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A short story by Emma Carpenter.

Something Interesting - Page 2 of 2

......continued from page 1

Except for a few divots in the grass, the wire that was everywhere, and a couple of crashed picture frames, Bill, Danny, and the bull had gotten by so far without doing any real damage. It would have all ended a lot better if it hadn’t been for the cherry tree.

Just as Bill was getting ready to dally he looked up to see the bull fly past a small cherry tree, lovingly planted and mulched in its own spot in one of the backyards. As Blackie streaked alongside the newly planted tree he curved his path a little to the left. By now Bill was dallied, and his rope slid along the 4 inch trunk of that little tree like a hot knife through butter. The top half of the little tree squirted skyward with a popping sound, leaving a piece of the trunk still planted in a bed of carefully pyramided mulch.

Bill pulled the bull to a stop just on the other side of the severed trunk, and as the bull hit the end of the line and turned to face Bill and his horse the top half of the little tree came parachuting gently down. It paused upright for a moment on its nearly flat cutoff trunk, then fluttered to its side halfway down the rope between them, sprawled out across the lawn.

The tree didn’t look all that important to either Bill or Danny, so by their standards this fun little outing had passed “interesting” and turned into a rip-roaring good time. Danny came loping up just as Tiny caught up in the truck, coming to a sliding, gravel-spraying stop on the unpaved road at the edge of the yard. When the back door of the closest house banged open they didn’t know the fun was about to end. Something interesting was about to turn into something terrifying.

A tall, angry woman who didn’t appreciate a rip-roaring good time came flying out of the house, her hair uncombed and still in her housecoat. To this day, Bill still swears she was waving a rolling pin. She stomped barefoot across the grass until she got about halfway to them then stopped, getting up on her bare toes to get a good look across her lawn.

“Did you hurt my tree?” she hollered to any one of the three. Danny instinctively stepped off his horse and stepped between her line of sight and the piece of leafy lumber laying on its side. Tiny hurried to stand shoulder to shoulder beside him.

“Your tree?” Danny said. He looked around the yard like he had never seen a tree in his life and wanted to know what one would look like.

“Yes, my tree. My cherry tree!” The woman was stepping slowly toward them, her shoulders and head hunched forward suspiciously, holding up the front of her housecoat with one hand. “If you hurt my tree you’re going to pay for it!”

Now, I don’t think Bill, Danny, or Tiny minded paying that lady for the tree, but the simple truth was she was scaring them. A lot. Between their combined lack of public relations skills and their fear of a strange, cranky woman in flowery cotton and bare feet, no one could think of a thing to say. Chasing a snorty bull at an all-out run around mobile homes, trampolines, and teeter-totters is a lot of fun until someone comes outside and starts hollering at you for doing a good deed. Really, you just shouldn't frighten a grown man in a cowboy hat like that.

She advanced on them again, tiptoeing forward with her furious scowl forcing sweat beads to pop out on their temples. Danny and Tiny couldn’t take it. They bolted, stampeding in a dead heat for the pickup and the passenger door. They yanked the door open and were side by side when they tried to jump in. They wedged there for a moment, worming and squirming to get the advantage on the other one.

Danny finally edged a shoulder ahead of Tiny, then stretched out and leapt for the driver's side of the seat Superman style, curling up his legs when he landed. Tiny plunged in behind him, slammed the door, and rolled up the window.

Seeing the reaction she was getting, the woman got braver and stormed after them. When she got to Badger, Danny’s abandoned horse, a thought struck her. She spun around and went stomping back toward Bill, who was still sitting on his horse dallied to the bull, trying to be invisible by keeping his mouth shut. When she was almost to him she saw her decapitated tree sprawled out on the lawn and let out a shriek.

“Please, don’t come any closer,” Bill pleaded with her. He was spooked of most strangers even under normal circumstances, and this lady wasn’t looking normal. He moved his horse a little closer to the bull for comfort.

“Really, it’s ok,” he told her. “You need to see the guy in the truck. We’re here for the sale barn, and they’ll pay you for the tree. The guy in the truck’s got a business card of who you’re supposed to call.”

The woman spun on her heel again and went back toward the truck. Inside, Tiny hit the lock and Danny rolled up the other window.

“Give her the card,” Bill called to the truck. Tiny and Danny looked blankly at each other from behind the glass.

“Card!” Bill yelled again. He dropped the reins with one hand and pretended to reach inside his shirt pocket and pull something out. “The CARD!”

Tiny and Danny looked at each other, then Danny suddenly dove his hand inside his shirt pocket and pulled out the sale barn owner’s business card. He passed it to Tiny, who rolled down the window just enough to wiggle the card out. It was August in Oklahoma, but the moment the lady plucked the card from his fingers he rolled the window up tight again. Danny didn’t seem to mind.

When the woman disappeared back into the house Bill, Danny, and Tiny loaded up the bull and headed for the sale barn to drop him off. Once safely away from the scary woman and her decapitated cherry tree, their mood began to lighten a little. After all, they were looking forward to that night's rodeo, and that was something interesting, too.


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Something Interesting - Page 1

Something Interesting - Page 2



 

About The Author

Emma Carpenter and her husband Bill are the owners of the CowboyWay.com website. Emma is the administrator of the website, and when not writing articles for other areas of CowboyWay she enjoys writing the occasional short story.

For many years Bill and Emma maintained a small cow/calf herd while also doing day work for area ranchers in the Kansas Flint Hills. The Carpenters are retired from Carpenter Rodeo Company, a family owned rodeo company that put on rodeos in Kansas and Oklahoma for over 40 years. They still own a small cow/calf herd.

 



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