Thursday, December 3, 2015


“Well well,” Donny said upon entering his cousin’s apartment and finding Axel wrapped in a quilt on the couch. “Getting a jump on the season, are we?”

“Not—blechhhewww!—not this time. Not like last year. This time it’s legit. I’ve got a cold. Can’t you tell?”

“So the red nose isn’t a Christmas thing?”

“No,” Axel snarled, “it isn’t a Christmas thing. It’s because you brought me a box of cheap tissues. I told you to get the kind with lotion. I have a delicate snout.”

“And you’re not going to climb up on the roof and claim you can fly?”

“That was last year. Last year was the cider talking. This is a virus, for cripe’s sake. Did you at least get me honey? Tea’s about all I can keep down.”

“Axel, the red-nosed mule deer … ”

Axel tried to swear and ended up coughing instead. “So tell me, Donny,” he finally got out, “how are the antler implants working?”

Don cut himself off in mid-verse. “They’re not implants. They’re extensions.”

“Uh-huh. Because Carli doesn’t want to be seen in public with a button buck. Y’know, if you’re going to get implants, you should do her a favor and go for the—”

Extensions. They weren’t permanent. They were just for rut.”

“Must not have worked. I heard she’s been prancing around with Evan Lang. Talk about your natural—waaachewww!” He blew his bright red honker.

And Donny blew his stack. “Lang? That steroidal elk? Talk about faking it. If his rack’s real, I’ll eat those Kleenex.”

“Don’t—” Axel clapped his hand over his mouth. He grabbed the waste can beside the couch and made dry retching noises.

But Don was off and galloping. “You’re making it up. Carli wouldn’t do that. Not with an elk, that’s for damn sure.”

Axel wiped his mouth with a tissue. “She’s a doe, man. All they look at are the horns. She probably couldn’t even describe your face to the cops, but I’ll bet she knows your rack circumference down to the millimeter.” He aimed a disdainful snort at Don’s pants. “Nothing else on you worth measuring.”

“I’ve never had to get up on a roof and pretend to fly to get a doe’s attention.”

“I told you, that was the cider. Man, could I go for one of those right now. Could you bring me one? When you go get me those tissues with the lotion in them like I asked you for in the first place?”

“Get ‘em yourself, Rudolph. I’ll bet you’re not even sick. You’re sure off base about Carli. I’ll bet you—”

Behind him, someone knocked on the apartment door. A cute young sheep with curly hair dyed a charming pink squeezed past him. She had nice squeezable bits. Don swallowed hard. All of a sudden, “hard” had become the word of the day.

“Excuse me,” she said, without even looking at him. “How are you doing, Axel?”

Axel went from indignant to death’s door in zero to sixty. “Bobbi?” he quavered. “Is that you?”

“Oh, you poor thing.” She scurried over to the couch and started removing supplies from her fabric grocery bag. “Here. I brought some herbal broth. This should get you back on your feet in no time. And this will help you relax.” She withdrew a bottle of cider. “Can I get you anything else? Do you need more tissues? The kind with the lotion?”

He wiped his hand on the quilt before he tenderly touched her cheek. “Artemis bless you, Bobbi. You’re a lifesaver.”

“I’ll be back in a couple of hours, after my shift. We can mull that cider.” Finally, she took notice of Don. “Will you be staying with him? Can we trust you?”

“That’s Don,” Axel said on a cough. “My cousin. He’s okay. But if he sticks around, you’ll need to bring more cider.”

“Oh. Don.” She said it like she’d heard stories. “Make sure he stays warm, and don’t you dare tire him out.” She marched past him and into the hallway, with a final wave at Axel. “See you later, honey.”

Don stared after her and her swaying lamb chops. “Who?”

“Bobbi. My downstairs neighbor. She’s a nurse.” Axel grinned. “And can she ever play doctor.”

Don darted into the hallway, just in time to see the sheep and her muttonous backside disappearing down the stairs. “Uh,” he said. “Ahchoo?”

1 comment:

Serena Shay said...

LOL...I bet she can play doctor!