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Monday, November 2, 2009

Jenz Second NaNo Post

3409 words and counting...

The media were all over it about ten o’clock that morning. News crews set up camerasall over the front lawn, irritating the homeless guys by chasing them out of the prime spots.
Some guys from the Office of Emergency Management–I didn’t even know the city had an Office of Emergency Management, which should tell you how good I am at handling emergencies–were walking around yelling at people. Police officers put up one of those barriers of Crime Scene Do Not Cross tape to keep the news crews safe from the cows, or more like keep the cows safe from the news crews. The cows didn’t pay attention to any of this. They just stood there on the lawn, staring up at my window.

I tried to work, which is to say, I tried not to look at the cows. It worked about this well: I checked my email. I looked at the cows. I checked my calendar for the day. I looked at the cows. I read a letter from an irate contractor. I looked at the–

"Creepy, huh?” Cheryl said from behind me.

I jumped about a mile, the letter fluttering from my fingers. “Jesus Haploid Christ,” I
exclaimed. “Do you mind not scaring a person?”

Cheryl, a chirpy blonde that was sort of my secretary and sort of the accounting
department receptionist and, I dunno, the director of office potlucks, bent over and picked up the letter, throwing plenty of unnecessary hip wiggle into the movements. “You dropped this.”

“Thanks.” I took it back from her. I looked at the cows. I looked back at the letter. “So what’s the brilliant plan?” I asked. “They gonna get some metalworkers out here, figure out how all fourteen cows slipped their moorings?”

“Actually,” Cheryl said, “I think they’re getting a vet from the Dallas Zoo.”

“A vet? To treat metal cows?”

"Oh, they’re not metal cows,” Cheryl told me. “They’re just painted to look like they’re metal cows. That’s why they need a vet. To make sure the paint won’t irritate their skin.”

I looked at Cheryl like she’d grown a pair of longhorns herself. “Wait a minute,” I said. “You’re telling me that they’re telling them that those guys–” I pointed out the window to indicate which direct object I had in mind at the moment–“are real cows?”

“That’s what it said on the news.”

“Oh, good night.” I turned on the tiny set that I kept next to my keyboard to ensure I
wouldn’t miss a single episode of All My Children. The black and white screen faded in, shimmered a little, and settled into the middle of a newscast:

“–front of Dallas City Hall, where sometime during the night, a crew of suspected pranksters stole all fourteen longhorn statues from the front of the river display.”

“Pranksters?” I said. “They have to be kidding.”

“The replacement cows, which were painted to look like the metal cows, are being
checked out by veterinarians. Authorities suspect that the pranksters are UNT Dallas students from the Department of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, although no arrests have yet been made in the case.” Change of scene. “An 18-wheeler jackknifed on I-35E early this morning, causing a traffic backup at the 360 interchange that extended all the way south to Houston–”

I snapped off the set. “For God’s sake, they’re not even reporting the real story.”

“No, it’s true about the 18-wheeler,” Cheryl said. “I live out by 360 and this morning it
took me 20 minutes just to get to Starbucks.”

I rubbed my forehead. “That’s not what I meant. I mean why would anybody bother to steal fourteen metal cows that probably weigh two tons apiece and replace them with fourteen real cows painted to look like metal cows?”

“I think that’s why they’re looking at college students,” Cheryl said, helpfully. “Because only a college student would think that something like that makes sense.”

“Cheryl, they’re not real cows. They’re metal cows that have somehow come to life.”

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