LUCY & THE LONGHORN by H.D. Moe
When lucy’s Oldsmobile broke down on the country road, needing assistance, she limboed under an electric wire & after a mile or so, winnowing between bramble bushes, there looked to be an opening into a pasture. Something drew her on. At dusk she seemed to be pushed toward the big cow standing across some barely visible path. His horns seemed to wink to her. She thought it was by the hope of a farm house near, yet what forces were they that like one dumb thickening wind were crazily magnetting her along? Something not known shaped an inhibiting question within becoming lassooy as it grew now around & around & duplicating itself loops coiled her very sinews. In this mummified state of doubt mixed with fear she thought, who could move? Then, just after both their poised figures, eyeing each other, commingled together with this deepening darkness into a giant shadow asterisked with starlight, Lucy heard rhythmic thuds from the ground as the bovine approached. It was totally dark now, she could smell the large animal’s grassy breath puffing on her face. Nether moved. She felt like a heart of hot fudge waiting to melt the ice cream starry mind it was moored in, so she could run, run, run away from this invisible beast. Whereto? As she remembered, before the almost completely moonless black set in, a wild forest surrounded the path. Limbs to poke out her eyes, ravines to fall into. The cow stepped back & pawed the hard dirt with his hoofs. Her pulses penduluming with the thunder in her ears, Lucy mimed her body still as a stone. The longhorn approached up close again. She lowered her breathing to a tiny fog on the mirror of her now precarious mental control. Suddenly, Lucy could no longer hold back the hurricane of fear & doubt whirling within her & she screamed at the bull & the night: “GET OUTA HERE”! The animal turned around, she could feel the brushing wind of his horns & then it trotted back a few yards, stopped & turned around again pawing the ground. Since he couldn’t make her out in the dark enough to charge, Lucy became calmer. She turned & knelt down quietly & lengthening her body along the narrow path began slowly pulling & hunching herself away from the bull with her knees, feet & elbows like a broken snake. At first she heard nothing but the shuffling whispers of these peristaltic movements along the ground. Then, after, it seemed, only two or three minutes of crawling, Lucy’s heart stopped, the giant bull started following her. A minute passed & the bête noire was panting above her heels. Even though she quit moving her body parts altogether, Lucy wondered, will he hear my breathing & my heartbeats now thumping against the ground & trample me with his hoofs like he would a snake, no, quiet yourself down, maybe he was bored with his life as it was lately & curious, maybe he just wanted to play, charge at some target. All this immense nocturnal unwordable event surrounding & within her was way beyond her or anyone’s understanding Lucy felt. She became a radical agnostic that moment. After playing possum for what it seemed to be an eternity, the cow slowly plodded off. I hope he turns into a Ferdinand addicted to wild flowers perfuming the air now somewhere & leaves me alone, Lucy thought, as she, quietly as possible, flipped over on her back & looked up at the stars.