COWBOYS ARE FAMOUS the world over for their celebratory nature when they descend on town for Saturday night, and I guess there may be a reason for
it. However, on this particular night I started out being very well-behaved, if I do say so myself.
I was working on a ranch frequently visited by the local hunt club. Club members would come out to chase our coyotes, which were too numerous to even begin counting. Being the type to try any kind of horseback
I come across, I joined them and spent my free Sundays riding on a postage stamp for a saddle to chase coyotes across the desert while dressed in my “sissy” English outfit. Since this club is registered with the International Society of Fox Hunts, it used English fox hounds for the chase. As the top speed of these hounds is about ten miles an hour slower than that of a coyote, all we did is harass the coyotes as they were harassing our calves but without their more successful results.
It was a great way for the club’s members to relax and get a little exercise. Most of them were bankers, lawyers, doctors or other professionals. Of course, the club was also an excuse for members to get together socially for things other than riding, such as the falling off
party. Everyone was required to bring an allotted amount of mood-altering beverage for each time they had fallen off of their horse. Many members carried flasks of elixir during the hunt and thus would wind up owing several bottles. Another big event was the opening hunt party to kick off the season, which was my excuse for going into town this particular night.
It just happened by coincidence that my sister had decided to drop everything and travel a thousand miles to move in with me. Arriving the day before the party she hadn’t had time to unpack anything fitting to wear to such an auspicious occasion. My good friend Rachel offered to loan her an outfit for the night, so with directions in hand she headed for Rachel’s at noon.
When I got into headquarters around five, I unsaddled and skedaddled, barely making it to the party by seven. The members, being who they were meant the food was a wonderful array of tasty treats to satisfy any
discriminating palate. Greek, Mexican, Italian, and German cooking were represented, as well as any kind of mood-altering beverage a person could imagine. I am not quite a saint and have been known to over-imbibe a little on occasion, but this was not one of them. This was a sophisticated crowd compared to a bunch of cowboys, so I let Rachel and Sis do the drinking.
Besides, one of us had to be sober enough to drive. After only one drink I switched to soda pop.
Actually, I didn’t need to worry about getting drunk and looking like a fool with this crowd, for some of it did top-notch job of diverting attention away from others. Since it was a pleasant September evening, the
windows were open and the sliding glass door was merely screened. Presently, one of the more prominent women of the club wore her formal gown right through the closed screen. After that the glass door was closed,
and it wasn’t long before another prominent lady bounced off it to a less than graceful landing, which necessitated a visit to her proctologist, who was also at the party.
When the party wound down around nine, Rachel’s friend Beverly invited us to go down to the Gun Butt bar where she was meeting some of her friends. Neither Rachel nor myself really liked this place, but we didn’t
want to offend Beverly by turning her down. Besides, at this point Rachel and Sis were well primed, so it seemed we might as well keep the ball rolling.
Once at the Butt, things sort of fell apart. The tables were too small for the whole group to sit together, and the bouncers wouldn’t let us move them closer. After a while, we decided to leave for another place. Everyone
else left as Rachel and I waited for Sis to get off the dance floor.
When her partner escorted her back to the table, he asked Rachel to dance.
She declined, but suddenly he asked, “You’re Rachel Boone, aren’t you?”
It turned out they had been friends in grade school. Though they hadn’t seen each other in thirty years, he still recognized her. They got to visiting and Sis wanted to dance, so we hit the floor for a song or two. When we got back to the table, I found a miniature bottle of vodka
in my seat. Joking about it since all I had been drinking that night was club soda or ice water, I cracked it open, had a sip, and placed it on the table for the barmaid to remove, which she did. She also returned with a
bouncer, who informed me that the manager would like to speak to me.
Having already forgotten about the bottle I had found, I went cheerfully to the front desk with Sis following me. After explaining to the mentally challenged manager how I found the bottle and what I had done with it, I was ready to leave. At his request, I explained it one more time, wishing I had access to paper and crayon so I could draw him a picture. I then informed him I was going to get my ride and leave. As I turned
around to go get Rachel, the manager called me a liar in very sexually explicit terms. I turned back to face him and informed him that he was lucky I wasn’t eitherdrunk or ten years younger and left to get Rachel.
To enter the lounge I had to cross a hall partially blocked by a rather large man leaning across the entrance. As I ducked under his arm, he grabbed me around the neck and started twisting my head. The fight was on, although I wasn’t sure what it was about. All I wanted to do was get Rachel and leave this den of iniquity and despair. But fight it was, so I grabbed my assailant around the leg and stood up. I wasn’t trying to inflict any damage, I was just trying to get away. I did make it back into the lounge, but every time I would get out of one grip, I would find myself in another. In the background I heard the sound of breaking glass. That would be the manager passing through the glass display case. I didn’t know what they were trying do with me, but if they couldn’t control a little shrimp like
me they must be a bunch of big wimps. I enlightened them with this trivial wisp of knowledge and was rewarded with a boot in the face.
Finally they had me pinned on my back. Rachel’s long blonde hair was in my face and she was telling me to calm down and everything would be all right. I did and she was wrong, for the next thing I knew, I was face down, having been thrown out onto the pavement.
Before I could get up, someone knelt on the side of my head and started twisting my arm out of its socket repeating, “Give me your (sexually explicit) hand you (sexually explicit) (anatomically incorrect),” over and over. Now, I’m not in the habit of giving anyone my hand under the best of circumstances, let alone someone to whom I haven’t been formally introduced who’s bouncing my head off the pavement with his knee while twisting my arm out of its socket and calling me profane names, so I didn’t offer my hand. The last thing I saw before blacking out was Rachel standing on the steps with an outstretched arm screaming, “What the HELL are you doing to him?” The next thing I saw, when I could see, was Rachel lying down with a policewoman kneeling in the middle of her back. At the shock of this sight I remained still for a half second and was fitted with a pair of highly decorative yet restraining bracelets. Then we went for a ride downtown.
I was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Rachel, all ninety-eight pounds of her, was charged with battery upon a police officer, and her bail was twice as high as mine. Because neither one of us
had ever been in trouble before, our good word was enough to get us released.
The Butt’s owner dropped all the charges, then fired the manager and bouncers. We weren’t quite as lucky with the police, though. Outside the courtroom, the office who had arrested Rachel re-read the police report containing the list of injuries the manager received. Once again the officer referred to me in sexually explicit yet anatomically incorrect terms. Strange as it seems, even though the officer needed to read her own report before entering the courtroom to refresh her memory, during the trial she described in detail the rage in my face (I was face down when the police showed up) and remembered the alcohol on my breath (from the club soda?). Luckily, the judge let us go if we promised to be good. We haven’t
been to the Butt or in trouble since.
This story is an excerpt from my book Cowboy Romance (of Horsesweat & Honflies) , available at Amazon
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