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Thursday, September 9, 2021

Microstory 1709: The Legend of Boots and Moonica

They call me an Australian Cattle Dog, though I don’t know why. I don’t speak Australian. I’ve never even been there! I’ve lived my whole life in Wyoming, and that’s exactly how I like it. Hello, my name is Boots on account of the black fur I got on all four of my paws, and I’ll be your cow-herder today. These cows get into all sorts of mischief, and it’s my responsibility to muster them. They’re always goin’ off in the wrong direction. They’re so stupid, always followin’ a random line of grass, and not payin’ attention to where everybody else is headed. There goes another one. I got to go bring Moonica back so we can make it to our destination. It’s hard work, makin’ sure these grazers are where they’re supposed to be. If they spend too much time in one place, they run out of food, and they don’t know how to find more. It’s my job to lead the way. I mostly lead from the back. We still have a ways to go when I start gettin’ the sense that somethin’ ain’t right. I perk up, which immediately alerts my mom and dad to be on alert. I sniff the air, tryna figure out where it’s comin’ from. Is it over here? No, the scent grows fainter. What about this way? Fainter still. My dad asks me, what is it, boy, but I don’t know yet; give me some time. Gol-ly, he’s so impatient. If he just sniffed the air, he would know what I know. I don’t know why I got to tell him everything myself. I guess that’s why he’s the boss, so he don’t have to worry about it himself. Anyway, I catch the scent, and I know now it’s some kind of feline. I have some kitty cat friends back at the farmhouse, but this is somethin’ different. This individual I do not recognize, and I am not happy about it. I start yappin’ at my parents, because they’re obviously not as worried as me, and they always need me to hold their hands through this kind of thing.

The humans pulls the cows back themselves while I pursue the threat down this-uh-way. I don’t have to go far before I’m face-to-face with a bobcat. Funny, I’ve never seen one before, but I know what it is. I know it’s dangerous, and I know it’s got to go. It don’t seem to feel the same way as I do, so I’m gonna have to make sure it figures it out. I tense up and growl so it understands that this is my territory, and I’m willing and able to protect it. It just gives me this look like it ain’t worried about a little thing like me. It seems to be failin’ to see my power, so I start barkin’, and keep growlin’. It moves a little, I guess to see if I’m an illusion, or somethin’ so I move with it. It still don’t seem too terribly concerned about it, and I get the impression that it’s under the impression that it’s gonna have somethin’ to eat out of this herd. That won’t happen on my watch, so I begin to lunge. I don’t attack, ‘cause to tell you the truth, I’m not so sure I can take it. I shouldn’t have to, though; it just need it to at least think that I can. My mama comes, and tries to pull me back. I s’pose she’s willin’ to let a cow die just to protect the three of us. That ain’t okay with me, I’m tellin’ you that right now. This bobcat can chew on a cactus, for all I care. It is not gettin’ past me. I’m not strong or heavy enough. Mama manages to get her arms under my belly, and picks me up. I kick and scream, but she won’t let me go. “The cows! The cows!” I cry, but she’s not smart enough for my language. Seeing an opportunity, the bobcat prepares to pounce on poor ol’ Moonica. But she sees it too, and she ain’t havin’ it. Before the bobcat can pounce, she lowers her head, and charges. That bobcat runs away, and doesn’t look back. I guess I’m not the only one who can protect the herd. This is the last time I underestimate these gals.

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