Copyright 2001 Julie Weathers
All rights reserved
I mentioned something about thinking of a new idea for another story last week and Martin generously suggested “the politician, the showgirl and the wonder horse.” I also needed it to fit in this week’s category so here is my “Red” story.
This one’s for you, Martin.
Edit: Martin has since passed away two years ago in December. He was a prolific and talented writer and entertainer and he was one of my very devout believers and mentors. I will always be grateful to him for his encouragement and help.
Did You Hear The One About The Politician, The Wonder Horse And Red, The Showgirl?
Harley loved December. There was Christmas, and who didn’t like Christmas. The National Finals Rodeo was in December, and what red-blooded westerner didn’t like the Finals. And, lastly, there was all that business at his riding stable.
In addition to the seasonal hayrides, Harley stayed quite busy furnishing horses to men who were trying to win back the affections of their cowboy smitten ladies. It seemed like half the men in town, and Vegas was a big town, were now trying to play cowboy. Harley was doing his part to make their dreams come true with trusty horses who knew the desert trails as well as they knew their feed troughs.
He watched the plume of dust approaching him and hoped it was a lone customer, because he had only one horse left to rent.
He slowly uncrossed his long legs and dropped the front legs of his tilted chair to the wooden porch when the dirt-covered Bronco slid to a halt in front of him. A businessman, no, must be a politician the way he was looking for an audience, stepped from the vehicle. He walked around and opened the door for the most gorgeous redhead Harley had ever seen, and he had seen a lot of them.
“Just let me do the talking, Red,” the politician said. “My great-grandfather was a rancher and I know horses. I’m not going to let him pawn some broke-down haybags off on us.”
“Afternoon,” Harley drawled. He leaned against the post by the steps. Red was sizing him up. He didn’t mind at all. The tight-fitting, sharply creased Wranglers and starched white shirt weren’t what most people expected. It took a little extra effort, but he aimed to please. It didn’t hurt his business either.
“Need to rent two of your best horses for the afternoon,” the politician boomed.
“Don’t have two in right now,” Harley replied.
“I see two out in the corral”
“Yes, sir, but Wonder Horse ain’t for rent. You want to wait a bit, I should have some in shortly.”
Politician thunked across the wooden porch for the fifty-ninth time in twenty minutes as Harley performed rope tricks for his audience. Ching Ching Ching Politician’s new spurs rang louder with each impatient step. He’d have to take the spurs off before Harley let him ride a horse, but he was kind of enjoying watching the man trying to keep the upside down spurs on.
“Let’s go inside and get something cold to drink,” Harley suggested.
The pair followed him inside to the Coke machine and he generously paid for their drinks. “Miss…”
“Lori, my name is Lori, but most people call me—“
“Don’t tell me, let me guess,” Harley interrupted. “Blondie.”
“No,” she laughed and slapped his shoulder playfully. “Most people call me Red. I’ll take a Diet Coke.”
“Senator, you look like a fit man,” Harley said as he handed the man his drink. “I’ll bet you double or nothing the horse rent you can’t jump over my hat. I throw my hat on the floor and if you can jump over it, your rides are free. If you can’t, you pay me double.”
Politician smirked at the rube draped in the chair. “Sure, I’ll take your bet. Maybe we can get our horses at least. One condition, you saddle those two horses out there immediately.”
“Ok,” Harley said and threw his hat on the floor in the corner.
Red held her sides laughing as Politician sputtered it was impossible for anyone to jump over a hat in the corner. Men didn’t much like that joke, but the ladies did and Harley didn’t really care if he impressed the men to begin with.
Politician fidgeted and fumed on Wonder Horse while Harley finished getting Babydoll ready for Red. He placed his hands on Red’s hip pockets and lifted her up as she mounted her horse. He had helped a lot of ladies get on their horses, but he thought dancer bottoms felt the best. Firm, tight, and nicely rounded. Yep, dancers were the best.
“You know, Harley,” Red sighed. “This has to be the perfect job. The horses, outdoors, peace and quiet.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he agreed, still remembering the feel of her hip pockets. “This is about the perfect job for me. I’m too lazy to work and too scared to steal. I like horses, so it all works out pretty good for me.”
“Just one question before I go,” she said. “Why do you call him Wonder Horse? Is he an old trick horse?”
“No, ma’am. Actually, he’s an old rope horse who belongs to a friend. He’s pretty good when he wants to be, but he does like to buck. We always wonder when he’s going to decide to break in two and dump his rider, so we just started calling him Wonder Horse.
“Here,” he said and pulled a single business card from his shirt pocket. “This is a special card. You bring it back and I will give you a free, guided horseback tour of the desert. The moonlight tours are especially pretty.”
“Red, you coming?” Politician shouted.
“Sweet,” she said and winked before she reined her horse around.
There wasn’t anything that made a man appreciate being a man any more than watching a beautiful woman riding a horse. Harley sauntered inside the building and sat down behind his desk. He pulled open the desk drawer and removed a box of business cards with the free desert tour message.
“Hmmmm. Little less than half left. Hope I ordered enough to get me through the month.”
His fingers flipped the card as he thought about his life. “I love December. Love giving things away. Especially these little cards. The perfect gift. One size fits all, perfect color. The gift that keeps on giving.”