Bentley, the born again bull
ON THE EDGE OF COMMON SENSE
It was one of those 2 o’clock mornin’ calls: “Looked like everything was comin’ jes fine, Doc, then he got stuck! Could you come?”
On the way out to the ranch I put the truck on autopilot while my foggy brain sifted through the possibilities. Hip lock, more than likely, I figgered. I walked into the calvin’ barn, shook the snow off my coat and surveyed the scene. Fairly peaceful. Two unshaven cowboys playin’ cards in front of the space heater and a good-sized heifer standing in the chute looking no worse for the wear. “Good,” I thought, “The boys haven’t worn the heifer out before they called.” Or themselves either, for that matter.
I peeled down to my shortsleeve coveralls and went to survey the battlefield. There, underneath the heifer’s cocked tail, peering out at the new world was Bentley, the baby bull calf. All I could see was his head. With mama’s help he’d gotten far enough to pop his nose and his ears out and no further. He didn’t seem in distress, just a little embarrassed. He looked like some trophy hunter’s prize hangin’ on the den wall. Since the umbilical cord hadn’t broken yet he had no need to breathe but he was lookin’ around like a kid in a neck brace at the county fair. After my examination I concluded he had one front leg into the birth canal and the other pointing straight back. He was wedged in tight as a new hat band.
“Bentley,” I said, “I hope you brought your scuba gear because you’ve gotta go back inside.” I gave the heifer an epidural injection so she couldn’t strain. I put my hand over his nose and started to push. Bentley raised an eyebrow and looked up at me. “You sure you’ve got a license to do this?” he said.
“Sure,” says I, “I bought it from a guy in Iowa when he sold out his practice!”
It wasn’t easy, but I popped the little duffer back in, straightened his legs and then pulled him into the outside world.
He was typically ungrateful as I rubbed him down and pointed him to the breakfast nook under mama’s flank. He turned once and looked at me, “I’ve heard of being born again,” he said, “but this is ridiculous!” ❖