A Dog, A Goat, and A Couple of Chickens

by Emily Cogan

***

“Are you coming or what?” called Sam from the barn loft.

Luke twisted his hands as he craned his neck to watch his crazy best friend. The ladder leading up to the loft was rickety at best, and the rope swing Sam held in one hand didn’t exactly look safe either.

“Nah, that’s okay,” he said with a gulp. He very much wanted to live to see eleven.

“Chicken!” Sam began to cluck, moving his arms up and down like a squawking chicken to really drive home the point. “C’mon, Luke, stop being such a wimp.”

Sam teased Luke so much that he decided didn’t want to stick around and take it anymore. He took off running, although he wasn’t sure where he was heading. He only knew that he needed to get away from Sam’s laughter echoing behind him.

He loved Sam like a brother, and he was excited to be at Sam’s grandparents’ farm for a couple weeks during their summer vacation. But sometimes Sam was too much.
Sometimes, Luke needed some time to himself.

Luke heard faint crying coming from one of the pastures surrounding the farm. It sounded like Daisy, Grandpa Pete’s old collie. Luke’s shoes got wet in the grass as he ran towards the sound, but that didn’t matter.

He discovered poor Daisy stuck in the fence, howling her head off. He circled around her, trying to figure out how to help her, but he wasn’t sure what to do. He thought about giving her the candy bar in his pocket to lure her out, but then he remembered his mom warning him that dogs couldn’t eat chocolate. He thought about trying to push her out somehow, but she was a pretty big dog, and he wasn’t sure if he could move her.

Just then, Sam showed up, huffing and puffing from running all the way from the barn. He must have heard Daisy crying too. His blond hair had bits of hay stuck in it, which made Luke smile in spite of the situation.

“What’s wrong with Daisy?” Sam asked, bending down beside Luke. Some of the hay fell out of his hair and clung to Luke’s wet ankles.

“I think she’s stuck,” said Luke. He stroked Daisy’s fluffy head, trying to comfort her. But all Daisy did was twist around and yelp.

“I have an idea,” said Sam, smiling in that way Luke didn’t like…

***

And that was how he and Sam wound up sneaking through Grandma Susan’s kitchen. Sam crept up to the fridge, pulled it open, and yelled, “Go!”

That was the secret signal for them to grab as much butter as they could carry and run.

***

Luke wrinkled his nose at the melting butter that was now coating his hands. “Are you sure about this?”

“Yeah, it’ll work, I swear. I saw it on YouTube,” said Sam, giving Luke his best “trust me” grin.

Luke knew Sam though, and that grin wasn’t anywhere close to trustworthy. Still, what choice did he have? It wasn’t like he had any better ideas. So he shook his head and prepared to grease up Daisy. But before he could, he heard a loud “Baa!” behind him.

It was Kathy the goat. She butted her head against Sam’s arm, trying to get to the stick of butter still in his hands. Sam shrank back with wide eyes. “Kathy, no!” he said, taking off through the pasture.

Luke laughed as Kathy charged after a screaming Sam. She kept her head down, ready to catch him with her sharp horns if he so much as slowed down. He had never seen Sam so freaked out, and over a stupid little pygmy goat.

Meanwhile, Daisy caught scent of the butter and started straining to get at it. Luke let her lick his fingers, and then he had an idea. He held his fingers just out of reach of Daisy’s snout. Every time she moved a bit forward, he moved his hand back. Soon Daisy wiggled her way out of the fence and sat beside Luke, happily lapping at his buttery fingers.

He watched Sam flailing through the pasture, Kathy hot on his heels. He supposed that he would go help Sam in a few minutes, but first, it was time for a little payback.

“Chicken!” he called, mimicking Sam’s earlier clucking and wing flapping. “Stop being such a wimp!”

Sam had the grace to shoot him an apologetic look before Kathy’s horns connected with his rear end.

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