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One Boot and a Tennis Shoe

from the fountain pen of Will Thorpe

Did I ever tell you about the time me and Three Finger Charley were on the National Rodeo senior circuit? Well Charley and me were at the Cow Palace in San Francisco to ride in the saddle bronc finals. We were down in the bowels of the stadium along with the bull riders and the buckle bunnies a getting into our riding duds. Now Ol Charley who ain't on today's riding schedule is a rummaging around some dusty old shelves a looking for some "free" souvenirs. I'm a sitting on the floor with my bare feet a resting on my saddle eyeing them size 11 white buckaroo boots that have to go on my size 12 feet. Suddenly Ol Charley lets out a whoop and a comes a running over with a big grin on his semi-toothless face. "What you find Charley," I ask? He proudly sticks out, firmly clasped between three fingers and a thumb, an old dusty quart bottle of Sanfords #291 Royal Blue ink. Now even I got pretty excited about that so I commenced to sort of trying to take it away from Ol Charley. Well folks we dropped it, yes siree.

It landed right square on my foot and smashed itself to smithereens. I seen tears run down Charlie's face. I could also see that one of my custom deluxe tall top white buckaroo boots was a turning Royal Blue. "Lookee their you old weather beaten sun dried coot, you done turned my riding boot blue" I hollered at Charley. He kinda smiled and said, "That's OK cause now it matches your foot." I looked down and sure enough my foot was turning dark blue, as in smashed, and was growing in size pretty dang fast. I knew I was a going to have trouble getting my size 12 feet in them size 11 boots to start with let alone with one foot the size of a cow patty.

I immediately got on one boot and stuck a white tennis shoe on my banged up hoof. I just grabbed a roll of 100 mile an hour duct tape and affixed my big Mexican spur to that tennis shoe and figured nobody would notice. I grabbed my saddle and headed to the chutes, time to ride one for Texas. I had drawn a little sorry sighted sorrel horse named Bullet. This little creature was all skin and bones with ugly pig eyes and a flea bitten tail that looked like a well used dust mop. This sorry excuse of a living creature reminded me of one of those measly carnival pony's the kids ride. Little did I know. I climbed up the chute, threw my saddle on that miniature horse and climbed aboard.

Now things was a running pretty slow in the ring with all those old timers so I figured I had some time to kill before I was called out to win my championship bronc busting rodeo buckle. I whipped out my copy of Modern Maturity magazine and proceeded to do the crossword puzzle a using my 1927 Sailor Red Dot Lifetime Japanese fountain pen with the extra fine needle point nib. I was particularly fond of the Bexley Lapis Blue ink I was a using. Let's see, what's a three letter word for writing instrument? HMmmmm? Suddenly I hear the announcer holler, "Ladieeeeeeeeeeeeees and Gentlemen, number 51, coming out of chute two wearing one boot and a tennis shoe." Hearing that caused my head to jerk up. The cowboy on the rope thinking that I had given him the go ahead flung that gate wide open. Ol Bullet seeing his opportunity to escape came out of there like a Hot Rod Lincoln. Suddenly I knew why he was named Bullet.

Now what really disconcerted me (you learn words like disconcerted doing the Modern Maturity magazine crossword puzzle), I mean really disconcerted me was the fact that my saddle seemed to be slipping. OH MY LORD! I had failed to fasten the cinch, that little strap that keeps everything affixed to the horse. Now Ol Bullet was a shooting around that arena in high gear. He was a bucking about every third step and I was a holding the reins in one hand and my Sailor Red Dot Lifetime pen in my outstretched hand like I was a waving to the crowd. I could see little drops of Bexley Lapis Blue ink squirt from that extra fine needlepoint nib every time we hit the ground. Suddenly Bullet senses that I ain't exactly glued to his back and we both knew what was coming. Bullet brakes, he sticks them little horny cracked hooves square into the dirt, tosses his bug bitten raunchy rear end to the lights and launches me and the saddle towards the fourth row of the upper deck. I knew this landing was not going to be pretty. Well as I proceeded on my space journey, about 15 feet above the ground, a firmly gripping that saddle with my knees, I spied it.

Yep, there it was, right there in my landing zone. A big red fiberglass rodeo barrel a laying on its side with that little eye hole in the middle a staring right straight back at me. For the second time that day I knew exactly what was about to happen. I was also beginning to wonder what to do with that Sailor Red Dot Lifetime pen with the extra fine needlepoint nib that I was a still holding out there in the air. Little did I recognize that I was about to discover one of them "Laws of Physics." WHAM!!!! Me and that saddle impacted right square on top of that red fiberglass rodeo barrel and all downward motion ceased, instantly. All that is except for my right arm a stuck straight out to my side a gripping that Sailor Red Dot Lifetime pen in a perfect Palmer method grip.

My right arm proceeded to whip down at the speed of light and flung that Sailor pen right straight through that little eye hole in the side of that barrel faster than you can throw a dart in an Irish pub. I knew that nib was a going to have to be Mottishawed. Suddenly I hear a scream, a scream that eclipsed all of the hooting and hollering of the crowd. That scream was a painful wail of agony, sort of the sound you make when a thousand pound horse steps on your foot. Awful sound.

Instantly some psychedelic creature came shooting out of that barrel. Whatever it was it was a wearing more colors that a Carter's Ink poster. It had on a Sherwood Green jacket, a yellow shirt, a Tangerine Dream tie, a Cincinnati Reds baseball cap, Orange Crush pants, a Fiesta Red tomato stuck on its nose, Plum floppy shoes, and Florida Blue socks with little Hot Pink bunnies. Bunnies? Oh my gosh, it's Rabbit the Rodeo Clown!!!!!!

There he was, in the middle of the arena, with 15,000 people watching, a hopping around and a jumping up and down cause stuck in his right flank was my Sailor Red Dot Lifetime fountain pen. I kinda smiled, Bullet kinda curled one lip and sneered, the judges clapped, the crowd cheered. Rabbit the Rodeo Clown just kept a hopping and a flapping at his rear trying to get that hypodermic nib unstuck from his seat. Well eventually he did. However, that injection of Bexley Lapis Blue ink was going to be with him a long time.

Needless to say me and Charley didn't win any big silver belt buckle the size of a 1957 Chevy hubcap that year. However, every once in awhile the bride of Rabbit the Rodeo Clown will say, "Tell me Rabbit, just how did you come by that blue butterfly tattoo on your right flank?" Rabbit the Rodeo Clown just kinda smiles and says, "I have no O-Pen-Yen on that!"

Keep your cinch tight and don't squat on your spurs buckaroos and buckarettes.

Copyright © Will Thorpe 2001. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted in any form without permission of the author except for brief editorial quotes.

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