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2004-07-16 - 9:12 p.m.

Itís 8:45 on a Friday night and Iím still at work. Waiting for a couple of guys to finish spraying the 25í horse trailer that came in on Wednesday. The radio is playing a bunch of crap from who knows when. Itís the timeless crap like Horse with No Name, Fear the Reaper, and Dust in the Wind. This is not my idea of a great time. Or even how I imagined my evening would end up. The trailer must go tomorrow. It needs to be in Evanston, WY tomorrow night. No doubt to deliver a palomino to a rodeo queen. Every time an old farmer with his bowl legs and inappropriate jokes waltzes in my door, snags a piece of taffy, and jokes with my Secretary I think, No. Iím not going to do it. And then I look at my paint line. And I weigh the costs versus my personal time. And I end up taking the job in. And hating myself for it on a Friday night at a quarter to 9. Tonightís trailer is larger than most. And has custom decorative horses painted on it that we had to mask off. The old finish wasnít bad, itís just that the rancher purchased a new diesel and needed ďOl BessĒ refinished to match. The trailer gets its name from either a favored mare from his childhood or perhaps his wife. Itís hard to tell with these types. Quiet, unassuming women who have no doubt been up at 5 for the past 50 years and born the children, and are now getting a bit of rest with their quilting, scrap booking, and grandmothering. He will bluster and kid when they arrive tomorrow, 15 minutes early and wanting to gab. She will be silent, writing out the check in a hand that won a blue ribbon in penmanship at the í45 County Fair as he goes on with an anecdote she has heard countless times. Her approval will be brief. His garrulous. She will stay in the truck, perhaps enjoying the luxury of bucket seats in their new rig, while he keeps up the steady stream of conversation with just about anyone who will listen, as he hooks up the gooseneck, attaches the wires, and locks the hitch. He will cheerily wave goodbye, hoping that thereís a gleam in his eye to match the sun reflecting off his belt, and they will be gone. No doubt to Deeís or perhaps Dennyís for a spot of lunch before heading out. He will flirt with the waitress and order a steak. She will order a ham sandwich with coleslaw. After the waitress leaves he will fiddle with his empty creamer cup, perhaps saying something about the trip, or the new trailer, or just anything because he canít stand to be alone with his thoughts. She will agree, brevity marking her answers, because itís the only way she knows how to control him. And so the game of their life or even their relationship will play itself out like thousands of others.

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