A Miniature Horse
The other one, the one called Rachel, is the one to blame. I walk past the diminutive stables—now unoccupied, but still stinking of dung—to the adjacent park and crouch for a moment so that I might cross beneath the yellow tape strung round the perimeter of the playground.
I saw Rachel’s face on television during the 7 o’clock news and during the 9 o’clock news and also during the 11 o’clock news. I can tell you that Rachel did not look well, but keep in mind that Rachel is not photogenic.
I like Italian greyhounds, the music of Depeche Mode, and anti-Nazi propaganda films. Rachel shares these preferences, but in a debauched and squat sort of way that turns them into the attributes of a miniature horse. I have said such things to Rachel. I have shared my feelings.
And Rachel said, “What’s a miniature horse?”
I admit Rachel’s ignorance took me by surprise. I was so shocked that I spit the bourbon from my mouth and the bourbon almost landed on my exposed copy of Violater. (I was—at the moment of my spitting—bent over the record player.)
The ordeal was almost annoying, and yet Rachel was oblivious to my distress. She said something like, “No harm, no foul.”
Rachel is chock-full of clichés, and often I fear for the integrity of my own language.
But I carried on with the activity: I set needle to vinyl and instructed Rachel to dance to Depeche Mode in a genuine way.
Rachel failed. She danced as if she liked or barely tolerated the music of Depeche Mode. Then she threw her hands in the air as if she loved the music of Depeche Mode, but her love wasn’t real. I could tell.
“You look ridiculous,” I said to Rachel. “You look like a Nazi.”
Rachel said that she does not look like a Nazi because she hates Nazis.
“I’m the one who hates Nazis,” I said.
Rachel claimed to hate Nazis, too.
“Stop posturing,” I said. “You’re like a miniature horse that’s pretending to be a real, normal-sized horse.” The insult was clumsy, but Rachel didn’t seem to notice.
She asked again: “What’s a miniature horse?”
Depeche Mode knows that though I may appear to be constantly out of reach I give in to sin because I like to practice what I preach. I think, above all, that’s what Rachel wanted. She wanted to practice what I preach. She seemed honest in her ignorance of miniature horses, so I took her to the stables. At the stables, she became emotional. Even when confronted by a miniature horse—the small thing was happily munching on a very short piece of hay—Rachel was still unable to understand. She failed to grasp the concept of the miniature horse.
“What kind of person keeps a horse in a 3-foot box?” she said. “A horse cannot thrive in a 3-foot box! Look at it! All short and stubby!”
I was at a loss. “It’s called a stable,” I said, “and the miniature horse is meant to be short and stubby.”
Rachel was inconsolable. “Only a Nazi would keep a horse in a box,” she said. “A Nazi!”
That must’ve been when Rachel got the idea to liberate the miniature horses. All thirty of them. She unlatched the stable doors, and with a fistful of baby carrots, she lured the short beasts out into the light of day. Then all hell broke loose (one of Rachel’s favorite clichés). The miniature horses formed themselves into a herd, galloped toward the adjacent park, and trampled the playground.
If you could see the playground now—the yellow CAUTION tape, the blood still splattered on the teeter-totter, on the sliding board, on the tire swing—you might assume the worst. In truth, no child was killed or eaten, or even terribly maimed.
Rachel fled the scene atop one of the studier miniature horses. Along with the rest of the petite herd, she is currently at large in the nearby foothills.
As for me, I am not quite frowning. My expression is genuine. It says: I love the music of Depeche Mode. And also: I’m the one who hates the Nazis. I’m the one who hates the Nazis.