Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Coming Home - Pt 8 -

Howdy Folks,

On April 9, 2013 I posted the first installment of "Coming Home" and then followed with Pt 2, on April 10, Pt 3 on April 11, Pt 4 on May 8, Pt 5 on May 21, Pt 6 June 18, and Pt 7, July 31. If you're just joining us you can find Pt 1 HERE, and each segment has a link to the next (If you'd like to revisit Pt 7 Click Here) … In Pt 7 we left Billie and Hector in her new office as Hector explained Sherriff Calhoun's dislike of woman and her father … Enjoy this next installment.
Kessy, Saturday & me writing

Billie opened the file again, "So this Andrew Kent was arrested for drunken-disorderly, Sheriff Calhoun ships him back here, somebody wants him sprung." She tapped her fingernails on the file folder. "He'd served time for bad checks in '06 in Arizona, arrested and acquitted for forgery in New Mexico in February '04, arrested and given two years parole for beating a man nearly to death in Phoenix in November '04. Ah, see here, he's still on parole for the bad checks. Who would want to spring a likable fellow like this?" She held the black and white mug shot up for Hector to see. 
"Detective Weston, Sheriff…." Deputy Hardin's voice was interrupted by the loud wailing of fire sirens.

Hector followed Billie at a run to the front counter just in time to see the Hondo County Fire Department's entire fleet of engines and a lone tanker race past their window, sirens and lights blaring and flashing.

Deputy Hardin offered Billie the phone, timidly. "It's Sheriff Lovell on the line. Someone called him at home." 

"Yes Sheriff. Highway twenty-nine ... I see ... I can leave right away ... Yes Deputy Montoya is still here, would you like to speak to him?... Alright then, we're on our way. Would you like me to call you from the scene?... I will. Goodbye."
Billie faced Deputies Hardin and Montoya's inquisitive stares. "A truck driver found a burning car a few yards off highway twenty-nine, five miles outside Cibolo, when he stopped to investigate he found a body lying next to it. The Sheriff needs us to check on it right away." She started for the door, turned back, "How would a truck driver get Sheriff Lovell's home phone number?" She motioned to Deputy Hardin, "You call the phone company, find out whatever you can about that call. Call me on my cell as soon as you know something."
"Yes Ma'am."
"You drive," she pointed to Hector, "I'll try to have you home before your daughter's birthday is over. Rosita isn't it?"
Hector smiled. "Yes. For the rose. She is our little rose. You remembered."
"How old is she today, let me guess …eleven. That should be right. Yea I'll stick with eleven."
Hector smiled broader. "She is eleven, yes."
"Let's hurry, so you can get home to light eleven candles."
Cibolo is a cluster of about a dozen rusty mobile homes that sprung up along a cattle trail ranchers and drovers had used to push herds to the old rail yards way up in the panhandle. It wasn't really a town, or even a community. It just was. Most of the folks who lived in those old trailers did not have what some might call, real jobs. They made a living working here and there, fixing old oil rigs, windmills, or hiring on a few weeks at a time on the hand full of remaining cattle outfits in the county. Billie knew Cibolo, or not too far from it, was where Juan del Paso's grandmother had her old tiny trailer.
Outside by the cars Billie changed her mind. "We'll drive separate. When we're through with this I'm going to tell Juan's grandmother about her grandson. She still lives outside Cibolo I'd guess."
"Are you sure? I think I should go with you. She maybe won't remember you. She can be hard to talk to, if she don't remember you." But he moved with a smile to his cruiser.
Billie opened her own car door, then turned to face Hector, "You're right, she can be, shall I say, shy."
Her mind was more on Juan's grandmother than her driving, or the dead man lying beside his burning car as she drove along behind Hector. Billie truly liked the ancient woman, and in fact had learned as much from her, as she herself had ever been able to teach Juan. For that she'd often felt guilty. And she felt especially guilty this moment. Had she missed some important lesson, or example she could have used to influence young Juan when she'd been helping him study? Was there something she missed that could have later kept him from making a wrong decision, a decision that ultimately led to his death alongside a desolate stretch of paved road. 
The Comanche people were not known for their record keeping, but Sara Muguara, could recite her linage all the way back to the Aztecs of Mexico. As she drove she remembered Sara's name meant Spirit Talker. She wondered if Grandma Sara had already heard from her grandson's spirit.
The smoke from the burning car drifted straight up, high into the windless sky. Most of the fire apparatus was already being wrapped up. Two engines, and six firefighters had made short work of the flames, now there was only black smoke. She stopped behind Deputy Montoya's cruiser and surveyed the scene. The body was on the opposite side of the road from the smoking car. Good thing, she thought, at least it appeared to be far enough away to be safe from overzealous hose operators. Her mind was slow to react though, and she blamed that on the long, long day which was certainly going to get even longer. She was still watching the smoke and thinking about Sara Muguara sitting alone in her dark little trailer, wondering if the message she'd received from the spirit world, about her grandson was true, when Hector knocked on her window.
"Ah…ah…I ah…."
Billie stepped out. "What's wrong?"
"I am not sure what to call you." He held his hands in the air, palms up, "You know, now you are a Detective. I used to, when we worked together before, call you Miss Weston. Remember? But that is not good for a Detective, I think."
She was surprised and amused enough by his discomfort that all she could respond with was a silly half-a-smile, and a shrug.
"I suppose I should call you Detective Weston, but, you know, somehow it feels funny." He made a very apologetic face, took a big breath, "Not that I think you should not be a Detective. You should. And most certainly you will make a very fine Detective, but it sounds funny to my ears."
Still speechless she watched him struggle and thought this is more words than she'd ever heard Hector Montoya say at one time.
"I mean, I will learn to like, Detective Weston…Soon."
She put her hand on his shoulder and gave her most assuring smile, "Hector, why don't you call me, Billie? After all we are equals, quite possibly going to be partners." She had a pang of guilt for saying that last part. Poor Roy was supposed to be her partner and he died before they ever worked together.
Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry

Monday, October 14, 2013

We'll Sort This Out – Pt 3

Howdy Folks,

Back in January I wrote a short story, "We'll Sort This Out" about a boy fleeing a bad home situation set back in homestead times – You can find that story (HERE) – Off and on I've gotten requests to continue the story. Then I wrote Part 2 (HERE).  Because of requests to keep the story going and I've decided to turn it into a serial like stories in old time magazines – I hope you enjoy Part 3. – We left the boy in the loft fighting sleep, intending to slip out to run to his sister after Martha and Frank fell asleep.
Kessy, Saturday and me writing a story
 We'll Sort This Out – Pt 3

He didn't mean to fall asleep. But the loft was warm, and Martha and Frank's voices sounded so friendly. They and their tiny cabin made him feel safe. It had been a long time since he'd felt safe. Not since their father had driven away their mother. He missed her soft voice, her warm hugs. Her gentle kisses goodnight. He was thinking of her, pretending she was there this night, with him, tucking him into these warm blankets and kissing his cheek. But she wasn't. Neither was his sister. The rain on the roof, the warmth from the dancing fire, the soft voices below, and his own sobs lulled him into a restless sleep.

Light streaming through a crack in the highest corner of the loft told him he'd betrayed his sister. He'd fallen asleep. A rooster crowed, then another. The crack was not large enough to look out and see just how much of the morning had passed. Perhaps Martha and Frank were still sleeping. Maybe it wasn't morning yet and he could still dash home in the cover of the gray morning and bring his sister back here. He wasn't sure if they would help her too, but he was sure, either he went back to protect her, or they ran away together.

Without a sound, he pushed back the warm blankets and slid backwards on his belly to the ladder. His bare feet dangled over the edge, feeling, searching for the top rung. Left and right his toes searched, stretching as far as possible to feel that uneven top rung. He dared not to breathe, lest Frank or Martha hear him.

He gulped a sudden breath when a calloused, but warm and soft, hand grabbed his foot then guided his toes to the ladder. "There ya go young fella." Frank chuckled. "Hard to find that step from behind in the dark isn't it?"

"We thought you might sleep 'til noon," Martha greeted him at the bottom. "How about some hot biscuits and warm milk?"

He stood blinking at her, rubbing his eyes.

"Maybe he'd like a little bacon with those biscuits?" Frank offered a chair.

"Thanks. What about my sister?"

"I was just about to milk the cows. You go ahead and fill your belly, and as I promised I'll head right over there right after milking."

"Can't she milk?' He pointed to Martha, but looked at Frank. "We need to go right now!" He watched them study each other's face. He was not going to waste any more time. It was Martha who spoke first.

"I can milk, of course. But you should eat …"

"I don't want to eat!" He watched their faces change. He was good at studying faces; his and his sister's safety depended on it. He shouldn't have left without her. "I'm sorry," his voice broke. "It's just that … "

Frank's hand rested on the boy's shoulder. "Martha, stuff those biscuits in a sack. This young man and I have a ride to make. Son, slide back into your duds they're dry now, and meet me in the barn."

The barn looked different in the early morning light, not as big as it had seemed in the dark. Equipment and tools covered the far wall. A long wagon waited, piled high with split firewood. The cows looked just as friendly as they had in the dark, one turned to look at him. Frank stood with the horses, tightening the girth on the smaller black one.

"We call him Little Blackie." Frank said, handing the boy the reins.

As they rode from the barn, Frank on a tall horse, the boy riding Little Blackie, Martha called from yard, "Travel safe! I'll have a hot meal for you all."

He watched Frank turn toward her in his saddle, "I reckon we'll need it. All three of us!" Then set his horse into a trot.

The saddle felt odd, the ride rough. The boy'd never sat a saddle before, nor rode a small horse. He'd never been allowed to ride their father's horse, just the big field horse and that was a rare treat. It took concentration to stay with this fast little bouncing horse and his mind wandered from staying on the horse, and worry for his sister. Every now and then Frank slowed to a walk when they fell too far behind. Frank had tried to talk, asking questions about his father and sister and giving advice such as "hold that horn to help keep your balance." 

When he got no response they rode in silence, simply tossing back a reassuring grin every now and then. Up one rise and down another, through the trees, back again to open grassland. They followed the very path the boy traveled on foot.  At this rate they would soon be there. His heart began to pound. His hand, gripping tight on the horn, was slippery with sweat, even though he was cold.

The house was just beyond the next rise.

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry

You can read Pt 4 HERE