We are, it must be admitted, in the service industry. Here (in the eastern Algarve) to provide fitness facilities, advice and encouragement to our visitors, plus some entertainment on selected evenings. And through this blog, too. A regular commenter (on the previous post) laments that he doesn’t see enough naked barefoot gymnasts here. I assume by ‘naked’ he means shirtless and in shorts. Actually, it is true that almost all of the gymnasts posted in that post were wearing socks.
So, as ever happy to oblige my ‘readers’ (as any author should!), we’ll begin with some barefoot gymnasts, all from Andrey Telitsyn’s “stable” in Chelyabinsk. That’s Andrey, above left.
OK so far? And now, to serve my own interests (as author of another book, about to be published), another ‘taster’…
With extraordinary care, Meteor straightened up and walked over to the gate. He judged that the boy’s weight was securely balanced on his back. He could jump the gate if he wanted to, and the mares watched expectantly. But that would probably buck the boy off. Strangely, though, the gate stood open. Problem solved. Randy had not re-fastened the bolt properly in his haste to get on to the phone and so, with a quiet whinny to his girls which meant ‘You stay right there, I’ll be back real soon’, Meteor walked gently and carefully out of the field. And then realised that he had no idea where to go.
A prairie dog seemed to appear in front of him, looking back over its shoulder as if to say ‘Follow me.‘ And so a curious procession of phantasmic dog and a strangely calmed stallion bearing the precious burden of an unconscious boy set off, in a roughly north-westerly direction.
For four hours, Meteor gently carried the boy away from the horse farms and the Kentucky River. Three Rivers passed in and out of consciousness: his blood loss was severe, although it did stop flowing after a while, but the right side of his abdomen was a mess. In his conscious moments, he knew that he had been careless and had done serious damage, something his tribal training was supposed to have prevented. But he still had a pulse: he could hear it, banging around in his skull, throbbing between his ears like a steam hammer. So this was not his time to go. Not yet. He let the blackness descend, again. Rest would be the only cure.
Eventually, Meteor stopped, in a small clearing with a clear stream trickling through it. It seemed to be a good place: he knelt again, and the boy slid off.
‘He’ll be safe here,‘ said the prairie dog, which appeared suddenly in front of the horse. ‘There are herbs here: he’ll know what to do.’ The dog took care not to appear to the boy. ‘We must leave him here to rest and recover. I’ll show you the way back.’
The horse nuzzled the boy, who now lay on the ground, and the boy reached up and hugged the horse’s neck, tears streaming. ‘Thank you, Meteor. Thank you so much. You really were my “star”. But now, you must go back to Randy.’
‘Yes, I’ve unfinished business with the girls. Now take care, my friend, take care…’ Meteor pushed his muzzle into the boy’s face once again, as if to brush away the tears and, after one last hug, the horse raised his head, turned, walked out of the glade and out of our boy’s life forever.
ISBN 978-1-784653-23-1 [Vanguard Press]) Out October 26th: http://www.pegasuspublishers.com E-book will also be available
And, with that, we will leave the gym behind for the great outdoors – but the boys stay shirtless, inevitably!
And finally – “we aim to please” – one more with bare feet!
Actually, ‘shift’s’ almost over and it is still beautifully sunny and hot here… I think we might well go down to the beach ourselves for a bit!