Once in a while, when I’m bein rode on a trail ride, the bucket gal and I will come across somethin that maybe ain’t entirely right to a horse or a human. More often than not, we’ll find that somethin in one of the many washes that meander across the County Island, a wash bein a sandy, sometimes rocky, place that’s normally dry and home to all manner of rabbits and lizards and birds and snakes, but which is where the water flows, and often flows fast and deep, when the rain sets to pourin.
Recently, I was bein walked at a comfortably slow pace through what’s called the wash by the people, I reckon ‘cause there ain’t much else to say about it, as it’s usually an uninterestin wash, compared, I guess, to some other, bigger washes that I hear tell got names like Rattlesnake Wash. I don’t know why a body would ever venture into a place called Rattlesnake Wash to begin with, but I digress.
I saw the thing first, but it didn’t strike me as any stranger than most things I’ve encountered on the County Island, so I would’ve kept walkin, if it was me alone. But the bucket gal wanted to take a closer look at the fresh-dug sand, and so we rode up closer to it. I doubt it was a critter-dug hole on account of how big it was. Big enough for a person, maybe two, to hunker down in? And it was a neat circle of a big hole, lined all around with sand bags, like people will use to try to stop washes from flowin where a wash needs to flow in the rain? I wasn’t payin much attention, ‘cause I figured if she was gonna stop me there, I might as well try to sneak in a minute or so of shut-eye, and frankly, I don’t think I care much about a human bunker-hole in the sand.
“Huh. That’s a nerf gun,” I heard the bucket gal mumble to herself; she’s prone to talkin to herself like that. Or maybe she’s thinks I’m interested. I opened one eye and saw what looked like no gun I’d ever seen before, a bright blue one, lyin in the sand inside the bunker-hole. Then my reins got gathered by the bucket gal and she gave me a little nudge, and rode me across to the other side of the wash a ways off, where there was a second sand bunker-hole, like the first one. And, “Huh,” she said, again. “Looks like there’s going to be some serious nerf gun fights played here, Whiskey.”
Serious gun fights? I pricked my ears at those words. And what the hell is a nerf? I don’t think I like it. Now, I ain’t the kind of horse who goes lookin for a fight, let me make that clear. I do not like the notion of gettin caught in the crossfire from any cowboys or other people who may be brandishin weapons, most especially not if I am out and about on what’s supposed to be a peaceful County Island trail ride in the borin ol’ wash! And dammit, I’m supposed to be retired.
I guess I got to be on the alert now, and by alert I mean stay awake, mostly, on what’s supposed to be our borin rides around the wash, ‘cause a good horse surely can’t count on his rider to watch out for his personal safety. Especially not if there’s gunfire and nerfs involved.