SmokeLong Quarterly

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Campfire Conversation

Story by Lennart Lundh (Read author interview) December 15, 2003

“Listen up, Jack. The light’s fading faster than a whore’s energy on payday. Damned near as purple as the sheet-burns on her back, too. You might as well enjoy that coffee, because I’m not carrying you when the best I can see is like a kitten in a sack.”

“Why did I have to buy a talking horse? You’ve been whining all day. ‘I don’t like this,’ and, ‘Are we there yet?’ It’s getting to the point where my eardrums hurt the minute you think about opening your mouth. A body would think from your bleating that you were a sheep off to slaughter.”

“Talk about sheep. Did I ever tell you how much you remind me of one? Coffee and chewing tobacco — did you ever once think about brushing your teeth? Bean farts all over my saddle. Do you know why you have to eat all those beans? You smell so far upwind all the game know you’re coming and run the other way, except the ones you kill with the stink. Try a bath some time, cowboy.”

“Hey, don’t get on about my coffee and such. You keep going on about ‘the sweet taste of clover’, and how it reminds you of when you were a colt. ‘New-cut hay dancing on my taste buds like fireflies on the August air.’ Where do you get this horsey poetry stuff? Seems to me it’s just horsecrap. I tried grass, that time you ate up my food from the saddlebag. Remember? Well, I thought it was more like dung beetles marching across my mouth.”

“You’d best be careful, too, Jack. Keep bad-mouthing me and I’ll lay a hoof on you the way a cannon ball whistles through a teepee. My feet are on fire the way that sky out there is, I’ve walked so much with you on my back today. Feels more like these shoes weigh ten times what they do. And would you take this saddle off? There’s a burr starting to act like it’s one of those fancy pineapple things they have in town.”

“Horse, just go to sleep, will you?”

“Yeah, sure. Good night, cowboy.”

“Good night, horse.”

“Hey, cowboy? I love you.”

“You too, horse.”

About the Author

Lennart Lundh is a poet and internationally recognized military historian who turned to short fiction in his mid-fifties.

This story appeared in Issue Two of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Two

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