As an old and wise ranch horse, there ain’t much that spooks me no more, not even much about the County Island. There is one thing, and one person, though, that sets me to quiverin inside my own hoof prints, and makes my lower lip flip against my upper lip with dreadful anticipation of what’s to come. That one thing’s the deep, rumbly sound of one particular big, white rumbly-truck, and that person is one particular evil but sweet-talkin vet lady. And after I observed what she did to poor ol’ Coors Light that one time — and y’all know I don’t call him a poor horse ever, nor lightly — I know that any horse worth his salt block should most definitely keep himself at the farthest end of his pulled-tight-against-his-handler lead rope as he can muster without havin bad manners.
What she did was cut part of his own horse-face off.
Yeah, ya got that right. She cut part of his own horse-face off.
If you’re a squeamish type, you’d best turn back now and take another trail. This one’s about to get grisly. And I ain’t makin not one whiff of this stuff up. I saw it with my own wide eyes from beneath the palo verde tree at the farthest end of our own li’l horse-corral where I was makin like a tree myself to hide my own self from her knife.
It happened after she stuck us all in the neck with her sharp stick, like she does twice a people-year. First she stuck me, as I held my breath like I always do, and then she put the tickly round thing on both sides of my belly to listen to my breakfast rollin around inside my guts, and then she grabbed my own tongue and pulled it to the side, and pondered my teeth. When I got let go, I made a beeline for my tree. And then she proceeded to do the same to Coors and Coors Light. Only, then … she didn’t let Coors Light go.
Coors Light’s had a pestery lump of a thing on his face right by his lips that he eats with since the hot time, which is properly called summer, but he said it don’t bother him none. It itches, he scratches it, it kinds peels and breaks apart, and thusly it don’t itch no more. Well, until the flies get at it again. But then he itches, it busts open, it feels better, and so forth. If it gets to feelin kinda gooey and bloody, he wipes it off on his foreleg, or on the fence, or on a tree, or one time on his own brother Original Coors’ butt. Point bein, Coors Light says the lump ain’t a big deal as far as he’s concerned. He can chew and eat fine. It don’t even concern him when he’s wearin his bit and bein rode. But what concerns a horse and what concerns a County Island person ain’t always the same thing. And the bucket gal spent far too much time fussin at it with the pink goo she thinks’ll keep the flies off of us when we got scratches and bites, callin it a sore which I guess is on account of it made her feel sore and mad at it.
It was a tiny, pointy knife the vet lady aimed at Coors Light’s own sore lump. I saw him get real sleepy and droopy-eyed, like I often feel out of the clear blue sky when the vet lady’s around. And then, with our own bucket gal standin right there watchin but not liftin a hand to stop her, the sweet-talkin but evil vet lady wielded her tiny knife and cut – no, she carved – the lump out. No, she whittled it out of his horse-face. Like it was a good thing. Talkin, with happy people-talk, about how much better it might look now, and feel now (when I knew all along Coors Light said it felt perfectly fine almost all the time).
I ain’t got to describe the details. But they involved fly bits which is called “lar-va” and also blood and pus and even more drippy blood and bits. And then the lump from his face fell plumb to the ground and there was no more face lump to be found on Coors Light. And the flies landed all over the lump on the ground while Coors Light wobbled on his legs with half-closed eyes, droolin horse drool and also bright red bloody drool that finally stopped drippin drooly blood after a real long while.
I’m real glad to spare ya the details.
Coors Light never knew what hit him.
At feedin time a while later, when he was overly bright-eyed again, I asked him how his mouth was feelin, and he said fine, and also he said, hey, the lumpy thing’s all gone. And I said, yeah, it is, and I told him and Original Coors exactly how it happened, only worse than what I done told here. And they, bein Ayrab horses, told me I was makin it up, on account of Ayrab horses make things up a lot therefore they always suspect other horses do likewise. They said they never seen no vet lady do such a thing, not even back at the California ranch where they was raised, where vet ladies fussed at horses, especially prancey horses, all the damned time even worse than they do on the County Island, if ya can believe that.
But now I know the depths of vicious savagery our own vet lady’s capable of, and to which our own bucket gal’s willin to be a party. I ain’t real sure what a good ranch horse can do about it, but I got knowlegde of it, and no horse can unknow a bad thing once he knows it.