MAN IN CONTROL by Rebecca Evanhoe
7/2/14
 


"Place your bets!" the men shouted to one another. The men crowded around the bull, tossed dollars into a hat. One man straddled the leather seat, scooted forward, gripped it with his thighs. He pitched his hips. He grabbed the pommel. "Ready!" he shouted.

One of the bettors dropped a coin into the slot. The bull started to spin slowly, in spirograph circles, and then shuddered forward.

Unbeknownst to the rider and his men, there was also a man in control of the bull. He watched them from behind the glass of a trick mirror next to the bull's platform, holding a joystick and commanding the bull through its movements after that coin clinked in. The man in control made the bull lunge, a few quick lurches.

The man in control watched the rider slide, right himself, slide, straighten. The rider seemed to be growing surer of himself, more sure of the beast. The man in control saw the rider's proud face, and forced the bull to jerk forward, sideways, with no pattern at all. The rider's head whipped. The bettors saw the rider dig his crotch against the bull and tense his thighs harder against the leather.

"Two minutes!" the bettors shouted, and still the rider stayed on. As the bull shimmied, the rider's torso weaved and his hips pivoted in circular motions. The man in control showed no mercy; the bull stopped and started, went backwards and tipped over to the side, dipped forward again. "Three minutes!" shouted the bettors. They counted down to the record: "Three-fifteen!" "Three-eighteen!" "Three-twenty-two!"

When the rider was finally flung from his bull, the man in control watched the rider's face when he hit the mat. It was the same face they all made: disappointment, a flash of embarrassment, but worst of all, surprise, as if each rider mounted the bull believing he might be the one to stay on forever. Every time a rider fell, the man in control hated the rider for falling. Sure, this rider got the hat full of dollars, but he had still fallen, and still he rose to put the next coin into the slot.

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Rebecca Evanhoe was born in Wichita, Kansas. She earned a BA in chemistry from the University of Kansas, and an MFA from the University of Florida. Her work has appeared in NOON, Harper's Magazine, Gulf Coast, Bat City Review, and Vice. She lives and works in Gainesville, Florida.

Art:
We Are All Made of Stars (2013) by Hector Hernandez. Hector Hernandez's practices involve, primarily, photography, sculpture, and installation. He currently lives in Austin, Texas.
 
 
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