Hauser Redding, aka “Tommy Redneck,” pulled his new aluminum stock
trailer with his noisy shiny black Ford 350 into the college parking
lot. He was early. The “stockmen” as they called themselves were
supposed to arrive together - an organized caravan like Wayne, their
operation leader, had planned. But Tommy has missed the final meeting
and the crucial part about where to rendezvous because of his goddamn
mother in law.
They had planned this thing for months, or a couple weeks. OK, last Sunday. The intent was to disrupt traffic to the maximum extent possible - which sounds so simple. Traffic gets disrupted all the time at campaign events. The visit by the President’s wife was a great target - plenty of liberal media to become disheartened. No way to get caught if they stuck to the plan. Too bad he’d missed that meeting.
His mare whinnied loudly shaking the trailer and shattering the quiet. The shrilling descending tones bounced off ridge boulders and echoed back to the rig tricking her briefly and willingly into thinking she’d gotten a reply. She issued another impassioned full-body call and this time she listened legitimately for a response. She raised a distant donkey then began banging her bridle into the trailer side.
Tommy rolled his eyes at his horse. How did Indians and cavalry keep their horses quiet? Wayne or somebody had asked that question before but he couldn’t remember where that conversation had gone and now his stomach growled and he lost that train of thought and picked up another more familiar one - his goddamn mother in law.
The bridle-banging was not as satisfying as Tinney, the little dun mare, had hoped. The old steel stock trailer was much more percussive than this new thunking aluminum. Her rhythmic clanging had worn a rusty spot on the old one where she was frequently tied. Tommy would point to the spot as a reason for a whole new rig. She had added stamping and pawing to her repertoire which were really good on the textured aluminum trailer floor until Tommy got the thick rubber mats.
Tinney had a keen interest in travel and loved parades and rodeos. But Tommy hadn’t fed her this morning and her cinch was twisted and she was getting bored - which is worse than mean in horses for being far more common. So she snorted a couple times and prepared for another shout-out to that donkey.
Tommy hadn’t gone to the final meeting because of his goddamn mother in law. He slipped into the comfortable habit of hatred and added this nugget to his list of her misdeeds - the mocking smile, the tart come-backs, the hundred subtle humiliations he suffered for his pride. His goddamn mother in law.
He jumped when a Sheriff's deputy knocked on his window with a flashlight. “Gotta move this rig. Now.” Tommy squinted at the Deputy’s name tag and wished he could remember the current Sheriff’s name. His cousin had been Sheriff two terms ago but that was hardly a name to drop considering how he left office under that embezzlement charge.
“I’m with the Sheriff’s Posse.” This was partly true and Tommy let it hang in the air while he glanced in the rearview for sign of the boys. “We’re working this event.” Which was not true at all but the Deputy seemed not to have heard him and interrupted him loudly over the mare’s shrilling. “Move it”.
(To be continued)