39. Go Time

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Three days later, five hours before the Stock Show's opening parade, I sat shotgun in a low flying helicopter with a Texas Blue Heeler named Rojo panting on my lap

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Three days later, five hours before the Stock Show's opening parade, I sat shotgun in a low flying helicopter with a Texas Blue Heeler named Rojo panting on my lap. It was way too hot to be smothered beneath fifty pounds of wiry fur, but I called it even since the dog didn't seem all that keen on the seating arrangements either.

 It was way too hot to be smothered beneath fifty pounds of wiry fur, but I called it even since the dog didn't seem all that keen on the seating arrangements either

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Shifting in the bucket seat, I tried to get more comfortable. At the movement, Rojo looked over his shoulder at me, his floppy tongue dripping a steady stream of warm slime onto my thighs. It was disgusting, but I smiled and patted his side reassuringly. I swear, the dog rolled his eyes at me before turning away, just as unimpressed with me as was his master, the pilot.

Miguel Rodriguez.

A very unhappy Miguel Rodriguez.

He sat at the controls, grinding his teeth. Two overnighters were stacked up on his lap, his and mine. On top of those, lay my lovingly-hand-altered-to-perfection-by-Faith pageant dress that was wrapped in a whole mess of of crinkly plastic that swished and swoshed every time he breathed.

Yeah, I'd be pissed too.

Averting my gaze, I looked out the window and surveyed the organized chaos around us. Workers were yelling and directing each other across the lawn, loading up the last of the trucks. Pickups, trailers, and semis, packed to the brim with feed, hay, and animals rolled down the driveway. A little further down, the cowboys were mustering the cattle out onto the open fields.

National Geographic was featuring Beaudry's as part of a ranching special. Any other time, Beaudry's commercial livestock was mustered with ATVs and helicopters and ferried via Semis, but that didn't make for exciting TV. The network wanted to see real life cowboys driving cattle to the market, just as it was done a hundred years ago.

Carson Beaudry didn't believe in inefficiency so the compromise was to do it our way for three quarters of the distance and get the cowboys on horseback for some camera time at the final stretch.

Details, schmetails, right?

Frankly, even that was a lot for Beaudry. I guessed things were really getting bad for the town, economically, if he was willing to sacrifice his privacy like this.

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