River Joe

July 23, 2022
M-J Kelley's drawing of a Moose named River Joe who appetite gets him stuck in the muck.

River Joe hasn’t figured out his “life’s mission” just yet. But he did figure out his “day’s mission.” And that was to eat Bog Beans. But the Bog Beans were not in the same easy-to-reach spot as they were last time.

Instead, the Bog Beans had moved. And moved and moved one more time. Bog Beans were not ones of easy consensus. However, they finally found themselves in the deepest shallows, as far from the reaches of River Joe as possible. But was it far enough?

“Hmmm, now where are you? Right!” said River Joe. He had spied their floating masse, which lay just beyond the nest of the seldom-seen Blue-eyed Bluey.

Then, with a locked gaze, he began his quick mental calculation based on the deepest of the deepest shallow waters. “Add my height and subtract the antlers,” thought River Joe and then, with a pronounced nod he decided that he could indeed make it to the Beans without going underwater.

So off River Joe set. Sloughing his way through the water, past the bull rushes and water lilies. He had almost reached the Bluey nest when he began to descend into deeper water. This was fine until he noticed the sandy bottom turned to goop, then to sludge. This slowed his procession. He found it harder to lift his hooves off the bottom. With all that sludge stuck on, he began to tire.

And so River Joe began to consider a possible problem. And that was he didn’t reverse. So there was no backing up. Because if he did, he would sit down. And in this situation, that would be no good.

So while standing for a short minute, analyzing this problem, he discovered another and even more precarious issue. He was sinking. “My weight!” He hadn’t factored it in. What a grave miscalculation! And now, River Joe was going down, underwater.

The nearby fish saw the trouble River Joe was in. And though news travels fast underwater, it is not as fast as a Blue-eyed Bluey. In a blink, she flit away to Horseshoe the Lucky Turtle, who was sunning himself on the banks of the Shallows.

Horseshoe had already heard the problem because of the commotion created by the Razorback Bickering Clams. They were heckling poor River Joe.

“Stupid, Moose!”
“Your Mother was rejected by Santa!”
“Serves you right for eating those stinkin’ Beans!”

Horseshoe had heard enough and looked out in River Joe’s direction. Then, seeing only antlers, he simply wished from the bottom of his heart, “Good Luck.”

With that, a rogue wave appeared and hoisted River Joe out of the water onto its crest. Ungraceful as anything, River Joe was carried back to the shoreline and dumped onto the sand sending the Razorback Bickering Clams scattering.

Saved, ever grateful, but embarrassed, River Joe, got up and stomped the goop off his hooves. Bluey flit back to her nest, and the rogue wave being spent was no more.

From a distance, you could hear the ruckus of the Bog Beans. Cheering! Whooping! Waving and high-fiving. Hard to tell, but pretty sure there were a few raspberries thrown in for good measure.

“Nothing worse than a poor winner,” thought River Joe, who now knew his life’s mission. But first to find lunch on land.

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