"Come on, troublemaker," she said, patting Shemp's trunk about halfway to his face. "Let's show the kiddies you're not going to eat me, okay?"
Not that she had any hope the big goof would listen, but there was always a first. Bergen picked up her wheelbarrow, clipped the rake, shovel, broom, and pan into place, and headed for the edge of the arena to face the children.
She strained her ears for the soft thuds of those big, flat feet on the packed dirt and concrete of the arena. Maybe Shemp did follow her for a dozen steps or so. The rising shrieks from the children seemed to confirm that, but just about the time she thought she could consider a job as an elephant trainer, that sense of air pressure behind her faded. Slowing, she glanced over her shoulder. Yep, Shemp had turned aside to examine the remnants from the latest bale she had brought into the arena. Sighing, she continued to the edge of the trench. Before she could wrack her brains for something to say to the children, they deluged her with questions. Bergen had to laugh at some of them, but she fought not to. The children were so serious, no matter how silly they were.
Was she an elephant doctor?
Did she speak to elephants?
Did she get to wear sparkly tights at night and ride on the elephants' backs?
Did she have to be a doctor to work with the elephants?
Did she get to sleep in the elephant house with them?
Bergen nearly gagged at that thought. She could barely breathe when she went into the elephant house to clean up the floor. Sleep in there? Only if she wanted to suffocate and smell like elephant for the next week. She didn't dare say that, though.
What was in the wheelbarrow?
She showed them, tipping it forward so everyone could see.Amid the chorus of disgust and awe for the mere size of the "patties," one little boy asked if he could have some to take home for a souvenir. From the look on his face, he was suitably impressed, and probably thought her job was the coolest one in the entire zoo.