“Hey, where is everybody,” I called out having pulled up behind the Jeep and started through the paddock gate.
“Roberta’s inside you’d better come over here so I can tell you what’s going on,” said Jenny poking her head out of one of the stalls. Johnny and I went over to the third stall where Jenny was mucking out. “Watch your feet,” which was as obvious to us as the manure piling up at the end of the stall ready to be put in the digester.
“Hey babe, Johnny said,” smiling in greeting. They really did make the ideal couple with California smiles and well toned bodies – Jenny’s now moving with the pitch fork clasped in her hands intent on the job.
“Hey” she said rather cursively. “There’s been an accident. One of the girls fell off the horse and had to be taken by ambulance to the Hospital. They don’t know how serious it is but Roberta’s worried about a law suit right now and she’s inside talking on the phone to that Mike Callahan guy she knows from college. All the other parents took their kids and left. It was really bad for business if you know what I mean.”
“She has contracts with these people doesn’t she?” I asked. “I mean, it all has to be taken care off doesn’t it?”
Roberta came out of the house at that moment with the screen door clattering behind. “Hey you two – I suppose you’ve heard. I’ve just got off the phone with the kids parents at the hospital and they say Sally is going to be all right. They were worried about hemorrhaging in the brain and blood clotting from the fall but scans show nothing. Just some bumps and bruises and swelling in her knee where she wrenched her leg out of the stirrup. Dam I wish these kids would listen, probably wanted to show off to Mum and Dad. These are big animals for a thirteen year old girl.”
“That’s all right then isn’t it?” I said. “Crisis averted.”
“I called Mike Callahan to check. He says if negligence is proven and there’s long-term suffering or loss then having waivers only mitigates the damage. They can still sue. My god sometimes I think this is too hard to keep going for one person. Sometimes I just want to give it up and marry a doctor or a lawyer and raise kids. Hah!” she laughed. Roberta had never been the marrying type if there is such a thing. Fiercely independent, she’d built the stables because she loved to ride in High school and never lost the desire to be around animals. She lived alone in her back-split on this gorgeous property with the in-ground pool just feet away from the downstairs walk-out, the hot-tub to one side always ready for a dash to the house and sauna in cold weather. There have been a string of boyfriends, mostly eye candy from what I remember; nothing serious enough to have moved in.
“Well that’s it then, all the more reason to have some fun tonight, right?” Jenny looked at me obviously disturbed by what I was suggesting. “Come on. It will be good to blow this off a bit. Besides, we aren’t going far. Just into Alliston and it doesn’t have to be an all nighter either,” I pleaded.
“He’s right you know Jen, the boys want their fun and you’ve given them the best reason. It’ll make all the difference getting out of here for a while, “ agreed Roberta.
Johnny took the rake from Jenny and grabbed her around the waist, pulling her close and kissed her roughly. Jenny struggled a bit. “I’m all sweaty, that’s gross.” She protested but Johnny just laughed, wanting his way and leaving nothing to the imagination. She pushed him back, up against the wall of the stall and held him at bay with the pitch fork. She dropped it and fell into his arms, writhing against him.
“O.K. I’ve seen enough.” I said and walked out of the stable with Roberta. It was hot outside and I knew the temperature was rising behind us.