Short Story: “Take the Bull By The Horns”

“TAKE THE BULL BY THE HORNS”
A Rett Bonneville Story
By Anne M. Freeman©

After performing a rather somber song, I paused at bit, tuning my guitar to create some emotional space for the audience to finish processing their emotions prior to starting the next song in my set. Then I stepped up to the mike.

“This is a story song about a lovely old lady I met in the Cayman Islands a couple of years back. She’d lived in luxury hotel there for nearly 30 years.  Her “husband” has passed away a few years back.  It was a soft, breezy night, the kind that urges you to tell stories about your life to strangers. Her name was Charlene. She was a secretary during the era when ‘moving up’ meant ‘on your back,’ she told me with a laugh. She’d slept with her boss until he was the CEO of a big company and she moved up with him to become was his executive secretary.  He’d been one of those bigger than life characters who outwitted everyone who was after his power, position, and affection.  This is her story about the big retirement party at a swank restaurant her boss threw her on the day she retired.  When she spoke of him, their life at the office and more, she herself used the imagery of a rodeo, which I hope I captured in this homage for my dear friend, Charlene.”

“Ridin’ the Bull” By Rett Bonneville

Opening Chorus:
Well, I rode him high And I rode him low I rode him up to the top Just like a bull in a rodeo Until he threw me off
 
Verse 1: That was the day Miss Hot Stuff was hired So young, so blonde, so plump And though I retained my desk at his door I was without question, trumped

Shortly thereafter Miss Buxom appeared Hot Stuff fell down with a thump And each after Buxom had tried for the ring And each had found herself dumped

Chorus 2: Well, you rode him high And you rode him low And you tried to ride to the top And just like a bull in a rodeo One day he threw you off

“When I finished laughing at Charlene’s tale of all of the ambitious women who tried to land the big catch – and behaving in a condescending manner towards Charlene at her desk by his door –  Charlene continued her tale.  ‘By then, the women in the room were wide-eyed and horrified. Someone whispered, Bitch!,’ she said, obviously pleased with herself.  She then gave me a conspiratorial look as she explained that she then turned on the men.”

Verse 2 Hey High Achiever, you know your big plan The boss said the board had it shelved? Backstabber grabbed it and took all the credit But Backstabber tumbled as well
 
Then Slick came along with your numbers and schemes That made our stock prices swell But somehow the profits had all disappeared And just like all the others, you fell
 
Chorus 3 Well, you rode him high And you rode him low And you tried to ride to the top And just like a bull in a rodeo One day he threw you off

“Charlene chuckled, and told me, ‘Now there were red and white faces everywhere. A lamb chop winged across the room and hit Miss Buxom on her face, smearing her make-up as it slid down between her melon-like breasts protruding from her low-cut dress. Suddenly, food missiles flew in every direction, accompanied by yells, shouts, and growls.’

“Sometime during the mayhem, the boss had disappeared from the room. Charlene said that she had slipped through the service door into the kitchen to avoid the mob, hoping to quickly reach run out the back to her car and drive off into the proverbial sunset.

She ran out the back door of the building and had stopped to let her eyes adjust to the darkness, when she heard a familiar voice call out, “Miss Charlene.”   There was the boss’ sleek black limo, engine running, with the driver standing by an open door to the back seat, with the engine running.  The boss peered out to her, grinning, and waved her over.  I wasn’t sure what to do – cut and run would have been my first choice, but my heels were killing me and he seemed genuinely amused.  He called out my name and told me to come over with a laugh.  Uncertainly, I walked close enough to hear him, but not close enough for either of them to grab me.  Then he said,

Verse 3 Charlene, my girl, after all of these years You’re the only one I still respect Come to the Caymans, run away with me And I told that man … oh, what the heck!
 
Chorus 4
And I rode with him up and rode with him down
On the Caymans we did stop
And life is grande on the Islands, Mon
When you beat the clock!*

“With that, the tiny white-haired Charlene let out a huge belly laugh that echoed across the lush courtyard of her luxury hotel, then it disappeared into the velvet night.

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* For those of you who are not familiar with rodeo, the goal of the rider is to “beat the clock,” referring to how long you can stay on the bull.

 

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* For those of you who are not familiar with rodeo, the goal of the rider is to “beat the clock,” referring to how long you can stay on the bull.  Whoever beats the clock wins.

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