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Barbara Worton

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Member Since: Feb, 2008

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By Barbara Worton
Monday, February 25, 2008

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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What choice would you make given a sudden opportunity to take your life in a new direction?

Excerpt from Bedtime Stories: The short, long and tall tales of a sleepwriter
by Barbara Worton


Five cows rang my doorbell last night, about 9:00 p.m. I know it was cows, five of them, because when the bell rang, I looked in the peephole before opening the door, and there they were, all big and bovine.

One had a bell around her neck. The other had a flower tucked behind her ear, two were for all intents and purposes cow-naked, and one was wearing a hula skirt.

I opened the door and asked, “What can I moo for you?” I thought that was pretty funny. The cows didn’t hoot and laugh. The one in the hula skirt yawned, and the other four just gave me these really tired grins.

“We’re here collecting for the Friends of Cows Retirement Farm.”

I looked at them at a 45-degree angle. “Excuse me, but don’t cows live on farms all their lives? Why do you need to raise money for a retirement farm?”

The cows snorted, and it was an ugly sound. “Yeah, you think it’s easy being put out to pasture?”

Honestly, I did, but I didn’t want a lactose-crazed mob of two tons of beefcake breaking down my door. “Can’t honestly say,” I answered. “But don’t you have a 401(k)? All those years of producing milk, butter, cheese and ice cream, and you don’t get profit-sharing? Sounds pretty chintzy to me.”

The cows said nothing, just batted their big wet, rubbery eyes and shuffled, and I knew I had to do something before there were cow pats in my hallway. “Do you have
a tax exempt card?” I asked. “I need to know if you’re an accredited charity. It makes a difference at the end of the year. The IRS is a stickler for receipts.”

The one with the hula skirt picked up her skirt. There was a bag underneath. I reached inside and thankfully only pulled out the Tax ID. Then I asked, “So, what are
you looking for? An acre of good grass? A heated spot in the barn?”
“One-way transportation to the Greater Orlando area,” said the one in the hula skirt—clearly the front cow—and the naked and the bell cows agreed. “We have a friend down there, and he says the life is easy, and the weather gives you another ten years.”

I started doing the math. Pound for pound this trip wasn’t going to be cheap, unless of course they went as beefpatties, but that would have been defeating their purpose. “What do you need?” I asked.

“Another $1,500,” the hula cow said.

It seemed like a suspiciously round number, but I went for my checkbook. “The Cow Retirement Farm” I wrote in the pay-to line. $1,500 in the amount line—words
and numbers—and proudly signed on the signature line.

I grinned and handed my hard-earned check with a really nice sunset pattern and two kittens over to the hula cow. Pound for pound, $1,500 was a small price to pay.

“Thank MOO,” said the hula cow with this look that said, see, we’re buds.

“No thank you,” I said, enunciating clearly so that there
was no question who was standing on his own two feet.

Hula cow looked at the check, held it up to the light, turned it over, gave it a snappy little pull and handed it to the naked cow. She took a close look at the check, reached into some hidden pocket—don’t know where, like I said, she was naked, and I don’t know any naked thing, except a kangaroo, with a pocket—and she pulled out a cell phone and scanner. This cow had Bluetooth technology. She ran the scanner across the numbers and
barcode on the bottom of my check.

“Do you have two forms of ID?” Hula cow asked. “One with a photo, please. A driver’s license or passport will do.”


“We can’t be too careful these days. Terrorists are everywhere,” Hula cow said, before I got to “wait a minute.”

I took a real long time pulling out my wallet and searching through all the pockets for my license and health insurance card. Hula cow looked at the photo, looked at me, checked out the address on my house and the street sign on the corner, then handed the check to
one of the naked cows and the ID back to me.

Then we all stood there. There were a lot of eyes looking this way and that way, but never making contact. Bell cow cleared her throat. It had been a long time since
she’d said anything.

“Ever been to Orlando with a cow, boy?” she asked, and the naked cows started jumping up and down, and the hula cow ran off, and the bell cow started mooing at the moon, and out of nowhere pulled out a cowboy hat, string tie and a pair of six shooters.

“We’re heading down for rodeo season. Big show in Kissimmee,” Hula cow said. “Yeah, and even five smart cows like us will need a front man. Want to hit the road?”

We talked dollars and days off and came to terms. I went inside and packed every plaid shirt and pair of jeans I had, turned off the lights and water, and locked the doors, hitched my 2005 BMW to the back of the cow’s RV, and we were off, driving south to Orlando. Yes, sir, I was on the road, me and five old cows all looking for a
new beginning.

       Web Site: Great Little Books, LLC

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Reviewed by Sankar Sukumaran 9/6/2008
This is really impressive. It is funny and a bit absurd. But the details make it real. Cows are smarter creatures. Happy writing
Reviewed by Jeanette Cooper 4/14/2008
A good blast-off advertisement for the Rodeo. I once lived in Orlando and am very familiar with the Kissimmee Rodeoes. Well done.
Reviewed by Cryssa C 3/24/2008
great story! It made me smile...
Reviewed by Charlie 2/25/2008
What a hoot! I've got a bovine choralle I need to repost-- needs some brushing up though. I'm all about cows-- all about them. Thanks for the chuckle this evening! And welcome to Authors Den! --Charlie

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