In the 11th week of our series we pick up at chapter 18: “Stables & Fisticuffs”.
If you’re just coming across this series, you can catch up from the beginning HERE.
From the trilogy
Somewhere Between This & That: An Absurd Journey
THE MAKING OF A NATURAL DISASTER
This is a work of fiction. Although it is written in the form of an autobiography, it is not one. Clearly, no reasonable person would ever consider this absurd story to be true. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used in a fictitious manner. With the exception of public figures and those with reputations of public renown, any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Full of salty language – This is intended for mature audiences.
Stables & Fisticuffs
“I’M GOING TO teach you how to work, really work.” Smoke said, thoughtfully. “I don’t want you to ever feel like you’re stuck in a situation you can’t work your way out of. Know what I’m saying?”
I didn’t fully understand what he was saying at the time, but I knew I’d have to support myself one day. I spent a good amount of time on the food trucks the summer before we left Mexico. I worked 12-hour days and became a whiz at cash handling. The trucks were bringing in money hand over fist and less than a year after we left the little two-bedroom apartment in Encinitas, Mom and Smoke got married.
Upon leaving Mexico, we quickly returned to a life of 80’s excess. It seemed Mom’s main goal in life was to be rich, or at the very least, be perceived as such. To live where she thought rich people lived, do the things she thought rich people did, and to have the things she thought rich people had. In the fall of 1983, this meant we were going to be horse people. The fact that no one knew a damn thing about horses mattered not. Rich people had horses, so we were going to have them.
The school year started a few weeks before we arrived in Alpine, California. We moved onto a 10-acre horse ranch and thankfully, there were ranch hands already living on the property who knew what they were doing when it came to horses and pigs. Yes, I said pigs. In addition to nearly every part of them being delicious, I quickly learned that pigs are cleaner, faster, and far more wily than I’d ever given them credit for. If I ever have to chase a runaway pig again, it’ll be too soon.
In keeping with our more lavish lifestyle, I received my own horse on my 13th birthday. I’d never had the opportunity to ride a horse before moving to Alpine and this old quarter horse was a perfect one to learn on. Slow, sweet, beautiful, and easy to ride. The only thing I loved more than riding was brushing the horses. I found it calming to be in their presence and listen to them breathe.
Unfortunately, my time enjoying the horses can be measured in mere months. I decided one day that getting on a horse that had just been retired from racing was a good idea. The fact that there is a ginormous difference between riding a 20-year-old quarter horse and a 7-year-old thoroughbred racing horse didn’t cross my mind. My overconfidence, coupled with my complete ignorance of the existence of different riding techniques ended in disaster. The horse took off like a rocket shortly after I mounted him and we didn’t stop until we both went down hard on the gravel road. I was nearly killed and the horse was so severely injured he had to be put down.
I never rode a horse again, nor do I intend to. It would be years before I could even get near one without them becoming agitated in my presence. I imagine they could smell the fear emanating from my every pore or maybe it was the guilt they sensed. Maybe, they simply knew my ignorance cost a beautiful creature its life.
I made a return to traditional school in Alpine. At the age of thirteen, I possessed bigger breasts than most of the women who would ever teach me, let alone my classmates. I was sporting D-cups and everybody noticed. School became a new kind of torture. I started punching doors, walls, and trees out of sheer frustration. Smoke was fed up after he found me crying one day. I told him the girls were making fun of me and the boys were groping me. I also explained that, just like every other school, the teachers did absolutely nothing to the boys who put their hands on me.
“Don’t worry about the girls. They’re obviously jealous. Trust me, just ignore them, but the next time a boy lays a hand on you, I want you to cold-cock the little son of a bitch.”
He taught me how to fight and I woke up the next day with a new lease on life. I had a chance to try out my skills before I even got off the bus. This one little shit reached from behind and pinched me right on the nipple. It was excruciating. Tears immediately came to my eyes and I could hear him giggling. I whipped around and spread his nose across his face for him, just like Smoke showed me. There was no more giggling. The sight of the blood running down his face and onto his shirt gave me a deep sense of satisfaction. I felt empowered for the first time and things were going to be different.
I soon earned a reputation and the nickname “killer”. Even saying, “I sure would like to touch those titties,” would get you thrown against a wall. Comments from girls became very few, far between, and were easily dismissed with a simple “go fuck yourself, tiny-tits.”
Two months and eight beat-up boys later, the principal offered my parents “voluntary removal” as opposed to a permanent expulsion on my school record. Private school was next on the menu and I was enrolled in a small Christian school. I didn’t get in any fights there, but it was a joke. A lame dress code that the teachers didn’t even follow and a sub-par education administered by judgmental waifs who played favorites.
I’d had my first real bout with mad, sweet, innocent puppy love in Alpine. He was clever, but also kind, and made me laugh until my belly hurt. A full foot taller than me and completely adorable, we’d have marathon phone conversations every night. He was my first love and always a perfect gentleman.
I was furious and heartbroken when I heard the news we’d be leaving Alpine. I let my mother know, in the ultra-dramatic fashion only a lovesick 13-year-old girl can, that she was ruining my life. I wasn’t so concerned with switching schools at that point, but I was certain I would just NEVER EVER love again! Had I known how long it would take to meet someone who was as kind, and as much of a gentleman, I’d have thrown a much bigger hissy fit, or maybe even faked my own death.
Boots and dirt just weren’t cutting it. Lyric was a social butterfly and Alpine didn’t offer much of a scene. Tired of pickup trucks and horses, she preferred a place where people of means had luxury vehicles, went to fabulous parties, and owned small dogs instead of pigs. We were heading for the desert playground of the rich and famous.
The absurd journey continues in chapter 19: “Highs & Lows Off the 111”
If you don’t want to wait, you can purchase the paperback or eBook HERE
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