“Hortense?” said Charles O’Day. “Did she just call you Hortense?”
“You know darn well she did,” said Mr. Pickles.
“So get used to it. From now on I’m Hortense! At least until I find some way out of it.”
Bow-legged Aunt Maude was so happy to see the young elephant back in the Congo that she rolled in a mud hole and called out the rest of the herd.
Upon arriving, the herd joined Aunt Maude in the mud and made a happy noise.
No more heat waves!
No sad faces!
On to the cold,
And the cool
“Alaska, here we come!” they shouted.
Meanwhile, in Nome, Alaska, home of the Netherland Adventure Camp, there sits one unhappy man.
“Elephants? In Alaska?” said Claude. “Is Netherland nuts?”
“What’s wrong with elephants?” said Sid.
Claude Harris reached into the cooler and grabbed another bottle of beer.
“Poop!” said Claude. “That’s what’s wrong with elephants!”
Claude Harris and Sid Moran were the janitorial staff at the adventure camp
“Cleaning up after the huskies is one thing,” said Claude. “But elephants?”
“I think elephants would be gigantic fun!” said Sid.
“Well, you won’t think elephants is gigantic fun,” said Claude, “once you’ve shoveled gigantic elelphant poop!”
“Oh," said Sid. “I hadn’t thought of that.”
“Well, I have," said Claude. “And it ain’t pretty. I worked many years in a circus and I’ve still got that vile poop stench in my nostrils!"
Claude leaned back in his seat and took a long drink from his bottle of beer.
“No!” he said. “This won’t do at all! Not if I have anything to say about it!”
As darkness began to descend on the camp, Claude closed his eyes and thought of one elephant in particular.
“Her name was Maude.”
“Whose name was Maude?” said Sid.
That was all Claude said. Then he fell asleep.
Back in Broomfield, Colorado, a old army jeep sped west on the Denver Boulder Turnpike fighting off the heavy winds and debris that were stirred up by the tornado that slid by a few miles to the west.
The driver kept one eye on the road and one eye on the hot air balloon that had just been pulled to safety by the Channel Six News helicopter.
“Damn!” said Uncle Phil. “That was something!”
“It sure was!” said Veronica O’Day. “Now if the darn thing would only come down!”
“It better come down!” said the hot air specialist who was behind the wheel. “I’ve got my life savings in that balloon!”
Up in the air was an incredible place to be after a storm passes. The air seemed sweeter and prayers seemed to get answered that much quicker.
And, boy, did Terence send out a load of those.
The helicopter pilot gave the grappling line some slack and called down on his bullhorn for the boy to release it from the balloon.
“I don’t have enough fuel to pull you back to the fair grounds!” he said. “But I’ll be back with help!”
Terence released the hook and the copter went on its way.
“Now what?” he said to the strange man in the blue coat.
“I don’t know about you,” he said, “but I’m going to count this money.”
“What money?” said Terence.
“The money I found under the tarp. There must be over twenty thousand dollars here! Look at all these dang hundred dollar bills!”
“But its not your money!”
“It is now,” said the strange man. “The finders are the keepers and the losers are, well, losers!”