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I Ain't No Freakin' Cow Boy
Art And Short Story by Jim Nasium


Did I ever tell you about the first time I ever rode a horse?
It was back in 1971, I was living in Colombia, South America, just a degree North of the equator, high [pun indented] in The Andes. The town I was staying near had a lot of monoliths, and ruins near by, but just a little too far to walk to, and back to town from in one day. The trip was usually taken by horse, and could be made in one day with a guide by horseback...

I really wanted to see these ruins, The Ruins At San Jose de Isnos. They were special to me because they were recently discovered, and perhaps some treasure could still be found there. Since I had spent most all of my time here so far, seeing the other ruins I came across in my travels South, from the North of this country, going to a site, for a dig, was not new to me.

I asked around and found out about a man who rented horses and a guide, by the day. So my friend and I took a walk to this man's place, to find out the details for ourselves. We wanted to go to San Jose de Isnos, a small town rich in ruins, on the other side of the river, across the valley so we rented horses and made plans to leave early in the morning the next day. We paid the 100 pesos a day per horse, about 3.50 US, said our goodbyes, and went home real excited about the plans we had just made for the morning.

The night was spent quietly enjoy the sweetness of the local herbs, and playing in the white powder that was everywhere, just waiting for the sun to rise... keep in mind that [then] I was a hippie, traveling light through the Andes. it was back in the 1970's, and underwear was one thing I just didn't need or wear. Not only did I think it was cool to wear no underwear like all of the other hippies, but it was one less thing I had to carry in my back pack, and one less thing I had to worry about washing...

The sun peeked above the mountain in the east, so we headed out towards the man who rented horses house, to take off on our day trip to San Jose de Isnos. we were ready to go, and we had some smoke, and fruit with us, and of course something to drink in out little backpacks, just like we were told to bring. the trip started out just fine, walking the horses slowly to the road out of town, and then trotting them towards our goal, but when the guide decided that we should go faster, and the horse started to gallop, for some reason, I just couldn't seem to get the rhythm of the horse, and was in fact going exactly against the rhythm, which created a lot of friction between the saddle, my pants and my ass cheeks, and since the saddle and my pants were stronger, you know what I mean, rougher than my ass cheeks, and since I had no underwear on, my ass cheeks gave out and I got badly burnt... like a brush burned, or scraped, like when ya fall and slide..

Both of my cheeks were rubbed raw... and they hurt! I couldn't sit any longer, and it hut a lot to be on that horse, and we weren't even there yet... [and had to go all the back yet too] We walked our horses down the side of the mountain, it was too steep to ride them down, and once at the bottom, we crossed the river, carefully, and then made our way back up the mountain on the other side of the river, slowly, on foot.

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When we got to the top of the other side the guide took off his poncho and told me to sit on it, as well as my own, and so I did. It felt a lot better to me, but it still hurt. with a little powder, well Ok, a lot of powder I was able to deal with the pain it caused, because the powder, and the excitement of being so close to the ruins just took over the pain.

Finally we got there, and it was so amazing... we were there early enough that no one else, but the few of us, was there, and it was magical... We spent our whole day at the ruins, taking pictures, climbing all over the ruins and monoliths, then left our mark in a stone that was in a wall, before we started to head out at dusk.

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The ride home into the sunset went a little faster, but each step the horse took hurt my butt, eve sitting on the poncho's. I tried to go as slow as I could go, and not loose site of the others, but even going home slowly, sitting on that horse riding home into the sunset hurt... and it hurt a lot.

I finally got to the very top of the last mountain we had to go over before we'd be back in town, and as I sat on that horse, way up on top of that mountain, I made my mind up that I was gonna run that horse so freaking fast, so I could beat everyone back to town, so i could get back to the hotel and out of the stable before the others got back, and started to make fun of me and my badly friction burnt butt.

I kicked that horse as hard as I could in the gut, slapped his neck with the reins, and held on for dear life... the horse just started running as fast as it could, and seemed to be paying no attention to the fact that we were going down the side of a mountain when finally, it happened.... the horse somehow tripped, dropped to his front knees for a few seconds, slid down the hill on his knees till he was able to throw me, and he threw me hard, but like a jerk I held on to the reins, tightly, even as the horse flipped on, and then over me... Then I flipped over the horse, and the horse flipped over me again, then I rolled over the horse and then the horse rolled over me, and then me over him, and him over me again., all the way down the side of that mountain, into a little muddy section, near the river we had to cross to get back into town.

I was pretty shook up and cut in a few places, and my ribs hurt a lot, and the horse was a mess too, his knees had been cut badly, and there were other cuts all over him. The horse shook his head a few times, kicked the ground, looked at me, and sort'a smiled... I looked at the horse, and it was as if the horse was asking me if I was ok, and telling me it was ok for me to get back on him, cause he just wanted to go home now.

The ride home for the both of us, me and the horse, was a happy one, and each step the horse took closer to home, made my butt feel better, and better... When I pulled up into the stable, still first, about 5 minutes ahead of the others still, the man who rented the horse to me took one look at the horse, drew his machete, and called for his hired help to come here now.

I knew I was in trouble..

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I offered him the reins of the horse with one hand, and reached deep into my pocket with the other, pulling out each and every peso I had on me, and handed it all to the man I rented the horse from... The man I rented the horse from looked at me, looked at the money, then looked at the horse... the horse looked at me, then at the money, then at the man and then there was silence.

the man I rented the horse from said one word to break the silence, and that word was " mas". He wanted more money than I had offered him for the damage I did to the horse, and I think I had handed him something like 1000 pesos, and that was 10 times the normal days rental fee. I told the man I rented the horse from that I had no more money, and that he's lucky I am so willing to give him all I had with me, and that as pissed off as I was right now about what had happened, he better not push his luck, and be happy with what I had all ready given him... The hired help stood there in total amazement of my brass balls, and as i turned away from them to go back to my hotel, before the others I went to the ruins with came back, the man I rented the horses from said to me, take care of your ass my friend, see you in a couple of days.

For the first time I suddenly realized that all day I was walking around with two big wet, red from blood stains on the butt cheeks of my jenes... I was so high, and excited about going to the ruins, that I never even felt the wetness of the blood all day, it was as if my pants and the wound became one.

I stood there in total embarrassment looking at my ass when the others I went to the ruins with that day pulled in... When they saw me looking back and down at my own butt, they all just started laughing, even the hired help and the man I rented the horses from were laughing now... The guide fell off his horse laughing, and I'm pretty sure even the horses were laughing at me too...

Needless to say it was many days till I even thought about getting on a horse again, or could sit down, after all I'm a city boy, I ain't no freaking cowboy...
©2001 Jim Nasium

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