Note: This story is a sequel to Bull, one of my favorite stories.

 

Ty Morris spat into the dust and cursed his luck.  He hand gently massaged his left shoulder.  After all this time, he could still feel pain – dull most of the time, with occasional flare-ups.  Ty was ready to get back to work and was hoping for an easy bull in his first go round.  He didn’t need to get the highest score and notch a win – he just wanted to hang on for eight seconds and build up some confidence.

Ty dug a divot into the dirt with the heel of his boot and pushed his hat back.  By plain old dumb luck, he had drawn Crash Course.  Crash was a legend – already a three time bucking bull of the year, and the bull seemed to just be entering his prime.  He was much by feared many who dared hop upon his back.  Ty Morris wasn’t scared of the beast, but he certainly had a health respect for Crash.  When Ty was at his best, a matchup with Crash Course was a fair fight.  With Ty still feeling the effects of his injury, he’d need a miracle to avoid getting bucked off and stomped to death by the beast.

Ty looked up to the clouds.  “Quick and painless, God.  That’s all I’m asking.”

Ty could feel the heart of a warrior beating within the bull as he attempted to get comfortable atop the beast.  When the chute gate opened, the bull rocketed into the arena to face his fans.  In a moment, he noticed something out of place.  The rider had barely managed to hang on.  He had experience with this guy, and he was good.  Something was wrong.

Crash gave a small buck, and felt Ty nearly slide off.  This wasn’t right – he couldn’t let a bona fide champion be embarrassed by getting bucked off so easily.  Crash bucked much more violently the second time, but subtly shifted his body to make it easier for the rider to stay in place.

Ty Morris was confused.  It was almost as if the bull was trying to work with him – bucking high and then moving in a way that decreased the likelihood of Ty being bucked off.  That wasn’t possible.  Crash was a champion, but was still just a dumb bovine like all the others … right?  He chased the thought out of his mind and tried to avoid thinking for the duration of the ride.

Just past the eight second mark, Crash Course bucked Ty high into the air.  A moment after he landed, Crash turned and charged straight for him – missing him by inches.  The crowd went wild.  Ty could swear he saw a twinkle in the bull’s eye.  He shook his head and resolved to lay off the caffeine for a while.

Crash Course played around with the clowns for a bit, pretending to be violently fighting them off.  When he finally left the ring, he bellowed a farewell to Ty Morris.  Next time, you’re mine, cowboy.

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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