What I did on my vacation

by John McDonnell © 2003

"Why do we have to come here?" the daughter said. "It was so boring the last time we came." She was staring out the window, making a face.

"I thought we had a lovely time," said her mother.

"It's a great vacation spot," the father said. He made a left turn, and shifted gears. "Don't you remember the animals? They were really interesting to look at."

"They were stupid," the daughter said.

"Now, dear, don't be cruel," her mother said.

"Mom, they were. They could barely communicate. They had to eat grass and leaves because they were such sucky predators. If it wasn't for Daddy, they'd have died out."

"It was the least I could do," the father said. "The cute little things, I felt sorry for them."

"You saved them. They weren't going anywhere."

"It was nothing. I just taught them a few tricks. Well, here we are." He brought the cruiser to a stop on a hill overlooking a large city. There were several large towers nearby. It was night, and the lights of the city twinkled in the distance.

"My goodness," the father said. "Things have certainly changed. Look at the activity down there." The daughter was mystified. "They did this? I don't believe it. Somebody must have helped them." "Your father says nobody else knows about them, dear," the mother said.

"That's right," the father agreed. "They're our little secret. This place is off the beaten track, you know. I only discovered it by accident, when I took a wrong turn."

"If nobody helped them, then I'm impressed," the daughter said. "Look at the lights, the traffic, the architecture." "My little friends have done well," the father clucked. "I'm so glad for them."

Just then there was a thumping of propellers, and several helicopters appeared, flooding the area with bright lights. "My, what's going on?" the mother said.

"I think they've discovered us," the daughter said.

The father was overjoyed. "Wonderful," he said. "I'd love to speak to my little proteges again." One of the helicopters had a loudspeaker. "Do not leave your vehicle," it said. "You are trespassing on government property. This is a nuclear power plant."

The father opened the overhead panel, reached up, and grabbed the helicopter so he could examine it more closely. It fit snugly in his paw. There was panic inside the helicopter, with lots of shouting, and things crashing and breaking. Suddenly a gun opened fire, and bullets bounced off the father's scaly hide. He tossed the helicopter aside in a fit of pique, and it crashed into a tree.

"What ingrates!" he said. "After all I did for them."

"It's disgusting," the daughter said.

"The height of bad manners," the mother agreed.

"Well, I've had enough," the father said. "I won't spend my vacation where I'm not wanted." He closed the overhead panel, started up the engine, and in seconds they were aloft and speeding past Mars on their way out of the solar system.

"I told you we shouldn't have come," said the daughter.

"It seemed like a good idea at the time," the mother mused.

"It just goes to show that you can't expect a pat on the back for your efforts," the father said. "Oh, sure, some of them will build a religion around you, but most won't even say 'Thanks." He brooded for a moment, looking out at the stars. "Well, let's go spend our vacation on that planet that's all water. There are some one-celled life forms I'd like to check up on."

x x x

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