“Dad,” Clara called as I walked past her bedroom.
“Yes?” I leaned through the door.
She was laying on her bed staring up at the ceiling, deep in thought. Her eyes were being crowded shut by her furrowed eyebrows and her lips were pushed off to one side. It was a second or two before she was ready to say what she had called me into her room to say. “Okay, so how much does a horse cost and how much does a cow cost?”
“What do you mean? Like in general? To buy or take care of?”
“Yeah, to buy… just like,” she looked at me finally and shrugged her shoulders into her pillow. “A normal old horse and a normal old cow?”
“Well, I don’t really know. But I could maybe find out pretty quick.” I pulled out my phone and started typing some text into a search bar. “Why? Are you in the market to buy a horse or a cow.”
She raised her eyebrows and diverted her eyes mysteriously. “Just how much do they cost?”
“Okay, so it says here that horses can get pretty expensive depending on what their breed is and such, but a regular horse that someone like you or I could buy is like… I don’t know, $5,000.”
“Hmmm,” she nodded. “and a cow?”
“A cow would be…” I waited for my phone to load the new results. “Oh, about $2,000? I think that’s for a girl cow, of course.”
Now one of her eyebrows shot upward and the other crept back down to close her right eyes. “Oooohh. I see. Yes, that’s very good!”
“What’s very good? What is all of this about?”
“I’m just thinking about business stuff. I’m not going to buy a cow or a horse or anything. But I WAS thinking about how cows and horses look very similar, and I wondered which would be a better business plan, disguising a horse to look like a cow or disguising a cow to look like a horse.”
She looked at me squarely, “It’s disguising a cow to look like a horse. That’s the better deal. You could make over double your profit that way, and all it takes is getting your cow really skinny and maybe putting a saddle on it or something.”
“That is a terrible business idea. And it’s not very honest.”
“Oh,” she frowned, “I would never do it. I was just curious is all.”
“Sure… Okay. Just… huh…” As I left the room she was staring up at the ceiling again. Still thinking. Still planning something in that little head of hers. A cowgirl used car salesman changing all of the hood ornaments on the lot from Pintos to Mustangs and hoping nobody is wise enough to notice.