The afternoon had fallen to freezing. One of the horse turds felt warm in her gloved hand, giving Alex a bruise in her throat, making her say aloud, “Remember, this is manure here.”
Rigby’s crap was the easiest to pick up, coming in perfect knob shapes, like he wanted to make it simple for her—everything that horse did pleased her, the silly way he smiled when she brought an apple, always allowing her to hand it off, the crooked way he cantered. His only aggressive gesture involved nudging open the top cabinet of his door when he heard footsteps. After he popped the second cheap lock, the owners had given Alex the okay to leave it open during business hours. She figured: Rigby’s luck was up.
Alex wasn’t going to cry. Nothing anybody could do about an ugly old horse’s fate.
One more ball and she’d cleared the space. Tomorrow she’d mop while the sun peaked. Soon his replacement would be ushered inside, a blond pony.
Wind squealed. The stall door slammed, and Alex panicked realizing she was trapped. Today both sections of Rigby’s cabinet door were locked tight. His face seemed to beam from the dingy yellow walls.
Alex pressed her forehead against the door, trying for calm, tears warming her cheeks. After some time, maybe an hour, the top cabinet sprang open, the third lock weakened by Rigby.
She hoisted her body out, grinning at her friend, clutching his last bag of poop in her green-gloved hand.
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