Rogue

“Farming Control, this is Kathleen speaking.  How may I help you?”

“Yeah, hi… um, Kathleen.  I’m calling to report a rogue tractor in the field by my apartment.”

“Okay.  Can I get your name please and the location of the field?”

“Junior Clayton.  The field is right next to my building.  It’s got a lot electrical poles along it.  Isn’t that something that attracts them?  All those electrical poles?”

“Mr Clayton, what is the address of your home?”

“Oh, um… 1234 West Farthest Avenue.”

“Okay.  And the city?”

“Oh yeah, heh heh.  That would help, huh?”

“It’s okay, Mr Clayton, rogue tractor sightings tend to excite people.”

“I’m in This City.  Do you need the zip code?”

“That would be helpful.”

“55555.”

“Thank you.”

“So, those electrical poles.  Are they what could be attracting the tractor?  I hear about tractors in this field all the time, I just never saw one until today.”

“Electrical poles are a possibility.  Tractors have become something of an enigma when it comes to what attracts them.”

“An enigma?  Isn’t that like saying you just don’t know?”

“Well, the first documented rogue tractor was in 1901 in Iowa where the first tractor was invented.  At the time, people speculated that the machine didn’t have a taste for corn.”

“Really?  And what did that one eat?”

“All tractors eat gasoline Mr Clayton.  Rogue or domestic they all eat the same thing.”

“Oh, I guess that makes sense.  So what makes them go rogue?”

“That one in Iowa seemed to prefer mowing wild flowers as opposed to corn.  It was eventually caught and rehomed to Colorado in the National Forest.  Last I heard, it is still there but it only mows once or twice a year now.”

“I don’t think there are a lot of wild flowers in the field here.”

“It may not be a rogue tractor, sir.  I will need to check our resource files to be sure, but  it’s possible there are domestics being worked there.  Electrical poles are usually a sign that the field is marked for maintenance.  What time did you see the tractor?”

“Oh, it was around lunch time.  I was home walking my Daschund so, it had to have been between twelve-thirty and one o’clock.”

“That helps.  The domestics usually work in the morning, before the sun gets too hot.  They are trained to avoid mowing when the under-lying grasses would be exposed to excessive heat.”

“So the one I saw could really have been a rogue!”

“It’s possible.  I don’t want to get your hopes up before we have had a chance to investigate.”

“If it’s a rogue, how do your guys catch it?  Do you have tractor traps?”

“Traps are one way.  It’s expensive to repair the tires on a tractor once we use traps so they are reserved for extreme circumstances.  And the traps don’t always work.”

“They don’t?  How many times have they not worked?”

“Off the top of my head I can think of only four times when rogues were lost after the use of traps.  Three in Wisconsin and one in Illinois.”

“Well, that’s good to hear.  Does This State have anything notable about rogue tractors?”

“Not really.  This State is pretty low on the analysis list.  We don’t get a lot of calls from your area about rogues.”

“That makes me feel better.  How dangerous can a rogue tractor be?  Should I be worried about walking my dog?”

“There hasn’t been a case of a rogue tractor preferring to mow living beings since 1945.  That was only one tractor and it was successfully captured and dismantled.”

“Dismantled?  That sounds extreme.”

“Well, once a tractor gets a taste for blood it’s really better for everyone if it’s just dismantled.  Don’t you think?”

“I suppose.  It just seems so harsh.  I mean, we built them in the first place.  If it wasn’t for us even making them then they wouldn’t exist at all, right?”

“It’s a common political standoff Mr. Clayton.  Everyone has a side they like to stand on.”

“I guess.”

“Okay, I think we have all the information we need.  I’ll escalate your sighting up to the investigators and we’ll figure out what’s going on in your field.”

“Thank you.  I appreciate you taking this seriously.”

“We take all sightings seriously, Mr. Clayton.  Rogue tractors are nothing to be ignored.”

“How will I know if it was a rogue?”

“You probably won’t ever know for sure.  If it’s a rogue it will be captured and rehomed.  Unless you happen to be there when Farming Control collects it, you won’t know.”

“Oh.  You don’t send out a letter or something?  An email even?”

“No sir.”

“Okay then.  I guess that’s all.”

“Have I helped you with your issue, Mr. Clayton?”

“Yes.”

“Would you be willing to rate our encounter on a scale of one to ten as to your level of satisfaction?”

“Sure.  I will rate it as an eight for overall satisfaction.  You’ve been very helpful, Kathleen.  I just wish I could know if it was a rogue for sure.”

“I understand Mr. Clayton.  We get that a lot.  Thank you for your rating and you have nice day.”

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