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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Green (10/22/09)

TITLE: The Wearin' o' the Green
By Kate Oliver Webb


Following a diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome (from a bout of childhood Polio when I was 7), I found myself on a beautiful horse ranch, surrounded by horses, of course.

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 donít please them, for almost any reason, they spit. And what they spit is anything but pleasant. Itís 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 didnít want to do. If he needed to be moved to another pasture, I was the one who, cane in one hand, Nilesís 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 ďThe Weariní oí the Green.Ē To Niles, every day was St. Patrickís 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 Nilesís 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 didnít 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 wasnít 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.

Iíve since wondered whether that boy ever again celebrated St. Patrickís Day.

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This article has been read 604 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dan Blankenship 10/29/09
Great title, great story, and great ending. My only complaint is that I have a weak stomach and I actually felt sick a few times when I pictures animals and people getting slimed.

This was an easy read with some good comedy thrown into the mix.

May God bless and keep your creative spark flowing!

Dan Blankenship
Lisa Keck10/29/09
I enjoyed this story and consider myself warned.It was well-written up to the last line. I was good with seeing the kid finally get what he deserved and then the momentum just dropped for me with the reference to St. Patricks' Day. Overall, well written good story.
Eileen Knowles11/02/09
This was a fun one to read! Very unique take on the topic :)
Mary Lou Cook11/02/09
Like to see this published. As a children's book it offers much. A handicap child with polio, a forgotten disease. Niles, the spitting llama, offered humor. Nice job!
Marita Vandertogt11/03/09
I agree about the children's story idea... Niles has such a unique personality that he would be quite the entertaining read.
Carol Penhorwood 11/05/09
A thoroughly enjoyable read!