THE FALL FAIR
Montana was really showing off her colours on that October day when the sun had finally decided to come out and lift the dreary mood. There had been a light dusting of frost that morning, changing the soggy leaves to a silver lined brilliance of colour that crunched and crackled as the horses stepped through them. It was chilly, but it was a nice change from the cold rain that had been falling for most of the previous week and the fall sun was already hinting at a warm and pleasant afternoon to come.
Heyes and the Kid were casually jogging their horses down the main track towards one of the numerous small towns they had been visiting on their way to nowhere in particular. It was one of those occasions when they actually had some money in their pockets, but no new jobs lined up. It was relaxing and stressful all at the same time.
By the time they were heading into the small town the sun had raised enough to add some warmth to the Autumn day and it was obvious that there were festivities on the go. Everyone was in jovial spirits, the laughing and high energy level being contagious to the point where the boys couldn't help but smile along with everyone else and the two horses arched their necks and added a bit of a prance to their steps.
Riding down the main street they were quickly assaulted by the enticing aromas of freshly baked breads and pumpkin pies with spice. In the town square a makeshift hearth had been set up and a warm fire was crackling away, heating up the apple cider with cinnamon to the great expectations of the local children.
Slowly making their way towards the livery stable, the two travel weary partners decided to dismount and lead their horses through the gathering thereby being in easy reach of certain tasty delicacies. The two horses followed along behind taking interest in all the sights and smells and sounds as well. Fortunately, after the harrowing trip to Denver, Karma was handling the commotion of this small town quite well.
Even when a stray balloon tugged free of its mooring and started floating towards her she simply planted her feet and stared at it rather than trying to bolt and run for the hills. Even when the strange object ended up bouncing off her nose and then between her eyes and then off the top of her head, she merely blew at it and did a little sidestep to get out from under. It then decided to assault Buck, but he just found the silly thing annoying and ignored it with his ears back.
So the foursome carried on, watching the children running with their own balloons and playing games amongst themselves and making a tremendous amount of noise about it. There were plenty of games of the adult variety as well, including the inevitable fast draw contest which the boys stood and watched for a while. But Kid had no intentions of entering the contest, and sooner rather than later the frustration of watching such a pathetic show of marksmanship and speed (?) encouraged them to move on to more agreeable possibilities
Eventually they did make their way to the food section of the gathering. The smiles on both men broadened as they took in all the breads and pies and pastries that were available to purchase. The hardest part of all was deciding which of the many culinary delights they should indulge in.
It wasn't long after they had started sampling some of the wares, when Kid gave his partner a tug on the sleeve to get his attention.
"Ah, Heyes.." He said quietly. "Your crazy red-head is going to get us into trouble again."
"Huh? What?" Heyes looked around just in time to witness a minor catastrophe in the making!
Karma-Lou was having no problems at all deciding which culinary delight to sample first, that was easy; obviously it's the one closest to you. In the space of a second she had snatched up a loaf of freshly baked warm bread and was doing her best to get the whole thing over the bit and down her throat before it could get snatched away from her.
The middle aged, rather plump woman who was minding the goodies reacted somewhat negatively to this equine apparently enjoying her home baking!
"OH! No no! Go away—shoo, shoo!" She came running around the table, flapping her apron at the mare. Unfortunately when it came to food Karma tended to stand her ground and simply raised her head out of the agitated woman's reach.
"Oh, I'm sorry Ma'am!" Heyes came to the rescue, sort of. He got hold of Karma's bridle and did his best to bring her head back down and to grab the bread out of her mouth, but wasn't having much luck. It painfully reminded him of a certain hat episode that hadn't ended well either.
Kid Curry just stood back with his arms crossed and an amused smile on his face while he and Buck watched the antics of the three characters doing a dance over a loaf of bread. In the meantime bread was flying everywhere, Karma was sidestepping around, totally oblivious to the other tables she was banging into, the woman was flapping about like an oversized chicken and Heyes was doing his best to get everybody calmed down.
By the time all was said and done, most of the neighbouring venders were up in arms and the woman whose bread had been absconded with was red faced and demanding payment. What was left of the bread had been scattered to the four corners and even Buck was able to help himself to some of the spoils that had flown his way. After all, it wasn't every day you got the chance at some nice warm bread to nibble on.
Heyes was busy digging into his pockets for money to pay for the damaged goods before the town Sheriff was called over. He was also doing his best to sidestep the local children and dogs who had come running in to snatch up any of the still edible pies and tarts that had cascaded to the ground during the unscheduled entertainment.
Eventually Heyes had again placated everyone effected by one of Karma's antics and headed back over to the Kid with a smile on his face. He had managed to rescue two pumpkins pies from the mealy and had only had to pay $5.34 for something which should have only cost ten cents apiece. Still, he was pleased.
Kid shook his head as his partner approached.
"I tell you, Heyes." He said smiling. "That mare is just as big a thief as you were."
Heyes beamed. "Why, thank you Kid."
"Huh hu. Why don't you go and find us a place to sit over at those tables and I'll get the horses booked in at the livery." Curry suggested. "We're here now, we may as well spend the night."
Half an hour later found the two friends in companionable silence enjoying some hot apple cider and pumpkin pie, even if they did have to pick out a little bit of grit every now and again..