Rosco and Rusty - Episode One
by Grant Leishman - Novels available through Amazon.
Illustrated by Ryn Shell - prints, gift ware, cards and apparel are available through Fine Art America.
Grab a coffee and enjoy this short story.
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Rosco and Rusty were up to their usual tricks – looking for someone to play a practical joke on. The two horses were the rulers of the roost here on Blackwater Station and had been for as long as anyone could remember. There was nothing they enjoyed more than playing a joke on their fellow inhabitants and goodness knows they had plenty of ‘friends’ to choose from, for some of their animal antics.
Why, for a start, there was that immensely annoying pair of Emus they could get stuck into at any time that took their fancy; Ted and Stan. Twisted Ted was the one they enjoyed spoofing the most. He was such an opinionated fool as if he knew everything there was to know about just about anything you could possibly think about. Ted had this belief that if you spoke loudly enough and forcefully enough, about something you knew absolutely nothing at all about, then ninety percent of the people listening would take it as the gospel truth. Rosco and Rusty, though, hadn’t come down in the last shower.
Nice to get to Neigh You!
The two buddies were standing at the south end of their compound, their heads just lolling over the fence, as they eyed the morning sun creeping over the mountain range to the east, and spreading its life giving warmth and light across the lush, verdant pastures near the billabong. Blackwater Station may be out in the ‘back of beyond’, ‘beyond the black stump’, so to speak, but it wasn’t all dry dusty grazing land. Near the billabong, the grass grew green and succulent, the flowers bloomed in profusion and the smell of eucalyptus and golden wattle from the Acacia trees filled the air with the aromas redolent of Australia.
“Another absolute pearler of a day, eh Rusty,” Rosco proffered. “A perfect day for catching out that arrogant, old fool Twisted Ted. Ya reckon?”
Rosco opened one eye wide as he stared at his partner in crime. “And whaddya have in mind this time, me old cobber? Something wicked and devious, I hope.”
Rusty braying laugh shattered the early morning silence around the paddock. “Oh Rosco, you have no idea mate. We’re gonna get that Ted good this time. Trust me... so good this time.” Rusty leaned in close and whispered the plan to his co-conspirator. By the time he was finished, Rosco was shaking with barely suppressed laughter.
“Oh you are awful... but I like you!” Rosco complimented his scheming mate.
“Ay up Rosco, look over there buddy, I spots me a maniacal Emu heading our way.”
Sure enough, trotting across the paddock toward the two horses was none other than Twisted Ted himself. The pair watched in silent mirth as he galloped toward them in the way only those weird, flightless birds can.
Ted was very much a ‘legend in his own mind’. Well, it was time for Ted to get his comeuppance. As he arrived at the fence, he was clearly bristling with news of some great import that only he knew and was going to impart to these two ignorant horses, but before he could get a word in, Rosco exclaimed. “Ted... Ted... have you heard the news?”
Twisted Ted pulled up short of the pair and screwed up his long beak in that infuriating way emus have, looking down his nose with barely concealed contempt at this pair of horse who dared to try and pre-empt his own very important news. “What... what are you talking about? News? News? Why of course, I’ve heard the news. I know all there is to know about the news and what I don’t know, well, it simply isn’t worth knowing. Harrumph!”
Rosco swallowed his immediate desire to twist the emu’s long neck down under his belly and insert that smug, know-it-all, face somewhere where the sun doesn’t shine. Instead, putting on his most sympathetic face just softly replied; “so you haven’t heard then?”
“Know what man? Know what!” Ted demanded, clearly annoyed.
Rusty spoke up. “Ted, my old mate, I’m sorry to have to be the one to tell you this, but the State Government has passed a new law making it open season on Emu hunting. You, my friend, have a bounty on your head.”
Twisted Ted’s eyes opened wide and bulged from his angular face. “A bounty,” he spluttered. “Utter nonsense, poppycock, total drivel... ‘FAKE NEWS’!” he shouted loudly.
Rosco cut in on Ted’s outburst. “Hey mate, settle down, it’s not ‘fake news’ trust me. It was on the ABC and there’s no ‘fake news’ on the ABC, right? It’s all the gospel truth, isn’t it? Apparently, there’s a real concern the Emu population has gotten out of control since they’ve been a protected species and the State Government has authorised a cull. By all accounts mate, your carcass is worth a healthy two hundred smackeroo’s to anyone who brings you in. Not ‘dead or alive’ mate – just dead!”
Twisted Ted’s head swivelled from side to side, frantically, as if searching for snipers on the barn rooftop or poking over the small hillocks to the south. “Dead... dead... dead...” was all he managed to splutter. If he’d been an Ostrich, now would have been about the time he’d have buried his head in the sand and pretended he wasn’t there, but Twisted Ted was an Emu and nowhere near as stupid as an Ostrich, so he leapt into the air and pirouetted a hundred and eighty degrees, before bounding off in an unruly dash for the faraway mountains. The crack that sounded out across the paddock, as Rosco smacked his shoe into the wooden fence, sounding suspiciously like the report from a high-powered rifle, probably added wings to the flightless bird’s ungainly rush for the hills and sanctuary.
Last seen, Twisted Ted was spotted skirting the billabong and heading straight for the range of mountains, towering over the station, muttering to himself... “Stan... Stan... they want to kill us! Run for your life, Stan!”
Back at the fence, Rosco raised his hoof up, seeking a high-five from his partner in crime. “Chalk one up for the good guys, Rusty,” he laughed. The two practical jokers rolled around on the grass, their bellies shaking with laughter at managing to pull the wool over that stupid Emu’s eyes... again!
About the Author Grant Leishman
I am an expatriate New Zealander, living in Manila, The Philippines, with my wife and two daughters.
At age 55, after careers in Finance and Journalism, I have finally discovered my true passion in life - writing and I'm now "living the dream", writing full-time.
My first novel was a romantic, fantasy, adventure about the return of Jesus Christ to modern-day Manila to try and sort out the problems of the world - yet again! "The Second Coming", which was published by Pentian in June 2015.
My second novel "Just a Drop in the Ocean", a romance/adventure that spans a generation and two continents, was published in October 2015 and is available exclusively on Amazon and is free through Kindle Unlimited.
I have also published an anthology of paranormal/horror short stories in association with my son, Chris Leishman, titled Paranormal Alley, in December 2015. This is available exclusively on Amazon and is free to download through Kindle Unlimited.
The sequel to "The Second Coming" - "Rise of the AntiChrist" was published in January 2016 and is available at all the usual outlets.
The final novel in The Coming Series - is "Holy War."
Ryn Shell painting Rosco and Rusty