Mystery Ride

Mystery Ride by Bonnie Bryant Read Free Book Online

Book: Mystery Ride by Bonnie Bryant Read Free Book Online
Authors: Bonnie Bryant
washed the seat and flaps and dried them.
    “Make sure you remove all the jockeys,” Max said, pointing to the black greasy marks that had accumulated on the saddle.
    Max dried the saddle and then sponged soap into the seat and flaps.
    “Don’t hold back,” Max said. “It never pays to be stingy with the soap.”
    He dried the saddle to a deep glossy shine, and used polish to clean the metalwork.
    The riders murmured with admiration. Not only did the saddle look good, it smelled good. They knew it would feel good next time it was used.
    Max held up the bridle he’d brought and said, “Can anyone tell me the part of bridle cleaning that’s most often forgotten?”
    “Washing the curb chain?” said May.
    “That’s very good,” Max said. “But there’s something else that’s even more frequently forgotten.”
    Carole raised her hand, and Max grinned at her.
    “Polishing the metalwork?” she said.
    “That’s good, too,” Max said. “But there’s something else.” Nobody knew, so Max explained. “Polishing the underside of the leather. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not important. Both sides of the leather have to be soft and pliable. Now, who’s going to polish this bridle for me?”
    May and Corey volunteered, and Max congratulated them on doing a meticulous job.
    Afterward came a round of Pin the Tail on the Pony in which A.J. managed to pin the tail to the soft-drink cooler and Veronica managed to pin it on her hair dryer. Then everyone trooped downstairs to check the horses before they went to sleep.
    When the riders were back in the loft, Deborah turned off the lights, held a flashlight under her chin, and told a ghost story. Because Deborah was an investigative reporter, she had a gift for making things seem real—and scary. Some of the younger riders got a definite case of the creeps.
    Then it was time to sleep. The riders climbed into their sleeping bags, the boys on the left side of the loft, the girlson the right. Deborah was about to turn out the lights when Veronica said, “Not so fast.”
    “Now what?” said Deborah with a sigh.
    “I’m not going to wake up looking like a creep,” Veronica said. “Even if other people are.” She gave Stevie a significant look.
    And then, to everyone’s amazement, Veronica sat down at her portable dressing table and proceeded to comb setting gel through her hair.
    “I don’t believe this,” Stevie muttered. “It’s going to give the little kids nightmares.”
    Veronica talked while she combed her hair. “Many people might be discouraged by the fact that there are no shower facilities at Pine Hollow, but to me this is a challenge. If there’s no water, I simply use gel.” By this time Veronica’s hair was shiny with gunk.
    “You decided to slime yourself,” Stevie said. “If I were you, Veronica, I’d slime myself, too.”
    The younger riders collapsed in giggles. Deborah, seeing that things were getting out of hand, said, “Make it fast, Veronica.”
    Undaunted, Veronica continued her lecture. “First you section your hair,” she said, poking bobby pins into each hank. “Then you take the first section …” She combed a hank of hair straight up.
    “The porcupine look is very big,” Stevie said. “The boy porcupines will be nuts for you.” Veronica was a well-known flirt.
    Amie laughed so hard she started hiccuping.
    “I’m giving you one minute, Veronica,” said Deborah. “After that it’s lights out.”
    “… and then you roll it,” Veronica said, twisting the gooey hair onto a roller the size of a hot-dog bun. She finished putting the rest of her hair onto the giant rollers and then turned to look at the other riders.
    “I know it looks hard,” Veronica said, “but with practice and discipline you can master it, too.”
    “You look like a Martian,” May said.
    Stevie, Lisa, and Carole exchanged grins. This was the first time May had been cheerful all day. In her own obnoxious way

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