Saturday, February 9, 2013

Life Lessons 16: Night

The darkness had settled in several hours ago, which at this time of year meant it was just cool enough outside that Dani felt snug in her light jacket. She had managed to pull it on before quickly following her father outside to where a very drunk Haymitch was squatting among a gaggle of geese.

"Haymitch," her father called to get the man's attention. "What are you doing out here? It's almost eleven o'clock at night."

Haymitch looked up at the moon that was gaining height in the sky before replying sarcastically, "Is it really?" He turned his attention back to the goose he'd been inspecting. Dani really had no idea what he was doing. Haymitch didn't usually bother the geese when he was drunk, and he never bothered to actually touch them drunk or sober. "How did you even know I was out here? Been spying on me?" Haymitch sent her father a glare, and Dani wasn't sure whether it was meant to be a joke or not.

She could just barely make out her father's eye roll in the dark. "We were watching a movie in the living room. Katniss spotted you through the window."

Haymitch muttered the word "movie" in distaste. "With the kids?" He motioned at Dani who had kept herself a few paces behind her dad. "As you pointed out, it's pretty late. Isn't it past their bedtime?"

Dani was surprised Haymitch thought she needed to be in bed. He usually didn't pay much attention to those sort of things.

"Nickel fell asleep on the couch, and Dani was about to fall asleep when Katniss spotted you." Peeta informed him. "Besides, it's the summer. Staying up late won't hurt them."

Haymitch grunted and turned back to the goose. "Haymitch," her dad caught the drunks' attention again. "What are you doing?"

It took Haymitch a second to respond. "I think this goose is sick. I'm giving him a check up."

This caused both Peeta and Dani to look slightly amused. "Since when do you know how to care for geese other than tossing them the occassional meal?" Peeta asked his old mentor.

"It doesn't take a doctor to tell when something's sick," Haymitch growled.

"Of course not," Peeta replied in a slightly mocking voice. "But it does take a certain type of person, namely a vet, to decide just what exactly is wrong with the animal."

"I'm more than capable of taking care of it," Haymitch snapped. "I've only raised this thing since it hatched. I've had plenty of sick geese over the years."

"And most of them were dead within several days," Peeta muttered under his breath. Dani tried to suppress a giggle. Haymitch let his geese breed freely, yet his flock had remained more-or-less the same size since he'd bought the first batch, all because so many ended up dying prematurely. It was definitely a case of survival of the fittest. Whichever goose was able to get the most of their meager nurishment got to survive the longest.

Haymitch didn't seem to know what to do with the goose now that it had been inspected. Regardless of his assertions otherwise, Haymitch had no idea how to heal the animal.

"Right," Haymitch stood, goose in hand. "I'll go take care of him in the house. See you later." With that, Haymitch marched back inside with the goose, sqwuaking loudly, under one arm.

Dani turned to her father and saw him attempting to suppress a grin. He looked down at her, and they shared a small laugh before heading back into their own home. Dani was already planning to run over to Haymitch's house the next morning to see just what his "diagnosis" of the goose had been.

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