By Inigo 'Naughty' Zenicazelaya
Farmer Minnis, having watched the number of animals infected with COVID-19 explode in just a few short days, was livid.
The ‘Grand Barn’, a northern outpost which was once considered ‘magic’ but over years of neglect had turned tragic, was the new epicentre for the disease on the farm.
In fact, the barn was so overrun with coronavirus that Farmer Minnis’ own deputy, a Shire horse named Peter, who was raised in that barn, was forced into the animal protection programme for his own good.
Shire Peter had thankfully tested negative for COVID, but it was obvious the virus was looking specifically for him and all the other sheep from the Grand Barn.
Faced with the rising rate of infection in this new hot spot, Farmer Minnis, while reminding the animals that “no sheep is an island”, instructed the ducks to guard the area around the barn and keep the sheep locked in.
“Patrol the perimeter,” was the way Farmer Minnis put it, and ensure no animal that even breathed Grand Barn air sets hoof on the cleaner, healthier areas of the farm.
Within hours of his pronouncement of the harshest lockdown protocols seen on the farm during the pandemic, every horse, goat, pig or sheep (that could still afford it) formed a caravan headed toward the Farmhouse.
To be fair, some of Farmer Minnis’ buzzards participated in this ‘relocation’ as well. They flew to the Fort Lauderdale Farm, then the Grand Barn, and charged the scared and confused animals a premium rate to guide them to the Farmhouse.
Once the buzzards had their money, and the animals arrived at the Farmhouse, they were turned over to the boars to be locked up in quarantine.
Some animals protested that the buzzards were sneaky and indecent, but the buzzards laughed, “We are broke! Who cares about decency?”
The Andalusian, the fancy horse responsible for the comings and goings on the farm, was upset that the gates to the farm had practically been closed to outside animals.
He stood on a stoop and yelled that it wasn’t his “good tourist animals” that were the problem, but rather the undisciplined native animals.
“How dare you go to the exact same place my rich, touring animals are coming from?” he yelled.
In hindsight, Farmer Minnis lamented the devil in the details was allowing his animals to travel to other farms and return without proving they were COVID-negative as long as they went for a short trip. How could he have known that it only takes a moment for the invisible coronavirus demon to attack and possess his animals?
In fact, COVID-19 isn’t just a devil, it’s the chief demon. At least, that was according to Renny the Racehorse, the new farm doctor who didn’t waste time citing any scientific facts but prudently cut to the chase and labeled the coronavirus as Lucifer himself! Lucky for us animals, in the Biblical tradition, he told “Satan” to “get thee behind us”... so all the animals can sleep better now.
Speaking of Biblical, there were other happenings on the Farm.
In one of the biggest churches on the farm, a fight broke out between the doves. From what the other animals could gather, an Archdove promoted his son, and like a scene straight out of The Good Book, a flock of angel doves rebelled, the locks to the church barn were changed, and now they are all headed to the owls to sort it out.
That’s not the only thing being sorted out.
Farmer Minnis, decided he may be done playing the “accountable to the animals game” and now demands to have his Absolute Farm Powers extended for a minimum of 60 days as opposed to the usual 14-30 days.
“The farm could have been successful,” he lamented, “if it were not for those sheep bleating about their ‘constitutional rights’!”
So now the farm is in a tough position, with COVID numbers climbing higher and the morale of the animals diving lower. Tough measures are no doubt in the horizon. The question is, will the animals come together and let Renny the Racehorse perform an exorcism before they are legion? And what will Farmer Minnis do.
• To be continued