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ON THE EDGE OF COMMON SENSE

Kelly’s Halloween

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It was a bad day at Black Rock that fateful Halloween.

            It all began the week before, the call had seemed routine.

“I’ve got a mare needs checkin,’ Doc, I b’lieve the sweetheart’s bred.”

            “I’ll swing by there this afternoon,” Good Doctor Kelly said.

The mare was mincing round the stall as Kelly donned the sleeve.

            “This should only take a second,” his assessment was naive.

“She’s just a little nervous, Doc, but I guess I would be ,too.

            If you were pointin’ that at me, I’d kick you to Timbucktu!”

Which is precisely what she did. So fast it was a blur.

            The next day poor ol’ Kelly wore a cast from hip to spur.

With two days of the heal up, his left leg plasterized,

            He volunteered to take a call. I know it wasn’t wise.

But you know men, like him I mean, a grad of Colorado

            Whose head, if not for gristle wouldn’t even cast a shadow.

Another horse. A small wire cut there just below the hock.

            “He’s gentle as a newborn lamb. He’d never hurt you, Doc.”

And sure enough he blocked the site, though awkwardly, I’d think.

            He had to spread his legs the way giraffes bend down to drink.

Relieved, he got his suture out, assumed the bent position

            About the time a fly appeared in search of fly nutrition.

And lit upon the horse’s foot. Just fate I would suppose.

            The pony kicked to flick the fly but caught the doctor’s nose. Sideways.

Which left a thumb sized piece of schnoz now dangling from the tip

            Like half a jalapeño flapping down upon his lip.

Thirty stitches on the outside. Then they taped that sucker tight

            But them M.D.’s must’ve chuckled ‘cause that bandage was a sight.

It stuck out like a gear shift, like the fruit on prickly pear,

            Like a big white avocado on a chain saw grizzly bear.

He stayed at home the next two days, hibernating in his cave

            Until his wife had asked his help. The instructions that she gave

were “Pick the kids up right at nine at Johnson’s, Second Street.

            They’re at a party, Halloween. Maybe you could Trick or Treat.”

“Very funny,” Kelly fumed. But when nine o’clock came around

            He wedged his cast into the truck and drove himself to town.

When they let him in the Johnson’s house, he matched the decorations.

            The kids all froze. Then screamed in fear and heebie jeebie-ations!

“The mummy! No, it’s Frankenstein! It looks so realistic!”

            With crutch and cast and nose and scowl it dang sure was sadistic.

But the scream that topped the evening off was, in Mr. Johnson’s view,

            When he grabbed and jerked the bandage off and said, “Hey, I know you!”

            Baxter Black is a cowboy poet, former large-animal veterinarian and entertainer of the agricultural masses. Learn more at www.baxterblack.com.

Baxter Black