The light bright sorrel mare with a flaxen mane and tail came to the fence, quickly ate the apple, turned and trotted off neighing and twirling in a delightful display of ‘thanks’! I laughed along with its joy and it pranced around in a circle, eyeing me in my joy.
“Come, ‘Happy’,” I called, and it came to the fence again.
I rubbed ‘Happy’s’ long snout and leaned over the fence and kissed her between the eyes, her tail wagging with delight.
“Would you like me to ride you this afternoon? I’ll ride you bareback and forget that old saddle. Would you like that?”
Happy lifted its regal head in a definite yes.
Wearing sneakers, denims, and a pale blue tee-shirt I put my left foot on the middle wooden crossing on the fence and jumped aboard Happy.
“Okay, Happy, I’ve got your mane, run with the wind and get some exercise.”
Much like a race horse, ‘Happy’ broke and dashed away, accustomed to my near-200-pound weight and knew that I was not worried about her speed. Off she went down into the pasture-land of our 500-acre ranch.
It was a glorious day with clear blue sky and slight zephyr-like breezes as ‘Happy’ galloped, careful not to make sudden turns as I was without benefit of saddle and stirrups and possibly could lose my balance. I gave ‘Happy’ her freedom of direction and hanged on to her mane, leaning forward with my chin almost touching her bobbing head.
There was a stand of trees and a knoll after clearing the pasture and ‘Happy’ took me in that direction. The exhilaration of the ride was what I so badly needed after the argument with Margo over the bills and the money to pay them.
The thing was, we had no financial problems. We had money to live on for the rest of our lives. There was no need to worry, to fret about bills and the paying of them. Margo came from a good solid background of Irish ancestry and instilled in her was sort of frantic penchant for keeping up with and paying monthly bills instantly.
So, we argued to the point of my becoming irritated with the senseless argument and walked away from her as she continued to rail on about the bills.
She would be fine by the time I returned from this Saturday morning gallop, and, definitely, so would I.
On the knoll and now slowed to a canter, ‘Happy’ seemed somehow disturbed by something, “What is it, ‘Happy’? An animal of some kind, a snake? It was as if I expected ‘Happy’ to answer me, but then, I, too, heard the desperate sound that was upsetting her, actually, more a scream some distance away. I tugged at ‘Happy’s’ Mane toward the direction of the scream and headed in that direction.
There, between the trees, a man was assaulting a woman. ‘Happy’s’ baying got the man’s attention as I nudged ‘Happy’ to move faster toward the assault.
When ‘Happy’ slowed, I jumped from the horse and collided with the now standing man, half-dressed and menacing with a knife in his right hand. I dodged one thrust from the knife, and ‘Happy’ weaving head dodged the next thrust…at least, I thought so. But, in my side vision I saw blood running down ‘Happy’s’ neck area. That infuriated me and I rushed, tackled the man, and slammed my fists into his body and face. His knife went flying as kept up my own assault, mindful of the weeping lady and my wounded ‘Happy’.
When the man no longer moved I assumed he was unconscious and rose from his body. Checking on ‘Happy’s’ wound I found it was just a scratch. As I turned toward the lady, she yelled, “He’s getting up.” I turned and with my right haymaker the man went down and stayed down. ‘Happy’ moved over the man and placed a front hoof on his chest.
The lady had stopped sobbing. She told me what happened. She thought he was a nice guy. She met him at a girlfriend’s afternoon party, and he invited her to go for a ride in his new Corvette.
I looked off to the right and there was a shiny white Corvette parked on the shoulder of the farm road. I reached inside the man’s denim left pocket and found the car keys for the Corvette and slipped them into my own pocket.
The young lady was not seriously hurt. ‘Happy’ and I came along just in time. I went to the Corvette and marked the license plate in my head. I got astride ‘Happy’ and pulled the young lady up and behind me. We went back to the ranch house and found my wife standing by the fence with tears in her eyes.
I kissed my wife and introduced the young lady whose name she had not given. Lacy LaGreen was her name, and I knew the family.
I first called the police, gave directions to the man and his car, told them I had his car keys and would give them up when a resolution was made on the man’s assault and/or I would pass them on to the police for their disposition, to relay them on to the man’s family.
The young lady was most thankful to ‘Happy’ and me. Lacy would become both a good friend of my wife and me, but, to ‘Happy’s’ delight, a new riding partner.
The young man would eventually get a reduced sentence of 30-days jail time, and would blame the assault on too much alcohol.
Flash Fiction by Billy Ray Chitwood -October 21, 2018
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