The Weaving Inn

Home to the knitting world's anti-Finisher. Kind of like the anti-Christ, but with a smaller following.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Hippos Today, Amigurumi Tomorrow

The Day The Hippos Came To School

Duncan and Isabelle stood sweltering in the parking lot of Our Lady of Lourdes Middle School. Thick rivers of pungent sweat rolled down their wrinkled hides as their tails idly flicked from side to side. Occasionally one or the other would snort loudly, spraying the tarmac and causing Isabelle’s pink tiara to slip further to the left.

As they surveyed the schoolyard a voice from an upstairs window cried out “Sister Mary, there’s two hippos in the parking lot!”

“Of course there is young Robert McGregor, now back to your math,” responded a heavy Irish brogue.

“No really, I’m gonna go down and see ‘em” said Robert.

Two minutes later the school doors flew open, spewing out a dozen excited children, followed closely by Sister Mary.The hippos slowly backed away from the children, their large rear ends finally pressing up against the wall of the gymnasium.

“Whoa, look at how big they is,” exclaimed Helen Donegal, “I bet they could eat you!”

“Bah, hippos don’t eat peoples, they eat plants,” replied Robert.

“Look at that,” laughed Danny Finnegan, “that one’s got a crown with her name on it, her name’s Isabelle!”

Sister Mary ran around trying to position herself between her young charges and the wild animals but each time she got close to Duncan and Isabelle the hippos would shift farther down the gymnasium wall, followed dutifully by the children.

“Stand back children, they may charge,” she cautioned, frantically waving her hands in the air in an attempt to wave away the scent of over heated hippo.

“Where’d they come from Sister Mary?” inquired little Iris Murdock.

“I bet it’s a message from God!” volunteered someone from the back of the crowd.

“Now children,” Sister Mary intoned solemnly, “we’ll have no mocking of the Lord Our Savior. I don’t know where the hippos came from but surely their owner will come to collect them shortly. In the meantime perhaps we should get them some water, they look a little warm.”

And with that insightful observation, Isabelle collapsed to the ground.

“She’s dead, she’s dead, she’s dead” screamed Iris, breaking into tears.

Sister Mary rushed to the side of the stricken hippo, pressing her ear against its side. She tried to recall if she actually knew where a hippo’s heart was, wondering if she’d even be able to feel the beat of it through all the fat. Luckily, the sensation of moist hippo breath blowing down her neck reassured her that Isabelle was alive.

“Can I help?” a tiny voice asked.

Looking up, Sister Mary saw Lois Paddock standing behind her, her Pet Doctor Barbie clutched in her small fist.

“Lois, I believe Pet Doctor Barbie is only qualified to operate on dogs and cats,” smiled Sister Mary, “please go back with the others.”

Turning her attention back to Isabelle, she suddenly noticed the animal’s sides contracting in a rhythmic pattern. Oh heaven’s no, thought the Sister, please don’t let this hippo have a baby in my parking lot.Seeming to sense something was amiss, Duncan wandered over to Isabelle’s side and nudged her with his fuzzy nose. Isabelle grunted miserably.

“Robert, go to the Nurse’s Room and get me a blanket” commanded Sister Mary, “and a pail of hot water while you’re at it.”

“What’s happening Sister Mary?” asked Iris.

“Nothing Iris, the hippo is just a little tired today, it must be time for her nap,” she replied.

“Ooooo” responded Iris, who was well acquainted with naps.

Gently Sister Mary stroked the hot brow of the hippo, whispering softly to her.

“Here Sister Mary, here’s the blanket and the pail and I brung her a pillow too,” Robert said.

Sister Mary placed the pillow underneath the animal’s massive head, noticing that it was a tad small. Oh well, this wasn’t exactly the Hippo Hotel, was it?

She began covering Isabelle with the wool blanket just as Ian O’Connor screamed from the front of the crowd “Sister Mary, Sister Mary, the hippo is goin’ POO!”

“Is she s’posed to poo in this bucket?” Robert asked, standing behind Isabelle, pail of hot water in hand.

“Uhh Robert, please return to the group, I’ll look after the bucket,” stammered Sister Mary.

Kneeling beside Isabelle, Sister Mary watched as a tiny head began to emerge from between the hippo’s large thighs. Duncan began to pace back and forth, feeling helpless, as most expectant fathers do at the ‘big event’. A hushed stillness fell over the parking lot. Slowly the little hippo made it’s way into the world as Isabelle snorted and struggled, rocking from side to side. Finally, with one last push, the baby was born. Duncan ambled over, sniffed at the baby and then gave it a lick as Sister Mary held the small creature in her lap.

Suddenly the parking lot erupted in a flurry of questions.

"Is that a baby hippo?”

“Can we name it Jesus?”

“Where’d it come from, Sister Mary?”

“What’s all that gooey stuff?”

“Can we keep it?”

Sister Mary stood up with the baby, and walked over to the children. “No, we can’t keep it I’m afraid, it belongs to its parents,” she told them. Just then, a large red truck pulled up to the entrance of the parking lot with the words “BIG TOP WORLD FAMOUS CIRCUS” written across the side.

“Ahh, there you troublemakers are,” grumbled an elderly man, getting out of the truck.

“Are these your hippos?” asked Sister Mary.

“Yar, those are mine, ran off early this morning they did and I’ve been lookin’ for ‘em ever since.”

“Well now you’ve got three instead of two to look after,” Sister Mary informed him.

“Oh my word,” exclaimed the hippo owner, “she wasn’t due for another two weeks!”

“I imagine all the excitement moved the blessed event up a few days”, smiled Sister Mary, “but both mother and child seem to be doing just fine.”

The old man looked around the schoolyard, noticing the peeling paint and broken windows, the small, run down playground.

“Sister, I’m sorry for all the trouble Duncan and Isabelle have caused ya,” said the man “if it’s OK I’d like you and the children to be my guests at the circus tonight.” That evening a big blue bus showed up at the school to take everyone to the circus, the children yammering away at each other as they settled into their seats.

“I wonder if there will be cotton candy and ice cream?” said Iris.

“I bet there’s lions and tigers and bears and armadillos,” Ian proclaimed.

“I wanna see the clowns, that’s what I’m gonna be when I grow up,” announced Robert.

The bus pulled into the circus parking lot as Robert spotted Isabelle in a pen, her small baby standing at her side.

“HI ISABELLE” he yelled from the window, waving happily.

“HI ISABELLE, HI ISABELLE” the rest of the children shouted as music from the big tent filled the bus. Tumbling off, the children clustered around Sister Mary.

“Alright children, this way, everyone stay together,” she said as they entered the tent. Taking their seats, Sister Mary felt a tug at her sleeve.

“Sister Mary, isn’t that the name of our school?” asked Iris.

Looking around, Sister Mary replied, “What are you talking about Iris, I don’t see our name anywhere”.

“Noooo, Sister Mary, look UP,” pointed Iris. And there, strung across the top of the tent in letters 6 feet high were the words “ALL PROCEEDS FROM TONIGHT’S PERFORMANCE DONATED TO OUR LADY OF LOURDES MIDDLE SCHOOL”.


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