“Can’t take less’n thirty-five dollars. He’s a real work horse and I’ll take what he’s worth.” It was Dan Beardon … he was talking quickly to two men as they exited together out the front door.
Concerned, Meagan decided to begin with cleaning the spittoon by the front window. She walked to it and casually rubbed a spot in the foggy saloon glass to see out. The dark sorrel horse, Blue, and the buckskin, Red, were standing tethered to the establishment’s hitching post. Dan and his two prospects were walking around Red, patting his backside. He was selling the Great Horse!
Dan seemed to recognize Meagan as she walked outside to join them, but he deliberately looked away and kept talking. She crossed her arms and listened.
“Thirty-five dollars, you say?” asked one of the buyers.
“Yup. And I’ll throw in the halter.”
Meagan made herself think quickly. She had to stay near Red … an idea was forming: “Excuse me, sir, is this the horse you ponied me into town on?”
The buyers glanced at her as Dan scowled. “Yes, I think I’d remember that tale of woe.”
“It can’t be … how did you get rid of his spavins?”
“Ignore her,” Dan advised. “The poor girl is touched.” He made a tapping gesture on his temple for illustration.
“Why, it is the same horse,” Meagan peered closer, sounding impressed. “Tell me, is he over that wheeze? Oh, that’s right, you said it was just heaves.”
The two buyers looked at each other.
“This horse never had spavins nor heaves,” Dan hissed. “Now get.”
Meagan stepped up to the buckskin’s head, patting him gently. “Nice teeth,” she said innocently, opening the buckskin’s lips, “for a parrot.” Smiling, she sidled up to a potential buyer and pointed at the horse’s rear portion. “You look like a horseman, so tell me … would you say the horse is sickle-hocked, or just cat-hammed? It’s hard to tell, isn’t it, on account of the goose rump?”
Dan simmered, turning crimson. “Lady, I’ll tell you this just once—if you don’t get back inside, I’m contacting the establishment. This is pure harassment of the clientele.”
“If you come back here,” Meagan led the two prospects to stand a distance behind the horse, “you can see a rare thing. A horse pigeon-toed in front and cow-hocked behind!”
“That’s it! I’m getting Geez!”
“What’s the matter, Beardon?” asked one of the buyers. “Can’t answer the young lady’s questions?”
“That’s no lady, if you catch my meaning.”
“Oh?” Now Meagan reddened too. “At least I’m not trying to pawn off a slab-sided, ewe-necked wasp-belly with no wind and asking thirty-five good dollars for it.” Meagan smiled at Dan’s murderous expression as the two ex-buyers mumbled something and went back inside.
Dan went to Red and tossed his lead rope over the buckskin’s neck. “All right, that one’s going to cost you. See I felt sorry and didn’t press charges before, but I had witnesses. I think I’m going to poke into the sheriff’s station and see what’s what…”