... And every time I shut my eyelids, visions of that damned one-eyed horse pop into my mind.
Fuck this. It's not like I have to get up and go to work tomorrow. And nobody else is in the house...
Eleven hours of flying, from Dayton, Ohio, into San Luis Obispo, California, via Charlotte, North Carolina, and Phoenix, Arizona. An afternoon with the sister and the boyfriend. With Mom, Dad, and their cocker spaniels stuck in New Mexico, it's just me and the cat house-sitting while they're gone.
And I can't sleep because I can't remember the name of that Connemara pony Mom and Dad bought for my sister and I when we were, oh, still old enough to get excited about having a pony.
I'm still awake because, well, I can't remember something completely insignificant that happened in my childhood, on the other side of the country, in rural Virginia back in the 1980s.
I haven't been back to the farm in five years. And that stupid pony's long dead by now...
After being up for, oh, 20 hours straight...
Oh, why the hell not? Just get back outta bed and solve the fucking mystery...
* * * *
What the fuck was that biting bastard's name? I tell myself as I dig through the umpteen million photo albums tucked away in my dad's office. That mean-ass walking bag of dog food motherfucker...
Hey, I grew up on a farm. My mom owned two or three horses before that one - she even used to train and board other people's horses when I was young. And yep, we had chickens (until I, um, forgot to lock the coop and the dogs killed our organic egg supply), cows (a Brahma-Angus mix herd), and kittens and puppies out the ass every spring (our male mutts were bitch magnets).
There were lots of animals that could've popped into my mind. There was the black bear that used to prowl our timber country, the tasty bass and bluegill and venison and squirrel, my grandmother's poodle, my first calf, named Peanut Butter...
What the fuck was that biting bastard's name? Know there's a picture somewhere...
* * * *
But no, I get a hair up my ass about --
Willy! Jesus fucking Christ, how could I have forgotten that?
How many times did ____ and I watch The Goonies when we were kids? One-Eyed Willy!
It's amazing what other sorts of things pop into the ol' melon when one has a few photo albums sprawled out over a desk, Almost as amazing as the sorts of childhood memories that just pop right up when one is trying to sleep.
And what strange photos one finds, too. Especially in old family albums that haven't been touched in about a decade.
Heh. Draw, pad'na. I be's makin' you wormfood with my authentic Lone Ranger toy six-shooter.
How the hell did he ever survive childhood, anyway?
I mean, the one-eyed ponies weren't the only things that bit him. There were ticks, fleas, lice, mosquitoes, leeches, dogs, wasps, mice, hornets, and snakes, too.
There were falls from barn windows, kicks to the head by livestock, a drug-induced coma, pellet gun accidents, falls into brush fires, almost losing a foot to a hay bailer, almost losing a finger to a hunting knife, a four-wheeler accident, all before that kid in the overalls turned ten.
And I'm thinking about... about that stupid fucking horse? Twenty years later, in California? And what the hell happened to my cap guns?
What a way to start a vacation.
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