By Kiki Montague
It had been easy to entertain folks back on the farm. We were a simple people, sufficiently amused by the fact that our pony could perform card tricks – even if those tricks were, in fact, the same very poor trick repeated over and over. It involved a great deal of clumsy shuffling and some very amateurish sleight-of-hoof, but we would always applaud her performances with gusto. In hindsight, perhaps we applauded a little too much, for one spring day, our pony announced she was leaving to seek her fortune in Las Vegas.
We begged her to stay. We told her she would need more than one trick if she wanted to get a decent gig. But our pony had made up her mind. One cool April evening she said goodbye, trotting down the road to the bus station with not much more than a few cubes of sugar, a fresh deck of cards and a heart the size of Kansas. We would miss this wonderful pony.
We got several letters from her the first month she arrived, but soon her correspondence dwindled to only a letter every few months and finally, she stopped writing altogether. We worried about her. Was she making enough money to afford a clean stable? Could she find fresh apples and carrots? Las Vegas chews up and spits out fresh-faced young ponies as quick as they can line up, and we prayed that our little foal wasn’t one of them.
A year passed, then another. We had grown to accept the fact that we'd never see her again. Then one night we were eating dinner when my youngest rushed into the kitchen and screamed that our pony was on the television! Everyone leapt from their chairs and ran to the living room.
It was hard to tell at first: This pony was covered in gold glitter and wore a purple turban; her teeth had been whitened to the point of incandescence. On her back was a gleaming leather saddle, and in this saddle sat a stern, Teutonic-looking man in a white jumpsuit, his blond mane flowing dramatically behind him as they galloped around the Caesars Palace arena. With astonishing deftness they hurtled moats filled with snapping crocodiles, negotiated a guillotine and leapt through rings of fire, all the while pursued by four snarling white tigers. When the spectacle was over, a crowd of thousands rose to its feet and burst into deafening applause. The man dismounted and took a bow, and the pony danced around him, whinnying and neighing, just like a certain pony we once knew.
We would always love her, of course, but she would never be our little pony again. She belonged to Las Vegas, to the limelight, to a world we would never know. The crowd continued to cheer for the pony, and we started to applaud, too, but every clap was oh so bittersweet.
(Author Kiki Montague has been incarcerated since 1987 for crimes that were not exactly against nature, but disturbingly close.)
Thursday, April 27, 2006
By Kiki Montague