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Pirate Run (Part Three)

Later that day I had a beer or two with my buddy Bernie.  I told him about my 
dilemma with Princess and the water crossing.  I told my pal that, maybe, 
spurs might persuade Princess to get over this creek phobia she had developed 
and do it rather quickly.  I had never used them before but thought this 
might be a good time to start.  I wanted to win this battle with my stubborn 
mare; I seemed to be giving her way too much time to think about the whole 
thing.  Problem was I didn't own one pair.

Bernie walked into his trailer and came out with one spur, the kind that 
slides on the heel of your boot.  He said he found it somewhere while riding 
and he just gave it to me.  Then he asked me if Princess had ever experienced 
spurs before.  I told him no, it would be a big surprise, kind of like the 
first time she put her nose to the electric tape on my portable corral.  I 
planned on keeping the Intimidator in my fanny pack and bringing it out only 
if necessary.  Somehow, I thought it would be.

Michelle pulled up with a horse trailer.  She had bought one of her Arabian 
horses, a nice looking young chestnut (looked almost sorrel to me) with her.  
He was for sale and she knew I was a bit interested.  Course she, also, knew 
that most of the horses I purchased were from a horse auction and I didn't 
spend much over 500 bucks for any of them.  Her price for this gelding was a 
little higher than that.

But he was pretty.  And I knew he was a fireball; I had seen her ride him at 
a Georgia ride where I completed my first 50 miler last August.  He had 
reminded me of Dance Line, the way he was so into the sport and seemed to 
really enjoy himself.  Michelle even offered to let me ride her horse 
tomorrow, to find out how he and I got along.  This was very tempting to me 
and I almost took the bait.  But I declined; Princess and I had a rendezvous 
with a creek tomorrow.  And I had just received my lucky spur, from Bernie, 
to make sure we made it to the other side.

That evening, at the pre-ride briefing, Kim went over the trails and 
discussed everything that the riders needed to know.  She was a good talker 
in front of a crowd, relaxed and friendly.  I do so admire ride managers who 
are able to handle this part of the ride, and Kim did an exceptional job.  
Michelle was there too, but Kim did most of the talking.

The surprise of the night was when Kim started discussing a section of trail 
on the second loop, where there were some tricky turns and intersections.  
She said a couple of volunteers would be placed there to steer the riders in 
the right direction and, also, hand out a beer, if the rider so desired.  
Man, I almost fell out of my chair when she said "hand out a beer."  I had 
never been to a ride where they did this before.  It was funny cause quite a 
few of the folks in the crowd turned and looked at me right after Kim said 
this.  I said outloud, "It wasn't my idea, I swear, but isn't it a great 
one?"  Too damn funny.

Now I hope I don't regret writing that last paragraph about the beer.  I 
don't want to see Kim or Michelle get into any kind of trouble so, keep in 
mind, this is one of Howard's stories: some of it's true, some of it ain't.  
Believe what you want to believe, discount the rest.  It all does come under 
the heading of FICTION, so I don't want to see anyone from the Bureau of 
Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (what idiot came up with that combination?) 
visiting Kim and Michelle at the next ride, if they have a next ride (more on 
that, later). I can just picture some tobacco chewing redneck, wearing an ATF 
hat, with pistols and bullets strapped all around his huge gut, driving out 
on the Pirate Run trails, next year, in a red pickup truck with US Government 
tags, stopping one of the riders and asking, "I hear y'all got some illegal 
moonshine out here.  Where's Kim & Michelle at?"  haha

I love to socialize at these rides.  I've gotten to that point in my life 
where if I'm not talking about horses or boats or fishing (my other two 
passions), I'm just not interested.  I've had enough kids where I couldn't 
care less how much it costs for you to put diapers or Pampers on your 
newborn, how awful child care is, or how your husband just won't or can't 
find the time to clean house, cook dinner, or watch the kids.  

My advice to people in this situation is to get a sitter, saddle up a good 
horse, and hit the trail. Go alone, just you and your horse, bond with him, 
and talk about anything/everything, if you want, to your horse.  He won't 
argue with you or interrupt, and ride and ride and ride. Do it till you start 
hallucinating.  Me, when I start to see naked women on the trail, I know it's 
time to head for home.  For women, I'm not sure what they see, if it's naked 
men, I bet none of them look like me.  Haha.  And don't come back till the 
sun is down and gone, clean out of site.  To live is to ride: to ride to 
live!  Without the one, there isn't the other.

Anyway, I sat down with Bernie, Lee (male), and Tina, Lee's wife.  We all got 
to talking and, after a while, Tina wandered off to see another female, 
probably cause there may have been too many men around.  When it's all men in 
the group (a rarity at most endurance rides) the conversation can take a 
direction it would not normally travel.  

Bernie and I started discussing women, as soon as Tina left.  Bernie said he 
was dating this one lady for a while and, when he discovered that she was 
married, even though she was separated, he decided to stop seeing her.  I 
asked Bernie if this was a moral thing with him or was it survival.  Bernie 
was about to answer when Lee spoke up and told us one of the most interesting 
tales I've heard in some time.

First of all, let me describe Lee for you.  He's a big fellow; probably 6'4" 
or more and damn close to 250 lbs.  Lee's one of those men who is almost too 
big for a horse; I've never seen him on one and don't even know if he rides 
or not.  And he's just the nicest, kindest man you've ever met (next to me, 
of course).  

Anyway, Lee starts his story.  He said that he has this friend, his name's 
Bruce, who was a really big man, biggest man Lee has ever known.  Looking at 
Lee, Bernie and I are trying to picture a guy who Lee thinks is big, since 
Lee fits that description quite well.  Lee goes on and says he's never seen 
Bruce, who is the kindest, gentlest man he's ever met, ever lose his temper; 
except for this one time.

Lee works with Bruce, and it seems Bruce was kind of unhappy one day, which 
is totally out of character for Bruce.  So Lee asks Bruce what the problem 
is, and Bruce says he thinks his young wife, Angela, is fooling around on 
him.  He's not sure, but he just thinks something's up. "She's been acting 
kinda peculiar," Bruce says to Lee.

By lunch time Bruce just can't make it though the day and decides to leave 
work and go home early, unannounced.  His wife, Angela, doesn't work.  Lee, 
thinking that Bruce might need a buddy, asks to tag along, so they leave work 
together.  And they drive to Bruce's house, in separate cars.  Lee plans on 
continuing on to his house as soon as Bruce discovers everything's OK, fine, 
that his worries about Angela were unfounded.

As they pull up onto Bruce's street, Lee notices an unfamiliar car parked in 
Bruce's driveway.  A red sports car convertible, with the top down.  Lee said 
his stomach instantly hit the panic mode, butterflies explode inside and he 
knew he needed to grab ahold of Bruce before Bruce got ahold of whoever was 
driving that sportscar.  Even if it was a guy selling Amway.

But Bruce was too quick, and, Lee said he had never seen the big guy move so 
fast before, as he watched Bruce bolt though his doorway, not even using his 
key, but opening the door with one swift kick of his right leg. The door 
disintegrated into splinters with the force of his kick.  Bernie and I looked 
at each other, and I don't know about Bernie, but in my mind Bruce was Lee, 
since Lee was so big, and was telling this story with a lot of passion.  

Lee said he waited outside, after Bruce went inside his house.  Bruce's house 
was a two story brick building, with the bedrooms being all upstairs.  After 
about 30 seconds, Lee said he heard an incredible sound coming from inside 
the house.  He heard a scream, the first one sounding like a female, then a 
male, whose voices Lee did not recognize.  

Then an unnerving animal kind of sound, a noise that Lee had never heard 
before, came from the second floor.  It had a hint of Bruce's voice attached 
to it; Lee said the shriek was so primal it made the hair on the back of his 
neck stand up.  A few moments later a body came flying thought the glass 
window of the bedroom, hit the eave underneath, a man's body rolled along 
this small portion of roof, and then hit the ground below.  The sound of the 
body hitting the ground made a "thud" as it connected to the fresh green 
Bermuda grass, recently fertilized.  The body of this man was bloody and 
completely naked.

Bruce followed the man out the window.  Lee said he looked like The Hulk, 
just as mad, just as big, and just as scarey.  As Bruce jumped thought the 
broken glass that used to be the window to his bedroom, and hit the eave with 
all his weight and might, the eave collapsed, and it all came down.  Bruce 
and a ton of mortor and roofing materials all landed within inches of the 
bloody, naked man on the ground.  

Bruce jumped up from the ground, and started kicking the naked near-dead guy, 
who, to Lee, appeared unconscious and not able to put up much of a fight.  
Bruce kicked him and kicked him and then picked up the man, placed the body 
up high over his head, walked over to the red convertible, and smashed the 
guy on the hood of the car.  The hood crumbled with the force of the man's 
weight and the speed with which Bruce bought the body down.  A car alarm went 

The sound of the alarm seemed to awaken Bruce, from his out of control rage.  
He walked away from the body, which appeared to be quite lifeless, covered 
with blood, and went back into his house.  Lee dialed 911 from his cell phone 
and requested an ambulance.  Then Lee got into his car and drove home.

As Lee finished speaking, I began remembering the times I had spent with 
Tina, Lee's wife, drinking beer and being just a bit flirtatious with her, 
even though it was all perfectly innocent.  This happened at an endurance 
ride when Lee wasn't with her.  As I studied Lee, this kind gentle man, 
friend of Bruce, I remember thinking, "That will never ever happen again.  
Tina will always be Lee's wife to me;Tina, wife, Lee, husband, who is a very 
big man and is friends with Bruce, who is even bigger and is the nicest guy 
you will ever meet.

I looked at Bernie and saw the look on his face that I think was on mine.  No 
color, kind of white, we both could have passed for ghosts.  This story had 
just scared the crap out of the two of us.  After, what seemed like an 
eternity, I said, to Bernie, "I think you made the right decision, Bern, to 
stop seeing that married woman." Bernie smiled, and we both looked at Lee, 
who had the look of contentment from just telling a well listened to tale.  
Lee is one cool dude.

Tina will, probably, wonder, at future rides, why she never seems to see 
Bernie and Howard anymore.  I can see her telling someone, "The two of them 
just seem to disappear everytime I get close to a group of people where I 
could have sworn I just saw them."  Exit, stage left, go Howard and Bernie; 
all due to Lee's story.  Horses aren't the only creatures on this planet who 
know fear.

OK, I guess I did digress again, but that's what I meant about this sport 
being so social and all.  And you really do meet some interesting folks here. 
 Like Lee, Tina's husband.  I just thought I'd share that story with you; 
most of which, I think,  might even be true.  If not for the sport of 
endurance, I doubt that I ever would have met Lee and heard one very cool 
story.  To me, endurance is life, and life is all inclusive.  Anything that 
is a part of life can be part of an endurance ride.

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