June 16th, 2014

Tree Dreaming

LJ Idol - Week 12 - "Barrel of Monkeys"

Mrs. Cradle glared at her guest. She did not like the cut of his jib. She noticed right away that his fingernails were too long and collecting dirt. What did he do all day, dig holes in his backyard with his bare hands? That's what it looked like. Also, his left eye hung slightly lower on his face than his right. That's the sort of thing that made Mrs. Cradle feel uneasy. She didn't like feeling uneasy, it made her feel uneasy.

"You can't have the horse," she told him.

The man sputtered. "What? But Monkeys is my horse. I'd like to take her out for a ride."

Mrs. Cradle shook her head. "No. I'm sorry, but that's impossible."

The man shifted from foot to foot, weighing his options. He looked up at the sky, as if the clouds might offer him a way to convince this woman to let him into the stables and retrieve his horse.

"Look, Mrs. Cradle, you're a fine woman."

"No, I'm not," she said.

"Sure you are! You are a fine woman to take such good care of these horses."

"They smell bad, Larry," she said. "They'd smell worse if I didn't do it."

Larry nodded. "Right. But even smelly horses need love, too, don't they?"

Mrs. Cradle sniffed. "Love is stupid."

"You're a fun person to be around, you know that?" Larry said, his patience waning.

"I've been told. It's why I get invited to all the parties. Every party."

"Mrs. Cradle, I understand you're a busy woman-"

"It's slow here today."

"-but I would like to take Monkeys for a ride today, to visit my daughter, and if you don't grant me access to my horse, I'm going to have to call the police."

Mrs. Cradle weighed her options. She really didn't want to help this man out, but if the police visited her stables one more time, she might lose her job. And this job was all she had.

She glared at Larry for as long as she could get away with, then let out a breath. "Fine. But I will fetch her for you."

Mrs. Cradle made her way to Monkeys' stall. The horse let out a soft whiny. Mrs. Cradle patted her on the nose, whispering, "You get to go out for a nice ride today, isn't that lovely?" She took the horse by the reins, opening the door and leading her out. She gave Monkeys' mane a quick brush. Monkeys nuzzled Mrs. Cradle's shoulder, and the woman squeezed out a tear before leading the horse back to Larry.

"Here you go," she said, gruffly shoving the reins into the man's hand.

"Thank you for being reasonable, Mrs. Cradle," Larry said, mounting the horse. "I'll bring her back before the day is out."

Mrs. Cradle nodded, and watched as Larry took Monkeys down the road. He dug his heel into the horse's side, yelling, "Will you move your ass, you goddamn lump of lard?"

Mrs. Cradle sighed. She went back into the stables.

Mrs. Cradle has appeared a few other times this season. If for some reason you'd like to read her past adventures rather than reading all of the other entries this week, they are here and here.