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By Staff | Oct 7, 2016

It’s been said that you only hurt those who are closest to you. Don’t I know it.

I recently visited a dairy farm on a rainy and dreary Friday. As I clambered out of the car to chat with the dairy farmer I decided, on the spur of the moment, to invite my personal assistant to come along.

She normally stays behind during such visits, whiling away the time by downloading my emails, taking phone messages and generally keeping everything up-to-date.

I thought that my personal assistant might like to tag along and snap some photos or shoot some video as the dairy farmer and I talked. It would have to be less boring than sitting alone in the car.

I yakked with the dairy farmer and his family for more than an hour. Only when I climbed back into my car did I notice that something was amiss. My personal assistant. Where was she?

Panic boiling in my throat, I scrambled out of the car and asked the dairy farmer if he had seen her. Nope. Surmising that she must have gotten lost during our tour of the sprawling dairy farm, we retraced our steps. Nothing.

A jagged blade of fear tore through my gut as our search grew ever-more frantic. How could this happen?

After what seemed like hours of scouring the farmstead – it was actually only a few minutes – the dairyman shouted the words I longed to hear, yet also dreaded: “I found her!”

He was standing beside a deep mud puddle near my car. I followed his silent gaze down to muddy blob lying at his feet.

It was her. But was she alive? Could she have survived being submerged for such a long time?

I reached down with a trembling hand and flipped her over. I wiped the mud from her face and was met by an unrecognizable fractured horror.

But then a miracle. She woke up. She was still among the living. I carried her tenderly into the dairy farmer’s shop where we administered first aid in the form of powerful blasts of air from his industrial air compressor.

I reconstructed the catastrophe in my mind’s eye. She had obviously slipped and fallen into the mud puddle as we exited the car. I then added insult to injury by unintentionally stepping on her.

During our long drive home, I couldn’t outrun the searing pain of shame over my clumsiness. I tearfully recalled all the fun times we had shared. I thought about the many facets of my life she had memorized.

How she knew all my favorite songs and would often croon me to sleep at night. How she would always remind me of upcoming birthdays and was uncannily accurate when it came to predicting the weather.

Even though her communication skills were greatly reduced, she still tried to talk to me. Maybe it was wishful thinking, but I thought I detected a note of forgiveness in her perky little voice.

After arriving safely at home, I gave her what aid I could. Nothing I did seemed to help. As the evening wore on, her condition deteriorated. She began to repeat over and over, “What can I help you with?” followed by, “Go ahead, I’m listening.”

It broke my heart to realize that even in the her darkest hour, her only thoughts were of me.

I was ruminating about the fleeting nature of life when I was struck by an idea. Maybe I could save her by cloning her.

The first step down this perilous path would be to conduct a mind meld similar to that which Spock might perform during an episode of “Star Trek.”

I wouldn’t personally meld with her; that would be creepy.

But perhaps I could somehow make a copy of her via the internet. After endless hours of Googling, I believe I managed to create a digital replica of her essence.

The next morning I spirited her off to a facility that specializes in handling emergencies like ours. I cradled her tenderly as we waited and could feel the fever that was raging through her tiny body.

It finally became our turn with the specialist. Choking back bitter tears, I pleaded, “Please. You have to save her.”

The specialist let out a low whistle. “She looks pretty bad,” he muttered. “What happened?”

I gave an emotional recounting of the previous day’s calamity.

“I don’t think there’s any hope for her,” pronounced the specialist. “Tell you what, though. For a hundred bucks, you can go home with this fresh new one.”

I immediately accepted his proposition. After all, who could refuse such an enticing offer for a saucy new iPhone?

Nelson is a freelance writer from Volga, S.D. Reach him by e-mail at jjpcnels@itctel.com.

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