Monday, November 28, 2011

Trying to get a message to Kid

By Monday morning, the hens were feeling just fine.  One of the humans stopped by and removed the yellow tape, indicating they were open for visitors.  Lemuel had chatted briefly with Courtney and was happy to find that Tiffany was happy and warm and absolutely delighted with all the fun things that had happened in the last day or so.  Ah, he thought, to be young and adventurous again. When their feed arrived, they were happy to find it was exactly the same as Bart had been feeding them, so all was right with the world. 

Their first visitor was an orange tabby cat who introduced himself as Morris.  He proudly stated he had been named after the famous Morris of the cat food ads, but the claim flew right over the turkeys’ heads, as they were both too young to have heard of Morris, and had never even seen a television.  Morris explained that he was the designated orientation cat and explained the procedures of the zoo.  It was open pretty much every day, but some days were busier than others.  Mostly it was families who came to visit, but sometimes groups of children arrived.  The turkeys shouldn’t worry though, as visitors were not allowed into their run.  They could look, and if the turkeys were against the fencing, little fingers might reach through to try and pet the turkeys, even though there were signs that said not to touch the animals.  Pets were not allowed at the zoo, although sometimes people had what were called ‘service animals’, which were mostly dogs that helped blind humans get around.  The humans who worked at the zoo would come into their run to clean it and take care of them, and sometimes a very talkative human would come into their run to give a lecture about them.  That person might even pick up one of the turkeys, if said turkey cooperated.  As Morris explained, the zoo was an educational facility, and some groups came to learn about animals rather than just be entertained by them. 

Lemuel laughed at this last remark.  Turkeys were not very entertaining.  They just did their turkey things.  They ate, scratched, walked around, roosted and had conversations among themselves.  Nothing entertaining about it.  He guessed humans wouldn’t spend much time watching them. 

Morris then asked what the turkeys’ story was.  He explained that everyone at the zoo had been abandoned, neglected or abused in some way.  He also said that there was a dog who was a certified therapy dog who would be around to see them tonight after the zoo closed to help them process their psychic trauma.  Lemuel laughed at that, and explained their situation.  There wasn’t an awful lot of trauma to it – mostly just relief at getting a new home.  Morris looked a little taken aback.  Most new zoo residents weren’t as chipper about their move to the zoo. 

Lemuel then asked if Morris had internet access, as he wanted to get a message to his best friend.  Morris said that he did, but that it was hit or miss, as he needed to be in the right place at the right time, namely he had to be inside when the humans locked up the office for the day, and that his duties often prevented that.  He puffed out his chest and announced that since he was one of the few animals there who was not caged, he had many responsibilities that kept him busy throughout the day and evening.  In fact, Morris announced, he often had trouble getting more than twelve hours sleep per day, and of course everyone knows cats usually sleep way more than that.  Lemuel had Morris memorize Emma’s email address and asked that whenever he next had access to the computer to please send an email to Emma so that his friends would know that the turkeys had arrived safely and were happy in their new home.  

After Morris left, but before the zoo opened the turkeys had a number of other visitors.  Some were humans who worked at the zoo; others were wild animals or birds who welcomed them to the neighborhood.  One was a cat who said she lived in the neighborhood, and said that she just liked to stop by from time to time and see if anyone interesting had moved into the zoo.  Lemuel had a long chat with this cat, a calico named Margie.  Again, he had her memorize the email address, and also asked her to pass it on to any of her friends who had internet access. 

Once the zoo opened a small stream of visitors started to come past their enclosure.  Most of them were return visitors that realized they were new to the zoo. Their comments, predictably, were about escaping being served as Thanksgiving dinner.  They didn’t know how right they were.  As Lemuel listened to them he wondered how the church dinner had gone over, since he and his flock had not been available to be the main course.  He smiled to himself as he thought, “Perhaps they had to eat lasagna like Bart and his family did.” 

Lemuel kept his eye out for any service animals, but it wasn’t until mid-afternoon that he saw one.  A young boy had a dog with him.  Lemuel rushed to the fence, hoping the boy would stay long enough so Lemuel could ask the dog to send an email to Emma.  In fact, the boy was so fascinated that a turkey was up at the fence gobbling away that he was ready to stay as long as the turkey kept talking.  “Hi, my name is Lemuel and we’re new here and I need to get a message back to my friends back in Millstone.  Do you know anyone who can send an email to them?” 

The dog, whose name was Samson, replied that one of the cats in his house had an email account, so Lemuel passed on the email address and a message to let Kid know they were fine and happy.  Lemuel also asked Samson to pass the information on to any other animals he saw, so that even if one message didn’t get through another might. 

By the time the zoo closed in the late afternoon, Lemuel had managed to talk to two other service dogs.  If nothing else, he’d learned today that service dogs aren’t just for blind people.  One dog detected oncoming seizures in his human, and the other worked with a young autistic human and helped him with all sorts of things.  Both had promised to try to get the message to someanimal with an email account. 

When the zoo closed, Lemuel realized that he could remember absolutely nothing about most of the humans that had visited the turkeys.  He’d been so focused on getting word back to Kid, he’d ignored them all.  Tomorrow, he thought, he’d try to be entertaining.  That was his job here at the zoo, and he’d take it seriously even if it meant doing some unturkeylike things, so long as they were entertaining. 


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