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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic

Learning to listen is a hard lesson to learn.

It is Saturday morning. 

I am in the middle of my “What to expect” speech with the fur babies.  I do this each morning so that they will feel as if they have been greeted each day and to let them know if we were expecting any company.  They know the names of most of the “dropper buyers”.  I was expecting no one today.

It is early so, I decided to play on the computer, listen to some music, and goof off just a little and make it look like I was working on something.  I was really into singing off-key and not paying any attention to what was going on around me.

Sweet Pea, my ancient greyhound came into the room with Oscar, my pet squirrel on his back.  This is a typical sight.  Bella another member of the family was following Peanut and Rascal.  Peanut is Rascal’s cat.  Rascal is Oscar’s Raccoon.  This alone should tell you why escape is sometimes the hardest thing to do in this household.

I stopped.  I checked the food bowls, water bowls, doorways, and assured myself that everything was fine.  I pointed to the door, and all went back out the office door.  I went back to my “work”.

I told myself the babies just wanted some attention.  I felt bad about not accommodating them, but I felt like everyone was pulling on me.  I wanted some me time.

I had watched a fun movie last night with my new neighbor Sebastian.

The dishes were done, the trash taken out, the house was supposed to be quiet.

I felt like my morning speech was done so turned to head back to the computer room.

SLAM, SLAM, I heard it in the kitchen.  I raced to see who was in trouble.  I have started having my conversations with myself on the way to things rather than waiting until I get there.  It seems to save a lot of time.  I open the door to the kitchen and there is Oscar, Sweet Pea, and Bella pushing the doggy door with Rascal and Peanut on the other side.  It looks like something is blocking the flap from opening.

I walked over, shoo-ed everyone away, and open the flap.  There was a cane that had gotten stuck halfway of the back step and had gotten wedged between the leg of the grill and the door.

“Why would they be messing with a cane?  Whose cane?”  I picked it up and put it aside.  “You guys are into mischief.  Now, stop it.”

I went back to the computer, music, and

GLASS BREAKING noise.  I get up to go into the laundry room this time and there they all are trying to maneuver that cane again.  Oscar is jumping up and down.  Bella keeps turning in circles like she is chasing her tail.  “What is going on here?  The cane had hit the little window over the dryer.  How they got it up there I will never know.

“Help, Somebody, help, help.”I heard a cry.  It sounded like a man’s voice.  It was Sebastian.  He seemed to have a problem in his backyard.

I am racing to cross the street so I can find out what is needed.  The farm truck pulls up and Loverboy is out racing up the front porch.I was about to stop and let him in but … Oscar. Did it for me.  Sidekick, Betty, Barbra, and even George and Carol were frantic.  Becky was missing.  “Oh, My God.”

I sent George and Carol over to George’s old house to see what Sebastian needed.  He fell, broke his leg, and was covered in rabbit and goat fertilizer.  He used it for his rose bushes and the bags had split when he fell.  His cell phone was in his living room.  All he had was the cane and it had been on his front porch.  The critters had heard his cry and were bringing me the cane.  I had not listened…

George and Carol took Sebastian in his truck to the emergency room to get his leg set.  I helped gather all the critters back into the van and horse trailer and we headed to the Funny Farm.

According to Becky and Barbra, it all started when Becky had decided she wanted to be a butterfly for Halloween.  She wanted time to make her costume.  Becky had laid out the cardboard, colored film, etc.The supplies needed to put it all together.  When Becky asked if she could go out and practice being a butterfly, Becky said, sure.  Not realizing what she was saying to a six-year-old child.  Beck is also a little person as is her mother, Becky.  Becky is eighteen inches high.  She is very tiny.  She usually rides Sidekick, the miniature horse here on the farm.  To Becky permission to practice being a butterfly was permission to practice flying.

She had worked this morning on the costume and did not pay any attention to the fact that she had not once been interrupted with an “is it done yet?” From Becky.

“Becky, it is my fault as much as yours.  I saw her leaving with Sidekick and thought nothing about her running all over the yard picking up feathers.  I should have realized something was not right.”

“Barbra, how could you know what was going through her head.  She is always squealing and laughing about something.  Even Loverboy and Hamstring have trouble keeping up with her. 

“Girls we are not going to accomplish a thing with the blame game today.  Our one and only mission is to find Becky.”  I looked at both ladies and we all agreed.  Then, as predictable we all had a different direction, we thought we should start looking.  A plan was drawn in the dirt.  We had headed to the pond path because it is a good place to find butterflies and flying bugs.  We only hoped no more snakes had been out.  Our new arrival of the Owl had helped keep that problem down.  We lost Mrs. Holcome, Loverboy’s girlfriend, and Grammy, Oscar’s mate due to a disaster with a rattlesnake.I could tell the flashback of the scene that day made Becky’s disappearance more critical than ever.

I had elected myself to be the one who would be working through the woods behind the pond where we found Becky tied up that day and Sidekick lying beside her knocked out.  I had to shake my head and stop looking into my mind’s eye.  I had on my hiking boots, a strong walking stick and we all had air horns to signal to anyone if we found her.

Loverboy and Oscar seemed to want to follow me.  Hamstring and even Tarzan had gotten in on this hunt.  I think Tarzan knows something.  It was his feathers she was stealing from around his cage and those around the yard.  Maybe not.  I guess I am grasping at straws.

  I found myself going through my memory files to find some little morsel of wisdom my grandmother might have left me to help with this situation.  When my sister ran away from home that time it seemed so simple.  “You will always find exactly what you are looking for in the last place you look.  Because, if you would have looked there first, you would have found it.  That made sense.  Everyone had looked all day for Tricia.  It was getting dark, and all the adults were getting frantic.  Finally, I spotted her.  Sitting on our next-door neighbors’ front step.  She was waiting for someone to let her in to play with her doll.  She had left it in the house when she had her tea party.  If anyone had looked there first…none of the rest would have been necessary.  There she was, sound asleep, leaning on a huge flowerpot.  Suitcase in hand ready to spend the night if she had to.

I am telling myself to be on the lookout for feathers.  I have told myself exactly what to do here.  I sat down at the little table and decided on a solid, logical, way to proceed.  I was drawing most of what I wanted to do in the dirt.  Loverboy kept trying to snatch the stick I was holding.  I kept shooing him away.  Oscar finally, jumped from Loverboy’s back to the top of the chair I was sitting in.  He snatched the “stick” out of my hand.  I looked... it was a feather.  “Wonderful.  You clever babies. I best think about watching you instead of telling myself how to do something.”  I started looking around.  There was a trail of Tarzan’s feathers that seem to disappear into the brush just on the other side of the pond.

I heard an air horn.  I looked around and it is Barbra over at the gate.  Sebastian is back complete with a leg in a cast. George and Carol seem to be taking care of things down there.  I am going to concentrate on the ‘feather trail’ in front of me.

The brush is getting very thick, so I best keep my wits about me.  “Becky, Becky … I can’t imagine which way she would have gone.  I have spotted a large boulder covered with undergrowth.  There I see them.  I am trying to run.  I can’t seem to get my feet to move correctly. down I go.  Oscar just tripped me.  I can’t believe him.  He is right there, or he was in front of me.  If I had not stepped to avoid him, I would not be on the ground right now.I told myself to just be thankful I did not step on him.  “I gotta find some way to get back up.My getting ups lately had gotten a lot harder than my getting downs.  I am looking for a big stick, not unlike the one I just threw in the air when I went down.  “Yuke!”  Loverboy is getting in on the act now.  “What do you want?”  I look up and there is Loverboy putting his head on my shoulder.  “I don’t have time to play lovey right now.  I start to push him away and realize what he wants me to do.  “I should just shut up and listen to you guys.  “I put my arms around his neck, and he pulled me up.”

I should have stopped talking to myself and listened to him in the first place?  “Ain’t I smart?”  I had to think.  That was the first time Loverboy ever spit on me.  “I guess I had it coming.”  I glance out of the corner of my eye.  There is Oscar on the top of that boulder.  He is jumping up and down.“Tarzan, what are you doing here?”

“That is why Oscar was in my way.  Tarzan blends in when he is on the ground.  An African grey parrot looks different when he is on the ground.  Apparently, he has a problem.  Most of his tail feathers are gone.  “Oh, Becky.  I just can’t imagine what you were thinking.”  I put my hand down with some leaves over the fleshy part so Tarzan can jump on my arm for a perch.  His talons can dig into the skin without something to use as a buffer.I would have stepped right on top of him.  He starts making the sounds of birds fighting.  I am watching him and listening … this time.  I look around again.  It looks like there was a fight here.  Oh, my, I see some blood.  I also see a dead snake.  I looked up and there was our resident owl with part of the snake’s head still in his claw.  “That must have been a good fight.  It also explains why there were extra feathers around.  I head towards the boulder.  I see tracks.  Foot tracks.  Not human tracks but another animal was using this trail as well.  My eyes are sharp now.  I see four toes.  A bobcat?  A fox?  A coyote?  I just do not know.  “Becky, Becky.”  I wish she would give me a sound.

How did I end up here?  I am stuck in a rabbit hole.  It seems to be a very deep rabbit hole.  Loverboy comes over and lays his head on my shoulder again.  I am coming up but there is nothing to grab onto to steady myself.  Oscar is at it again.  Jumping up and down.  Loverboy is in charge mode.  He is throwing spitballs over the place.  I made myself stop talking and listen.  It was Sebastian.

 He is got his cane and he is making his way to me while trying to dodge Loverboy’s spitballs.

“I need help.”  I looked at this man I had been prepared to run off the first time he kissed my hand.  Now here he is, using a cane, with a cast on his leg, joining in the search.

“I had the same feeling this morning when I was in town.  The critters got you to help me.”  I did not tell him how close he got to not getting any help at all because I would not listen to the “critters.”

“I have traced Becky’s path to this area.  I seem to be caught in a rabbit hole.  I saw the dead snake and it scared me.  Loverboy, stop that.  Grab his snout.  He will stop spitting on you.  I promise.  He is trying to protect me.”  Sebastian gently put his big hand around the end of Loverboy’s snout.

“Stop that, it is all good.  Jane is my friend too.”  There the two of them looked at each other eyeball to eyeball.  Loverboy relaxed, Sebastian let go and they nodded to each other.

I heard a growling noise and looked around.  A coyote had pulled his head out of another rabbit hole not ten feet away.  He had part of Becky’s little dress in his mouth.  I singled the air horn.

When the air horn cut loose so did everything else in the area.  A fox came darting out of nowhere.  The dogs chased him off.  With Sebastian’s help, I was able to pull my leg out of the rabbit hole.

This time I stopped talking.  I put my hands up and told everyone to Shhhhh.  I listened.

“Jane, is that you?”  It was Becky’s voice.  I could hear her.  Where was she?  I was frantic.  I could hear her but not see her.

“I am Alice.  I am Alice.”  I could not understand what she meant by that.  Then it dawned on me.  She had gone down the rabbit hole.

“Sebastian, help me.  We need a shovel or something to get this hole bigger so we can get her out of there.”  I looked around and he was gone.  “Well, that was a fine how do you do.  He just left."  I shrugged my shoulders.  "I'll do it myself... Somehow."

I just wanted to get a glimpse of her.  I decided Sebastian would get a “where did you go lecture later.”  Right now, I wanted to see Becky.

I found a flat rock I turned into a digging tool.  I finally had the hole big enough to see a little inside.  “Oh, I wish I had a flashlight.”

“Like this one.”  There was Sebastian with several flashlights, shovels, and all.

 “You are a good man, Charlie Brown.”  Sebastian understood what I meant.

I looked inside.  There was Becky.  She was covered in all sorts of fur.  No, wait. It is bunny rabbits all over her.  The hole is deep.  This must be the main den.  It looks like little tunnels lead from this one.  “I jump off the rock to practice flying and landed in here.  It was too high to get back out.”  I have tears rolling down my cheeks.

“Becky, can you stand up at all?”

“Yeah, but I can’t reach high enough.  That is okay we are going to get something down to you.  Okay.”  I look behind me and there is Sebastian with a rope, his own flashlight, and a brace to secure everything in place.  He moves me.  He literally, physically touched my person and moved me out of his way. 

The gang is all here.  Betty, Barbra, George, and of course Carol.  The entire Funny Farm family is present.  Tarzan is singing How Great Thou Art… His favorite song.  Everyone is crying.  The animals are all adding to the noise then suddenly we hear.

“Shhhh shhhh.”

It was Sebastian.  He was giving instructions to Becky on how to put the rope around her waist and then around her ankle.  When she had it all done, he slowly pulled her out of the rabbit hole.  She was still holding two rabbits when she came out.

“I am sorry folks.  But everyone was talking including the animals.  Becky could not hear what she needed to hear.

Becky got hugs from everyone.  She is now on Sebastian’s shoulders, leading the parade back to the house.

I guess when the day started out, I was being told that Shhhh was the rule of the day.  If I had listened more … Nah.  No blames.  It is all blessings.  So many catastrophes stopped with one good Shhhh then listen.


We still have a butterfly to get ready for Halloween.... That is next month.... Yikes!!

Submitted: September 25, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Texasjane. All rights reserved.

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