Sassy Cowgirl Kisses by Kathy Fawcett
“Thirty seven, thirty eight, thirty nine,” Sassy counted off in a rather boisterous voice. Her shouting didn’t bother anybody, since there was no one to hear her. No people, that is.
“Hey, sheep, hold still. I’m almost done.”
She hadn’t yet counted the one closest to her car, she was saving him for last. Number forty boldly met her stare and answered her yell with a loud Maaa of his own.He wasthe troublemaker; the one that wouldn’t give her the courtesy of averting his eyes when she threw off her day clothes under the clear blue sky and slipped into her pink bikini.
And why not?
The day was warm, the sun was high, and not a single car had come by in the two hours she’d been stranded there. The likelihood of somebody catching her in her altogether was slim to none. And the bikini was a welcome change from the denims and khakis she wore to work at the Wyoming ranch where she was interning for the summer.
“Don’t judge,” she said to number forty as she tied the narrow string around her neck and smoothed on SPF 30—though not in that order. “This whole little interlude is your fault; you came this close to being a lambchop. I might as well soak up some sun while I wait for help.”
Sassy laughed to herself at the irony of the situation. Having recently graduated with a degree in accounting, along with certifications in farm and livestock management, it just made sense that inevitably she’d find herself counting sheep.
When she left earlier to enjoy her day off, Sassy figured she was prepared for anything. Freda, her house mate and co-worker, schooled the Midwest-raised Sassy on the perils of mountain roads before they went their separate ways—Freda, to see her family two hours away, and Sassy to go adventuring.
“Out here, even the main roads are stingy with their gas stations,” Freda cautioned. “The back roads are downright withholding.”
Taking Freda at her word, Sassy made one of her trademark lists before heading out.
Ten gallons of gas in the car.
Twelve bottles of drinking water in a cooler.
One each: a phone charger and a chicken sandwich.
Two running shoes.
This last item may have seemed unnecessary to write down, but she actually showed up for college track once with only one running shoe in her backpack. It was not her finest moment.
Under her miscellaneous column, Sassy wrote beach bag, which was stuffed in her trunk and meticulously packed with a towel, bathing suit, sunscreen and a first-aid kit. Lastly, there was one folding chair for napping in the sun, or just sitting quietly with her camera.
By her calculations, the young accountant figured she had been ready for anything.
Anything, that is, except a herd of sheep in the road as she came around a blind curve. She had no choice but to swerve off into a big rock where her little car remained—tire as flat as a pancake. Sassy could change a tire, her daddy had seen to that, but not when it was jammed tight against a boulder, in a field of prickly sagebrush.
Considering the complete lack of cell phone reception, Sassy was in a pickle.
She was not prepared for the unknown factor, as her fellow accountants called a missing quotient. It was her least favorite part of number crunching, knowing that she couldn’t always see what was ahead. But if accounting didn’t teach her that, life certainly did. This past year, especially.
Not a single car had travelled down the road since Sassy found herself stranded. It was the heat of the afternoon, so eventually she changed into her bathing suit, in full view of the nosey sheep. Rejecting the folding chair, she spread the beach towel up the back window of the car so she could stretch out while she waited.
It was too soon to panic, and too far to jog to town—although she might need to before the day was over.
“Just stay put,” her parents told her, when she was afraid of being separated as a little girl. “Help will find you.” So far, help was taking its sweet time in this laid-back wasteland of a state.
Sassy never thought she’d see the day when the cornfields back home, the claustrophobic growth crowding every road for miles and days, would seem like civilization. Wyoming brought a whole new meaning to the word isolation.
The sheep were no help at all.
“Don’t you guys know a shepherd or something—someone with two legs and a truck?” Sassy looked over to ask the curious sheep.
Maaa maaa, they answered. You were driving too faaast around the corner.
“Thanks for nothing,” she said, but knew they might be right.
Eyes closed, she snoozed in the warmth, taking the time to dial the emergency tow truck number in West Gorge every so often, only to see the call fail to connect. Worst case scenario, Sassy figured, she wouldn’t return to her rental house tonight, or to work in the morning. Then Freda might put two and two together and send out a search party.
She smiled at the image of a helicopter flying overhead, spotting her lounging in a pink bikini on her rear window. Her eyes quickly closed behind her sunglasses as she nodded off in the sun. It had been a tiring week of early days at West Ranch. Before long, Sassy found herself dreaming of being rescued by a gleaming tow truck, driven by a shining knight. She could almost hear the engine. It sounded so real as it got closer and closer.
Opening her eyes, Sassy realized she wasn’t dreaming. The truck was real and coming around the corner—fast. When it screeched to a hard stop, right next to twice-lucky number forty, a tall young man slowly got out and stood in the road.
Wasting no time, she sat up and blinked several times, clearing the sleep from her eyes so she could quickly assess her rescue vehicle, and more importantly, its driver.