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A New Horse! And 'Bingo' (a Story).

In my previous post, I let you know that we were planning on attending the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society's yearling sale. It was held on August 30.

We are part owners, with Foxcroft Racing, of a new filly and we're delighted. There's more info, a photo, and a link to a video featuring our beautiful horse, below the story.

I had fun writing this story. It was for this month's word challenge held by the Uxbridge Writers' Circle. The words I had to use are in italics.


It was easier to procrastinate than to do anything at all. Artie rolled over, plumped up the lumpy pillow, and deleted all his plans for the day. He could put everything off until tomorrow. Nothing was important enough to get him out of bed.

But his brain didn’t want to let go. What was niggling at him and poking him? There must be something significant on the day’s agenda.

He sat up with a start. The pillow fell to the floor stirring a couple of dust bunnies into action and they rolled under the bed, out of sight. Artie was alert. His eyes were open wide. Beads of sweat formed on his fuzzy upper lip and sparkled in the mid-morning sunshine.

Artie’s pulse raced. He could just about make it to the telethon if he showered and shaved at top speed and took a taxi to the hotel. The probable hitch to this plan was that Bingo would be difficult. He was sure to be uncooperative. Bingo loved to play games, particularly hide-and-seek. Well, hide rather than seek, and just when Artie needed him. And this morning he had to find him, put him in his carrier, and take him to the telethon. After all, Bingo was to be the star. Artie was merely his spokesperson.

Bingo was the SPCA’s mascot for the year. He’d been rescued from a Ragdoll kitten mill and had been sick and malnourished. He was a huge cat now, but perhaps he only seemed large because of all the, mostly white, fur. Artie presumed he had skin and bones, but he’d never been able to reach in to find out. For one thing, Bingo wouldn’t tolerate the invasion into his luxurious, well-groomed coat, and for another, Bingo wouldn’t sit or lie long enough for such an investigation.

Artie cursed his procrastination. He meant to wrap up Jean’s gift. He’d bought her a birthday present. She’d turned seventeen the day before and Artie was madly in love with her.

Bingo knew better. Jean was allergic to cats so that ruled her out. She was a volunteer at the SPCA and walked the dogs—that was another strike against her.

Artie picked up the gift and wondered if he could give it to Jean unwrapped. He turned the pendant over and over with his slender fingers. It was nothing more than a trinket. Jean could get the wrong message and think she was no more than a trifling ornament in Artie’s eyes. He tossed the shiny thing into the overflowing garbage can.

The priority was to capture Bingo. He’d shower afterwards because this job could be a hot and sweaty one. He called. He peered under the bed, crawled behind the sofa, pulled out the chairs from under the table, checked the empty Amazon boxes, and opened closets. He encountered much fluff and cat toys, but no Bingo.

But he’d done a smart thing about two months after he adopted Bingo. He’d put a collar and bell on him. And it was the bell that gave the cat away that morning. Artie sat down on the bed with a thump, dejected and annoyed not only with the cat but with himself too. And that was the moment when he heard the give-away tinkle.

He shut the bedroom and bathroom doors, threw the duvet back, picked up a hot and disgruntled cat, shoved him into the cat carrier backwards—that was the only way to do it—and rushed to the shower.

They were ten minutes late but the CEO of the SPCA said not to worry, they’d rescheduled the telethon to start after the competition. Artie thought the competition was stupid. It was a quiz. Viewers could phone in and answer a quick quiz, but they had to respond as if they were their pet. How do you know what your pet is thinking? Artie didn’t have a clue what Bingo was thinking. However, he had to admit that Bingo could communicate some very clear signals with his narrowing eyes, twitching whiskers, and swishing tail. In any case, Artie would have to pretend to know exactly what Bingo was thinking when it was his turn to be in front of the cameras.

At least Jean was there. She was going to answer one of the telephones which were lined up on the stage sitting on long tables. Volunteers were taking shifts.

“Happy belated birthday, Jean.”

“Thanks. It was last month.”

“Oh. I thought it was yesterday. Anyway, I hope you had a nice one.”

“I didn’t, actually.”

“Oh. Sorry.”

“I got sick.”

“Oh. I hope you’re better now.”

“I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t.”

“Ha, ha.”

“It’s not funny. I ate some oatmeal that said ‘gluten-free’ on the packet. And oats don’t have the gluten I’m allergic to, but that oatmeal was effing contaminated.”

“You have a lot of allergies.”

“No, I don’t. Just cats and gluten, and maybe strawberries and dairy, and peanut butter and onion, and only a few more. Anyway, I’m helping with the phones soon.” She turned her back.

“At least you’re not allergic to dogs,” Artie said as she strutted towards the stage.

“I’m outside with them, aren’t I. So, they don’t bother me, not like you.” She uttered the last three words under her breath, but Artie heard them. But rather than turning his stomach into churning turmoil as his heart tore into shreds, her rejection merely brought a sigh. He gazed at Bingo, who yawned.

“Bingo, I know you love your games, but you’re loyal and special. You’re a true friend.”

Artie could have sworn the cat smiled at him. And he had been right.

Bingo was delighted that Artie was finally rid of that awful Jean. Now he could be sure to enjoy spending the rest of his life with his best friend.

Vicky Earle Copyright 2023

Meet Mimi!

I know she has her ears back, but she was being friendly and kind. Neither of us is at our best: it was a very long day for all involved!

Mimi was taken out of her stall numerous times to be groomed, walked, and made to stand for potential bidders to examine. And then she was led into a very noisy auction ring in a room a bit like an auditorium with a stage. The auctioneers were necessarily loud and it must have been incredibly stressful.

She handled it well and was kind to us when we visited her afterwards.

Martin and I were away from home for roughly 12 hours, but it was worth it.

We want to thank Foxcroft Racing for inviting us to partner with them again. We feel privileged to be part of the ownership.

Darwin Banach and Erika Smilovsky (our racehorse training team) were with us nearly all day and gave us valuable advice and support. We are appreciative of all their help (and their ongoing hard work).

Darwin and Erika introduced us to Mimi's breeder when we were at the sale. We enjoyed chatting with him and hearing about Mimi's dam.

We would also like to thank Glenn Morgan, a good friend and a wonderful researcher. He helped us select which horses to consider out of the 252 included in the catalogue.

Mimi is now at a farm where she will be 'broken in' - or learn how to be ridden.

Here's the video of Mimi that was included in the interactive catalogue produced by CTHS.

Wish Mimi luck in her racing career!

PS I'm getting back into the swing of writing my 6th book in the Meg Sheppard Mystery Series!

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