a novel by E.M.Schumacher
Available from either Amazon or Canadian publisher, Pagemaster Publishing;
Excerpt from Secrets, Lies and Rodeo – Chapter One.
1 MIKE’S HORSE TRAILER
These days I guess I’ve pretty much decided that life is still worth living. Just as well I suppose, given the alternative. Though I don’t doubt that some might look at me and figure I’d be better off dead. So what do they know anyway?
Once, a good long while ago, I mostly agreed with their point of view and only held on for the sake of the sparks and snippets of other people’s lives that trickled down to me.
But then I found my friend again. Well, maybe Debbie found me. She was never one to sit idly by waiting for the fires to go out. Pretty soon she had me thinking that I might still be of some use. That I could cobble all the bits and pieces together and pass the tale along.
Back when it all started I thought I’d be telling a simple little story about a horse. That’s all. But it moved right past Rodeo and now I think it belongs to Debbie. Debbie Constanza, her family and her friends.
Still, it all began when that palomino finally made his way into her life.
Debbie didn’t think she’d ever want a horse like him. She had no way of knowing what might follow. All she knew when she first set eyes on Rodeo was that the dark shadow looming over her got rudely shoved aside. There wasn’t any kind of familiar terror that could hold a candle to the primal chill that coursed on down her spine whenever she as much as tried to inch in closer towards the palomino.
It sure upset her at the time. But there’s always a moment when that age old fascination so many of us have with the horse gets tangled up with our all too human instinct for survival. When the awe and wonder that draws us to the animal in the first place turns into something else.
Not fear necessarily, but a clear sense that we can’t always be in control. At least not when we’re on the same side of the fence as some big mountain of an animal is. Maybe we can’t ever really control the mind of another creature, and maybe the power and size of the beast could do serious harm to a body.
It’s a moment that’s clearly universal. It might bring enlightenment to the city person, who really, only ever wanted to catch the briefest glimpse. The most experienced and sensitive horse person, someone who’s spent the better part of a lifetime learning, working with, and growing to understand the mind of the equine might get struck by it too.
This moment, the one I’m going on about here. It sure enough must have given Debbie a good whack on the head to take any of that weight off of her mind, and for sure, most of the rest of them there must have been struck by it too.
No wonder, what with the whole side of Mike Hanson’s new stock trailer sitting in the weeds along side the drive and the big gelding, over sixteen hands and weighing in at about twelve hundred pounds, standing half in and half out of that trailer, his head still anchored firmly, held in place by two wide nylon ties.
The only one of the bunch who would have missed out on the revelation would have been Debbie’s new neighbor, Linda Trent. I’ve almost lost hope for Linda on that one. Personally I don’t think she’ll ever come to enjoy this understanding. But maybe it’s just as well, considering that these days she makes her living with horses.
Everyone else found themselves frozen in the moment. Eyes dulled by shock and surprise. But Linda’s pale blue eyes issued forth icy shards of excitement as she moved closer. That feeling must have lowered all those freckles of hers beneath the surface of her skin until it glowed like white gold under a fine mist of perspiration.
Well that’s what Mike told me anyway. He usually doesn’t wax poetic but there’s not much that goes unnoticed when the boy is ogling what he finds to be a particularly attractive female form. I’d have gotten a whole lot more out of him too, if he hadn’t gone and let himself get so far upset over that stupid trailer.
So while everyone around her took a good hard look at the power of the beast as well as a peek or more at their own mortality, all Linda saw stretched out and working up a lather there in front of her was Everest. Oh yes, the forbidden, unconquerable mountain that resides in every adventuresome soul. The one that gets climbed because it’s there.
Oh he sure would have looked big and bold straining against the ties like that, but poor Rodeo quivered and he longed, I’m sure, for the soft reassuring touch of a woman’s hand.
What with trickles of sweat and dust outlining those powerful muscles of his, I expect even Linda had to shake off the illusion before she finally stepped in and took control.
She wasn’t as quick as people say or as grabby. She knew exactly what belonged to her and what didn’t. So right here I’ll add that there’s no truth to the things folks have been saying about that pretty, petite blonde and our big gentle palomino.
But rumors will grow and get themselves spread around in the most unexpected ways. There’s no point arguing any of them unless I go back some distance here. Back to town a day or so before Mike’s trailer got blown apart and Rodeo finally found the kind of home he’d been wanting all along.