I am going to entertain you with a story! Hahaha I wrote this about 8 months ago, and abandoned it. Like I do most of my stories. I have no problem at all coming up with the first part, I just can't seem to keep it going through the middle. Haha. But I picked this one up again and I just finished the third part to it. So I guess I'll let ya'll read it. Since the next 2 weeks or so are going to be absolutely hectic. Anyway. Here is the story. I have no idea why the title is what it is, I just needed one (I've been putting it on a writing site for critique) and it just kinda fit. Kinda. Sorta. Anyway- and you pronounce the girl's name as, "tuh-nay-uh". Yeah. And I almost didn't post this because I don't think it's that good, it may be a little sappy, the bronc riding scene is definitely dubious. Well anyway. I'll post it for the heck of it. No making fun of my amateur writing skills! So here you is:
Mitch winced as his leg was rammed against the side of the chute gate.
“Sit tight!” advised one of the men gathered round the chute.
Like I’m not already, Mitch wanted to snap, though he was really too nice to do so. His free hand gripped the gate tighter; ignoring the pulsing pain in his leg, he gritted his teeth and breathed jerkily.
“Hurtin’ a little bit, Rhodes?” Mitch wedged his eyes shut in an effort not to leap out of the chute and tackle the speaker to the ground as the hoarse voice literally whispered the phrase in his ears, like an insult from the Devil himself.
“Leave him be”, snapped Evan, double checking Mitch’s saddle. The horse reared in the chute and pawed at the pipe before lunging backwards and settling in the chute, quivering with anticipation.
“I won Jackson on this horse with an eighty-se-"
“This dadgummed horse is bout to flip over”, a very alarmed somebody shouted, cutting off Jerry Lane’s threat, much to the relief of Mitch. He could feel the muscles in his neck tense, already throwing off his balance.
Don’t let ‘im get to ya Mitch, focus, darnit, focus!
“He’s gonna go over backwards!” somebody warned, as the horse reared and pawed at the gates, snorting and anxious for what he knew was coming.
“Muddy Moon’s notorious for that”, Evan replied, sounding both calm and concerned .
“Well, dangit, then just let me out!’” cried Mitch. Two seconds later, Mitch was high in the air, and he came down with a heavy seat, jarring his spine and gnashing his teeth together… but he was still in the saddle, and that was all that mattered. Adrenaline, which felt quite comparable to lightning at the time, raced through his veins; every breath seemed precious. That gut-wrenching feeling gripped him again, as the bronc beneath him kicked high and came down hard before sucking back heavy and going again. Get your licks in Mitch! he told himself. A cold shiver tickled his bones as he felt his rowels connect with the horse’s thick shoulder; he raked his heels up and was rewarded with a lunge-twist combo. 8 seconds seemed more like 8 minutes when you were atop of a bucking bronc, riding like hell to win that $750 for first prize. Every ounce of his belief in himself, every ounce of his strength, self-respect, any emotion at all, drenched every second of that ride; every time he rode a bronc, it wasn’t just for the money, it was what he loved. He would not settle for second!
“What a snappy horse this is, Mike!”
“Yes-sir-ee, Paul, watch that horse kick; he’s a rank one, alright. Rhodes should score high on this’n.”
The announcers’ voices never seemed to reach Mitch’s ears as he rode good and hard. When the buzzer sounded, Mitch’s heart sank; Not yet, I didn’t get enough in, no!
When he hit the ground, the first thing racing through his mind was, ‘Was it good enough? Did I beat ‘im?’ Still ignoring the pain in his right leg, his eyes lifted to the score board, eyes fixed on it as if those numbers were his lifeline… The lights flickered… 82.5. Shoot. One point. By one point!
“Hey, Rhodes, nice try.” Mitch didn’t look up as he stalked over to the fence and easily scaled it. He managed to take some comfort in two old fellas who had propped themselves up against the fence, muttering between themselves.
“…don’t know nothin ‘bout no bronc ridin’… that Mitch boy can sure ride one…”
“ Appreciate it”, Mitch mumbled to Lane. That disgusting gravelly voice just laughed and spoke once more:
“But you can’t beat the best.” Mitch bit his lip and walked away. The best is coming, Lane, it’s coming…
Easy, don’t rush the steer… Perfect! Now watch ‘im, he’s starting to duck… dangit! Get back in position! Okay… watch your delivery, Tanaya! Don’t jerk your slack too soon… Great, both horns!
Tanaya dallied skillfully, her grey eyes not dismissing the steer in order to take her rope twice ‘round the horn. She tucked her leg and rein into her horse, turning the steer for Riley to take the heels. The crowd cheered when the heel loop snaked around both hocks and caught, perfectly. They stretched the steer out on the ground for a full 2 seconds before Tanaya herself whooped and turned her rope and the steer loose, watching the latter trot haughtily towards the catch pens. Tanaya couldn’t contain her excitement of being in the arena, performing what she loved to do; roping, and being the best at it.
“I think that takes it”, Riley grinned, coiling and strapping his own rope to the saddle swells.
“I sure as hell hope so. The prize is five hundred, two-fifty for the each of us.” Both looked up hopefully at the score-board… 6.4.
“And Riley and Tanaya West take the team roping with a 6.4!”
The congratulations a'waiting at the chutes soon got old. Tanaya mechanically said thanks as CJ, bless his soul, walked calmly through the chaos, seemingly without a care.
“Thanks, Daddy.” Tanaya leaned over to hug Jim, and as she did, some fellow sitting a ways off on a hay-bale caught her eye. He’s the one who durned near won the saddle bronc riding. Lost to that durned idiot, Jerry Lane. He wasn’t much older than her own 17 years. There was something about the way he solemnly leaned over his knees, staring at his boots, large hands clasped together. Something about that thoughtful expression that somewhat intrigued Tanaya…
“You took it, hands-down!”
“Durned ole bull… I hope one o’ these days some of this wire gets tangled up round your throat and kills ya!” This is what could be heard if you had happened to be wandering around… well, the Middle Of Nowhere, rather. These haughty words echoed across the range, empty, except for cows, antelope, jackrabbits, rattlers, and other range critters. Oh, and yes, the meaty Angus bull grazing about 50 yards off, seeming to enjoy watching Tanaya West mend the fence that he had just happened to bust up.
“Every time…” the teenage girl continued to mutter, to no-one in particular, unless perhaps the bull. “Every stinkin’ time, you’re pulled off cows, you run through this fence. And every stinkin’ time, I have to clean up after ya! It’s a curse!” she moaned.
Tanaya continued muttered nonsense remarks under her breath as she fumbled with the awkward stretchers. The 4 of the 5 wires were busted clean through, and one of the posts was broken. Tanaya gave the stretcher several cranks, and was groping in the dirt for her pliers, when the distant roar of an engine distracted her from the current task. She glanced up to see a cloud of dust approaching her on the dry ranch road, obviously caused by a vehicle, but belonging to who she couldn’t begin to assume. The vehicle came closer, and she soon realized it to be a red feed truck, which stalled in the middle of the road near where Tanaya was fixin the fence. She stood slowly, watching suspiciously as a young man jumped out. Eh, he’s wearing a hat. Surely he’s not the worst of company.
“Howdy”, she said, pulling off one of the leather fencing gloves.
“Howdy”, returned the stranger. Tanaya honored him with a once-over with her grey eyes. Scuffed brown cowboy boots, with spurs… interesting. He’s one of us, she thought, chuckling internally. Faded jeans, cracked brown belt with ranch rodeo top hand buckle, blue working shirt, light brown felt hat with stains around the crown and a hawk feather propped jauntily in the band. And smiling brown eyes; he couldn’t be very old, yet laugh lines had already nested in areas around his eyes and mouth. Square jaw, black hair peeking out from under the hat; in fact, he could be called rather handsome. And he looked so familiar… but for the life of her, Tanaya couldn’t recall where she had seen the friendly face.
“Tanaya West.” She offered a hand and a slight smile over the busted wires she had begun to mend.
“Mitch Rhodes, nice to meet ya’.”
“I reckon that’s Uncle Kenny’s bull”, Mitch commented, gesturing towards the grazing beast with the Curtis Creek Ranch brand on his left hip. He surveyed the bull with experienced eyes.
“Kenny Fields? You his nephew?”
“That’d be me”, he replied with the slightest trace of a smile and a cocked head.
“Ah. We heard ‘bout you.” Tanaya bent to twist the wires she had begun to stretch together. Mitch laughed.
“Is that good or bad?” Tanaya squinted up at him and smiled.
“He speaks pretty highly of you.”
There was a slight, perhaps awkward, pause. Mitch fumbled with the cuff of his shirt, seeming to think of what to say. Doesn’t seem like the talkative type, Tanaya thought. Not altogether a bad trait.
“Could I give you a hand here?”
“I reckon I wouldn’t reject such an offer.” Mitch retrieved his own gloves from the truck and the two proceeded to mend the fence together.
“Where you from?” Tanaya asked casually, tightening one of the ties.“Texas. Mostly the Panhandle.”
“Mmmm. What brings ya to this desert wasteland of New Mexico?”
“Just graduated-" Mitch paused to set the new T-post he’d dug out of the back of Tanaya's truck. “-Uncle Kenny suggested I come down these parts, maybe get a job. Enter some rodeos, see if I can get a start in that somehow.” Tanaya fixed her eyes on Mitch with renewed interest.
Suddenly, it clicked. Tanaya shook her finger at him, recalling just where she had seen this Mitch Rhodes.
“I saw you at the Esther County Amateurs Rodeo a month or so ago. That’s right… you didn’t look too amateur to me.” Mitch blinked in surprise.
“Oh, hey! Yeah, you and your brother, Riley was it? Ya’ll took the team-ropin’. Darn good ropers, you two.”
“Thanks. You didn’t look like you sat a horse too bad either”, Tanaya commented, squinting up at him.
“Eh, well…. I’m working on it.”
“Do you think you’re any good?”
“I reckon I’m decent.”
“You took second.”
“Exactly… not first. You took first.”
“Dang right.” Mitch chuckled, clipping the last tie as he stood back with Tanaya to survey their work.
“I reckon it’ll do till the idiot busts it down again.” Mitch turned to look at the bull.
“He do that often?” Tanaya glared at the creature with pure contempt blazing in her eyes, and laughed sarcastically.
“Well, reckon I’ll be back round first thing in the mornin’ to take him to the East side of the ranch instead.”
“Good luck with that.”
Tanaya tossed the coil of wire, stretchers, and pliers into the truck.
“Well, it was nice meetin’ ya Mitch Rhodes. Thanks for the help.”
“You bet”, Mitch returned, shaking hands.“Reckon I’ll git. Suppose I’ll see you around?” Mitch asked, mid-step.