"Taking you on, Rosco and Rusty-you rambunctious, naughty Clydesdales," Straight Stan the emu man flopped to the ground panting. "All of this is Ryn Shell's fault. As if the pair of them draft horses weren't bad enough together—"
"Sure! Great swollen heads, just because she painted them and they ended up in the Fine Art America Gallery. Twisted Ted screeched to a halt beside emu Stan sending red dust flying.
"Badly, misbehaving." Stan stretched his long neck upward to scan the distant horizon. "
"We were warned about Rosco." Ted scratched around seeking a stone free area to make up the bed.
"He got kicked off the The Carlton and United Brewery's display team for misbehaving." Stan's eyes gleamed with mirth. "That's my favourite Ryn Shell painting,"
"WHAT! A portrait of those rascals...you..." Ted gasped, "...you'd hang a picture of Rosco and Rusty on our favourite tree?"
"No, that one where they are being unloaded from the truck—getting kicked off the team. I love that one." Stan's feathers quivered as a thrill of delight rushed through him. "He got caught dealing grass. I had Ryn Shell put that portrait on a weekender tote, so that I could drag it through the dust."
"Good one! Ted said. "I'd ordered a make up tote with that picture on it, to send to President Trump, as a sort of make up gesture from us gay couples.
"He's got some good ideas." Stan fluttered his gorgeous eyelashes at Ted. "I've been thinking. We could build a wall between us and Rosco and Rusty and the bounty hunters and get them to pay for it."
"Any sign of the bounty hunters?" Ted twisted his head, his eyes doing a 360 degree scan of the Australian landscape.
Should be safe to rest for a bit. Stan scratched the red dust to create a comfy king size bed for the two of them.
"Anyhow, you are blaming the wrong person for all our woes," Ted watched Ned appraise the bed he'd made in the dust and happily settled into it. "It's all the fault of that proofreader, author guy, Grant Leishman. He wrote us into this mess in Rosco and Rusty. Ryn would never do anything to hurt us."
"Maybe she'll come and write us out of the problems Grant wrote us into." Stan settled comfortably to the ground. "Come and relax. When you learn to accept instead of expect, you'll have fewer disappointments."
"Ah, but I'll not accept what should be changed." Ted tried for a 720 degree neck twist and ended up in a knot. Slowly unraveling he said, "I only accept what cannot be changed. That's why I won't listen to the prejudice talk about all yellow and orange tops being murderers and rapists who should be deported. My mother taught me that to hear and see prejudice in others, without having the courage to say, 'I do not agree,' is to be as bad as that prejudiced person because you consent to prejudice by your silence. In that one area, my mother taught me well."
"Your mother didn't mind the headgear that cockatoos wear?" Stan asked. "I heard some galah saying it should be banned."
"Tell me who said that and I'll I see it as my moral responsibility to use my gift of writing to educate for positive change. Assisting others to achieve something positive allows me to sleep well, not disappointed in myself." Ted took a deep breath and rattled his tail. "I will not accept what needs to be improved, and I've never known a day's boredom or depression (disappointment) in my many years as a respected emu man."
"Come to bed, Stan."
Stan leapt straight into the air for a clearer view. "T Shirts on the horizon," he shouted.
Ted wiggled deeper into the dust bed. "That'll just be Ryn Shell with her proofreader Grant Leishman to write us out of this advertorial. My father's feathers would curl if he knew I was promoting paintings of—of—" Ted gulped. "Those things with the grotesque big heads."
"Clydesdales." Stan stared down his long beak at Ted. "I thought you were against prejudice."
"Point taken," Ted grimaced. "There's a lot of double standards happening. I think the whole world is a bit confused right now. Even the—"
"No time for that now, Ted. Grab your tote—let's go. More of them Ryn Shell art image T shirted people are appearing on the horizon. They might be environmentalists—big brother government wanting to tag us. They could even be Gray Nomads, but—"
Ted rose, shaking off the duvet dust. "It might be the posse Rusco and Rusty sent after us. Let's grab our fine art decorated totes and go!"
"Well—" Ted waited, tapping his claws. "Well! What's she say?"
"It's hopeless." Stan put the phone on the portable battery charger.
"What? The phone battery's flat?"
"No." Stan grimaced. "She's waffling again. Ranting on about Facebook security. Haven't a hope of getting her attention today. We are on our own."
"What's got under her bonnet this time?" Ted started packing his tote. A worm for snacks, a lizard for supper, a cute legless snake for entertainment, a beetle—the best fidget spinner ever.
Stan shook his head. "Some waffle she's writing on a friend's Facebook profile about. 'You are too trusting. You are a good person, so you take these quizzes on face value that someone nice has set this up for an innocent reason. Not so. These are here for a commercial purpose to earn the app maker money.
When you use these apps, you give them access to your details that you gave Facebook when you signed up. Do you want these unknown people having your full name, address, email address and maybe the phone number? That is the only purpose these apps have in creating these quizzes is to get you to give them access to your private details-which you do when you use them. They then sell those details to anyone who will buy them. Your email address gets sold to spammers, phishing tricksters, or may receive viruses as all sorts of unauthorised parties gain access to it, via your using these quizzes-apps. Loads of scammers on Facebook looking innocent like this. Set your skepticism guard higher and protect who gets your private details of everything you only share on private settings along with your full name and email address.' I ask you, Ted, how are two emus supposed to compete with Facebook for a writer's attention?"
"All that—without coming up for breath?" Ted's eyes popped wide open.
Stan nodded. "Yes—humans! The world would be a better place without them."
"Don't be mean, Ted. I thought we were going to be above racial superiority and stuff."
"Well, this stuff that's happening over there—it's getting to me." Stan blinked. "I'm just a sensitive man. That stuff about transsexuals not being fit to hold certain jobs hurts."
"What jobs can't they do?" Ted asked.
Stan grimaced. "Trump says they can't be in the army. He said, he will not allow transgender individuals to serve in the United States military in any capacity."
"But, I thought they'd be good fighters," Ted said "Didn't Trump imply they were too dangerous to be in allowed into the public toilet of their choice, or something like that." Ted reached a comforting claw to Stan. "It doesn't concern us—none of our business—look away."
Stan grunted much as a pig might. "It does affect us. Don't you see that? In his eyes, we are trans—transvestite emu men." He twirled his voluminous body around, creating a dust devil. "Well? I ask you? All our kind would be run out if the world was full of people like that. They only want folks that look and act like them. I mean—do I dress like a male or a female?"
"I can't tell the difference unless you grunt, or whistle to chicks," Ted said.
"That's exactly right," Stan said. "You and I both dress in the same feathers female emus wear, or they dress like us. If it wasn't for their booming sound, rather like a bass drum—"
"I think female emus make a sound like a noisy heart beat," Ted said. "It's comforting. I don't care that they cross-dress exactly like us. Actually—that's comforting too—in means they approve of our taste in feathers.
But we are still cross-dressers," Stan said. "Some humans will say that makes us trans-whatever and unfit to defend our home territory."
Ted furrowed his brow.
"What are you thinking Ted?
Ted scratched his head. "Do you think that's why they put a bounty on us emus—because they believe that we are trans-whatever emus?
"Could be." Emu Stan nodded. He gulped. "I feel that we've been tackling this problem in society all wrong. We've been running from the problems."
Ted nodded thoughtfully. "Sticking our head in the sand like bl..."
"Let's not go stereotyping ostriches—they never did us any harm." Stan straightened his neck with pompous pride.
Ted watched as the group of humans reached the edge of the wildlife reserve that he and Stan had run to for shelter. "What do you propose we do about this whole mess? What do we do about big bullies like Rosco and Rusty having it in for small minority groups?"
"Well.." Stan said, "...my mum said that deep down we are all the same and want the same things."
"I've never been a bully in my life." Ted fought the urge to bolt, as the human leading the group studied Ted and Stan through binoculars. "I think it's those bl..."
"No need to swear, Ted."
"Those gray nomads, there..." Ted said. "...do we run?"
"No, I think we should show a little trust." Stan stepped back a pace. "Cautious trust."
Ted drew close to Stan, prepared to run if that strange breed of humans, the Gray Nomads, came too close for comfort. He watched them taking photos and he obliged by posing his neck in a graceful twist. Seeing how that pleased them he murmured, "Give them your straight neck pose, Stan."
"They love us." Stan stretched tall and held for a photo shoot.
Ted swayed his head slowly, which brought "Oohs" and "Ahhs" of delight from the gray haired tourists. "Are you prepared to also trust those bullies Rosco and Rusty?"
"Maybe—I've been thinking—maybe Rosco is sort of like a big misunderstood bloke trying to hide his inadico---inadequacy--inadicacies—" Stan stomped. Where's a proofreader when you need one?
You mean that Grant Leishman-—that author-proofreader man who wrote us into this mess of having a posse after us? You'd trust him too? Ted clicked his beak.
Stan looked thoughtful. Well, I figure it's like this. We cannot change President Trump's opinion of cross-dressers like us. I can't help that Grant chose to love a pair of Clydesdales when he could have fallen in love with you and me. We don't have to accept the things that we don't like. But, it seems that if we become prejudiced against those people and creatures we think are—"
"You mean, we are just as bad as Rosco and Rusty, and President Trump, if we don't trust them?" Ted looked doubtful. "That's a bit far fetched isn't it?"
"We should meet them half way," Stan said.
"I'm not offering my claw," Ted replied. "I've seen those power handshakes."
"Think of it as theatrical entertainment," Stan said. "You have the admit; politics has been pretty boring until now." Stan leaped five foot off the ground. "I've got it."
"What?" Ted studied the air. "I didn't see anything. Where? What?"
Stan clapped his beak with joy. "I'm going to run for President."
"Australia has a prime minister," Ted said disapprovingly.
"But..." Stan said, "...Trump said Australia had a President."
Ted honked with laughter. "He invented fake news?"
Stan nodded. "I think you are right.
Ted patted Stan's wing. "Trump seems to think that those trans-what-ever-that-word-is-that-I-can't-spell-without-a -proofreader aren't fit to fight for their country. Are you fit to fight for your beliefs and your country?"
"I sure am. I'm Stan, the emu man."
"You're a dope!" Ted said. "You're as stupid as a human. Don't you think we should fix our own nest before you take on running a country?"
"What do you suggest?"
"Let's go back and make friends with Rosco and Rusty." Ted brushed the dust off the face of Rosco and Rusty on the weekender tote.
"And the bounty hunters?" Stan asked? "How do we deal with people wanting to run us off the land we want to make our home, and out of the job of grazing, and peaceful home defence that we both love?
"We will negotiate, use reason, educate, petition, and even peacefully protest to bring attention to the the fact that regardless or what gender's plumage we take on we deserve equal rights."
"Ryn Shell is an author and internationally successful award-winning fine artist. Her stories are timeless, her paintings are elegant and beyond fashion"