In my life I've seen a lot of things. I suppose that you could say I've
become something of a worldly guy over the years. I've gotten to travel
and see new places. I've met interesting people. I have managed to have
a wide and compelling amount of things happen to me that I can now call
fond memories or wise lessons. That must be a benefit of being an
entertainer. I cannot imagine that I would ever have become the person
I am today if I had not had the encounters Ive had across this land of

That being said, I'm not sure where this next bit of
experience will EVER come in handy. It often wins the strange story
contests that friends have in bars over a few drinks. Thankfully it is
not a story where I was chased by the law (THAT story will come in a
few weeks.). BUT, as I have told this story to my friends throughout
the years it always gets a laugh or at least a dropped jaw and that is
why I have decided to share it with you today. I'll start by asking you
a simple question.

Have you ever taken a shower with a horse?

I didn't think so. Most people have not which is why, I suppose, so
many folks eagerly want to hear this anecdote after I ask them that
question. I, in fact, HAVE showered with a horse. Now I'm not talking
about some farmyard scene out of a movie where a young Elizabeth Taylor
is shampooing herself behind a makeshift shower and there just happens
to be a horse in the background. On the other end of the spectrum, I am
not talking about some of the very fine porn that is a few Google
searches away from finding a home on your hard drive. I was in a
bathroom stall with a horse where we both enjoyed the comforts of a hot
shower. I did not set out to do this, it just happened. Circumstances
made it necessary and I did what I had to do.

This all happened
while I was working in a circus (big surprise). We were in a small town
in Southern Illinois (another shocker) and the time came for me to take
a shower. I should point out that when you work for a circus a good
shower is a commodity that is hard to come by (3rd big wonder of the
paragraph). Many circus performers travel in trailers that are equipped
with a shower. "Regular people" like to think that the facilities
offered in these travel trailers are very luxurious and make for
comfortable travel. They are NOT.

Trailer showers are very
small, sometimes downright tiny. They offer no water pressure to speak
of and there is usually not enough room to get everything clean to your
satisfaction. The water is rarely hot enough and what hot water you
have is never in abundant supply. Many circus performers that have the
advantage of working indoor shows opt to use the facilities, if any,
offered by the venue they're playing or the showers at some state
campgrounds, K.O.A.s, etc.. If you are a performer who is NOT traveling
by trailer you MUST use these options exclusively or pay the extra
costs of getting a motel room every night. I was one of the latter type
of performers.

Sleeping in my van and showering at schools,
truck stops, and campgrounds can sometimes be fine. Eventually you get
to know the value of a dollar by how much a truck stop charges to use
their shower. You also get an idea for how nice the shower will be that
way. My advice, stay away from the $3.00 shower! They have lousy
pressure, are filled with bugs, and they don't always have doors
preventing you from staying long (cheap bastards).

sometimes have clean facilities but they're filled with other special
features like these push-in faucets that only keep the water running
for about 3-5 seconds at a time, presumably to conserve water (cheap
bastards). My advice on campgrounds, stay with the brand-name family

More often than not you find yourself hoping the
school building you play will have a real shower. You can't always ask
for hot water as schools like to keep the water heater off when not in
use (cheap bastards). Two bits of advice here.

A) Try to use the coachs personal shower if you want privacy AND hot
water. B) NEVER take a shower at a school in Kentucky. They treat
prisoners in that state better than they do students. Believe me,
athletes foot is the least of your worries in a Kentucky school shower.

Back in Illinois, where showers are usually adequate, I had decided
that a free shower was to be my bathing choice du jour. I was told that
this particular school had one hell of a great shower and, If I'd ever
done anything good at all in my life I OWED it to myself to use that
shower. Reviewing my life, indeed I had done something shower-worthy.

Now here's where our equestrian friend comes into play. We had a
trained horse on this show. I use the term loosely because the only
thing I'm SURE this horse was trained to do was aggravate his trainer,
but he was a trained horse nonetheless. In the show you try not to tip
the audience off as to what they'll see next in a show, so an animal
act is best received by making a surprise entrance. Normally these
entrances are done back stage, somewhere close to the door. At this
school, the back door was no where near our back stage area and the
best course of action was to bring the horse in from the locker room,
which WAS shielded by our curtains.

This practice wasn't uncommon. Usually the horse would be kept in the
shower stall. This worked out well because the animal could get a good
bath and if he had to relieve himself it would make for an easy
clean-up. I suppose I shouldn't say all this as I'm sure there are a
lot of folks now who are wondering if they've unknowingly showered in a
stall that had been sullied by a horse.

ventured over to the locker room, towel and sundries in hand, ready to
enjoy a hot and high-pressure shower. I got undressed and jumped right
in. It was a big shower as mens locker rooms NEVER have individual
showers like so many ladies locker rooms do (Just a bit of indignity
men are forced to endure while the fairer sex enjoys modesty. A lot of
mens rooms don't even have doors on the toilet stalls either. Oh the
humanity.). This shower wasnt huge, mind you, but it did have one
dividing 1/2 wall that provided a little privacy. As I lathered up and
relished the rising temperature and the fine water pressure, I heard a
distinct grunting noise from behind the partition. It was not that of
some pervert pleasuring himself or anything like that.

No, this was more of an animal noise. I stopped and was a little
shocked to hear this sound. I walked towards the wall and was most
amazed to see Gabby the Wonder Horse, walking towards me on a long
tether and most assuredly more interested in being where the running
water was than against the wall. I jumped back in hopes that the horse
wouldnt have enough lead to steal my hot water or step on me.

I've been around plenty of horses in my day but logic prevented me from
walking towards him in order to shorten his lead or turn on a faucet
for him. Lets face it, if he reared up and struck me, thered be a real
possibility that my Mother would have to get an unusual phone call
explaining that I was found naked & dead in a shower, lying next to
a horse. Even though my story would get printed in The Circus Report. I
shudder to think about the headline.

Eventually the horse
stopped, content to stay as close as he could get. He just stared at me
with that stare that is common among horses. There were no other
working faucets I could get to so I figured that if I was going to get
a shower on this day it would have to be extra one horse. Hell, he was
tied to a rail and couldnt get at me, so why not? Gabby, I said, I
normally get to know someone a little more before I shower with them,
but given the stay on your end and Ill stay on
mine. It seemed like a logical thing to say. Gabby grunted afterwards
and I took that as a verbal contract.

Gabby just stared at me,
occasionally moving and stomping his feet, walking as much as his lead
would allow. I turned towards him to wash my hair and rinse with my
head leaned back into the sprinkling stream of water. As I washed the
soap and water from my eyes I saw...well It appeared as though he was
looking at my crotch. Now I know that he probably wasnt looking there
but having never showered with a horse before I thought anything was
possible. It seemed likely, given the position of his neck and head,
that he was staring at my crotch.

Nervous and extremely
self-conscious I slowly turned away from Gabby. Before I could get back
to a posterior-facing position, Gabby brayed a whinny that sounded like
a laugh. I know, Im just superimposing a human trait onto this scene
but sometimes a horses call sounds like a laugh, dammit! I looked back
at him to make sure he wasn't getting ready to do something out of the
ordinary. Again I was met with a horse staring at my privates.

At that point the damn horse, uh, GREW somewhat in proportion. Well a
part of him did anyway. I was hoping that he wasn't getting sexually
aroused. What would my Mom think if she read that I was killed in a
shower by the only gay horse in all of Illinois? There's no Hallmark
card for THAT occasion! The horse grew to mammoth proportions, brayed a
laugh, and began relieving himself all over his section of the shower
floor. I was pleased to see that he wasn't horny, but a little upset
that he chose that moment to answer natures call. When he was finished,
he...uh, retracted his member, took one last look at mine, and turned
about with his rear now facing me.

I thought it to be something of a commentary about the size of my
manhood. I think just about any man would look at this gesture that
way, given that were all so insecure about such things. Of course, if
that wasnt a commentary from Gabby, then certainly the raised tail and
the forthcoming downpour of manure WAS! His opinion was now crystal
clear. No sir, he didnt like it! After a display like that, how could I
be anything but humbled? I finished my shower while holding my breath
and left.

When I got out of the locker room Gabbys trainer
stopped to warn me about the horse-infested shower. I let him know that
wed already met and I had clearly lost the pissing contest. He laughed
and we joked about the damage to my ego. I didn't tell him about the
mess waiting for him in the shower. Later the trainer came to me and
asked why I hadn't mentioned that Gabby had fouled the shower floor. I
just smiled and said, Who said anything about Gabby making that mess?
Near as I figured it was as close as I'd get to reclaiming some level
of dignity and achievement.

Andy Martello is a professional
comedian, juggler & plate spinner based out of the Chicago area.
His comedy recordings have been heard on 'The Dr. Demento Show' &
he's been seen on 'Last Comic Standing'. Many of the works published
here will be featured in his upcoming book, tentatively titled, Prose
& C.O.N.S..

For more info about Andy you can check out his website at