NOTE: I have been very ill with the flu, and I am going through some major life events, so this will be the last post for a few weeks. But fear not fans, I shall return.

Gil and the creature made their way down the winding stream that ran through Bubba’s property. They threw and skipped stones as they went along.

Gil skipped a large flat stone. “So…how you like staying over to Oliver’s?”

“I’ve had better times.”

“How come you staying there?”

“My parents had to go on a trip to Europe, and they couldn’t take me with them.”

“Europe…you must be rich. How long you staying?”

The creature sighed. “All summer.”

“Hey, that’ll be good. Maybe you can come over here some days. You can keep Jess off me. Maybe you could come back tomorrow, after your chores and all.”


“Yeah, ain’t you got work to do in the morning?”

“What work?”

“You know…feeding the animals, or chopping wood, or plowing, or fixing things…I don’t know. Ain’t you got no work?”


“Hmmm…that’s strange. I reckon ol’ Oliver’s treating you like a guest for a while before working you.”

“Oh, right, I’m a guest,” the creature said sarcastically.

“Well, I ‘spect he’ll work you soon enough. You being a city boy and all need time to learn your way around.”

“I’m not working for him.”

Gil cocked his ear toward the creature. “What’sat?”

“I said, I’m not working for him. There’s no way I’d lift a finger for him.”

“Huh. How come?”

“Because of how he treats me.”

“How’s he treat you?”

“Like a dog. He ties me to a pole, and feeds me dog food, and makes me stay there all the time. I even have to go to the bathroom out there.”

“Well, he don’t make you stay there all the time, on account of you’re here right now.”

“Well, this is the first time I’ve gone anywhere besides his farm.”

“Huh. Tied up and eating dog food…you musta done something powerful wrong to land you in that spot. Wha’dja do?”


“Go on! You didn’t do nothing?”

“No...nothing that deserves this.”

“Go on! Ol’ Oliver don’t do things for nothing. My daddy says he’s a good man.”

“Well, he says he’s trying to teach me gratefulness.”

“Well, heck, why’ncha learn it double-quick and get you outta that spot?”

“Well,’s...well, would you feel grateful if you were tied up and eating dog food? How would anyone learn gratefulness that way?”

“Huh. I don’t rightly know. But say, don’t he ask you to do things? Why’ncha just do’m and see can’t you get on his good side?”

“Why should I? I haven’t done anything wrong. He’s the one doing something wrong. He’s gonna go to jail for what he’s doing to me.”

“You think? For an iddy-biddy thing like that?”


“Yeah. I mean, it don’t sound like no great shakes, but I’d take it over a whupping from my daddy. My daddy can swing his hand dang near right through me.”

The creature rubbed his bottom a little, remembering the swat he received upon his arrival. “Well, at least with your dad, it’s over quick. This just goes on for days and days.”

“Well, if it was me, I’d do just about anything to get outta that spot. Why’ncha just do what he says and see if he’ll let you off?”

“No. Why should I?”

“Buddy, when you’s a farm kid, you don’t ask why. You just muscle up and do it. Things go a lot easier thataway.” He paused a moment, then said, “Say, what’s your name, anyways?”


“Preston. Can’t say I’ve ever heard that name before. My daddy and Jess call you ‘critter’; can I call you that?”

“No. My name’s Preston.”

Gil looked at the creature for a moment and said, “You know, Preston don’t seem to fit you. How about can I call you Pres, for short?”

The creature pondered this for a moment then said, “I guess that would be OK.”

Gil slapped the creature on the back. “Pres it is, then! And you can call me Gil. Hey, there’s the barn. Let’s go back in and see Juniper. I got some apples for him.”

“Who’s Juniper?”

“Our old work horse, more like a pet actually. I promised him some apples. Let’s go.”

The pair ran over to the barn and entered in. Gil walked over to a stall that held a large older looking horse.