All the older
men said they thought the spring roundup was the best they ever
participated in. Sticker was pleased, and the last evening was
festive. Sticker pulled out all the stops and provided only the
best. We had prime steaks cooked over mesquite that melted in
your mouth. A good time was had by all. When a group of men
get together to cowboy it’s similar to the bonding Master Waddie told
me about the men in his family had. You really came to love and
appreciate each one for his talents, his uniqueness and
with me a lot during the roundup. I got to know him even better
than I had before. I always thought he was the image of the last
American cowboy, a drop dead, good looking man, but I never realized
the gentle nature of his goodness. He had a soft heart when it
came to children, or critters in pain. It really distressed
him. The afternoon before the roundup was over, he came riding
over to me again. We’d talked any number of times, and I think
Bart knew we were talking about private matters so he kept his
distance. He’d look over from time to time to see if we needed
“I’m going back
day after tomorrow. Rance and I are flying out of Chapel
Creek. I’s jes’ wondering if you wanna’ share a couple of your
ideas with me to take back and discuss with Sid?”
“Well, Sir,— I
suppose one a’ the main things would be time off,— ever’ other weekend
is a bitch. H’it’s the number one thing the cowboys talk about
being the hardest is not being able to be with loved ones and get away
from the ranch more often. I know the life of a cowboy has
certain unwritten rules that have become intrinsic with the lifestyle;
however, they were rules set down in the eighteen hundreds when
cowboying started with the long cattle drives of hundreds of miles to
get the cattle to a railroad to transport them to the Eastern
markets. The golden era of the cowboy and the long cattle drives
actually only lasted little more than a brief period of twenty years
until the railroads were built into most major cities of the west.
Since that time,
it’s progressed little for the men who dedicate themselves to the life,
but it’s my opinion, cowboys shouldn’t have to become hermits,
giving themselves over to a monastic order. Who’s to say
cowboying can’t evolve like everything else? Who’s to say a ranch
can’t be run more like a business than expecting men to dedicate their
lives for so little in return? My theory is, based on the number
of men we get to participate in the roundups, if we gave ‘um a little
more time to have some life away from the ranch, they just might stay
Other than the
roundups, you know there ain’t a hell of a lot what goes on around here
on weekends anyway. Saturday is a laid back day, and half
the day Sunday is spent in cowboy church. The afternoons are free
except for a couple ‘a hands what has to ride the cattle. I’ve
watched things and made notes on Myrtle May,—”
May’?” Sticker laughed.
May, my lap top.” Sticker thought that was funny. He asked me to
“I’ve made some
notes about how much a cowhand actually does here on weekends, and I
come up with the same amount of man power per ratio actually
needed. We got us a full compliment of cowboys with the younger
men with us; however, we’re gonna’ be losing them probably the Fourth
of July weekend. Waddie Buck said something about want’n to stay,
but his daddy done put the kabosh on ‘nat pert-damn quick at the end of
the roundup. I don’t blame Gip, he loves his boys, and he don’t
git to see much of ‘um when they’s working on the ranch; however,
that’s where my plan comes in. I think I might a’ figured out a
way we could keep more hands longer.”
“If we could
have a full complement of sixteen cowboys, not including Mr. Langtry
and Wade Mulligan, we could have a larger rotation of men off.
According to my figures, there’s really only need for four cowhands to
be here Saturday and Sunday. Four into sixteen is
four. Each man would have three weekends off in a row and
then pull duty for one weekend. They could plan their schedules
better and have a little more time to relax and get away.”
Curtis and Wade?”
forgitten 'bout them. If’n we could hire eighteen cowboys, you
got two men, Brett, and Sam, who are fine cowboys fully capable of
being a ‘lead’ cowboy over the four what pulls duty.”
“So you’d really
have five men handling the stock while the others go into town?”
“Yes, Sir,— plus
Will. However, even Will needs some time off. He don’t
hardly ever take no time off. The folks up to the ranch
house take care of his clothes for him.”
about Will later. What about an emergency situation?”
emergency situation, Sir.”
“Like a big
eighteen men do in a stampede five men cain’t?”
“You got a
point, and I cain’t think a’ no other major emergencies. What
about pay? You gonna’ dock the men for them two weekends a month?
They ain’t gonna’ be working them four days.”
“Naw, Sir. ‘At’s
part of the draw to keep men work’n for the ranch. I’ve figured it out
on an annual basis, and it don’t really cost that much more’n the
cost of two extra hands. For a ranch this size it ain’t a high
number of cowboys to have.”
“What do you
base your numbers on, Son?”
“H’it’s all in
Myrtle May. I got my figures from five of the largest ranches in
the county and two in Australia, the number of cowboys they have per
land size and number of head they run.”
“My Lord, you
got all that in your computer?”
I got it off’n the Internet and called the ranch foreman of each ranch
to talk with him and confirm it. I listed all the men I spoke
with, their addresses and phone numbers.”
“I e-mailed ‘um,
Sir. I got their replies in my information.”
“Hell,— I ain’t
never done nothing like ‘at. You present something like that to
ole Sid, and he’s gonna’ have you in a suit in a week, cowboy, I
guaren-damn-tee-ya.’” Sticker laughed. I knew he was kidding and
laughed with him.
“I tell you
what, cowboy,— can you send that information to Kevin?”
“Yes, Sir, I’ll
prepare a cover letter and a brief proposal.”
“It sounds like
a great idea, Casey. Sid and I been arguing over hiring
another couple of hands for over a year now. As far as I’m
concerned, if’n yore’ figures check out, I say let’s do it, but not
before we have a full complement of men to implement it. I’ll
talk it over with Sid and git back to you ASAP. How’s ‘zat sound?”
“Got any more
bright ideas, cowboy?” he said sarcastically then laughed.
Will’s git’n a little long in the tooth, and he cain’t do like he used
to. We’re help’n him out more and more. Now,— us cowboys is
fiercely protective of our cook for a number of reasons, and none of
‘um mind help’n him out. Sometimes he gits more help than he needs, and
he throws a couple out.”
“You think he
“Yes, Sir, he
cooks three meals a day, seven days a week and big meals on the
holidays. That’s when he needs his cowboy helpers the most.”
“What do you
full time cook and two cook’s helpers,— like apprentice cooks.”
“How do you
think that would make Will feel? Sid and him go way back to when
they rode this ranch together as cowboys. I know’d him for
a number years before Sid and I got his sorry ass off’n his ranch to
work for us. He was sit’n there dying of loneliness and grief
over his boy he lost in Nam. He’d be dead now if’n it weren’t for
this ranch. You think it’s gonna’ make him think we’re trying to
replace him? Sometimes when a man like Will don’t have no work to
do and being around folks, they fold up and die. You men are like
family to him. I’d shore’ hate to lose me one of the best friends
Sid and I ever had.”
“I don’t think
you would, Sir. Put him in charge. Let him prepare the main
meal of the day, which is always supper or Sunday dinner. Let the
helpers help both of ‘um, and— ”
lemme’ guess.” Sticker interrupted me, “ There’s four cooks so
they gits the same weekend rotation as the cowboys.”
“I done told
Will you’s a lot smarter than he allowed ju’ was.” I winked at
him. Sticker almost fell off his pony laughing.
“Make Will head
cook and let him prepare the main meal of the day. If them
cowboys didn’t have Will’s catfish once a week, they’d revolt.
After a hard day in the saddle, they’s pert-damn revolt’n anyhow.” I
laughed. Sticker laughed, too. “Let the other cook fix
breakfast and lunch. On Sundays he can fix breakfast and supper.”
“Makes sense to
me. I suppose you done run some numbers.”
“Yes, Sir, I
have and Will’s due for a raise. He ain’t had no raise in two
years. That’s too long for the amount of work he does.”
right, I’ll discuss it with our partner. Send that info to
Kevin, too, if you will. Anything else?”
asked,— Wade Mulligan ain’t had no raise in two years neither.
He’s a damn good cowboy, he works his butt off, and he works well with
Mr. Langtry and the other cowboys. All the men respect him.”
okay! That’s a good suggestion, too. I wonder why Curtis
ain’t never said nothing about it?”
a cowboy. He don’t complain. I didn’t find out from Wade no
“I don’t even
have to ask who told ju.’” Sticker grinned.
“Naw, Sir, you
don’t.” I grinned at him.
see? That’s exactly the things Sid and I want chu’ to do.
You talked to me about it, Sid sees the information you compiled, if we
agree, it’s a done deal; however, Sid ain’t shy. He
may wanna’ ask you some more questions, or he might ask you about
considering a compromise. I ain’t say’n he’ll have any problems
about these things, they’s pretty cut and dried.”
Mr. Wiggins. If he needs more info have Kevin e-mail me.”
thing,— you want your granddad to know you’re pulling some strings
behind the scenes?”
well, not jes’ yet anyways. I don’t wanna’ live no lie to my
granddad, but I’ll figure out a way to tell ‘em.”
‘bout usurp’n his position?”
“Yes, Sir,— but
I ain’t actually pulling the strings, Mr. Wiggins. You ask one of
the cowboys for some input, he made a couple of suggestions, you and
yore’ partner talked it over, thought it was a good idea, and decided
to do it.”
ain’t no lie. That’s exactly what happened, cowboy. ‘At’s
smart, Casey,— Sid’s gonna’ love that. Look,— you keep working as
a cowpoke, and from time to time, you and I’ll get together and
talk. This is as good a way as any, to teach you how to run and
manage the ranch, so when you’re tired of playing cowboy and wanna’
manage full time, you can step right into the job.”
“Sounds good to
me.” I tipped my hat to him, “Shore’ ‘nuff ‘preciate you listen to this
ole cowboy’s suggestions, Sir.”
away laughing and shaking his head.
* * * * * * *
weekend Bart and I met his dad and Brent in Chapel Creek. I’d
already told Gip I was spending the weekend with Bart and his family
when he came the last night of the roundup to have supper with us
and to pick up little Gip and Waddie Buck. He looked at me
with a pained look on his face, raised his hand to his mouth, made a
fist and bit his knuckles. He was so funny, I almost
laughed my ass off. Bart was standing there, but it went right
over his head. He couldn’t figure out what I was laughing
about. I told him, I’d tell him later.
growing like a weed. I only got to see him a couple of times when
his granddad and him came to pick up Bart in Chapel Creek. We’d
exchange greetings and go our separate ways. He would start first
grade in the fall. He ran to me, and jumped into my arms.
Damn,— you’re heavy, Son,— another month or two, and I won’t be able to
pick you up a ‘tall.” he giggled and gave me a hug and a kiss.
“I’m so glad
you’re gonna’ spend the weekend with us, Casey, I got lots to
“I’ll jes’ bet
you do. I cain’t wait to see ‘um neither.”
Bart took him
from me, so I could shake hands with his dad. I was pleasantly
surprised when Hank pulled me into a bear hug and kissed me on the
Conners,— I shore’ ‘nuff needed that.” we laughed.
Hank, was a fine looking older cowboy. He was one of those men of
the West whose face is so tanned and wrinkled, it looks like boot
leather. You couldn’t really tell if he was middle aged or an
older man When Bart told me he was the same age as my dad, I
couldn’t believe it.
We drove out to
their farm. They called it a farm, but it was a huge piece of
land. It was as large or larger than many of the so called
ranches I’ve visited. Hank ran several head of cattle and some
dairy cows he made money from. They had a wonderful old two story
farm house that reminded me of our place.
spooky.” I told Bart, “H’it’s a lot like my home in California.”
“Why do you
think I felt so at home at chore’ place?” Bart laughed as he took
my bag and headed up the stairs. I followed. Brent and his
dad went into the kitchen to make some iced tea. We got to the
top of the stairs turned and headed to one of four bedrooms at the
front of the house.
“You can have
yore’ choice. You can have a bedroom to yourself, or you can bunk
it in with yore’ cowboy brother.”
“Oh, I donno’— ”
I tried to sound noncommittal like I was having a hard time making up
my mind, “I guess it’ud be a down right shame to mess up two beds,—
wouldn’t it?” I looked at Bart, and he grinned real big.
“A cry’n shame,
cowboy. I’d probably lay in my room,— alone,— all by myself, and
cry myself to sleep.” he chuckled.
cause a big, strong, fine look’n buckaroo like you to shed no
tears. Wouldn’t wont that on ma’conscience.” we shared a laugh.
settles it,— you be bunk’n it in with me, cowboy. ‘At’s okay,— my
bed’s extra big,— I won’t roll over on you.”
said under my breath.
course,— ya’ont me to.” he quickly added looking deep into my
eyes to see if he could gage a response. I could see the purple
of my eyes reflected in his beautiful light blue orbs. Through the
window of his soul, I saw his love for me; his longing; his need.
play-like it’s New Years eve again, cowboy?” I quietly asked. “I
ain’t never forgot ‘tat kiss you gimme,’ and I thought it might be nice
to see if’n you really was as good as I ‘membered.”
I watched a big
smile cross his handsome face. My invitation left little doubt in his
mind what my offer meant.
“Id be an honor
and a pleasure, Sir.” he responded softly.
into my eyes, he grasp my shoulder with his big hands and gave me a
kiss that still makes my dick drop almost to my knee and start dripping
when I think on it. He pulled me into him, then surrounded me in
his big, muscular, cowboy arms and continued his kiss. I didn’t
hold back my love for him either and it developed into more than just a
gentle kiss. We could feel each other growing in our
Wranglers. He gently broke off our kiss and looked at me for a
moment. I smiled at him.
“Damn, Casey,— I
been want’n to do that again for so long. I was beginning
to think you’d never consider,— well,— you know.”
know. I’ve wanted to do it lots a’ times, but I jes’ weren’t sure
neither. The time jes’ didn’t seem right.”
“Did I do okay?”
he asked like a kid who just stole his first kiss.
“You have to
ask? Of course, you done okay. Look at the wet spot
at my crotch. I’d say you done it pert-damn good. Any
better and we’d be on that bed roll’n ‘round like two dogs in heat dry
humping one another.” I grinned at him. “C’mon, cowboy, we got time for
that later. Let’s us go downstairs and visit with your
family. I really like your dad, Bart, he seems like a fine man.”
Bart walked a
little taller and beamed with pride. He was a happy
buckaroo. His prayers had been answered. In a way, so had
We walked into
the kitchen. Brent and his granddad had big Mason jars filled
with sweetened iced tea. It was warm in Texas for early June and
it tasted good. Brent couldn’t wait for me to finish, he wanted
to show me his menagerie. Brent didn’t contact me a lot over the
last six months. He knew he was welcome to, but his granddad was
teaching him the cowboy way. Part of it is to give folks their
space and privacy unless invited; even then, don’t abuse the
privilege. Once in a great while he contacted me to say ‘hello’
and give his daddy a message. Brent was too busy talking with his
granddad’s ponies and every new critter he came across. Sick and
wounded animals would come to him for help.
He promised his
granddad he wouldn’t touch an animal until he could take a look at
it. I asked Griz if he’d mind giving Brent some suggestions and
talking with him occasionally. I knew he would, that’s just the
kind of man he is, but I felt it would be polite to ask first.
Griz became the source of a great wealth of practical knowledge for the
boy and Brent’s mental capacity skyrocketed.
started teaching him to read after Bart left for the Lazy 8. He
worked with Brent all that winter and by summer, he was reading the
more advanced children’s books. He didn’t seem to have the same
learning disorder his dad and granddad had. His little mind
exploded with new information. When I talked with Hank he’d just
smile and shake his head.
‘At damn kid
keeps me running from morning ‘til night. He don’t never
tire. Some nights I have to threaten to smother him with a pillow
if’n he don’t get to sleep. Other nights, we’ll have dinner,
he’ll crawl up in my lap and he’s sound asleep in ten minutes.”
he laughed, “The upside is, I cut down on my vet bills for the critters
They tell ‘em
what’s wrong with ‘um, and sometimes, even what they need to git
better. Same with the wild ones. Amazes the shit out of me
when some wild critter will let me examine it, and it won’t bite
me. He somehow gits in they’s head and stops the pain for a
while. He says he tells ‘um we’s try’n to help ‘um and not to
bite. I ain’t been bit yet.” he grinned.
showed me all his sick and injured critters. He explained everyone to
me and whether they were getting better or not. He told me Griz
had been a great help to him, and he was able to save a number of the
animals. He granddad was amazed how he could bring an animal back
almost from the brink of death, just by caring for it and feeding it.
“He tells me
he’s been in contact with a giant man by the name of Griz. I guess he
taught Brent to hum to ‘um or some’um like ‘at. He’ll sit by one
of ‘um and hum for hours. Damn, if’n they don’t get
better.” he laughed.
Bart was really
proud of the way his boy was coming along. In six months Brent went
from the runt of the litter to the cutest pup in the barn. He was
going to be as big or bigger than his daddy. He formed a deep
love and respect for his cowboy dad. Brent was proud of his
dad, and liked to walk everywhere holding his hand. I
complemented Brent on his accomplishments.
Brent showed me
his pony next. It was a fine looking young paint gelding. Bart
bought him a junior saddle for his birthday and his granddad was
teaching him to ride. He was doing real good, but of course he
was in direct contact with his pony at all times. He spoiled his
pony rotten. It was amazing. The pony loved Brent. He
would push and tease Brent to get his attention. Brent smiled,
“He wants me to
talk with him, but I won’t.” Brent said like he was mad at his
pony. He nipped me pretty hard the other day and it hurt.
Look!” Brent held the underside of his arm for me to see.
Sure enough there was a bruised spot turning black and yellow.
“Tell, Casey the
rest, Son.” his granddad raised his eyebrow and admonished him.
“I had a carrot
for him in my front pocket. I was teasing him and holding my arm
so’s he couldn’t get to it until I’s ready to give it to him. He
went for it and got my arm instead.” Bart chuckled, and I almost
“I’m sure he
feels awful about it,— don’t chu,’ boy?” I reached over to pet
him, and he responded by nodding his head up and down in
agreement. We all laughed. “See,— he agreed with me. He
feels bad about nipping you. He told me he wouldn’t do it no
more,— if’n you don’t hide no more carrots from him.” I
laughed, Bart and his dad joined me. Brent grinned and told his
pony he forgave him.
* * * * * * *
We all pitched
in to make supper. It was like being home again. Brent had
come a long way. He was now helping his granddad cook. He
was a big help and did a lot of small chores. Hank was firm and
in control of the boy; he was Brent’s buddy, and Brent adored his
granddad. When Bart came home, Hank acquiesced to him, and daddy
was in charge. Bart intelligently, and graciously learned how to
deal with his boy from observing his dad. Bart told me he asked
Hank how he could know so much about raising a young child when Helen
didn’t let him participate in raising his own children.
Son,— ” Hank replied, “I do exactly the opposite of what she done.”
Bart said he
never laughed harder with his old man. He declared it made a hell of a
lot of sense to him. So Bart learned from his old man how to deal
with his fast growing six year old son.
After we cleaned
the kitchen, Hank suggested we sit on the front steps to watch the sun
go down. It was a warm, wonderful evening. Brent wanted to
be as close to me and Bart as he could and wedged himself between
us. It was a beautiful evening and the sunset proved to be worth
giving up television forever. The peacefulness of it all,— being
with folks I loved and cherished,— sharing conversation, listen to the
whippoorwill’s call,— was comfortable and relaxing. I couldn’t
remember a time my soul was more at peace.
excused himself for a minute and asked Brent to come along with
him, he needed his help. Bart and I sat and talked. I moved
over to him so I could touch him.
“Do you know
what you’s git’n yore’self into with that kiss, cowboy?”
“Is Texas the
lone star state, cowboy?” I laughed, he fell backward on the
Casey. You can git me laughing quicker’n anybody. ‘At’s
only a small part of why I love you and think on you as ma’brother;
cep’n, brothers don’t never,— you know,— with each other.”
“What planet you
been living on, hoss? Maybe yore’ brothers don’t never, but mine
sure as hell do.”
“Wait a minute,
you tell’n me, Logan Wainright, and ‘at big buffed out dude, Dwayne,
and you,— ?” Bart asked in amazement.
“Shore,’ we be
brothers, Bart. We love each other. We don’t do it much
anymore because our lives have expanded, and we got responsibilities to
others. Everyone’s lives change and grow as time goes on. Ours
will, too. ‘At’s jes’ the way the good Lord intended it for us.
When us boys was grow’n up, it was jes’ us against the world, and we
did ever’ thing together, including play’n hide the little green snake.”
Hide the little green snake?” Bart asked, then threw back his
head and laughed.
what we used to call what chore’ so afraid to say.” I grinned at him
“Well,— I guess
it is a mite easier to think on it that way.” he allowed.
Hank and Brent
returned with a bowl of homemade vanilla ice-cream for each of
us. It was an unexpected treat and a great dessert at the end of
the day. We talked some more. After a while, Bart crawled
up in his granddad’s lap. It was so touching to see Hank enfold
his grandson with his arms around Brent’s front like he was protecting
him from the bad things of the world. In a way, I guess he
was. I envied Brent just a little. I remember how it used
to feel sitting in my dad’s lap with his arms around me telling a
story. I loved his fine baritone voice, and it would always
lull me to sleep.
And so it was
with our littlest buckaroo. Hank began to tell a quiet story to
Bart and me and ten minutes later his grandson departed for the land of
wink’n, blink’n and nod. We talked some more. Bart took
Brent from his dad, and took him in to put him to bed. Hank and I
sat there quietly for a while. I felt comfortable with him.
Hank Conners came from the same basic stock my dad and granddad came
from; the same quality stock Master Waddie, Gip Claymore, and Bubba
came from. He was a man of the Earth,— a good man.
“My boy loves
“I love him too,
Mr. Conners. Is it that obvious, Sir?” I asked softly.
“Not to someone
who don’t know the two a’ you. You done captured Bart’s heart,
and you done a pert-damn good job a’ capturing mine.
Brent’s? Well, let’s jes’ say he puts you someplace between his
pony, his daddy and the Almighty. He’s convinced you could walk
on water if’n you’s a’ mind to. I ain’t never told ‘em no
different. Ain’t real sure myself.” Hank chuckled. “I
can see how happy my boy’s become in the last few months. He’s a
different man, Son. Ain’t never seen my boy so content with
hisself and his life. Brent and me,— we’s happy as two pigs in a
wallow. H’it’s like the three of us been living a dream we never
could imagined, and you’re largely responsible for it.”
“How’s ‘zat, Mr.
Conners?” I looked at him.
“Bart done told
me you was the one what caused him to start look’n at what was going on
in his own home and our relationship. He come home after Bart’s
operation a changed man, and I got chu’ to thank for that.”
“I don’t think
that way, Mr. Conners. I jes’ try’n help people if’n I can.
I could see Bart was so taken with me’n ma’dad’s relationship, he
wanted to talk about it and his relationship with you. I’s jes’
glad ever’ thing worked out for ya’ll.”
“We couldn’t be
back and sat down beside me.
“You put ‘em in
my bed, Son?” Hank asked Bart.
he’s fast asleep.”
sleeps with me from time to time if some’um’s bother’n him. Other
times he wants to sleep by himself. He kin be an independent
little cuss since he had that operation. I thank God ever’ damn
day for them doctors and that hospital.”
Dad.” Bart said then added quietly, “Cep’n, I add yore’ and my
brother’s name to my prayer of thanks.”
respond, he just let out a deep sigh of contentment.
gentlemen, I’s best be git’n my tired old butt to bed. Casey,
h’it’s a real pleasure having you here this weekend; so glad you could
I stood up,
hugged and kissed Mr. Conners on the cheek. He returned my kiss.
Conners,— coming from you, Sir,— it means a lot.”
“You men have a
good evening.” he said as he departed.
* * * * * * *
cotton to too many folks, Casey. He’s kinda shy-like. Ain’t
never seen him take to no man quicker’n you.”
“He’s a good
man, Bart. I’ve come to love him in a short period of time.”
“You love a lot
of folks, Casey, and they all love you. I saw that when I was at
chore’ place. All them folks think the world of you.”
lucky, I guess.”
“I think it’s
more’n ‘nat. I think you genuinely love people.”
“I do. I
try to look for the good in folks.”
“We been invited
to a small rodeo tomorrow. They’s gonna’ have mostly team
ropers. H’it’s right down the road a piece at my high school
buddy’s ranch he inherited from his dad. His name’s Nick
Chambers. Dad told him I’d be home this weekend, but I’d have my
cowboy buddy visit’n with us. He invited all of us. Dad
said they’s gonna’ barbecue and serve food. Dad told him I’d give
him a call tomorrow morning if’n we could come. I wanted to ask
you first if’n you felt like going down ‘nair and toss’n a couple with
me. We could ride our ponies. H’it ain’t very far.”
“Sure, I’d enjoy
that. We toss pert-damn good together.”
“I have a feel’n
‘at ain’t all we kin do pert-damn good together.”
“Wanna’ go find
out?” I teased.
“Is Texas the
lone star state?” he replied.
* * * * * * *
We tried to
climb the stairs quietly. Well,— as quietly as a couple of
cowboys can wearing heavy buckaroo boots. We got to Bart’s room,
and he closed the door behind us. It was a huge master bedroom
that joined another big room with a walk through bath between
them. It was dark in the room except for a small lamp on Bart’s
dresser that had a tiny Christmas tree bulb in it. It gave off a
soft pink glow to everything and enhanced skin tones. Bart didn’t
need any enhancement. He was one of the most handsome men I knew.
He put his arms around me, pulled me close, and we gently kissed.
Bart was an
unwittingly good lover. What do I mean by that? He didn’t
have a lot of experience and by default relied on his basic animal
instincts coupled with his human element of compassion. He was
all right by me. I could really get into his brand of cowboy
“I need to get
into your shower, Bart. It’s gonna’ take me a few minutes
to clean up. Don’t worry none about me if’n I ain’t back right
“Sure, take your
time. I know you like Southern Comfort. I got us a
bottle. You wanna’ snort to take with you.”
Bart had glasses
in his room and poured him and me two fingers. We clinked
glasses, I took a sip and took off for the bathroom. It was an
old style bath, but Bart and his dad put in a large metal shower pan
that worked pretty well. I cleaned myself good and debated
whether to put my plug in or not. ‘That may be a bit too advanced for
my cowboy.’ I thought to myself. I decided against
it. Instead I lubricated myself well. As hungry as my hole
felt, I didn’t anticipate any problems.
I walked back
into the bedroom without a towel around me. Bart and I saw each
other many times in the nude at the ranch, so it didn’t make much sense
for me to play coy now. He had his cloths off and was sitting in
an overstuffed, wing-back chair reading a Farm and Ranch
magazine. He stood as I walked into the room.
we’s seen each other naked a hunnert times, but I ain’t never let
myself get a really good look at chu.’ What can I say?”
“You don’t have
to say nothing. Yore’ buddy down South is tell’n me ever’ thing I
need to know.”
Bart was getting
erect looking at me. I went to him, we pressed our bodies
together and kissed again. This kiss was a bit more on the
passionate side, and we began to get roaring hard.
“I guess I
should go in there and cleanup. I ain’t showered since last night.”
don’t wanna’ hafta’ break yore’ leg.” I laughed.
“Yeah,— I like
you jes’ the way you is. I like the masculine smell of your
body. Sometimes you ride so close to me on a warm afternoon, I
git a lung full of your cowboy scent and my ole dick develops a mind of
its own. It drives me crazy. So,— you make for the
bathroom,— I’m gonna’ hafta’ break yore’ leg.” I stole a
kiss. We laughed.
I’d admit it to anyone, but I do the same with you. Why the hell
you think I ride so damn close, sometimes.” he laughed, “Ain’t
cause I cain’t control ma’pony. I jes’ wanna’ get me a big ole
whiff of my cowboy buddy. One good snort, and I stay hard for
We moved to the
bed and continued to make love and feel each others’ body. He was
a lover, but I was raging horny to feel his fine, cowboy dick up my
“Uhh,— men don’t
require as much foreplay as women, hoss.” I laughed trying to
sound hungry for him.
“Oh,— you wanna’
git right to it? Fine with me, cowboy,— what ‘da I do?”
I wanted to
laugh, but I didn’t. I had to consider my partner. I smiled
at him and retrieved my lubricant from the night stand. I lubed
his big cock liberally. I lay back and brought my legs up
to expose my ass to him, I swear he sucked in air when he caught sight
of my hole.
cowboy dick ‘A,’” I pointed to his cock, “into waiting cowboy
hole ‘B,’ and slowly but surely sink it like the Titanic.” I
smiled at him. “I’m leaving the rest to your imagination.”
His eyes left my hole to look into my eyes.
big, Casey,— I don’t wanna’ hurt chu’ none.”
cowboy, you won’t.” I encouraged him.
“All right, I’ll
do my best.”
“‘At’s all any
man can ask, hoss.”
He put the head
of his dick to my hole, tested it’s tensile strength, and decided
to push a bit harder. My hole gave way, and he popped the head of
his cock past my sphincter. I took a deep breath, grabbed him by
his butt cheeks and pulled him the rest of the way into me. He
fell forward and stopped himself with his hands on either side of
me. He leaned down and brushed his lips against mine.
“How’s ‘at feel,
cowboy?” I whispered to him.
“Like I entered
the gates of heaven. Ain’t never felt me some’um’s good as
this. How’s it feel to you, buddy?”
Bart was holding
his cock all the way inside me like he was afraid to move least he lose
the feeling he was experiencing.
“Like I’s got me
a handsome cowboy inside me what jes’ saddled up his pony, and’s
about to take his-self a good ride. Go on,— git comfortable in
yore’ new saddle,— take yore’self a big, long stroke, cowboy.”
I didn’t have to
ask twice, and felt his big, ten inch cowboy dick pulled out to the
head and sink back again into the depths of my ass.
“Oh, fuck, Casey
that feels so damn good.” he allowed.
feel a lot better in a few minutes, honcho. Now, I’ll shut up and
let you take over the fuck’n. Let’s see what chu’ got,
stud.” I smiled at him, pulled him on top of me, locked my feet
around his lower back and pulled him in tight.
“I know I’m
dumb, Casey, but I didn’t know two men could fuck like this,— face to
face, I mean. This feels so right.”
“Feels right to
me, too, brother. Y’ain’t dumb, cowboy. Ya’ just ain’t been
around a lot and y’ain’t never had nobody to show you these
things. C’mon, git over that, we’re here to enjoy each
other. I’ll talk you through this, buddy. Let chore’self go,—
don’t be worried,— y’ain’t gonna’ hurt me none. Take yore’ new
pony for a ride, cowboy.”
I didn’t have
encourage him again. He began to fuck me with long, slow, deep
strokes. He seemed to be really enjoying himself, but I got the
feeling he was holding back. Bart was very meticulous with his
strokes so’s not to hurt me. After a little while, he had me so
loosened up I was ready to be fucked by a wild stallion. While
his long dicking was wonderful and about to drive me up the wall, I was
hungry for a good, hard ride. I wanted to get fucked! I had
to teach my cowboy how to ride a bronc. I pulled his head
close. He stopped his stroke for a moment.
“You gonna’ ride
‘iss damn pony, cowboy, or are you gonna’ carry ‘em on yore’ back?”
He was quiet for
a moment, then he burst out laughing.
Casey,— !” he laughed, but he got my message.
brother kicked it into high gear like he’d spurred his pony hard in the
flank to get him going. The more he rode me the more I responded
to him until our bodies were moving in the same rhythm. It was
like being on the back of Big Red in the moonlight riding across the
prairie, looking back over my shoulder to see if the moon was chasing
us. He was feeling mighty fine.
cowboy. You’s doing me some good now. Ride yore’ pony,
cowboy. ‘At’s it! ‘At’s it! Spur him hard in the
flank! Make him take you where you wanna’ go. Slap some
leather, cowboy! Ride ‘at thing! Ride yore’ cayuse down
hard, buckaroo. Oh,— oh, ‘at’s some good fuck’n right ‘tere,
stud! Oh, yeah,— take us home, cowboy. Ride your good pony
to the barn!”
I didn’t have to
explain the metaphor to my rider. He was putting the hammer down
and taking what he needed. He was taking what he’d been
needing for so long. I could tell the way he let loose, something
snapped within him, and he took me at my word. He was going to
ride me down hard for both of us. I heard him breathing heavier,
and I knew he was near climax.
“Don’t hold back
none, stud, you cain’t fuck me too hard! Give it to me,
buckaroo! Shoot your hot cowboy seed in my gut! C’mon, I
want it! I need it! You been want’n to spill yore’ load
into me since you met me. Now’s, yore’ chance to win the rodeo,
cowboy. Git it, stud! Git it good!”
slamming his dick into me strong and hard. He was scoring a
direct hit on my come button over and over. I could feel it
boiling up inside me.
“Cain’t hold it
back no more, cowboy,” I told him, “I’s about to come out the
chute. Oh, God! I’m coming! Aaaaarrrggg!”
I shot and shot
between us. He continued his onslaught until he felt my ass
trying to bite his dick off. I knew the minute it happened,— it
was such an awesome feeling for him,— he started to fill my butt with
his cowboy cream.
Casey! I’m coming! I’m shoot’n my load in yore’ tight
little ass, brother. Awwwwhhh, damn!”
“Give it to me,
bubba! Gimme’ all of it! Don’t cheat me none! Empty them
big, bull balls a’ yores’ in ‘nair!”
He began to slow
his assault on my ass, and I knew he emptied into me several
times. He slammed it into me one last time, locked it
there, and collapsed on top of me. I locked my feet around his
waist and pulled him into me as tight as I could. We lay there,
our bodies locked together in the blissful afterglow of climax.
It was wonderful. Bart really came through like I always
suspected he could. He performed admirably for his first time out
of the chute. Hell, he won the damn rodeo as far as I was
concerned. I could tell he was pleased with himself.
Casey. That was unbelievable. I never imagined it could be
that good. The one time I,—” he trailed off like he thought
better than to finish his sentence. I didn’t asked. I just
figured he might not be a virgin to a man’s ass.
good, cowboy. You won the rodeo. You shore’ ‘nuff satisfied yore’
cowboy brother’s hole for a while. You should be proud of
We lay there for
a while making a little love. I urged him to take another stroke
from time to time. He would almost swoon from the goodness of our
coupling. We began to talk, he lost his erection and slipped out
of my ass. I took a towel he handed me, and gently cleaned his
dick and my ass.
“Casey,— mind if
I ask you something?”
“Did you clean
yore’self out down ‘nair?”
“Shore,’ I do
ever’ time I’m gonna’ let a cowboy ride me. It’s cleaner and healthier
for you, it’s safer for me, and h’it’s jes’ more respectful of your
partner to come to him clean.”
“Hey, I got just
as much out of it as you did, honcho. You noticed I didn’t have
no problem shoot’n my gun. You done good, cowboy,— I’m proud a’
We made more
love and talked a bit more. I feel asleep in his arms while he
was holding me. I don’t think he let go all night.
* * * * * * *
We cleaned up
the next morning, dressed and went downstairs to help with
breakfast. Hank and Brent were already in the kitchen
cooking. Brent ran to his dad for a morning hug and a kiss, and
then to me.
“You men rest
well?” Hank asked with a grin on his face.
Dad.” Bart looked at his dad and grinned.
pert-damn good, Mr. Conners.” I grinned and winked a him. Hank
chuckled as he was breaking eggs into a big bowl.
We pitched in
and breakfast was ready in no time. We joined hands around the small
table and Bart asked Brent if he would like to say grace.
“Thank you, God,
for everything you give us. Thank you for our food. Thank you for our
family and especially letting Casey come visit us this weekend.
Bless us all,— and my pony Scratch, too. Amen.”
We all echoed
Brent’s ‘Amen.’ I tried hard not to laugh when we sat down.
“That was a nice
prayer, Son.” Bart told him seriously.
cowboy. Cain’t remember hear’n me a better one.”
We cleaned the
kitchen and headed out to the barn to saddle four ponies. Bart
had two, well trained, roping ponies, and he let me take my pick.
They looked pretty well matched to me.
your favorite?” I asked him.
about the same, but I usually pick the grey gelding. He seems to
work a little better for me.”
I’ll take, ‘Sally’, the buckskin.” Hank looked at Bart and
grinned. I realized they hadn’t told me her name. She told
me she’d be happy to work with me, she’d heard a lot of good things
We rode the
trail by the side of the blacktop road. It was a good way off the
road so we didn’t have to worry about traffic. There wasn’t too
much traffic anyway; however, country folks know to slow down and give
the right of way to anyone on horseback. I was amazed with
Brent. He was riding just as fine as the rest of us. He was
going to make a fine horseman. I could tell the way his pony
carried himself he was concerned and looking out for the boy every step
of the way. Scratch was a fine, intelligent pony.
Hank and I were
riding behind Bart and Brent. They were talking. We
couldn’t hear what they were saying, but it was an animated
conversation. They were laughing a lot and enjoying each other.
“‘At’s good to
see,— ain’t it, Son?” Hank saw me looking at them.
“Damn good to
see, Mr. Conners.” I replied. He looked at me and grinned
“So,— how was my
boy last night, Son?” Hank grinned.
“Like I done
told ju,’ Sir, better’n pert-damn good; especially, after I got him
“Yes, Sir, Mr.
Conners,— he’s being all gentle-like and worry’n about hurt’n
me. After a while, I asked him if he planned to ride ‘iis
damn pony or was he gonna’ carry it on his back. After
that,— he hunkered down right nice-like,— decided he’d do
his-self some good, hard riding and win the rodeo. Damned if he
didn’t.” I allowed.
I thought Hank
was going to fall off his pony he laughed so hard. Bart and Brent
turned around to look at him. He got himself together.
huh, cowboy?” Hank was still laughing shaking his head.
“He didn’t have
no problem ride’n this old cayuse to the barn, Sir. He was spur’n
hard and slap’n leather like the top cowhand he is.”
Hank covered his
mouth with the back of his hand so Bart and Brent wouldn’t hear him
that, Son. You’re a piece a’ work, Casey. God love ya,’
Son,— I know we do.”
We arrived at
Nick Chamber’s ranch and lots of folks were already gathered. We
got down from our ponies at the front gate and walked them the rest of
the way into the corral area. A big, burley, fine looking cowboy
lumbered towards us. He was a bit smaller than Bart. He was
masculine and carried himself like an athlete, but he had fine
features. He looked jes’ a tad too pretty for a man.
That was just my opinion. I assumed he was Nick Chambers. I
He shook hands
with Mr. Conners and Bart. He welcomed Brent, then Bart
introduced me to him as his saddle partner and cowboy buddy from the
Lazy 8. Nick Chambers took one look at me, and I could feel
instant dislike from him. I didn’t have to be a mind reader to
feel the man’s animosity toward me as he shook my hand.
“Good to meet
you, Mr. Chambers.” I said in a well met tone of voice.
“Yeah,— good to
meet you, too, Casey.” he replied real quick, like his greeting
was an afterthought of everything else he had on his mind.
In the West you
call a man ‘Mister’ and by his last name until he gives you permission
to be informal with him. Even if you meet a man younger than you,
it doesn’t give you the right to assume you can be informal with
him. To call a man by his first name the first time you meet him
is inconsiderate and unmannerly. It’s just plumb down right
rude. It’s part of the unwritten code of the West. It
certainly isn’t the cowboy way.
I didn’t say
anything. The cowboy way and code of conduct wouldn’t allow me
to. You don’t return rudeness for rudeness, nor do you bring any
displeasure up you might feel about it; especially, to your host for
the weekend. I didn’t have to. They picked up on it right
away. Nick Chamber’s slight didn’t go unnoticed by either Bart or
Hank. Even Brent, who was still learning the cowboy way from his
dad and granddad, knew that rule by heart.
Nick turned his
attention away from me as quick as he could and told Hank and Bart for
them and their ‘guest’ to enjoy themselves. There would be food
later and drinks were available right now. The roping was just
getting underway and for us to get something to drink and head on over
to the corral. Bart and Hank thanked him, and we walked over to
the drink station. Hank got a light beer. Bart, Brent and I
got sodas. We were walking over to the corral when Brent turned
very nice of Mr. Chambers, Casey.”
quietly admonished him, “H’it’s all right. I’m just a cowhand,
Son, I don’t own me no big, fine ranch like Mr. Chambers.”
Bart looked at
me and grinned real big. He didn’t know whether to fall on the
ground laughing or go spit in Nick Chamber’s face.
“Out of the
mouths of babes,— ” commented Hank, “The boy’s right,— it was a
pert-damn rude thing to do if’n you’s to ask me. Brent’s daddy
and me’s learned him that. ‘At’s jes’ part of the cowboy
way. Nick Chambers knows it, too. His daddy was a fine man
and a good cowboy. I know for a fact his daddy done learned him
the cowboy code of conduct.
Dad. I’m disappointed with Nick. H’it ain’t like him.
Maybe he’s got some’um going on in his life, and he jes’ ain’t think’n
right. You told me he weren’t git’n along none too good with his
“He ain’t, but
‘tat don’t matter none! H’it still don’t give him the right to be
rude to a stranger,— especially our guest for the weekend and a man we
love.” Hank insisted, “I’s about ready to pack it in and ride
back to the house. You be rude to my guest, gotdamn it,— you be
rude to me. I done learned ju’ that, too, Son.” Hank stated
with a bit of anger in his voice.
“Brent and dad’s
right, Casey, I feel the same damn way.” Bart agreed, “Say the
word and we’re out a’ here.”
gentlemen,— thanks for your concern. I’m including you in
that, too, young man.” I looked Brent right in his eyes and addressed
him, “Yore’ dad and granddaddy’s raising you to be a fine young man,— a
gentleman cowboy. I’m proud a’ you.” I turned my attention to all
of them, “It’s all right,— I ain’t upset. I ain’t wounded
none. Let’s give the man the benefit of the doubt. It was
probably jes’ a momentary slip in judgement,— a one time thing.
Let’s us jes’ forgit it and have us a good time.”
“Yore’ a better
man than me, Casey.” said Hank shaking his head.
“No, I ain’t,
Mr. Conners. I’d have ta’ go me some to be as good a man as
you.” I patted Hank on the back, and he shook his head in
disbelief at Nick’s actions.
We joined the
folks at the corral. It was a really nice rodeo arena with a
small covered grandstand section on the sun side for the folks to sit
in the shade to watch. It even had an announcer’s box with a PA
system. Nick hired an announcer for the day to tell folks
who was who and the times they scored. It came time for Bart and
I to rope, and we rode over to the stocks to get into position.
The announcer spoke up.
“Our next ropers
are two cowhands from the Lazy 8 ranch. Our own local cowboy,
Bart Conners and his partner Mr. Casey Longhorn.” There was a
chuckle went through the crowd at my name. I didn’t care, I was
use to it.
Waddie Claymore won first place in the roping even at the Fourth of
July rodeo in Chapel Creek last year. Casey also won first place
in the calf roping event.” said the announcer.
There was some
applause, and I tipped my hat to the crowd in acknowledgment. I
wondered where he got his information. I found out later he was
the regular announcer for the Chapel Creek rodeo. It was his job
to know about cowboys.
Bart and I got
into position. I told the ponies what I’d like them to do before
we even got into position. They promised they’d do their
best. The rope was dropped and Sally took off like
cannonball. Bart’s pony was right behind. We had the steer roped
and pulled tight in no time.
Ladies and gentlemen, is the way it’s done. Good run,
gentlemen.” the announcer congratulated us.
The people were
on their feet stomping, applauding and cheering for us. We tipped our
hats to the announcer and the folks in the stand. I knew it was a
good run, but I didn’t realize just how good it was.
“The time for
Bart and Casey was seven point two seconds. A new arena record.”
The crowd went
crazy. Bart and I tipped our hats to them again and rode out of
the arena. On our way I caught Nick Chambers out of the corner of
my eye stomping away in disgust. It suddenly dawned on me, for
some reason, Nick Chambers was jealous. Did he and Bart have a
past? Bart never said anything to me. Was that what he was
going to tell me last night but didn’t finish?
We made one more
run and bested our first run by two seconds. Nick and his partner
roped, and while they were good, they were too slow. Their times
were in the eighteen to twenty-three seconds. I could tell he was
not pleased. He berated his partner loudly. While I felt sorry
for his partner, it wasn’t any of my business; however, it didn’t go
unnoticed by the Conners family or the rest of the crowd. We were
having another drink, and I pulled Bart to one side away from Brent and
is there some’um I should know about Nick you ain’t telling me. I
ain’t never met the man before, and he’s acting like he hates me. That
Casey,— I was gonna’ tell you last night, but I didn’t want you to
think bad of me. The summer of our senior year in high school
Nick and I got drunk one night and drove his daddy’s pickup down to
Windmill Creek. We got into the back, and I fucked him for hours.
He seemed to love it at the time,— like he couldn’t get enough.
It felt pert-damn good to me, too, so I kept on doing it until I shot,
but I made damn sure Nick got his. The next morning, he said he was too
drunk, he couldn’t remember a thing from the night before. I
didn’t want him think’n I’s queer, so I told him I didn’t
remember nothing neither.”
“I don’t think
bad of you, hoss,— yore’ my brother, I love you, but guess what?”
lied. He remembered that night and probably has for years.
I think he’s in love with you, brother, and he don’t know how to go
about telling you. He sees me as a threat. He obviously can
see we’re comfortable together. Yore’ old man asked me this
morning how you was in the sack.”
didn’t.” Bart looked at me with a surprised expression.
“‘At’s what he
was laughing about on the way over here. I told him you was
better’n pert-damn good after I told ju’ to stop being so gentle with
me and ride me like a bronc with a burr under its saddle.”
Bart laughed. I
laughed with him.
“How is it, you
and I can laugh about it, have a good time, and Nick’s so damn uptight
about it, he cain’t admit he enjoyed it with me? Hell, even my
old man can laugh about him and our neighbor.”
“‘Cause we love
one another, cowboy; but be fair, it t’weren’t too long ago you
couldn’t even talk about,— you know,— ” I emphasized the ‘you
know’ part to make my point and he laughed.
“You mean,— hide
the little green snake?” he said like a kid and chuckled. I
just smiled at him and nodded my head.
We got a bite to
eat and went to join Hank and Brent at a picnic table when several
cowboys came over to congratulate us on our winning times. Nick
was standing near and spoke so everyone could hear.
“Well,— what the
hell ju’ ‘spect? ‘At’s all they do ever’ damn day at the Lazy
8.” with more than a little bit in his voice.
There was a
deathly silence. Hank pushed his food aside, took Brent by the
hand and started walking toward the ponies. As he passed Bart and
me, he said quietly without emotion,
“‘At’s it for
me, gentlemen,— my grandson and I are leaving.”
Brent spoke up angrily, almost in tears, “I’m with
granddad, I wanna’ go home.”
behind you men. Casey, take our ponies and go with dad and
Brent. I’ll catch up with you directly.”
“Bart,— don’t do
nothing rash,— remember, you live in this community, and underneath his
fear and anger, Nick loves you.”
Casey. It’s hard for me to believe he loves me after today, but
in my heart, I know you’re right. I’m jes’ gonna’ go pay my
respects and thank him for the invite.”
I walked to the
ponies with Hank and Brent. Brent took my hand in one hand and
his granddad’s in the other as a small show of solidarity. We
started to walk the ponies down the short road out of the
property. Everyone was watching. You could feel the
tension, embarrassment and empathy they felt for us. Bart walked
over to Nick and took his hand.
“Thanks for the
invite, neighbor,— we had us a real good time, but we’s gotta’ be git’n
on home now.”
so soon,— why? We’s jes’ git’n started. We’s gonna’ have a
country band play after while. What I said a while ago,— I’s jes’
kidding, Bart,— you know that.”
“No you weren’t,
you meant it. You were rude to my guest and meanspirited about
losing. Anyway,— thanks again, Nick,— see ya’ around,— bye.”
Bart didn’t give
Nick time for a comeback. He spun on his boot heel and walked
away. He heard Nick behind him holler,
Bart,— don’t go,— c’mon back, brother.”
Bart jogged a
little to catch up with his family. He had tears in his eyes
as we mounted up at the gate. I noticed several other folks
were getting in their trucks and leaving. We rode the rest of the
way back to the farm in silence. Bart was crushed. Hank was
madder than an old mother hen who had her chicks threatened, and Brent
was so concerned for me, he kept fighting back the tears. Nothing
was said about it. We rubbed the ponies down and put them
away. We were walking back to the house when I had a great
“How far’s ‘zat
fish’n hole ya’ll been tell’n me about?” Hank and Brent
brightened right up.
a hoot and a’ holler down ‘nat dirt road ‘der apiece.” Hank said.
“We gonna’ let
this ruin our day? I come here to be with folks I love, relax and
have a good time. Let’s us men go wet us a hook. I ain’t
fished in a long time. I love catfish.”
“So do we, Son,—
‘at’s a great idea,— I’m in.” said Hank
Casey. Grampa and me,— we love to go fish’n.” said my little
anyone’s had around here today, brother,— let’s get the gear and mosey
our butts on down to the crick.”
It amazes me how
folks can, sometime, turn a bad day around to become a great day.
We had a wonderful time fishing. We walked down to the creek, and
it was beautiful. I told Bart, Hank, and Brent I’d rather be
there than anywhere else. They agreed with me. We had a
great afternoon, and I got to talk with, and come to know Hank Conners
better. He brought along his ubiquitous little silver flask of
Comfort and passed it around the grownups. I guess that included
me. I don’t think of myself as an adult sometimes. I’m
still very much in tune with the little boy inside me, and he was
loving this day. His big daddy, the cowboy, even let him have a
taste of Comfort.
fishing a little way away from us. As I was talking to Hank and
Bart, they told me the story of the first time they took Brent
fishing and how he cheated catching the fish. I thought I was
going bust a gut laughing. Only a kid would think to talk a fish
into biting a hook. Hank was convinced Brent was playing fair now
and not using his gift.
“Can you really
contact him anytime you want, Casey?” Hank asked.
I’ll touch him and tell him to holler if’n he can hear me.”
I sent out a
feeler and touched Brent. He heard me knocking and let me
<< Hey, little brother,— yell out loud if you can hear me.
“I can hear you
Hank and Bart
“Excuse me for a
second, I’m gonna’ talk with him for a minute.” I spoke to Hank
about chu’ talk’n to them fish and not playing fair. Yore’
granddaddy’s right, but jes’ between us, I think it’s funny. It
would never occur to me to do some’um like ‘at. How do you do it?
the way he did it and told me it was simple. Did I want him to
would be disobeying your granddad, Son, and I won’t be a party to that.
never said nothing about me talk’n one into bitting his hook, Casey.
>> he giggled mischievously. << He ain’t never said I
couldn’t show you how I done it, neither. >>
I fell out
laughing. Bart and Hank didn’t have a clue, but they could see a big
smile on Brent’s face.
but jes’ once. Our secret,— huh, cowboy? >>
secret, Casey. >>
Brent took me in
his mind to the bottom of the creek. It was cool, deep and dark, but I
could feel things moving around. Then I sensed Brent feeling for
whiskers. He found some whiskers that were attached to a big
catfish. I felt him put the thought of some stinky food in the
big fishes mind and pulled him along with his mind like the big cat was
on a string to his granddad’s baited hook. Sure enough, the
catfish struck Hank’s line so hard it almost pulled Hank’s pole out of
his hands. I could hear Brent giggling in his mind. He
broke it off with me to holler to his granddad.
“Don’t lose him,
Grampa! Dad,— get the net! Look, Dad! Look, Casey!
Look at his pole,— look how it’s bending. H’it might be that cat
I caught, Grampa.”
It wasn’t,— this
one was bigger. Hank was using all his considerable skill to tire
the big fish. He’d let him run and then turn him to run the other
way. Finally, he was able to bring the fish to the surface, and
Bart slipped the net under him. It was huge. Biggest damn
catfish I ever saw. It would easily feed four to six
people. As it was we caught a couple of other good size catfish
that day. I think Hank was so thrilled to catch the big fish he
never stopped to consider his grandson might talk one onto his
line. The kid was not only gifted and bright, he was
We were in a
great mood as we walked along and talked. We got back and started
dinner. Bart and I cleaned and skinned the catfish. We had
more than we could possibly eat for dinner so Hank decided to freeze
what we didn’t cook. We were busy wrapping the fish and putting
it away. Hank and Brent were cooking. Suddenly, we heard
the horn of a car or truck. Bart went to the door and hollered
back to us.
“Oh, fuck,— it’s
Nick and he’s drunker than a lord. Ya’ll stay in the house I’ll
take care of this. I might have to drive him home.”
Bart walked out
to Nick’s truck. Nick was in tears. He looked like he’d
been crying for some time.
“I had to come
over and apologize, Bart.”
“You left your
guest? You left your barbecue?” Bard demanded.
guest! Fuck the damn barbecue! I done my brother wrong, and
I had to come apologize. But, ‘tat ain’t all. I’s
offer’n prize money for first three places so’s we could git us some
good competition. Well,— we did,— we got us the best. You
and yore’ buddy won first place.” Nick pulled a cashiers check
out of his shirt pocket with Bart’s name written on it, “Here’s your
winnings,— five hunnert bucks.”
“I don’t want
chore’ prize money, Nick. ‘At ain’t why I come to your
place. Nobody told me nothing about no prize money. You
didn’t say anything. I came because I wanted to introduce a man
to you what means a lot to me. You was my best buddy, I wanted
you to meet him.”
Nick threw his
arms around Bart and kissed him on the cheek. He smelled like
stale cigarettes and booze. Bart didn’t hug him back.
“Don’t be that
way, Bart. Hell,— you and yore’ buddy won. Take it,—
please! I’m sorry, Bart. I’m so fuck’n sorry, I hurt
inside, brother. What I done was wrong. It was a damn
rotten thing to do. The worst thing is, I knew it when I done
it. I knew it was wrong, Bart. Please forgive me.
Take the money.” he cried and stuffed the check into Bart’s shirt
pocket. “You’re the only person in my life, other than my boys, I give
a shit about, and I done went and fucked it up. I saw you with
that good looking cowboy, and I got to think’n you’s replace’n me with
him in yore’ life. It jes’ made me go crazy, Bart. Ain’t no
other word for it,— I guess I’s just jealous and envious, and ‘at ain’t
no way to be. Ain’t no excuse for it, neither. I’m so
sorry! I love you so gotdamn much, Bart.”
cowboy brother, Nick. He’s the man I done told ju’ about what
offered me and Brent a ride on his company’s private jet to San Diego
when we couldn’t git no ride for any amount of money. Him and his
family stood by Brent and me when we needed him. He got me a job
on the Lazy 8. He cowboys with me ever’ damn day. He’s a
good man what don’t ask for nothing for lending a help’n hand to his
cowboy brother. Casey’s a cowboy jes’ like I am, but he’s also a
gentleman. He’s humble and a damn fine cowboy. We done
whupped the pants off’n you and all them other cowboys at chore’
rodeo. So, I’ll take your check and give him half.”
fine. ‘Ass cool. I love you, Bart. I always
have. I ain’t got me no more false, bullshit, macho pride left to
keep me from tell’n you neither. I’m sorry I hadda’ git drunk and
hurt chu’ to finally spill my fuck’n guts and tell you I love you.”
So,— tell me,
Nick,— you so drunk you gonna’ forgit tomorrow you done told me you
love me,— jes’ like you forgot the next morning after the night I made
love to you in the bed of yore’ old man’s truck?”
“Oh, God,— you
do remember. I lied, Bart. I didn’t forget. I’s
afraid you’d think I’s queer. I fuck’n loved ju’ fuck’n me,
brother! Ain’t never felt me nothing so good since. I won’t
forgit tomorrow what I told ju.’ I jes’ don’t care no more, Bart.
I fell in love with you that night, and I ain’t never stopped loving
you since. I only got married ‘cause you done went and got
married. I didn’t think you could ever love me the way I love
“Well,— you jes’
might a’ been wrong, bubba. Look,— I forgive you, Nick.
Thanks for the check. I’ll call you the next time I’m home and we
can get away and talk. Right now, we’s fixing dinner, and I have a
guest. I ain’t got time to hash this out with you right
now. You wanna’ talk with me when you’re sober, ‘at’s fine.
Now, go on home to your guest and your barbecue. You want me to drive
okay.” he hiccuped, “H’it ain’t ‘tat far. Hell, I can take it out
a’ gear and coast ‘at far.”
“I don’t want
you to wreck your truck. Leave it here and walk home.
Either give me the keys, and I’ll bring it over in the morning or you
come back and pick it up.”
You forgive me, Bart?”
you. I weren’t mad or nothing, but I was disappointed with
you. You’re a better man’n ‘nat, Nick Chambers. I’ve
know’d ju’ all my life, and I ain’t never know’d ju’ to be rude
or hateful to another man. Yore’ daddy would roll over in his
fuck’n grave if’n he knew the way you treated my family and my friend.”
“I know,— I
know,— he’d take his strop to me, for sure, and I deserve it.
Tell me you still love me, Bart.”
ain’t never stopped loving you, Nick.”
through his tears.
“‘Ass good to
hear, brother,— ‘ass good to hear. I’ll go on home now.”
“I will,— I
Nick turned his
truck around and drove away. Bart walked out to the edge of the
road to see if he made it home okay. He did. Bart didn’t
start to return until he saw Nick get out of his truck. He slowly
walked back to the house with his head hung down looking at his boots
as he walked. He was stunned by what Nick told him. Casey
was right. Nick didn’t forget about that night. Bart felt
like he wanted to cry. He didn’t know why. He reached the
steps to the porch, turned and looked back down the road he just walked
up. He shook his head in disbelief, walked up the steps and into
He went into the
kitchen. Casey was chopping up pickles to make tartar sauce for
the catfish. The smell of the fish cooking was intoxicating and
he suddenly realized how hungry he was. He left his food sitting
on the table at Nicks. He went to his dad put his arms around him
and wept. Casey, quickly moved to the stove, took the spatula
from Hank’s hand and continued frying the fish. Hank didn’t say
anything, he just let his son get it out.
Brent came over
to his dad and put his little arms around his waist. Bart reached
down and caressed him gently. He slowly got himself together,
came to me, put his arms around me from behind and gently kissed me on
don’t do that less’n you love me.”
He laughed and
kissed me three more times in a row.
“I do love you,
wise-ass. I appreciate you being here and hope all this ain’t
put’n no damper on your weekend.”
bit. You don’t let it bother you none, and it won’t bother me, I
promise. As far as a damper on the weekend is concerned,— ain’t
had me no better time in a long while. Hell, this place it as
close as I can git to being home.” I winked at him. He
understood my analogy.
love Bart harbored for Nick all these years had finally been
declared. He resolved it in his own mind long ago when he gave up
the idea and decided to have a family. Now, it was like the scab
was ripped from the wound and it lay open and bleeding. I knew
Bart was terribly mixed-up and confused at the moment, but I had a
feeling things were going to work out. In a way, Nick’s
declaration may have opened other doors for Bart he didn’t
considered. Did I feel threatened? Not in the
least. I knew my place in Bart’s heart was secure no matter the
Our supper was
wonderful. I told them I didn’t know whether it was how fresh the
catfish was, or whether it was Hank’s cooking, but I never tasted any
better. He really got a good scald on it. While I never missed
catfish when Will cooked it, this had an edge on his. I ate a
bait of it, it was so good. They laughed at me as I took my third
piece from the platter. My tartar sauce made a big hit,
especially with Brent. It was another wonderful evening.
We all pitched
in and cleaned up the kitchen. I washed and Bart and Brent
dried. We made Hank sit and talk with us. While we were
cleaning up, Bart asked if I wanted to watch T.V. or drive into Chapel
Creek for a movie.
“Naw,— I wanna’
do exactly the same thing we done last evening. I jes’ wanna’ sit
on the front stoop with the folks I love and watch the sun go down.”
“Ah, Casey,— ye
be a man after me own heart, ye’ are.” said Hank in and Irish
brogue. I laughed at him. “I suspected ye had a wee bit of
the romantic in ya,’ Lad.” he added.
“Are you from
Irish stock, Mr. Conners?”
buck,— that we are. Why do ye’ think I carry a wee drop of the
dew in me pocket?” he asked rhetorically. We all broke up
laughing at him.
So,— that’s what
we did. Once again, for the first hour or so, Brent wedged
himself between his dad and me. We talked and Hank asked Bart
what Nick wanted.
“Aww, he jes’
said he felt really bad about what he done and said he’s sorry.
He wanted to apologize directly to Casey, but I done told him an
apology to me would be enough. I told him what you said,
Dad,— if you’re rude to my guest, you’re rude to me. He
seemed to accept that. He told me he loved me and didn’t wanna’
lose my friendship. He told me he and Evelyn may be headed for
divorce. He knows if she leaves him she’ll take his boys away
from him. I guess it’s eat’n him up.
He said a couple
other things about him remember’n a certain incident he done claimed he
forgot about. I told him I didn’t forgit about it, I
remembered. He told me he loved me like a brother, and I asked
him if he was gonna’ forgit tell’n me that tomorrow when he sobers
up. He assured me he wouldn’t. We’ll see. I ain’t
gonna’ hold my breath none. ‘At’s so much water under the bridge.”
Hank and I knew
what Bart was talking about without going into details for Brent’s
sake. A little later Brent went to the kitchen with Hank to help
bring us some more ice cream. This time it was fresh peach.
It was so damn good when Bart asked for seconds, so did I. I
complimented Hank and told him it was damn good. He and Brent
made two freezers full, one vanilla and one peach, a couple of days
before we arrived.
h’it started to freeze, it got pert-damn hard to turn the handle.
I put some towels over the top and had Brent sit on it to hold it down
while I cranked.” Hank smile.
“I shore’ hope
you and dad enjoy yore’ ice cream, Casey,” Brent stated, “h’it done
liked ta’ froze my dang butt off!” Brent exclaimed while rubbing
his little behind. Bart and I had a good laugh.
While they were
in the house Bart and I talked.
think’n on Nick a lot, brother?”
I’m too content sit’n here with you and ma’family sharing a wonderful
evening. I been think’n more on whether I might get lucky again
last night’s rodeo,— I’d say yore’ chances are pert-damn good,
cowboy.” we shared a laugh.
“I apologize for
this morning, Casey. Dad and I both were embarrassed and hurt
about what Nick done.”
necessary, Bart. T’weren’t your fault. Nick jes’ felt
threatened by me, s’all. When two men are comfortable with each
other, some folks notice. Nick noticed because of his repressed
affection for you. I don’t think Nick counted on us winning his
little rope’n competition.”
right. I guess it did sort a’ git his goat.” we laughed, “Part a’
why he come over is this.” Bart pulled the check out of his
pocket. “He was offer’n prize money of five hunnert dollars for
first place. At first I didn’t wanna’ take his damn money, then I
got to think’n about you and it wouldn’t be right to cheat chu’ none
because of my anger. So when he stuffed it in my pocket, I didn’t
try to give it back to him. I’ll write chu’ a check for half,
“Why don’t you
keep it. I got me enough money right now. Brent might need
some extra things for school. I’m sure it might come in handy.”
“Naw,— now, we’s
a team. I gits half and you gits half. ‘At’s the way h’it’s
take your check, but I won’t cash it. Please, Bart, take it for
my little buckaroo buddy. When you buy him some clothes or
whatever he needs for school, tell him his cowboy brother helped.”
brother. I love you and Brent. I’d be a damn liar, if’n I
was to say I didn’t love your old man, too. He’s special.”
Casey. I’m amazed how far away this morning seems to
me. We done come home, dusted ourselves off, and had us the most
wonderful day I can remember. I was really content to jes’ be
with you, dad and ma’boy. I didn’t even allow myself to think on
Nick all afternoon until he done drove up and honked his horn.”
“H’it was a good
day, brother. Look at that sunset. It has to be purttier than the
one last night. Think that’s God’s way a’ tell’n us, ever’
thing’s gonna’ be all right?”
“It has to be,
Casey. Why else would He give us some’um that beautiful at the
close of day? It’s almost like He’s giving His approval and done
wrapped it up in a purttie package with a colorful bow on top.”
“And your old
man calls me a romantic.” I said drolly. Bart laughed as I put my
arms around his waist and squeezed him.
After we ate our
ice cream it wasn’t long before Brent crawled up into his granddad’s
lap and promptly went to sleep. Bart took him in and put him to
bed in his dad’s room.
“Do things like
what happened today happen to you a lot, Son?”
really thunk on it, Mr. Conners. Now that you mention it,— I
guess they do.”
surprised.” he said softly, “If’n things happen to you a lot, you jes’
git used to ‘um. You don’t think on ‘um much. I remember
Bart tell’n me the story about you saving your granddad’s life, and I
marveled at your quick think’n.”
really me what saved him, Mr. Conners. H’it was my Uncle Ocie and
two wonderful ponies what save the both of us.”
“That’s the way
you are, Son. You’re a modest man. ‘At’s what make folks
love you so much.”
Conners. I appreciate that.”
and we continued our conversation. I told Bart what his dad and I
talked about; how stuff always seems to be happening to me. I
told them about my Cousin Rance’s boy, my Cousin Dwayne, and what
happened between him with his step-dad. I told them how my little
brother and I join forces with a community of good men, including my
dad, Sticker Wiggins and Sidney Wainright.
They were both
squirming on the porch from the discomfort of my words when I told them
what the Colonel did to Dwayne and how he planned to sell my brother
into slavery. Hank almost couldn’t believe what I was
telling them. I told them I had a DVD upstairs in my bag to prove
every word I said.”
explains the giant, black military man in your family.” Bart said.
“Yeah,— and it
was Lamar who went into action and got his commandant to get the Army
to send a helicopter to pickup my granddad and our ranch pony we all
love. See, Mr. Conners,— if’n it weren’t for my brother Lamar, my
granddaddy wouldn’t be alive today.” I smiled at him. He just
look at me with a grin and shook his head.
“What are your
plans at the ranch, Son?”
I heard a voice
in my head I’d never heard before. It told me to tell Bart the
rest of what he didn’t know about me. I protested, but it told me
he could handle it. He was stronger than I gave him credit for
“I don’t really
have no plans, Mr. Conners, other than work’n as a cowboy for the next
couple of years,— maybe three. I love the life, but I would like
to see it improved for the cowboys. I think if’n they was to
change a few things they’d have a better chance of hold’n on to their
“Bart said you
held some stock in the company,— is ‘zat right?”
Remember what you done said about modesty?” I asked Hank.
“Yeah,— I done
told the same to Bart about chu.’ Lemme’ guess, you have a
greater interest in the ranch than you been let’n on.”
I didn’t lie to Bart, Mr. Conners. I jes’ left out some. I
guess now’s as good as any to come clean with you and my brother; at
least, that’s what a small voice in my head jes’ told me a minute ago.”
I laughed, Bart was looking at me like what the hell is he gonna’ tell
me now, “I’m a partner in the company. I hold one third of the
Bart jumped up
ran down the steps, turned around and looked back up at me. I
thought he’d gone mad. Then, he slapped his knee a fell out
laughing and pointed his finger at me. Hank laughed, too, and
shook his head.
“You tell’n me,—
my saddle partner,— my cowboy buddy,— my brother,— owns a third of the
what I’s tell’n you.”
Bart came back
to the stoop, sat down and shook his head.
“It’s hard for
me to believe, but it all makes sense; the private jet, what Mr.
Wainright told me when I asked if your recommendation might git me a
job and everyone laughed; Sticker Wiggins talk’n with you a lot at the
roundup, and you and Mr. Wainright’s son being brothers. It all
“Y’ain’t mad or
nothing, are you, Bart?”
no. I’s jes’ happy for you. I jes’ don’t want you think’n
I’m your buddy because of what you got, s’all.”
“I don’t think
‘at’s fair to Casey, Son. The man loves you. You cain’t
hide some’um like ‘at. I see it in the way he looks at you
sometime.” Hank came to my rescue. “He was jes’ being modest, not
because he didn’t want you to know, he jes’ didn’t want you think’n
he’s bragging or putting on airs. It’s the cowboy way, Son.
Am I right, Casey?”
“Couldn’t a said
it better myself, Mr. Conners.”
Bart dropped his
big arm around my shoulder and pulled me close.
“Who all knows
about this at the ranch?” he asked me.
“Jes’ you, my
granddad, and Will. Little Gip, Waddie Buck, Vince and Seth knew
about it, but they’d never say nothing. The sheriff, Bubba and my
Uncle Ocie knows. That’s about it. Sticker didn’t even know about
it until I told Will he could tell him at the fall roundup.”
I went on to
tell them about me and my brothers’ secret corporation; how, Sid’s
personal assistant, Kevin, figured it out.
“You mean the
name ‘Hensly Agrocon’ spells out ‘Casey Longhorn.’”
brother.” Bart shook his head.
“I don’t care
if’n you is a rich cowboy, I still love you.” he grinned.
“Cain’t say’s it
don’t make me love you jes’ a bit more myself.” said Hank laughing his
ass off. We all laughed.
* * * * * * *
goodnight and went in to go to bed. Bart and I sat there for a
anything else to learn about chu,’ pod’na.’?” Bart asked.
“Well,— since I
done told you that, I might as well tell you the rest.”
“Oh, Lord,— I’m
glad I’m sit’n down.” he laughed.
“What I’m about
to tell you has to remain between us,— at least for a while. I
don’t even want my granddad to know, and you’ll understand why when I
“Okay,— I agree
to that. I won’t even tell my dad.”
“I don’t care if
you share it with yore’ dad. He ain’t around them folks that
much. ‘Sides ‘zat, Hank ain’t the kind a’ man what goes around
tell’n other folk’s business.”
about that. My dad would take a secret to his grave.”
Wainright and Sticker have asked me to take over management of the Lazy
long and low. I held up my hand for Bart to let me finish.
“I turned ‘um
You turned ‘um down?”
minute!” I interrupted him, “I told ‘um I weren’t ready for that
kind of responsibility right now. I explained how I had to grow
up fast when my mom died to help take care of my dad. I always
felt like I missed something growing up, because I had to be more
mature and think about other folk’s needs other than my
own. Now,— I’ve been away from home almost a year, I
begin to see things in a different light. Waddie Claymore helped
me understand some things.
I love what I’m
doing right now. I loved jes’ being a cowboy with little or no
responsibilities other than doing a good job. I love the men I
work with and git to work for my granddad. How great is
‘zat? I have a sense of family with you and my cowboy
brothers. It’s my chance to reclaim a portion of my youth I never
had. I told ‘um I wanted to be nothing more’n a cowboy for
another couple of years,— maybe three.
I plan to go
home for a couple of weeks during Christmas and the summer to be with
my dad. As you know, I’m leaving right after the Fourth of
July to fly back to California for two weeks. They came back with
a counter offer. They want me to be a voting member of the board
for the company and submit proposal of ideas I might have to make
things better, run more smoothly, and ultimately make better profits.”
gonna’ let chu’ continue being a cowboy and sort a’ making suggestion
as a silent partner.
less. I wanted you to know so’s there ain’t no secrets between
“I can handle
it, Casey,— s’long as I know I’m gonna’ have my saddle buddy around for
a while; hell, I can handle anything. I can understand why you
might not wont chore’ granddaddy to know. It jes’ dawned on me,
yore’ granddad works for you.”
“Well,— he don’t
know about the last part I told ju.’ I think he handles the idea
of me owning a third of the company pretty well; however,— why do you
think I call him Mr. Langtry like all the other cowboys?”
him as boss while you’re working for him.”
right. I never call him ‘granddad’ or ‘grampa’ while we’re
working. I show him the proper respect he’s due in his position.
I call him ‘grampa’ in private, but that’s different. I was
worried about telling him at first. After I helped save his life, and
he found out I’m his grandson, I think it was easier for him to
accept. I hope I’m a good enough cowhand he wouldn’t have to
worry none about it.”
one a’ the best they got. Well,— second best next to me, that
is.” Bart laughed.
that, pod’na. You be the best. You shore’ ‘nuff know
how to ride a wild bronc. You done won my rodeo, cowboy.” I
grinned at him.
ride was pert-damn good,— weren’t it? Do I git a re-ride tonight?”
in the chute wait’n for ya,’ cowboy.”
“Let’s us mount
up and ride, hoss.” said Bart.
End of Chapter
45 ~ Texas Longhorns
Copyright 2005 ~