Roni rounded a curve just outside of town and there a horse stood in the middle of the road. She slowed the golf cart to a stop, and the horse simply stared at her, not moving.excerpt:
“Shoo,” she said, waving her hands.
The horse blinked its eyes and did nothing. Roni looked around for a rider, but there was nothing but vegetation surrounding her; there was no one to help. She tried to remember what horses liked—sugar, carrots, Honeycrisp apples—none of which she had. Shit she thought. She pondered trying to squeeze the cart behind the horse, but she was afraid he might kick, damaging the cart or her or both. She waited, the horse looking at her and she at the horse. Who let their horse just wander about? she wondered. Had it escaped? Thrown its rider? What? She didn't see a saddle or bridle, nothing that gave her a clue.
She got out of the cart and waved her arms in the air.
“Come on, shoo, go on,” she coaxed.
The horse’s ears twitched, and he looked away from her, not moving. She sat back down on the cart seat and waited. She wanted to laugh. Here she was stuck in the road because of a horse, something that would never happen in New York. It would have never been a horse that delayed her getting someplace. She figured that surely the horse would get bored or hot or both and wander back to where it came from at some point, freeing up the road. Just then, it lifted its tail and pooped, big round plops of green poop forming a pile in the road.
“Nice,” she chuckled, shaking her head. “Out of all the open space around us, do it in the road.”
The horse’s ears moved again, signifying he could hear her voice. She thought maybe now that he’d done his duty, he would move on. The sound of a motor came from behind her, and she turned around to see a blue motor scooter coming towards her carrying a rider with a shiny, silver helmet, like a mirror. The Bahamanian man—dressed in a white T-shirt that made his skin look that much blacker, khaki pants, and dark brown shoes—pulled up beside her cart and stopped.
“I see ya met Joe,” he said in a thick Bahamian accent backed up by a smile.
Roni tried to decipher his words in her head.
“Say that again,” she asked.
“Joe,” he said and pointed to the horse.
“Oh, is that his name? Joe? Joe, right?” Roni wrinkled her forehead in question.
“Dis Joe. Da hoss, he Joe.”
“Well, he didn’t introduce himself,” Roni teased.
The man got off his scooter, took off his helmet, and set it on his seat. Roni rested her forearms on the steering wheel of the cart, watching him. He walked up to the horse and gave it a smack on its hindquarter.
“Git outta da way, Joe,” he said.
The horse moved forward slightly and stopped, turning to look at the man.
“He ain' see ta good,” he said, his accent so thick Roni couldn’t understand him.
“What?” she asked, shaking her head.
“He eyes,” he said, pointing to his eyes, “ain' good.”
“Oh, he can’t see very well,” Roni clarified.
“Yez, he walk over de whole islan'; like he own it,” he said, giving the horse a harder smack. "Git, Joe."
This time Joe started walking and kept on going.
“He make da mess all da time,” the man said seriously, looking at the pile of dung.
Roni started to laugh, the laughter shaking her and she couldn’t stop it. The man turned toward her and watched. She tried to catch her breath.
“I’m sorry, it’s just so funny,” she laughed.
The man smiled at her and waited for her to stop laughing.
“Does Joe have a home?”
“Yez, he have a home, jes' don' always stay home,” he said with a sigh.
Roni laughed again; the whole scene was so comical to her. The horse pooping in the road, and then a rescuer she could hardly understand. Each time he spoke she tried to listen carefully so she could comprehend him, but he talked faster than a speed-reader.
“So he runs away from home,” Roni joked. “Does his owner know?”
“Yez, he know. Joe stubborn. He do wha' he like.”
“I’m Roni, by the way, Roni Dugan,” she finally said, extending her hand towards him.
“Devin McNally,” he said stepping toward the cart and shking her hand.
Roni figured, from his earlier pronunciations, that it must be "Devin". His speech was so rapid and chipped it almost sounded like a foreign language. She would have guessed it to be if she didn’t already know from her previous trip to the Bahamas.
“Well, Devin,” she tested, “nice to meet you.”
He didn’t try and correct her, so she knew she had his name right.
“Roni?” he repeated her name, making it sound like "macaroni".
“Rah-nie,” she sounded out.