Timing - By Mizeta Moon

Ollie Olavson’s wife Greta wouldn’t let him chew tobacco in the house because she hated the smell. Wouldn’t kiss him for three days afterward, and only after thorough mouth cleansing could he sneak in a smooch. Consequently, he’d taken to walking the back road around Lake Getagrip while indulging. This day, he was standing on the shore watching a gaggle of geese argue with an asylum of loons about whose turf that side of the lake was. The noise was nearly deafening but didn’t drown out the loud crunch he heard as an accident occurred on the road at his back. Hoping no one was injured, he climbed the small berm by the road and rushed to render aid. Being a retired firefighter, he was trained to handle most emergencies and was well-versed in first aid. What he saw when he arrived was more amusing than distressing.

Sven Swendegard had been driving a truckload of apples to the cider press in Goblinville when he had a head-on collision with Rolf Ruthenberger, who was transporting a load of suckling pigs to the slaughterhouse in Scratchbottom Flats. The result was apples all over the road and squealing pigs darting in all directions, although many of the piglets used the opportunity to greedily gobble Sven’s notoriously delicious apples. Oh Golly! He thought as he approached the scene of the crash. By then, instead of chasing pigs and apples, the two farmers were squared off in the middle of the road, yelling and threatening to come to blows. Relieved that neither man was injured by the collision, he scurried in their direction to intervene before violence ensued. He did, however, swoop up a few apples and shoved them in his overcoat pocket for later consumption. Maybe Greta could be sweet talked into a cuddle by bringing treats, or at least, bake a pie.

It took some doing, but eventually he defused the situation by advising Rolf that unless they got busy, all the piglets would run off. His truck wasn’t badly damaged and he wouldn’t lose too much money if they corralled the critters. Meanwhile, Sven was gathering the undamaged apples and putting them back in their crates. Even marred, they could be turned into cider, so his losses would be minimal. As they were wrapping things up, the sheriff came along and assessed the situation. He was reluctant to assign blame as both men were poker buddies, so he took a few pictures and wrote a no-fault report for any future court proceedings to show that he was on the job and showing due diligence. The road was narrow and there were accidents from time to time.

After the two men drove away, Ollie resumed his walk. The geese and the loons were still yelling at each other but had formed flotillas well apart. Evidently, no feathers were going to fly. As he rounded a curve that caused the road to move away from the lake, he heard a plaintive wail coming from a stand of shrubbery on the opposite side of the road. Crossing over, and parting the branches, he discovered a plump little piglet whose leg was broken struggling to free itself from entanglement. At that point he was faced with a moral dilemma. Nurse it back to health after freeing it? Call Rolf and offer to buy it for a sumptuous dinner? Its leg was so badly mangled that odds were it would be crippled for life. As he pondered the situation, he suddenly remembered the apples in his pocket. Unfortunately for the pig, that sealed the deal. Greta was going to be very receptive when presented with such serendipitous abundance.      

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