Posts tagged pennsic
I just got out of work so as of now I am on vacation and as soon as I’m packed will be on the road to Pennsic.
K Story: It’s Your Horse, Boy
Trigger Warning: Animal Husbandry
"Horse-fluffer!" she yells cheerfully.
"Well," he says. He seems almost embarrassed. "I mean, you don’t just let the horses loose and let ‘em do whatever comes naturally. Like as not one of ‘em will hurt the other. So you gotta, you know, collect the… stuff from the male, and then… put it in the female. And it doesn’t just… happen. Somebody’s gotta do it.”
"You were totally a horse-fluffer," she says. It’s Pennsic, we’re drunk, and of course we’re talking about the raunchiest things we can think of. Also, the sun rises in the east. But not as surely as drunken raunchiness happens at Pennsic.
He rubs the back of his neck. “Wellll,” he says, “yeah. I mean— well, yeah.”
"How old were you?" I ask, curious.
He laughs. “I wasn’t even old enough to be doing that sort of thing to myself,” he says. “It was one of my earliest chores on the farm. I was probably six?”
"Good Lord," she says. "That’s just not right."
I’m drunk enough to ask. “How do you, you know, get a horse off?”
"Same way you do a person," he says, and mimes a distinctive gesture.
The assembled listeners dissolve in laughter.
"I gotta say," he says, "it was a little disappointing when I was finally old enough to do that sort of thing for myself. Cuz, I mean, horses are big. And humans… I’m not saying I’m particularly lacking in that department, cuz, not to like toot my own horn, but I’m not, but compared to a horse? I was like, is that all?”
Count Of Three
Trigger Warning: Violence
He leans against the railing, looking out at the lake; it’s an hour or two after sunrise, and I’m fiddling with my camera, taking pictures of migrating geese and sailboats and whatever the hell that building on the other shore is. We’d been talking about horses, since we both grew up with them.
"My horse ate pickles," I say. "One day my sister was out mucking the stalls, and my mom brought her a plate with a sandwich, and a pickle on the side. Suddenly she hears a crunching, and Sugar’s standing there chewing, and there’s no pickle on the plate."
"Zeke loved ice cream," he says. A goose honks, and I swing the camera up, but miss the shot. "Once—" He pauses, and I can tell he’s mentally backing up to the good part to start the story. I settle myself against the railing, putting down the camera.
"So," he says. "We used to ride out to the convenience store. It was a couple miles, a nice ride. I’d always get myself one of those Drumstick things out of the freezer. You know, those crappy little ice cream cones wrapped in paper?"
"Oh yeah," I say. "Those things."
"They’re not good, but I was like ten or twelve, what did I really care, right? So I’d always get one, and when I was done, I’d give the end of it to Zeke. He loved it."
"Bet he did," I say, paging back through the pictures I’ve taken and frowning. The light’s gorgeous this morning but my pics don’t look so good. The sun is coming magnificently and ridiculously through his wild blond hair, which he hasn’t combed, but I don’t figure he’ll sit still for a candid shot, so I resist the impulse to try. He photographs all right, but only when he’s not paying attention.
"One day Zeke decided he wanted the whole thing," he says. "So he reaches over and bites my arm. He drew blood, the bastard! I was so mad." He laughs. "See, we had this rule, it was a three-second rule— for a count of three after you got bit, you could just go buck-wild on that horse. Just beat the hell out of ‘em, punch ‘em, kick ‘em, whatever you have to do. Count of three. If my mom caught you doing it longer than that, though, then your ass was hers."
"Oh sure," I say.
"See," he says, "you know. If you’re not used to horses you don’t know that. You don’t realize. Horses are big herd animals. They use physical dominance to decide who’s in charge. You let a horse push you around, you’ll never control that animal again. So if a horse bites you— we had a big length of two-by-four in the barn, and we would seriously whack them with it. Never in the head, never in the legs, but the torso, we’d just whale on them. It was long so you couldn’t get much leverage, but their bodies are just so big, just hitting them flat isn’t gonna do any damage.”
"Sure," I said. "It’s not like kicking a dog."
"A horse weighs like a thousand pounds," he says. "And they hit each other pretty hard. Anyway. So Zeke bit me and drew blood. So I get a count of three, right? And I’m furious. So I’m gonna make this count."
"Of course," I say. This is going to be good.
"So I start punching him, right there in the parking lot of the store. And I throw my arms around his neck, grab him, and bite his ear." He mimes it, to humorous effect— a big bear hug, and a chomp.
I laugh. “You bit him,” I say.
"Oh I sure did," he says. "Well, thing is, though, I bit him too hard. I got him right in the part where there’s that blood vessel."
"So there I am in the parking lot, and I’m bleeding, and Zeke’s bleeding—"
"What happened to the ice cream cone?" I ask.
He stops, and thinks about it. “I don’t know!” he says. “I honestly don’t remember at all what happened to the ice cream cone. It’s probably safe to say neither of us got it. But anyway, there I am, whomping on this horse, and he’s bleeding and I’m bleeding. And there are these Yankees in the parking lot. We got a lot of tourists, y’know, and sometimes us kids liked to bait ‘em.”
"Oh great," I say, being a Yankee myself.
He laughs. “So the mom is clinging to the kids all scandalized, and the father starts yelling at me for abusing that poor animal.” He puts his hands on his hips. “So I yell right back at him, ‘He bit me first, Yankee!’”
You Know What To Do
TW: Animal death, cruelty to child, guns.
"I hate gophers," he says.
"What’d they ever do to you?" one of our campmates asks. It’s Pennsic, it’s probably 2 pm, it’s sunny, and we’re sitting on the "porch" drinking beers, which is what one does at this hour.
"I fuckin’ hate gophers," he says again. He seems genuinely angry. "Y’all know I grew up on a horse farm, right?"
We’d already happily added “Horse Fluffer” to his list of job titles, so we knew, all right.
"Well, one day my dad and I were out riding. I rode every day, pretty much. So we were out riding, tear-assing across this field because it’s what you do, and doesn’t my horse hit a gopher hole."
"Oh no," I say. The others aren’t so used to horses, so they don’t already know the punchline, but I’m sure I do. I put my hands over my mouth.
"Compound fracture," he says. He shakes his head. "The bone’s sticking out, the horse is screaming. I’m screaming. I’m probably twelve or so? And my dad gets on his horse and tears off, back to the house."
"The horse broke its leg?" someone less quick on the uptake asks.
"The horse broke its leg in like four places," he clarifies. "It was horrible. Dad tears off, back to the house, comes back with a .45 pistol. Throws it on the ground next to me. Says, ‘It’s your horse, boy, you know what to do.’ And rides off and leaves me there."
"Holy fuck," I say.
"Yeah," he says. "It’s your horse, boy, you know what to do.”
"Shit!" We’re all silent, shocked.
He looks into his beer. “I sat there holding that pistol bawling my eyes out for about two hours.”
"Did you do it?" I ask.
"I had to!" he says. "The horse was screaming. I was screaming. Took me probably forty-five minutes to get up the guts to do it."
"Fuck," someone else says.
"And I fuckin’ missed,” he says, a lot quieter. “The first shot blew the horse’s jaw half off, but didn’t kill him. Had to shoot him again. And then I sat there and bawled my head off for another hour or so.”
"That’s— that’s—" There are no words. "Your dad’s a dick.”
"No shit," he says. "No fuckin’ shit. I mean yeah, it was my horse. But when my mom found out, oh man was she ever mad. Dad slept on the couch for two weeks. Longer than he slept on the couch when she found out one of his ancestors fought for the Union.”