May 30 2013
“Your eyes are a little weepy,” I told Bugsy last night, as I opened the door to let him out. “I think you have allergies.”
“Yea, well you’re late… you’re f*&king late,” Bugsy replied, brushing by without waiting.
Let me interrupt here.
Of course Bugsy doesn’t talk. I’m anthropomorphizing as usual — assigning human thought and perception to a pony.
But Bugsy does communicate. Look in his eyes and at his face and you’ll see that he speaks.
And I’m certain that Bugsy swears.
Mind you, never around young ears. He’s a consummate professional. Like a Sesame Street puppeteer, or that lumbering schmo, Barney, Bugsy would never besmirch his reputation.
But at day’s end, I imagine him at a bar; he’s the guy with the rumpled suit and loosened tie, hunkered over a Jack-and-Coke, grumbling, “Christ, you wouldn’t believe the sh*tty day I’ve had…“
On the job with kids, he’s always perky and bright. But when I approach, he casts me a withering look.
I like to think that I’m older and wiser — well, at least older. I’ve got 15 years on him. Unless you consider horse-human age conversion. In that case, Bugsy’s 24 is equivalent to a 70-year-old. That means he’s eligible for medicaid. And 70 explains his grandfatherly affinity for children and his dismissive, you’re an idiot, attitude around me.
Last week, he gave me that old-man attitude.
I took Bugsy to Hadley’s school — like last year — but this time, each of her classmates rode him. That’s 15 kids, fitted with a helmet, helped into the saddle, feet in the stirrups, around the field, then off, and repeat process.
When we were finally done, two little kids were petting Bugsy and holding his leads. “Do you mind?” I asked a nearby teacher, pointing to the pony. “I’ve just got to run to the trailer for a minute…”
I was actually gone for five, and returned just in time to see the last kid funnel through a door into school. The door slammed shut. The playground was silent and empty.
Well, not completely empty.
Bugsy gave me the eye. “Hey Einstein, you forget something?”
He was standing right where I’d left him: by the playground near a broad, unfenced field. “Wow Bugsy,” I said, gingerly approaching. “Thanks for not running away.”
“And,” he added, “you left me watching that little hellion again…”
I gathered the abandoned lead ropes and pulled the reins over his head. “Good pony,” I said. We headed back to trailer and I sighed. “Man, I need a drink.”
“Sh&t, you’re telling me? The morning I just had…”