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  • Jake's son never did take up bull riding like his old man. If Jake hadn't sold the ranch and used the money to open up the Texas City Bar & Grill, Henry might have grown up to be someone who pleased him, heck, tolerated him and the friends he made working that accident repair estimator job. Jake suspected Henry of taking cash under the table and trading in stolen auto parts but so far, at 22, he'd never been busted for anything. Not even a speeding ticket. Clean as a whistle. The town was small and business was dwindling. Half the county was addicted to crystal and the other half to oxy. Shit, you didn't need drugs to get high from bull riding. Three ribs broken, both arms and both legs, not at the same time, of course. If you had every injury the bull exacted at the same time, you'd be dead for sure. Back then, dying wasn't something that seemed possible. For others, sure. He knew three who were martyrs to the rodeo. Now, hands arthritic, a bad back and not a single child who gave a damn, he envied Charlie, Pete and Bob. They died as they lived, riding the bull, not shooting it with the old drunks huddling by the door before opening time to stop the tremble, pick up a government check and come back in, boasting of the men they used to be. The kind of men god didn't make anymore.

    249 words, 20 minutes
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