Ticks on the prowl

It’s an expression. Normally it means “perfect, very well, couldn’t be better” or some similar genre—even in Rainy River, where such expressions can have their own warped meaning.
The other morning, the Debating Table at the Bakery was as crowded as usual with an over-capacity crowd jostling for position as coffee refills were sloshed into waiting mugs and orders of well-buttered toast were slammed onto the table by a harried Cookie as she dealt with the usual onslaught.
“I’ll have Red River with an extra peanut butter,” chirped in Moose, who was unusually late to the table. He ducked as Pickle swung the coffee pot over his head making the refill rounds.
“Anybody seen the High Plains Drifter this morning? His motorhome isn’t parked in its usual spot,” I noted as the congregation swung into an in-depth discussion on who this stranger actually might be.
“Well, hope he’s not parked out in the brush or he’ll be covered with these,” stated The Runt, who had paused in the middle of his peanut butter-trowelling routine to deposit a nice active wood tick onto the end of the table.
Pickle sprang into action—whacking it first with his spoon and then his knife.
“Where’d it go now,” he snorted as a dozen pair of eyes searched for the critter.
Everyone at the table started feeling ticks migrating up their pant legs and down their collars, and not too surreptitiously began checking for ticks.
“There it is! On your arm, Elliott!” shouted Pickle, drawing back his knife to whack it again.
I quickly gave the tick a flick that sent it skittering across the top of the table and right into the Runt’s brimming coffee cup. Deftly dipping it out, Pickle and the Runt proceeded to pulverizes it completely before wrapping it in a napkin for later disposal.
At this point, Moose launched into an edifying dissertation on the spread of Lyme disease and how we all were infected, which explained the extreme level of arthritis amongst the assembled.
This is particularly evident from protests voiced when someone requests group assistance on a project requiring bending and lifting—or even getting the pot to pour refills.
“You get these ‘bull’s-eye’ red circles around a bite a day or two after you pulled a tick off your skin,” Moose lectured as he accepted his order of toast and began the peanut butter and jam-trowelling operation.
“Better to not let them get buried in,” he warned. “Check careful and watch for the signs, and get to the Doc right smart.”
“Here’s another one!” came one exclamation.
“Me, too!” squeaked a second as the result of scratching and searching paid off.
Suddenly, Moose’s eyes grew to the size of saucers. He jumped from his chair and, grabbing his crotch, dashed into the washroom.
Minutes later he emerged, obvious relief washing across his face.
“Whew! Got ’em! It was latching right onto my privates,” Moose explained as he resumed his attack on his toast.
The only question remaining is who is going to check him out this week for that ‘bull’s-eye’ red circle.