Writing in the Time of Covid

Timmy and Me

A quote from Gina Targoff’s best friend Strider Castillo (He is openly gay while Gina struggles to admit her true sexual orientation because of her overbearing, religious mother.):

“Now you listen Gina. I know you’ve been raised in this holy roller religious bullshit, but this is what I think.  God made me this way, and God doesn’t make mistakes.” This is a quote from “Timmy and the Red Stallion”.

I hope to explore humanity and the pain and suffering people from different walks of life endure and hopefully overcome through my stories. I don’t live in a white, straight, world and my stories reflect that. 

Here’s my Channillo bio:

I am a pharmacist and thus an essential worker during this time of Covid. My staff and I were nervous like everyone else when it all started, but because pharmacies had to stay open, we had no choice but to continue working during lockdown. We’re less anxious now as we work behind sheets of plastic and faceshields and it seems that we’ve even become accustomed to this new way of life. Writing stories has always been a dream of mine.  A dream I first fully realized in seventh grade when my home room teacher asked me what I’d like to be when I grow up. I answered, writer, without hesitation. Even though in my area in north Texas, restaurants and such are open again, I don’t feel comfortable going out yet. At first that led to depression, but then I realized I could use the opportunity to write. 

Timmy Tales is the first of many series I plan for Channillo. I came late to owning horses too. When I was growing up in an apartment in California, with no horses in sight, I read The Black Stallion series and any other horse books I could get my hands on and dreamed of one day living on a farm and owning my own horses.

I now live in north Texas in the suburbs. I didn’t make it to farm life, but I did finally realize my dream of horse ownership.  My horses live 45 minutes away from me on a 200+ acre ranch. I love all animals, so I have many. 

I board 4 horses at the ranch affectionately known as The Franch (Frances’s ranch). Two of them are rescues (one of which is Timmy) and the other two are Arabians. I live in the burbs with my daughter, four cats and 3 dogs, all of which are rescues. Well, except for my daughter. 🙂

I placed my Timmy Tales series on Channillo and plan to add The Red Filly once it’s accepted. All proceeds from both series will benefit Becky’s Hope Horse Rescue. Here’s the link to the series:

https://channillo.com/series/timmy-tales-the-adventures-of-a-rescue-pony/

The Red Filly-Chapter 1

Honey2018

 

Chelsea Resmon watched the flashy red filly galloping with tail held high, flipping her head as she floated across the green pasture, and Chelsea felt as if her heart would burst from her chest. She thought to herself, this must be what love at first sight feels like.  Chelsea memorized every inch of her as her mom drove their 1978 Ford F150 up the long, winding gravel road that led to the house and the main barn.  All the thoroughbreds were beautiful at Wisdom Racing Stables, but this filly had a smaller head than the rest, with a slightly dished face and delicate, curved ears.

“Mom, stop the truck!” Chelsea shouted.

Helene stopped the truck after pulling off into the grass to the side of the gravel driveway because another truck was approaching theirs as it was leaving the ranch.

“Mom!  Look!” Chelsea was still shouting.

Helene stuck her hand in Chelsea’s face flat and palm side down.  The signal that Chelsea was being too loud.  Chelsea’s eyebrows scrunched down for a second because she really hated when her mother did that.  But instead of getting in an argument, Chelsea placed her left hand on her mother’s chin and turned her head toward the filly.

Helene immediately dropped her hand because she was mesmerized by the beauty of this filly too. Chelsea knew that when her mom was young, she had spent time with horses.  Her mom often talked about one she loved with all her heart, a little bay with a star she had named, Starbuck after the character in Battlestar Galactica.

“You see her, Mom?” asked Chelsea.

“Yes…she’s beautiful…I’ve never seen anything like her,” Helene’s voice was breaking.

Chelsea saw tears in her mother’s eyes.  Her mother never cried.

“Are you okay, Mom?” Chelsea asked.

“I’m fine,” Helene laughed. “I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed having horses in my life.”

The other pickup pulled up alongside them.  The young man driving it lowered the passenger side window as his tires grinded to a stop in the gravel and a little dust floated out behind his truck; a sleek, black, Ram, at least a 2019 model.  He had to lower it for them to even see him through the tinted windows.  Their windows were already down because…no A/C and late Spring in Texas.

“Hi!” said the young man.  He looked to be about nineteen years old.  A couple of years older than Chelsea, Helene guessed.

“Hi,” responded Chelsea and Helene in unison.

“I’m Tyler.  I’m an assistant trainer here. Are you the new exercise rider?” he asked while looking at Chelsea.

“Yes,” said Chelsea.

“Are you excited?” he asked, smiling through perfect teeth.

“Yes,” Chelsea said again.

“She’s just nervous,” said Helene, “I’m Helene and this is my daughter, Chelsea.”

“Well it’s nice to meet you both,” Tyler said looking toward Helene.  But his attention reverted to Chelsea, which wasn’t surprising because men often took notice of her curves, and thick, wavy, long copper hair.  Chelsea was often oblivious though since she spent most of her time up in her own head.

“I’m looking forward to riding with you Chelsea,” Tyler continued, gaze still fixed on Chelsea.

Helene poked Chelsea and she responded, “Me too.” And smiled.

“It was nice to meet you both,” said Tyler.

“It was nice to meet you too,” Chelsea and Helene said in unison again.

Tyler raised the passenger window and pulled away.  Helene pulled their old truck back onto the gravel drive, so the air was full of the sound of the tires from two trucks grinding over gravel as dust misted about them both.

“Mom, you don’t need to make excuses for me. I didn’t say anything wrong,” said Chelsea.

“It’s just that you don’t seem friendly when you just give one-word answers,” said Helene.

“Mom, you worry too much about me.  My answers were just fine,”

“But Chelsea…”

“Mom, please just drop it. Please.  You always do this.  This is a good day. You just saw a beautiful red filly. Just enjoy it. Please,” said Chelsea.

“Okay, you’re right.  I just can’t help but worry.  You’re my only child and I love you,” said Helene.

“Mom, I love you too. Just relax,” Chelsea said with a smile.

When they pulled up to the house, a tall, tanned, man about Chelsea’s mom’s age was standing in the driveway talking to a young, Hispanic man, but when the older man saw their truck pull up, he turned from the younger one and waved at them.  Chelsea waved back.

“Mom, that’s Kirk Robertson! He’s the one who owns this place!” said Chelsea.

Helene slowed the truck to a stop and they both got out.  Chelsea ran straight to Kirk and gave him a hug.  Helene was startled since Chelsea rarely hugged anyone.  Helene was not prepared for how handsome Kirk Robertson was.  He had medium length blonde hair and exuded masculinity with tanned muscles and black eyebrows and sideburns.  Helene had a hard time looking at him and knew it would be even harder for her to talk to him because he reminded her of a childhood crush, Bo Duke from the seventy’s television show, The Dukes of Hazard.

She shook it off and walked toward him, feeling very conspicuous in her baggy, full length skirt and equally baggy top. Her stuck in the seventies look was complete with big gaudy earrings and necklace and un-pedicured toes in sandals.  Helene had never been secure with her looks, or lack thereof, especially since Chelsea’s father just up and abandoned them.

“Hello, Chelsea’s Mom,” said a cheerful and freakishly handsome, Kirk Robertson.

“Helene, and hello, nice to meet you,” Helene answered, meeting his eyes as she reached out her hand.

“Helene, what a lovely name,” said incredibly handsome man.

Kirk turned toward Chelsea and the guy he had been talking to when they pulled up.

“Chelsea this is Strider, our trainer, Pablo Castillo’s son.  He’ll show you around the place.  He’s about the same age as you, Chelsea. He’s taking classes at community college right now,” said Kirk with a smile.  “I’m going to take the lovely, Helene inside to sign some paperwork, Chelsea, you two enjoy yourselves.”

The two of them watched as the adults walked toward the house.  Chelsea turned toward Strider and said, “Your name is Strider, like in The Lord of the Rings?”

“Yes, my dad loves those books,” said Strider.

“So, he went with Strider instead of Aragorn?”

“He thought Aragorn would be too weird,” said Strider.

Chelsea laughed, “Well because Strider is so normal, right?”

“Yeah, he didn’t think it through,” Strider laughed too.

Chelsea opened her mouth to respond, but Strider interrupted and said, “Hey, I know you. I thought you looked familiar.  You go to Dale City High School, right?”

“Yes, but I don’t remember you…wait, you’re the gay guy the jocks used to beat up,” said Chelsea.

Strider laughed, “ Wow, you really are blunt, aren’t you?”

“What do you mean? It’s true isn’t it.  I haven’t seen you in a while though.”

“That’s because I graduated last year,” Strider laughed again.

“Oh,” said Chelsea.

Strider put his arm on Chelsea’s shoulder. “Come on, let’s take the truck to the training track.  My dad is working one of Robertson’s colts.  They say he’s a Derby contender.”

“Derby, like Kentucky Derby?!” asked Chelsea.  She had been watching the Triple Crown every year as far back as she could remember.  The series of races that the top three-year-old horses in the country started training for at the age of two.  The Kentucky Derby was the first of the three.

“Of course,” said Strider. When they got to the truck, Strider removed his arm from Chelsea’s shoulder and beckoned toward the passenger door. “Get in.”

Chelsea obeyed and could hardly sit still in the passenger side she was so excited.  Strider didn’t notice that she flapped her hands a couple of times outside the truck before getting in. When Chelsea was excited or angry, she flapped her hands to help shake off the extreme emotions.  She managed to force herself to stay calm once in the truck.  She was very aware that most people did not do such things.

Strider backed the truck out of the garage and then turned in the opposite direction from the way Helene and Chelsea had driven toward the house.  There was another gravel road heading in the opposite direction from the house and they took that one.  They rode in silence and arrived at the training track in ten minutes, but it had seemed like much longer to Chelsea.

Strider pulled up near the track and stopped the truck.  They both stepped out and Chelsea was frozen in place watching the magnificent, bay stallion gallop past them on the track.  Strider had moved alongside her and they both watched the colt cross the finish line and then relax into an easy slow gallop with ears pricked as his rider stood up in the stirrups.  It was a small track, only a half mile round. The bay slowed to a canter as the rider brought him back around.  This time as rider and horse neared them, the colt was now just walking.  The exercise rider saw them and waved.  He walked the colt for a bit longer and then headed to where Strider and Chelsea were standing.

“Hola hijo mío,” said the rider, “¿Quién es la chica?”

“Dad, English, please. This is Chelsea Resmon, the new exercise rider,” said Strider, and then to Chelsea, “This is my dad, Pablo Castillo.”

“Hello Mr. Castillo.  I don’t mind if you speak Spanish.  Well as long as you don’t start laughing and pointing at me,” said Chelsea.

Mr. Castillo laughed, “Me gusta ella,” he said to Strider.

“Great,” said Strider rolling his eyes.

Chelsea was awestruck by the beauty of the colt.  He’s a perfect bay, a blood bay even, Chelsea thought to herself.  She was mesmerized by his glistening auburn coat and four perfect black legs which ended in four black hooves. His thick black mane and tail rounded out his perfection.

“He is beautiful, isn’t he?” said Mr. Castillo in a thick accent.

“Yes! Will I get to ride him?” asked Chelsea.

Mr. Castillo laughed again, “Maybe one day,” he said. “You want to pet him?”

“Yes!”

Mr. Castillo dismounted in one quick leap and then led the colt over to the rail.  The colt was bright eyed and curious and reached over and nuzzled Chelsea.

A small gasp of glee escaped her mouth and she reached up to rub his soft nose.

“His name is Giovanni. His sire is Bernardini, one of the greats,” said Mr. Castillo.

“I remember him! I watched him race on tv when I was little.  I cried when he lost to Invasor in the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Classic,” said Chelsea.

“His jockey moved too soon.  The stretch run is longer at Churchill Downs than at other racetracks. But Invasor was a great horse too,” said Mr. Castillo.

“So, if I can’t ride Giovanni, can I ride the red filly out front?” asked Chelsea as she continued to pet the colt.

“What filly out front?” asked Strider.

“The one with the beautiful dished face,” said Chelsea.

Giovanni grew impatient and stomped his foot because he knew it was time for his evening feed.  The colt still let Chelsea rub his nose though. Animals were always drawn to her.

“Oh, she is talking about Fyrestorm,” said Mr. Castillo laughing.

“Why are you laughing?” asked Chelsea.

“Nobody has ridden her yet.  We can’t race her, so we haven’t started training her,” said Strider.

“What do you mean you can’t race her? I saw her running in the front pasture. She barely touches the ground, as if she has wings,” said Chelsea.

“She’s half Arabian, Chelsea. That’s why her head is more distinct than the other horses. The Jockey Club only allows full-blooded Thoroughbreds to race in the U.S.,” said Strider.

“But I thought Wisdom Racing Stables only bred Thoroughbreds?” asked Chelsea as she summoned all her strength to remain calm.  When she had seen that red filly, it had immediately become her dream to ride her. She felt determined to do so.

Mr. Castillo laughed again, “The filly’s momma decided she wanted to jump the fence and make love to the black, Arabian stallion next door,”

“But I’ve studied the history of the Thoroughbred breed and all three foundation stallions were Arabians. The Darley Arabian, The Byerley Turk and the Godolphin Arabian. So, they have Arabian blood…” said Chelsea.

“That was a long time ago, Chelsea.  Most horse breeds have Arabian blood if you go far enough back because Arabians are considered the oldest breed of horse. They’re in the Bible even,” said Strider.

Chelsea dropped her hand from Giovanni’s nose and her eyes filled with tears.  Giovanni snorted and stretched his muzzle out toward the crying girl.  She reached up and petted him again and smiled through her tears.

“Don’t cry chica.  See, Giovanni doesn’t even want you to cry. Maybe we can train the filly to be a stable pony. You will have to gain her trust first though.  She doesn’t come near anyone,” said Mr. Castillo.

“I can do it! I can gain her trust! Thank you, Mr. Castillo!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Red Filly-Chapter 1 Outline

Honeyglamorshot2
Fyrestorm

Write Your First Novel, Week 2, Assignment Two: Outline Chapter One

Logline: An ostracized teenage girl captures the love and trust of wild red filly who she hungers to ride to victory before the naysayers can vanquish her dreams.

The chapter beginning:

Chelsea Resmon and her mom arrive at Wisdom Racing Stables and as they go up the drive to the main house, they see a beautiful, shiny red filly…Chelsea asks her mom to stop the car…Chelsea gets very excited and her Mom does that thing with her hand which usually angers Chelsea, but she just ignores it this time…young trainer is leaving and stops by their truck…Chelsea is short with him because she is obsessed with filly…

 

The chapter middle:

Chelsea meets Strider Castillo, who she remembers later in the chapter as being the “gay kid who the jocks made fun of” in her high school, which he no longer attends because he graduated and is now in community college.  Strider takes Chelsea out to the training track while Chelsea’s mom, Helene discusses Chelsea’s new job as an exercise rider with Kirk Robertson, the owner of Wisdom Racing Stables.  Strider and Chelsea arrive at the training track to see Strider’s dad, Pablo Castillo working a magnificent blood bay colt. Chelsea is thrilled when Mr. Castillo brings the colt over to the rail after trotting him out to cool him down and the colt lets Chelsea pet his nose.

 

The chapter end:

Chelsea asks about the red filly and is told that the filly can’t be raced because she’s not pure Thoroughbred, but half Arabian.  Chelsea becomes very upset because her heart was set on riding the filly.  Mr. Castillo is touched by her tears and promises her that she can ride the filly, Fyrestorm, if Chelsea can gain the trust of the wild filly.

Timmy and the Red Stallion

Timmyinthepasture (2)

Gina and Flame galloped around the inside edge of the arena as if they were one.  It had taken several months for Gina to gain the confidence to even ride the magnificent red stallion, but Renata had insisted.  At first Gina would only ride Flame if Renata were present.  Renata would stay on the ground in the arena and instruct Gina.  Eventually Gina gained the confidence to take Flame out on the trails and Renata would ride her trusty gelding Blaze, so Flame would stay calm.  Flame and Blaze had a close bond because they were born within a month of each other at their original home in Dubai.  The half brothers were a gift given to Renata by a sheikh she had met during her time in Paris working for Louis Vuitton.

Gina slowed Flame to a canter and reached down to pet his neck.  The summer sun reached through the open sides of the arena and caressed the crimson stallion’s coat, making his neck almost sparkle in its brilliance.  Gina had been so enchanted by Flame that she hadn’t noticed Renata escort a man and teenaged boy into the barn.  She looked over to see the gate open on the barn side of the arena as she slowed Flame to a trot on the opposite side.  She tensed up when she saw the teenager was her classmate, Chet.  He followed along behind Renata as she led Patriot, the gray son of Spirit, their resident black stallion, into the arena, while the man leaned on the outside of the red pipe fencing and watched.  Chet saw her at the same time and smiled.  Not a friendly smile, but more like a sneer.  He held is phone up and the sun reflected off it.  Flame was already tense because he reacted to the tense signals coming from Gina’ body.  Gina wasn’t prepared when Flame bolted, so when Flame ended up on the other end of the arena, she was left in the dust in their last location together.

Chet started laughing.  Laughing at her, the way they always did at Dale City High…

 

A week had gone by and during that time the video had gone viral, well, viral among Dale City High students anyway.  Gina found herself where she often did after being subjected to the almost daily humiliation that was Dale City High.  She was crying into Timmy, the golden pony’s, neck while he silently consoled her.  She felt something press into her back and turned to find Flame offering his muzzle for a kiss.  His best friend, Blaze, watched the trio from a short distance away.

Timmy was in the paddock with the two chestnut Arabians recuperating from an eye infection.  The brothers loved the pony because he had been their caretaker when they first arrived at the ranch to help them get adjusted.  Timmy had a knack for calming other horses and was often utilized for his “nursemaid” capabilities.

“Gina!”

Gina looked toward the paddock gate to see her friend, Strider Castillo. She wiped her tears with the back of her hand and waved as she headed for the gate.

Strider hugged her when she turned toward him after closing the gate.  Then he stepped back and looked at her face.

“You’ve been crying.  Are you okay?” he asked.

“I’m fine,” Gina lied.

Strider wasn’t fooled.   He had known Gina all through high school.

“It’s those bullies isn’t it?  That video going around Facebook?” he asked.

Gina started crying again.  He held her again and said, “You have to stop this Gina.  When you let them get to you, they win.”

Gina took a deep breath, stepped back and looked Strider in the eye and said, “That’s easy for you to say.  You’re starting college this year, so you don’t have to deal with them anymore.”

“Exactly my point.  They’re nobody to us.  You just have one more year to deal with those losers,” said Strider.

“I thought at least I’d get a break from them in the summer, but it seems like they’ll always be in my life.”

“They won’t,” said Strider. “Trust me.”

Strider and Gina walked into the barn to find Jalissa and Renata feeding the horses.

Gina’s entire demeanor changed, and she called out, “Jalissa!” as she ran to her and swept her up in a big hug.

The expression of pure joy on Gina’s face at seeing Jalissa was not lost on Strider.

“Gina, why don’t you and Jalissa take the wheelbarrow and get some hay.  I’ll finish graining the horses,” said Renata.

Gina practically skipped off with Jalissa.

 

The next morning Gina and Strider took Flame and Blaze out on the trails at the ranch.  They had been enjoying the clear, crisp morning trotting and loping the two brothers along the flat parts of the trails.  Now they rode side by side, talking as they headed back to the barn.

“Gina, I’ve noticed the way you look at Jalissa,” said Strider.

“What do you mean?” asked Gina.

“I mean, it’s obvious you’re attracted to her.”

“She’s beautiful.  Anyone would be attracted to her,” said Gina.

“You know what I mean,” said Strider.

“Look Strider, I’m happy for you. You know…that you’re out of the closet and all, but believe it or not some, no, most of the world is straight,” said Gina.

Flame took a couple of high steps because he sensed Gina’s tenseness.  She relaxed a little, “Sorry boy,” she said to Flame as she reached down and rubbed the stallion’s neck.

“Yeah, most of the world is straight, I guess.  But not you,”

“Strider, just because I notice someone is pretty…well, it doesn’t mean anything.  And besides, I don’t want to go to Hell.”

“So you think I’m going to Hell?” Strider laughed.

“No, of course not.  You’re too nice, but I would…”

“Now you listen Gina. I know you’ve been raised in this holy roller religious bullshit, but this is what I think.  God made me this way, and God doesn’t make mistakes.”

Gina sighed and said quietly, “That’s beautiful.”

They rode the rest of the way to the barn in silence.  When they reached the outer, arena gate, they stopped and watched as Chet cantered Patriot around the arena.  Patriot rounded the far end and was then heading toward them.  When the graceful, gray gelding drew near their position and saw them, he slammed on the brakes.  Chet wasn’t ready for that, so he was launched in the air over the front of Patriot’s lowered head and landed on the floor of the arena hard.  He started crying.  Then he shouted, “Shut off that camera, faggot!”

Gina looked over at Strider and saw his hand raised with phone in hand, obviously videoing the incident with a broad smile spread across the width of his chiseled brown face.

For a moment Gina smiled too.  But then she reached over and pulled Strider’s arm down.

“I don’t want to be like them, Strider,” said Gina.

“But…,”

Strider saw the sincerity in Gina’s eyes.  He put the phone in his pocket.

“I love you, Gina,” said Strider.

“I love you too,” said Gina.

 

 

 

BlazeandFlamePaddock
Blaze and Flame

Patriot Headshot
Patriot