By David Karp
Leo’s getting big, and his prancing around our ranch on Christmastime is getting more and more destructive by the year.
Still, I wouldn’t have it any other way!
I never knew llamas could tell when it was Christmastime, by the way. Well, maybe it’s just Leo. But once he sees us putting up the Christmas tree, it’s like a lightbulb lights up in his head. He puffs up his brown furred chest and jumps around the field out back and knocks over everything in his way. It took me an hour to clean up all the old charcoal from Sofia’s flower beds last week.
I remember when Leo was just a little thing and a little less intrusive. I’ll never forget the look on Sophia’s face when I brought home “A LLAMA”, in her words. I don’t think I’ve seen my daughter so happy in her entire life! Not even in Disneyland, and we take that trip every season just for her!
But it’s mostly for her, to be honest. When Josephine or I have to travel for work and only one of us is at home with Sophia, Leo becomes someone else to have around. Her imagination flows and flows (much like mine when we were younger, believe me. She is very much my daughter when it comes to that). It gives her a little protection in the world in her head. Whenever she is sad, we take Leo for a walk on the paths around the ranch, and it always seems to cheer her up. Hell, it cheers me up too! I mean, it’s a fucking llama!
This thing is full brown fur, nothing else. Beautiful black…uh…hoofs? He always looks like he is in a state of shock with his wide eyes that never seem to blink. Alas, he is never scared or mean. In fact, he loves everyone who comes to the ranch. He met my in-laws for the first time and, I swear, they like him more than me! Rat bastard! Oh well. Can’t exactly return him. I just drove past the breeding farm we got him at just north up 17 in Black Canyon City with Josephine last week. Closed for GOOD. Didn’t survive the pandemic two years ago.
Wow, has it already been two years? Fucking time flies, man.
Josephine has been enjoying Leo’s company just as much as my daughter. She’s been trying to get him to jump. She’ll hold out some carrots and have him chase her with a hop over this pipe that’s sticking out of the corner of the field. Only goes up to our knees, so not a big deal for her. But Leo? Won’t be caught dead jumping over it. Flocks right on by with that llama smugness; head up in disapproval!
Oh well. Guess you can’t teach an old llama new tricks. Or I guess a new llama old tricks. Who knows. He knows how to spit though! I’ve caught a few lugies from the bastard. Sofia laughs every time without fail.
Oh, and you’ll like this. We don’t really have a dog house for llamas so he sleeps next to the Solara in the garage. I didn’t pick it! I used to leave him on a long rope in the field. But one night a month or so back, I see he nibbled right through the damn thing and when I went to the car to get ready to look for him, he was sitting right there next to it, whistling with every breath he took in his slumber. Now he wanders in there for every nap so I just let him do it. And yes, the Solara is still running.
So when are you gonna get your ass out here and visit us? Finally meet Sophia. And this llama too, I suppose.
I think you would agree with Josephine. This llama is the perfect pet for me. Remember when we’d always joke about me ending up with a llama one day? I can hear you laughing even as I write this. Looks like it all came full circle.
And I suppose that makes you Leo’s uncle, ay?
You’d like him. He’s a cheeky bastard, but then again, so am I.
Miss ya, man. Life is good out here. Hope it’s a sunny Christmastime over there in Miami! One of these days, we’ll have to get together Christmas week somewhere and go out drinking on Christmas Eve like we used to, llama jokes and all.
This time, with our families along for the ride. Never thought I’d say that.
Then again, never thought I’d actually own a llama so hey, I guess anything can happen!
Merry Christmas brother!
Writing Exercise: “My Pet” by Alison Lurie
HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YA!!!!!! PEACE AND LOVE- David Karp