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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Ohhh…. (02/04/10)

TITLE: The Reprieve
By Cindy Carver


I had no idea what to with it, nor what it was. The kids drug it in, so I called the conservation department, hoping for some help.

“Are you listening to me, Officer?”

“Ohhh…Ranger, uh-huh, I apologize, I didn’t know the difference.”

“Congratulations, just graduated, uh huh…good for you.--you haven’t heard a word I’ve said, have you?”

“No, I’m not drunk.”

“Belligerent, you haven’t heard nothin’ yet, sonny. You have a thing or two to learn, not married are you?”

“Ohhh…I can tell. Back to this thing in my stock tank.”

“What do you mean it can’t be in my stock tank?”

“Extinct, I’m telling you I have one in my stock tank.”

“Yes, just like you described. Yes, looks like an overgrown tadpole, about a foot long with weird pink feathery things on its jaws, yeah, that’s it. I’m telling you, there is one in my stock tank.”

“How did it get there? What do you mean? I told you my boys caught it this morning and put it in there. They thought it was sick and brought it home for me to doctor it.”

“No, I’m not a doctor. I’m a nurse, what?”

“No I don’t want to volunteer for 911. I have enough…would you listen to me!”

“Arrest me, for what?”

“No season on them, illegal to catch them. What! You just told me they are extinct. “

”You meant endangered. Ohhh…you can say that again. It’s been in danger since the boys brought it home.”

“Oh…it’s illegal to kill endangered animals. Fines, hmmm, but if it’s extinct I’m okay. Can’t fine me for killing something that’s extinct, right?”

“I thought so, anyway, thanks for all your help.”

“What, you’ll pay me for it, if it’s still alive--for an exhibit.”

“No, I am not bringing it in to you. You come get it, or it is extinct. Wonder what a stuffed, extinct whatchamacallit is worth on ebay.”

“Ohhh…you’re coming right over. Good. I’ll tell the boys to stop feeding it chocolate chip cookies.”

“Ohh…just a few, seems to like them they said.”

“You know, you better let me check. Hold on.”

“Boys, is that thing still alive?”

“Okay, no more cookies, the officer is coming over to get it. Said there is a $100 reward if it’s alive.”

“Something about endangered, going to use it for a display.”

“Yes, it’s your money--hold on boys.”

“Okay, Officer, umm, Ranger; the address is…yes, twenty minutes is great. See you then, bye.”

“Boys, how many of those things did you say were in the creek?”

“Hundreds, I think we may be in business. Don’t tell the officer--might not give you the money. No, that’s not lying; just don’t answer him--fifth amendment thing.”

“What’s that, well, means you don’t have to answer if you’re telling on yourself-- constitutional thing.”

“No, you can’t take the fifth amendment with your parents; we are an exception to the rule.”

“Fifth amendment, what do you mean, you aren’t going to tell me where those critters are unless I make some more chocolate chip cookies.”

“I’m raising gangsters. Ohhh…heaven, I’ve done it to myself, haven’t I?”

“You’re right boys. We shouldn’t catch them. Not if they are endangered and all. I guess I didn’t do such a bad job of raising you after all.”

“Yes, you can say good bye to Fred. No you can not kiss him. “

“No, I don’t know what they’ll do with him; probably put him in an aquarium.”

“You’re right, he probably won’t like that. Stop crying. Okay, Okay, you win. Go get a bucket.”

“You sure are one ugly thing, endangered, who would have thought. Alright, little buddy, into the bucket. Good ugly Fred. Let’s go back to the stream. Seems we don’t need a hundred dollars after all. Let’s go boys, hurry, the officer will be here soon.”

“What are we going to tell him?”

“The truth.”

“No, you won’t get in trouble. He didn’t believe me anyway; thought I was making it all up. We might hurry back though, make him some cookies. Seemed like a nice young man. We can pray for God to protect us, yes, and Fred from all harm.”

“Now run, don’t drop Fred.”

“Look at him go boys. You boys are pretty amazing. Love you, yes, and Fred, he’s God’s creature too.”

“Now I’m going to teach you how to make cookies.”

“What’s that you say, a woman’s job--ohhh...we’ll see about that.”

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This article has been read 310 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 02/13/10
A creative approach to telling this story (and yes, I STILL wanna know what it was!). Got a bit lost in a few places trying to figure out the other side of the conversation. PERFECT title.
Verna Mull 02/14/10
This was a very interesting piece, but I too would like to know what "it" was. Good job of describing bureaucracy! Good use of many descriptive words.
Jan Ackerson 02/16/10
This kinda reminds me of a Bob Newhart monologue--he frequently did one-sided phone conversations.

Maybe with some narrative to clarify, it'd be a bit easier to follow.

Fun intrique--an entertaining read.