In general, I’m not a lay around the house kind of girl, but I’d gotten a lot of flack from Awesomez about never relaxing, and Henry was sort of haranguing me too, so I curled up with a blankie to watch an episode of “Bones”.
“You know, I’ve always suspected we’re going to find a dead body some day. It’s always in some rural area where some nut drives out and stashes a body in the middle of the forest,” I said as the theme song twanged.
“Or that’s where the crime is committed dun-dun-dunnn,” Henry teased.
We were completely engrossed in this body being soaked in beer to remove soft tissue when I saw a flash in the window. “Did you see that?” I asked.
“See what?” Henry demanded. “Are you just trying to trick me? Do you just want to go and clean the barn or something?”
“No, really. I saw something,” I said as I walked toward the front door and out onto the still unpainted porch. What was I doing lying around watching TV anyway when this porch needed sanding and painting? I really had to take stock of my priorities I thought as I looked over the railing, “Henry look! We have company!” I yelled as he came running up behind me. “Do you recognize that guy?”
“That’s him all right. Hey there buddy! He must have gotten out from Dave’s place and come over here the same way Abe, Andy and Gnatalie went over there. Oh no! He’s trying to mount Miracle.”
“Edward’s not going to let that happen look!” Henry exclaimed as our former racehorse shed any semblance out to pasture. “He’s ready to take on Pablo!” Henry added as Pablo kicked Edward.
“I’ve got to separate them before someone gets hurt,” I said.
“Hurry Mom, he almost trampled the ducks!” Henry urged me as I unwound the purple and white lead rope from the post and marched off.
What to do, what to do I wondered. Edward, Miracle and Pablo were racing around the yard like they were doing laps at Santa Anita. Miracle was in the lead followed by Edward who was trying to block Pablo from getting any closer. Then it was Pablo coming around and trying to split them up kicking Edward. I was afraid one of them was going to twist an ankle if I didn’t get the situation under control. I thought for a flash about putting him down with the cows when Dave’s words came flying back to me. “Pablo chases cows until they’re in a lather. He won’t leave them alone.” So that was out of the question. Then I thought of the paddock by the barn where I used to put Pancho and Lefty on occasion. It wasn’t that secure, but I didn’t think he’d be aggressive once I got him calmed down.
Calm he was not. In fact, he was breathing hard and soaked with sweat. He was confused and transfixed with my petite equine beauty with the prominent ears, Miracle. Who I might add was standing on the other side of her bodyguard boyfriend, Sir Edward. I tried talking to him and he looked at me surprised I knew his name.
“Now Pablo, you come here so I can put this lead on you,” I instructed firmly in my fifth grade teacher voice. The voice I used when good students went bad. He stood there and let me put the lead on his halter. I had a hold of him. I was quite satisfied things had gone so well. Just then, Miracle took off for safer ground and Pablo flew into a frenzy. I let go of the rope to avoid losing the skin on my palms. I’m not new at this. Anymore.
Pablo, Miracle and Edward took another lap by the pasture, around the apple trees, back up by the house and again over by the compost and shavings piles. The goats, sheep and turkeys and ducks huddled together realizing there was safety in numbers. The geese sought shelter under the porch. Again I told him to stay still and let me grab his lead, and again he complied and without hesitation I walked over and put him in the paddock. Filled the red water bucket and threw him some hay. I walked back to the house and had Henry call Tom who tried calling Dave to let him know Pablo was here safe and sound.
“Mama, you know Pablo looks like Edward and Miracle's baby. Oh, Dadda says Dave’s not home and he couldn’t get him on his cell.” As Henry was relaying this message, I saw a white truck drive by. It had driven by two or three times now and considering we don’t get five cars in a weekend I thought it more than a coincidence. “Do you think that’s Dave or one of his friends out looking for Pablo?”
“It must be, I’ll drive over and see if I can catch up with him and if not, leave a note,” I said climbing in the van. Dave is my closest neighbor so I was turning onto his gravel drive in a blink. Once I did I was surprised to see the white truck heading toward me. Dave’s big metal driveway barricade was down. He’d told me he’d had it put in because of some trouble with drunken hunters. So in order to get to Dave’s house you had to call ahead and he had to drive the mile down to open it. I quickly read the situation to mean, Dave was not home and this person did not know Dave. The truck drove slowly up toward me and stopped. The window slipped down to reveal a man I did not recognize from around here. My heart started to pound as I realized I was off the main road. I tried to stay calm. I had just been watching “Bones” after all. But the hairs on the back of my neck were sending off all kinds of warning signals. I thought quickly, “Hey there!” I said in my most confident, friendly voice. “Are you looking for Dave’s donkey too?
“What? Donkey you say?” The bead-eyed dark-haired man in his late forties answered.
“Yes, a bunch of us were looking for Pablo, Dave’s mule really and well, my husband and I found him. He’s over at our place. I just was coming to see if I you were looking for him too, since you’ve been driving by,” I said relaying I was not alone so leave me be.
“Umm no. I’m just lost myself,” he said.
“Really? Where you headed?” I asked helpfully.
“Well, to tell you the truth, I’m a bit turned around I was looking for a logging road and I thought this was it, but I guess I’ll just get out of here now,” he said.
“Huh, well this wouldn’t be a logging road ‘cause there are three mailboxes at the end of it. And you can only go left ‘cause the bridge is out,” I said.
“Yeah,” he said and drove off. For a moment, I thought of writing a note on Dave’s gate, but I didn’t want to spend another moment off the main road, just in case. So I went back and left a note in Dave’s mailbox. He’d get it eventually and Pablo was safe enough at my house.
I went back home. Henry and I did some work before we went to finish our “Bones” episode and watch another. Eventually, our canine unit sounded the –somebody’s at the gate- alarm.
“Mom, I would take that to mean Dave’s here,” Henry said wryly.
We walked out and greeted Neighbor Dave Brown and met his son, Ryan, who was visiting. We all walked toward Pablo as we talked.
“I saw your name on the caller id and figured you had him, I bet he heard the cow bells and came running,” Dave laughed.
“Yep, they seemed to recognize him when he ran up. He’s had dinner. I was sure glad I remembered not to put him in with the cows,” I laughed.
“Yep, he’d had them tearing down a whole fence line,” Dave said. While Dave hooked up Pablo I relayed the story of the man in the white truck. Dave’s face went white.
“What?” I asked slowly.
“Well, my ex-girlfriend’s stayin’ with me because her ex-boyfriend is violent and she’s afraid of him. He stabbed her dog in the chest with a kitchen knife and broke it’s legs,” Dave said.
“Mom,” Henry pressed his arm into my side, “that’s how serial killers start,” Henry whispered almost inaudibly.
“He drives a white vehicle,” Dave said. “Do you think you could describe him?”
“I could only see him through the part of the window he rolled down, dark-hair, receding hairline, late forties. He creeped me out I’ll tell you that,” I admitted.
“That describes him, but he drives a car not a truck, of course, you can always borrow a vehicle if you want to,” Ryan added. We all nodded and stood there quietly for a moment.
“He was definitely sitting in your driveway. When I pulled up he started to move his car toward me and he said he was looking for a logging road, but when I pointed out the three mailboxes he just left, anyway I’ll keep an eye out for him,” I promised wishing silently Irish was done with camp.
We chatted about getting together for a barbecue when Tom was in town, Ryan said he might be able to clean my generator carburetor and we laughed about our animals running to each other for sanctuary. Dave said he’d really like to get Pablo a friend and I told him Lisa had mentioned there was a donkey in need of a home at the Humane Society.
“I’d really like to look into that,” he said and I promised to follow up. Dave and Ryan didn’t have a trailer with them, so Dave walked home with Pablo while Ryan followed in the truck.
Gnatalie, Petite, Lucky, Abe and Andy lined up on the fence rail to watch their friend walk home. They mooed loudly and you could hear heehawing across the pasture.
“Mom? Do you think that was the guy?” Henry asked concerned.
“Probably, he was awfully suspicious and he drove back and
forth so many times. I didn’t believe him when he said he was lost. I mean
honestly, how do you get lost on a seven mile dead-end road?”
“Probably, he was awfully suspicious and he drove back and forth so many times. I didn’t believe him when he said he was lost. I mean honestly, how do you get lost on a seven mile dead-end road?”
“He stabbed her dog? That’s brutal. I wonder what her name was and if she lived?”
“Yeah, she did,” I said as we went back to finally finish “Bones”. The phone rang, it was Awesomez.
“So did you get a lot done today or did you relax?” She asked.
“Well, I didn’t get a lot done,” I said, “In fact, Henry and I have been watching TV off and on all day,” I said quite honestly.