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The Horse by Charlie King



This is a picture of my horse Dave. Look at him. Dave is a stupid horse. He got last place in the Smart Horse contest. What does an alternator belt do, Dave? Simple question, right? Wrong. Dave missed that one. Dave said it churned up the freon. All that horse thinks about is cooling off. I've wanted to get rid of him for a long time.

I wrote a letter to the president of the country asking him if he was in the market for a dumb horse named Dave. Dave is dumb, I wrote. Dave is a dumb horse. What's the capital of Kentucky? Every horse should know that, right? Well, you'd better not ask Dave. The horse's name is Dave? the president asked. His name is Dave, I wrote. We're interested, he said.

I sent a letter by train explaining a little more about Dave. Dave is a black horse, I wrote. Dave eats hay.

You say he's black and he eats hay? the president asked by way of astral projection. I hired one of those planes, one of those skywriters, to write 'yes' over the president's pool house. The next day this lady pulls up in a red corvette and hands me a package. I opened it. Inside were the letters llet su erom. It took two days but I managed to decipher it with the help of my neighbor Willy. Willy has a black cobra. He eats people. Rats aren't people, I told Willy. Tell that to the rats, Willy said.

I had my pet ghost get a message over to the president. Later I found out that the president doesn't like ghosts. He likes cake, biscuits, and a nice neck rub. Ghosts are out. Look, I said, I've given you plenty of information about Dave. He's dumb. He's Dave. Dave is black and he eats hay. Dave is my horse and I want to get rid of him. Dave can't do anything right if you need more information. He can't even buck right. He's Dave the dumb horse. Hell, you've probably heard of him.

The president wrote and asked if Dave would be willing to participate in suicide missions. I asked Dave about it. What about suicide missions, Dave? What's this about missions plural? Dave asked. Dave the dumb horse had a good point. The president later revealed that the term suicide missions, plural, is just a figure of speech and I revealed to him that Dave would be a willing participant in any forthcoming suicide missions. Send him on over, the president said. I sent a dollar to the Goodbye Horse Fund, waited two weeks, and then sent Dave out to the president of the country. The president sent me a check. I cashed it.

Dave didn't win any medals in case you were wondering.



Charlie King enjoys reading Donald Barthelme, Raymond Carver, Brian Evenson, and others. He has been published in Touchstones, Sophia, and others.


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