I’m back! Wow, that was a fast month. For more free flash reading check out the list of authors at the bottom of this post.
Josh sat on the bleachers waiting for Danny’s turn. Why did we thought this was a good idea, and how did I end up at his first competition? Somehow the bull riding had seemed better than spending a day at the mall. He did not want to be the responsible parent in the junior rodeo curciut.
The dry wind whipped between the sheetmetal buildings and cooled Josh who was already warm from the morning sunshine. A second later it stirred the powered area dust before racing out the far side of the enclosure and left a taste of southwestern Oklahoma powder in Josh’s mouth. The late fall sun was hotter than normal, but the discomfort barely registered on him as he searched the crowd of bull riders.
Between the mass of young men in colors marking their newly developed masculinity and uniform size, it was tough to spot Danny. If it had been up to Josh, his son would have been wearing the pinkest pink he could have found. Then he’d have no problem spotting Danny. Maybe if he wore that color, the clowns would watch him a little closer. Although none of the bulls they used were known to be dangerout to the rider, but the unexprected changes happened all the time.
Josh checked again, and spotted his son. The way his hat cocked back, and that he was the focus of the group around him. It had to be Danny. He never met a crowd he didn’t dominate. But he seemed more animated than usual. Josh was worried.
“You got a one in the compeition too?”
Josh glanced over to find a slender woman with long silver hair standing beside him. Her face was etched by a lifetime of living on the southern plains. But the smile on her lips was of the kind you only found on rare occasions. Her focus on Josh was like the first day you could sit on the porch and enjoy the sun after a cold winter.
They stared at each other for at least a minute before she nodded toward a seat beside him. “Mind if I sit with you? I hate this part and at least another parent will understand.”
Josh blushed that he’d been so rude and motioned to the aluminum bleacher beside him. “Please! Have a seat. Excuse my manners.”
She slipped into the seat and before a second passed gripped the metal and squeezed so hard her knuckles turned white. She scanned the crowd of contestants with the same level of intensity Josh displayed a few moments earlier. She tensed and then relaxed slightly and turned to Josh.
“It doesn’t get any easier does it?”
Josh chuckled. “I still tryiing to figure it out. This is our first time. But if my nerves don’t get better, the stress will do me in soon.”
His new friend laughed and patted Josh’s knee. “We’ve doing competitions for a year. It seems like it all scares me as much as it did the first time. But Nate seems to take it all in stride. I keep praying each time he goes out.”
Josh nodded, uncertain how to response but understanding how she felt. In the heavy silence, the first young bull rider came out of the chute, and signaled the start of the competition. After several bull riders lost their seats within a few seconds into the dust with little fanfare, the woman tensed.
“Looks like Nate’s getting ready.” She turned to him with her lips pressed tight against each other. “Why can’t they do football or something nice and safe?”
Josh chuckled a little and shook his head. “I think rodeo might be safer.”
The sound signaling the start of Nate’s ride sounded and both of them froze on the scene before them. A small bull exploded from the gate and jumped into a spin. Red and white splotches marking the animal’s hide became a swirl of color. The rider seemed glued onto the bull for several of the interminable eight seconds.
But then there was a slip and Josh sat transfixed as the young man arched into the air as he was tossed from the bull. His body crumbled onto the arena floor and didn’t move.
A gasp left the woman next to him as the scene below them unfolded. A second later he realized Danny was racing toward the downed cowboy as the bull pawed a plume of dirt into the air and raced toward Nate.
“Oh, God help us,” gasped out the woman.
If you’d like to see a snippet from the other Wednesday Briefs authors you can go to the groups website. Or click on the name listed below to go directly to the story.