That gray day obscured visibility and led to Mrs. Tolson’s accident but also reflected the farmer’s mood upon learning his heifer broke through the fence. The cow in the road caused a wreck that risked everything Mose Riley worked many hard years to earn. A legal battle still simmered over who held the liability for fault.
Mose swung a hammer to drive in the next nail for fence repair and caught a sidelong glimpse at crows that pecked debris left on the pavement. The specks of brain matter and intestine scattered across the blacktop reminded him of the mess he had ahead of him in court. “Damn that Clara,” he murmured to himself. “Why did she choose that stretch of wood to topple? A hundred yards down the row and she’d have just gone over into the neighbor’s field. Damn her all to hell.”
Mrs. Tolson’s lawyer later criticized the farmer’s negligence in not seeing a hole during the prior feeding time when he’d last checked his cattle. “Had the defendant repaired the perimeter fence, my client would never have met the fatal end to her Sunday evening drive,” the attorney contended.
Mose cursed the insurance adjuster who warned him to not say a defensive word about it. “Let’s not rile them. Keep the damages to a minimum,” the man cautioned.
Farming had always been a financial risk, but Riley lamented seeing all that money metaphorically splayed in a ditch beside the road. The carcass rested in a mangled mass just across the pavement since the Sheriff refused to let him take the cow away to slaughter. It needed to stay there as evidence until their fatality investigation concluded.
“Not only will my rates go up, but I gotta see Clara laying there and not even be able to turn her into burger. Lost her as a producer AND steaks, too,” he thought. One broken brown leg twisted around behind her haunch in a supremely painful-looking position. All the cow’s inner fluids had leaked through the boundaries of her body, and an incredible stench emitted from her bloated form. No future calves from Clara, and not even a rib-eye for dinner.
Spitting a long sluice of tobacco in the direction of the remains, Mose decided to leave the calculation of lost money to another day. “Dammit if she don’t stink, too,” he swore aloud. “I just wish she’d have landed on the insurance man instead of Mrs. Tolson.” Maybe the coyotes would scavenge enough in the night to take care of that stench.
Riley looked away and went back to his mending. “This blasted fence won’t fix itself neither,” he mumbled and gave the post a swift kick.
*Our Write Side prompt – supremely or very
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