James Morgan left his barn and went to his house to have breakfast with his wife, Janice. Janice put breakfast on the table and both ate. “What are you going to do today, James?” Janice asked.
“It’s time to send the lambs to be slaughtered. I don’t like this time of year, but it has to be done. They have to die so we can eat. Charlie Walker will be coming this morning to pick them up and pay me.”
“We’ve gotta make sure Mary isn’t around when Charlie takes them. She’s been playing with the lambs and is going to be heartbroken when their gone.”
“I know. Mary is emotional when it comes to animals. She’s a six year-old bundle of feelings. Maybe you could drive into town and take her shopping?
“I’ll do that, but what are you going to tell her when she comes home and finds her lambs gone?” Janice asked.
“I’ll think of something, I hope,” he said, finished eating, kissed Janice, and went out to the pen where he kept the lambs. He watched them and wished he didn’t have to sell them.
“Morning, Daddy,” Mary said as she ran to the pen. “My lambs are cute, aren’t they? I love them,” she said as two lambs ran to her and she petted them.
“Mary, let’s go shopping,” her mother called.
“Bye, Daddy,” she said and ran to the car, jumped in, and Janice drove away.
That morning, Charlie Walker took all the lambs to his farm and slaughtered them. Knowing that the lambs were being slaughtered, James worried that Mary was going to be upset when she came home and found the lambs gone and would ask what happened to them. Trying not to think about how unhappy Mary was going to be and how he was going to explain the situation to her, he kept busy by painting his front porch. When Janice came home, she pulled in to the yard, beeped the horn, and James went to her as Mary jumped out of the car and ran to the lambs’ pen. Janice and James watched Mary acting as though she were talking to her lambs in the pen.
“James, she’s talking to an empty pen, and she’s making petting motions as though some lambs came to her. What’s happening?”
“Mary had some little lambs that were taken away and slaughtered.
She had many pets, but loved the lambs the most.
Her Mommy and Daddy didn’t see them in the pen
Because they didn’t believe in Ghosts.”
While teaching speech and English at a community college, Mr. Greenblatt wrote short stories and plays, one of which won a reading at Smith College. After retiring, he wrote short stories, novellas, and plays. Several of his stories were published in on-line magazines, and others were published in print anthologies.
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