Beating Dead Horses

Closed gates of a cattle ranch

My birth father left me a leather switch. It’s the kind used for striking livestock. I think he used it on my grandfather’s ranch.

That man moved me and Dad, us alone, away from the ranch without a partner or genetic parent. When I think of the move, I hate his switch. It’s a horrible heirloom. Is that brick-red discoloration on the leather knots dried blood from a broken animal? Why give me a tool from a place I’m no longer allowed to go?

Other times, I’m only angry with our big city neighbors. Those nosy no-goods tsk at Dad when he goes out to date, which is an ordeal with enough drama on the San Antonio singles scene.

On flaring hot days are when I hold the switch tight in my fist, tensing against the useless judgement of near strangers.

I relax as the switch raises over my head. I take in the snapping force of its fall. The feeling helps to stop thinking about them all.


This story has been revised since its first appearance, in Ad Hoc Fiction Issue 169.

Post your comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.