We arrived at
the ranch just before sunset. Curtis Langtry, my new foreman, set
about to get me settled in. I stowed my gear in a good size
locker in the back of a bobtailed truck. They had a long trailer
they pulled behind the truck that was used to store all the tack used
on the ranch. I threw my old working saddle in with the others.
showed me around and introduced me to the hands. First, he
introduced me to his second man-in-charge, Wade Mulligan.
Mr. Mulligan was a huge Irishman who looked like he was born to be a
cowboy. Other than Griz in Tucson, he had to be the second
ugliest man I ever met, but when he smiled his face lit up like a
beacon. He seemed like he was another gentle giant. I
certainly wouldn’t want him mad at me. He looked me deep in the eyes
and held my hand a little longer than socially called for. He
seemed to study me while my granddad was telling him about me.
Finally, he spoke in a booming bass voice,
“Glad to have
you, Casey. If’n you need anything,— git chore’self lost or
confused, come to me, and I’ll git chu’ straightened out.”
I knew what he
meant, but I laughed to myself and thought, “You’re way too late for
‘straightening’ me out, hoss.’
Mulligan. I’m glad to be here, and I’ll keep that in mind.”
There was two
naturalized Mexican-Americans, Jamie Garcia and Gabe (Gabriel) Espesito
who my granddad introduced me to next. They seemed like decent
men and spoke English as well as Mexican.
There were two
wet-backs who spoke little English and relied on Jamie and Gabe to
interpret for them. They saw no need to learn the language of the
gringo. Their names were Jesus Fuentes and Esteban Pesado.
Unfortunately, I got bad vibrations from both men. They looked at
me like I was a prairie chicken ripe for the stew pot. They had
funny little smiles that were more like sneers than a friendly,
well-met, welcome smile. They made me think of two rattlesnakes,
poised and ready to strike.
Next my granddad
introduced me to two middle aged cowboys whom I also took an instant
dislike to. Their names were Randle Taggart and Quince
Rattle. Taggart and Rattle; together, their names sounded like a
shyster law firm. I shook their hands and told them it was good
to meet them.
another man away from the rest of the men coming out of his
‘cowboy condo’ for the night. A cowboy condo is a fairly large
canvas tee-pee the ranch provides for the hands. They could
easily be torn down and moved from place to place. Usually there
were two men to a ‘condo.’
This cowboy was
a tall black man who looked like he might have come from the Zulu or
Watusi tribe in Africa. He was very black, but he was also a fine
looking black man. He wasn’t as buffed as Lamar, but he was a big
man. He was a little older man and had some tufts of grey hair
sticking out from under his cowboy hat. Curtis introduced him as
Sam (Samson) Roone and of all the men I was introduced to, he seemed to
be the most genuine. He wasn’t overly gushing, but he was polite,
well met and friendly.
“I’ve heard good
things about you, Casey. It’s good to have you with us. I
hope you like working for the Lazy 8. It’s one of the best
outfits around and Mr. Langtry is a fine boss to work for. Do
your job, keep your nose clean, and you won’t have no problems.”
He spoke to me in what sounded like a British or Jamaican accent.
“Thanks, Sam, I
appreciate your welcome and advice.” I told him.
Sam smiled at me
with a row of perfect teeth as he shook my hand. He walked and talked
with me and my granddad as Curtis took me to view the remuda. I
enjoyed hearing Sam talk. While he seemed to have the cowboy
lingo down pat, he had a musical flow to his words that was clear and
I was surprised
by the number of ponies in the remuda for only a dozen hands.
There must have been close to a hundred ponies. Curtis explained
they liked to have that many so they don’t overwork any pony. They
recommend the cowboys change mounts every day to give the one they rode
the day before a rest. I sent out feelers into the remuda as I
was standing there listening to Curtis and Sam discuss some things.
I’m Casey. I’m new, but not an inexperienced rider. I’m
owned by a fine pinto pony named Rocky. (I flashed a picture of Rocky
to them.) I’d like a volunteer to be my partner tomorrow.>>
I got back all
sorts of static and a few words; mostly negative. I got back
several names the ponies called themselves. One big, dark red
roan gelding standing in front of us eating some hay, stopped
eating and walked up to me, looked me up and down, introduced himself
as Big Red, then lowered his head for me to pet him. I talked to
him for a minute and called him by his name.
Red, I appreciate you welcoming me. That’s real decent of you. I
wish some of the man-stallions were as nice as you. I’d be
honored and right proud to have you as a partner tomorrow.”
Sam and my
granddad’s mouths dropped open.
“How’d ju’ know
the pony’s name, Son?” My granddad asked.
“He’s big and a
deep red roan. H’it stands to reason his name is ‘Big Red,’ Mr.
Langtry.” I winked and smiled at him as I continued petting Big
“He can be an
ornery cayuse, Son. I don’t know’s you wanna’ start off with him.”
“A pony is only
as ornery as the man what rides him, Sir.” I said softly.
Sam looked at my
granddad and smiled. “Looks like the man has some horse sense
himself, Mr. Langtry.”
“I’ve seen him
do some pretty remarkable things with his pony, Sam. I think he’s
gonna’ fit in right well here.”
The cook rang
the triangle for chow and all the cowboys headed for the chuck
wagon. Curtis pulled the cook aside and introduced him to me.
here, man is our cook, nurse, psychologist, interpreter of dreams, and
spinner of great yarns. He’s been with us a long time. I’d
like you to meet Mr. Will Shott. Will, I’d like you to meet our
new hand, Mr. Casey Longhorn.”
Will said as he took my hand. He looked me up and down, smiled
and shook his head. I saw in the man’s eyes something
clicked. He knew my name and possibly had a clue to my real
identity; however, Will was a cowboy. He wasn’t about to say
anything in front of the boss.
“Now that’s what
I call a real name for a cowboy. Good to meet cha,’ Son.
Jes’ call me Will, Casey. I’m too damn old to worry about
Shott,— Will.” I laughed and added. He grinned real big and
went back to what he was doing.
of barbecued cabrito (young goat) with red beans, potatoes and whatever
you wanted to drink. There was iced tea, coffee and milk. I
got a cup of milk with my supper and went off to eat with Brett and
Curt. Big Sam and my granddad joined us. I like buffalo and
venison, but I’m not a big fan of mutton or goat; however, the
barbecue sauce Will made and cooked the meat in disguised its
recognizable taste. The food was tasty and there was plenty of it
if you wanted more. I didn’t. One helping was enough for
It was a warm
evening so the only fire for the evening was Will’s cook fire. The
stars started coming out, and it was like being in a planetarium.
It was an awesome sight to behold. It was like a blanket of stars
and lights replaced the sun. I’d forgotten how much it impressed me
when Dwayne and I spent our two summers cowboying for my cousin Rance.
I dropped my
bedroll in the empty condo next to Brett and Curt’s before chow call
and decided to wait until after supper to get set up for the
night. I wish I’d done it earlier as it was a bit more difficult
in the dark.
Mr. Langtry advised me if I ever had to help move the tee-pee condos to
be sure and move mine within the perimeter of the other men’s.
That way I’d be pretty safe from having something drop on me during the
night. I thought he was kidding and laughed.
kidding, Casey.” Commented Sam, “We don’t talk about it much
outside the ranch; most folks ‘ud think we’s crazy, but every
other month or so we hear cows being dropped out of the sky. We
find ‘em the next day mutilated and their bodies completely drained of
blood. There’s no foot prints, truck tracks or any other kind of
About a year
ago, one of the Mexican cowboys on guard at night says he saw a couple
of cows being lifted into the air by a beam of light into a dark hole;
however, he said he didn’t see no aircraft or nothing. That night
the cows were dropped back to the ground and not far from where we was
sleeping. It woke everybody in camp up. It’s jes’ best to
bunk it in closer to a fire. Cook keeps a fire going most all
night and the men on night-guard feed it from time to time.”
I didn’t like
the sound of that. Whoever was doing it didn’t matter, it was
theft and it was hitting me in my pocketbook.
heard of cattle mutilations, but I ain’t never seen one. Any one
have any ideas who or what’s doing it?” I asked.
some pretty wild ideas floating around among the men, but nobody knows
anything for sure.” Added Curt.
* * * * * * *
I wondered about
Brett and Curt bunking it in the same tee-pee and how the other cowboys
might look up on it. I asked Brett about it while we were still
at the sheriff’s ranch and he told me it’s not uncommon for two cowboys
to bunk it in together in the same tee-pee since they were designed for
two men. Whatever anyone wanted to make of it is there own
business and what Brett and Curt choose to do is their business.
No one ever said anything about it. If a man is a good cowboy, no
matter what he might think, another cowboy is due his respect as a man.
On a ranch you
go to bed early and get up before dawn. It felt like I no sooner
got to sleep when Mr. Mulligan was making the rounds to wake the
hands. I managed to stumble out of my bedroll and get
dress. Then I rolled up my bed, packed it away in my locker and
was ready for breakfast. Will all ready had coffee made and trays
of fresh eggs, bacon, ham and hot cakes if you wanted them. I was
advised to eat a good breakfast because sometime lunch was eaten on the
run and most times consisted of sandwiches with a mug of milk,
coffee or tea. The two main meals of the day were breakfast and
Wade Mulligan introduced me to two more cowboys, a small man and a
native American who was asleep and was awakened about the time we went
to bed to ride guard on the herd during the night to keep the cattle
quiet. They would ride nights for a week and then two other cowboys
would rotate. So once every three months your sleep pattern was
thrown off for a week of night riding.
The small man
was named Art Fern and went by the name ‘Preacher man,’ although, he
assured me, ‘he weren’t no preacher!’ He didn’t elaborate on how
he got that name, but he was used to everyone calling him that.
He seemed pleasant enough, but he also seemed really tired. He
was more interested in eating and getting his ass to bed.
The second man
was obviously a native American. Wade introduced him as Garth
Yellowhawk. He preferred to go by the name ‘Hawk.’ He was
quiet but friendly and made me feel his welcome was sincere. He
was, also, preoccupied with eating and hitting the sack.
I got my old saddle out of the tack trailer and followed the rest of
the men to the remuda. I left my lasso with the rest of my tack
and just took my saddle with me.
need your lasso to rope a pony to ride today, cowboy.” One of the
two men I didn’t care for named ‘Taggart’ spoke me.”
“Naw, I don’t
need it,— but thanks.” I walked on with my saddle. They were all
going with their lassos before they got their saddles out.
tenderfoot.” He muttered in disgust and turned back to his buddy
to laugh about me. “I got twenty bucks says he has to go git his
rope.” He said so everyone could hear him.
“I’ll take that
bet, Taggart.” spoke up my granddad.
“Me, too,— I’ll
be happy to take twenty from you, Tag.” Barked Brett at him.
“I don’t know
the man, but I’ll bet on him, Taggart.” said big Sam.
“Yore’ on,— all
of you! Easy money,— suckers!”
I walked up to
the remuda and who should be waiting for me but Big Red.
“Morn’n, Red.” I
spoke to him, “You’re look’n fine this morning. You ready to be
my partner today?”
The big pony
stamped his feet and shook his head up and down like he was
ready. The rest of the men stood there and watched in awe as I
bridled and saddled Big Red without him moving so much as a foot away
from me. When I finished I reached in my pocket and brought out
an apple I got in the food line and slipped it to him when no one was
Red.>> I projected <<I appreciate you coming through for
to work with you today, rider. I’m here,— ready to go. I got a
bad reputation. Some a’ them idiots wouldn’t know a good piece of
horse flesh if it sat on ‘em.>>
I laughed at his
take on some of the cowboys as I swung up into my saddle ready to
work. The rest of the men were still chasing a pony with their
lassoes. Only one man,— Sam,— caught his ride for the
day. There was much laugher and praise from those who bet on
me. There was much razzing and laughter at Taggart.
sucker now, Tag?” Asked Sam.
for the easy twenty bucks, Taggart. I can use it about
now.” Said Brett.
too.” added Curtis to Taggart. Taggart was grumbling and
cursing. He was the last to rope a pony.
I rode over to
Taggart after I saw him toss his rope for the fifth time and miss.
“Need any help,
there, cowboy?” I asked real friendly-like and grinned real big.
“Go to hell,
tenderfoot!” He shot back.
“As you wish,
buckaroo.” I rode off on Big Red laughing.
deserved that, Casey.>> Red projected to me. <<He’s ain’t
good enough to be a horse’s ass.>> Red turned to look at me and
laughed. I liked this pony. He had a good sense of humor.
Sam rode over to
me. “How’d ju’ do that, Casey?” He asked.
jes’ asked Red last evening if’n he’d be my partner today. He
told me he would, and he was kind enough to keep his word.” Red
snorted and shook his head in agreement. Sam didn’t miss it either.
damned. Well, thanks for the extra twenty bucks, cowboy.”
“Don’t thank me,
Sam. Thank my partner, here.” Once again Red shook his head
in agreement. Sam almost fell off his pony laughing. He
reached over and patted Red.
Red, I owe you one.” Big Red laughed.
* * * * * * *
We spent all day
rounding up cattle and finding strays. Big Red was a master at
convincing ornery critters they should go the way Red and I wanted them
to. He was a good pony and worked hard all day. I watered
him often and shared my piece of fruit I had for lunch with him.
rider. That was good. Sorry about that critter I let get by
me a while ago.>>
Red. Ya’ done fine. It was a rocky slope with loose
gravel. You lost your footing. I’d rather the son of a
bitch got past us than you fall’n and injuring yourself. No
heroics with me, pod’na’,— only hay and oats cowboy stuff. We
ain’t at no rodeo, Red.>> Red snorted and laughed.
decent man, Casey. Y’ain’t gonna’ have no problem git’n a pony to
work with you. ‘Socks’ all ready done told me she’d be right
proud to work with ya’ tomorrow. She’s a good gal, you’ll like
great, Red. I appreciate you spread’n the word.>>
have to. They’s all tuned into you’n me. They know how
you’re doing. They’re bicker’n about who’s gonna’ git to claim
you for a rider after ‘Socks.’ If’n they gits to work with you,
means they don’t have to work with one a’ them assholes. Brett,
Curt, Sam, second stallion-in-charge, Hawk, and Preacher man ain’t
bad. Yore’ grandsire is one of the best riders next to
about Mr. Langtry being my grandsire?>>
We tuned into your thoughts when you got here. We could see and
hear how you worship him. He’s a good man-stallion, Casey.
Your ‘owner’ was right. You stay man-colt for while longer. Learn
from your grandsire. Let us teach you some things. We take
good care of man-colt.>> Red stamped his feet for emphasis.
my ‘owner’ I would stay a man-colt for a while longer, Red, and I’d be
honored to have ya’ll teach me. How else is a good man-colt
gonna’ become a good man-stallion if’n he don’t have help from his
friends who know about that sort a’ thing.>>
Red and I worked
steady and hard all day. I couldn’t have been prouder of him when I
rubbed him down and made sure he got fed well. I took my time and
gave him a good rub down. ‘Socks’ was standing right there
rider, for the good rub down. Them boarder hoppers and two
stink-stallions give a lick and a promise.>>
deserve it, Red. Thanks for making my first day a good one.
I’ll look forward to work’n with ya’ again.>>
it, man-colt!>> He laughed.
Socks was a
pretty blonde filly with four white feet. She came to me and I
gonna’ bring me a treat tomorrow morning, man-colt?>> she asked.
they has fruit again like they done this morning,— I sure will,
Socks.>> She nudged me to pet her some more.
“That yore ride
for tomorrow, Casey?” Sam asked as he walked by.
“I hope so,
Sam. She’s a beauty ain’t she?”
“Socks is a good
pony. She’s been good to me. You treat her right, she’ll
treat you right and give you solid day’s work.”
really think I’m pretty, Casey?>>
the prettiest fillies I ever did see, Socks.>>
Who let the bull in the remuda to stink up the place?>> I heard
some pony comment about my remark to Socks. I laughed.
up!>> she rebuked them. <<If Casey thinks I’m pretty,
that’s good enough for me.>> She laughed and nuzzled me again to
pet her some more.
* * * * * * *
I was surprised
the ranch had toilet facilities and showers. The ranch my brother and I
worked on in Montana for Cousin Rance didn’t have any
conveniences. I just expected the same for the Lazy 8.
There were four portable toilets situated over a deep open pit.
Their was a huge tractor with a a backhoe and a huge shovel in front
they drove from place to place. They’d dig a trench and drag the
toilets over the pit. They fill it in again when they left the
The showers were
a solar heated affair and there was warm water in the evening for
bathing. There were four shower stalls and an overhead pull
chain. You pulled once to wet yourself, soaped up and pulled
again to rinse off. It worked well and conserved water.
After I cleaned
up and got my bedroll set up for the night I went to see if I could
help Will with anything. After all, as part owner I had an
interest in making sure everything was running smoothly. Will
raised a suspicious eyebrow.
first cowboy who’s come and asked me if’n he could give me a
hand. God bless you, Son. I’ll take you up on your offer
if’n for no other reason than to git to talk with ya.’”
Will handed me a
potato peeler and a big sack of Idaho spuds. I knew to peel until
he told me to stop.
yore’ pa back in California? Vince Longhorn,— I believe his name
is?” I threw my arm across my mouth so he couldn’t see my
surprise, but I couldn’t help but laugh. He pointed a finger at
me and laughed with me like we were playing “Battleship” and he just
sunk my fleet.
“My daddy’s jes’
fine, Will,— thank ya’ very much. My little brother is home
taking good care of him. I done know’d ju’ knew who I was when I saw
that look in yore’ eyes yesterday evening. Thanks for not giving
me away, pod’na.’” I smiled at him. “How’d ju’ know?” I asked
Sticker, Sid and me goes back a long ways. I was the one what
found Sticker to take care of yore’ little brother. Actually, it
didn’t happen quite that a’ way. Logan found him, I jes’
introduced Sticker to his daddy. Sticker’s all the time tell’n me
about Logan’s wonderful brothers Casey Longhorn and Dwayne
Harding. Ya’ cain’t fergit a cowboy what’s name is ‘Longhorn.’
Sticker told me Logan done taught his brothers how to use their gifts
they didn’t know they had.”
I smiled and
winked at him.
“That’s how you
won that bet for them men this morning,— ain’t it? That pony was a’
wait’n for you. You done lined that pony up to be yore’
partner last evening,— didn’chew.”
I just grinned
real big and lowered my head to peel a potato.
“Them be mighty
pretty blue contact lenses you be a’ wear’n, cowboy.”
Will knew it all
and had me roaring with laughter. The old man was no dummy.
“Do you know why
I’m wear’n ‘em, Will?”
“Don’t know fer
shore’ but Sticker done told me about them violet eyes a’ yorn,’ and he
wondered if’n Curtis Langtry might be related to you. Then after
the stories I told him and how much yore’ daddy hates his old man, he
never said nothing to Curtis or you about it. He thought Curtis
might be yore’ granddaddy, but it weren’t his or my place to tell you
or yore’ dad. Sticker reckoned if’n you wanted to know bad enough
you’d come a’ look’n for Curtis. Shore’ nuff you did.” This
time Will laughed. “But, that ain’t all I know’d about chu,’
“Lord help me,—
I’m afeard to ask,— what else do you know, Will?”
“I know’d who
the owner and executive board members of Hensly Agrocon is.”
shit! Did my little brother spill the beans? I’ll wring his
neck the next time I see him. He was the one what told me to keep it
secret.” I laughed. Will knew I was kidding.
Son. It was Sidney’s male secretary what done figured ya’ll
out and Sid told me; however, he ain’t told Sticker yet. Sticker
don’t have no clue. Sid told me
when his secretary come to him and comminced to tell him what he
discovered, he damn near laughed his ass off. Told me he laughed
so hard he cried.
follow’n you ever’ step of yore’ journey. He know’d where you is
and what chur’ doing at all times. You think it was by chance you
run into them bikers at that gas station in Tucon?” Will slapped
his leg, pointed his index finger at me like a gun to shoot me, and
Sid didn’t count
on you and Waddie Claymore fall’n in love, but he laughed when he found
out and wished you both well. Sid was pleased. He thought that
big cowboy/biker jes’ might teach you a thing or two. From that
silly grin on yore’ face I’d suspect Sid was right.” Will
laughed again, and I couldn’t help laughing, too. He was right, I
did fall in love with Master Waddie and learned a lot from him about
life, roping, male bonding, and love.
“You don’t know
it, Son, but yore’ being watched over even as we speak. There’s a
reason why, too, but I cain’t tell you about it without betraying Sid’s
confidence. I ain’t about to do that. You’ll find out soon
enough. Anyways, Casey, it’s so damn good to finally meet chu’
and have you here. You’re a welcome addition to this place.”
Will. I’ve heard Mr. Wainright speak of you many times, but I was
slow to make the connection until Big Red told me this afternoon while
we was brush pop’n.”
ponies! They never could keep no secrets!” Will said disgustedly.
Will and I
laughed again. Curtis and his second, Wade, came to see what all
the hilarity was about.
“Aww, I’s jes’
tell’n our new hand, here, one a’ my cowboy tales; but, I’s charge’n
him boss. I ain’t tell’n none a’ my stories fer free no more. I’s
make’n him peel spuds for supper.” Will laughed again almost as
see you put ‘em to work, Will. He done good today.”
Langtry. Hope I’ll be an asset to ya.’”
“Ain’t no doubt
in my mind;— yores, Wade?” He asked his second.
He done right well for his-self today. I still wanna’ know how he
got Big Red to do some a’ the things he done. Ain’t never seen
that pony perform like that. I about done give up on him.
Sam told me you all ready got a pony lined up for tomorrow. Is
that right, Son?” Wade asked me.
“Yes, Sir, Mr.
Mulligan. Socks told me she’d be right proud to partner me
tomorrow.” He looked at me funny, then thought I was fun’n with
him and laughed.
“You won’t be
laugh’n tomorrow morning when he walks out to the remuda, Socks is
for him, and all he has to do is bridle and saddle her.” My
granddad chuckled. “Hope ole Taggert wants to bet again. I
could shore’ nuff use me another twenty bucks. Which reminds
me,— I better git me on over there and be collecting on today’s
bet before he runs out a’ money.” He walked away with Wade
laughing and talking with him.
got nary a clue.” said Will shaking his head, then chuckled. “But
that’s as it should be fer right now. I hope and pray you two
become a blessing to each other, Son, and maybe yore’ daddy kin find it
in his heart to forgive him.”
“I pray for the
same, Will.” I told him in all seriousness.
“Curtis used to
be a bastard, but he’s changed. He’s a good man today. I got him
his job, here,— as a cowboy on the ranch when he came back to the area
after being an outlaw biker for several years. He fell in love
with a young man who returned from Nam with his face almost plumb blown
off, but the kid was the bonded slave of another outlaw biker who was a
bad man. Broke yore’ granddaddy’s heart, he did.
Curtis come to
me look’n for a job. He wanted to be a cowboy again. I told
Sticker to hire him,— to give him a chance. It was one of the
smartest decisions ole Sticker ever made. Hell, yore’ granddaddy
weren’t never a biker at heart. Once a cowboy, always a
cowboy. He rolled his bike into the barn up to the big house,
covered it with an oil cloth, and it ain’t been out since. I know’d yore’
granddaddy all his life, and I know’d yore’ daddy and his little
brother what was killed in Nam. Yore’ the spit’n image of Seth
Quee, Son. I’m surprised Curtis cain’t see it. Maybe
God’s blinded him to it for a reason.”
“He’s said a
couple a’ things to other men he thinks I look like a young cowboy he
knew and loved a long time ago. I know he must be think’n on my
Will raised an
eyebrow and slowly shook his head. I peeled a lot of potatoes
until Will hollered stop. I washed them, cut them up, put them in
a huge cook pot he handed me and he put them over the fire to boil. I
helped him with a couple of other things. He was delightful
company. I fell in love with the old man that evening.
Usually it takes a good hot fucking to make me fall in love with a
cowboy, but Will Shott was a special man;— a true man of the old West;—
a genuine cowboy.
about yore’ situation,— here you is, work’n for yore’ granddaddy;— he
don’t know it, but he’s work’n for you. Funnier yet, here you is
my boss man, and you’s cut’n up ‘taters for me.” Will slapped his
leg and got flour all over himself and laughed. I laughed with
him. He was infectious with his sense of fun. “Tells me a lot
about chu,’ Son. Tells me yore’ a true cowboy; not jes’ some wanna’
be. Jes’ a word of warning, though. Watch out for Taggart
and Rattle, and them two boarder jump’n beans, too. They ain’t
good men. I ain’t said nothing to him, but I don’t know why
Curtis puts up with ‘em.”
“Thanks for the
tip, Will, but I got them four pretty well sized up when I met
‘em. A man what don’t genuinely welcome a new buckaroo ain’t no
“You’re wise for
yore’ age, Casey.”
“My daddy done
taught me the cowboy way, Will.”
“He learned it
from the best, Son.”
* * * * * * *
When my head hit
my bedroll, I died. I didn’t realize how tired I was until Wade
came around before sunup to wake us. We had breakfast and headed
out to the remuda again. I carried my saddle and noticed Taggart
and Rattle stood back and watched. Standing by the fence rope was
Socks waiting for me. I greeted her and proceeded to bridle and
saddle her with no problems.
forget my promise, Socks.>> I told her as I slipped her a
Bartlett pear. She took it and ate it quickly enjoying its
know,>> she flashed back,<< I could smell it in your
pocket. Thanks, Casey. It was good.>> she giggled.
well with me. She was a little more sure footed than Red;
however, to be fair to the big roan, she was a smaller pony and had
less to navigate. Nary a cow or dogie got past Socks.
The days began
to fly by. I guess the wet-backs really didn’t like me, or
thought I was trying to show them up. One evening I sat up my
bedroll a little early and went to the showers. When I came back
I saw them walking away from my condo, zipping up their jeans, laughing
and slapping each other on the back. I went to investigate,
and the sons of a bitches pissed in my sleeping bag. I didn’t say
anything, but just asked around if anyone had an extra bedroll.
Wade and Curtis kept extra bedrolls around all the time. I sat
mine out to dry and used the borrowed one. I’d take mine with me
on my weekend off and wash it in Cindy’s washer.
The next night I
waited until the two wet-backs went to chow and loaded their sleeping
bags with fresh, juicy cow pies. I put them way down to the end
so they wouldn’t notice until they slipped into them. Everyone in
camp heard them cursing and carrying own. They pulled on their
jeans and boots and headed straight for my tent to confront me.
They had blood in their eyes they were so angry. They walked
toward me with their fists clenched. I was ready for them, but
before they could get there big Sam stepped in front of them.
“Hold it right
there, hombres. Y’ain’t gonna’ do nothing to Casey. Ya’
pissed in his sleep’n bag last night. My condo’s right across from
his. I watched ya’ll do it! Paybacks is a bitch. You
should a’ know’d better. What chu’ sow, so shall you reap.”
They were going
crazy with their Mexican gibberish, shouting at Sam and me when Gabe
walked up to interpret. By that time the whole camp gathered
“Is that why you
asked to borrow a sleep’n bag, Casey?” Wade Mulligan asked me.
My granddad was
standing back watching and letting Wade handle the situation.
“Is it true,
Gabe. Did them two piss in Casey’s bag?”
“Yes, Sir. Sam
saw ‘em do it, but they say they’s jes’ play’n a leetle practical joke
on ‘em. They say what he done was much worse.”
How practical is it to piss in another man’s bedroll? How is it
worse? Mexican piss or cow shit? S’all the same to me.
Seems to me like Casey was jes’ return’n the favor. Tell ‘em bastards
to go back to their tents and shut the fuck up. I don’t wanna’
hear no more about it. If’n they don’t like it, they can ride up
to the big house with me tomorrow morning and draw their fuck’n pay.
Them lazy bastards don’t do that gotdamn much work around here no ways.
They want the good money, but they don’t wanna’ have ta’ work for it.
They’re more trouble than they’re worth. You tell ‘em, Gabe, if’n they
don’t all ready understand, — I won’t put up with shit like that.
They got what was coming to ‘em.
If’n Casey had
come to me or Mr. Langtry, he would’ve been looked on as a tattletale
or a cry baby. He did what any good cowboy would do. He
took care of it himself. Now they wanna’ reek havoc on ‘em for
doing the same damn thing they done. I don’t think so, buckaroo,—
not on my watch. You tell ‘em if they got any ideas of get’n back
at Casey they better forgit ‘em. They’ll be headed back to
mother-Mexico faster’n a damn tick on a dog.”
Gabe told the
two wet-backs what Wade Mulligan said and they walked away mumbling to
themselves, cursing in Espanole. They didn’t get anyone to loan
them an extra sleeping bag either. I was warned not to loan them
anything. Everyone told me I’d never get it back.
I don’t think
they were a bonded pair. Brett and Curt didn’t either. They
saw themselves as macho caballeros who were only on this planet as a
gift to the female vagina. Any cowboy worth his salt would come
up and shake a man’s hand after he paid him back for some prank, and it
would be all over between them. They could become friends.
Not the jumping beans. They steered clear of me, but sneered at me a
lot from that time on like they smelled shit on their upper lip.
For a while, I’m sure they did. Aside from the other men’s
warnings, something inside me told me not to waste my time on them. It
would be like trying to make friends with a pair of Gila monsters.
I noticed they
would always ride together, whether it was herding the cows or brush
popping for strays. Sometimes they’d act like they were going
after strays, disappear and be gone for a couple of hours and then
return with no cattle. It was like wherever one went the other
went. Most all the other cowboys went after strays by
themselves. The wet-backs were drawing two salaries and doing the
work of one cowboy. That didn’t seem right to me; however,
cowboys don’t say nothing or complain about another cowboy. Being just
another cowboy, it wasn’t any of my business; however, owning a third
interest in the company made it my business. These suckers were
costing my company twice what an average cowboy made and only doing the
work of one. I could put up with them knowing their days on the
Lazy 8 were numbered.
* * * * * * *
Two weeks went
by like a short freight train and it was Friday morning. The previous
weekend, Matt Mulligan and six of the other cowboys had the weekend
off. The rest of us had to tend the cattle; however, weekends on
the ranch was a lot less work and Sundays were free days to do what you
wanted. There still was a couple of men needed to ride night
watch, but that was scheduled.
brought his food over to the picnic table where I was eating my
breakfast and sat across from me.
don’t usually give a man a weekend off until he’s been here a month,
but I’m gonna’ make an exception with you. I know you got clothes
to clean and the following Monday all the extra hands are gonna’ be
here for fall round up. I figure you didn’t bring that many
clothes you can go another two weeks. Some of these men, it
wouldn’t make no difference; however, I know you have good hygiene
habits, and I ain’t never see’d you wear the same clothes two days in a
I get pretty dirty ever’ day, and I’m jes’ about out of clean clothes.”
“If’s a cowboy’s
doing his job, he should git dirty ever’ day; however, when we
start fall roundup ain’t nobody gits a weekend off for two weeks, and
it’ll be another two weeks before our rotation comes around again. So
it’ll be a full month before we can get away from the ranch to take
care of personal things. It’s a tough hall, but that’s jes’ the way
it’s gotta’ be. You may wanna’ think on wear’n your clothes more’n one
day. So, that’s why I’m making an exception. It would make
it too damn long for you not to have a weekend off in a month and a
that, Mr. Langtry.”
after lunch get chore’ shit together ‘cause the truck’ll be here and
you can ride into town with the other men who have the weekend
off. Brett and Curt have been invited to stay with Sheriff
Claymore and his family this weekend, but I’m going on down to Bubba’s
to stay the weekend with him, his boys and O.C. Harris. I
think you’ve met Mr. Harris.” My granddad raised an eyebrow and
grinned real big. He was joking with me. I wasn’t about to let
him get away with it.
“Don’t know ‘em
too well, Sir, but I’ve met him, and he seems like a fine man. I
think he’s one hell of a cowboy.” I grinned back. Curtis
laughed at me.
sheriff and his boys will bring you back to the ranch and stay the
night. Gip’s got to git back but his boy’ll be ready for the next
morning’s work. Bubba, his boys and O.C. will bring me back and
stay the night.”
“I know you stay
with the sheriff and his family sometimes, Mr. Langtry. Would it
be inappropriate to invite you to bunk it in with me in my coach at the
looked me deep in the eyes and slowly smiled.
wouldn’t consider it if’n it was any other cowboy, Son, but I’ll be
honest with you,— I’d be down right proud and honored to bunk it in
“I was a hope’n
you might say that, Sir. After roundup, whenever you’re ready
jes’ let me know. I’d be pleased to have you as my guest, Mr.
We talked about
other things and were joined by Sam, Hawk, Preacher, Brett and Curt.
“What pony you
ride’n today, Casey?” Hawk asked me. Being a native American, he
was impressed with my skill with horses.
“I’m due to
partner with Sally Good’n. Ain’t never partnered with her before,
but she’s been a pester’n Big Red to let her partner with me. I
could get a surprise when I walk out there,— now that they know I got
the weekend off.”
“How would they
know that?” Sam asked me.
around.” I answered laughing. The other cowboys
“Yeah, but the
way you talk about the ponies is like ever’ damn one of ‘em’s yore’
friend, and you know ‘em all by name. You don’t talk about riding
‘em. You talk about partner’n ‘em. That’s unusual for a
cowboy, but you know what? It makes good sense to me. I been
think’n on them ponies differently since you come, and I swear to you,
it’s like something come over ‘em. I ain’t never got so much
cooperation from ‘em before.”
“We’ve noticed a
change.” said Curt, “Brett and I talked about it the other day.”
“Do you talk
with ‘em?” asked Hawk.
“Naw,— I hardly
ever say anything to ‘em.” I dodged his question.
“Then how do you
know so much about ‘em and only been here two weeks?”
“A pony’s a
pony, Hawk. I jes’ watch ‘em and figure out who they are and what
they’re all about. Jes’ like when you meet a man and you size him up as
a good man or a bad man. Some call it intuition, I call it a
feel’n I git.”
them wet-backs have a devil of a time with some a’ them ponies.
Taggart and Rattle don’t do much better with ‘em. How do you
account for that?” Hawk asked me.
“You kin figure
that one out for yourself, Hawk.” I laughed. “They think they’re in
charge, but they ain’t. Any one a’ them ponies got twice the
smarts of all four a them assholes put together.” Everyone
laughed at my comparison.
Casey. Stupid question. So you give control over to yore’
partnership,— but yes, ninety percent of the time I let my pony do the
work. He’s smarter’n me and has a faster reaction time.
That’s why we have ‘em, to help us do the work. The only thing
is, they’re doing most of it while we sit back and enjoy the ride. I
have a great appreciation for their skills and talents. My job,
as I see it, is like a man driving a train. He’s there to make
sure it runs at the right speed and stays on the tracks. The rest
he leaves up to the engine. If’n a cowboy keeps that in mind, he
won’t have to go out there and chase them ponies down to partner him.”
“Hell, I’m open
to new ideas,— anything to make my day easier,— I’m certainly will’n to
give it a try. That little dun colored mare we call Trixie and
me,— we got us a thing going. I really like her, and I git the
feel’n she likes me. I appreciate her work. I give her a
lot of latitude, but she works her butt off for me. She ain’t
been ridden in several days, but I’d shore’ like to have her partner
with me today. It would make for an easy morning.”
“Tell ya’ what,
Hawk. Slip one a’ them apples in yore’ pocket and take yore’
saddle out there with me without chur’ rope and I guaran-damn-tee ya’
she’ll be wait’n for ya.’”
Casey. I’ll try it. Hell, I’ll try anything once.” He
the rest of the cowboys watched as Hawk and I got our saddles and
headed for the remuda. Sure enough, there was the little dun mare
waiting for Hawk with love in her eyes. I thought the cowboy was
going to lose it, but he caught himself. He talked softly to her
and told her how pleased he was she wanted to partner with him
today. He told her it was to be a short day because he was going
away for the weekend. After he bridled and saddled her he gave
her his apple.
I got a surprise
when I got to the ponies. Sally Good’n was there but so was Big
Red. He told Sally she could wait a while longer, it wasn’t going
to be a full day anyway, and he wanted to partner me. I thanked
Red and after I got him saddled, I gave him his treat.
Hawk was agog
all morning. Every time he’d look over at me he’d give me a
‘thumbs up’ point to Trixie and grin. Then, he’d pat the little
dun on her neck. He couldn’t believe what I told him would come
true; however, he was bold enough to take the chance, and that’s all
the pretty little dun needed. Hawk never had another problem
getting a pony to partner him. He’d have a pony in mind he’d like
to partner, and they’d be there waiting for him. He was amazed
and a couple of the other cowboys began to do the same thing.
grandsire-boss-stallion let you leave ranch for a couple of
days?>> Red asked.
thankfully. I need time to clean my clothes so’s I don’t become
no stinky-stallion.>> I laughed.
man-colt.>> Red corrected me and laughed.
right, Red. Cain’t wait to see my ‘owner’ again.>>
lucky to own a man-colt like you, rider.>>
Red. I’m lucky to be owned by a pony as fine as
The morning flew
by and Wade gave us the high sign to ride in for lunch. I was feeling
sad to say goodbye to Red and the rest of the ponies. After I
rubbed Red down and fed him some extra oats, the other cowboys watched
as several of the ponies I’d made friends with gathered around me in a
circle for me to acknowledge each one to say goodbye. Hawk was
almost in tears when he told Trixie goodbye.
like I’m gonna’ be gone that long.>> I told them. It didn’t
seem to matter, they acted like they just needed my reassurance I’d
* * * * * * *
going into town for the weekend quickly ate lunch, got their gear and
loaded it in the back of the pickup truck. We all climbed in the
large crew cab and headed for Chapel Creek. On our way out, I saw
Bubba and his boys driving down the ranch road to pickup my granddad
for the weekend. We waved as we passed each other.
We arrived in
Chapel Creek at two o’clock in the afternoon. The driver pulled
up right in front of the sheriff’s station across the street from the
County Court house. We were getting our gear out of the back of
the truck when the sheriff, all his deputies, his secretary, little Gip
and Waddie Buck came out to greet us. Little Gip got to me first.
“Damn,— look at
chu’? Two weeks in the saddle and you’re brown as a
Mexican. Yore’ look’n good, cowboy! Jes’ ripe for
pick’n.” He laughed.
say.” Added Waddie Buck as he threw his arms around my neck and
hugged me. “Welcome home, brother. Missed the shit out a’ you.”
“‘Scuse me! Out
a’ the way there, Son. Let chur’ old man through. I need me
a big hug from this, here, cowpoke.”
I was laughing
at the three of them. It was so good to be away from the ranch
for a while and be back among the good folks I loved.
Gip Jr., here, and his little brother is gonna’ drive ya’ll on out to
the ranch. I’m gonna’ keep Casey here for a while. I need
to talk with him about some things, and I’ll bring him out with
me. Hawk,— if’n you ain’t got no place to stay for the weekend,
you’re welcome to bunk it in at the ranch. Ain’t a lot to do, but
the chuck’s pretty good.”
sheriff. Don’t mind if I do. Is it all right with you
guys?” Hawk asked Brett and Curt.
We said goodbye
to the driver from the Lazy 8 and he was on his way. Brett, Curt
and Hawk threw their stuff in the Claymore boy’s old pickemup truck and
got into the back with it. The boy’s truck had a single cab, but
it wasn’t a long ride out to the ranch. They waved goodbye, and I
told them I’d see them in a while. Gip picked up my duffle
bag, and I carried my plastic bag of dirty laundry inside the
Gip took me back
to his small, one bedroom apartment at the rear of his office.
“Stow your gear
in the living room, there, cowboy, and let’s us go on back to my
Gip sat my bag
on a couch, I dropped my bag of laundry and followed him back
into his office. He walked over and closed the big door.
“What chu’ got
to talk to me about, Sheriff?” I questioned.
“Not a damn
thing but to welcome you home.” Gip grabbed me, pulled me to him
and kissed me hard.
that was some welcome home. As long as it’s been I could eat chu’
right here. I ain’t been fucked in so long I’m afeard my ole
asshole’s grown shut. It’s beginning to squeak when I
fart.” Gip roared with laughter and we kissed again.
“Go in there to
the bathroom and look under the sink.” He ordered me.
I did as the
sheriff instructed and opened the door under the sink in his private
bathroom. Low and behold, there was my hygiene kit and
plug. I almost laughed my ass off as I walked back into his
office. He had a small glass of Comfort poured for me. He
grinned sheepishly as he handed me the glass.
this’ll put hair on yer balls. Welcome home, cowboy.”
Sheriff. It’s really great to be home.” He grinned at me
“Hope you don’t
mind. I took the liberty to enter your coach to find yore’ clean
out stuff and yore’ plug.”
“Would ju’ like
to tear yore’self off a big ole piece a’ cowboy butt this afternoon,
Lordy! Don’t talk to me like that, Son! I’m an old
man. You know’d I got me a weak heart. As the king sang,
‘Don’t be cruel.’”
Gip could barely
get the words out he was laughing so hard. He was on a roll. We
were laughing our ass’ off. “I ain’t thought a’ nothing else all
damn day but get’n into that sweet little cowboy butt a yorn. You
feel like give’n up a little piece to this desperate old man, Son?”
“Hell, you ain’t
no desperate old man. You’re one of the sexiest cowboys I ever
did meet. I’d be right proud and honored to give it up to you,
Sheriff;— all you can handle, cowboy. Are you through
for the day?”
yes! Once that door’s closed, them folks know I’m done for the
day. ‘Sides I got me a big ole slip bolt on it.” He grinned.
I’ll get in there and clean myself real good. I’ll holler at chu’
when I’m though.”
glasses in a toast, and I downed my Comfort. It relaxed me, and
made me feel really mellow. Gip poured me another two fingers to
take with me. Good thing,— I was going to need all the help I
could get to get my plug in my ass after two weeks. It took me a
little while but I did it. When I came out of his bath, the
sheriff was sitting on the couch with only his brown leather western
vest, his latigo bat wing chaps and his big buckaroo boots. I
damn near fainted. What a hunk! I’d missed the big man and
Gip stood and
opened his cowboy arms to me. I went to him and we embraced in a
passionate kiss that had both of our dicks fighting each other for
space between us.
“I hope you
ain’t a’ count’n on a lot of foreplay, Sheriff. I don’t think I
can wait that long to feel your fine cowboy dick up my butt.”
“I swear to you,
Casey. You’re gonna’ give this old man a heart attack.” We
pod’na.” I took him by the hand to lead him to the bedroom. Let’s
us mount up this posse and ride, sheriff.”
Gip fucked me
with a passion I’ve rarely experienced. He was primed and
ready. We reached a powerful climax, almost at the same time and
lay hooked together, talking, laughing and enjoying each others
company. Gip and I hadn’t had a chance to talk intimately in
quite a while, and I missed him. He was like a big, protective,
older brother to me, and I couldn’t help but love him. We didn’t
stay in the apartment long. I told him my door to the double ‘R’
was open to him all weekend.
that, Son, but I’ll probably have to take a number behind little Gip
and Waddie Buck.” We laughed.
We got into the
shower in his apartment bathroom, and I washed him good. Then, I
sucked the sheriff off in his shower. Gip had some mighty fine
tasting cowboy cream. It was strong and flavorful. All
afternoon I was humming to myself, ‘I got the sheriff’s shot, but I did
not suck the deputy.’
We drove out to
the ranch and everyone came out of the big house to welcome me.
Cindy got to me first with a big hug and a kiss. She was giggling
up a storm. She wasn’t dumb. She knew why Gip and I were
delayed getting to the ranch.
you can’t KNOW how happy I am to see you. Gimme’ a big ole hug and a
kiss.” Cindy giggled.
“I’ll jes’ bet I
can, Ma Claymore.” I laughed and smiled at her wickedly.
She knew she was going to get the snot fucked out of her later that
evening, and her twat was twitching.
They had supper
waiting for us, and the other cowboys from the Lazy 8 joined us. I left
my gear in the back of the sheriff’s truck and went in with them to
eat. We caught the family up on every thing that was going on at
the ranch, and we told them we were looking forward to little Gip and
Waddie Buck coming for roundup.
Hawk began to
tell Gip about me and the horses in the remuda and how I taught him he
didn’t have to bother roping one to saddle it anymore. Brett and
Curt were fast learning to do the same. Gip raised an eyebrow and
looked at me like he knew something.
Gip walked me out to the double ‘R’ and carried my bag for me.
Then, I walked with him to the barn to visit my ‘owner’ for a
while. Rocky was happy to see me and had a few choice comments
for his man-colt.
good with big-happy-man-stallion. He felt good way up your
colt-hole?>> I couldn’t help laughing out loud.
laughing at, cowboy?” The sheriff asked me.
my ‘owner’ told me.”
you talk’n about my dad?”
I’s talk’n ‘bout Rocky. He thinks on me as his man-colt and he’s
my owner. I cain’t say’s I don’t see his reasoning,— he’s brought
me around to his way a’ think’n, and truth be told, he is my
owner. He told me he wanted me to stay his man-colt for a while
longer. He’s got things he still wants to teach me;— so do the
ponies in the remuda at the Lazy 8. They tell me I’s lucky to be
owned by such a fine pony. I have to agree with ‘em.
What I’s laugh’n
about is, he’s with me most a’ the time and he experiences almost
everything I do;— and, I mean everything including what we done before
we come out here. He done told me the big-happy-man-stallion felt
real good way up my man-colt hole.”
both his feet, shook his head affirmative and gave a big horse
laugh. I couldn’t help it, I grabbed Gip’s arm and started
laughing again. I thought Gip was going to have a stroke he was
laughing so hard.
you talk to Rocky like Griz talks to animals. I watched you and
Rocky since you been here, and you two are too damn close not to have
some greater communication. I’ve seen, first hand, what Griz can
do with animals, and it never ceases to amaze me.”
* * * * * * *
After a big hug
and a kiss, Gip returned to the big house, and I walked back to my
coach. It was so great to be home in the double ‘R’ again. It
wasn’t a big space, but it was mine. I was going to enjoy my
weekend. It would be a month before I got another weekend
free. We got paid before we left. I hadn’t bothered to open the
envelope my check came in. I opened it and smiled at the
amount. How little money I was paid for two weeks of hard
work. My interest in my investment on the ranch for a couple of
days was more than I was paid for two weeks. I made a mental note
to see what I could do to raise the cowboy’s pay; get rid of the bad
ones and pay well enough to get good men.
* * * * * * *
The weekend went
by far too quickly, and I found myself back on the road to the ranch in
Gip’s big truck with his boys and the three cowboys from the Lazy
8. The weekend was fun and relaxing. We rodeoed a bit but
we also got a few things done for the sheriff around his ranch.
I got all my
clothes washed, folded and put away. I washed my two
bedrolls. Cindy gave me a big plastic garbage bag to tie up the
bedroll Wade Mulligan loaned me. I didn’t want to return it to
him dirty. I tied mine up as well to keep it clean while
transporting it back to the ranch.
* * * * * * *
We got to the
ranch and it looked like we were the last to arrive. Bubba, his
boys, Vince and Seth, O.C. Harris and my granddad were all ready
there. There was a couple more ranchers and their sons there and
one big man who towered over the rest,— Mr. Sticker Wiggins.
I almost dropped
my teeth, and I don’t wear dentures. I didn’t know he was coming
this year for fall roundup. I was a bit nervous as Curtis
introduced me to Mr. Hays and his boys, Jim and Justin; and, Mr. Cole
and his boy Bryce. I noticed Sticker patiently awaited his
turn grinning like a Cheshire cat with the mumps.
I could see Will
standing over near his cook trailer. He winked at me and
grinned. That’s all I needed to know he got to Sticker before we
arrived. Curtis proceeded to introduce Sticker to me as rancher from
another county who often helped with the roundups. (Well, he was
from another county,— in California.) Sticker smiled and stuck
out his big, ham of a hand and shook mine.
“Good to meet
cha,’ Mr. Wiggins.”
“Mighty nice to
meet chu,’ too, Son. Mr. Langtry done told me some good things
about chu.’ I’ll look forward to ride’n with you.”
“Same here, Mr.
Wiggins.” I almost laughed.
I was dying to
hug Sticker, and I knew he felt the same. The feeling
passed between us, but we managed to play it cool. Will all ready
filled him in. There was no need to tip my hand with my
granddad. Seeing someone from home was almost too much for me to
handle. I wanted to get him off by himself to talk with him.
introduced me to O.C. again with a big smile on his face.
“And I believe
you met Mr. Harris before, Casey. Hope ya’ don’t mind, Son, I
told him he could bunk in your tee-pee?” Curtis grinned at me
I wanted to hug
and kiss O.C. in the worst way, but I didn’t, I just stuck out my hand
and shook his like a proper gentleman cowboy.
“Fine with me,
Mr. Langtry. Good to met cha’ again, Mr. Harris.”
“Good to see you
again, Son.” O.C. smiled like a cat ready to eat the canary.
Bubba, Vince and
Seth were having none of my granddad’s introductions and were all over
me with hugs. It was like a family reunion. In a way, I
guess it was. I couldn’t have been happier to see them and
O.C. I wondered if O.C. had a chance to talk with Sticker before
we got there.
I took my gear
and threw it in my locker and headed over to the cook shack to give
Will a big hug and ask if I could give him a hand.
for running interference for me with Sticker.” I whispered to him.
better. We didn’t know ‘til the last minute if’n he was
coming. I didn’t think he was. I think maybe Sid urged him
to. When he found out you was here he grinned from ear to ear.”
O.C. came over
to talk with us and the next thing we knew Will had more help than he
knew what to do with. All the young cowboys wanted to be around
me and O.C. Harris for some reason. I guess they figured if Casey
volunteered to help the cook, it was good enough for them. Will
had supper ready in record time. At the beginning of roundup and
usually at the end, the ranch served prime t-bone steaks cooked over
mesquite that would melt in your mouth. Best steaks I ever had,
and you could eat as much as you wanted. One steak was enough for
me, but I watched Bubba and Gip pack away two.
Gip stayed for
supper and seemed to have a great time. I could tell he didn’t
want to leave. He wanted to stay and play cowboy in the worst
way; but, he hadn’t arranged to be away this year, and he had to get
back. Gip was a cowboy first and a sheriff second. It was just in
his blood. His daddy and granddaddy brought him up to be a cowboy
and taught him the cowboy way. While it made him a good cowboy,
it also made him fine sheriff, a loving and responsible family
man. After supper he said his goodbyes and drove back to
We settled in
for the night and O.C. and I retired to our condo. We had a lot
more room and privacy than I originally thought we were going to
have. Still, privacy was limited in the facilities, and I
couldn’t clean myself properly for anal sex. Didn’t seem to
bother O.C. a bit. We sucked one another off and lay there
talking for a while in each others arms.
“I’m so glad
you’re here, O.C. I’ve missed you.” I told him.
“Oh, Lord,— you
can’t know how much I’ve missed you, cowboy. I’ve never been one
to jack off a lot, but since that weekend with you in your coach, I git
ta’ think’n on it and have to go relieve myself to make the damn thing
settle down.” He
laughed. “Don’t git me wrong, Casey. Ain’t trying to scare
ya’ none or make you think I’m needy, Son. My daddy and your dad
taught me the cowboy way, and that ain’t to make demands on nobody, to
be thankful for the good what comes your way and not expect more than
is given to you.”
“I know that,
rider.” I smiled at him. “We both got other obligations.
It’s just like it was with Master Waddie, you’ll always own a part of
me, and I’ll always own a part of you. What we shared with my
uncle that last night few men ever get to experience. We became bonded
brothers of the first order.”
“I feel that
way, too, Son. I wanted to tell Curtis about it so bad, but you
know I wouldn’t. It has to come from you, Casey. For the
first time in a long time, yore’ granddad bunked it in at my place this
weekend, but we were with Bubba and his boys everyday,— all day.
We had a great time. All he could talk about was you, but that
was fine with me. He knew I wanted to hear all about what you
He teased me a
lot about our weekend. I’d jes’ grin and not respond. He
knows a cowboy ain’t never gonna’ tell what he done with his
buddy. I wondered if’n he might be test’n me. We slept in
separate rooms, but to be honest with you,— I would’ve accepted an
invitation to his bunk in a cow town minute.
I kept getting
the feel’n he wanted to tell me something, but he jes’ couldn’t come
right out and say it. I didn’t push him. I know better’n to
push a man like Curtis Langry. Before Bubba and his boys came by to
pick us up, I told him I loved him. He got a funny look on his
face, grabbed me, hugged me and told me he loved me, too. I ain’t
never see’d Curtis get so choked up about anything. He held me
like his heart was gonna’ break. He made me get all choked
up. I was embarrassed ‘cause I didn’t want him to see my tears.
It was an awkward but wonderful moment.”
“You think he
still has guilt feelings about not forgiving your dad?”
“He mentioned it
a couple of time during the weekend; how hard it was for him to live
with it. He asked me how he could not have forgiven a man he
loved all his life,— who was the loving symbol of his youth on which
all the other loves of his life were based;— a man, who brought him
such joy and happiness? Why did he harden his heart over such a
looking for forgiveness though you, rider.”
“I don’t know,—
I jes’ don’t know, Son. All I know is, I forgave him a long time
ago. I love him, but he’s the only one who can forgive
himself. I told him that, too. I told him I didn’t think my
dad would want him to live his life with that burden. He has
enough baggage he’s carrying around with him to worry about what
happened thirty-five years ago.”
We lay there
together and made a little more love, but we knew the dawn came
early. It was good to sleep with someone again; especially, a
good man like O.C. Harris. Before I drifted off to sleep, I
wondered what the greater significance of our relationship was my
uncle spoke about. A voice came to my head,
End of Chapter
37 ~ Texas Longhorns
Copyright 2005 ~