Fold (talking with my self again)

Posted: January 11, 2011 in Short Stories

Fold (talking with my self again)

 

Pat Gifford always rode his horse facing backwards. Most people round town joked that it was because he’d enjoyed where he’d come from so much and knew where he was headed. But the truth was that from the day he was born Pat Gifford knew he’d be betrayed and stabbed in the back, so he figured he wanted to see it coming.

6pm. Gallup. New Mexico. A while back when.

‘Do what you love until someone pays you for it’, the man with the small face and long scar said stretching the muscles in his nose so that his eyes rolled up slightly in his head as if to give the words a certain divine authority.

‘We’ve been doing it for ten years now, Pat, and it don’t look like anyone’s gonna pay us anytime soon’.

Pat let the muscles sag and his face took on a hangdog expression. It was still hot. Over ninety in the shade, not that there was much. Even here in the stables, with the sweet smelling hay and old cobwebs to absorb some of the Sun’s anger the sweat was running down the back of his denim shirt.

‘But we’re still loving it right…’

The other man took off his Stetson and took to sweeping away some imaginary chaff from the stable floor with the brim.

‘…right?’

The answer when it finally came was lost in the whinny from a nearby horse box.

‘Hang it. I’m gonna git me something to eat, that smell from the cookhouse been working on my senses this past hour.’

Pat licked his cracked lips like a lizard’s tail over dry earth and stood up.

The other man remained seated, unsure if he should give his thought breath.

‘Pat…’

The older man rested his arm on a hanging leather saddle and leaned in.

‘Uh-huh?’

‘Pat, we’re down to our last five spot, ain’t that trouble?’

‘Well if it ain’t trouble, it’ll do till trouble gets here’.

The man with the Stetson stopped his sweeping and began fiddling with the brim.

‘Pat… we’re gonna be alright aren’t we… uh, I mean, in the end..?’

Pat slapped the saddle as if it were the arse of the town’s best looking whore and let out a deep belly laugh.

‘Of course son. Hell, I told ya didn’t I? Just keep on doin’ what ya love till some guy pays ya for it’.

He turned to the door and the seated man watched him from the window as he walked into the cookhouse nonchalently swinging his arms just a little too self-consciously. 

Scorched dust was blowing in now from the open stable door and the horses had begun to get restless in the encroaching dusk.

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