My first day at Winterlight, Malcolm said, “I’ll show you around, then leave you to get settled. I have to go out of town tomorrow, but if you’re up for an early ride, I can give you a tour of the farm in the morning. We’re closed to the public on Sundays.”
“I’d like that,” I said, not sure what he meant by early. If it wasn’t a horse show, I didn’t do early.
He led the way into the barn saying, “C’mon, it’s time to feed,” over his shoulder.
Inside, the stink hit me again. The stalls were bedded deep, but something was not being done right. There were lots of windows and plenty of fresh air. If I was going to sleep upstairs the smell had to go. I wrinkled my nose and wondered who’d been mucking out.
He looked at me. I didn’t know what was going through his mind, but I probably had disapproval written all over my face. Trying to rearrange my look to suit him might have made things worse, so I just stared back.
“I know,” he said. “The help I’ve had—you met Norman. I needed help and he needed the job. The other guy…let’s just say he’s not a horse person.”
My right eyebrow arched. I tried to cover it, pretending to swat a fly. I wondered why his wife wasn’t doing it, if she had a horse, which was what I remembered. The kid was old enough to help, too. But he kept saying “I,” not “we.”
There’s no excuse for not keeping stalls clean. We ask a lot of our horses. Making them inhale pee vapor and sleep on poop is not how they should be rewarded. That, however, is not a universally shared notion.
He gave a little nod, like he’d read my thoughts. “Do what you must to make it right. There’s plenty of straw in the loft with the hay. I’ve accounts at the elevator and MFA. If you need anything, get it.”
I didn’t know what an elevator was, and MFA could have stood for More Freaking Assholes for all I knew. “Right.” There’s much more I would have said, normally, and my tongue was bleeding from my effort to hold it. But I would hold it.
Can’t say that lasted…
Join me tomorrow for F is for…well, you know, sometimes there is only one word that will do.
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