Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Pale Rider

Nothing could be finer than to wake up in Regina every mooooorning!

Oh, sorry. Didn’t see you there.

Did you see Grey’s Anatomy last night? I couldn’t believe it when...um...that character died!

Erm…I guess you can tell that I don’t watch the show. I’m just trying to take part in with the water cooler gossip that I’m sure is taking place in offices all over the country this morning. I’d do it at my own office except, as you’ll recall, I don’t have one at the moment.

Of course, the other reason that I missed Grey’s Anatomy is because I was busy extracting myself from a bit of trouble that I ran into over the weekend whilst in North Carolina.

Because the weather was so beautiful, I slept with the window open on Friday evening. As so often happens, the night air was a bit cooler than I expected, and the next morning I awoke with a stuffy nose, clogged ears, a sore throat and a touch of laryngitis.

After a hearty southern breakfast of, I believe, fried lard and grits, we headed off to the stable for a day of horseback riding. As we rode, the man leading us on the trail told us about a series of horse thefts that had been plaguing the area. Apparently, the horses were always found unharmed shortly after the thefts, and local police surmised that they were either being used for a rogue breeding operation or, more likely, for bestiality films that would later be posted on the internet. In fact, their stable had been victimized that morning when they noticed that a pony disappeared.

Though I managed to stay on the beast for the duration – even when we were at full gallop, I’m still a horrible rider. In fact, I live in fear of riding in a DeLorean lest I be transported back in time to 1885 and the Wild West days of Back to the Future Part III as I’d no doubt be the laughingstock of the entire town and would likely wind up as Marty McFly's bitch...but that’s another story.

We returned at dusk and while everyone else went for a bite to eat, I lingered for a few minutes around the stable admiring the grace and beauty of those majestic animals. On my way back, I heard a noise coming from an abandoned building across the field. I ambled over and peered through the dirt covered window and was surprised to see a pony that I could only assume had wandered in and gotten stuck when the door blew closed.

Naturally, I surmised that this was the missing pony that we’d heard about during the ride and I later learned that assumption was correct. Despite my complete lack of knowledge about animals, I opened the door and tried to coax him out. Unfortunately, he appeared traumatized his ordeal and as a result, he refused to come near me.

Using my often-failed dating strategy, I stood in the doorway for at least thirty minutes casting shy glances his way in the hopes that he’d grow comfortable enough with me – or that he’d feel sorry enough for me – to eventually wander over. Sadly, he remained rooted in place, proving that the approach works as well with horses as it does with women.

I was loathe to walk away lest he dart out of the building and become lost elsewhere, nor did I want to lock him back in while I went for help as he’d been through enough already. Screwing up my courage, I cursed myself for never bothering to see “The Horse Whisperer” and I inched my way closer to the frightened animal. When I was a foot or so away – close enough to reach out and stroke his mane, a police car screeched to a halt outside. As I turned to look, the pony reared up, his forelegs coming to rest for a brief moment on my shoulders before he scrambled off and went back to standing stock still behind me.

That was all the policeman needed to see. In one smooth motion he emerged from the car with his pistol drawn.

“Freeze!” he shouted.

I put my hands in the air as I’d been trained to do by watching hundreds of hours of Law and Order.

“What are you doing in there?” he asked.

“Trying to help a lost pony.” I replied as loudly as my sore vocal chords would allow.

The officer’s gun remained trained on me. “You’ll need to speak up, son. I asked what you’re doing back there.”

“You’ll need to come closer,” I rasped.


“I’m feeling a little hoarse.”

The words came out before I realized the implication. Fortunately, two days in jail and a few thousand dollars in lawyer’s fees later, the whole misunderstanding was straightened out.

In fact, my attorney is fairly confident that I may even be allowed back in North Carolina one day.