“Hello? Gayle? It’s Dee.”
“Dee? You sound terrible. Are you okay?”
“I guess. It’s been a crazy day and night. But I’ve got nothing on what Ann’s going through, so I’m not going to gripe. How’s she doing?”
“Well, there must be crazy in the air. She was doing well. She was resting and keeping busy doing bookkeeping and reading and sleeping and eating. She’s got lots of good friends that come to check on her. And she even let me clean the house without too much fussing.”
“But” Gayle sighed “Her barn is in total chaos, I guess they lost a big owner and horses got hurt and there’s all this talk about her boss getting investigated for a horse that looks like she was on some kind of crazy drug they’re calling ‘Frog Juice.”
“Jeez, I’ve heard that’s nasty stuff, it’s supposed to be like 40 times more powerful than morphine!”
“Why do they call it ‘Frog Juice?”
“I read that it comes from some South American tree frog or something. Really bad stuff. It’s in all the racing news lately.”
“Do you think this guy she works for would do something like that?”
“How should I know? Everyone wants to win but I don’t know if Ann would work for someone if they stooped that low. But then again, I can’t say what anyone would or wouldn’t do to win.”
“Well Ann is beside herself of course, feeling helpless and angry she’s got herself whipped into a froth if you know what I mean.”
“How about that cute little jockey you mentioned. Is he visiting?”
“Well, that just adds to the drama around here. He disappeared.”
“Disappeared? Like how?”
“Seriously, he fell off in a race and was taken to the hospital and then next thing you know – poof! He’s gone.”
“Probably got wind of a paternity suit. Rotten jocks.”
“He was a really nice guy and Ann is taking it harder than I thought. Oh, and there’s more. One of the horses that she really loved, turns out he’s missing from the track.”
“Okay, so a jockey vanishes and so does a horse. What the hell is going on?”
“It’s just chaos and Ann’s worst nightmare – she can’t be there to fix everything and it all falls apart. She’s really worried about this horse. I think it was one she talked to you about.”
“Oh Lord, which one?”
“Some Spanish name – I’m trying to remember. Something religious. I can’t keep up with all of the drama.”
“It wasn’t Vaya Con Dios?” Dee held her breath.
“That’s it! Vaya Con Dios. He was supposed to go to another trainer or something and now he’s just gone.”
“He was supposed to come to me. He’s a great old horse.
“Gayle, is it ever going to be easy?” Dee sounded exhausted.
“Nope. It’s just not. But just remember you are one of the lucky ones. You do what your heart tells you to do all day, every day. Never forget that.”
“Oh Gayle, what would Ann and I do without you?”
“Starve probably and get into more trouble than you already do.” Gayle Garrison laughed heartily.
“So where’s Ann now?”
“There’s even more Dee. I just dropped her off at the hospital to visit a friend of hers who looks like he tried to kill himself. She insisted I take her and she really needs to be home resting.”
“Good Lord Gayle. Who is it? Some racetrack friend?”
“It’s her friend Johnny. Do you know him?
“I don’t but I’ve heard Ann mention him. Is she resting at all?
“She was doing okay until all of this craziness started and it just keeps going. It’s insane really. I just don’t know what’s going to go wrong next. The good news is that Ann is warming to the idea of coming out to your place for a rest. Of course, that was before her barn fell apart. There’s no telling what it will take to drag her away from all of this now.”
“She knows the door is always open. Anyhow, I’m headed down your way tomorrow. I’m bringing a horse to the Hamer’s place outside San Diego. I was hoping to come by on my way back, but I might have a horse in the trailer with me, so I’ll need to figure out a spot to keep it overnight.”
“I thought you said you were taking a horse down to San Diego not bringing one back ?”
“Well, I’m kind of trading a horse. I’m bringing a pretty bad head case to the Hamer’s because they are the only ones who can give her the home she needs and I can’t do that in good conscience unless I bring one back with me to take off of their feed bill. You understand Gayle. By the way, how’s that beautiful little horse Matana?”
“The love of my life? He’s fat and happy and doesn’t miss me nearly as much as I need him. I’ll ask Ann’s friend Roxy about a spot to put your horse and you just drive safe and we’ll see you day after tomorrow?”
“Is there anything I can bring you or Ann?”
“How about a giant hug?”
“I think I can afford that Gayle. Thanks for the pep talk?”
“I didn’t do a thing. I just told you about all the craziness here.”
“. You’re a rock Gayle and I hope you know what that means to me and to Ann. I love you.”
“Don’t get all mushy with me Dee. I’ve had enough tears lately.”
“Okay then, I’ll see you soon. Bye.”
“Good bye Dee, I’ll tell Ann you called.”