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The Horse Zoo
by Eric Miller

“We’re babysitting the two boys all day on Saturday,” my wife called out, as she hung up the phone.

“All day?  We’d better find something good and time consuming to entertain them,” I noted, sweating ever so slightly.

I checked in with my activities adviser, Coach Google, to see what was out there that would keep their blinking eyes staring, their fidgety bodies still, and their toothless smiles wide.

“Hey, ‘The Pesky Proscenium Players’ are doing ‘Peter Pan’ on Saturday,” I announced with relief.

“That’s awfully far to drive,” my wife pointed out.

“Well, that’s good. It burns up more time,” I explained. “Add that to the right lunch, in the right faraway place, at the right time, and we have the day under control.”

With Grandma’s approval, I pressed the “Purchase Tickets” link, and smiled at my success at still being able to live up to the Boy Scout’s Motto to “Be Prepared.”

The e-mail at the top of the list on Saturday morning was an announcement from “The Pesky Proscenium Players” that the performance for that day was canceled due to illness, which made me feel ill. Rechecking the movie listings, I became even more ill to see that there were no movies playing that were suitable for the boys.

“Grandma Houston, we have a problem,” I announced in her ear.

“Now, what?, she snapped, in her most endearing manner.

“Cast members are sick. The play is canceled. We are entering rough waters.”

My daughter’s car pulled up to the front door, exactly on time. The two guys popped out of the car, bounded up the front steps, entered  the house, removed their shoes, and began to ice skate in their socks over our slippery and shiny wood floors.

“I want a snack,”  the younger one said.

“Me too,” the older one chimed in.

“But you just had breakfast,” I reminded them.

“Yeah, but that was a real long time ago.”

“We’ll get  something to eat  at the zoo,” I announced.

“I don’t want to go to the zoo again. We always go there,” the oldest said.

“This is a special zoo, one you’ve never been to.”

“There’s no such thing as special zoo. Seen one, seen ‘em all,” the oldest observed.

“What kind of special zoo is it?,” the youngest asked.

“A horse zoo.”

“I never heard of a horse zoo,” the oldest noted.

“That’s why we’re going there. It‘s very exciting.”

“What do the horses do at the horse zoo?,” the youngest asked.

“Oh, they run around and try to catch and pass each other,” I said.

“You are not taking my grandsons to a racetrack,” my wife exclaimed.

“I want to go to the racetrack,” both boys screamed, jumping up and down.

My wife, daughter, and neighbors still have not talked to me since I took the boys to see the thoroughbreds run. The boys, however, keep asking when we’re going again.

“As soon as the Family Services Agency stops following me,” I tell them.