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Mortimer Snert and the Cow Extraction

It was a rectangular day in the neighbourhood when Mortimer Snert arrived at his house after an excruciatingly long day at the office. Now Mort liked his job, but it entailed working varied hours, mostly late at night, so by the time he got off work and made it home, all he felt like doing was vegetating for a while then going to bed. This day was certainly no exception. So arriving at his house, Mort collapsed into his chair and tried to determine what vegetable he would like to emulate. Somehow broccoli came to mind, broccoli was mathematical, and since he had such an underlying appreciation of all things mathematical, Mort decided to just go with it. As he was beginning to fractalize, with one of his many cats sitting on his lap and the others crashed in various places around his room, suddenly his cellular telephone went. Now Mort was not used to being called at night, and was surprised at this fact, and so looked at the clock to see exactly what time it was. 21:45 said the oh so accurate clock, which was synchronized with the government’s timekeeping service. Being even more surprised at the lateness of the hour, he grabbed his cellular phone and looked at the caller I.D to see who might be disturbing him at such an inconvenient hour. It was his mother calling. Now this was not good, firstly, his mother rarely called in the midst of the week, this particular day happening to be a Wednesday, and if she in fact did so, it was never very late. So Mort knew that whatever had happened, it was bound to be prime.

Pushing the green button on the phone, Mort said hello. His mother asked if he were home yet. Yes, he was home, had been for a while. How was his day? It was fine, long but fine, nothing really exciting. How was the boss? She was fine too. And the cats? How were they? Cats were fine too, except the one that got surprised by the phone going and had jumped up and run from the room. That one might take a bit of looking after. And so, the questions continued. Mort’s mother was beating about the bush, and doing quite an effective job of it. And this, Mort knew, was not a good sign. So at the first chance he got, he came out and just asked what had happened.

Well, it seemed that there was this calf, and it had somehow gotten its head stuck in a tree, and was not able to get out, despite the efforts of both of his parents to extract it. Hearing this, it was all that Mort could do to keep from bursting out laughing. Cows are great stupid animals, and he had long since gotten over being surprised at anything they did. He was reminded of one particular cow that had lept off the creek bank and had somehow gotten its leg caught in the fork of a nearby tree, and had been suspended, head first, over the creek until they had found it several hours later, and had to use the chainsaw to cut the branch off, which resulted in the cow belly flopping into the creek. So it was this image in his mind that Mort asked for details on how the cow was stuck and what they had tried to get it out.

It seems there was a hole in this particular tree, and the cow was looking inside for something, and somehow got its head lodged in the hole, and no amount of effort would get it back out. They had, in the course of the day, poured a massive amount of grease over the cow’s neck and around the hole in the tree, and had connected a rope from its back legs to the bumper of the 4 wheel drive and tried yanking it out that way. Fortunately for the cow, the rope was old and rotten, and snapped right in half at the first tug. So after yanking around on it by hand, and then coating it with dish washing soap, they had left it to see if it would work its way out. Which it hadn’t. So just out of curiosity, Mort asked how long it had been in place. Well, sometime since early this morning. They were checking the water tank when they heard this one cow off from the rest of them yelling about something, so they drove over to see what the deal was, and there was this one with its head in the tree, and its mother was yelling.

Ok, so this sounded then to be pretty serious. Did he need to come out right then, and see what they could do about it? Well, no, it would probably be OK until tomorrow, if it hadn’t gotten out by oh, say, somewhere around 17:00 or so, then they might begin to be concerned about it, but no, no worries tonight. It was at that point that Mort determined that he would probably be going out the next day and extracting the cow, so he went about making preparations for doing just that.

The next morning dawned bright and early, and Mort went in to work, and as soon as he got there, told his boss that he would probably need to take the afternoon off. No problem there, he certainly had enough comp time to last for a good long while, and there was nothing urgent to do. So along about noon, he called his mother to see if the cow had gotten out yet. No, it had not, they’d been to see it that morning, and it was still in place. So Mort went by his house, and loaded up his chainsaw, and the pickaxe and a rather large crowbar, and headed out to the farm.

He arrived shortly after lunch, which was just as he planned, as he knew his dad would be taking a nap, and he and his mother went out on a cow rescue mission. Now the cow was stuck out on the back 40, in just about the most inaccessible place one could imagine. They had to take the 4 wheel drive to get back there where it was, and there were several places that Mort was concerned about making it through. Finally they reached the destination, and Mort saw what they were up against.

The tree that the cow was stuck in consisted of 3 separate trees that were planted close together, and the trunks, while separate at the bottom, combined to make one massive tree about 3 feet off the ground. From where they combined to the ground, the trunks were indeed separate, with spaces between them, and it was into one of these spaces that the cow had carefully inserted its head. To complicate matters, the hole that the cow was inserted into was pear shaped, wider at the bottom and narrowing drastically at the top. In addition to this, the tree was located in a bit of a depression, so the ground was higher the farther you got from the tree. Which meant that the cow was going downhill at a rather drastic angle, and which caused it to keep its head up and its shoulders pinned against the tree.

Now Mr. Cow had been there over a day at this particular time, and was showing signs of being a bit worn down, having stood all night, and having gone without food or water, which, as it turned out, was much to Mort’s benefit, since the cow was a not very small one. So Mort carefully approached the cow, put his hands around its neck, and pushed down to see if he could dislodge its head from the hole. What dislodged, however, were Mort’s hands, with the assistance of the copious amounts of grease that had been applied. So applying some sort of logic, if the cow’s head could not be pushed down, maybe if its legs were pulled out from under it, it would get low enough to then be extracted. So grabbing one of its front legs, Mort gave a mighty heave, which caused the cow to trip right over and smash into Mort, sending him sprawling, and the cow splattering on the ground. Now if only they could pull it back, it just might dislodge. So Mort grabbed it again, and started hauling back on it, which caused it to abruptly stand up, again sending Mort sprawling. Now one must realize that the area around the tree was probably not the most cleanly of all places, and having been sent diving into cow clarts twice now was not particularly going over well with Mort.

So something different needed to be done. Now Mort had considered the possibilities, and had indeed brought his chainsaw with him, and it appeared that now would be a prime time to apply it to the tree and see if he could indeed make the hole big enough at the top for the cow to get out of. Now the problem was that the cow was again standing, and its head was up and its shoulders were pinned against the tree, which left no place to saw, so once again, Mort grabbed it by the front leg and yanked really hard, tripping the cow and causing it to go sprawling, although this time without sending Mort sprawling also. Quickly getting the chainsaw started, he wound it up and applied it to the tree, just over the cow’s head. He was able to saw a fair sized notch out before the cow decided that it was tired of laying on the ground, and abruptly stood up. Mort was expecting this, and yanked the saw away, just in time to keep from amputating one of the cow’s ears.

Grabbing the crowbar, Mort proceeded to pry on the notch in hopes of getting a piece to break off. No such luck, it would need more sawing before that happened. So tripping the cow for the third time, he again attacked the tree. This time the cow stayed down for much longer, allowing Mort to saw a fairly huge chunk out of the tree, and by using the crowbar, the hole was now bigger at the top than at the bottom. 

Now the problem was getting the cow to stand back up, after having been tripped 3 times in a row, it was not too keen on standing again, probably expecting to be tripped yet another time. Finally with much hossing and prodding, they got the cow to stand up, and once it did so, it pinned itself against the tree again. This would not do, it needed to move back, and then (theoretically) it would dislodge. But getting it to move backwards proved to be a bit of a problem, one that was corrected by Mort sitting on the ground and yanking on its front legs again. Not happy with being tricked into another session of being tripped, the cow started stamping around, twisting back and forth, standing directly on Mort’s leg, and just as it was about to fall over again, Mort gave a mighty heave ho, and the cow came backwards enough to extract itself from the tree. 

Obviously not very pleased with the treatment it had just received, the cow stood there, letting its eyes get adjusted to the sunlight, after being stuck in a dark tree for so long, switched its tail 3 times and wobbled off to find somewhere else that it wasn’t supposed to be, leaving Mort and his mother sitting in the dirt and hoping to not ever have to do anything like that again.