Read The Last Buckaroo Online

Authors: J. R. Wright

The Last Buckaroo

BOOK: The Last Buckaroo
4.93Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Last

BUCKAROO

 

 

 

 

The Last

BUCKAROO

 

©
Copyright 2014 by J.R.
Wright / DKW BOOKS

ALL RIGHTS
RESERVED

 

Edited by MIA
MANNS

 

 

This is a work
of fiction and as such all names and places in it are fictional.

ENJOY.

 

 

 

 

To
Sherlock with Love

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blazedale,
Montana
 — 
Early spring,
1919

 

 

 

CHAPTER
ONE

The
large bird high overhead gracefully circled, then suddenly broke wing and
darted downward.  No doubt it was destined for disaster unless its trajectory
changed, which of course it did, at the last instant, and the eagle lifted
skyward again, now with a striped prairie gopher in its talons.  Yancey watched
it go, hoping to see the nest high in some nearby pine tree, where the rodent
would surely become a midday meal for some young chicks.

Yancey
Burke wasn

t exactly a relic of the past, even
though he felt it from time to time.  For him it wasn

t
easy adjusting to the forces of change.  All around him there were noises that
were never there before.  Noises that had absolutely nothing to do with the
natural way things once were, or ought to be.  Hell, he couldn

t
even enjoy the full benefit of the shrill squawk of a lone bald eagle coming
down for the kill but what the sound of some distant farm tractor or locomotive
whistle interfered with the excitement of it all.  And just try stretching out
on a sun warmed rock of a chill day, see how that works in harmony with the
peace of nature he

d became so comfortable
with in previous times.

When
Yancey started out early that morning on the long ride to town, his horse
loaded heavy with belongings, wrapped in canvas and tied behind the saddle, he

d
expected to rest himself and his horse at a clear water creek before going the
remainder of the way.  The old raw-boned stallion may not have paid much
attention while grazing on some tender spring grass nearby, but
he
certainly did.  From one direction it was a steady pop
 — 
pop
 — 
pop

 
And from another it was a wheezy chew
 — 
chew
 — 
chew

Once
in town, his wasn

t the only horse in the
sea of mechanical forms of transportation, but almost.  There was no doubt in
his mind that in a few years horses wouldn

t
even be allowed on the same streets with automobiles.  And surely that water
trough in the center of the street would be gone, along with the windmill that
fed it to overflowing daily.  The trough had been crashed into by cars twice in
recent years and many had already declared it an unnecessary nuisance. 
Unnecessary of course if the person doing the declaring no longer traveled by
horse, in some fashion.  So where did that leave him?

But
that was far from being Yancey Burke

s
only grief this day.  He

d just been expelled
from the only job he

d ever known: wrangling
cattle.  Now that the large ranch where he

d
worked was completely fenced and the cattle were worked in corrals, chutes, and
mechanical restraining devices, horse riding, roping cowboys were no longer
needed for branding, dehorning, and such, or so he was told.  Oh, they offered
to let him stay on if he agreed to sit the iron seat of a steel wheeled farm
tractor the entire day, bouncing from furrow to furrow plowing up half the
place, in order to plant it to wheat. 

No
thank you,

he

d
told them. 

I

ll
take my chances of getting hired on someplace else.

 
But where, seeing most of the big ranches had gone to crops?  Starting out at
fifteen, over the past twenty-two years he

d
worked his way up to Montana from Texas.  And with Canada sitting just thirty
miles to the north, this seemed to be the end of the line for him.  Feeling
hopeless, it now appeared there were no more frontiers to move on to, no more
ridges to cross.  Not anymore.  He should have known this would eventually
happen, but frankly he hadn

t given it much
thought, until now

 
Now that it was too late to change his
ways.

He
tied the white horse to the only rail that remained out front of the saloon
(now called a tavern because the owner thought it better fit the times) and
with all the courage he could muster, walked inside.

Not
another person in the place had a ten gallon Stetson on his head or wore high
top, heeled boots on his feet, let alone spurs that jangled with every step.
 

Katie,

Yancey said as he
bellied up to the bar and solemnly tipped his hat to the pretty female
bartender.


What
will you have, Yance?

the shapely, not yet thirty redhead
said.


Same
as it

s
been all these years, Katie,

he returned with a dimpled smile. 
He liked Katie because she seemed to like him, which was an exception as far as
he was concerned.  But then he didn

t
come across many available females in his line of work.  Katie, on the other
hand,
wasn

t
exactly single.  She had a husband somewhere, as was evidenced by the ever
present gold band on her ring finger, or so she let people believe since she

d
come to town near seven years back.


Yeah,
I know,

Katie poured the shot
of whiskey, then went for the beer,

nothing
ever changes with you.  So what brings you to town in the middle of the month,
Yance?

 
She came to expect him for a day or so near the turn of the month, when he rode
in to deposit his meager pay in the town

s
only bank.


I
quit,

he said and downed the
whiskey.


Oh!

Katie said
, and eyed him questioningly. 

So
what will you do now?

 
She slid the mug of barrel beer before
him.

Yancey

s
shoulders went up, then fell as he slurped the head from the brew. 

Got
any ideas?

Katie
Peck had always thought Yancey handsome regardless of the difference in their
ages.  Maybe he was a bit too skinny, but his boyish dimpled smile declared
that unimportant.  At least he had a powerful butt, and broad shoulders.  He
wasn

t
scrawny where it counted.
 

Well
…”
 
She looked about to see
who may need service, and went on,

maybe
you ought to find another line of work.  I know how that offends you, but what
choice do you have?  I mean you

ve got to eat,
right?

 
She smiled to him,
hoping to lighten the moment.


Eatin

s
the least of my worries,

Yancey returned. 

I

ve
lived off the land before, I can do it again.  Besides, I got money saved.

 
He gulped a goodly
amount of the beer to settle the burn in his belly from the whiskey. 

I
just don

t
care to give up what I

ve always done, is
all.  That

s who I am, Katie.


Things
change and people have to change with it

or be left behind.

 
Again she tried the smile, to no avail. 

For
all we know you might be the last buckaroo, Yance.  Did you ever think of that?

 
She laughed heartily at
her wit.


I
prefer cowpoke,

he said in jest and cracked loose with a
smile after all.


Oh! 
Now you

ve
giv
en
me an itch.

 
She
wrinkled her nose dotted with a busy patch of orange freckles. 

The
last cowpoke!

  She laughed again. 

Somehow
that sounds naughty.


There

s
nothing naughty about dust and sweat.  Good honest work when it

s
swapped for a fair month

s pay.


What
about the Rocking J?

Katie said. 

Aren

t
they still free ranging a lot of cows?


Most
of their beeves went to the war effort.  That was the price they paid for all
those years of free grazing government lands.  Can

t
say they weren

t warned enough times to keep a
tighter rein on their stock.  They

re
near bust now, with most of their herd gone.

A
voice interrupted from the center of the tavern. 

Katie! 
If it

s
not asking too much, ya reckon you can pull yourself away from Yancey long
enough to give us a refill?

a burly man at a table of four
said.


Hold
your shirt on,
Clyde,

Katie replied and
tossed a wet bar rag, barely missing him.  She then laughed and went to work
filling fresh mugs.

Yancey
knew Clyde Banyon, but since their friendship had deteriorated over the years,
he didn

t
bother to turn and greet him.  That ended up to be a mistake when Clyde, a
blacksmith and owner of the livery down the street, gathered the bar rag off
the floor and fired it at Yancey, knocking his dusty brown hat off onto the
bar, spilling some of his beer.

In
the early days most knew better than to mess with a cowhand

s
hat unless you were looking for trouble.  Yancey Burke, in a sour mood anyway,
wasn

t
about to be the exception to the old rule.  He didn

t
bother collecting the hat, but rather went directly at Clyde, kicking chairs
out of the way as he traveled.

Clyde,
up to the challenge, pulled a heavy pair of hoof nippers from the hammer loop
at the side of his grimy overalls, doubled back and threw them at Yancey. 
Yancey ducked.  They sailed over his head and lodged handles first in a bare
area of the smoke stained plaster wall behind the bar.

Katie
screamed,

Stop that!  Both of you

 
Yancey! 
Clyde!

 
She came to be between them. 

Now go sit
down!  If I have to call the sheriff, you

ll
both go to jail!

she threatened.

Yancey
was tempted to do as Katie ordered.  But Clyde didn

t
seem to be inclined to do likewise.  In fact, the other three at the table now
looked as if they wanted a piece of Yancey as well and began circling wide
around, each picking up a chair as they went.

Yancey,
feeling he had very little choice in the matter, pulled a small pistol from his
boot.
 

This
is where it ends!

he shouted, moving it from man to man. 
He looked around for Katie and saw her at the wall phone, cranking it
fiercely.  Such an action he knew would alert everyone in the community,
including the county sheriff

s office across
the street.  Meantime the dozen or so other customers in the place scurried out
the door.


Okay,
Yance, you win this one,

Clyde finally said, dropped the chair
and headed for the open door as well. 

But
there

ll
be another time for you, fella!

BOOK: The Last Buckaroo
4.93Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

The Revolution by Ron Paul
Abby the Witch by Odette C. Bell
Mary Emma & Company by Ralph Moody
A Measure of Light by Beth Powning
Tell Me No Secrets by Joy Fielding
The Sassy Belles by Beth Albright
Guilt by Elle, Leen