Erik and I got stoned down by the the golden field where you are supposed to be able to see the ghosts of the two horses that got shot. We got stoned and we waited at the edge of the golden field, leaning on the golden field’s split-rail fence. That’s all going to pieces. It’s going to shit.
The golden field was even even golder tonight, later on this July evening. The grass is nearly as tall as the fence. Nobody really mows it anymore, except the township sometimes, now that the house has been abandoned so long.
The pipe we were sharing had a broken stem. You had to hold the stem in place with your mouth while you sucked the smoke. If you didn’t do it right, you could lose some of the sweet smoke to the gap where everything else was, air and sky and universe. It made you aware of something. It was hard to say.
The horses were supposed to be ghosts, well, just because they were dead, but also because they were shot, I guess. Remember The Amityville Horror? Like that. Except it happened local. This dude had killed his entire family right before Christmas. Guns to their foreheads. They all died in bed. The weird thing is that some of them had their shoes on when they were found dead. Like they wanted to be ready to run if they suddenly woke up to something horrible. Poor bastards. They must have seen it coming. Then he shot the two horses. I used to see him shopping in Giant all the time. Mass Murder Dad pushing his grocery cart just like everybody else. Remembering just what everyone liked best to eat. Buying it for them like a good dad. Was he thinking “final meal” even then, one of those times I saw him, and made eye contact with him?
Where we are now isn’t that far from my house. I went to school with those kids. Now I have dreams of him buying things that should be steak, but in the dream they aren’t. They aren’t steak. They’re his family. The white forms bleeding under the clear plastic in my dreams. As he puts them on the black belt for the cashier’s pretty elf hands to pick up and read. Well, people think he shot his horses after he slaughtered his family. Maybe the horses were first. Who knows. I guess the horses do.
“What did he have against the fuckin horses?” Erik asks. It’s the only question anybody really cares about. We understand that people can drive you crazy. They just will. But horses are like medicine. They’re like calming medicine.
“I don’t know,” Erik said. “I bet horses can be assholes too. Or the money. Feeding them, taking care of them. Vet bills. Whatever. Plus, he was just batshit scrapings-insane.”
What was weird, and really it all was, was that the one horse had died on top of the other horse who must have been dying at that point or already dead. How ‘eckin romantic. Like it was looking down at the other horse, mourning it, which I’m sure a horse could do, and then fell on it. Like in a movie. Romeo and Juliet type doomed horses. Drama queen horses. I wouldn’t want some dead horse lying on top of me if I was dead or dying. Even if I was a horse myself. They seem pretty intelligent, horses. They’ve been warriors for centuries, going right into death with us. I guess they have personalities. I bet some horses hate other horses. I bet they wish they could talk about other horses behind their backs. But they stay noble. Because they can’t talk shit about horses. They can only run their bodies into them to say fuckoff without using words. Sometimes nature gets things right.
We lean on the fence and talk about who’s getting it and who isn’t in our circle of jerkoff frenemies, about Nascar and a little bit about vampire sex, how we think vampire sex really is. Then I rest my right elbow on the fence and stick my hand in my hair, it’s long again, now that Asshole got out of my mom’s house, the deadbeat pedobear. I stare as hard as I can and try to see the ghost horses. They’ve gotta be there. It’s not about the dead family anymore. They’re…the people, they’re just…gone.
Maybe the horses are just more poetic, even if they’re dead in the same way their family is.
It’s now about the horses, this little overgrown yard next to the cabin style house where the two horses seemed to be all the time, mostly just chillin, chewing grass, looking down at the earth, as we drove past, as we often did for so many years, they’re right on the intersection of these useful country roads, and no, I don’t know what kind of horses they goddamn were, if they were Missouri Fox Trotters or Florida Crackers whatever the hell. Probably they were just the horse equivalent of mutt.
Because I’m stoned, I’m feeling great and don’t really care if the horses appear or not. It would be nice though. I stare at Erik staring into the pen of golden grass, waiting for the horses who took bullets to their brains to jump around, cavort, whinny their supernatural shit in our faces.
Then I jump over the fence and I throw my body down to the ground, right in the middle of those thick grasses and it feels like a mattress store. It feels warm and good. Erik can’t believe I did it like an asshole and says, “Snakes!” and laughs and I say, “Don’t. gib. a. fuck.”
And I don’t. I lie there and feel the ghosts of the horses running all over me. The pit-a-pat of their metal horseshoes, which I wonder if they buried them with. Do horses get buried with shoes? Do people? I lie there and feel the horses running across my stomach. I am just some pervert who gets off on horses running over his body, back and forth. I can almost feel them now and believe they are here, horse ghosts. They are all the sensation in the world, the best sensation in the world, and it is like a second skin you can shed, but somebody else will just pick it up and wear it. Somebody who doesn’t care about how gross it feels. And you will miss it. Because after the feeling of the gross starts to wear off, it starts to feel good. And then you’re a freak, at last. Thank God or the flying spaghetti monster Cthulhu. And I know that’s what I want to be. What I always wanted to be. I want to be a real man who is not afraid to be a freak. This world is full of pipsqueak freaks who hide in the shadows and I just don’t want to be one of them. I’m not vain but I do a little enjoy being on display. Even when girls or guys I like recoil from me it makes me feel sexy. That stank of me. I just want to learn to wear it well and then I know I will get good and hella laid.