“The Adventures of Pancho the Pony: The Joerimeter” (Story 3)

Boing!

“WHO ARE YOU?”

Pancho’s eyes flew open. What in the world? He looked around, but didn’t see anything.

Boing!

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?”

What was that? Sounded like it was coming from the barn aisle outside his door.

Boing!

“WHAT’S YOUR NAME?”

An enormous block head briefly appeared over the top of Pancho’s stall door. He caught a glimpse of brown brindle ears and an accompanying eye patch over a white coat. Then the block head disappeared.

Boing!

“WHO ARE YOU?”

Boing!

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?”

Boing!

“WHAT’S YOUR NAME?”

Huh, Pancho thought. It’s a dog. I mean, it looks a lot like a dog and barks like a dog, even if it’s voice is a lot deeper than the dogs I hear around the shows. So, I guess it’s a dog.

Boing!

“WHO ARE YOU?”

Pancho wasn’t used to any dog that looked different from a Corgi or a Jack Russell. Those little yappers could break your ear drums, but this one was loud in a whole different way. The baritone practically vibrated through Pancho’s body.

Boing!

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?”

Definitely persistent, like a Jack Russell, Pancho mused. Maybe this guy is just an enormous terrier. Pancho shuddered at the thought of ninety-five pounds of obnoxiousness.

Boing!

“WHAT’S YOUR NAME?”

Boing!

“WHO ARE YOU?”

Boing!

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?”

Boing!

“WHAT’S YOUR NAME?”

Boing.

“WHO ARE YOU?”

This time, only the tips of the ears made it over the top of the stall door. Pancho heard panting.

Boing.

“WHAT.”

Panting. Then a flop that sounded like a giant fish out of water.

“ARE…”

More panting, and a strange gulping sound.

“Are you done shouting at me?” Pancho asked.

Panting. “Yeah.” Panting.

“Good. I don’t need yelling in my life right now. Besides, I’m a show pony, and I know you dogs don’t really understand your place in the world in relation to show ponies, but I can tell you that you need to adjust your attitude a bit.”

Pancho thought it best not to mention anything about being an Olympic show jumper. He didn’t want to get started down that dream path again. What a can of worms!

Panting. Gulping. More panting.

Pancho took the dog’s breathlessness as an opportunity to further educate him on what’s what. “First off, you don’t need to yell. I’ve been saying that to all the little yippers for ages, but they’re either not very bright, or they are totally unreasonable. You don’t need to yell because I can hear you just fine.” Pancho rotated his right ear all the way around. “It’s like radar.”

“Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh.” Pancho thought he could hear Blockhead rolling over, maybe onto his side. The panting continued.

“He’s like a beached whale.” Pancho said to no one in particular. “I’ve heard this sort of thing before—beached whales. I wonder if they have block heads, too, and if they boof like this guy, instead of yap…”

As Pancho contemplated the features of these mysterious beached whales, the voice panted, “I’m. In. Charge. Of. The. Joerimeter.”

Hmmm, Pancho thought, Blockhead’s voice wasn’t really so deep. Maybe he just put it on when he was being bossy. Anyway, what the heck was a “Joerimeter”?

“So,” Blockhead continued, regaining control over his breathing. “I have to make sure I know who’s who and what’s what. I don’t just keep the bad guys out, I also have to do security checks on everyone who’s here. It’s a big job, if you think about it.”

“It seems to me you’re defeating your purpose,” Pancho responded authoritatively. “I mean, what if I’m some sort of threat? You got yourself so exhausted shouting at me and jumping around that, if I wanted to go steal some grain, you couldn’t do anything about it.”

“No, you’re wrong there. I have untapped resources that kick in when there’s an emergency. I’m a professional.”

Pancho rolled his eyes. “Okay. Whatever.”

Blockhead slowly pulled himself up to a sitting position and scratched an ear.

“Listen,” Pancho said. “I don’t really have time to talk right now. I’ve got a few things on my mind.”

“Like what?”

“Well, first of all, I don’t belong here, wherever this is. I’m a show pony.”

“How can you not know where you are?” asked Blockhead. “It’s obvious that wherever you are, that’s where you are. You’re here.” Blockhead sounded quite pleased with his solution. “Next problem?”

“No, no, no,” Pancho said. “That doesn’t make any sense. I’m not at my farm, and I’m not at a show. Those are the only places I belong.”

“But you’re still here, so that’s where you are. Next problem?”

Pancho shook his head, narrowing his eyes in the direction of the stall door. Whatever that thing was on the other side might, just might, be more annoying than that masked cat, Al. Thinking of Al reminded him of his second, more pressing problem. “I might be dreaming.”

“What?”

“I might be dreaming. That’s my other problem.”

“Oh, that,” Blockhead said. He didn’t sound particularly worried about it. “Dreams are great. You get to do all the stuff you do when you’re awake—and even stuff you can’t do when you’re awake, like breathe under water and catch water buffalo. And the best part is that you don’t even get tired after. Just the opposite, actually. When I wake up, I’m totally rested. Makes guarding the Joerimeter easier.”

“You’ve said that twice, now, ‘Joerimeter.’ I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Pancho heard a big sigh from the other side of the stall door. “My name is Joe. I protect the perimeter. You figure it out.”

“But if I’m inside the perimeter, why were you yelling at me?”

“Look, I told you I have a big job. There’s a lot to patrol. Sometimes, the enemy gets in. I was recently alerted to your presence, so I came in to check you out. Make sure you’re not a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

Pancho swished his tail, thinking about what Joe Blockhead just said. If he was to be believed, “here” was a big place. Pancho still hadn’t seen any other ponies or horses, even though, from what he could tell, the barn was pretty big. There were stalls on either side of his, at least. Probably some more on the other side of the aisle, too, but he couldn’t be sure because he wasn’t tall enough to see over the door. Maybe everyone was living outside for the summer. But if that was true, why was he stuck inside? More importantly, why wasn’t he at a show? Summer was the height of the show circuit.

Pancho sighed. All this was very confusing, and made worse by the whole dream problem. On that score, at least, this Joe guy seemed completely off the mark.

“Well, if I have no idea where I am or why I’m here, I can’t help you,” Pancho sniffed. “But I’m not a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I’m a show pony!” Once again, he was feeling rather sorry for himself. No show pony should be treated like this.

He shifted his weight to relieve his aching hoof. His muscles were stiff, too. All the way up to his shoulder and his withers, which sat on top of the spot where his neck ended and his back began. Yes, indeed, this was no place for a show pony, and this was no feeling for a show pony to have.

Pancho’s sad thoughts were interrupted when Joe declared he had to leave. “I’ve got things to do,” he said. “The Joerimeter is not going to patrol itself. I can’t sit here jawing with you all day. Besides, you seem to check out. No danger here. I’ll ask around to make sure.”

“Ask around? Ask who? As far as I know, there’s only you, Al, and Charlie.”

“Oh, you met Charlie? She does great work,” Joe said. Pancho could hear the smile in his voice. “Al, on the other hand—”

“Hang on,” Pancho interrupted. “You’re a terrier, right? You kinda look like the terriers I know, only your ginormous. Why haven’t you tried to chase Charlie? That’s what terriers do!”

“Wow, do you have a lot to learn,” Joe replied. Then he trotted off, his toenails tap, tap, tapping on the cobblestone floor.

“Wait!” Pancho called out. “You didn’t answer my question. Who’s here? Who?”

Joe called out, “And you didn’t answer mine, so we’re even. See ya!”

With that, Joe was gone.

Author: girlzillawrites

I am a philosophy professor and writer with a diverse set of research interests. My favorite courses to conduct are all introductory: critical thinking, symbolic logic, ancient philosophy, early modern philosophy, social and political philosophy, and ethics. My philosophical loves are Kant and Kierkegaard, but I happen to be smitten pretty much with whoever I'm reading at the moment.

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