It ain’t polite for a good and respectful horse to look a gift bucket in the mouth. Which is a particularly pointless people-sayin, on account of of course a horse looks a bucket in the mouth, gift or otherwise, or looks at it with his mouth, and then puts whatever’s in the bucket in his mouth, too. Why wouldn’t ya put somethin in a bucket in your mouth, after all? Or I suppose a better question is, when wouldn’t ya? Or, shouldn’t ya?
Me, Original Coors and Coors Light have got an evil but sweet-talkin vet lady. I already explained what a vet lady is way back here, for those horses which might not know. And the evil but sweet-talkin vet lady has got a real rumbly truck, the sound of which I can singularly pinpoint with my proper horse-ears from miles away. It’s kinda hard to describe, but it sounds ominous to a horse. When the vet comes, no good ever comes of it. She sticks pokey things into us, sticks her hand directly into unmentionable places, drills straight through our teeth into our own heads to whittle down our teeth, and mostly she knocks me out cold, and when I wake up when she’s gone, sometimes I’m in hawk jail.
It was a peaceful quiet sunny mornin inside our own li’l horse-corral. I heard the vexatious rumble comin down the road a long ways off and I was listening to hear if it was comin or goin. The bucket gal and her carrot guy wasn’t in the people-barn. I don’t worry generally about the rumbly-truck when we’re home alone no matter which way it goes, cause the vet lady never bothers us when we’re home alone.
Her rumbly truck came down our road, and slowed at our gate, and stopped. I like to make like a palo verde tree in such instances and camouflage myself, and let Coors and Coors Light foolishly walk across the mine field to say hello. They like her, which is more evidence Ayrab horses ain’t right in the head. Only instead of bringin forth needles and tubes, she brought forth a bucket. Not her customary metal pail she fills with bad things. A feed bucket, which smelled like … feed.
“Whiskey!” she called to me, while fendin off a two-horse herd of, to listen to them tell it (which regrettably I do all the time), half-starved Coors Brothers. “C’mere, this is for you!”
She distracted the Coorses by making crumple-noises in her pockets, and set the bucket down in the sand, and stepped away, indicatin that I was free to approach it, or not.
Ya ever been set in that singular moment in time, like when you’re walkin down the trail without a care in the world, and ya got one hoof poised in mid-air when ya hear a rattlesnake rattlin right under your nose? And suddenly your horse-thoughts are as stuck as your raised hoof, and your whole entire well-bein hinges on what happens next?
It was a bucket, after all. And if I didn’t act quick, the Coors Brothers was likely to bust through the vet lady’s blockade and make a run for it.
I set one hoof down, then another. And then another, and another. One hoof, two hoof, three hoof, four hoof — I approached the bucket with my head down, nostrils open to inhale the smell, ears directly forward to see if she was gonna pull out somethin pokey and I might need to flee.
And then she was talkin to me, nice and low, not like an evil, sweet-talkin vet lady, but like the bucket gal might to strike up a one-sided conversation with me. Tellin me how she has an old geldin even older than me, and how he eats this here feed all the time the same as I do, but suddenly up and would not eat the feed dated — and here comes the nonsense people-words — De Sember Four, but he would eat from the other De Sember marked bags and also the No Vember bag. And she wanted to know if other horses would eat the De Sember Four feed or not so that she could pass along the information to the people that make the feed for us horses to eat. My mind was so boggled by the notion that a horse would turn his nose up at ANY feed at all, that’s what I blame my weakness on.
I couldn’t hear her no more with my head down deep in the bucket nor over the sounds of my teeth crunchin the delicious feed. When I’d licked the bottom clean, I raised my head and nickered my surprised but sincere thanks. And she thanked my for my contribution to her feed experimentation, all while holding off two of the crabbiest Ayrabs I’ve ever laid eyes upon. “I know you two would eat anything,” she said to Coors and Coors Light while they stomped around tellin her, “We would! We would! So give it here!”
But there was nothin more to give. It was all restin in my own belly. She cocked her head at me and smiled, “Well Whiskey, what do you think? Should I bring you something to eat every time I come over from now on? Should that be our new strategy to win you over?” Oh, I liked the sound of that! And I let out a li’l wuffle under my breath to tell her so. Not that I need to see her or her strategy again, but I know I will anyhow ‘cause that’s how it seems to work here on the County Island. But if she intended to bring food for me from now on… In my thoughts, I was stuck back with my hoof poised to either step on that rattlesnake, or not.
Then she reached out as if to pet my neck, and I lightly sidestepped her and jogged back over to blend in with my palo verde tree. I got my limits, y’all.