By Mary Vee
Today's story is the second in a two parter. Enjoy this original Easter-time story.
Tom parked the quad he borrowed from Mr. Timm behind Jason's. Jason whipped off his helmet and threw it on the ground. "I guess I understand your not wanting to fight Carl. He put a kid in the hospital last week when he didn't get his bus money."
Tom grabbed his lunch and walked to the edge of Snake Pit Ravine. "It has nothing to do with his smashing me to pieces, although I like my face the way it is." He unpacked his food and bowed his head.
Jason plopped his lunch next to Tom's. "You feeling OK?"
"Yeah." Tom gnawed into his bologna sandwich. "I thanked God for my food."
Jason shook his head and unpacked his food. "Didn't pack much again, huh?"
Tom gazed at Jason's chips, cookies, sandwich, brownies, soda, and jerky. If there was more in my kitchen I'd have packed it. I was lucky to find the bread.
Jason pointed to his chips. "You can have these."
Off in the distance a motor hummed. Tom stood and looked across the ravine. "Someone's riding through Mr. Timm's pastureland. Isn't that Carl's quad?"
Jason squinted. "Yup. That's him. How'd he get over there? I thought Mr. Timm had that pasture fenced in."
Tom stuffed his food back in the bag and grabbed his helmet. "He does. The only way Carl got over there was if he broke the fence." He hurried back to his quad. "Let's go. We've got to keep the cattle from wandering out."
Tom opened the throttle and ripped along the edge of the ravine toward the fence blowing a dirt cloud behind him. He assumed Jason kept close behind. The ravine narrowed to a shallow gully near the fence line. Tom whipped the 4-wheeler to the left and stopped the engine. He raised his visor and turned to Jason. "Look at that. He rammed his quad into the gate!"
Jason and Tom stared at the damage. The gate had been knocked away from the posts and was laying on the ground. "It was a 4-wheeler that did this all right. My dad had to fix a gate like this one time when a pick-up slid on the ice and rammed into it. My mom complained for months about the cost of fixing it."
Tom sighed. "Mr. Timm doesn't have much. He lost a quarter of his cattle in last year's winter."
"Help me pick it up." Jason grabbed onto one end of the gate. "Maybe we can lean it against the posts for now."
Tom grabbed the other end. Together they heaved the broken pieces up and pushed them toward the posts. The gate slapped against wood. "This won't keep the cattle in. You stay here. I'll get Mr. Timm."
Tom leaped on his quad, yanked his visor into place and flew toward Mr. Timm's house. After explaining what happened, Mr Timm called his ranch hand, grabbed his tools, and hopped in his pickup. "Come on. Show me the spot." Tom sat in the front of the cab and gave directions.
Jason waved as they drove up. "I scared a few cattle away from here while you were gone."
Mr. Timm shook his head while inspecting the broken wood. "This is gonna be expensive. I should have installed a stronger gate." He turned to Tom and Jason. "I sure appreciate you noticing this problem. The herd would have trampled right out and gone who knows where. You boys can head back home. I'll take care of the gate."
Jason gave Tom a ride back to the barn. "I gotta get home. See ya tomorrow."
Tom pulled his bike out of the barn. He took the long way back to give himself time to think. How is Mr. Timm going to afford to fix the fence? He'd never ask for help.
Tom rode down the street where Mr. Proctor's Quad Shop was. He saw a used quad on display. "Hey Mr. Proctor, you lowered the price on that 4-wheeler."
Mr. Proctor wiped greasy hands on a towel. "Sure did. You interested?"
"Well, I--I think I might have enough saved--I--could I take it for a ride?"
"Sure. Don't take long, though. I'm getting ready to close for the day."
Tom stepped toward the quad. He smoothed his hand over the surface. The greasy smell of the shop filled his lungs. Mr. Proctor cleared his throat. "You gonna take that thing for a ride or not?"
Tom swung his leg over the seat and bounced his body into place. He sat for a minute imagining a race against Jason to Snake Pit Ravine. Then he remembered the fence. He rubbed his arm along the handles and grabbed the throttle. It felt good in his hand. Tom bounced on the seat once more before swinging his foot onto the floor. Mr. Proctor looked over his glasses. "Well?"
"Nope. Not today, Mr. Proctor. I used my money on something else. Guess I'll have to start saving for a 4-wheeler tomorrow."