Barrel Racing in the Garden of Eden

“Some say there were unicorns, and there is a song about that. And some say there was alligators the size of Winnebagoes. This was long before Winnebagoes, you understand. Or Cathedrals for that matter. Which’re smaller than the average size boat at the time, apparently.

“But I have my doubts about the unicorns. There was probly alligators, but I donno about unicorns. For one, horses don’t have horns; and for another, thinking about virgins and horses with horns, which is what unicorns were apparently all about, really becomes a bit ludicrous. This being before Mother Mary, Jospeph and Gabrial.” This was highlight of the bar stool sermon we were hearing out of the mouth of Jimmy Braither.

Somebody had wound him up and got him started on Noah. It was Sunday morning, and we were all nursing tomato juice, jalapeno, and beer pick me ups against the hair of the dog. Then some fool, who was probably not aware of Jimmy’s proclivity for preaching on the morning after, said, “Jesus, to think I could be sitting in a pew sipping water out of paper cups and listening to Bishop Fribreen. Life is good.”

This was a perfect opening for Jimmy.

When Jimmy got started, he generally started at Mother Teresa, the Pope, Joe Smith, Billy Miller and such and headed back to Jesus, then to the wisdom of Solomon and David finally, in short order, was touching on Moses and Noah before landing on the prize: the “in-the-beginning.”

“Hell,” Jimmy went on. “Hell, if God’d made Unicorns back in the beginning, why can you imagine? Eve would have it saddled and been doing barrel loops around the fruit tree instead of picking the apple and chomping on it. And where would we be then? I ask you. Where would we be then? We wouldn’t be here that’s for damned sure. And we wouldn’t be in church, either, sipping out a paper cups and nibbling crumbs of Sally Fribreen’s home made sour dough bread.”

“And just why wouldn’t we be sittin’ here, Jimmy?” somebody asked.

“You ever seen a girl—not a woman mind you, but a girl like Eve, innocent kind of child—you ever seen a girl choose a man over a horse?” Jimmy shifted on his stool and looked over the top of his bifocals at the person who had asked that question. There was silence. Or rather there was the sound of sipping and slurping as everybody kept attention on diminishing the hair of the dog.

“Hmph,” Jimmy said. “Didn’t think so.” He slugged back his orange juice and drained the glass. “Takes a misbehavior to make a baby, and a girl and a horse—a boy and a horse, for that matter—ain’t gonna misbehave enough to make a hiccup. And without babies there are no Bishop Fribreens nor Sally’s sour dough bread nor water in paper cups.

“We’d all be nothing but some amoeba in an antediluvian swamp. So there might a been antediluvian alligators; but I’d bet my next beer there weren’t no unicorns.”

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