I had known Ken Kendall for many years. Always cheerful, a great yarn spinner and very entertaining to listen to, I found that whenever I was in a pensive mood, meeting him always made me laugh and forget whatever stress I was under. Tall, somewhat overweight, but in a pleasant way, he had the ruddy face of a country lad rather than a city slicker’s. Plus, he had the widest grin in the country, with only his ears to stop his face from splitting.
‘Will you have a cup of coffee with me, Ken?’ I was enjoying the prospect of a good yarn and was not to be disappointed.
‘Alright, Peter.’ He sat down comfortably whilst I ordered him a coffee. ‘I arrived here this morning and have to work my way across the towns along the border with NSW. Which way are you headed?’
‘I have to work my way back to Melbourne, Ken. There is some business to attend to here which I will have finished by tonight.’
Knowing that Ken was privately a keen breeder of dogs and had won numerous prizes by participating in the many dog shows in the country, I steered the conversation to this subject.
‘And how are your dogs doing, Ken? Any recent successes?’
To my amazement, he became suddenly very serious and nearly swallowed his coffee the wrong way.
‘Don’t ask me about that’, he stated, ‘I have had a terrible disappointment recently and suffered great embarrassment which I won’t be living down for a long time! I don’t wanna talk about it.’
Knowing Ken well, I just looked at him in expectation. He was going to tell me the details any moment now and it would be a real yarn! And perhaps it would be a funny story. But I had to help things along. ‘Come on, Ken, you can tell me? You know I love animals; you can confide in me!’
‘Oh, I don’t know, really . . . alright! This is what happened to me.’
I quickly ordered two more capuccinos as he began filling me in.
‘Yes, Peter, like I said, I had a great disappointment at a recent dog show. You know that I breed pedigree dogs and have won a number of prizes with them. Well, I have this beautiful dog and groomed him for an upcoming dog show, confident of winning a prize. Unfortunately, I noticed that the dog had only one testicle, which disqualifies him from any dog show. These dogs have to be perfect! So, I spoke with my veterinary surgeon who explained to me that sometimes one testicle remains in the body.
‘”But we can do something!” he said. “Why don’t you let me give him a silicon implant, the same size as his other testicle - it’s only a very small incision and practically invisible. Nobody will know any difference. And you can show him and win prizes!” Anyway, that’s how my vet talked and I really thought ‘beauty, I’ve solved the problem!’
‘And, what happened? Did it work?’ I was at the edge of my seat.
Ken, who quickly sipped another mouthful, suddenly assumed an expression as if he had just tasted lemon juice.
‘Well, yes and no’, he continued. ‘I had that silicon testicle implanted and the dog looked terrific. Nobody was any the wiser.’
‘And? Did you win a prize with this dog?’ I asked slightly breathless with suspense.
‘Let me finish the story,’ he reprimanded and continued. ‘On the day of the dog show, when the judges came to judge my dog, he was on a high pedestal, with the spotlights trained on him. It got really quiet as everybody’s eyes were riveted on the judges and on my pedigree dog. And then the scandal broke. The judges found that the bloody dog had three testicles! Peter,’ he touched my forearm, ‘it was terrible. I’ll never hear the end of this.’
I doubled up with laughter and wiped the tears from my eyes.
Ken spread his hands disarmingly ‘Honestly, Peter, how could I have known that the thing stuck in his body would suddenly drop overnight. And it did so just in time for the show!’