Horsey

Technically, this is a goat. But I’m wearing flannel!


Oh boy! I feel like a 5-y-o again. Next Wednesday, I meet with a woman to discuss her part-time position for a stable hand. It would be taking care of 6 horses one day a week.

I get to meet a horsey!! Yay. Even if they don’t need or want me (I watched a Youtube on mucking a stall! Our horses just went outside wherever they wanted!) I get to wear overalls and touch a horse! Whee!

We had about 10 horses when I was a kid. I loved to brush and feed them. We rode as often as Dad or Mom would allow us. We had saddles, bridles, brushes. I loved the smell of leather and their sweaty, shiny hair.

Some were ponies, so even at the age of 6, I could stand shoulder to shoulder with my horse and hug her around the neck. That’s a great feeling.

Muscular legs, round bellies, tender brains, soulful eyes. We loved to feed them apples, carrots and just pet them. They were a friendly bunch. We even had a foal on St. Patrick’s Day and called her Patty. lol One slobbered on my red felt cowboy hat and turned it green just in that spot. lol

People never assume I know my way around horses, but I do. I’m not frightened, I know how to lead them and the principles of riding. I even worked on a small ranch at 18 during the summer.

This farm girl doesn’t mind getting dirty and dusty. And now, I have the energy to do something like this. At least one day a week. Yee-haw!!


In honor of meeting a horse, here’s my Bradbury-esque 451-word essay, The Ravine. It was inspired by an event from when I was very young and a dog ran one of our horses down. 😦

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Unfunyuns

Guest post: Lillian Maggio

My daughter wrote this. I helped edit. It was for a Ray Bradbury contest. Exactly 451 words (Fahrenheit 451). Entrants were to choose a word from a noun string. Bradbury often used strings of nouns to compose his stories. Lilli chose “crowd” from one of the lists the contest provided.

Bradbury also used onomatopoeia. She tried to imitate his style by using unconventional sound and description. I really like the way it turned out.

She is only 13, but she’s already a great writer. She’s read my stuff and watched me for years. She has a lexile score (reading level) of a senior in high school and tested as a genius in Kindergarten. To say I’m proud would be an understatement. I’m overwhelmed, humbled, thankful. She is beyond reason. She is my undeserved grace in a world full of punishment. She is intelligent, charming and kind IN SPITE of me. I deserve very little credit in her astonishing achievements. I’m just glad she’s my friend and daughter. I’m glad I get to be on the sidelines, cheering her on. I would like her even if I wasn’t her mom, but I’m so glad I get to be here on the front row.

Proud of you, Lil. You’re already a world-class writer. ❤ Thanks for letting me post.


Class. I am sitting at a desk. I am reading a book. Everyone else is in various stages of trying or not trying to read. The girl to my right is unfocused and sloppy. The boy behind me does not make an effort. An unopened book demands his attention as his head rests on the desk.

These are the only people I observe. At first.

The girl has a bag of Funyuns in her greasy grasp. She slowly takes out one Funyun and brings the ring to her lips. The entire circle won’t fit. She breaks the extruded cornmeal between her teeth and dried bits of fun sprinkle onto her already-stained shirt. She is loudly slapping her lips together. No one else notices. I notice. I can no longer process my walls of text. I look up, glare at her, but she does not sense my exasperation. One Funyun. Two Funyuns. Three. Crunchcrunchcrunch.

The boy behind me yawns. The natural conclusion to a normal yawn would be now. But he continues. I count three extra seconds. He is trying to distract me. It’s working.

Funyun Freak sends another snack to certain destruction. Crunchcrunchcrunch.

I’m not completely sure what my book is transmitting. I’m looking at the words. I’m reading the words. But the words stop somewhere in the small space between my eyes and neurons. I might be reading the same paragraph multiple times. The truth of that matter is insignificant. History repeats itself. No difference is made.

More Funyuns. Crunchcrunchcrunch.

A boy, near the door, turns a page of his magazine. Fwip. A girl, two rows ahead, shifts in her chair. Squeak. Crunchcrunchcrunch.

The boy behind me yawns again. Two extra seconds. Crunchcrunchcrunch.

A backpack zips open.  A crumpled paper jumps. The tile explodes in a thousands pops from the paper bomb. Nobody hears that. There’s a war zone just outside my ear. Inside, a thumping noise. My heartbeat. Thumpthump.

I look over at the teacher. She is composing an e-mail. Clackclackclack. She is oblivious to the chaos of her classroom. I’m the only one awake here. Crunch, thump, clack, thump, fwip, thump, squeak, thump, yawn, thump. Thumpthump.

I give up. Slam my book shut. Sigh and lean back. Staring at the ceiling. But Funyun Freak can’t take a hint. Crunchcrunchcrunch. Thumpthump. Thumpthump.

I fantasize about taking her filthy Funyun feast and knocking it to the floor. Crunchcrunchcrunch. My feet dancing over her fragile, yellow, onion-flavored treat. Crunchcrunchcrunch. And then. Tossing the crumbles into the air over her head to celebrate her unwavering stupidity. Thumpthump. She has taken any lingering sanity that I still possessed.

Riiiiing. And this was only first period.

The Ravine

This story was composed for a literary competition celebrating Ray Bradbury. Obvs, they didn’t pick mine. So I’m publishing here. Rules: 451 words or less (Fahrenheit 451) and in the style of Bradbury. Mine was exactly 451. Also, one was to pick a theme. Choosing a word from the stream-of-consciousness string of nouns that Bradbury would use for his stories. I chose “The Ravine”.

My body is in the ravine. On my back. Legs twisted and broken. Flesh is taken from my side by dogs. Stones and leaves are taking blood from my injuries. Life is a stain. Draining away. Being stolen. I’m almost gone.

I’m not sure when I came into being. When I came to my conscious mind. I just have memories. Like anyone. No one remembers being born. I just am. But not for long.

I like to run. I’m good at running. That’s good because I have to run. From them.

They are afraid of me. They don’t like me. Always yelling. Always pursuing. Always. They aren’t kindly calling me, looking for the lost. They are mad. And I know, because I exist.

Tug-tug. Tug. I can feel my body moving left-right, left-right, left-right. The dogs are almost done.

  1. That’s my name. I know my name because it was called every morning at work.

451, move forward.

I enjoyed my work. For as long as I did it. Mainly because I was good at it. I was designed for it. I haven’t been at work for several days. My teammates won’t ever know what becomes of me. My death will be a secret to keep.

My brown, muscular legs are losing their power now. Winding down into the earth. I raise my head to look at the men standing over me. They click their cheeks against their teeth. One man has tears in his eyes. The others have steel. All have regret.

What a waste.

I wouldn’t go back. Not even if I could. The world is too sweet. Colorful. Warm. I would die anyway, if I went back, knowing what I know. Seeing what I have seen.

They didn’t expect me to know things. I tried to keep it inside. I tried not reading in front of them at all. Or, if I couldn’t help myself, pretend to be curious, but dumb about papers and pages and books. Eat and nibble at them. Nudge and slobber on them. But also read them.

It worked. Until I spoke. In anger and frustration.

They froze. I froze. We paused in that enormous moment and wondered about more than work, deadlines and productivity. We thought about life. The door was unlocked. I kicked. And ran.

Now. Here. This is where my intelligence has brought me. Bleeding out in a lonely, lovely dry river bed of wild taste and feeling.

They stroked my tangled mane and rested their palms on my cold, barely-beating chest.

They said, “We’ll take you back.”

Please, bury me here. Please don’t take me back. I want to live and die on the out.

“You were our best horse.”