It was the one day that Bill hated to see. For 364 days he had the ranch to himself, doing as he pleased without the boss man looking over his shoulder. But this was the day the absentee owner paid his yearly visit.
Bill rose earlier than usual, cleaned the house and polished his boots, both once-a-year occurrences. Next, he removed a brand new shirt from its package and put it on. Even before he left the house the excruciating pain in his chest was unbearable but he knew it was all the stress. The Doctor had warned him this would happen if he didn’t “chill out.” The chest pains would go away when the owner did.
This year’s visit was particularly stressful because Bill had busted the budget in buying both a new pick-up and a new yearling herd bull during the past year. Bill knew he spent a little more money than he should have but both the old bull and the old truck had too many miles on them. Knowing that the owner would want to see how wisely his money had been invested, Bill had corralled the herd bull the night before and washed and vacuumed the truck.
It must have been the sight of Bill’s new red shirt or the new truck that sent the bull through the fence, headed for downtown Phoenix. Bill quickly tried to get his best cowboy out of bed. “Get your ropes Frosty,” he yelled, “the bull broke out and we have to catch him before the boss man arrives.”
“It will take me awhile to get my horse,” said Frosty yawning.
“We don’t have time for that. Get in the back of the new truck and you can rope him from there.” So off they went, bouncing over boulders at breakneck speed and with each bump the pain in Bill’s chest cut deep like a knife. “So this is what a heart attack feels like,” thought Bill.
About half way to Phoenix Frosty finally got a rope on the bull and dallied to the ball in the bed of the truck. Instead of giving up, the bull, now loaded to the muzzle with rage, ran around the truck three times locking Bill in the cab.
Each time that ringy bull circled the truck he’d put another dent in the body of the new truck. Finally, Frosty was able to get enough ropes on the yearling bull to flip him over and hog tie him. “Now what do we do?” asked Bill clutching his chest.
“You lay there and rest before you die on me.”
Frosty returned driving the ranch’s A-frame truck.”You aren’t going to do what I think you are?” asked palpitating Bill.
Sure enough, Frosty lowered the cable and attached the clevis to the legs of the hog-tied bull and drove back to headquarters with the expensive bull hanging upside down.
During the trip they stopped three times when the bull’s eyes bugged out from lack of oxygen. Each time the bull looked like he’d breathed his last breath, but then, so did Bill. Finally they arrived back at headquarters at just about the same time that the owner entered the long driveway to the ranch.
At the sight of the oncoming owner Bill collapsed to the ground, the piercing pain in his chest now worse than ever. Both Bill and the bull were choking and convulsing when Bill uttered what might be his last words, “I think this is the big one Frosty,” as one final pain wracked Bill’s body.
Wanting to help his friend, Frosty quickly ripped off Bill’s shirt in order to administer CPR but instead of thumping on his chest Frosty doubled over in laughter.
“What’s so darn funny?” asked the dying Bill.
“You aren’t gonna die,” said Frosty, as he showed Bill the cause of all his chest pain. It was a straight pin that Bill had failed to remove from his new shirt that morning. “I think you are going to live a little while longer,” concluded Frosty
Bill took one look at his approaching boss man, the damaged truck and the expensive upside down herd bull and said, “That’s the worst luck I’ve had today.”