Western Fiction posted August 8, 2009 Chapters:  ...16 17 -18- 19... 


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Cindy sees her wounded father nude.

A chapter in the book THE TOUGH BREED

Cindy's Dilemma

by c_lucas



Background
The land scam created by hostilities between early settlers and new arrivals to the West. This is a fictionalized account of one incidence. The story begins in 1895.

Cindy Richards entered Dr. Barnett’s kitchen blurry-eyed from lack of sleep. Mrs. Barnett smiled at her and poured her a cup of coffee. 

“Thank you,” Cindy mumbled as she took a sip and sat at the table.

“You’re welcome. Breakfast will be ready in a few minutes.”

Dr. Barnett entered without his customary tie and coat. “Good morning, ladies.” He took the cup of coffee his wife offered.

Cindy took a second sip. “Good morning.”

Dr. Barnett joined her and patted her hand. “Why the glum face?”

“I’m worried because Father hasn't awakened and it has been over two days.”

“I checked on him before I came in here. He is breathing easy and Cookie was snoring away.”

Cindy chuckled. “I know. I checked, too.”

Mrs. Barnett placed a plate of food in front of her husband.

“Thank you.” Dr. Barnett looked at his wife. “We’re going to have to change the bandages and the sheets. Plus, the patients need to be washed."

“Whenever you’re ready.” She returned to the stove and fixed a plate for herself and Cindy.

“I can help,” Cindy said, taking her plate and thanking Mrs. Barnett.

“You can clean Cookie and I’ll clean your father. We’ll have to change the bedsheets without disturbing them too much.”

“How do you do that?”

“I’ll show you.”


After breakfast, the doctor went upstairs and finished dressing.

Cindy helped Mrs. Barnett clean the kitchen and put a large pan of water on the stove. They quickly gathered what they needed.

The two women carried everything to the patients’ room and checked to see if they needed anything else.  

“Wat’s all the racket about?”

Cindy turned toward Cookie. “We didn’t mean to wake you.” She hurried over and kissed her "mother" on the forehead.

“I’se needs da bottle.”

Cindy picked up the urinal and handed it to Cookie.

“H’ep me up.”

“You stay in bed,” Dr. Barnett said as he entered the room. “I don’t want you moving around.”

“Den youse turn around!”

Dr. Barnett picked up the lamp and turned his attention to the colonel. He stopped when he saw his patient's eyes flutter.

“K.D. can you hear me?”

Cindy took the urinal from Cookie and placed it on the floor at the foot of the bed. She hurried to her father’s side and caught her breath when she noticed the eye movements.

“Father…”

Dr. Barnett raised his hand, cutting off her words. “Colonel, can you hear me?"

The colonel’s head began turning, slightly, from side to side. The fluttering of his eyes continued.

“Keith, it’s me, Jerrod. Can you hear me?”

Mrs. Barnett put her arm around Cindy and watched her husband.

The colonel’s lips twitched and his face quit all movements. He did not wake up.


Cindy put her hand over her mouth and turned into Mrs. Barnett’s embrace, crying softly.

Dr. Barnett began to remove the colonel’s bandage. He frowned as he examined the wound. It had reddened and was oozing a yellowish puss-like liquid. He picked up a bottle of carbolic acid to clean the wound. A vile odor filled the room.

Mrs. Barnett realized that Cindy’s father had a bowel movement. She released Cindy, placed a towel into the pan of water and twisted it to drain the excess water.  She removed the colonel’s cover and worked the two square foot piece of cowhide from under him. It contained most of the liquid and feces.

Cindy, seeing her father’s nude form, turned her head.

Dr. Barnett stopped and looked at her. “If you’re going to nurse him, you’ll have to get used to his natural state. All men are built alike.”

Cindy put another towel into the water and twisted it. She exchanged towels with Mrs. Barnett. “Yes sir, you’re right.” She wondered how she was ever going to get used to her father’s nudity.

When she finished cleaning the colonel, Mrs. Barnett lifted his legs and had Cindy put a fresh towel over the soiled area. She covered him to his waist. “We can change the sheet once Jerrod finishes. We’ll need some more towels.”

“Yes ma’am,” Cindy said as she put the dirtied towels into the pan of water, topped it with the dirtied cowhide and carried it out of the room. She left the room trying to rid her mind of images of her father. A few minutes later, she returned with a fresh pan of hot water, towels, and two pieces of cowhide. 

The two women turned their attention to Cookie.

“He’s a tuff man, chile.”

Cindy smiled at her. “I know, and you’re tough, too.”

Cookie cooperated as much as she could to aid in the changing of her bed sheet. Mrs. Barnett showed Cindy the correct way to wash and dry Cookie’s lower body. Cindy replaced the cowhide and covered the giant Negress to her waist.

Jerrod looked up from his doctoring, “Would you remove her bandages? I’ll be finished here in a few minutes.”

While waiting on the doctor, the two ladies removed the bandages and bathed most of Cookie’s upper body. Mrs. Barnett made sure to stay away from the wound. She didn’t notice any signs of infection.


Later in the day, Cindy was in the backyard, washing the soiled towels and sheets. The two cowhides proved to be the easiest to clean. She hung the hides on the clothesline and picked up the paddle. The new bride bent over the big black pot of hot water to work on the sheets.

“Now, you’re a wash woman.”

The sound of Clay Slade’s voice broke her rhythm. She stood and turned around. “Get away from here!”

“Don’t think that I will.” He took a step toward Cindy.

“I think you’ll be dead if you take another step,” Rebel’s slow drawl and the cocking of his gun caught Slade’s attention.

Cindy looked behind Clay and was happy to see Rebel and Riley, with their guns pointing at her tormentor.

Slade turned around. “This is none of your business!”

“Anything affecting K-Bar is my business. Shuck that gun belt. Miss Cindy is definitely the prettiest girl on K-Bar and a skunk like you ain’t gonna bother her.”

Slade removed his gun belt and let it drop to the ground.

Rebel tilted his hat back and grinned. He aimed his pistol at Slade’s member. “Roll up your shirt sleeves.”

“Why?”

“It ain’t right for the boss lady to have to wash dirty clothes when there is a Circle C puncher who’ll do it for her.”

“I’ll be damned if I will!”

Riley cocked his pistol. “You’ll be damned if you don’t!”

Cindy walked over to Slade and slapped the paddle into his hands. “Be sure the sheets and towels are clean before you hang them up.”

An hour later, Cindy, Rebel and Riley watched Slade pick up his gun belt with scarlet red hands and leave.

Rebel smiled. “I think he did a right good job, Miss Cindy.”

“Slade carries grudges very well,” Cindy warned.

“Not half as bad as Leland does,” Riley added.

“What about Leland? Is he okay?”

“Miss Cindy, don’t you go worrying your pretty little head over that husband of yours. He can take care of himself.” Rebel gave Riley a piercing stare.

“Where is he and why are you here?”

“Leland is chasing those horse thieves and Pecos is running the ranch. Pecos sent us here to check on things…How is your father and Cookie?”

“Pecos sent you?”

Rebel chuckled. “Yes ma’am. He gave us a right good incentive. He said he didn’t want to see Leland riled if something happened to you all.”

Riley laughed nervously. “I, for one, don’t want Leland riled at me. I believe Rebel already asked, but how is your father and Cookie?”

“Come, I’ll take you to them.”

***

Coffee led everybody to the clearing. He looked at Tea and smiled. “Will this do?”

“It’ll do nicely. Boys, gather up some firewood.”

“What are you going to do?”  a horse thief asked nervously.

“You’ll find out soon enough. Just don’t worry about it. We won’t leave you out.”

Tea’s men soon had a small pile of dry limbs under three tall pines. 

Next he had ropes thrown over the lowest limb of each tree with the loop end hanging down and adjusted the piles of firewood so they were under each rope.

The men pulled each of the horse thieves off their horses and dragged them. Each one was thrown to the ground under a different tree. Loops were put around their feet and tightened. Soon, all three were hanging upside down, six feet up over a pile of wood. All had their hands tied behind their back.

 The last task was clearing the area around the piles. 

“You can’t do this!” yelled another one of the thieves.

Coffee grinned. “I don’t believe anybody asked you.”

When everything was ready, Leland, Tea and Coffee lit the fires.

“Are you boys warm enough?” Tea asked as the fires took hold.

He assigned six men to the ropes, which were untied from the trees. Each of the three ropes were held by two men.
Tea signaled and the ropes slipped a little.

The three horse thieves voiced their concern.

Tea walked over to the most vocal of the hanging men, careful not to get too close to the fire. He tore the man’s hat off his head and grabbed his hair. “Where were you supposed to meet Pettigrew?”

“Go to Hell!”

“I think you’re closer to it, than I am.” Tea motioned to the two men and the rope slipped a little. “I’ll give you a second chance. Where were you supposed to meet Pettigrew?”

“You can’t fool me. You aren’t going to burn me!”

Coffee chuckled and walked over to Tea. “You think we should tell him our secret?” He grabbed the prisoner’s shirt and ripped it, baring his chest. He plucked a handful of the chest hairs and slapped the prisoner in the face when he protested.

“Do you think we should?” Tea pulled his knife out of its sheath and knelt down and put the blade into the flames.

“I think he’s under the mistaken belief you and I are like other white men.” Coffee jerked on the prisoner’s belt. The rope slipped a little more.

The prisoner cried out.

“I think it’s only fair to enlighten him, White Feather.” Tea turned the blade over to let it heat evenly.

“You’re right, Running Elk.”

Tea stood and held the red hot blade close to the prisoner’s eyes. “Joe and I were raised by the Comanches.” He let the blade briefly touch the tip of the thief’s nose.

The thief screamed.

“Why don’t you burn off his eyebrows?” Coffee asked.

Tea grabbed the prisoner’s hair, again.

The prisoner screamed, “We’re meeting him on the banks of the Salt River.”

“When?”

“In two days. He has a buyer for the herd.”

Tea drove his knife into the ground, cooling it off. He motioned and the prisoner was pulled up. He looked at Leland. “May we borrow some of your horses for a few days?”

“What do you have in mind?”

“Pettigrew is as guilty as these bastards for stealing the horses and killing your men. I figure forty horses will get his attention.”

“Okay, do you need my help?” He was tempted to call Tea “Running Elk,” but changed his mind. He had enjoyed the joke the two old friends pulled on the prisoner.

“No. You and your men take the rest of the horses back to the ranch. You can take these three bastards to Sheriff Graham. A legal hanging leaves them just as dead. I wouldn’t walk them, though. It’ll take too long.”

Coffee looked at Leland. “You’ll need to keep an eye on Barker Jr. and Slade. Jake Jr. hasn’t forgiven you for the beating you gave him. Slade has some type of grudge against you.”

“Thanks, I will. I want to find out who shot the colonel and Cookie. The sheriff will have to get more ropes.

Slim joined them and asked Leland, “What do you want to do with these three?” He indicated the three hanging prisoners.

“Leave them be. Let the fires burn out.”

The ropes were retied around the trees. In the morning, the prisoners were dumped on the ground.

Leland said goodbye to Coffee, Tea and their crew. He loaned them two of the colonel’s hunting rifles. They left with forty of the horses.

Slim walked over to Leland. “What do you want to do about the prisoners?”

“I’ll guard them. You and the men take care of the horses.”

Thirty minutes later, the K-Bar crew was headed back to their ranch. Leland rode behind the herd with the prisoners in front of him. A rope led from the necks of each prisoner to Leland’s saddle horn.

The prisoners had their hands tied in front of them so they could guide their horses. The tight noose around their necks made them ride real carefully.


Cindy walked with her two cowboys to the hotel. She made arrangements with Mr. Peel for their room and meals.  They had dinner in the hotel restaurant. It was dark when Rebel and Riley escorted her back to the doctor’s house.

Rebel took out the makings and rolled a cigarette.

Cindy and Riley continued up the steps while Rebel stopped by the gate post to light up. He lit a match and lowered his head just as a shot rang out.

Cindy was knocked to the ground.




Recognized


GUIDE TO TOUGH BREED

The Baron of Arizona
Addison Peralta Reavis played a dark role in the History of Arizona Territory. A former Confederate soldier, turned real estate investor, he tried to steal a parcel of land from the United States Government.
He claimed to have acquired an old Spanish Land Grant giving him the rights to an area of land the size of New Jersey in Arizona and New Mexico Territories about twelve million acres.
Reaas-Peralta was a master forger and enhanced his claim with some very good forged documents and by training a young Mexican maiden claiming she was a direct heir to the Peralta Land Grant. He married the young girl, giving him a stronger claim.
The farce lasted for twelve years and he became rich by cheating rail roads, mines and individuals. The twelve year farce was revealed in the Santa Fe Territorial Court and the Baron of Arizona spent a short time in jail for his duplicity. He was a true Arizona Legend.
THE STORY LINE
The land scam created by hostilities between early settlers and new arrivals to the West. This is a fictionalized account of one incidence. The story begins in 1895.

Evil Eddie has made a mockery of these notes. My apologies.


CHARACTERS
K Bar K Ranch

Leland Richards, Foreman, Twenty two years of age--Six foot, one hundred-eighty pounds,Brown hair, Birth date August 10, 1873--Son of the Colonel's deceased Sergeant and wife. Has lived on the K-Bar-K all his life. Been a ward of the Colonel since age eleven.

Colonel Kenneth David (K. D.) Johnston, Birth date December 19, 1826, Fifty-nine years of age, Five foot-nine--gray/white hair, two hundred pounds--Brilliance strategic who earned his fame as a Calvary Officer in the C.S.A.* -- Lost his wife (Kayla) when daughter was eight years old--Started the K-Bar-K in 1873. (Settled on the land, did not purchase it)

* C.S.A.--Confederate States Of America.

Cindy Johnston, Only child of the Colonel, Birth date May 6, 1875???twenty years old--One hundred-fifteen pounds-Black hair.

Sergeant Jim Richards, father of Leland, first foreman of the K-Bar-K. Served under the Colonel in the Civil War.

Alice Richards, Jim, s wife and Leland,s mother. She and Jim died from fever outbreak when Leland was eleven.

Sidewinder, Outlaw horse on the K-Bar-K,has never been ridden. It is finally tamed by Tea McKenzie and Cindy.

???Slim??? Martin Sheldon ??? Leland???s assistant ??? five seven ??? one hundred and eighty-five pounds. Twenty-five - two years older than Leland.

Pecos Kelly Nelson - ranch hand ??? late twenties ??? five foot ??? eight, one hundred and sixty pounds.
Jesse Nelson ??? New cowhand.
Fred Owens ??? New cowhand.
???Lucky??? Jim Nelson ??? Older cowhand
???Al??? Allen Maddox- older cowhand
Riley Hayes ??? K-Bar Cowhand ??? early twenties ??? five foot- six, One hundred and fifty pounds.

Johnny ???Rebel??? Pickens ??? K-Bar Cowhand ??? late thirties, five-foot-eight- One hundred seventy pounds.

???Panhandle??? Pete Davis ??? forties ??? five-six - one hundred and ninety pounds, ranch hand

Dusty Jose Gomez ??? Ranch hand/wrangler in charge of the barn - nineteen ??? five foot ??? two ??? one hundred and thirty pounds.
Mike Adams ??? Cowhand chosen to stay with Dusty to help with the horses.
Big Bill Mays ??? Crippled up cowhand that worked with Dusty. Five-foot-two

Cookie Johnston ??? the ranch???s cook. Heavy set female???a former slave of the Colonel???raised Cindy when her mother died at childbirth.



Circle C Ranch
Jake Barker-Purchase the existing Circle C and surrounding area from Reavis. Land claimed by the K-Bar-K lies within this bogus sale.

Jake Barker Junior ??? Oldest son of Jake Barker and foreman of the Circle C.

Brett and Chet Barker ??? twins ??? late teens.

Clay Slade ??? assistance to Jake ??? hot head.



Characters of Interest

Thomas ???Tea??? McKenzie--Widower--Birth date unknown-Approximate age thirty eight--Five foot-nine--Dark Brown Hair-one hundred and seventy five pounds???Owns the Tea Cup Ranch (called ??????The Cup??? Ranch???formerly the Double M. - Raises horses.
Tea Cup Ranch ??? Brand Cup with the letters T C inside a cup.
Ray Marsh ??? foreman of the Tea Cup Ranch. Five foot ??? eleven. In his late fifties. One hundred-eighty-five pounds. Worked with Tea and Coffee at the Double M.

Bucky O???Malley ???late twenties--A cowhand at the Tea Cup Ranch - Nineteen-five foot seven ???

Antonio Gomez ??? late teens ??? Cowhand at the The Cup Ranch.

Sure-Shot Cliff Henderson???worked with Tea at the Rocking R.
Once shot himself in the foot while practicing his fast draw???Early forties.???Tea named him ???Eagle-Eye.???

Joseph ???Coffee??? Harris???aka ???Coffin Joe??????Bachelor???Birth Date unknown--Five foot-eleven???Approximately Thirty seven???One hundred and ninety pounds???Blondish hair???Lost a gunfight with Tea over the hand of Rachel Morris. Job at time of story ??? gunman for the Circle C. Part of his job is to look after the twins.

Rachel Morris ??? Deceased???daughter of Mitchell Morris (owner of the Double M Ranch) Gave Joe, Tom and Pete their nicknames--Married to Tea McKenzie???Died from typhoid fever???

Amanda a four year old black mare with white stockings. Sired by Thunder. Rachel???s favorite mare.

Thunder ??? Tea???s black stallion.

"Hogan's Hell Hole" - a medium-size settlement - home to a couple of hundred people and the closest place within seventy miles to buy supplies.

The Scarlett Lady Saloon???owner not mentioned

Hogan???s House ??? two story hotel ??? David Peel ??? owner/manager.
Rev. Jonas Barkley ??? Pastor of the Methodist Church.

Residents
???Gentleman??? Pete Taylor--Date of Birth ???April 1, 1835???five foot two hundred twenty pounds???Partially bald-Black hair and trimmed beard???Former foreman of the Double MM???friends to Coffee, Joe, and Rachel, who he treated like his daughter.
At time of story ??? saloon owner ???The Salty Dog
Madame Opal ??? owns bordello behind the Salty Dog-- Palace of Gems.

Niles Thurmond ??? Attorney

Doctor Jerrod Barnett ??? Early sixties ??? five foot seven - stocky
Eleanor Barnett ??? Wife ??? early sixties ??? five-foot- four - stocky

Madame Opal ??? owner of the bordello behind the Salty Dog-- Palace of Gems.

Mr. Joplin ??? owns the General store

Sheriff Jim Graham ??? former cowhand ??? friend of Gentleman Pete ??? late fifties, five foot nine ??? heavy built.

Reverend Thomas Peterson ??? Minister of Hogan???s Methodist Church.

Peralta???s men
Bartholomew T. Pettigrew ??? Peralta agent.
Cyril Barratt ??? Agent general representing Mr. James Perata-Reavis.
Marshal Ferguson ??? Fake U. S. Marshal

Santa Fe Territorial Court ??? The territorial court that considered these claims and dismissed them.


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