This is one of those classic stories about a horse with alleged mob connections. We named him after the previous owner’s grandfather who went by The Big Salmon in his alleged, but you know, probably definite mob circles. I am obviously not disclosing the real fish alias because I have watched all of the Godfather films, even the kind of terrible one, and we had so many potentially detachable horse heads around. The horse’s official name was The Bewitched Sultan, given to him by his previous owners; let’s just call them the Digiornos because I’ve seen Goodfellas and don’t like bats or trunks or vises or misunderstandings with Joe Pesci.
A few months after acquiring The Big Salmon, my mother informed my siblings and I that the Digiornos were planning a visit to our stable to see him. I intuitively gathered that Mom was not so comfortable with this by her nervous laughter, two beads of forehead sweat and her blurting out, “They’re going to kill us all if we call the horse Salmon or if they see Salmon written anywhere. They eat disrespectful people like us for breakfast and then, later, they have a sensible dinner. They’ll probably start with the slowest. Anne, you should ditch the tiger suit.” Luckily, Salmon was only written every single blanket, bridle, saddle and stall door that had any thing to do with the horse. I think one of us had a tee-shirt.
We had one day to erase every piece of evidence that could potentially get us “disappeared” after being beaten by a shovel, most likely, and a long ride in a trunk, again, I’ve seen Goodfellas. Each of us, black Sharpie in hand, hunted around for all traces of Salmon. At the time, I thought it was kind of fun, not really considering a name clearly being scratched out and replaced with another was not the most subtle of clues that something was being hidden. For that matter, if you even leaned in a little you could still make out the name. “Salmon”, under the new, old name, “Bewitched”, which would be worse because one could not even say, “Oh, I thought it would an honor to name the horse after your murderous, gangster grandfather.” It would point directly to you being a disrespectful and now terrified funny guy and the Digiornos don’t like funny guys.
Our mission to cover up all Salmons was a success and the the entire stable smelled like Sharpie and my left hand was black. I’m left-handed. The next crucial step was to drill the name Salmon out of our tiny minds, never to be spoken aloud in the alleged Mob member’s scary family’s presence, or else. Mom went over it and over it with us, “His name is Bewitched. Only say Bewitched. Never say Salmon. Remember, they’ll murder us all. Anne, please take of the tiger suit.”
The dreaded Wise Guy themed visit day had arrived. We all greeted the Digiornos and began showing them around the farm and stables now housing their beloved formerly known as Salmon, formally known as Bewitched, presently known as Bewitched again. Things were going pretty well and the Digiornos were so nice and friendly, I practically forgot they were going to murderous like insignificant, pathetic, little flies. This ignorant bliss, however, came to an abrupt end as we approached Salmon, wearing his blanket with the large Sharpie blob and a shakily scratched, “Beweecheded” above it. I instantly realized this was my handy work. I’m also terrible at math. I looked down at the faded, black smudges still visible on my left hand, like blood pointing to the killer. I thought I had sealed my fate and the end was nigh for me and my tiger suit until, within seconds of approaching Beweecheded, my mother blurted out, “And here is The Big Salmon.” Nothing happened, but I peed a little, so that was the end of the tiger suit.