For a centaur, Billie Horace was one-in-a-million. Her auburn hair, parted in the middle, was bobby-pinned into a plaited, cascading braid down the back of her Peter-Pan blouse. Her groomsman tied it into a little knob at the small of her back. She was up early this morning. After a quick look in the mirror and a nibble in the meadow, she trotted to her shift at Milt’s Diner. She always liked an early start, believing afternoon came sooner, bringing time with her favorite stable-boy, Edward. She loved how Edward curried her stifles and gaskins, how he spoke sweetly, always producing a sugar cube of good news. Oh! If only she had human legs she could run away with him! If only. The morning crowd was light; Milt looked up from his betting sheet, said How-Do. He helped her with her apron. Milt loved the horses. He knew Billie was a long-shot, but could be the first filly filly to win the big purse. Milt’s first customer of the morning was Mrs. Speck and her opal brooch, who, as curious customers did, asked Billie how training went. “Look at those gams,” the old woman said. “Hmm-hmm, my son Gilbert is a world-renowned transplant surgeon down at Shore-Leeds Research Hospital. They say he works wonders. Hmm-hmm-hmm — you’d be his ticket to the big time.” Billie sloughed off the idea like chops and gravy from blue-plates, yet later, going home from the track, she passed a newsstand and saw a photograph of Dean Martin’s wedding on the front page. His wife looked so handsome. He looked so happy. Billie’s gallop home slowed to a three-beat canter as she thought more deeply on it, and then slowed to a jog and a walk, and rested, just a moment, on a soft neigh.
A.E. Weisgerber’s work has been nominated for Best of the Net, Best Small Fictions, and the Pushcart Prize. Recent fiction appearing in SmokeLong Quarterly, Structo Magazine, The Collapsar, DIAGRAM, and Gravel. Recent non-fiction in The Alaska Star, Alternating Current, The Review Review, and Change Seven. She reads for Wigleaf and Pithead Chapel, and is working on an illustrated storybook called “Lives of the Saints.” Follow her @aeweisgerber, or visit http://anneweisgerber.com.