American Cloaca: A Memoir: 3a

Maybe he should have been named Dissertation.


June 28, 2016

Rules for Horse Tag in Herrin, Illinois

1) Runners (usu. 3-6) may hide anywhere in The Woods. Boundaries are the barbed-wire fences on the north and west sides, 13th Street on the east, and Eric’s dad’s Shop on the south. 

2) The Woods covers two acres, so there are plenty of places to hide. Don’t crowd and panic. Try pushing backward into the wicker of honeysuckle bushes that grow to eight feet. Climb high up a Shortleaf Pine and pull the needles around you. Curl in the mouth of that culvert that drains to the sandlot behind the roller rink. Lie flat in the scrub off the dirt-bike trails. Having the patience of a rabbit helps.
3) Riders on horseback will search for Runners. Usually Mr. Hays will carry two Riders, unless Eric’s cousins are playing and bring one of their Quarter Horses.

4) Mr. Hays retains the right to trot back to his stall attached to The Shop and scrape Riders off his back with the door lintel. Riders on Eric’s cousins’ Quarter Horses are on their own and accept all risks.

5) When a Runner is flushed, Riders will run him down and smack him with a tetherball on a rope. This will hurt. But the primitive terror of fleeing a large, snorting, iron-shoed force of nature will more than make up for it.

Art by Jade Elkins.


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