An excerpt from “Bobby Boyd’s Bad Eyes.” Inwood Indiana: Reaping (August 2016).
I had to apologize to Izzy for doubting him. Sure enough, that pony could play.
His name was Molasses and that’s what color he was, although his mane was as black as Bobby’s eyes. He stood just outside the back of the house with his head poking through an open window. We sat at a round table pushed up against the wall. When it was Molasses’ turn to play, Bobby would hold the cards up to him and he would nuzzle one to throw down. Every so often Bobby would feed him an apple slice or a baby carrot from a bowl under the table.
Now, a poker-playing pony is an amazing sight, but one that wins the game? I have to say, it was a little humbling. I’d never been a great poker player anyway, so I took it all in stride. Cal, on the other hand, got really mad. He had laid out a full house, sure that he had the winning hand. When Bobby showed the table Molasses’ straight flush, Cal turned as pink as a cat’s tongue. He cussed and shoved his chips across the table. One bounced up and hit the pony on the muzzle.
Bobby came across the table at Cal. The man would have gotten an ass-shining for sure if Izzy and Dennis hadn’t pulled Bobby off him. That kind of put a damper on the whole proceeding, so Dennis and Cal struck out for home. Izzy made as if to go too, but I hung back.
“I’ll bring her home,” Bobby told him.
I could see Izzy wasn’t comfortable leaving me there but I didn’t care. I grinned and waggled my fingers at him. Hit the road, Cuz!
I watched the jeep’s taillights disappear into the darkness, then stood on the porch listening to the crickets. The sound washed over me, followed by a tidal wave of despair. For a moment, I felt the urge to run up the long, rocky driveway. I changed my mind, Izzy, I wanted to shout.
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