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August 02, 2022
After a trek down the rocky slopes to the ocean, Litsea looked around for the object that had caught her attention. One of her favourite things about coming down to the ocean was the interesting things that washed up on the beach. Litsea was particularly excitable about “thinga-me-bobs” and “whatcha-ma-callits” and “thing-a-majigs”. Really, any nik naks or bits and bobs made Litsea’s day just a little bit more interesting. “I found it first, I found it first” came a voice from behind her.
“Oh, hi Spitball, I thought you were playing soccer today?” Litsea replied.
“Nah, it was cancelled, the goalkeeper had to get a fleece-cut, she had fleece in her eyes”. Spitball was Litsea’s best friend. He lived across the field from Litsea and would always share his favourite patch of grass with her, down by the brook that not many Llamas knew about.
“Mine” Listea said as she giggled and broke into a run. Spitball set off after her, but ran with a slight limp. Something he’d done ever since he twisted his ankle playing for the Pumpchini Squashes in the final of the pumpchini cup, against the Alpaca Zumpkins.
Litsea slowed and gazed at the shiny object on the ground. “is it a thinga-ma-bob”, Spitball called after her. “No”. This is something different. Litsea didn’t know quite what to make of it. “It looks like that thing Lawson found”, said Spitball. Lawson, liked collecting objects too, but he didn’t like getting his feet wet, so most of the time he just paid other Llamas for the strange bits and bobs they found on the beach.
Litsea picked up the object and emptied the sea water. Out came several fish that had gotten themselves trapped inside. It was the bright colors that had caught her eye earlier. She looked up at the ocean and saw lots of these strange objects bobbing up and down with the waves. The sea seemed thick with them, of all different sizes and shapes. Together, Litsea and Spitball decided to take some of the objects to Lawson.
Lawson sat on his garden lounger amongst the long grass of his lawn with his feet up, chewing a single long straw stalk. Lawson liked his grass long, it tasted so much better when the blades of grass were allowed to mature a little. As he surveyed his garden in the splendid sunshine, two excited young Llamas came bounding over the hill. Lawson recognized those runs instantly. It was Litsea and Spitball, two of his most favorite Llamas.
Lawson didn’t have many friends. Most Llamas found him strange, especially for collecting all the bizarre bits and bobs. Litsea and Spitball were different, though. These two Llama’s were particularly curious, and that was something Lawson found very agreeable. “What have you brought me?” Lawson called out, before even a how do you do. Litsea and Spitball both called out “Hmmhmmmhhfhhhd”, as they came to a stop. Lawson raised one of his bushy eyebrows with a confused face and asked again “Have you brought me something interesting?”. Spitball responded alone this time “hmmmmhmmmhmhmmmmhmmmmmmm”....
Litsea turned to Spitball and knocked the object from his mouth whilst freeing her own. “We’ve found lots of these floaty things down on the beach, and there're so many more”. Lawson picked up the object and inspected it. It was very light and strong but bendy. “This feels like plaa-stick". Litsea and Spitball looked at each other. Lawson continued, “the humans make it and use it for all sorts of things”.
“It’s everywhere, it’s clogging up the ocean”, Litsea said.
Lawson looked a little worried. “We need to investigate and find out from where all this plaa-stick is coming and try to stop it”. Spitball nodded. Together, the three Llamas began to come up with a plan to discover the source of the plaa-stick and try to stop it.
As a young cria (that’s a young Llama to you and I), Litsea had a job with the milkllama. She would ride around in a cart delivering fresh milk to all the llama houses.
Litsea sat back in her chair, thinking of the dark, cold, wintery mornings when she would help Dave, the milkllama, before the break of dawn. She remembered, walking up to each house could be spooky, especially that one house on Alpaca Lane. There were no streetlights and on damp mornings, a mist would hang over the ground while trees loomed overhead. The house had a low profile with small windows situated below a thatched roof. Litsea would tip-toe up to the front door where she would place the full bottles of milk down as carefully as possible so as not to awake anyone. In exchange, Litsea would pick up the empty bottles and…. What is that? The bottle feels squidgy and slimey… and ewwwww, slugs. I’m not sure whether you knew this, but slugs love milk. If the empty bottles weren’t properly cleaned after being put outside, the slugs would swarm over the bottles. She would gently remove the slugs with a twig or leaf she found nearby before picking up the cold, empty glass bottles. Litsea looked back down the long driveway to the lane. Shadows danced on the roughly kept grass lawn to the tune of the silvery moonlight and leafless, skeleton fingered trees. A far-off owl hooted, adding to the eerie and uneasy feeling. Something moved in the bush on the far side of the lawn. Litsea hesitated, should she run as fast as she can or stand as still as possible. She crouched a little lower to the ground and watched, the rustling continued. She had heard the stories of the were-llama as a cria from her uncle, but she thought those just stories… it couldn’t possibly be a were-llama, could it?. Just then, she saw a reflection of moonlight sparkle into life. Two bulging eyes peered at her from inside the bush. Litsea’s sense of unease increased. “There’s no such think as were-llamas, there’s no such thing as were-llamas” she thought to herself. She closed her eyes for a brief second and looked back to the bush, but the eyes were gone. Gingerly, she began to creep down the driveway, making sure to move silently. A fox jumped out the bushes, giving Litsea such a fright her heart nearly jumped out of her body and ran away by itself. The fox gave her a mischievous grin and carried on about its business. Litsea let out a big sigh of relief and carried on down the driveway, “nearly there”, she said to herself.
“BOOOOOO” came a shout from the end of the driveway. Dave the milkllama stood chuckling to himself. Litsea was furious.
Litsea came out of her memory thinking, not just about the scary experience, but her role on the milk round. She began to connect it with her current task of eliminating plaaa-stick. “You know, Spitball, we used to deliver milk in glass bottles, and we’d wash those bottles and refill them. But now, we don’t do that anymore, we buy our milk in…, wait a minute, in plaa-stick bottles”
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