Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Hatfield and McCoy’s; part deux

Obviously what I thought to be an open and closed case, was just the prelude to the French Opera I call “Voisins”. Or as we would say in English, “Neighbors”. So let’s recap; my neighbor “watchdog” is seen taking 6 trailer wheels and a few trailer frame members and confronted in the act by Cindy, he changes the subject. I question him he replies they are his materials, the owner of the horses and of the parts asks him; he says I gave them to him. I tell him that’s not true, the two parties exchange words; the owner of the horses throws him (“watchdog”) about the interior of his car. End of story…..

Not a chance, I get a call from the Gendarmerie, our local police, and they ask for the phone number for the owner of the horses. I look it up in our notes and tell them the number and describe the location and town of where he lives. Interesting, probably following up on the theft of his material.

A couple hours later I’m in the kitchen and hear Cindy talking outside with our neighbor, the watchdog’s wife. I go out to see what’s up, and I am confronted with what I would imagine a rural casting call for “Brunnhilde “from “Ride of the Valkyrie” would resemble. (See photo above for reference) She along with her daughter and her daughter’s daughter are milling about with expressions you might see on posters illustrating “the greatest injustices ever waged on humanity.”

I enter (actually wade into, as in fecal matter) halfway into the greatest Shakespearian tragedy never written. The daughter, who is running away with the part of Brunnhilde, is not only gesturing with such despondency, but she is telling the tale as a nearly grieving mother who could not live without her littlest Brunnhilde. Let’s pick up where I joined in. I will tell it in English, although ideally it should be sung in Italian.

“We are but humble, simple farm folk, living our simple existence, spreading joy to the unenlightened. This dark stranger vaulted our gate with a bloody saber and a large bore shotgun. All the time, I am selflessly standing in front of my weeping infants, ready to lay down my selfless life, so that they might live, and go on to lead the lives of missionaries.”

“I wonder why he was so mad and threatening.” I ask.

“That is a mystery wrapped in an enigma, stuffed into a baguette” the neighbor’s wife offers. “We are mere pawns in this injustice. My husband “watchdog” is suffering the most. This madman was threatening us with the gun and pointing it at the little ones. On cue the daughter mimes a menacing figure pointing a gun, behind her mother.

(I find no humor in this aspect of the story, but Cindy and I imagine if this aspect of the tale were true the Gendarmerie would have taken him in. There was a wealth of misinformation and half truth told in this act.)

The wife of “watchdog” was starting to catch up with her daughter for the part.

“Abbiamo pensato che fossimo a essere massacrati, martirizzato come cani e mortalmente sacrificato per nessun motive.” She sang.

(We thought we were to be massacred, martyred like dogs, and mortally sacrificed for no reason.) Sorry I just wanted to see it in Italian.

The part was hers for the taking at this point, then she clenched it, she grabbed the part from her poor understudy of a daughter. She wept genuine tears, she so believed of their injustice, she wept. Cindy comforted her, it was sad. It is only as the story unraveled, and hidden truths were uncovered that I thought of this as a comedic tragedy. Were I a prop artist at this point I would have given “watchdog’s” wife a chainmail dress, a shiny two horned Viking helmet, and a Valkyrian battle axe.

After fifteen minutes of this country theater, and me asking two or three times to speak not scream, the troupe continues their soliloquies.

A script rewrite was definitely needed; forgotten facts have since been brought to light. Turns out the daughter of the horse guy came over and enquired where her wheels and frame members were, and when could she expect them. Well as in any opera, I imagine the volume was increasing during the conversation. Then it turns out the daughter of “watchdog’s” wife hit the smaller, although taller daughter of the horse owner guy. I think that was the aforementioned motive that was missing during the tryouts.

Later that evening the boyfriend of the girl that was hit arrives, (queue in trumpets and battle drums in the background) and the action ensues.

At this point “watchdog’s” wife’s daughter tries futilely to wrest the part from mom. With vaudevillian exaggeration she pantomimes the arrival of the evil caped figure. She mimes the world wide gestures for abundant drinking and “POT” smoking. She takes an exaggerated draw from an imaginary joint. But too little too late for being awarded the part; the Russian judge gave her a two. Sadly she over reaches by then telling me if he shot my child I would shoot him. Flailing madly with punch drunk inefficiency she tries the angered revengeful mother routine, but she’s reading off the wrong script to the custodian in the basement at this point.

I guess the reason it seems so laughable is that during this whole audition, they never mention that someone hit the horse owner’s daughter, and thus started the events rolling. They never admitted “watchdog” came onto our property and stole stuff, also setting this tragically funny audition in motion. And lastly, there has been a history of so much stuff being taken from the property, and who just went to number one with a bullet, on the suspect charts.

As the stage lights dim and we are returning into the sanctity of our house and the minstrels depart, I imagine I heard someone overweight singing, in Italian, with a lone thunderclap.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Hatfields and the McCoys ; “Or Les champs de chapeaux avec le maître des cérémonies coys” (French Version)

Out of the corner of my eye I caught what appeared to be someone leaning into the parked car down at the end of our driveway. Then the headlights flashed, the wipers started up, a blinker signaled, and the windshield fluid sprayed. It indicated that there was someone being tossed around the interior of the car, forcefully. I allowed myself a smirk and slowly turned away and proceeded into the barn. I would have to start readying the vine sprayer for the three hours of back breaking anti-mildew vine treatment. I certainly had a spring in my step as I savored the surreal imagery of the car jumping into that animated state.
When we bought our fifty acre’s of heaven in South-west France, it was a quantum leap for the family. We went through the whole French buying process, and it was at this point we met our neighbor. He was helpful and talked loudly so we could better understand him. He certainly was familiar with the property, and offered to look after things. He would remind me a couple times, “You know there are gypsies to watch out after”. It sure felt nice having someone so close to the property and someone who had our best interest at heart. The purchase included most of the furniture and a lot of agricultural items. So Cindy and I inventoried the house and property and prepared to return to the states.
Prior to leaving we were introduced to the man that kept his two Belgian draft horses and small donkey on the property. The arrangement was in exchange for boarding, he would help with maintaining the land. Ah everything in place, and thoroughly accounted for and then we returned to the states.
Fast forward six months, we loaded up the truck and we moved to….sure the hell wasn’t Beverly. Long story short, when we got to the property everything was gone. Well specifically anything worth taking was taken, and anything worthless was left. I have written before about this so I won’t repeat the tale other than to say that some enterprising soul had removed anything of value, to the point of grinding off items embedded into the centuries old stone walls. We squared away with the seller and were compensated to a degree. We learned over time that our “watchdog” neighbor should not have the word “watch” in front of this title. Over time the ever opportunistic neighbor ingratiated himself by bring me “Cadeaux”; presents as it were. These “gifts” were of little value to him and usually stuff from his jobsites that were removed for a renovation. It was always awkward when he would walk up the driveway carrying a three legged chair that only required a little work. There were some useful things, but the presentation was similar to a waiter lobbying for a tip. Luckily he had the added talent, of knowing everything. His depth of advice was staggering, even though I spent almost 30 years in the construction industry; he had the ability to correct any thing he saw me do. We were installing an arched window for the kitchen, and had hired a mason to do it. I was outside taking down stones as directed by the mason, and my neighbor runs up the driveway yelling. “Henri’, attention, tomber, tomber!” Essentially he was saying, “Hank, beware, its going to fall, its going to fall.” I had tired of his constructive help, to the point that I replied with my best glare and said. “Dit avec le macon, ami” (“Talk with the mason, pal!”) I jerked my thumb towards the kitchen. Thank God there was someone helping the mentally challenged American.
The man with the three horses has over time proved to be a man of his word. He helps with so much, and has such patience. He has a slight limp, and favors his left hand, the result of an accident that left his right side slightly incapacitated. We have over time discussed the migration of a lot of items from the farm. All roads lead to Rome, well here all departing items lead to our neighbor’s doorway. We believe he was hired by a relative of the seller. But what has always annoyed me was shaking my neighbors hand on our first meeting, and him assuring me that he would watch the property. Well in truth he did watch the property; he watched it all get loaded into trucks.
Just recently we had guests visiting from England, and the U.S. One day I left the house with a carload of guests to drive to Saint Circ Lapopie.
“ Ahhh!! an opportunity presents itself.” Someone must have thought as he eyes the abandoned house. So he has a couple friends drop by with a big van and they proceed to load it up with a half dozen spare tires and frame members that belong to the man with the horses. I wonder if you can imagine the startled look on our “Watchdog’s” face as Cindy walks down the driveway and inquires as to what they are doing. “Watchdog” didn’t pick up on the fact that Cindy didn’t go with us on the road trip.
Instantly he affects the animated posture of introducing Cindy to his two friends. He literally introduces them as Mr. Moustache and Mr. Glasses. (in French of course.) This tactic backfires as this makes Cindy notice their features. Then the “Watchdog” continues by telling Cindy that one is the Chef for the fete’ at a local town. He never even acknowledges the items he is removing as the stupid American has successfully been distracted by the information regarding the fete’.
A couple days pass, and I notice the “Watchdog” and ask, hey was that your stuff or was it the horse guys stuff? He replies that it was his.
The next day the man with the horses is working on his tractor and mentions that his daughter spare trailer wheels and trailer frame members have been taken. I fill him in on the events as seen by Cindy and my inquiry.
Later that day I see him again and he says that the “Watchdog” told him that I had given him the material. I look at him and laugh shaking my head, and say.”It is not mine to give away; he has told you a non-truth.” (That is literally the translation, I didn’t know how to say “fucking lie” in French)
Next day I’m walking non-stop between the house and workshop and I notice the man with the horses driving his tractor down the driveway towing a tank of water for the horses. He stops and notices “Watchdog” watching him from his walkway gate. I think my understanding of rural French slang was rusty but they were discussing the missing items. “Watchdog” comes out of his walkway gate without his shirt on and stands there hands akimbo. (Both of his hands are on his waist) not unlike a scraggly rooster. He has adopted the attitude that he is the alpha male and that the slightly handicapped horse guy should acquiesce. Then I hear the wife bandy about some verbiage. Horse guy drives down the driveway and attends to his horses.
Later that same day, the insults have been brewing inside the horse guys mind. The “Watchdog” drives up and parks his car at the bottom of the driveway to lob a couple more insults toward horse guy who is still working there………..
Out of the corner of my eye.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Vines, Rose', and Tears

I made the kilometer trek up to Sylvans vines, apprehensivly. Last week I saw him meeting with a local vineyard consultant, after the consultant drove away I went to see Sylvan. "The harvest will be easy this year", he said slowly, he looked back to the Merlot vines he had worked on for the last five months. "They were hurt badly with the late springs frost." I felt the hairs on the back of my neck bristle, my heart ached for him. "I am lucky if there will be two hundred bottles". I choked back tears and nodded, looked at the wounded rows of Merlot vines, they showed no outward signs of the crippling wounds the frost had left.
I first met him when our well had gone dry, Mr Coussy ( The man we Purchased the Petit Clos Farm from.)had arranged for him to drop by and deliver a tank of potable water to help my family. We solved the problem by hooking a temporary tether from our neighbors house water supply to ours. But I would never forget him offering to help us. During the rains that spring, two years ago, his van got stuck on the rural road beside our property and I noticed. So I got the old Ford tractor started and drove to his aid, we hooked up a chain and I reversed down the muddy gravel road. Afterward, as we're getting soaked, I was coiling up the chain and he looked at me grinning and said. "The French have a saying, good friendships are usually started by good deeds." I drove the old Ford back to its spot in the large steel barn, glowing inside from this meeting. I have pulled him out on occasion and he usually drops by later that same day with a bottle of his Rose'. I have worked on the 1450 vines, backbreaking work, in all kinds of weather, freezing pruning of the vines, sweltering hot days spraying sulfer and copper from his borrowed gas backpack spraying machine. Weaving the adolescent vines and later clipping the tops of the sprouting vines, so they stay within the wire trellis system, also backbreaking work. Weeding constantly so the vines get what moisture they can without weeds robbing the rain water. It is prohibited to water vines manually, they must subsist by themselves. He works during the days for a vineyard in the area, then after hours he tends his vines, four times as many as mine. He would show up after work around six and stay until exactley nine oclock, then race the 6 kilometers to his house where his daughter Claire would be waiting for him to kiss her goodnight. That accomplished he would race back to his vines, recharged by the love of his daughter. Again he returns to work the vast rows of his tertiary love. I am addicted to my vines, I have never been a gardener, not even remotely competent at keeping green things alive. This year we took the plunge in taking care of our vineyard that was included with our farm, I would be given a pointer course in vine pruning. We arranged to meet a local British vintner, he gave me a half hour course in the finer points of spring pruning, then left me looking at the remainind 1400 vines. GULP. The weather temperature dropped, and so I layered up and ventured out into the unknown. After a week of pruning, the vines were set for spring. Sylvan would drop by and inspect and fine tune my budding pruning talent. I would work 8 or 9 hours and be heading into the house as he would be showing up to work his vines.
: Since watching the movie "Sideways", I've been a Pinot Noir fan, skipped white wine and rose' and went straight to Reds. I love the full bodied reds with the vast tastes within. Well Sylvan dropped off one of his Rose's when I pulled his car from the mire. I think I begrudginly took a glass with Cindy and thought one glass and then I could tell him we tried it. Gotta tell ya, I thought rose' from Provence was the measuring stick, this blew the Provencial Rose's out of the water. His is a Merlot grape, that he add a miniscule dash of sugar and it opens up the floodgates of flavor. It has the full bodied makeup of its Red cousins, but it also refreshes. Sitting by the pool with friends, its like kool aid for grown ups. We now purchase six packs of his Rose' telling him our clients and family are the ones drinking up all our Rose' stores, liars. So today I made the kilometer trek up to Sylvans vines, and walked by the rows of wounded vines. I though of all his sacrifices that he made for his third love and inspected his grape bunches. They were like raisins, with a smattering of healthy still green grapes struggling to make it. There were vines wiped out by mildew in small leper like gatherings. Further into the rows the grapes got better, there was hope; but at that point I already had tears running down my face.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Vine pruning

We have decided to prune our hectare ( 2 ½ acres) of Sauvignon Blanc vines ourselves , after having a British couple tutor us on the finer points, they left and we started, well to date we have one third done after three days. There are six rows, running east to west or vice versa if you want. Each row is about 900 feet long, or the equivalent of walking down the side line of a football field, crossing the end zone, then back up the other side of the football field, then across the end zone, completing the perimeter of the entire football field. But it is all one length, and it’s more of a sideways shuffle. This morning after suiting up with the obligatory three layers of clothing, coveralls, jacket, and then an outer jacket, I made my way through the snow flurries the 300 meters away and started cutting. I continued; with each new vine you present yourself to it and stare at the structure, identify the two young growths that will carry next year’s crop and two other shoots that will be the reserves. It seems to me each dormant vine is unlike another, they all present their own set of attributes; there is a focus that is required for each pruning. Yesterday after six hours in the cold, solving each vine, it started to flow nicely. To start, after cutting the twenty or so shoots that will not be required shoots, and trimming off dead growths from the previous year, you cut the two winners at the sixth bud, and the two reservists at two buds. Then you shuffle sideways four or five feet and you present yourself to the next vine. This being my third day, I walked up the second row of six, as it was almost completed, and looked down the row to see how much more there was. After a half an hour I looked down the row again; and it seemed longer, hmmm. After another half an hour I looked down the row and it again seemed longer.
One of my favorite stand-up comedians is Stephen Wright, his irreverent humor cracks me up, I thought of one of his lines while I was looking at the vines.
“I’m not afraid of heights, I’m afraid of widths.”
I was out in the rows, not believing how they kept elongating with a weird foreshortening and then hypnotically stretching out. It was like Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak in Vertigo, Jimmy’s character is chasing a suspect across a roofline along with his partner, the partner slips and while hanging on Jimmy Stewart’s character kneels down to help save him, he loses focus and the height extends and shutters visually, he gets freaked. Well I got to tell you that row of vines was rough, so I kept chipping away, and finally made it to the end of the second row. Packed up the tools, and like Quasimodo as the hunchback of Petit Clos, I meandered home.
Then the snow hit, so we are of vine duty and returning into the house to start punchlisting the semi-completed rooms. Cheers all, hank

Sunday, February 5, 2012

cutting edge

As soon as I put the razor in my mouth I knew I had made a really, really stupid mistake.
Two hours earlier; Cindy and I had awoken to a nice snow storm swirling outside our windows. The prairies and vineyards were blanketed with two inches of powdery white snow. We had moved upstairs to one of the two completed rooms, they had efficient wall mounted electrical heaters. I’m not sure why we had been living in Ice Station Zebra for the previous few months, but we were warm finally. Cindy braved the arctic corridor that connected the upstairs bedroom to the downstairs wing of the house that housed the kitchen and living room. After feeding the domestic animals, she brewed up some piping hot coffee and returned to the warm bedroom. After slowly waking and admiring the view outside I dressed, finished the coffee and got ready to start the day. We had targeted the southwest for its mild temperate weather, with that warm thought I made my way to the cold kitchen and got to work on starting a fire in the fireplace. With the fire starting to take the chill off, I made my way to the Living room and started a small fire in the cast iron stove. “Isn’t this romantic?” Was the last thing on my mind, being low on firewood required me to make the trek through the winter wonderland, to the barn furthest from the house and load up the wheelbarrow. Getting that required task done I went to the kitchen sink and tested the faucet, fearing the waterlines may have frozen. In baseball batting .500 is unheard of; to have the cold water running but not the warm water running would be .500 but could be catastrophic. And that’s what it was, so I went through the house testing the faucets. The good news was the existing copper lines that served the old bathroom worked, the bad news was the new plastic lines serving the hot water to the new bathroom and the new kitchen had a frozen block it them somewhere. The ugly news was that there was a hint of septic odor in the first floor. There were a couple lines that had not been insulated so they would need to be checked, and then wrapped with some excess foam insulation for piping. The foam insulation look like the swimming pool noodles except they are hollow, and need to be sliced so that they can be slipped over the water lines. First things first, off I go to the wine chai where the septic holding tank is located. I open the wooden barn door to allow light in to the septic area, and promptly plug in the orange extension cord and listen for the pump, nothing. I open the lid to the holding tank and with a stick, stir it up to ensure the pump isn’t lodged in frozen, well let’s just say frozen. Nope it’s O.K., so I walk back to the plug and as I’m looking at it like a third grader trying to solve E=Mc2, it dawns on me. The extension cord is for the chop saw I had been using it to cut baseboard for the nearly completed hallway (Arctic Corridor), the black cord on the ground was for the pump, righting that wrong I plugged it in and was relieved to hear the whirring sound of something semi-liquid being pumped. The drawback to this chore is that it being an older system there is unfortunately an aromatic blowback that permeates the first floor for about an hour. With the septic being done I unplugged the pump and headed over to the workshop in the big un-insulated barn. I gather up the three lengths of the pipe insulation and search for the utility knife that I will need to slice the pipe insulation. Ah not to worry, there is a package of brand new blades, so I manage to slide one free from the stack of blades and slide it out of the holder. O.K., now to go to the annex and insulate the water lines, as I’m reaching back to close the door, I don’t have a free hand so I instinctively place the new razor blade between my lips.
As I feel the cold metal touch my lips it dawns on me how fucking cold the metal feels, not tastes, feels. Just as I’m clasping the razor with my lips I realize that the razor and my skin are fused as one, cold welded as it were. I literally stop in me tracks, having closed the door behind me during the whole 2 second escapade. I look off to where a camera should be filming me for Americas Stupidest Videos and glare. I think well just heat it up and it will detach. I again without thinking, start to lick the inside of the razor in my mouth, FUTCH, I mentioned it was a new razor right?, well the inside has sharp edges as well, CHRESST, I cut my frozen tongue. So I march into the house, did I mention we had no hot water in the kitchen, so after a couple minutes of running the sink, I make my way to the first floor bathroom. There the water is slightly cooler than lava, after botching the initial razor removal; I managed to retract it from my lips.
Now off to the wine chai to insulate the frozen water lines, passing Cindy in the hall, I think she gleefully said how beautiful it looked outside. Only smelling the septic reflected my attitude at that particular moment.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

An Evening at “The Not So O.K. Corral.”

Cindy and I were settling down, early in the evening Friday night, while Caleigh was at a friend’s having a sleepover. We were both reclining on the sofa, and each browsing the internet on our own laptops, ah romance. As the phone rang, someone knocked on the door, Cindy got the phone, I got the door. Opening the door at our house requires agility, one opens the door about 45 degrees blocking any exit with their body position, and with their non weight bearing leg they extend it backwards. The backward thrust should always be no higher than 8 to 10 inches, roughly the height of a domesticated, well roughly the height of a Corgi. Then 6 seconds later lift your leg up another 8 to 10 inches,, or roughly the height of an Australian Blue Sheppard. This gives you 15 seconds of quiet while you look, and allows you to say ”Bon Jour” which then just whips the little dears into a greeting frenzy.
It was two of the local Gendarmerie, I smiled an offered them to come in out of the cold weather, and into our freezing house, well the kitchen was warm thanks to the fire in the fireplace. Cindy was off the phone quickly with our friends, Dominique and Patricia, telling Cindy that the Gendarmeries were en route. As they enter the house I lie that the two dogs are “Good” dogs, and I am truthful they don’t bite. Meanwhile Holly the wannabe Corgi is rapidly shining up the toe of the officer’s boot with her tongue. As I point to the fireplace indicating they could stand in warmth, they oblige; which gives me a millisecond to shuttle-board the faux Corgi with my foot across the kitchen tile floor. The conversation was in French, well theirs was, ours was Franglish, but I will write it in English, well American I guess.
“Good evening, do you own horses?”. The senior one asked. The man was late 20’s (Three chevrons on his sleeves) and his partner was a kind looking young lady.(Two chevrons on her sleeves, and a croissant eating badge on her lapel.)
“Why yes, we have no horses.” I say in complete control of the language, in the background Cindy says a simple “Oui” (That means Oui in French)
“Are they in their enclosures at the moment?”
“I believe that they are, is there a problem?”
“There were some horses on the main road to Saint Foy, right down the road”
So we all head outside and they inquire which pasture are they in. The guy has this really powerful handheld flashlight and starts scanning the adjacent pastures. I indicate they have worked their way to the pasture by some vines and an adjacent forest.
“I will go check, is that O.K.?” My mind was racing (Yeah I don’t even want to hear the word “Oxymoron”) I was trying to think the last time I was outside or the last time I saw them, it was today, then I went in to the Dear God matrix.
I dash back inside to grab a couple small flashlights, one as a backup, and stop at the barn to disconnect the electric fence power. Then I muck my way to their last grazing place. The weather has been cold, but not cold enough to freeze the pastures just me; so of course I’m hiking a kilometer in something that rhymes with mucking muck. I arrive to the spot that I’ve deduced the little horses ass, I mean the four horses and an ass would naturally attempt something stupid. Yep the electric fence is cut right there, and no it doesn’t bother me that I’ve gone through the same thought process as a horse. I can make out three horses of to the side of our pasture, so two are still AWOL. I look into the neighboring vines and see two distinct shadowy shapes; I make my way across their flank and manage to get slightly to the side of JOJO.
“Hey boy, easy there, that’s it J0J0” I slowly get a grip on his halter and walk him back to the pasture. He hesitates slightly as we come up on the wire on the ground; even in the dark he is aware of the wire. I step on it calmly and lean slowly forward, he crosses. The remaining ass (literally) meanders along following us then the trot off to group with the other truant creatures.
“Hey Cindy,, yeah I got them back in, they all walk 0.K. I’m heading back.” I end the call on my cell phone and head back after reconnecting the electric fence with the two pairs of pliers from my back pocket.
I return to the kitchen where its warm and take off my thick work coat to warm up.
“So they looked alright?” Cindy asks, looking relieved.
“Yeah, they’re all in, like I said.”
“You couldn’t tell which one hit the car?” She lost the relieved look pretty quickly.
“Hit the car; where did that come from?”
“They said that, can you go check?”
“That weird, hit a fucking car, do you mean hit by a car?”
“I’m positive, can you go check?” she implores.
“Of course, really, hit a car? Jeeze.” I put my still cold coat on and grab the two flashlights. Outside in the cool night air I see that Patrick (The owner of three horses and the ass) has arrived, then the senior Gendarme has decided to join us for the “All Creatures Great and Small” production. I always thought, how romantic horses running free in the pastures, turns out priority number one, two, and three is the absolute importance of fencing, not the goofy looking guys in the white leotards, beehive repair headsets and car antenna’s kind either. As I re-muck up the pasture I’m sure the horse were laughing as they heard me muttering in the mucking muck. “How the hell can a horse hit a car?’ As I looked up the hill I could swear that two specific horses were doing the Ferrari logo silhouette, and high fiving, well high one-ing each other.
We arrive in the dark corral, the horses are milling about kind of looking at each other, Patrick gets in the group, and they all kind of drop their heads in guilt. He inspects them all as best as he can and determines that his kids are alright. Then while I’m holding J0J0’s halter, he raises up one two hind feet, I release the halter as I’m a foot off the ground fearing the worst, and he takes off in a cloud of dust with the others following suit. O.K. I guess we’re done here, so we muck back down the pasture to the warmth of the kitchen. (Turns out the horses were fine, they never made it near the road as all attached pastures were also double fenced and wired.)
As the Gendarmerie’s are finishing things up, I make them some coffee, the senior one politely says
“No thank you.”
“Tea, Coke-Cola, then Vodka.” I offer again.
“Ah Vodka, parfait.” The senior Gendarme smiles.
We kind of chuckle as Holly is walking around and on their feet, while he starts talking to his partner.
“Would it be possible to borrow your 45 and one cartridge for one second, then I can take care of the bothersome dog by your feet?” I ask as he notices the dog.
“Hank, leave my Holly alone!” Cindy implores for the thousandth time since we’ve gotten the little treasure.
He looks at me briefly and continues talking to his partner and looking at her. Then I swear to God, his hand slowly and deliberately drops to his side, he unclips the holster catch and coolly lifts up his 45 and extends his hand toward me with the barrel pointed down, still looking at his partner and talking about their report, he then pauses.
“Only one cartridge” He says smirking towards me.