My brother and I skipped two counties over to a dreamy little town called New Lancaster to collect a pickup from a senile farmer who was paying us to take it off his hands. The truck came with a portable horse stall in tow. I don’t feel much like unhitching it, the farmer said, and threw a rotten peach over the roof of his barn. In each town kids spilled out of their homes as if I’d been tolling an ice cream bell. They trailed behind the pickup like loose debris from an earthbound comet, riding up on the bumper at stops and sticking their heads through the bars of the stall. Where’s the horsie, mister, they asked. He’s dead, I told them. He’s glue now. They asked what brand of glue. I asked them what brand they used in school. Yes—I said—he’s that kind. They cried for a long time. My brother offered sticks of gum as consolation. I felt a little sad too … He was a small horse but he was fast; hooves like mallets as he clobbered through wheat fields. He was always running from something.
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