Duke, Part 2

By Gerry Fischer

 I asked Old Joe whose dog it was, and he told me some new people were moving into the property next to the Torres place and it might be theirs. A couple of weeks later, I noticed a man and woman pushing a baby stroller down the road. It was a dusty, hot day on a dirt road, and looked to me like a scene out of place, but I waved and they waved back, when unseen to me a dog following them close to the wood line, saw Duke and came running and began chasing the horse. I saw it was the same dog I ran off before, and ran him off again. This man became irate and began yelling at me. I walked over and told him I was sorry, but it’s just too hot for the horse to be ran like that. I fenced a spot shaded at all times so he could get out of the sun, but the dog made that moot. Try as hard as I could, there was no calming him down. He kept getting madder and madder and began jumping up and down. He looked so funny, I couldn’t help but smile, and when he saw me smile, his face turned as red as his beard. I have heard of people speaking in tongues, but this is the first time I ever heard one do it. Unintelligible sounds emanated from his lips in a sort of frightening pattern.  The next weekend I saw Old Joe, and told him how mad the man became and he said well, we got into it too. He told me the dog began chasing his pet Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs and Joe fired a shot in the ground to scare the dog. He said the man came over and raised Cain. He then told me he was probably going to have to sell his pigs, and asked if I was interested. I answered emphatically, “NO!” A while after that the pigs destroyed about $300.00 worth of Joe’s air conditioner condenser and insulation. He sold one pig and ate the other. Joe had his good points as we all do, but when he was a motorcycle enthusiast, he had spent some time in prison for shooting a Hari Krishna guy. Joe told the story differently to me, he said the man was trying to hi-jack his truck, but later his mother said Joe was drinking in a biker bar and the Hari Krishna guy was walking by and looking at Joe’s bike, at which Joe took a dim view of the matter and fired a lucky shot.  Anyway, about a week later when I came home from school, the gate was opened and the horse was gone. I called the sheriff and a deputy came out. He was a nice man about 60 years old and heavy set, but not fat. He asked me to put the gate back together as if the horse was in it. That meant replacing two four- inch diameter logs about 10 feet long, that the horse would have to remove with his head. The sheriff said a horse couldn’t do that, meaning someone let the horse out. I suspected the man across the road, but did not accuse him. He wrote a report, and a few days later another neighbor called to tell me a man just called “Tradio,” and had a horse he found. His place was about a mile from our place. I called the number and the man said before you come, tell me what color halter your horse was wearing. I answered green, and he said, “Come and get your horse.” (Next issue read about my most embarrassing moments retrieving Duke).

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