CHAPTER FORTY-SEVEN - Freaking Club Med for Camelids

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My dad is pretty much back to his old self, meaning, his face is the proper colour again and when he stands up, he no longer looks like a question mark. The stitches on his face don't look so angry anymore, either, and he's getting his new front teeth in a couple of days. I don't know; I've kind of grown accustomed to his toothless grin. He looks like some kind of deranged hermit or something. But his new teeth are going to be on a flipper thing, which means he can take them out whenever he wants and scare local children in the street. I honestly think he's more excited about this than the fact that he can get to the toilet on his own again.

This afternoon, though, he found the mysterious murky liquid in the mason jar in the back of the fridge. You know, the noxious bone-knitting concoction that Daisy Archibald dropped off. I played dumb, and told him I had never seen it before, at which point Dad opened the lid. Immediately, the room was filled with the most repugnant odour I have ever had the misfortune of smelling. My eyes began to water. Dad's eyes began to water. And I'm pretty sure the paint around the door frame began to peel.

Dad quickly slapped the lid back on, then carefully carried the offending mason jar outside as though it was filled with chlorine triflouride. (And for those of you who are scratching your head as you read this, Chlorine trifluoride is a mostly colourless gas that is used as a rocket propellant. It's so flammable it can burn through a foot of concrete and set sand on fire beneath it before burning out! I learned this in chemistry a couple of days ago. Cool, eh?)

Still, I don't dare dump it out; what if Daisy's witchery is for reals? What if the dumpage unleashes some kind of unsavoury and malevolent force in or around our cabin? That is a risk I am absolutely not willing to take. For now, though, it sits behind our woodpile until it awaits its fate.

Moving on, the best part of today, was having Ivy over for dinner. She talked non-stop throughout the entire meal (beef n' barley soup with Marmite and cheese scones), but that's nothing new, and I think my dad rather enjoyed her stream-of-consciousness chatter. I know I did, not only because I find her interior thoughts quite fascinating, but I'm unable to get a word in. This is good, because it means I can fully concentrate on eating, which I enjoy just as much. It's a win-win.

After dinner, she and I went over to Misty and Norm's, and hung out with Desmond, Snowflake, and Audrey in the llama barn. As usual, there was music playing—this time the soundtrack from some old 70s musical called Jesus Christ Superstar. Audrey appeared to be enjoying it, but Desmond seemed excessively spitty.

I told Ivy I thought Desmond was highly sensitive—even a tad delicate, and perhaps on the spectrum. But Ivy said nonsense, and informed me that llamas are hardy creatures, and well-suited to harsh climates and adverse conditions. She said that Desmond, Snowflake and Audrey's barn was, "freaking club med for camelids."

I wasn't going to argue. She is, after all, the daughter of a very well-respected vet. Even so, I went through Misty's box of old CDs and replaced good old JC with some sacred Andean mountain music she must have collected during her traveling days.

We were only a minute or so into the first track, when Desmond suddenly stood still and stopped spitting. Then he closed his eyes part way and began to rhythmically rub his neck against the stall door.

Ivy said he was just merely itchy, but my intuitive senses told me that, no, Desmond was totally in The Zone, and clearly connecting with his ungulate ancestors back in the The Motherland. I let Ivy believe she was spot on, though, because, while I am highly intuitive, I do not always feel the need to be right.

And then, serenaded by gentle flutes played on the snow-covered slopes of the majestic Andes, Ivy and I shared the most tender of kisses. I think the music got to her as well, although I am sure she would never admit to it.

When we left the barn to go back to the cabin, Desmond turned, nodded his head, and I swear to God, gave me a little wink.

We may not speak the same language, but I think we are really beginning to understand each other.

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