Challenge #02188-E359: Normal is Relative
"Why is that rooster using an airhorn?"
"It's outsourcing its morning crowing." -- TheDragonsFlame
There are downsides to living in quiet country towns and the one you never notice is how casual one can become when faced with things far from normal. It's only when the outsider arrives that things like the neighbours taking their pigs for walks or the rooster down the road greeting the dawn with an air horn get pointed out as unusual.
The same thing goes for the camel that wanders into the local grocery, drops off a golden dubloon, picks up either a watermelon or a pumpkin, and leaves.
Sam had only stopped for a car repair and an overnight stay in the local motel, and had encountered all of these before her breakfast arrived at the local café. It was too early in the morning to deal with it yet, so Sam was busy arguing about it.
"A rooster. Uses. An air horn."
"Well he has to," said the man who ran the café. "He smoked too much and got throat cancer. Good thing that was the final straw for him. He's the best rooster in the shire."
"That camel just walked by with a pumpkin in its mouth..."
"He pays for it, so why not?"
Coffee helped, or at least helped Sam reach levels of cogniscence where the things the locals said could make sense if she worked at it. "He pays for it."
"Oh yeah. This isn't exactly watermelon or pumpkin country, but he pays more than full price, so it's worth always having a few over at Shannon's." That was another peculiarity of this town. The shops had names, but they were known to the people by the names of the people who ran them. Therefore, Wily's Grocery was Shannon's, the Star Crossed Café was Davo's, and the car repair place was Daisy's. Very confusing for outsiders.
Sam was still staring at the retreating camel. "Does this happen... all the time?"
"Well, once in a while ol' Hargle's in a zucchini mood, but he brings his own string bag and helps Shannon load it up."
The camel was called Hargle. Okay. That was... that was almost normal. Camels had names. Sam could deal with that much. It was a camel coming into town to buy produce that she was having trouble with. "How does... Hargle... pay for them, again?"
"Brings in a dubloon at half-nine. Regular as clockwork, our Hargle." Davo seemed mildly concerned. "You all right now?"
Sam tried the omelette. Absolutely perfect. "I can safely say this is the weirdest little town I've stopped in," she turned to listen to the air horn go off. After the camel, a rooster who had had his vocal chords removed seemed more like background noise. "Is there anything else I should be warned about?"
Davo handed over a pair of earmuffs and said, "Town clock." He had his own, which he put on.
Sam did the same, just in time to avoid the worst of a disharmonious cacophony caused by several bells all going off at once. "What the hell was that?"
"Town clock," Davo took his earmuffs off. "Bloke wanted it to play the city anthem, back when this was a city. Never could get the timing right and after the big lightning storm, all the strikers go off at once."
"And you never got it fixed?"
"Never had the funds. If we had it done now, we'd never feel right, anyway." Davo waved at someone walking a dozen pigs on individual leashes. "Mornin' Bob."
By now, Sam had absolutely nothing to say about the outfits that the pigs were wearing.
[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / MShake]
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