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Jethro (standard:horror, 3587 words)
Author: Frank Q. MonkAdded: Dec 16 2005Views/Reads: 3051/1987Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
The worst thing Theo ever did.

One of them fellers in the white outfits said, "Theo, you come up with
the nastiest, most horrible thing you've ever done." He looked at me 
like he figured that'd be a challenge, or maybe like he was afraid to 
hear the answer. 

But I ain't afraid to hear it, and I'm not afraid to say it. I think
about it just about every day. Every hour sometimes. That's the truth. 

I guess it was four or five years ago or so. I was living with my uncle
out in the country. Sometimes I'd come walking home from school and I'd 
see old Jethro. He wasn't really old. He was a horse of about, oh, 
maybe five years old. Pretty young and wily. 

Mr. Sanders kept Jethro in this small pasture. Mr. Sanders was real
particular. He didn't like nobody messing with his pets, and he didn't 
like messes or droopy things. He kept everything tight and organized. 

His fence was as tight as a hung noose, six lines of wire across, metal
posts at only twenty feet apart, a stay halfway between each post. To 
top it off he used four-barb-wire, which is more expensive but more 
likely to poke you if you brush against it. I heard that once a year he 
came around with a come-along and ratcheted up the tension so hard the 
veins stuck out of his neck. You walked up to his barbed wire fence and 
you knew you weren't going to bend it an inch to climb under. You'd 
likely slice your hand open trying, or at least get your clothes torn 
and maybe a whupping later because clothes ain't free, you know. 

I always managed to sneak a carrot or an apple wedge out of the lunch
room, or I'd grab a couple apples off somebody's tree, for Jethro. I'd 
come out and give him a bite or two because Mr. Sanders didn't keep 
much grass in that small field. Sometimes Jethro would have bloody 
scabs on his lips from scraping at the short grass--trying to get the 
little nubs because he'd eaten everything else. I always felt sorry for 

One day I stopped by and he seemed to be in a fine mood. He came running
across the field to see me, his legs kicking out like he was a tap 
dancer looking to put on a show. I had four or five carrots in my 
backpack, which maybe he smelled, but I think he mostly just was happy 
to see me. I can tell when somebody wants something and when somebody 
is just glad to be around you. 

I stood on the log I always use to jump over the fence. I kept one on
the other side too. Mr. Sanders had the barbed wire gate so tightly 
strung that there was no way I could open it, even with the two by four 
tied to it that you can use for leverage. To open a gate like that you 
have to be big enough to shove against the gate hard and lift the wire 
loop over the top of the gate post, and I was probably a good fifty 
pounds shy of being able to pull that off. Mr. Sanders had no problem 
with it himself--his lips never got scabby because he had to look hard 
for food. 

I shooed Jethro away so he wouldn't get hit, and then I put a hand on
top of the wood corner post and leapt over. My legs had only gotten 
long enough to pull off the jump that year, and it was one of my 
favorite things to do back then. Some days, when Jethro was too buys 
eating or sleeping, I'd jump over that fence twenty or thirty times, 
pretending I was being chased by spies or Indians. Sometimes I'd do 
that jump and be a hurdler like in the Olympics; only they never dared 
to do it over a barbed wire fence. Sometimes I'd pretend I was flying. 

He put me in a good mood, so right at the top of my jump I kicked my
heels together like the leprechaun from the Lucky Charms commercial. I 
landed in a mess, but that never worried me none. You can't always just 
go by how things end. 

Jethro nibbled the back of my neck with his thick lips, and it made me
get up right quick. I wasn't going to have no part of being grass 
stubble, and I told him so before he got any more wrong ideas. He shook 
his head and stared at me, waiting for me to tell him what I wanted to 
do that day. 

I pulled out the orange Frisbee from my back pack. Jethro gave it a
sniff because it smelled like the carrots I still had stashed in there 
for him. I leaned against his neck and he blew snot on my elbow, like 

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