Call Me Lazarus


I came home after dark last night to a report from my wife that our emu had died. She spotted him lifeless in the back of an outbuilding in which he seeks shelter. I could not bear the thought of dealing with him last night. It had been too long and too difficult a week.

I went out not long ago to bury him. A dismal sort of task I avoided all day long.

I was suspicious as I walked out to the building in which she saw him. From the barn to his outbuilding were what appeared to be fresh tracks in new fallen show. How could this be?

I walked up to the building, and was overcome with dread. I nursed this fellow years ago by carrying him in my sweater vest until he was too large safely to handle. I loved him. I did not want to see him lifeless, but I knew he was mine to attend to in death.

He was laying in the doorway. That's not where my wife described him.

Wait. His head moved? His eyes showed sparks of life?

I ran up to him. He's alive. He's groggy, but shows no sign of external injury. We've brought him fresh food and water and he ate. I turned all 100-plus pounds of him over with some resistance, but not his customary and powerful kick. He doesn't wince when palpated. In short, I have no idea what happened, or is wrong, but I wanted to report that rumors of his death are overstated.

My wife is persuaded, and with good reason, given his pea-sized brain, that he was spooked by a predator and ran into a wall knocking himself out. How like the emu I am.

We are changing his name from Socrates to Lazarus today. My wife, poor soul, is mortified; she fears I will rib her endlessly. I've asked her to please try to rouse me from my naps, and to lose the mortician's phone number. Henceforth, I sleep with one eye open. One of my sons, the physician-in-training, suspects we have Zombie emus, and urges caution.

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