Short Story Fiction
Scott A. Gese

It was a choice between what he loved and who he loved. The final decision would change his life forever.

widowmakerLouise Brawn/Pexels

From his sweat stained hat to his well worn boots, Hector Martinez was a cowboy no doubt about it. He followed the rodeo circuit most of the year. He was a bull rider. Not a champion, but a close contender. He was good enough to win his share of prize money. It payed his travel expenses and his entry fees with enough left over to build up a nice bank account.

Hector sat on a bale of fresh straw next to the horse stalls. He leaned back against the wall, pulled his hat over his eyes, stretched out his legs and crossed his boots. He fidgeted with a piece of straw sticking out of his mouth. He had a habit of chewing on a piece when he had to think, and right now, he had a lot on his mind and some serious thinking to do.

He was having serious concerns about continuing to do the thing he loved.

For the past year his father had wanted him to stick closer to home and help work the ranch with him. Hector’s wife, Samantha, who accompanied him part of the time, was supportive of his rodeo life. She wanted Hector to be happy although she did hope at some point he would settle down so they could start a family.

Making a living riding brahma bulls was not a healthy profession. Hector had already broken his share of bones and his arm had been jerked from its socket on two occasions. If he kept it up, he would soon become a broken down old man. Worthless to his wife and his father. That’s not what he wanted, but the adrenaline rush of climbing onto the back of a bad ass bull was addictive.

Today he had drawn a bull who had earned the name of Widowmaker. This was a very dangerous rank bull. Men had tried, but no one had had the skill or the luck to ride him out. Two of the men who tried ended up in the hospital. Another was gored to death after he was bucked off. Most men won’t ride a rank bull, and this one was more dangerous than most.

Hector couldn’t say he was happy about his draw but it would pay well if he went the distance. The issue with Widowmaker was that things could go bad in a hurry if he came up short.

His friend “Hash” McElroy sat down next to Hector and slapped him on the leg. Hector tilted up his hat.

“What’s up?”

“Heard you’re ridin’ Widowmaker? How about signing your truck over to me before you do?”

“Fat chance. I drew him, but I’m not sure if I’m gonna’ ride him. They don’t call that bull Widowmaker for nothin’. I’m still thinkin’ on it.”

“What’s ‘Sam’ think?” Asked Hash.

“I haven’t told her yet. I’m sure she won’t be happy. I’m heading back to the trailer in a minute. We’ll have to talk this one out.”

“I think you should give it a shot. Hell, you’d be famous if you went the distance.”

“Ya, and I could end up dead if I didn’t. It’s a tough choice. Fame or misfortune. I’ll let you know what I decide. If I decide against it, maybe you could give it a shot.”

“I’ll turn that chance down. I’m not stupid.” Hash joked.


Back at the trailer, Hector told Sam the situation.

“Look Hector,” she replied. “I want you to be happy, but to be honest, you riding that bull scares the shit out of me.”

“To be honest, it does me too,” confided Hector.

“That’s not a good attitude to have when you’re stepping into the chute. You know how I feel but I’ll leave it up to you to make the right choice.”

It was a tough decision. If he decided to take the ride, there was a good chance it could end badly, or he’d ride it out and be the hero.

If he decided not to take the ride, Sam and his father would both be happy, but he would look like a coward in front of his friends. He had more thinking to do.


Later that day, Hash and a couple of the boys were hanging out around the stables when one of them remarked, “Hey Hash, Ain’t that Hectors rig pulling out of the lot?”

“It sure is,” replied Hash. “I guess he made his decision.”

Hector was now a rancher.

© Copyright 2023 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.

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