘But that’s in an hour’s time!’, Pigli cried.

‘I know, it’s a delay, dude, but imagine you find out something important, that allows us to take a shortcut. Although’, he added, ‘one rarely learns anything of importance from television.’

‘Who knows, Boss? He’s got a point. And anyway, we can make up that time. You know these woods better than anyone, right?’

‘I’m not so sure anymore’, Pigli whispered and gave in to their suggestion.

It was the most excruciating wait. Pigli had insisted they at least use this time to rest and freshen up, but inside the cabin the meteorologist was laughing out loud watching some silly show and his outbursts would startle them over and over again. So they were all wide awake. By seven o’clock it was already pitch black and they braced themselves and drew closer to the log cabin. Inside, the TV image was flickering, but the sound was good. They slouched and listened. The wolf story was the breaking news. There were two anchors dissecting the information in the studio. Every 10 seconds they would switch over to one of the five correspondents the station had positioned in the area. The first talked to the Zoo keeper, who was astonished by Tina’s behaviour, but moderate. The reporter cut him short and gave the line to the second one. This went on to interview the posse, an incoherent bunch of chubby-faced men who described Tina as “extremely dangerous and not afraid of humans.” A duplex was set up on the screen. The third correspondent was busy interviewing Neil’s former master who was jumping to apocalyptical conclusions.

‘First the bird flu and now this!’, he was yelling in to the microphone. ‘Beware people; the whole world’s gone crazy! What’s the government doing? Why haven’t they killed that beast yet? What are they waiting for? First a cock, now a rabbit, next thing you know it’ll snatch a child! Our very lives are in danger!’, he went on an on.

‘For crying out loud, stop hollering, dude!’, Neil addressed the image on the screen and then turned away and sat. He looked at Pigli. ‘How distasteful!’, he added. He felt repulsed and ashamed of his master.

‘Bloody tabloid press. Always ready to unleash a war on someone or other’, Pigli said and spat. It depressed him. ‘When did I ever touch a human being? What would I even want with one?’, he asked. Both his friends met his saddened glance and looked down. ‘Look at the fuss he’s making about one lousy rabbit. You’d think I robbed him of his livelihood entirely. What is one supposed to eat if anywhere you turn all there’s left is rabbits?’ He sounded defeated.

‘Perhaps we can counter them with our own PR’, made Cleo an attempt to cheer the mood. ‘An appeal for sympathy. Something glitzy, something catchy like… like… uh, if it hadn’t been for wolves, Rome itself would not have existed. You know, Romulus and Remus who were suckled by one…’

Cleo, the media-savvy sheep turned publicity hound.

‘Thanks, but for Tina and me there’s no more time’, Pigli said drearily. On TV, the wolf story carried on in a crescendo of high-pitched and fanatical voices which had already exceeded their allotted time slot. ‘Bloody tabloid media’, he said once more, in a dwindling voice. ‘Look, it’s obvious I only have tonight to find her. It’s life or death. I have to risk it. Thanks for everything, but I really have to go now.’

For a moment they were disconcerted. Then, Cleo broke the silence.

‘We’re coming with you!’, she said boldly. ‘The heck with the press. I don’t want to be famous that way.’

‘You’ll be in danger’s way. I can’t take that kind of responsibility. This is not your fight.’

‘How do you get that?’, Neil raised his head. ‘You’re forgetting what she did for me. Danger? I could sit around all day and still get run over by a car or scalded in soup. That’s life. But I have never met a nobler creature than your Tina. Yeah, of course we’re coming, and we’re going to find her too!,’ reinforced Neil his determination.

‘Definitely. Don’t you worry’, added Cleo.

Pigli looked at them both with big gentle eyes. There was a lump in his throat. ‘I’m grateful for your friendship’, he said.

(to be continued)