Shepherd was awakened by a lick from Trap’s tongue. Shepherd sat up. He looked in the bowl.
“It’s finished, that’s good. I suppose that is your signal for more. Keep in mind room service will not be indefinite.” Shepherd grabbed the bowl and stood. “Today there will be something more substantial for you.”
Shepherd went into the kitchen and finely chopped some elk and added broth to it. He sat it in front of Trap. He slowly ate it, but ate it all.
“Now rest,” Shepherd said.
“Pal let’s me and you eat together. I don’t think Trap needs to be watched.”
Another day passed and at the beginning of that day Trap stood to eat. He limped around no further than in front of the fireplace,
“Even in your deplorable condition you are a magnificent specimen. You will return to your former glory.”
Later that day Shepherd let him out he limped around for a while, but was eager to return to the cabin.
“Someday, Trap, you will go out that door. You will be perplexed. You will not know where to turn, but no matter what Pal and I will respect what ever decision you make, but you always have a home here.”
At the end of four days Shepherd bathed Trap with a small dish pan and seemed not to mind.
“You are a king in the timber we can’t have you looking like a peasant.”
At the end of a week Shepherd removed the stitches. “This does not mean you are healed. The wound could still open. So take it easy. By the way, I contacted your insurance company, they don’t cover traps. So this will be out of pocket. You can make arrangements with my billing department… Pal, Pal is my billing department. He can set up a payment schedule. We will accept first born or life long servitude.”
Trap looked perplexed.
“I don’t make the rules, take it up with your agent or if you have health care through you employer talk with them. I’m busy; I got a squirrel waiting for me in O R. with a limp tail.”
Another perplexed look came from Trap.
“It’s a joke. There’s no squirrel.” Shepherd looked at Pal. “Pal, explain it to him. There‘s no squirrel, no limp tail, and no O R.”
Shepherd stood. “I’m having coffee What’s that, Pal? There is a squirrel. That makes it funnier, Trap; you see, Trap, when something ridiculous is said and it become reality that makes it funnier. I don‘t know what they call it, but my explanation is taking away from the moment and impact. It‘s all timing, Trap, remember that. Get all your pack together some night, pour a few drinks, and start telling stories, but the timing still has to be there.”
In the days that followed Shepherd held bits of food up so that Trap could stretch out and use his hind legs. At first it appeared troublesome and painful, but soon it became natural.
At the end of two weeks the three were wrestling together in the snow. Sometimes for some reason known only to Trap he broke away from the playful sessions. He peered into the wilderness as if longing to go to what he is.