by B. Follett
Mulcahy was HOT! She shod horses and saved my life.
| The last time I saw Mulcahey she was washing her hands in the big steel slop sink that Uncle Scidmoor Philobean installed in the barn. Mulcahey scrubbed the remnants of horse dung and hoof shavings from her hands. I had to remind her not to run the water too long or the outhouse pit would overflow. Uncle Scidmoor would not be happy, especially if the run off got to his turnips.
Mulcahey packed her tools into a beat up Detroit Lions gym bag and headed off to her pick-up. She waved back over her shoulder and yelled “See ya, Cramp.”
“bye,” I mumbled. God, she was Hot.
I kicked around the butt end of a hay bale, and then noticed Mulcahey had forgotten one of her rasps on the floor. After putting it on the work bench, I shut the door and twisted the stick that kept the door from flapping in the breeze. I jogged back to the house.
Mulcahey had started calling me Cramp the first time she shod Friggin’ Idiot, the old draft horse. Uncle Scidmoor told me to bring Idiot up from the pasture. He got ornery, tried to bolt and tangled himself up in the blackberry patch. Uncle came trotting down to help. He gave me a swat and said, “Boy, you give me cramps.” He said that all the time, but this time Mulcahey heard him. I asked her not to call me that, but she just flipped her long hair back with two fingers and winked. After that I just took it as a term of endearment and hoped it didn’t catch on down at the village.
When I pulled open the screen door to the main house, I saw Uncle Scidmoor hunched over the sink. One of his arms seemed bent all which ways. I stuck my foot back out of habit to keep the door from slamming. That always set Uncle on a tirade. But he wasn’t paying me attention. His face was all red but he was trying to act nonchalant. His left elbow, meantime, was kind of pointed south-west while the rest of him was more east-north-east.
“Uncle?” I said. I walked around him and got a good look at his predicament. Uncle Scidmoor’s thumb was jammed up inside the spigot. He had it in there upside down so the ball of his thumb pointed toward the ceiling. This position cranked his elbow skyward. Even his shoulders looked uncomfortably twisted, and his back, legs and ankles, too. This was a fix, all right.
Uh-oh. Trouble! He never called me Davey, except at church if folks were listening and he had no choice but to talk to me.
“Call Lochley’s farm. Mulcahey should be there tending to Fruitcake.” The horse’s name was actually Cupcake but Uncle hated cutesy names. “Get her back down here quick. My ribs is starting to squeeze up.”
“Can I help? Maybe some soap or grease or something?”
He threw a wet bar of soap at me with his free hand. It sailed way off left and clanked on the stove. “David!” he screamed.
I panicked. I don’t know why. Things suddenly went spotty gray and twirly. Like in slow motion I reached over and turned the water on. Water spurted in every direction except down. Uncle’s left hand waved madly for a moment, he twisted sharply and pop! His thumb burst from the faucet like a calf out of old Flea Bag the Jersey. I didn’t wait around for a “thank you”. The screen door slammed shut behind me and slammed shut another moment later. I hoped I could stay ahead of Uncle long enough for him to get winded or have a coronary.
I tore down the driveway just as Mulcahey was driving up. She stopped, an amazed look on her face. I jumped in on the passenger side and huddled under the dash with Diet Coke cans and horsy smelling rags. Uncle huffed up to Mulcahey’s open window and glared at me. “My thumb hurts,” was all he said. Blood dripped from his hand, the back of his thumb was skinned and oozing. She got out.
“Come on.” She took him by the hand and led him back to the house.
“Thanks, Ellise.” I heard him say. As they walked away he said, “I was puttin’ the garden hose on the dang spigot and the washer got stuck up inside. Tried to get it out with my thumb but it got…” His voice faded away.
I saw Ellise look up at Uncle with those eyes. Ellise Mulcahey. Hmm.
I went to fetch the rasp.