ANIMALS ON CALL (Chapter 4)

Chapter Four- The answer is…

I woke up the next day feeling tired and run-down, Didn’t sleep well last night. Something Tina said was niggling in my mind. She said her aunt bought chickens to help get rid of ticks. Her comment made me wonder, Besides opossums, what birds, animals, or insects could be used to get rid of ticks. Further, what could we use, besides insecticides, to protect our troops who are called on to go into a tick-infested area?

I walked downstairs, went into the kitchen, which is across the foyer from my office and conference room. My private living quarters are upstairs from the public area. The building used to be the ranch house, but we needed office and meeting space, and didn’t have the money to build a separate building. When Shirley, my ex wife, and I first moved into the ranch house we knew it was just a matter of time before we hit it big and would have the funds to build a huge office complex. A lot has happened since those early days. About two years after the birth of our daughter, Shirley decided I was not her soul mate after all and left me for another love. When the laws were changed, my ex and her soul mate, Theressa, were immediately married. By the time the lawyers were finished, Shirley had the money, and I had the land. My lawyer said I was fortunate that she allowed me to keep the Ranch. Fortunate or not, we took a huge financial hit, from which Animals on Call still hasn’t fully recovered.

I put a pot of coffee on. Poured a bowl of Grape nuts, added half a banana, and some milk. Grabbed a spoon and sat at the breakfast bar. The kitchen was open to the staff. They had places to put their personal things,and communal areas that were first come first served. Then there was the, touch this and die, section where my personal things were kept.

I opened my Day Timer and checked the calendar. Let’s see,

10 AM – Group from the Senior Center,

1:30 – Maria

3:00 – Lisa Stone – Attorney

I forgot to enter the call from Lieutenant Baker who said he would call me at,…what did he say? I really need to write things down ….Seems to me that he said he would call at twenty-seven hundred hours. What the hell does that mean? What time is twenty seven hundred hours? Lets see, twelve noon must be twelve hundred hours , Hmmm….subtract twelve from Twenty Seven and that gives me fifteen. So, if Twelve noon is Twelve-hundred hours… add fifteen to that and it will be THREE AM?!!

Shit! That can’t be right. Somethings wrong somewhere.

I picked up my phone and googled twenty seven hundred hours, and read,

0027, MILITARY TIME (zero- zero- two-seven hours) zero-zero-two-seven hours, zero zero twenty-seven hours Military Time. conversion of…12:27 AM using 12-hour clock notation, 00:27…Delta Time Zone, D, UTC+4, 0427 A.M., 04:27.

That’s as clear as mud,

I clicked on the listing and a chart came up showing the time from 00:27 to 23:27. The chart said that 00:27 was 12:27 AM and 23:27 was 11:27 PM. I had a feeling that the real time he said he would call was Seventeen hundred hours, which, by running my finger down the chart meant that he would be calling around 5:00 PM.

It was Six Thirty which gave me plenty of time to do a quick research on Ticks and all that loved to eat them, and to go over the contract with my lawyer.

I put my bowl in the sink, refilled my coffee mug, grabbed a cookie out of the communal cookie box. Went out on the front porch and sat on the swing. There’s nothing better than sitting out here, with a cup of coffee as the world is waking up watching the sun come up over the hills. It’s peaceful and quiet ,the birds are waking up and singing a good morning song. Somewhere a rooster crows and all of nature seems to be shaking off the sleep and slowly coming around to face the new day.

I saw the lights go on in Pedro and Maria’s kitchen. What used to be the bunk house, for ranch hands, became their house. You wouldn’t believe the way they fixed the place up or what a dump it was when Shirley and I bought it.

I drank the last bit of coffee, went back into the kitchen and refilled the mug, walked across to my office and fired up the computer.

I Googled Ticks and was awarded with pictures and descriptions of the different types of ticks. I thought a tick was a tick but, no, there are many types and varieties of ticks, some more dangerous to humans than others. The types of ticks include, but are not limited to: deer ticks, dog ticks, wood ticks, lone star ticks, black legged ticks, asian ticks, chicken coop ticks, and the dreaded Tick Tock, clock ticks .

Two hours later I knew more than I ever wanted to about ticks, their enemies, and natural protection for the troops going into harm’s way. Of course I realize that the military already knew all that I had just learned and more. The good thing, for me, was that I had the answer to my question about only training opossums.

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