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Sunday, January 3, 2016

Day 9 - Leia Weiss

Two Moose and a Tree
Leia Weiss

The snow fell languidly across the furrowed timberline.  It was not quiet; the flakes were tiny, but wet, landing with a rustle upon the dead leaves and hibernating branches of the state forest.  Birds twittered and flitted, and squirrels chased their tails through the sodden scrub.  And above all the bustle eight hairy stalks plod through the underbrush.

The stalks led to two separate torsos, which were commanded impressively by two large, shaggy heads.  Atop one of those crowns spread a rather unmajestic, quite pathetic-looking palmate antler.  Just a single wide antler, and a shabby one at that.  Its owner was yet again bemoaning the loss of the other, despite the time of year.

"Farley, look at it!  It's making my head ache.  And I look funny."

"I have no problem saying this; you always look funny."

"Farleeeey, that's not nice!"

"Your whining isn't particularly pleasant either, yet here we are."

The two herbivores carved their way through the new snow, their casual chatter uninterrupted as they scaled hillsides and traversed clearings, all the while keeping a concerned eye out for the careless yetis infesting the area.

Farley had never met a yeti up close and in person.  He'd seen evidence of their abominable presence from meters away, usually with clear barricades separating him from the creatures, and many times on the journey they had passed through territories with scores of them at once.  Their demon-armor was everywhere – he'd seen plenty of those up close, too close.  He'd even caught sight of their small lumpy bodies twisting frantically around their bizarrely-constructed dwellings.  Outside some of the domiciles, short pines, firs, and spruces lay upon their beaten paths in various states of decay, many with obnoxious designs of intricate frippery still clinging to them.  The abused evergreens lay there, abandoned, for no other purpose than to warm the ground!  Yet at the very start of their journey he'd seen other yetis from a distance, placing spruces, firs, and pines in their dens, adding their toys onto their newly-chopped greenery piece by piece.  So first they take the tree, cover its naturalness, and then suns and suns later they are done with it and discard it from their habitation?  Yeti were, as a whole, strange and bad news.  Moose, however, didn't have as much of a problem with them as Farley did.  He claimed that one of them was really his father (but naturally he "Got all my good looks from my mother's side.")  That's how he'd been named 'Moose', after all.

"Farley, is my head lopsided?  It is, isn't it?  It's lopsided!"

"No, Moose, it isn't."

"But you said-"

"I said you are lopsided...and you are.  Once you drop that right antler-"

"But I like my antlers!"

Farley did not correct Moose.  If he reminded the alces that one of his antlers had fallen it would set off a whole new slew of compl-

"Except I don't have antlers; I've got just one!  One!  I miss my other antler, Farley."

Farley snorted and his head bobbed low; this was nearing the end of a very looong trip, and he couldn't be more happy to see it coming to a close.  Farley was incredibly tired, he was hungry, they'd been walking for what seemed like ages, and they were both treading entirely too close to the habitats of the dangerous yetis for Farley to feel comfortable.  In fact, he wouldn't feel safe until he was miles and miles away from the whole business.  But...


A quiet part of Farley, deep down, was proud that he'd come so far.  He was fortunate and grateful for Moose's company during the whole excursion, without whom he would not have found his way and probably would have been injured a dozen times over by the yetis' demons.  Moose was...something else.  Resourceful and world-wise, his silly-ish personality sometimes grated on Farley's seriousness, but they were inseparable friends and Farley wouldn't change a thing.

Also, Farley didn't have to make this journey; he chose to.  He could have ignored the little one's pleading eyes and told his friend Moose 'no' a few dozen more times until the ungulate finally gave up.  He could have refused outright.  Instead, he and Moose were nearly there.

Well...if 'nearly there' meant 'several more miles of walking', at least.


Surprisingly it had taken several more days of intense traveling – of Moose's complaining and Farley's hooves aching and stopping nearly a whole day to fill their bellies as they'd been traveling on next to no food, and then more of Moose's complaining until finally Farley had 'helped' him rid himself of that lingering antler, and then more walking, walking, walking and sidestepping yeti encounters until Farley had really had enough – but Moose was there with him, encouraging him on even though Moose hadn't really bothered to ask why they were traveling to Hershey, PA, in the first place; he was happy to roam with Farley no matter where they went.  Moose had energy and bravery, while Farley did not.  He would rather graze the lands near where his mother had roamed that first year of his life, breathe the clean air and revel in the freedom of the unfettered forest.

Farley was on a mission, though.  His determination had wavered, but with Moose's help they would make it.  They were so close Farley could almost taste the filthy over-sweetened fat of it again.  Hershey, PA.  He wasn't terribly concerned with why this place of yeti indulgence trafficked skinny bricks of poo-colored sugar, all he wanted was to get in, grab the "harmonica" for his brother's calf, and go.

"So what's the plan, Farley?"

"Plan?  We approach one of the yetis and get this 'harmonica' thing, and then we go home."


"Yes, Moose."

"One: yeti only talk to themselves, and two: most yetis like to fight our kind.  How are we gonna get one to give us an harmonica?"

"Since you're descended from one, maybe they'll listen to you."

"I dunno Farley..."

"Well how about this, then.  They seem to like evergreens.  How about we find a nice one and bring it to them?  If they like it, maybe they'll help us anyway."


"Good evening, I'm Bill McClaggan standing in for Maureen tonight on Channel 16 news.  We're following breaking news right now: two bull moose have been spotted near northern Shellsville just east of the I-81 South Rest Stop, heading south and crossing local roads and highways to do so...but that's not what's most shocking about this story; it appears one of the moose is dragging a conifer tree along with it.  Yes, that's right – one of the moose is towing a tree behind it, and the other moose seems perfectly content to stick with his fellow as they make their way south along Shells Church Road.  They were first spotted lugging their precious cargo with them as they crossed the greens at Manada Golf Club, then surprised an elderly couple stopping for directions at the Therapeutic Riding Association.  Based on the sighting made just a few moments ago by eye-witnesses calling into the station, it looks like they'll be heading into the Hanover Elementary School area soon.  Fortunately, classes have not yet resumed due to the holiday break."

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