Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Billy - 6

Tad reluctantly headed for the barn where they could hear him muttering and shifting things around.

Billy said, “What do you think Juan? Is he going to stay the night or make a run for it?”

“I think he will run for it. Then, what will you do? Will you go after him or let him make his own way?”

Billy thought a minute before he replied, “What can you tell me about these men who are looking for him?”

“Not much,” replied Juan. “Ben Sublette, the freighter, says he thinks they are part of The Dodge City Gang out of Las Vegas, New Mexico. He says there are a couple of bad hombres in the bunch.”

“It could be. They were ran out of Las Vegas just last month. I had heard they were headed for Mexico but they might have come this way. That Hoodoo Brown is sure a bad one. They were robbing stagecoaches and settlers on the old trail. Hmm,” said Billy. “I wonder why a bunch like that would be interested in the boy. Do you suppose he might have fallen in with them?”

“I doubt it,” said Juan. “More than likely he has something on them. Maybe he saw something they didn’t want him to see. Now tell me Billy, where did you find that boy?”

“I found him down on Spring Lake. I’ve been over at Fort Sumner working for Pete Maxwell.”

“Ah, and how is Doña Luz?”

“She is well, Juan. Didn’t you once work for Lucien?”

“I didn’t actually work for him, but I lived on his land. He would protect us and buy our wool and we would share part of it with him. Don Luciano was a good man. He’s been gone now – what? -- five years? I hope his son Pete is half the man he was.”

“I didn’t know Señor Maxwell, but Pete is a good man too. I helped him through the spring branding. He didn’t have much else to do so I cut loose from there and was headed over to casas amarillas. Pete said he had heard that Colonel Slaughter was driving a herd up from Big Spring and I was going to try to intercept him. When I got to Spring Lake I ran into the boy. I decided it would be better to head up here to Tascosa where I could leave the boy with somebody. Besides, maybe one of the big outfits around here is hiring.”

“Did he tell you why he was at Spring Lake?”

“He said he had been working for Charlie Goodnight and decided to light out for the Seven Rivers country. He claimed his horse stepped in a prairie dog hole and broke its leg. That’s why he was afoot. Every time I’d try to get more information out of him he would change his story. I knew from the start that he was hiding something, I just didn’t know what. He wasn’t even taking the most logical trail. He should have come through here and over to Las Vegas and then south down the Pecos to Anton Chico and Fort Sumner.”

Juan replied, “We still don’t know what he’s hiding Billy. We may never know. So, what will you do if he runs off during the night?”

“I think I’ll follow him if I can,” said Billy. “Once upon a time I needed someone to help me get through some trouble. Maybe I can repay the favor that was done for me by helping this boy.”

“Yes, I remember the story,” said Juan. “Maybe it is your fate to pass on to this boy the blessing that you received. Let’s turn in for the night. Tomorrow may be a long day.”


WomanHonorThyself said...

ah a story..how lovely..thanks Poet!

Incognito said...

Just a little thing....not sure how to explain it but... In the 1st Billy post you write:

“Old Juan has a daughter that oughta be ‘bout grown by now. I’ve been hankerin’ to see her since I left here last year.

It leads the reader to believe there's something there... but then you kind of skim over it.. in Billy 5.

The oldest was Juanita who would celebrate her Quincienera this year. She was turning into a beautiful young lady who would have all the boys calling on her in a few months. Billy thought he might call on her too.

It's as though he just discovered his attraction as opposed to having looked forward to seeing her again after a whole year.
And maybe that's not what you meant, but I'd like to see you expand the meeting and the recognition of her beauty more.

My 2 cents.

But so far so good!

Panhandle Poet said...

You are correct my Incognito friend. There are a couple of other incosistencies that no one has picked up on. If this thing ever gets completed and published I hope to have them fixed in the final work.

PS Thank you, thank you, thank you for the feedback. For two reasons. 1) I started posting this story about Billy in hopes that someone would be interested and inspire me to continue/complete it. You have done so. 2) I also was hoping for critical feedback. I appreciate it more than you can imagine. Most people either flatter or are silent. I crave input. Thank you.