The wagon plodded along, the horses an after thought to the overall direction. The wooden rims squeaked and squawked over the cobblestones and as the wagon left the civilized stretch of road, the driver, slumped over on the hard wooden bench, pulled a lever by his head, by wrote.
A dribble of water sprayed out from a sprinkler attached to the undercarriage of the wagon, fed with water supplied by multiple barrels strapped together in the flat, short sided bed.
A wheel dropped into a rut and the man’s head bounced off the arm of the seat with an audible smack. “Owe!” he cried, jerking upright and rubbing at the lump swelling on his temple.
He squinted at the bright windows he passed, light spilling through cracked panes of the parlours and saloons, the only thing open at this time of night. Raucous laughter, tinny player piano music and the sound of tinkling plates followed his solitary journey through the deserted town, grumbling at his luck.
He reached under the bench and fumbled around for the bottle he always kept stashed under the seat, a little bit of something to warm his belly when the temperature dipped low. His hand searched blindly and fell on the neck of the bottle and pulling it up, he popped the cork and tipped it to his lips.
Nothing. The bottle was empty. Cursing under his breath, he tossed the bottle back behind the barrels and reached for a second one.
That is when he heard the gun shot.
The concussion from the shot was so close, the horses reared and bolted off down the road, bit in their teeth. He struggled to right himself on the bouncing seat and reached for reins that were no longer in existence. They flapped around the ankles of the horses, spooking them further as the terrified team raced down the road towards the bridge.
But the bridge wasn’t there. It had been washed out with the spring rains a week past.
By the time he looked up and realized where they were, it was too late. Horses, driver and wagon plunged over the edge and into the rapids, his terrified yell drowned by the screams of the horses as the broke apart on the rocks below…
…The wagon plodded along, the horses an after thought to the overall direction. The wooden rims squeaked and squawked over the cobblestones and as the wagon left the civilized stretch of road, the driver…
English Idiom: “On The Wagon” – Abstaining from drinking alcoholic beverages, as in “don’t offer her wine, she’s on the wagon.” this expression is a shortening of on the water wagon referring to the horse-drawn water cart used to spray dirt roads to keep down the dust. Its present meaning dates from the 1900.
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