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December 21, 2011

A mundane job

by DMWood

Five AM.  Another morning on the farm.  The cows were already lowing in the pasture, ready to enter the barn.  He turned toward his wife and decided to let her sleep a few extra minutes.  She would have the coffee ready after he finished the morning’s milking.  Quietly leaving the bedroom, he pulled on his overalls and buttoned his cotton shirt.  His barn boots were waiting at the door, sentinels guarding the kitchen.

This morning was different in some way.  He noticed that as soon as he carefully closed the screen door.  Even though there were no clouds, it was darker than normal.  He turned toward the east and, rather than bright white, the sun was coppery, almost brown.  Was it an eclipse he wondered?  No, he would have heard that on the radio weather report the night before when he went to bed.

Staring, he saw the sun had now disappeared altogether.  And, rather than red, it was definitely brown, almost black.  It was also irregularly shaped, round, but not perfectly.  The cow’s lowing brought his mind back to his farm and their needs.  He walked slowly to the gate, still unsure of what had happened to the sun.

It was dark now, almost like midnight on a moonless night.  There was a sound, a low throbbing sound coming from the sky.  He looked up in the sky, expecting to see a helicopter or low flying plane but the dark object had now obliterated half the sky.  He could see it clearly now.  He recognized it and knew he had only one chance to help.  Forgetting the cows, he ran for the tractor with the frontloader and started it up.  As it warmed, he estimated the location of impact figured he could be there in two minutes.  It would block the only bridge into town if he didn’t do something.  Racing down his dirt driveway, he reached the asphalt road and gunned his tractor.

He was right.  The giant cow pie hit just as he rounded the corner.  Finally, all his experience cleaning out the barn would pay off.

The PROMPT called for someone doing a mundane job suddenly being called upon to perform an essential service of world changing importance that only they could do.

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