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Mortimer Snert and the Cow Stretcher

It was a bovine day in the neighbourhood when Mortimer Snert arrived at the farm for the annual stint of having to be a farmer while his parents were off on vacation for 3 or 4 days at a stretch. This was always an annoying time for Mort, precipitated in part by the fact that his parents had never acknowledged that he had gotten past the age of 3 years old, and felt the need to treat him in this fashion every time they left, partly because he really hated farming, and all that that entailed, and partly because every time he was left in charge of the farm, some incredible disaster always befell him, or the cows, or any number of things. Today was to be no exception. Now there were always several things that occurred like clockwork when his parents went on vacation, the first being that as soon as they crossed the state line, the weather invariable would go to hell, which in and of itself would be bad enough, what with having to feed the cows and chop ice from the water tank and such similar outdoor activities. However, as Mort had found out several years earlier, there was also some undefined nerve in all cows that was temperature sensitive, and as soon as it got to somewhere around 10 degrees above zero, this nerve would trigger and cause the cows to feel the need to have calves. In addition to this, there was some type of light sensitivity issue, where these calves could not be launched until it was pitch dark, and also a proximity detector, which would not allow this process to commence anywhere within 50 yards of the closest barn which had electricity.

So Mort knew what he was in for, the weather had already crapped out, and it was colder than hell, with a thin layer of ice on everything, and more freezing rain coming down. So braving the elements, he dredged out the John Deere tractor, and set about to tend to the cows. This involved moving a large round bale of some type of hay out to the pasture, prying the bale holder off the frozen ground, cutting the string that held the bale together, and dumping the feeder over the top of the bale, all the while sliding around on the ever present ice and avoiding large cow clarts which adorned the landscape at regular intervals.

It was on the second trip across the pasture that Mort noticed cow # 37 lying awkwardly on its side, heaving in a rather obscure fashion, and having a pair of legs sticking out from a place where legs should not stick out. Just what he needed, thought Mort. Bringing the tractor to a skidding stop, he vaulted down the steps on the side to determine what the condition of the cow was. It quickly became apparent that this process had been going on for quite some time, and was going to get no better without some intervention.

And that intervention was in the form of a cow stretcher. Now Mort had been involved in the process of stretching cows for as long as he could remember, and it was quite a nasty process. A process which he had not attempted by himself before. Now part of the instructions that had been left by his departing father was not to call the vet unless someone was getting killed, because vets are just way too expensive to come gallivanting out to the farm for trivial stuff. So remembering that, plus the need to feel some sense of accomplishment caused Mort to retreat to the barn and dredge out the cow stretcher. As he was loading this piece of equipment in the back of the truck, Mort wondered to himself just how bad this could be. He was about to find out. Now to the uninitiated, the cow stretcher is a fairly innocent looking piece of equipment, consisting of a T shaped piece of metal with a winch attached to the end opposite the cross piece. This contraption is placed behind the cow so the cross piece is on it’s butt, and the winch is extended so that the chain reaches the cow. Now here is where the fun starts. The chain is attached to the feet sticking out, and the winch is activated, and the calf is stretched until it dislodges from the cow, and comes springing out to live a long healthy life. In theory.

Being the eternal optimist that he was, Mort positioned the stretcher, let the winch out, grabbed the chain, and was preparing to attach it to the legs, when the cow gave a mighty heave, and retracted the calf back inside of herself. This was not good on so many levels it was not even funny. Now there is a certain urgency in situations like this, and Mort was quite painfully aware of this, and quite painfully aware of what must happen next. He would have to reach his hand inside and locate the legs, and attach the chain working by feel alone. Trying really hard to think of anything other than what he was about to do, he carefully inserted his hand, and felt around for anything that he could attach the chain to. There was nothing of that nature immediately inside, so he proceeded a bit farther in. Fortunately for Mort, he had had the forethought to remove his jacket and his long sleeved shirt before beginning this process, because he was now up to his shoulder in this cow, desperately trying to find an attach point. Mort had absolutely no concept that cows interiors were of such amazing size.

It was about this time that he discovered a leg flailing around inside, and making a last desperate lunge for it, also discovered that he had neglected to remove his watch. A discovery which was precipitated when the chain hooked on the clasp and released the watch deep within the confines of the cow. Now this did not go over particularly well with Mort, who was quite fond of this particular watch, and really did not want it to spend the rest of its life lodged inside cow #37. So he continued fishing around, now not only for a set of legs, but also for the missing watch. Now somehow, in the process of fishing (which he may not have been doing any too carefully) Mort hit a nerve somewhere inside that caused the cow to have an involuntary bowel movement.

Now Mort had been disgusted before, from the very place that he was shoulder deep into, but this now was the last straw. Yanking his arm out, he picked up the stretcher, flung it into the back of the truck, and being careful not to touch too many things, got back in and drove back to the house, where he promptly called the vet. By the time he had gotten cleaned up and changed clothes, the vet was there, ready to work on the cow.

Taking the man out to the back 40 where the cow was, Mort discovered that now it was darker than crap out, and now they were going to get to do this by headlight. Arriving at the scene of the crime, the vet got out, put on one of those rubber gloves that reached to his shoulder, grabbed the chain from the cow stretcher, reached in about 3 inches and hooked the chain on, and gave a mighty heave ho. The calf had evidently had sufficient time to decide that maybe coming out was not such a bad idea after all, and so promptly launched itself out into the open, wearing nothing other than Mort’s shiny gold aviator’s watch. Now this caused a fair amount of concern with the vet, since Mort had not bothered to tell him the story about being up to his ears in cow vagina and losing not only his watch, but his patience. So they extracted the watch from the cow’s leg, and everyone lived happily ever after.