by Mariah Phillips
(Peoria, Arizona, United states)
Farmer Fred came running into the house yelling and flailing his arms frantically. "I can't find Betsy and Bonnie. Someone stole them! The farmer's wife, Brenda, just rolled her eyes and looked at him. "You would think someone just got killed the way you're carrying on."
"The state fair is in 3 days. How am I supposed to win without my two best show cows? You know I can't let that snooty Bob at the farm next door, win. He's always bragging about how much better his corn is, his milk is, his potatoes are. I just can't stand listening to him."
"You and Bob sound like two school girls fighting over a beauty pageant. It's just cows. Who would steal a cow anyway?"
"I'm calling Sheriff Randy!" Let her husband make a fool of himself, Brenda thought to herself. She was just so bored of this farm and her life. That's all Fred ever thinks about.
Brenda and Fred had met in high school. They fell for each other immediately. She used to think Fred fun and spontaneous. They had big dreams of traveling the world. Now everything is just about those darn cows. Fred had inherited their farm ten years ago when his father passed away. He felt he had to keep it going.
Sheriff Randy and Deputy Ray showed up. Brenda could tell they were amused by the look they exchanged when Fred told them the story of his missing cows. Randy and Ray noticed a
hat with a big rim and blue bandanna around it.
"Is this yours Fred?"
"No!" Fred exclaimed. His face turned about three shades of red. "I recognize that hideous hat. It belongs to the jerk, Bob, who lives next door."
"Are you sure?" Randy asked. "Bob never takes that silly hat off. He probably even sleeps in it."
Sheriff Randy and Deputy Ray drove next door to ask Bob some questions. "He thinks I what? Stole his cows!" Bob exclaimed. "Now why would I want to steal those cows when everyone knows my Mabel and Martha are going to win at the state fair? They won last year and will win first place again this year. The only thing that Fred has that I would want is that hot wife of his and my lucky hat back."
Randy and Ray just shook their heads in disgust. "We will call you if we have any more questions." Randy said to Bob.
"You think he did it?" Ray asked.
"He genuinely looked surprised, but I wouldn't put it past that sneaky Bob.
Fred was so depressed he didn't even touch his dinner. "Where could my cows have gone?"
"I don't know. Maybe there is a hole in the fence and they wandered off." Brenda suggested.
The next morning, when Brenda woke up, she saw her husband pacing out in the field yelling for Betsy and Bonnie. He has just lost it she thought to herself. Fred came into the house an hour later and was ranting and raving about how he knew Bob had sabotaged him.
"I will get even with him if it's the last thing I ever do." What if he goes over next door and kills Bob?
"Maybe I will just burn his barn down." Fred said.
An hour later Fred decided he was going to go tell Bob off. The fair was tomorrow. What was he supposed to do? When Fred got out to his truck, there was a note on his windshield. It said, "If you follow the path behind the house that leads to the river, you will find your cows."
Fred rushed to the river and there was Betsy drinking out of the river and Bonnie was just lazily munching on some hay. Fred was so happy to see they were okay. They just looked a little dirty, but that was all. While Fred was leading the cows home, he took another look at the note, and then that's when it dawned on him that he recognized the writing.
Brenda was nervously fidgeting in the kitchen, trying to look busy. The screen door slammed open. Fred yelled, "How could you do that? You made me look like such a fool!"
"I am sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you like that. It's just you are so busy with the farm, we never have fun anymore. You used to be exciting and have a sense of humor!"
"You could have tried talking to me. How am I supposed to know how you feel? I guess I have been kind of serious. It's just that I am so overwhelmed with the farm. What am I supposed to tell Sheriff Randy?"
"Just tell him you found the cows by the river. There must have been a hole in the fence."
"You're not off the hook yet. You get to help me wash Betsy and Bonnie and get them looking pretty for the fair."
"I guess I can handle that." Brenda replied.
The next day at the fair, Fred took first place. He couldn't help but to give Bob a big smirk. Bob was so mad, he threw his lucky hat on the ground. That's when his cow, Mabel, let out an anxious moo. Next thing you knew, Bob's hat was covered with dung.
"He's really full of it, if you know what I mean." Brenda chuckled. "Think he is still going to wear it?"
"I have a surprise for you?, Fred said. Then he pulled out two round trip tickets to Hawaii.
"Oh my gosh!" Brenda exclaimed. "I'm so excited."
"This is for that honeymoon we never had. I was also thinking of hiring some help on the weekends to have more free time. You never know, maybe we can start that family we talked about. I wouldn't mind having a daughter." Farmer Fred replied.