Standing Hitched

Damon Runyon

“Son,” my old man says, “any time you get hitched up to a proposition, stand hitched. A man who won’t stand hitched is as bad as a horse that won’t stand hitched. I wouldn’t give you a dime for either one. They’re too uncertain.

“You may get tired of standing hitched sometimes, and want to break loose from the hitching post, and go wandering off, but don’t you do it. You stand hitched until the man who hitched you unhitches you.

“Back in Pueblo I used to have a sorrel horse that was as fine a looking critter as you’d want to see and as fast as a streak. I raised him from a yearling, and I was mighty fond of that sorrel. I trusted him as I’d trust my brother.

“In fact, I guess I’d trust him more’n I would my brother, because my brother wasn’t so blamed trustworthy in some things. I mean my brother Obadiah.

“Well, one day I rode into town and hitched that sorrel in front of the Turf Exchange saloon and went inside to talk to the boys.

“I was in there maybe five or six hours, when I got to arguing with a fellow from Tennessee by the name of Tolliver as to whether General Grant was a better general than General Lee. I stuck up for General Grant, and I had the best of the argument, too.

“Tolliver finally got mad when I told him one Yankee could lick four Rebels any time, and he pulled out a big pistol. I didn’t want to see no trouble in the Turf Exchange, so I went outside to get on that sorrel and go away.

“Well, sir, I found that sorrel had busted loose from the hitching post and gone off, and there I was a long ways from home, and Tolliver behind me with his big pistol. He done a lot of damage to the window lights all along the street trying to shoot me, but I outrun the bullets.

“I passed the sorrel galloping for home, but I was so mad at him for not standing hitched that I never waited for him. I gave him away the next day to a feller I didn’t like, and since then I’ve never had anything to do with a horse or man that won’t stand hitched. They’re too embarrassing.”