Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Green (10/22/09)
TITLE: The Wearin' o' the Green
By Kate Oliver Webb
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But horses were not the only animals I was privileged to get to know on that ranch. One day I was introduced to a charming llama named Niles. He had the most gorgeous eyes, and eyelashes to die for. And what a face: that beautiful, intelligent, friendly face.
However, Niles had a temperament typical of llamas. If you don’t please them, for almost any reason, they spit. And what they spit is anything but pleasant. It’s basically green slime, and smells like rotten veggies mixed with things unmentionable.
Although my disability made it difficult for me to go into the pasture with the animals, I did occasionally manage a foray to get up close and personal. Especially with Niles. For whatever reason, he seemed to like me, and I absolutely fell in love with him. This came in handy when it came to getting Niles to do something he didn’t want to do. If he needed to be moved to another pasture, I was the one who, cane in one hand, Niles’s rein in the other, slung an arm around his neck and led him out the gate,
Not everyone who was introduced to Niles was so lucky. If a visitor wanted to get close to Niles, and pressed the issue, Niles spit the green slime. We could always tell when someone had done something amiss to Niles: the green slime was a dead giveaway. It became known as “The Wearin’ o’ the Green.” To Niles, every day was St. Patrick’s Day.
We saw it on barn cats, dogs, people. No living creature was spared, if Niles was cranky. Except for me, thankfully; and to this day, I chalk it up to Niles’s sensing of my physical weaknesses.
On one occasion a mom and her son, an ornery boy about 10 years old, were visiting with Niles. The mom made friends with him easily, but the kid teased Niles in every way he knew how. The boy was warned that llamas spit when they were displeased, and he would not be happy with the green slime that would land on his face or clothes if he kept up his teasing.
No surprise here: the kid didn’t let up. And you could tell Niles had had it, because he kept doing his pre-spit belch and beginning his aim at the boy. But the boy kept hiding behind his mom. Niles held his spit; his beef wasn’t with the mom, but with the ornery kid. Niles bided his time.
Time went by; the mom and boy finished their tour of the ranch. The last thing they did was stop by the front pasture to say good bye to Niles.
Mom stepped up to the fence and Niles went over to have his nose petted. The boy, now ready to make friends, followed suit. Just as mom stepped aside, Niles took his opportunity and shot green slime all over the kid: hair, face, clothes. It was pretty awful.
I’ve since wondered whether that boy ever again celebrated St. Patrick’s Day.
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