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Even Odds' breath misted under the sodium lights. She bent her knee in preparation for a good hoof stamp, but, all things considered, decided to nicker instead. "Well," Dr. Stunter said, "She's due any time. Could be in the next hour. Could be next week." Pelican-Man narrowed his eyes in a pantomime of thought. The hayey sounds of Thompson mucking out the adjacent stall soothed him. Thompson was slow, some even said a bit touched in the head, but the old man sure had a way with animals. "No complications, then?" Pelican-Man asked, playing with a couple of dried sprats he kept in his pocket. "None that I can see. She's a healthy roan. Or should I say, a gamely morgan. Dappled." "But you think it might be a while. Before she foals?" "Listen. I can't promise you anything, Pelican-Man. If she foals before the new year, there's nothing I can do. And nothing you should do." "What the hell's that supposed to mean?" "Nothing," the young city doctor replied. "Just that some folks around these part been talking about your designs on the Lambertville Derby." "Well, you tell "some folks" to mind their own fucking business." He tossed one of the sprats up into the air and opened his beak to catch it. "Sir, there's no need for profanity," the doctor said. Then, donning his spherical lucite helmet (which protected him from Earth's sulfuric acid atmosphere), the doctor jetpacked out of the stables. (This was actually pretty unusual. No one else had a jetpack; it was the doctor's own proprietary technology.) Pelican-Man spent a restless week. Awaking each dawn, he'd flap his goony wings dry (bedwetter) and waddle over to the stables. "Any bad news?" he'd squawk at Thompson. "No, sir," Thompson would reply, smiling broadly. "She ain't done foaled nohow." Finally, January 1 rolled around, and Pelican-Man breathed easier. The bitch (female horse) could foal anytime she wanted now, as far as he was concerned. Days passed. And weeks. Ah, screw it, I'm not finishing this thing.
Date Written: August 15, 2005
Average Vote: 3.5