“Why do I have to do this- there’s machines that can do this for us!”
“Yep, thems is rich boy toys, son. Now shovel it like I told ya.”
Bobby Pushed the shovel into the feed and scattered it in front of the cattle. He was pissed beyond his own comprehension- to the point of tight-lipped silence.
“Ya see, boy, the animals need to know who’s feeding ’em else they’ll go off and give nobody no milk. You have a machine feed ’em and a machine milk ’em who you think they go to when they’re sick or hurt? They sure as hell ain’t going to come to us! You feed ’em, you love ’em, and they’ll love you back and reward you ten times over. Rules of a farmer, ya hear?”
Bobby still hated this, the shovel hurt his hands and the mead smelled almost as bad as the cows themselves. He hated the fact that no matter where he went he stunk of cow and how everyone at school pointed that out to him.
He watched as his father hopped into the tractor. Like his methods it was an older type- actually requiring the farmer to drive it.
“Now boy I’m going out to check up on Jamie, I best be coming back to a pasture of well fed cows ya hear?”
Bobby nodded and his father started the Deere. It had a faint humming to it- though his father had said he’d gotten that fixed- and he could hear it glide over the gravel with its superelastic tires. Bobby did as he was told. As he shoveled the mead and spread it out in front of the stupid oafs, he thought about Syracuse. They would only go there once every month to buy some clothes. He remembered all of the cool restaurants and the game stores with the cool drones and how the mall itself was a giant farm, how all the skyscrapers had trees. It was a green beauty- with all the rich boy toys.
Every time he’d look at something cool or point something out his father would say “that’s not for you, son, thems is rich boy toys“. He grew to hate that. In art classes he’d only draw drones, and on his one hour a day computer time he would look at the google streetview of all of the cities. On the screen there would be beautiful people and ugly people, thousands of them walking from one place to the next. It was so different from out here, where the nearest house was a long walk aways and all of the people spent their free time in front of the TV. He took another shovel full and scattered it. Life would be easier out in those cities. Out there none of the kids has to work, none of them has to lift a finger because all of the drones do things for ’em. Bobby knew that one day he’d make a living out in one of those cities. He would put every penny he would ever make into getting himself into one of those places with all those rich boy toys.
Soon he was done, and the cows mooed and ate as always. He wiped sweat from his brow and walked on out of the barn and into the open field, where the smell assaulted him less. There his father stood facing away from him and looking up toward the sky.
“You know why I make you work son?”
“Because that’s what we do in the country?”
“No, son, because I want to give you what it takes to be one of those rich boys. Life out here is the breeding grounds for the people who grow up and do great things, just as much as it is the breeding grounds for those who don do too much with their lives.
“Sure thing out in the city you’ll get your successful and unsuccessful. But you get far more of the latter. Out here a mind has time to think and a body has the time to grow. Now I’ve taken to looking at you boy, when we go out to thems shops and thems cities- or when you get your computer time. You know what it is you want in life, and I want you to have that. But I’m going to challenge you all the way, boy. Because no boy is becomes a man that didn’t have no adversity in life. Look up, son. There’s a rich boy toy.”
Bobby looked up, and saw the drone, it was faint- but there. His face lit up when he noticed that his father had the controller for it. It floated in the air and buzzed around from side to side. A real rich boy toy.
“When I was a kid we used to call these RC helicopters. Put a camera on them and they’re drones. Ain’t that some shit. Now this one I’ve been testing out to make sure it’d be a good gift for my rich boy son on his birthday. He can take it, but only if he promises to work toward his own, to expect nothing from his daddy and mommy when hard times come. We’re gonna fight and moan and bitch about a lot of things, kid- but that’s all a part of growin’. You take this drone, you lose computer time- and you give up on all TV. You take this drone, you lose your inheritance and gain my respect as you grow into a man.
“You don’t take this drone and you live on the farm the rest of your life. You gain my respect as my son, just like your brother Jamie- but nothing like what you could be- proud of yourself because you chose the harder path. The choice is yours Bobby.”
His father turned and held out the drone’s controller. Bobby’s mouth fell open at the sight of it. He felt confused and incapable of thinking. His father offered Bobby a whole world different from what he had shown him all his life. He thought for a second, looked his father square in the eye, and made his decision.
“Wise choice kid. Happy birthday.”
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