The Substitute

© A Mixed Bag
© A Mixed Bag

“So let me get this straight,” said Bill Cotton. “Zeke Marley’s bull cut his leg on a fence last week and can’t be ridden in your rodeo tomorrow night, so you want to borrow Duke as a substitute?”

Fred Tassel looked uncomfortably at his partner, Eldrich King.

“Well… yeah, I guess that’s about it,” Fred said slowly.

“You’ll be compensated, of course,” added Eldrich, as if money were the issue.

Bill stared at both men as though they’d lost their minds.

Fred continued, “There just ain’t nobody else around that has anything we can use. And the bull riding event is the highlight of the show. It’s what brings in the crowds. If we cancel that, we might as well cancel the whole show.”

“You wouldn’t want to disappoint all the little kids, now would ya Bill?” asked Eldrich.

“Gentlemen, I’m not sure if you understand,” replied Bill. “Duke’s not a bull. He’s a rhino.”

“I know he’s a bit funny lookin’, but it don’t matter what breed he is,” said Fred. “As long as he don’t take kindly to someone ridin’ him.”

“Yeah,” grinned Eldrich. ”Folks love it when they toss the riders!”

Bill shook his head in disbelief. Then sighing he asked, “So… how much are you willing to pay?”

Word Count: 212

[This is my entry into the Sunday Photo Fiction challenge, hosted by Alastair Forbes. Write a short story of 200 words or less from the photo prompt provided.]



11 thoughts on “The Substitute

  1. This is interesting I think the rhino’s owner is in a bit of dilemma. Sure money would be nice, but should he let the ‘bull’ rhino go through what the circus want him to? That could be, cruelty to animals. Great write!

    Liked by 1 person

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