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It’s the Pitts: Junior Con Artists

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Let me ask readers some questions, and I want honest answers. Don’t hold back. 

Do I look like an idiot? Do I have the word “sucker” written on my forehead? And is it visible to everyone but me? 

Here’s the reason I ask.

As readers may or may not know, 4-H and FFA kids will do almost anything to get a buyer at the fair for their project animals. And apparently, some rare juvenile delinquents are not above running a con. 

I was walking past the lamb pens at our local county fair during sucker season when I noticed a sad beast with pleading, soulful eyes and a watery nose. I am not referring to a lamb but the kid in the straw with it. The nine-year-old boy, whom I knew, was hugging the lamb as tightly as he could.

“Is that you Billy? That’s a good looking little lamb you have there,” I said.

“Oh, thank you Mr. Pitts. I’ve raised her since her mother abandoned her at birth. I call her Ali Baa Baa, and she’s such a nice lamb I sure wouldn’t want to sell her and be responsible for her death. You wouldn’t buy Ali would you? She could run and play with the rest of your sheep and maybe she’d have good babies for you?” he replied.

One look at Ali Baa Baa convinced me she was not breeding ewe material – Southdown sheep haven’t been in fashion since Truman was president – but I couldn’t get the sorrowful sight out of my head. 

Every time I went through the lamb barn at our fair, Billy was there clutching his lamb and crying his eyes out. 

I’m a real softy, so when the day of the Junior Livestock Auction came I was sitting in the front row. Little Billy led Ali Baa Baa into the sale ring, and the bidding started at a buck a pound. 

Evidently I was not the only one who felt sorry for the pitiful kid and his lamb because the bidding quickly rose to five dollars per pound. I didn’t understand why this lamb would be worth so much more than the rest, her Southdown breeding and all, but every time I thought about not bidding another crocodile tear would roll down Billy’s face.

I was $800 poorer, but the warm feeling in my heart was compensation enough. However, the warm feeling quickly defrosted. 

Ali Baa Baa turned out to be one disgusting creature. She bawled all night and was always underfoot, trying to suck my kneecap, and the warm glow I had experienced turned out to be caused by a stab to the heart. 

When I attended the buyer appreciation dinner, Billy and his father were unaware I was in a restroom  stall when they came in to wash up.

“Boy, we sure nailed Pitts didn’t we?” chuckled  Billy’s father.

“Yeah, we pulled his leg of lamb! Ha, ha, ha,” said Billy. “Every time I saw old Pittsy coming by my pen, I would jump in with Ali, hug her and look as sad as if you had cut off my allowance. I almost felt sorry for him.”

“I know what you mean,” said Billy’s father. “I could barely keep from laughing myself, and I don’t think he ever caught on it was me bidding him up.”  

“That was real smart Billy, putting the tack in your shoe while you were in the sale ring. Those tears of pain looked like genuine tears of sorrow. I’m real proud of you son,” his father continued.

The two con artists were laughing at my expense as they left the latrine.

Later that night, they put on their sorrowful expressions and came over to personally thank me for buying Ali Baa Baa. 

“We sure do want to thank you for giving Ali a good home,” said the father. “I don’t know if little Billy could stand the thought of having poor Ali killed.” 

Then, Little Billy got a real concerned look on his face – which I think was genuine – and asked, “By the way, how is Ali?”

I took one look at the two disgusting creatures in front of me and replied, “Deeeelicious!”

Who says revenge doesn’t taste sweet?

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