Thursday, December 10, 2015
Elly McMahon left the Bighorn Diner around 4:30—late, but this time of year she stayed open a little later in the afternoon to accommodate holiday shoppers. Her lambs were inside, cleaning up so she could head home and catch some rest. She considered dropping in on her loving husband, but a glance through the Grease ‘n’ Grill’s windows showed Vern was doing a healthy business too, and his customers were pure carnivore. Better if she didn’t walk into that feeding frenzy. She’d see Vern tonight.
She’d rounded the corner by City Hall when she heard snickering, followed by an “Awwww!” and some half-hearted swearing. “Wait. Lemme try again.”
Elly frowned. That was Moon-Moon’s voice. She’d better check this out. When Moon-Moon did, or even tried, anything, disaster usually followed.
She spotted Moon-Moon hunched before a towering snow bank. He wasn’t alone. A lanky male in a leather coat and a visored cap stood beside him, in the same hunched position. The smell of urine was everywhere.
Not hard to guess what they were up to. What surprised her was that the other male’s steaming stream had a veggie aroma. Wolves were addicted to pissing contests, but not with herbivores. This bore looking into.
Elly stepped off the sidewalk and called out, “You know City Hall has public restrooms, right?”
Both males jerked around and hastily stuffed their hoses back behind their flies. Moon-Moon flushed bright scarlet. “Afternoon, Miz Elly,” he stammered out.
She nodded to him and turned to his companion. “Freddy Turner? Is that you?”
“Miz Elly.” Freddy touched the visor of his John Deere cap. “You didn’t see anything, did you?”
“Not a thing,” she said truthfully, with a silent thank-you added to the forest spirits. She peered a bit more closely at the lines branded into the snowbank and had to fight a laugh. “Signing autographs, are you?”
“It’s supposed to say ‘Merry Christmas,’” Freddy said, “except—”
“Except it’s not coming out right,” Moon-Moon said. “Well, it’s coming out good enough, we’ve been drinking all afternoon—”
“Yes, I gathered that.”
“But it’s not the right color. Y’see, we wanted it to be festive, dress up the town a bit, so I ate red meat this morning, and Freddy here had a ton of greens, so that—”
“If I did the Merry and Moons did the Christmas, then—”
“But it keeps coming out yellow,” Moon-Moon finished. “I can’t figure out what we did wrong.”
Elly shook her head. “It doesn’t work that way, boys. Pee only has one color. Anything other than yellow and you should be seeing a vet. It’s like feeding Hershey bars to a cow. You won’t get chocolate milk.”
“You don’t?” Freddy looked shocked. “So if you freeze the udder you don’t get ice cream either?”
“No. Take my word for it. Don’t you dare go around experimenting.”
“Hell, no,” Moon-Moon said fervently. “I’m not making that mistake again. Simon Batista damn near broke my nose when I suggested we try it.”
“That’s because Simon’s a bull, honey.”
“Oh. So when I said I wanted to milk him, that’s why he—” Moon-Moon’s eyes got wider. “Ooooohhhh.”
“Well, hell.” Freddy kicked at a clump of frozen snow. “Wait. Wait. I know what happened. It was the egg nog. We were drinking egg nog. That’s why it came out yellow.”
“I dunno, man. Last time I got hung over I took Pepto-Bismol, and nothing came out pink. In fact, it was kind’a—”
“And that’s my cue,” Elly muttered, edging back to the sidewalk. “I suggest you boys go home and sleep it off. And when you’re sober, go to the library and check out a couple of health books.”
Too late. Moon-Moon had had a revelation. “I got it! My buddy Mooney’s wife’s a witch who works for this cat who brews potions. I’ll bet he could make us something to get the colors right.”
“Yeah, I know the guy,” Freddy said. “If he was any good, you’d think he would’a brewed himself a potion for hair growth by now.”
“Maybe he shaves it.” Moon-Moon adjusted his pants. “Never hurts to ask.”
Yes. Yes, it does. Elly determinedly turned on her heel and trotted briskly in the other direction, mumbling, “Don’t get involved. Don’t get involved,” under her breath for at least a block.