I arrived at the Happy Horsey Farm for my nephew’s birthday well-prepared, with earplugs to survive the screaming children and old shoes to survive the horse patties. But I wasn’t prepared for what greeted me after I paid for my ticket: my sister’s face looking scrunched and hardened, as if it was left overnight in a dehydrator.
“The party’s ruined, Ace. Some PETA chick is protesting the use of horses for hayrides, so they cancelled it.”
PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, was notorious for taking extreme measures to make a point. I often agreed with their message, though seldom with their tactics, especially when it resulted in my nephew crying so painfully I would have thought Harry Potter was dead, or worse, he was a Duke fan.
Sure enough, I looked up to see a farmer leading a beautiful brown mare away from the trailer, followed closely by a dreadlocked brunette who looked very pleased with herself.
I walked up to the woman and said, “Listen here, miss,” and when she faced me, it was I who had to listen, to the birds that suddenly appeared when I was near this animal-loving angel. “I...I...,” I stumbled, forgetting my point. “You don’t look like a militant vegan.”
“Let’s just same I’m very lactose intolerant,” she said with a disarming smile. “Are you here with the birthday party? I’m sorry I ruined it, but it had to be done. These horses work under such harsh conditions. I had to stand up for what I believe in. Haven’t you ever had to do the same?”
I wanted to tell her about the time I stood up for something important—stood up for five straight days in fact, in line for tickets to the opening night of “The Lord of the Rings,” but it just didn’t feel hardcore enough.
“I have convictions too,” I said, wondering what they were. Then it hit me, or it nearly did as the farmer drove his SUV right past me to hook it up to the hay-baled trailer, apparently to replace his horse with horsepower. Happily the kids jumped on the trailer, ready for their ride.
“Whoa, there!” I said, jumping in front of the SUV, all Tiananmen Square like. “I can’t let this happen!”
The farmer spit out a tobacco bullet and said, “Why, are you against the unethical treatment of SUVs?”
“No, but you’re about to abuse your insurance coverage, and I won’t stand for it.”
Did Ace’s ankles hurt? Why was he unable to stand for this?
Click here to check your solution against Ace’s.
Jonathan Hermann (email@example.com) is an IA contributing writer.