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“That’s impossible.” Said Mortimer.
“It is possible and you have to do it” Dottie stomped.
“These thing take time, Dottie and there is nothing that you can say or do to change that.” Mortimer walked over to his collection of stuffed animals and motioned gracefully at them with his arm. “ This is art.”
Gordo stepped over to the worktable and looked down. He saw the look in Dottie’s face and he knew what was coming. A pair of spheres that appeared to be very large dark marbles was sitting on the table. He picked them up and inspected them rolling them around in his palm.
“What are these?” he asked Mortimer.
“Please put those down. Those are the eyes that I am going to use on Fluffy.”
Mortimer walked over and carefully took the glass eyes from his hands.
“Are you crazy? Those things are HUGE! There is no way they are going to fit.” Dottie exclaimed.
“These are deer eyes. I got them from my dad. You really gave me no notice and I didn’t know what you needed so these are the best that I can do.” Mortimer bristled.
“They will not fit! Besides, I want Fluffy in a peaceful sleeping position. She doesn’t even need eyes. How would you get her eyes closed with those in there?” Dottie argued.
“They will fit. I will make them fit. Who is the expert around here anyway?” Mortimer replied.
“Whatever you say, but they won’t fit. Listen, Mortimer, I need you to this for me and I need it done tonight. When daylight comes, I want Suzy to wake up with Fluffy by her side.” Dottie pleaded.
“Well, research has shown that eighty three percent of people find the idea of having their pet with them forever very comforting.” Mused Mortimer. “And there is no better way to do that then domestic taxidermy.”
“And research has also found that ninety nine percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.” Gordo muttered under his breath. Mortimer either did not hear him or chose to ignore his comment.
“You can still pet them and hold them which is something you cannot do with a cold urn filled with ashes.” he added.
“But I simply cannot compromise the integrity of the process. In order for me to capture the essence of Fluffy, I will have it ready for you a week from tomorrow. If I get it ready earlier, I will give you a call.” Mort said as he began to walk away.
“What you will be calling is an ambulance if you don’t get to work on this right now!” said Dottie.
“The way I see it is you have two choices… you can either agree with me or be wrong.” She clenched her fists at her sides and moved towards Mortimer.
Any smugness that Mortimer had displayed instantly disappeared. He was there on the playground at EC Segar Elementary School when Big Dennis made the mistake of picking on a portly little boy named Gordo and then tangled with a force of nature named Karate Dottie.
Mort had just gotten a push pop and was walking toward the monkey bars. The monkey bars were the focal point of the playground and his favorite place to play. The other areas of the playground seemed to be filled with peril. The slide was tall and made entirely out of polished metal. In the winter it was too cold and in the summer the hot metal burned his hands and butt. He wouldn’t even go near the merry go round. There was a rumor about an accident that happened there many years ago that was just too horrible to think about.
The monkey bars were different though. He enjoyed the sweet solitude of sitting up on the top of the bars enjoying his afternoon snack with the wind ruffling his hair. He could see the entire schoolyard from his perch at the top.
As he walked up to the monkey bars he noticed a crowd had begun to gather. He saw Dennis, who many of the kids in class referred to as Big D. It was a nickname that Dennis enjoyed because he thought it was in reference to his large muscular frame. In reality, most kids knew it meant Big Dummy. It was their way to make fun of him to his face without being pounded into next week.
It looked like Big D had found fresh meat in the new kid in school. He couldn’t quite hear what was being said but it was obvious that Dennis had decided to stick to the tried and true fat jokes. No one could accuse Dennis of being the sharpest tool in the shed.
The big kid with the bright red hair began to walk away from his tormentor and Mortimer thought it was over. Dennis slung another piece of gravel at him. He cackled with glee and looked at his goon friends for approval. They didn’t notice the kid stop in his tracks, his face flushed with rage and his fist clenched. Mortimer wasn’t sure who would win the fight but he was certain that Dennis was picking on someone much closer to his own size.
He wasn’t destined to find out. Out of nowhere, a little flash of blonde placed herself firmly between the Big D and his prey.
Mortimer jostled a couple of the other kids to get closer to the action.
“LEAVE HIM ALONE!”
The playground, which was filled with chatter and giggles fell silent.
“Go play with your dolls Dottie.” Dennis sneered “This is no place for stupid little girls.”
“Leave him alone or feel my fury,” she said slowly.
“Feel my fury?” Dennis laughed “You have been watching too many of your stupid karate movies, Karate Dottie.”
”Karate Dottie! Karate Dottie! Karate Dottie!” his goon friends began chanting while laughing uncontrollably.
Dennis walked up to Dottie and got uncomfortably close to her. Mortimer wondered if he was going to hit her. Surely even a slimy bully like Big D wouldn’t hit a girl who was literally half his size.
Dennis leaned down and got right into Dottie’s face and pointed his sausage sized index finger right in her face.
“Little girl, I said to go…” he never got to finish his sentence.
Dottie moved so fast, Mortimer could barely keep up with what was happening. First she grabbed his finger and bent it back hard causing Dennis to yelp in pain and drop to his knees on the ground. Not letting go of his hand she pulled his arm around his back and pushed up with all her might which forced him from his knees to lay flat on the ground with his face pressed firmly in the dirt. She plopped down on his back, still forcing his arm painfully back.
“Get OFF ME!!!” Dennis screamed.
“Not until you apologize.” Dottie replied calmly. “It was very rude of you to make fun of this kid.”
Dennis struggled under Dottie who was clearly in control. Mortimer thought the scene resembled someone trying to catch an angry crocodile by sitting on it.
“Bubba and Will” Dennis looked at his goons “GET HER OFF ME.”
They started towards her but the look in her eyes warned them off. Neither of them wanted to get beat up by a girl half their size.
“Apologize or I will break your arm.” She whispered into Dennis’ ear and gave it a good tug for emphasis.
“OKAY, OKAY, just don’t break my arm! I am sorry for picking on you.” He yelled at Gordo.
“And you owe me an apology for putting your finger in my face.” She added.
“Dottie, I am sorry that I was rude to you. NOW GET OFF OF ME!” he bellowed.
“And you are a DOG KISSER.” Dottie added sweetly.
“I kiss dogs.” Dennis whispered.
“I can’t hear you!” she sang out and gave his arm a tug for emphasis.
“I KISS DOGS!”
Dottie then promptly hopped off of Dennis and smiled.
“I will do it tonight.” Mortimer promised. He had no idea how he would do it but the memory of that day served as proper motivation.
“Give me a few hours but I need some privacy while I work. You can go upstairs or back to ground level.”
“We’ll go upstairs. Thanks Mortimer, you’re the best!” Dottie smiled, lighting up the dreary room in the process.
Next Week: Falling Stars
Words and Pictures Copyright 2016 SF Varney