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      “Why is our zebra standing there, staring at the TV set?”  Mrs. Noah asked from the kitchen.  She finished polishing an apple with her apron, placed it in a bowl with the others, and picked up another.

     “The TV set is on the blink from the storm outside”, Noah explained.  “He sees the vertical lines on the set and thinks there’s another zebra in there.”

     Noah set down his remote control and stretched back in his lounge chair.  “I hope the reception comes back in time for Jeopardy”, he said.  He reached for his newspaper and thumbed through it, scanning the highlights.  “Hmm”, he said to himself, “where’s the sport section?”  Just then, he heard a loud burp to his left.  “Oh, no!” he said with dismay, “Not again!”  He turned just in time to see the goat gulp down a section of his paper.  The remnants lay shredded on the floor.

     “One of these days”, he said, “I’m going to turn you into GLUE!”  The goat sprinted out of the room and down the hall, the clackety-clack of his hooves fading in the distance.

     “Honey”, Mrs. Noah said, “is that an air-hockey game going on in the entry-way?”

     Noah gave up trying to salvage the sports section, and settled back in his chair.  “Yes, Dear”, he said.  “Gonzo and his elephant friend must have found the Frisbee.  You have to give gorillas something to do, you know, and Tiny seems to get along with him well enough.”

     “Just make sure it’s the Frisbee they’re playing with”, Mrs. Noah said.  “Yesterday, I caught them using Timmy for a puck, that poor little turtle.”

     “Yes, that will make him sick”, Noah agreed.  He peered over his glasses at Tiny, who indeed had the Frisbee poised in his trunk; he was getting ready to flick it to the gorilla.  “It’s ok”, he assured his wife.  Then he said, “If Tiny is up here, I wonder where Teeny is?”

     As long as she’s not in my kitchen again”, said Mrs. Noah.  Hearing her name, the elephant came up to Noah from behind his chair, and nuzzled his chest affectionately with her trunk.

     “Hey, I smell peanut butter!” Noah exclaimed.  He sniffed her trunk inquisitively.  “That’s peanut-butter, alright”, he said.

     “Tsk, tsk, tsk“, Mrs. Noah said, wagging her finger at the elephant.  “That means you’ve had your afternoon snack.  No apple for you today.”  Teeny dropped her trunk and dragged it along the floor as she left the room.

     Mrs. Noah polished the last apple and gave it to the zebra.  “Now, take this back to your room”, she said.  The zebra took it gently in his mouth and trotted happily away with it down the hallway.

      “Well, look who’s here!” Noah said, surprised.  Two giraffes sauntered into the entryway and began nibbling on Mrs. Noah’s houseplants, hanging from the ceiling.  Noah jumped up to rescue them.

     “ The storm must be clearing”, Mrs. Noah said.  “Let them out, Sweetheart, before they get into my plants.”

     Noah was already opening the massive double doors.  “Too late”, he said, waving them outside.  “Not much harm done, though.”

     “It sounds like your TV. set is back on”, Mrs. Noah said.  At the sound of the TV, two monkeys clambered into the room and went straight to Mrs. Noah.  “How do they know when it’s snack time?” she said.  “I was just going to call them.”

     “They hear the Jeopardy theme song at four o’clock “, Noah said.  “Why don’t you move your plants in here, where we can keep an eye on them?” he asked, easing himself back into his chair.

     “Because Troubles and Pickle play hide-and- seek around them and knock the dirt out of them.”  Hearing their names, the monkeys held out their hands for their snack.  Mrs. Noah gave them each a banana, which they peeled halfway back.  Instead of eating them, they held them back up to her and gave her their best smiles.

     “I’m sorry, there’s no peanut butter for your bananas today”, she said.  “You’ll have to eat them plain.”  Their smiles drooped.  “I’ll open another jar tomorrow”, she promised.  They nudged each other and left the room, playing “tag”.                                                                                                                                                                             

     “Did you hear that?” Noah said, turning the volume down on the TV set.  He cocked his ear, listening.


     “Uh, oh”, Noah said.  “It sounds like Scratch is playing with poor old Bessie’s tail again.  I’d better

give him something else to do before Bessie gives him a kick.  Now where’s that string from the newspaper?”

     “Honey”, Mrs. Noah said, “while you’re down there, can you bring me back a pitcher of milk?  It’s almost dinnertime for us.”   She placed an empty metal pitcher on the dining room table.

      Noah heaved himself out of his recliner with a sigh.  “Why didn’t I build Bessie’s stall next to the kitchen?” he said.  “That way, I wouldn’t have to go up and down the stairs all day.”

     “Because of the smell, Dear.”

     Just then, a female peacock sauntered across the room, heading for the entryway.  “Oh, no!” Noah said.  “Peabody will be right behind her.  Help me grab your knick-knacks.”  They both snatched up all the little glass ornaments on the living room table.

     “Just in time!” Noah said.  The male peacock appeared around the corner and waddled anxiously after his mate.  His tail feathers were splayed open, sweeping everything in their path.

     “I hope they get this courtship phase over with soon”, said Mrs. Noah.  She shoo’d them out into the entryway with her apron.  “If he breaks one of these Hummel’s my grandmother gave me, I’m going to turn him to a feather duster.”

     Noah chuckled as he carefully replaced the figurines on the kitchen table, while his wife returned to the kitchen to count her apples.

     “I have one extra apple”, she said.  “Should I give it to Squeak and Eek, or to Pewy?”

     “I’d give it to the skunk, if I were you”, Noah replied.

     As she bent down to give Pewy his snack, Mrs. Noah noticed a tiny shadow flicker across the kitchen floor.  She looked towards the ceiling and saw two moths dancing merrily with each other around the bare light bulb.

     “Are those two at it again?” she said.  “Honey, you’d better shear our sheep soon, before Flit and Flutter make a nest out of them.”

     “Yes, Dear”, he said, as he took the pitcher off the table and headed for the cow’s stall downstairs.  “Never a dull moment around here.”