1. Opa Has a Run-In

Black Krims are the finest tomatoes I know, misshapen with ridges and valleys, dark streaks of colour through the skin. I was loving my vines, pinching out the creepers, tying new growth to the stake and pulling out weeds. I was bent down from the waist pulling out Morning Glory stringers, when I found myself flying. Pushed forward by a force to my backside. Landing among the Krims, I turned to see what had struck me and saw a fawn wearing a pirates patch over one eye. A fawn with hissing laughter. An evil fawn. The creature bolted from my garden, disappearing down the drive way.

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I found my cell phone and called my grandson. “Toby, I just got head-butted by a pirate patch wearing fawn!”

 

“Opa, you’ve been in the sun just a little too long. You wearing your hat?”

Now Toby is a gifted eleven year old. He’s brilliant in all things computer and prefers to interact with family and friends through tech. “Just check the cam footage. See if you can see what happened?” He had recently installed security cams around my house to see who has been raiding my garden.

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He started to laugh outrageously over the phone. “You should see yourself Opa, you get a ten for your face plant. Here, I’ll send you the video.”

It showed the fawn rushing up from behind, the head butt lifting me off the ground. Then the video went to slow motion, zooming in on me. My eyes as wide open as my mouth, arms spinning, landing face first among my tomato plants. Then blowing dirt from my mouth and nostrils. The laughter continued. “You know Opa, that fawn had great aim. Very effective too! I think I like him.”

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“There’s nothin‘ to like about that creature Toby. That was an unprovoked evil attack. I am going to try and catch it ‘cause it’s a menace to my garden.”

Toby played back the fawn’s hissing laughter, looping it over and over.

“Turn that off, it’s really creepy. Are you gonna help me find that evil fawn?”

“Sure Ops. Lets see if I can find him from here. I just wrote some code that should help.”

I whistled a high-low two note. Marbles ran out of the shade, a grey and white adolescent husky, expecting a walk. She sat, watching my every move. She had a brilliant blue eye and a dark brown eye which always confused me because they switched places. Sometime the blue was on her right, other times the brown. I think they switched around when Marbles got excited. She was vibrating, willing me to start the walk.

“Opa, I found him. I found some video of the fawn running into McAddam Park.”

“Thanks. I am going to use Marbles‘ powerful nose to track him down.”

I took Marbles into the garden and pointed at the hoof prints. “Scent.” Marbles sniffed the prints and barked, her eyes shifting places. She ran back to the house and returned with her leash and collar. The collar had a tracking chip installed. I clipped her into the leash and off she ran, pulling me behind her. Reaching the park, I let her off leash and she bounded away from me.

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“Toby, you following her?”

“She’s already under the highway bridge, now running up the river by the Casino. She is really moving. Wow, she’s already passed the Quw’utsun’ Heritage Center, approaching the old Malaspina College campus.”

I ran back home and jumped into my truck. I was making my way to the Black Bridge, hoping to intercept both of them there, when Toby called to say they were running up the river alongside Cliffs Road. I drove up and parked at the pulp mill’s pump house and ran up the trails.

“Opa, stop. Marbles has disappeared. I lost the tracking device.”

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“Where was the last fix you had on her?”

“Close by the Chicken Cliffs.”

I ran up the trail, stumbling over exposed roots while I climbed higher. I spotted them. Marbles was trapped in a heavy net which was hanging from a tree. She was howling, chewing at the ropes. The fawn was below, still wearing the pirate patch. He was standing upright, wearing long black leather boots and a black baseball cap embroidered with a white skull and cross bones. His spots looked menacing. A sword was strapped to one of his front hooves. Pointing with the sword, he indicated a plank that was set over cliff‘s edge, the Cowichan River far below. Then he pointed at Marbles and made a slashing stroke across his own throat. He pointed at me and then the plank.

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“Toby, what do I do?” No answer, the signal was blocked, I was on my own. I simply stood and waited. The fawn waved it’s sword and Marbles was swung out over the cliff, only rocks below her. He started hacking away at the support rope so I walked over to the plank and stood before it. The fawn stopped its attack on the rope and approached me, poking me, forcing me further and further out on the plank. I stood at the edge, looking at Marbles. I turned facing outwards, not looking down. I was frozen, tears running down my face.

“Opa, Opa! the fawn had blocked all cell service in your area but I hacked my way in. I can free Marbles from here. ”

At the sound of Toby’s voice I found my courage but just before I turned, I was again head butted on my bruised posterior. Off the plank I sailed, screaming as I fell. The water slapped me hard but I was alive.

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I floated on my back, seeing the fawn looking down the cliffs at me, his hissing laughter raining down. I rolled on my belly and swam downstream to a small sandy beach where Marbles was waiting. She licked my face as I lay on the sand, whimpering as she did so, all the while her eyes were spinning.

 

I could hear Toby calling through the trees. “Opa, Opa. Where are you?”

“I’m down at the beach, Toby. I am safe with Marbles.”

Toby scrambled down to the beach. “I was so scared, Opa. I could hear you screaming over the cell and then you just cut out. I guess your phone died when you landed in the water. I‘m so happy Marbles and you are safe.” He then gave me the tightest hug,something he had never done before. My tears ran freely. I don’t believe there is anything nicer than a hug from a grandchild.

Toby smiled as he handed me his cell. “Phone Oma, she’s worried.”

Opa’s suggested links: Black KrimsQuw’utsun’ Heritage Center

Toby’s suggest links: