Zeb, a farmer who was the son of a farmer who was the
son of a farmer, had known little other than the plow and the harrow since
birth. His entire life had consisted of plant, grow, harvest, store. Each
year brought the same as the previous, with precious little variance save
for the vagueries of the weather. And so it was that when Zeb entered his
forty-fifth year, he yearned for something different. Something exotic.
He strolled into the living room, where his wife was watching a television
show about wildlife in Africa, and there he saw the animal that was soon
to change his life: the wildebeest.
Zeb didn't know why, but he knew he had to have one. So he headed out to the old pickup truck, fired it up, and headed into town. He got to his destination in a heartbeat, skidded neatly into a parking spot right in front, jumped out of the cab, and paused for just a moment to look at the sign: Wile Thangs. He practically lurched into the store, and accosted the cashier immediately. "I gotta have one! I just gotta have one," he yelled, in between gulps of air. "I know you got one of them wildee... wildee.. wildee beasts, and I just gotta have one!"
"Oh," said the cashier, "Gnus"
"Well, hell!" answered Zeb, "It might be news to you, but I know what I got to have!"
"No, no," replied the cashier, "I mean gnu. Gee en you. Gnu. It's another name for wildebeest."
"Ah, Gnu!" yelled Zeb, "Great! Do you have one?"
"As a matter of fact," answered the cashier, "we just happen to have one. It came in by mistake; we had ordered an Emu, but somehow things got scrambled. We weren't quite sure what to do with it. I can let you have it for $100, if you'll take it away now."
Zeb quickly separated five twenty-dollar bills out of his wallet, handed them to the cashier, and was ushered to the back of the store where the strange bearded beast was munching on some grass.
"Hey there, gnu. Nice gnu! Walter Gnu. Edgar Allen Gnu. Oh, I dunno. I'll figure out what to call you sooner or later."
The gnu went on munching his grass, oblivious to Zeb's rambling. Together, the cashier and Zeb led the gnu into Zeb's pickup truck, and within the hour the gnu became part of Zeb's livestock. Zeb, of course, had more in mind for the gnu than just a life of munching grass. Zeb knew that the gnu could achieve greatness, despite what the cashier had told him.
"Now Zeb," the cashier had said, "don't go thinking that this thing can pull carts or plow your fields. This gnu has been around for a lot of years. We're not talking spring chicken here!"
But Zeb wasn't paying attention then, and probably wouldn't have believed anyway. Zeb was in the throes of a Great Idea -- "Zeb and his Trained Gnu!" He began trying to teach the gnu some simple tricks.
"Now c'mon, gnu. Roll over!"
The gnu tilted his head just a bit, and looked at Zeb out of the corner of his eye for just a moment before resuming his meal of lawn greenery.
"Hey, gnu, you can do it! Sit!"
The gnu paid no attention to him.
"Say now, gnu, I know you can do this: fetch!"
Zeb threw a stick across the field. The gnu failed to notice.
"Dagnab it, gnu, you mind me when I'm talking to you!"
With that, Zeb walked over and whacked the gnu on its hindquarters. The gnu lifted his head and made a menacing sound, something Zeb hadn't heard before. But Zeb didn't care. He grabbed another stick and held it over the gnu's head.
"Up, gnu! Sit up!"
Zeb practically screamed this last command, waving the stick as he did so. The gnu, probably sensing imminent danger, snorted once and charged straight toward Zeb. The impact alone might have been enough, but the gnu managed to trample Zeb as it made its way toward the open road. Zeb died right there in the field.
A short time later, the cashier from the pet store came out to Zeb's farm to check up on the gnu. He found Zeb's tattered body, and saw the stick still in Zeb's hands. It was obvious what had happened here. The cashier shook his head.
"What a fool. Everybody knows you can't teach an old gnu dog tricks!"
All material herein Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001,
2002, 2003 Jim Meyer and Airy Productions.
All Rights Reserved.