Chuck gave us a proper challenge using some ridiculous stock photographs this week. I decided to use the one above. It’s from buzzfeed.com/kristinchirico and you probably wouldn’t like any bar one of the rest. I might use that other one another time!
Bella and the Ayrshires
Molly and Bella gazed over the wire fence at the road as it wound through the rolling meadows. They were munching more than gazing, but the steady stream of people heading towards Max’s lower field was suitably soporific in the warmth of the afternoon sun.
“Where do they all come from, anyway?” Bella asked, rolling her cud round her mouth, licking her lips and flicking the flies away with her tail.
“No idea,” replied Molly. “I’ve never seen so many, all in one place. Do you think it’s a market?”
“I’ve never been to market.”
“Well you know what it’s like when they round the heifers up and send them away. It’s just like that.”
Molly’s eyes narrowed. “Maybe. I wonder who buys people?”
“Same as buy heifers, I expect.”
”They’ve got funny coats on. Not like round here.”
“Maybe they’re a different breed.”
“I wonder why some of them are chewing. They don’t make milk, do they?”
“Maybe they do. I mean, some cows are good at milk, some do other things.”
“I’ve never worked out what.”
“That one’s making milk.”
“That one in the floaty gown and hair tied back with flowers in the ribbon.”
“Oh yes. The tall one next to her isn’t very full though.”
“I think that’s a male.”
“How can you tell?”
“Use your eyes, dearie. It’s very tight leg coverings he’s got.”
Molly looked again and decided Bella was right. He was a little taller, a lot scrawnier but had definite signs of masculinity about his person. Just as she was definitely fertile and feeding. “Funny little things, aren’t they?”
“Younglings. Funny little things. Wonder how they can bear them to be so helpless for so long. AAAGH, what’s that noise?” Molly turned and scampered off up the pasture away from the track and the visitors. Crazy noises were coming from the next field but one, the one where all the people were headed.
“Sounds like they’re counting, in giant voices.”
“But surely they can count more than two? I thought they were ed-u-cated.”
“Gone to college, you mean. I’ve always imagined that’s where ours go, you know. Off to college somewhere. Then a new life.”
“I wonder what they learn at college.”
“Theirs or ours?”
“Well, I bet ours learn to count past two, anyway.”
“What does come after two?”
“Three of course, then four. That’s why we’ve got four legs, so we can count to four.”
“Ah, well, there you have it, don’t you?”
“The answer to what?”
“Why they only count to two.”
Bella dropped her head to the ground to pick at some more luscious grass. Molly was being silly. She refused to play her game. Molly didn’t give up, though.
“They only count to two, silly,” Molly said, nudging her, “because they’ve only got two legs. Two legs bad, four legs good. You know that.”
Bella tossed her head, twitching her ears at the new sounds echoing up from the field. “I wonder how long they’re going to be here,” she muttered, as loud guitar strains hit the air.
Two days later the herd had had enough. The noise had gone on all the night, and it had upset their milking patterns horribly. Farmer Max had brought them in near enough on time, but most of the ladies were too tense to let down properly, and Max had given them all a talking to, then turned them out on the meadow on the far side of the hill, away from the noise. It didn’t stop the ladies complaining.
“We were here only last week!”
“The grass was much better in the other field.”
“How long are they going to be here, anyway?”
At first light, Bella and Molly moved around their special cronies. They manipulated the bolt on the meadow gate and filed out. It was time to take direct action.
Bella led the way, stepping proudly in front of her six friends. Molly brought up the rear, butting the stragglers on and reminding them of their duty.
“We’re going to let them know who’s who and what’s what,” she muttered, and the aggrieved cohort stiffened their resolve and headed to the party fields.
To say it was a mess would be the understatement of the decade. Bodies entwined in the grass, funny smells everywhere, people smoking very long cigarettes with little care for the fire danger – and the rubbish! Bella thought it would take a hundred years to clear up.
They reached the front of the audience and sidled up to the platform in front of them just as four young men bowed to their audience. They waved and walked off on the other side. Bella strode on.
After a moment’s silence the audience erupted with whoops and cheers.
Bella looked at them, wondering what to do next. She certainly seemed to have captured their attention. She moved towards the round metal thing which seemed to be where the other stage users had stood.
“Dear guests,” she said. She heard her lowing echoing round the audience, magnified in some magical way. She had a nice voice, she thought. “Dear guests. You are very welcome. But you are disturbing our beauty sleep and our production quotas. We think it’s time to leave. For you to leave, that is. Thank you for coming. Goodbye.”
As she finished she backed away, scattering the other ladies.
“A song, we want a song!” came a call from the front row, and the chant was taken up by those with enough energy to know what was happening.
Bella was close to panicking, but one of the people still on the stage started playing a tune, and she recognised it from her time in the parlour. She and her backing group joined in, and the audience took up the refrain.
Of all the acts at Woodstock that year, it was the most memorable. But nobody ever spoke about it, since nobody was really sure whether it was real or an hallucination.
(c) J M Pett 2014