The Winnipeg

by Vince Milo

Dave was walking his hand to the park when he met a giant winnipeg.

"Hello, Dave," the winnipeg said. "I've been expecting you."

Dave, not knowing what to say, said, "Oh?"

"Indeed," the winnipeg continued. "I have matters of great import that I must relay to you, before, IT comes."

"It?"

"No, IT."

"Information technology?"

"No," the winnipeg said in exasperation. "IT, you say it like 'it,' but it's more emphasized."

"Ok," Dave said glancing down at his hand, which wagged its tail at him.

"Anyway, IT is coming and you must hear what I have to say before it destroys us all."

"Ok," Dave said glancing down at his watch. He didn't want to be rude to the winnipeg, but he did have other things he wanted to do that day.

"Now," the winnipeg said, fixing him with its freakish eye. "When you go to buy burritos today, and you will, I want you to tell the lady that takes your order that you would like extra hot sauce."

"But I always ask for extra hot sauce," Dave said. "They never give you enough."

"I know," the winnipeg said, nodding sagely. "But this time it will mean something more. Just make sure you say that."

"Ok," Dave sighed, glancing around.

"The next thing you must do," the winnipeg continued. "Is when you go to work at six o' clock, and you will, you must tell your manager that she has a big fat ass and you don't want to work there anymore."

"What?" Dave said turning back to the winnipeg in alarm. "Why should I do that? I'll be out of a job!"

"You will just have to trust me, Dave," the winnipeg said scratching its feathered chin with its hoof. "Now, there is one final thing you must do."

"I'm not telling my manager that she has a fat ass and that I'm quitting," Dave said. "I need that job."

"Look," the winnipeg said putting its hands on its hips. "Would you rather die at the hands of IT's searing laser blasts?"

"No."

"Or be gnashed and digested alive in its acidic, fang-filled maw which is also its stomach?"

"Not really."

"Well alright then," the winnipeg said triumphantly. "Now, the final thing you must do is when you go to sleep tonight, and you will, you must set your alarm for 10:00."

"But I have a dentist appointment-" Dave began but was silenced by the winnipeg's raised hoof.

"You will set your alarm for 10:00," the winnipeg continued, fluffing its wings. "When you wake up you must run out into the street naked and scream 'I have peepee pants at the top of your voice."

"No way," Dave said crossing his arms, defiantly. "There's no way I'm doing that. I'd rather be eaten by IT."

The winnipeg studied him for a moment and then at last clicked its beak and shrugged. "Suit yourself," it said. "But don't say I didn't warn you."

With that, the winnpeg spread its giant feathery wings and with a some effort, at last lifted its massive bulk awkwardly into the air and slowly disappeared into the distance.

Dave's hand sniffed at the feathers and dandruff the winnipeg had left in a small pile on the sidewalk. Dave watched the winnipeg for awhile before glancing down at the feathers. He picked one up instinctively and placed it in his front pocket and continued on his way to the park, his hand barking and wagging its tail excitedly as its favorite place came closer into view.

That afternoon Dave was at the drive-thru for Taco Hut and had just finished asking for extra hot sauce when it all came rushing back to him. The winnipeg, IT, and the warning. As he pulled up to the window he couldn't help but feel a slight pang of anxiety.

What if the winnipeg was right? He certainly didn't want to die by laser blast or get digested alive in its fang-filled maw which was also its stomach. He swallowed hard as he exchanged his money for the paper sack filled with delicious bean burritos, almost forgetting to thank the cashier for including the extra hot sauce (which he checked).

It was nine thirty. His shift was almost over. He glanced over at his manager in trepidation. She was busy checking something on the clipboard. She did have a fat ass, after all. And he had been thinking about leaving this job for some time. But where would he go? He would have to start the application process all over again. He couldn't use this place as a reference and he'd been working there for three years. Then again, he didn't want to get eaten or blasted. He sighed, wringed his hands one last time, glanced around to make sure no one else was planning on talking to her, and at last approached her.

"Er, excuse me," Dave said nervously.

"What is it Dave?" Ms. Bennett said glancing up at him in annoyance. She never really liked him, or anyone for that matter.

"Uh, well, I just wanted to say that," Dave said looking down at the floor. "That uh." He couldn't do it. It was too much.

"Did you finish your tables?" Ms. Bennett said looking back at her checklist.

"You have a fat ass!" Dave blurted. "I don't want to work here anymore!"

Ms. Bennett's eyes slowly raised and pierced him. "Get out," she said in a low voice. "And never come back."

Dave almost started to apologize and ask for forgiveness when he remembered the winnipeg's warning. "Ok, fine," Dave said as casually as possible. "I didn't want to work here anyway."

His hands were shaking as he made his way back to his house. What had he done? That was really mean to say she had a fat ass right to her face like that. And now he didn't have a job for sure. Just an hour ago he had a job. Now he didn't. This had better be worth it.

He set his alarm for 10:00 and sighed. Tomorrow would be the greatest challenge of all. Would he be able to do it? He didn't know. What if the winnipeg was playing him for the fool? It was possible, winnipegs were known for their trickery. Still, the thought of IT's laser beams and fangs gnawed at the edges of his imagination. Besides, it would be a liberating experience no matter what. It would shake up his ho-hum world for awhile and save him from IT's slavering maw.

10:00. His alarm buzzer sounded. Dave took one last glance at the clock before bounding out of bed and out the door.

"I have pee pee pants! I have pee pee pants!" He screeched at his horrified neighbors as he pranced across their well-manicured lawns. "I have pee pee pants!" he crowed at the giggling children whose aghast mother attempted in vain to cover their eyes.

As he was loaded into the police car a flash caught his eye. He glanced out the window just in time to see the winnipeg trying to give him a thumb's up with its hoof.

"Excellent job," the winnipeg called out to him. "You did perfectly."

"What about the IT?" Dave called back.

"You are safe," the winnipeg said. "But, as you will see, no one else is."

With that, the patrol car pulled away and headed towards the station. That evening, as the rest of the world was being shot with laser blasts and being digested alive they all regretted not heeding the winnipeg's advice. That is, all except the beautiful and naked Sharon Bella, who shared a cell with Dave. Together they would repopulate the world. Or they would have, if he had been her type. (c)2004Vince Milo