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$25,000 Horse

from the fountain pen of Will Thorpe

Well I was a sitting there looking at fountain pens on the electronic Internet auction place when my wife Tina Belle looks over and says, "I might want to bid on some things so just what is your password?" I says, "Well I can't remember sweetie." The Italian Babe gives me that stare and says, "Well you must have written it down." I says, "I did but I don't remember where." She says, "Well just how in the Sam hill do you bid if you're so all fired ignorant about your password?" I explain that I only look at the pictures, never ever actually bid on a fountain pen, so I don't need a password." She gives me a little squinty eyed stare and says, with some Italian emphasis, "Horse Pucky! It's all because of that dang horse isn't it? That's why you won't give me your password." Whooo Haa, I'm in the jailhouse now! That dang horse.

Drift back a bit in time with me cowpokes to a National Horse Show a couple of years ago. We were there showing the big black stallion when Mr. Big Breeder comes up and says, "Will and Tina Belle, I'm a having a big fandango, BBQ and horse auction out at my place tomorrow and I want y'all to come." OK, free lunch, we'll be there. So the next day me, Tina, Bubba, Billy Bob and Gonzalo all pile into Moby Dick, the big pickemuptruck (yes, that's one word in Texas). Moby Dick being white with bathtub size fenders, chrome trimmed mud flaps, dual air horns and off we go for a rip snortin good time in West Texas. Well we roll right through security out there at the main gate of the Flying Red Horse Ranch and park between a big old green Jaguar and one of those Mercedays Bends. I can see right off that we're going to do the two-step with a bunch of city slicker dudes. While Tina Belle makes social acquaintances I head off to the barn to pay my respects to the trainers. Tina Belle knows that all of the trainers at the Flying Red Horse are fillies, young ones, pretty ones, and they drive trucks. I feel her stare on the back of my neck.

Come and get it! BBQ, time to eat. Me and the gang hobble (new buckaroo boots) up the hill to this big old circus tent where we chow down on real Texas beef, a few Chile peppers for flavor and wash it all down with generous helpings of ice cold Lone Star Beer. After a few more of those Lone Stars we all break out into a roaring rendition of San Antonio Rose. Deep within my heart lies a melody….

Well pretty soon a crowd starts appearing in the ring and I can tell it's about time to watch some Dudes buy fancy horses. Gonzalo wonders out loud about how they go about pulling a horse trailer with one of those Jaguars. Well the bidding is hot and heavy, everywhere you turn people are a waving there hands and a shouting "Yeeeaaaahhh." I got 30 30 30 gimme 40 40 40 "Yeeeaaaahhh" I got 40 40 40 who'll give me 50 50 50 "Yeeeaaaahhh" sold to the man in the big hat. Well this goes on right smartly for awhile so I begin to wander around the crowd. I'm a standing with my friends from over on the Matagoro chewing the fat over the merits of a high port bit when I start to notice that a whole lot of folks seem to be giving me that "Hey, you'd better pay attention stare!" I keep on with our intellectual discussion and people keep on staring at me. Somewhere off in the distance I'm listening to that auctioneer "Yeeeaaaahhh." I got 22 22 22 gimme 23 23 23 "Yeeeaaaahhh" I got 23 gimme 24 24 24 who'll give me 24 "Yeeeaaaahhh" 25 25 25 who'll give me 25 "Yeeeaaaahhh" Sold to the blond in the back row. That's when things got real quite, all eyes were a looking at me and then Gonzalo leans over and says, "Congratulations Will, you just bought that dang horse." Bought! That dang horse! Me! The blond in the back row! Then slowly the trail dust clears from my Lone Star Beer saturated brain and Oh my Lord in Heavens name! The blond in the back row, yep, you got it right cowhands, Tina Belle, the Italian Babe! She done spent the whole week's feed money on a horse. That's when I announce to no one in particular that I think I'll just very casually saunter over to Tina Belle and see what's going on. I'm a telling you that casual saunter is hard to do when your legs are as wobbly as two rubber bands and you're wearing new boots but since it was downhill I made it in record time.

I say, "Tina Belle what's happening?" Tina Belle informs me she just bought that cute little chestnut mare. I kinda smiled and inquired as to how much that cute little mare was a going to cost me. Tina Belle looks up with a big smile and says, "Twenty-Five Hundred dollars." HUNDRED!!!!! Houston, we have a problem. About that time the auctioneer fella shows up with the ticket and says, "Just sign right here young lady." Tina Belle needs a pen so I pop out my 1929 Wahl Jade Green Tulip clip fine flex nib loaded with that wonderful smelling Havana Brown and hand it to her straight away while I mention, "Better double check that price honey bunch." I see her eyes get big, I see the blood drain from her face, I see everybody a looking at her in wild admiration. She sort of whispers that there seems to be some mistake here cause her bid was 25 HUNDRED dollars. That mumble mouth auctioneer fella says, "Nope, your bid was $25,000." Tina Belle says, "Sorry, no deal." That auctioneer fella turned very pale, then kinda emerald green and made some sort of whooshing sound with his scrunched up tobacco stained little mouth that sounded distinctly like his 20% commission going down the drain. Tina Belle marches straight over to Mrs. Big Breeder who has a smile the size of the grand canyon across her face and tells her of the misfortunate (lucky me) error. Mrs. Big Breeder without even blinking says, "Don't worry about it, things like this happen all the time." Whew!

Well folks we gathered up the crew and a walked out of there a smiling and a waving to the crowd who still hadn't figured out what had really happened. They all thought they were waving to the folks who just bought a $25,000 horse so we just kept on waving back. We climbed into Moby Dick and high tailed it out of there. By the time we hit the main highway we were all laughing so hard we had tears running down our cheeks. That danged $25,000 horse!

Even to this day every so often somebody will come up to Tina and say, "Aren't you the lady that bought that $25,000 horse from the Flying Red Horse Ranch?" Tina just kinda smiles and says, "Yep." And that fellow cowhands is why I keep my password to that electronic Internet auction place locked up in the deep dark recesses of my fountain pen box, one $25,000 horse is enough.

Keep your cinch tight and don't squat on your spurs Buckaroos and Buckarettes.


Copyright 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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