Poster: The Lad Al
Post # 1
Lad Al and Jena MacKenzie
shoulders were pressed back, too proud for his own good. Or
so he had been told. But that didn't change a thing. There
was no changing Al. He
was...who he was. That McAndrews man had sent him to find
this...Jena woman...gave Al her description, told him a couple of places
to look, starting with the stables. So, it was there he started
and his search began.
Busy with a
troublesome highspirited gelding, she stood at the gate of the stall
with an empty water bucket in hand.. The water soaking into her
skirt and the straw thrown over the floor. "Oooooo
I'm gonna get even with you... you beast!! "
A shuffle of
boots forward, the curled up toes catching the straw and the heels
scuffed with each step. He didn't care that several of the other
men already employed to see to the stables cast their curious gazes in
his direction. Didn't matter to him. He was looking for a
woman...and by the sound of it, he was headed in the right direction.
her tirade at the horse, she dropped the bucket on the floor with a loud
bang as she shook her finger at the him. "I'm gonna put you
pasture.. just you wait and see... then who will save you? huh?
Jon? Patrick.? I think not.. Ha!!"
arm hooked to the stall next to where she was fiddling and fussing
about. At least, that's how Al perceived it. That roll of
shirt sleeve drooped over the top of his hand. Casual?
Perhaps. Nervous? You bet. Getting this position was
important to him even if he didn't give that away in his posture.
"You Jena MacKenzie, Lady?"
flashing green eyes to the lad next to her, they narrowed at not
recognizing him, not another stranger in HER stables. "Yes..
what do you want ?" Maybe she was abrupt, but one thing she
had.. was temper.
just shrugged a narrow shoulder, the bagging shirt there slipping a bit
with the motion. "Ain't what I want, Lady...it's what you
need. And it seems you need some help." A jerk of moppy
mane toward that fiercesome menace behind the stall.
"Caterwauling at the beast ain't gonna win him over...bet you ain't
married either, are ya?"
Turning to face
the insulate lad, she crossed her arms over her chest, one foot tapping
impatiently. "Ohh and you know more than I?"
Waving a hand for him to approach the beast held within the stall. a
hint of a mischievous grin pulling at her lip. "Be my guest..
slip of gray gaze was shot to the creature, snorting and glaring from
behind that safety of stall. "Ain't my place, now is it?
I'm here to help, not take over." Smug little tilt of grin,
teeth seemingly perfect despite the rest of his grubby attire.
"Just a suggestion to you, Lady...but iff'n you want my help, I'd
be happy to give it. What the flippin' devil are you trying
to get him to do?"
Who said I needed help? " A list of names ran through her mind..
but surely they wouldnt of sent this.. lad .. to her. "And
for your information.. I was trying to get him out.. .. to
take a look at his back leg."
that shrug again, this time repositioning that loose material back fully
on his shoulder. "I was sent...because I needed employment.
That large blonde feller said to see you. You were 'bouts to be
swamped. Better to see me trained 'fore it happened."
Lips pursed as he sucked air through his teeth, looking down to kick his
heel into the straw over the floor of stable. "Now, either
you're want'n me to help 'ya...or I'll be taking my scrawny arse
elsewhere. Sure that Jon-man-feller can find somewhere else to
stick me. Seems to me...we're just a'wasting time
squabbling, when you've a horse..." He went up on tiptoe to
check out some important details. "...to be seeing to."
Jon McAndrews??! He sent you? " Her voice lowered to a
soft whisper. "Of all the gall.. I'lll" The rest
of her words were lost as she took a deep breath to calm herself.
"Well in that case.. you can start by mucking out that
stall." She pointed to the stall next to the one with the
want'n me then to help ya' with that there devil-spawn?" Lips
quirked with indifference. "I could distract it, ya'
know...while you see about your business? Need to get him out, no?
Hook him to one of those holdy-pen thingies?" There went that
head motion to indicate the area where the horse's bridles could be
latched and secured. "Bitch'n at the feller ain't gonna get
it done...and seems that 's what you're only other plan is. I could be
happened before, but that's just the way it appears to me. "
want to .. distract it? Got a death wish huh?" Stepping to
the side, she adopted a well practiced McA lean against the stall door
not of the mad horse of course. "Well I suppose we could try and
get him secured to the rings."
noooooo, no, no, no....you're the head honcho here, Lady." That
pewter gaze dipped to check out his nails. They were a bit too
clean for his preference, but there was nothing to do about that now.
"I'll distract it, you slip on in, get yourself penned in there
with those large hooves and big, black body. If I get the bridle
on...you can manage from there?" Or course, the slender lad
would have to be swinging from the stall door to reach that monstrous
head...he'd managed far more dangerous feats of prowess before.
A quick shake of
her head. "I'm not getting in there, sides yer smaller.. and
can fit better, just watch where ya step." A low soft peal of
laughter ended her statement.. Reaching past the stall to the bridle and
lead hanging on the wall, she handed him the lead rope. "Just
git in there and tap him on the rump with the rope. I'll snag his halter
as he turns for ya."
Al eyed her
good. He didn't know this screaming meemie from Jeb and Al was supposed
to trust her to be fast enough to grab that halter before this
brother-to-Lucifer's-fire-breathing-mount got him trapped? From
head to toe he looked her over. He sure needed this position. This
time, his shrug included both shoulders. "Sure then, Lady. "
He snatched the rope from her grip, draping the length of it around his
shoulders. Those curled-up boot toes slipped through the slats of
the stable next to the creature. On up he scrambled, keeping a
wary eye on the thrashing head and snapping yellowed teeth of that
menace. "Easy there, Brother. No need to get testy.
I ain't gonna be screeching in your tender ears." Once he
reached the top of the stable door, he balanced on the thin wood, very
quick steps, very quick, bolted him the distance along the stable wall
and he dropped with a thud and a grunt inside with the monster.
With one fluid motion, boots hit the stall floor and that rope was
jerked from around his neck, nearly causing rope burn, followed by a
slap of that tightly coiled rope to the horses flank. He didn't
even dare to look if that woman was ready...this was life or death...if
he was to die...he didn't want to see it coming!
With a sharp eye,
she narrowed those dark greens as the boy slithered his way into the
back of the stall. With hands poised to catch hold of the woven halter
already placed about the horses head, she unlatched the stall... then
like a bolt of lightning, those sharp hooves lashed out as the horse
reared. The sting of the rope across his flanks was maddening but not
painful. As the hooves hit the floor, Jena made her move, leaping
for the jawline of the halter, she slipped the clip into the metal
circle just below his chin. One down and one to go !!
Pulling down on the rope, shereached to slip the clip onto the other
side... but missed! "Dangit!!" A second
attempt wasnt feasable, so she quickly stepped back to the opposite
wall, Sliding the braided rope through the large hoop secured to the
wall, she brought the horse closer and closer.. Why didnt
they make muzzles for horses too!! "LOOK OUT !!"
was shouted as the rear end of the horse cleared the stall.
it coming...Was that harp music he heard already? Or just the bells from
where his head snapped back and clunked to the wood of stall behind him.
He rolled along the wood, feet scrambling to gain purchase of anything
that might clear him from those sharp back-kicking hooves and the
dangerous motion of muscular backside in his direction. He didn't
need to hear that woman's shout! Oh no! Al was bracing and
grappling, pulling himself up and over that stall and falling headfirst
to the other one... the one that needed mucking out...his rope and one
boot left behind.
Splat!! Yep, that
was the sound she heard. Hoping it was the boy landing safely.. if
messily.. into the other stall, she lifted a hand to snag the other side
of the horse's head. As her fingers slipped under the sweaty halter, she
threw all her weight into bring that massive head down as low as
possible. Fumbling with the second clip, the soft click of it closing
around the circular hoop was a comfort to her . Dropping her grasp on
the halter, she stumbled back to the wall., quickly pulling the cord
through the hoop before those yellowed teeth closed in on her shoulder.
"Gotcha.. !! "
One side of
his face was plastered with horse ... stuff ... in fact, that whole side
of his body was smeared from temple to toe with the muck. But it
was gray eyes that peered from between the slates of wood safely behind
the door of stall as Jena secured the large, black gelding.
"Got it?" A sniff, and Al rubbed the back of his grime
bedecked hand beneath his nose. Only when he saw that the lady had
that beast well bolted down did he start his climb back over.
"There now, ain't you glad I came around?" He dropped to
the straw on the outside of the stall, walking toward that horse but
remaining a fair distance away, a slow, cocky stroll was taken from one
end of the impressive beast to the other and back. "No match
for Al, now are, ya? Don't you be giving this Lady no more trouble
or you'll be dealing with me again!" A snort of
self-importance and he grinned to Jena. His teeth seeming all the
white for the black slap of horse shyte and mud which marred that left
side of his face.
strutting lad, she bit the inside of her lip to keep the gaffs of
laughter from echoing through the barn. Side stepping away from the
horse, she placed work roughened hands on her hips as she nodded ..
almost in agreement.. with Al. "Yep..you better listen to
him.. I just might turn you over to his.. care ... anyway.
Whatcha think of that ... boy? "
All hot wind
and puffed up ego - plus knowing that beast was going nowhere right now,
Al just squared his shoulders. "I think that'll teach him a
thing or two...I sure do. Now..." Those floppy-sleeved
arms crossed over his chest. He would have tapped a booted-toe
except, that foot he would tap was bootless. The sock hung limp a
good two inches from his toes and heavy with the goop of stall.
"I got this here job? Or do I need to be asking that big,
blonde feller to stuff me somewhere else?
mirthfilled gaze on the boy, she looked him over.. from head to toe.. or
sock in this case .. and gave a slight nod. "I'll keep ya..
but you gotta mind! I dont tolerate no sass or backtalkinh.
He could understand, didn't mean he could keep his mouth shut. He
curled up his nose, tickling as the black smudge dried. "I'll
just be getting my stuff then..." A wave of hand as if this
was everyday, to be inching one's way past a large gelding into it's
stall to reclaim their boot. Once he had it back in his
possession, he balanced on the one foot, a hopping dance to the side as
he tugged the other back on - thick, muddy sock and all - then
hitched up his britches and came back out. "I guess I
better be let'tin that man know then..." A scritch-scratch to
the side of his nose. "Should I come back today? Or
tomorrow?" That pewter gaze dipped to the lady's boots
then back up to her features, waiting his first order as an employed
which to wash first the horse or the boy, she eyed both with a criticizing
eye. "Tomorrow is soon enough.. Then we can see about gitting you a
room upstairs..." A hand lifted to point to the enclosed loft
where the rest of the stable boys slept. "And tell
that....man... I said .. thanks." Okay that isnt exactly what
she wanted him told.. but that would come from herself!
Whatever, Lady. Those were his thoughts but he wasn't about
to say them outloud. Not...this time. And if'n she thought
to ever get him bathing, she'd have a tougher time than she had with
that horse! "I'll be seeing you tomorrow then...you won't be
sorry." He gave a tap to his cap, which during this
whole drama had remained rooted to his pate, then spun and started a
hitching gait back towards the door. A squishy sock within a boot
could give a
feller that sort of walk. Shoulders back again, he strutted by
those he passed on his way in, this time cutting a look of 'What
the flippin' 'el you lookin' at' in their direction until he was cleared
out the door. With none around to see, he lifted his gaze towards
the heavens with a mouthed "Shew, close one 'der Boss...I'm
thanking 'ya." A salute to 'The Man' and he started on his
way to inform that blonde imitation of a mountain that that
woman, Jena...had agreed.
the boy was gone, she took the moment to lean against the nearest wall
wiping a shaking hand over a sweat soaked brow. Of course she couldnt
let the lad see how scared she was.. that was bad for business,
but now she could swallow that hard lump in her throat as she
narrowed her gaze at the object of her misery. "Yer gonna be
the death of me.. but not today.. ya hear? "
"What the flipp'n 'el you look'n at?"