Thursday, August 15, 2019


Courtesy of Pixabay
Apparently kissing booths aren’t big with my readers. Readership fell off sharply with the last week’s story, TY. Maybe this one will fare better.


          The hair on the nape of my neck bristled as I rode under the brace of Texas Longhorns crowning the gate of the immense Rocking Bar Ranch, and the ride up the half-mile wagon track to the ramshackle ranch house didn’t make me rest easier. As a troubleshooter for the local Grange, I was in enemy territory.
          Buggies and hansoms and riding horses littered the front of the place. Old man Jemsen was throwing a hell of a party, and now that I was here, I wasn’t sure why. After dismounting and ground hitching Blue Blazes, my blue roan, I shook a finger at him.
          “Don’t wanna have to come looking for you.”
          The horse rumbled an answer.
          A shout pulled my attention to a man walking toward me. “Rowley Cooper, as I live and breathe. Ain’t you pressing your luck?”
          I eyed the good-looking, blond-headed cowpoke, happy to see a familiar face, even if it belonged to a Rocking Bar hand. “Hell, Sandy, the invite says everybody’s welcome.” I referred to the crude handbills stapled to every fencepost in the county announcing the rancher’s blowout.
          Sandy Peters extended a hand and gave me the eye. “You figure that includes farmers? And I doubt the invite was meant for a hired Grange gunman.”
          “Sandy, I ain’t a hired gun no more’n you. I ride the farmers’ fences and try to head off trouble.”
          “And you’d pull that six-gun you’re wearing fast enough if you seen any.”
          I nodded. “Just like you would. And we’d both have a hell of a time hitting the side of that barn over yonder. You gonna jaw all day or do you want me to buy you a drink?”
          “There’s drink aplenty inside.
          “Hell, Sandy, I ain’t talking ‘bout candy-ass wine. I got hard liquor in my saddlebags.”
          “Wouldn’t mind a little hooch, but we gotta be quick. All the gals gonna get taken, we don’t hurry. Sandy eyed the bottle I pulled out. “Don’t wanna share with a passel a cowpokes, we better go down past the barn a piece.”
          We took turns swigging from the bottle as we skirted the social activity livening up the pasture back of the ranch house. Aware of a sound behind us, we turned. Blue Blazes stared at us through big, innocent eyes.
          Sandy gave a soft hiccup. “Thought he was hitched.”
          “Is,” I replied. Ground hitched.”
          “Don’t look like it. He’s following us.”
          “Ground hitched don’t mean he can’t follow us. Where the hell we going?”
          “They’s a hot spring down in that copse a oaks. Good grassy spot. We’ll polish off the bottle and go look us up a couple a gals.”
          I laughed. “They all took by now. They’s ten feller to ever gal in this county.”
          We staggered down to the stand of oaks where Sandy looked up the neck of the empty bottle and addressed the problem of women again.
          “Rowley, I figure I’m the best-looking poke in this countryside, and you’re the second best. That oughta count for something. What the hell happened to all the whisky?”
          I marched back to Blue Blazes and retrieved another bottle. “You drunk it up. Don’t be such a pig over this one. And whatta you mean you’re the best looking? I got you beat by a mile.”
          “No way, and I’m the best hung, too,” Sandy said, groping his crotch.
          “Hell, you say! I got the biggest one in the county. The state.”
          “We’ll just see about that,” Sandy said, unbuckling his holster and draping his six-shooter over Blaze’s saddle horn. Before I could blink twice, he was standing there necked as a jay bird. “Well, come on, shuck ‘em and let’s measure.”
          In minutes, we faced one another buck naked, our peckers pointing like aimed six-guns. Half-drunk—or maybe whole drunk—we argued over who was biggest.
          “Close,” Sandy admitted, “but I can make mine bigger.” He grabbed his thing and started pumping.
          “No fair!” I complained, grabbing my own equipment and skinning the pole.
          A minute later, we were going at it seriously, neither one of us worrying over who was bigger than who. I watched the good-looking cowboy while I worked, noticing that he was taking a good gander at me, as well.
          He got off a shot first, but not by much. After a bunch of grunting and groaning and oohing and aahing, I caught my breath.
          “That was passing strange,” I said. “You ever done that with a man before?”
          “Y-yeah,” Sandy panted, closing his blue eyes a moment. “Coupla year back me’n Willis Handy drove a few cows up from down south, and we done it one night. You?”
          “Hell no, just women. When I can catch one.”
          Sandy looked me full in the eye. “That was right nice. How come we never done this before?”
          “I-I don’t know. Thought about it some but didn’t know how. What… what do we do now?”
          The blond-headed cowpoke standing in front of me, gave a smile that made him look like a big, lanky imp.
          “They’s a sink hole over there full of hot sulfur water. What say we go take a warm bath? We can work on the bottle while we soak. No sense hurrying back. All the gals is took for sure by now. ‘Sides, I can show you something else me’n Willis done.”


I wonder what Willis taught Sandy? Any thoughts on the answer. Looks to me like the ladies are going to be denied the attentions of the county’s two best-looking studs from now on.

Another plug for my Okie buddy: Don Travis’ next BJ Vinson mystery series novel, The Voxlightner Scandal has been scheduled for release on November 19, 2019. The following is a buy link:

Now my continuing plug (read plea) for my own work. Amazon permits you to read a short passage of my novels, Cut Hand and Johnny Two-Guns. I also believe the STARbooks-published River Otter, Echoes of the Flute, and Medicine Hair are still up. I sure would like to get the final book in the Cut Hand Series, Wastelakapi… Beloved, published, but it’ll take some help from readers to get Dreamspinner interested.

My contact information is provided below in case anyone wants to drop me a line:
Website and blog:
Twitter: @markwildyr

The following are buy links for CUT HAND:

And now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!

Until next time.


New posts at 6:00 a.m. on the first and third Thursdays of the month.

No comments:

Post a Comment