The horse came back alone. This wasn’t unusual in itself and didn’t raise a lot of interest among the drinkers on the veranda outside the pub.
To a man they turned and looked towards the west for out of the setting sun they could make out the lame figure of Seth Johnson, the town drunk and a man known as the worst horseman in the district.
Seth’s horse, called Habit, because he had a habit of dumping Seth on a regular basis stood at the hitching rail awaiting the return of his rider. He wasn’t a horse that ran off but rather knew Seth’s miserable riding habits and could only tolerate them so far before they parted company and both walked home.
The closer Seth came the more audible he became. The inaudible mutterings that came their way soon became audible threats as he promised he’d take Habit to the glue factory the first chance he got.
But it was a familiar scenario, and once Seth had a few drinks in him, he’d have forgotten every promise he’d ever made, and he and Habit would be best mates, at least that’s what we heard from Seth. From Habit, we got a series of disdainful snorts before he drank from the trough in front of him.
We all considered the situation from Habit’s point of view. With Seth being such a dreadful horseman and so often having had a good skin full his lack of skill and consideration for his mount meant it was only a matter of time before Habit got sick of him pulling on the reins, sticking his spurs in and cursing him. We all agreed we’d dump Seth if we were his horse.
Later that night as the bar was closing up the drinkers all helped Seth onto Habit and pointed him towards Seth’s tiny hut where with a bit of luck Seth would find his bed before his body gave out and he landed on the dirt track.
Tomorrow would be another day and in the local vernacular we’d all experience ‘the same old’.