Day 275 – Just outside Choteau, Montana
Cowboy country is no place for sissies. I squint my eyes against the dusty wind as I cantor across field and stream astride my horse, Buttermilk. Days have turned to weeks on the range and my supplies have dwindled. My pack weighs heavy on my back, full as it is of a small amount of water, feed for Buttermilk, a Magic 8 ball, and several pairs of Flight underwear.
How have I wound up alone again? Nary a month ago, I was riding the rails, exploring America’s heartland. Bound for a carnival, a train slowed as it passed through a dusty town I was visiting to get a few day’s shut eye and catch up on America’s Next Top Model. From my motel room I heard the train whistle that draws drifters like me. I grabbed my pack, ran for the crossing, and leapt aboard the livestock car. A horse spooked at my intrusion, but I used my horse whispering skills to put her at ease. Ignoring the danger, I stroked between her eyes and leaned into her ear. “Shut up, please,” I whispered, and she calmed.
I was discovered at the next whistle stop, nestled between two horses that I had named Buttermilk and Pancakes, after my favourite strippers. Employees of the circus threatened to throw me from the train, but I promised to pull my weight and help out. They let me aboard the passenger car, then, where I drank too many root beers and suggested we practice kissing. They gave chase, I ran back to the livestock car, kicked down the door, mounted Buttermilk, and together we leapt from the train into the cold, dark night.
Thirst burns my throat now, as the last of my water trickles down my back (wet hair makes you look cool). My stomach growls, and my back is sore from riding for days over rough terrain. In the distance, I spot a barn that beckons like a mirage. Gratefully, wearily, Buttermilk and I get closer.
I spot her as my horse slows, and dismount carefully. She is a vision: tall and blonde, with curves in all the right places. She gathers wildflowers in a basket and pauses to look me up and down.
“Where ya headin’, cowboy?” She drawls.
“Top of the morning, milady!” I say, trying my own accent. But she’s better at voices than me, so I drop it. “Actually, I’m awfully tired,” I admit. “I wonder if I could spend the night.”
She flutters her eyelashes at me. “I’ve got a place you could stay,” she purrs, and leads me into the barn. Wordlessly, she leads me up a wooden ladder to a hayloft.
“Maybe we could practice kissing,” I suggest for the second time this month, and she takes me up on my offer. As our passions intensify, we begin to undress each other. As ladies often do, she gasps when I shuck off my jeans.
“Is that a pocket?” she rasps, nearly in ecstasy, taking in my impressive cherry red pair of Flight boxers.
“Indeed it is,” I say, as she runs her hand up and down my Flights.
“It’s so soft,” she whispers, appreciating (I hope) the bamboo texture of the garment.
“Check the pocket,” I whisper back, and she withdraws a prophylactic. We make good use of it.
After a roll in the hay, a hearty meal, and a long sleep, I bid farewell to my angel of the ranch, whose name is Honey (or Belinda or something), and close the heavy barn door behind me. But in the hazy pre-dawn darkness, Buttermilk is nowhere to be found. “Farewell, noble steed,” I whisper. “I’m sorry I forgot to tie you to anything.”
Just then, a tall and lean cowboy with wet and wavy hair brings his horse to a stop just steps from where I’m standing.
“You look like you could use a ride,” he rasps, and I climb on, discreetly feeling my thigh to make sure the Flights I put on this morning have more to protect me in their zippered pocket. I wrap my arms around him and, together, we ride off into the sunrise…