A Bad Tip

Cover Image

“Pass me the flashlight, Joyce.”

“One second, I’m not done tying my shoe.”

“And you can’t do it in the dark?”

“So-rry! Take it.”

“Guys, I don’t know about this.”

“Come on, Rachel, it’ll be great!”

“It seems like a really bad idea.”

“It’s a really great idea. Stop worrying!”

“I don’t see why I need to be here for this. Why don’t I go back and you two just do it yourselves. It’ll be romantic, you know?”

“Geez, no wonder you don’t have a boyfriend!”


“What? You lobbed that one right over the plate!”

“Okay, yeah, I’m leaving. You guys have fun.”

“No, Rachel, come on! I didn’t mean it! Tell her, George. You know I didn’t mean it.”

“She didn’t mean it, Rachel.”

“Whatever. I just have a bad feeling about this.”

“I’ve done it a hundred times. Seriously, nothing is going to happen.”

“But what’s the point?”

“The point?”

“Yeah, I mean, why are we doing this?”

“Because it’s fun. And because I’m bored. And this is Alabama. What else is there to do?”

“Yeah, and besides, it’s a rite of passage. Everybody has to do it at least once before they graduate.”

“I don’t see what’s so fun about it. It’s pretty dumb, really. And mean, too.”

“How is it mean?”

“Preying on something defenseless like that is pretty mean, I think.”

“Then why did you even come?”

“You told me we were going to a movie!”

“Oh, yeah, fair enough. But it’s too late now. We’re almost there.”

“Somebody is going to see us.”

“No they’re not. Stop worrying. It’s totally dark out.”

“Yeah, which will make it easy for somebody to see the flashlight.”

“George, turn off the flashlight. There. Are you happy now?”


“AGHH! My leg!”

“Oh gosh, oh gosh, I knew this was a bad idea!”

“Why isn’t it getting up? They always get up afterwards! Don't they?”

“It looks like its leg is broken.”

“I told you guys! I told you this was a stupid thing to do!”

“Last I checked you’re not the one stuck underneath a cow, so shut up!”

“Baby, does it hurt?”

“No, it feels great! I really love having a thousand pound Big-Mac-to-be reclining on top of me.”

“Hey, that rhymed!”

“If you say I’m a poet and I don’t even know it I swear to God I will pop you one.”

“Sorry, just trying to lighten the moooood.”

“Oh for the love of-”

“What do we do? What do we do? George, do something! Lift it up!”

“Rachel, be quiet! You know I can only bench 275!”

“What should we do then? We have to do something!”

“Call me an ambulance for God’s sake or they’re going to have to chop off my goddamn leg!”

“Joyce! I know you’re in pain but there’s no need to take the Lord’s name in vain!”

“Rachel, when I get out from under this cow I am going to punch you in the face. I’m serious.”

“Sweetie, calm down. I’m going to call 911.”

“Well hurry up!”

“Wait! Are the cops going to come?”

“I doubt it.”

“But they’re going to wonder how she got under the cow, aren’t they? They’re going to ask us questions and we’re going to get in trouble and my parents are going to kill me! Oh my gosh, could we go to jail? I’m dead!”

“Rachel, for the love of Christ, just calm down. It’ll be fine.”

“Unless of course they have to amputate my leg. What are you waiting for? Just make the call!”

“Oh gosh, oh gosh!”


“Keep very still, ma’am, and we’ll try to shift the cow.”

“Jesus, this thing is heavy! I mean, I know everybody knows cows are heavy but man!”

“Sorry kids, it looks like we’re going to need to send for reinforcements. You don’t seem to be in any imminent danger, miss, so just try to keep calm. And you two, we’ve got Officer Campoy here to ask some questions.”

“Yes, and I’d like to start with how exactly did this happen?”

“Well, we were- we were…”


“We were cow tipping, sir.”

“And in the process it seems you were also trespassing on private property.”

“I didn’t want to, sir, and I tried to stop them I swear but they wouldn’t listen to me! I knew it was a bad idea! I just knew it!”

“Calm down, miss.”

“I can’t go to jail! Please don’t arrest me! I promise I’ll never do it again!”

“Nobody’s going to jail. Son, maybe you and I should talk and let your friend calm down a bit.”

“Sure, okay.”

"Now, when you approached the cow-”

“We started pushing, sir, and it was harder than we expected. See, none of us have ever done it before.”


“And, well, I think Joyce’s shoe was untied and when we gave the final heave-ho she kind of, you know, slipped at the same time the cow… tipped.”

“Well, it seems the cow in question has been damaged, so I’m afraid we’re going to have to call your parents.”

“Rachel’s not going to like that.”

“Perhaps she should have considered that before she assisted in tampering with private property.”

“So are we going to have to pay for cow surgery or what?”

“That’s up to the owner, a Mr. Zimmerman.”

“What? Mr. Zimmerman?”

“Oh my God, I’m getting an A- in his class and if I don’t pass the final I’m going to get a B! He’s going to fail me, isn’t he? He is! This is the worst day of my life!”

“Take it easy, maybe it’s not the same Mr. Zimmerman.”

“How many Mr. Zimmermans can there be? No, I know it’s him! My life is over.”


“Ah, Miss Montpelier, how can I help you? I must warn you, first, that I don’t have any other livestock for you to maim.”

“I’m so sorry, Mr. Zimmerman. We didn’t mean to hurt it.”

“Well, at least he took one of you with him. How is Miss Johnson’s leg healing, by the way?”

“Oh, she has to get pins put in her ankle because it got shattered.”

“What a shame.”

“Yeah, she’s really sorry too though, she wanted me to tell you.”

“What was it you wanted to see me about?”

“Um, I was just wondering how the cow was; I just feel so bad and-”

“Rachel, I’m not going to tell you what your grade is, so you can stop brown-nosing.”

“But… that’s not-”

“Leave well enough alone, Miss Montpelier. I’m not going to fail you because you injured my cow. I will be suing you and your friends for the damages, but I expect your parents will take care of that.”

“But Mr. Zimmerman! My parents don’t have any money because the government stopped subsidizing our farm and now we have to-”

“Perhaps you should have thought about that before you broke Moses’s leg. Now I suggest that you stop wasting my time and find yourself a nice summer job. You’ll be needing it. Have a wonderful vacation.”

Created: Jun 08, 2010

Tags: dialogue only, short story

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