Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Herding geese

Tuesday afternoon was shaping up to be very strange. Peep was awoken by the sound of geese honking outside the window. "Geese?" Peep thought, "We don't have geese here." She levered herself off of the floor where she was sprawled to absorb the coolness of the tiles. She jumped up on the trunk and looked out the window. Geese. Several geese. In the yard. Honking. Peep shook her head and wondered if she was dreaming.

She padded to the kitchen to see if anyone else was in the house. No cats, no Daddy. It was just her and the geese. She jumped up into the open windows in the computer room and bedroom and looked to see if Rudy or LT were anywhere around. If she was going to confront geese, she'd rather have reinforcements. Unfortunately, she seemed to be the only cat in the area. She didn't know if that was because the geese had chased off the other cats, or if they were just off visiting or exploring.

Peep went back to the trunk in the living room. As she looked out the window, one of the geese spotted her. "Cat!!!" The goose trumpeted the word to the others, who flapped aimlessly, not knowing what to do.

"What's a cat?" asked one of the geese.

"That's a cat! That thing in the window. Cats eat geese, and ducks and everything else they can get their mouths around!" The first goose seemed to be a bit hysterical, but was standing his or her ground.

The other geese stopped and looked at Peep, who had never been stared at by four geese before. The goose who had spoken first said very slowly and carefully, "Hello, cat. We are four geese who are lost and trying to find our way somewhere. We're really not sure where, but we know it's not here. Can you understand me?"

Peep got the impression that the goose thought she was not quite bright. She shook her head and said, "Of course I can understand you. How can you find someplace if you don't know what it is?" Privately, Peep thought the geese weren't very bright.

"Um. Oh. Well. Yesterday we left our home and today it's not there. We looked for it, but couldn't find it, so we decided that it was gone, and we had to find a new place to live." The goose seemed confused.

"Hmmm," Peep said. "How far did you fly to get here and which direction were you flying? That could help you get home." She felt that pointing out the obvious was a good way to start, since they didn't seem to get the obvious.

"Fly? Why would we fly?" The goose looked at her quizzically.

"Um, because you're geese. Geese are birds. Birds fly to get places." Peep thought the conversation was going downhill, if that were possible.

"Birds? No, birds are little things. Sparrow, cardinals. Little bodies that can fly. We can't fly." The goose gave her a goose look, tilting its head to one side and looking at her with just one eye.

Oh, boy, she thought. "You do have wings, just like the sparrows and cardinals, you know. I've seen geese fly."

"Not with these wings." The goose spread his wings and Peep saw that the ends of each wing were missing. "Someone cuts off our feathers. It hurts. They've done it since we were goslings, so we don't fly."

"I'm sorry to hear that. But if you walked here, it couldn't be very far, could it?" Peep decided that maybe they weren't as clueless as they acted. "How long did it take you to walk here?"

"Very long, very long." All the geese honked this together.

"But you said that yesterday you were home, and so you could have only walked for one day, right?" Peep figured single, specific questions would be best.

"Yup, and round about suppertime we ate and started walking. When we woke up this morning, we weren't home. We're lost!" With this all the geese started to honk excitedly.

Peep rolled her eyes. It sounded like they had walked for maybe an hour or two, and from what she saw, they probably didn't move fast or too purposefully. She made an instant decision that she'd need to help these geese find their way home, or they'd never leave her alone.

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