Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Telephone (07/17/08)
- TITLE: Moo Who?
By Loren T. Lowery
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Dakota’s den was neatly appointed and lit by two phosphorescent rock lamps, one on either side of two empty Campbell’s Tomato Soup cans set against a far wall.
Popping his head through the wall, Manny smiled proudly. “Made it,” he said.
“Wonderful,” Dakota replied. He set his cup of carrot juice aside and pulled his friend the rest of the way out. “Now we’ll just draw one string through here,” he pointed to a tiny hole in the bottom of one of the cans, “and do the same to the other; tie each off with a knot and voila I’ll be hooked up.”
The I.C.E, (In Case of Emergency) Program had been a warren project for over six months, just after a spring ice storm had collapsed the interconnecting tunnels of their lairs leaving many of the rabbits isolated with no means to communicate.
Over that time, every animal in the Charmwick Providence, including the horses and the cows in the barn had been hooked up with two tins similar to the one now in Dakota’s lair. It was a relay system, thought of by the warren’s leader, Thunder Foot, where one phone was to be used to receive calls and the other to send on to the next in line.
Holes in the bottom of the tin had been punched by Patter Porcupine who used one of his quills as an awl to poke the holes by pretending the tins to be the tires of a tractor that kept scrunching his own burrow.
“Pretending can help you do remarkable things.” He was quoted as saying in the weekly Charmwick Gazette published by Chatty, a Magpie.
Chatty’s press was located in the hollow of a tree that also housed Hopi, a barn owl and resident professor for the entire province. “Hopi is very wise,” Chatty was known to say, “as he’s always asking ‘who?’. And everyone knows it’s wise to question everything. It’s in the Bible you know.”
No one was quite sure where that was in the Bible, exactly, but because Chatty was in charge of the press, they believed whatever she said, nonetheless.
Now it was time for Dakota to try out his new phone. So, he leaned into the mouth of the tomato can; and, cupping his hands to either side of his mouth, he yelled, “Hallo.”
After waiting a few moments, an echo like voice returned to him. “Who?”
Manny smiled. “I hooked you up to Hopi. You’re the last den in the burrow and when he hears from you, he’ll fly to tell the rest that all is well. Everyone trusts someone who is wise, you know.”
“Very clever,” Dakota said.
“Who?” repeated the voice from the tin.”
“It’s me, Hopi.” Dakota shouted back. “I can hear you, can you hear me?”
“Who?” came the reply.
Just then another voice from the other tin echoed through. “Moo,” it said.
“Moo who?” Dakota asked bewildered.
“That’s Elsie, she’s in the barn.” Manny glanced at his watch. “Perfect timing as I told her to call about milking time; and you know how cows are about milking time…always exact to the minute.”
“Who moo, I mean moo who,” said Dakota a bit flustered. “I mean it’s me, Elsie.”
“Who?” repeated the line from Hopi.
“No not who, but moo. I got a call from moo who, I mean Elsie, Hopi. So you can tell Chatty that the lines are up and running well.”
“Moo who?” came Elsie’s voice causing Dakota to cover her tin with his hand. “This is all a bit confusing.”
“It’s a party line.” Manny shrugged. “So you ought be careful because if you call Elsie before she calls you and then forget to tell Hopi, well things could get a bit puzzling. You know how Elsie is,” he whispered, “very quiet, chewing her cud. Some even think she’s a bit uppity and I’m not sure everyone would believe her like they would Hopi.”
Dakota placed both hands to his cheeks. “Oh goodness; this phone business is a bit distressing.”
“The price we pay for modern convenience,” Manny sighed. “Next we’ll have talking pictures in our homes, like Farmer Anderson. Not a moment’s peace if you ask me.”
The rest of their conversation became lost by two voices from the tomato cans. One asking, “Who?” The others saying, “Moo.”
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