Today, Liza O’Connor presents us her latest story, Slammed, and talks about possums.
Yep, that’s right.
In Slammed, Davy likens the WBR reporter, Allie, to a possum. This came from my own painful experience with a possum.
When I was about eight or so, I saw an injured possum trying to cross the road. Not only was she injured, but she had three baby possums clinging to her back. So, I naturally attempted to rescue them. I didn’t realize that only the meanest possums survive to adulthood and they’ll always bite. It’s why they often carry rabies. So when I tried to help her off the road, the mother possum bit me on the hand I extended. That was sufficient for me to leave her and her babies alone as I ran home and poured a bottle of peroxide on my bitten hand.
I had recently seen a movie about rabies, so I knew that people infected with rabies could not stand the sight of water. Thus, as long as I didn’t fear water, I would know I hadn’t gotten rabies.
That, of course, was incorrect, but then my source had been a B-rated movie. Still, I had no clue how long the virus took to reveal this fear of water, so I kept staring at glasses of water for about six months.
When I was older I realized that I had been very lucky that possum did not have rabies, or my silence on the fact I had been bitten could have been my death. By the time I reached adulthood, I no longer believed the water phobia to be true in any way. That is until I researched the topic for this blog. Turns out there is a reason why humans, when infected, grow to be afraid of water and food.
Here are the real facts: Rabies doesn’t make you hydrophobic. After the rabies infection takes hold, it attacks and irritates your brain and spinal cord, causing muscle spasms and paralysis. One of the key signs is spastic paralysis of the cranial nerves that control the swallow reflex. This means that any time the affected person tries to swallow food, water, or even just saliva, the muscles in the throat spasm, thus drooling often occurs.
It is the discomfort and choking due to the dysfunctional reflex that led people to think the victim had hydrophobia. Honestly, if your throat violently spasmed whenever you attempted to swallow, you’d avoid drinking and eating as well.
Davy Hill goes from obscurity to fame by riding the rankest bull alive. Coming from a life of poverty, the young cowboy expects his life to change for the better now that he’s a successful professional bull-rider. Yet, with every occurrence of good luck comes an equal dose of bad. He suffers a potentially career-ending injury, a string of betrayals, and much worse. Despite all the brutal slams he takes, he keeps getting up, because he’s a bull-rider and they never give up.
Davy had proven his mettle in the prior two nights by successfully riding bulls far beyond anything he had ever met before. However, everyone knew his lucky streak ended when he drew Son of Sam for tonight’s ride. No one had ever ridden this monster.
No one. Not even Justin Strong, the best bull rider on the tour.
Son of Sam had recently supplanted Audaciously as the best and meanest bull in the history of the WBR.
The moment Davy’s butt rested on the bull’s back, Son of Sam lunged forward, sending the boy flying toward the metal bars at the end of the chute. The handler, whose arm stretched across Davy’s chest, easily tossed him back to his seat.
“Don’t dally, boy,” Leroy Stubbs warned him. “He’ll tear you apart in here.”
Son of Sam attempted to toss him in the grating again. Between Davy’s grip on the bull and Leroy’s grip on Davy, the bull was thwarted. However, the red beast was now crammed into the front of the cage which would make leaving the gate difficult and dangerous. No one wants a bull exiting the chute backwards—bad for the score, bad for the rider.
When Son of Sam remained upfront in the shoot, the owner of the bull interceded. With a shove against the bull’s horns and a commanding yell, the bull stepped back.
“Best go now, boy,” the owner advised as Davy shifted forward so his crotch pressed tightly against his grip hand.
Evidently, that was good enough for the gatemen. Without waiting for Davy to give the call, they swung open the gate.
Davy felt himself jerked left and then he was airborne.
Davy’s Saga, Book 1
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT LIZA O’CONNOR, investigate these sites:
And check out Liza’s