Western Fiction posted June 26, 2014


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Tumbleweed meets Lynda Pearson

Meeting Lynda - Part one

by c_lucas


Jerry awakened before dawn, dressed in his work clothes, and hurried to the kitchen.

Consuelo pointed toward the barn.

Tumbleweed touched his hat, hurried out the door and found Miguel forking hay to the horses in the big corral. Jerry went to the pump at the rear of the barn and began pumping water into five gallon buckets. When he had ten buckets filled, he started hauling two buckets at a time to fill the tubs placed around the corral.

After he finished filling the troughs with hay, Miguel helped the young man fill the water tubs. Then he pointed to the two wheelbarrows near some shovels. He dropped his buckets near the pump, grabbed a wheelbarrow and scoop shovel.

Tumbleweed lined the water buckets up and grabbed a wheelbarrow and shovel. He started at the far end of the corral, working toward Miguel. The two worked silently in the predawn light. When the job was finished, Miguel pushed his wheelbarrow into the barn.

Tumbleweed followed and set his tools next to Miguel. He noticed the wrangler placing nose bags of oats on the horses in the stable. He stopped. His horse had its own stall.

Miguel ignored Jerry, who hurried to bring buckets of water to fill the tubs near the feed bins at the front each stall. His horse nuzzled him when he came into the stall. Jerry stopped to stroke the stallion behind its ears and continued with his chore.

The two cleaned the stalls and replaced the hay. The boy shoveled the remainder of the barn while Miguel milked the three cows. Tumbleweed took the two wheelbarrows and shovels back to their place behind the barn.

Miguel stopped milking long enough to place some hay at the bottom of a flat tray. He handed it to Tumbleweed. "Eggs," he said and pointed toward the far side of the barn.

Jerry hurried out the front door of the barn and found the hen house. He grabbed a wheelbarrow and shovel and started cleaning the fenced-in yard. He scooped up three pints of corn and covered the yard. It only took one bucket of water to fill the two low tubs. The chickens emptied their nest and started pecking the kernels. This made Tumbleweed's next chore of gathering the eggs easier and he took them to Consuelo.

Miguel came in and spoke his natural language to his wife.

She nodded.

He motioned for Tumbleweed and walked outside. The metal kettles, pitchers and ladles were now in the kitchen. Jerry picked up two trays of metal dining ware and followed the equally burdened Miguel to the dining area of the bunkhouse.

Tumbleweed's last chore of the morning was to bring every used item to the back of the kitchen door. They repeated the cleaning of the night before. When Consuelo released him, she rubbed her hair and pointed to him. He went back to his room and stopped. A new set of clothing, a bowl of warm water and a towel and soap awaited him.

Jerry washed his hair and body. He dressed as quickly as he could, surmising the clothes were from the package he had given Mr. Pearson yesterday. He stopped. Under the clothes, lay his holstered thirty-eight and a box of bullets. The pistol's six chambers were empty and he left them that way.

Fully dressed with the thirty-eight tied down and the bullets in his shirt pocket, Tumbleweed hurried to the kitchen.

Consuelo pointed toward the door leading to the dining room. He was surprised to see Mr. Pearson and Lynda already seated at the table.

"Good Morning," he greeted them as he set the box of cartridges by Mr. Pearson, who pointed to a chair next to Lynda. "Jerry, this is my daughter, Lynda." He glanced at his daughter. "Lynda, this is Jerry Reese. He'll accompany you when you go for rides and will be your companion when I'm not available. He'll be speaking for me and Consuelo. Please listen to him."

She frowned at Jerry when he greeted her and turned toward her father. "I'm too old to have a babysitter!"

"I agree," Jerry commented, surprising her and her father. "I was hoping to be your friend and we could do things, together."

She stared at the box of bullets near her father's coffee cup. "Why should I be your friend?" She glared at him. "You're not even old enough to have bullets in your gun."

"Mr. Pearson asked me to leave it unloaded until he can watch me shoot."

"Have you ever fired a gun? I have."

"Let Jerry eat his breakfast. He can still answer your questions." Mr. Pearson took a sip of his coffee.

"Thank you, sir." Jerry sat and raised his coffee cup to his lips.

"You didn't answer my question. Have you ever fired a gun?"

"As a matter of fact, I have; several times, but I've never shot the wings off flies at fifty paces like you do."

"I've nev...who told you that?"

Jerry looked her in the eyes. "A little birdie told me. He said you have made hundreds of flies learn how to walk. He also said that you can jump over a rainbow without a running start."

Lynda stared at Jerry as he plopped a piece of buttered flapjack in his mouth. She looked at father, who busied himself eating.

"Where is this little birdie?"

"I was afraid you'd ask." Jerry put a piece of thick bacon in his mouth and soon swallowed. He pointed toward Lynda's plate. "Your food is getting cold." He concentrated on making his food disappear.

"What are you afraid of?"

"That little birdie said you would be upset if you knew he was talking about you."

"Why would I be upset?"

"You'll have to ask the little birdie, but you can't because he left town on the run."

Mr. Pearson smiled at the youngsters. "Jerry, let me have your gun." His request ended the teasing.

"Yes sir." Tumbleweed freed his gun, opened the cylinder and passed it to his boss, butt first.

Mr. Pearson loaded five chambers and returned it. "Let go see how well you can shoot." He winked at his daughter. "We'll round up some flies for you."


The three rode away from the ranch; Tumbleweed on the Paint, Lynda on a pinto pony and Mr. Pearson on a grey Morgan. Lynda rode next to her father and Tumbleweed rode behind. A few miles later, Pearson turned and rode into a Cul-de-sac of low hills. Cans and glass littered the ground.

The rancher dismounted and lifted his young daughter to the ground and held her hand. "Okay, Jerry, let's see how well you can shoot."

"Yes sir, Mr. Pearson." Tumbleweed drew his pistol, aimed at a can several feet away, took a deep breath and fired. The can rolled a few feet. After taking another deep breath, he shattered a glass bottle. Taking his time, he hit a third target.

"Not bad shooting. Who taught you?"

"An old ticket seller at a Carny in Wichita by the name of Logan Blake."

"Logan Blake? The Texas Ranger, Logan Blake?"

"When he was drunk, he used to brag on riding for the Texas Rangers. He told me to point my gun like my finger, take a deep breath and fire. He used to say that the first one to fire usually missed. That's why he told me to always be sure of my target before I fired."

"What caliber did you use?"

"An old single shot he had lying around in his tent. I don't know what caliber it was."

"Can I shoot some targets, Father?" Pearson released Lynda's hand and reached into his right saddle bag and pulled out an old .22 handgun. He loaded it, walked about fifteen feet, and set up three ventilated cans. He came back and stood behind his daughter. "The gun is cocked so keep your finger off the trigger." He held the gun in his open hand.

The girl took the handgun, pointed it at the targets and fired; a clean miss.

"Wait a moment, Lynda." Tumbleweed walked up to the left side of the girl. "Point your gun at the middle target. Pull the hammer back with your whole thumb. Close your eyes and take a deep breath and relax. Then open your eyes and focus on your target."

"Okay, I'm relaxed; can I fire?"

"Not yet. Keep your eye on the target and point the gun as if it's your finger. Be sure to keep your eyes open; slowly squeeze the trigger."

The gun fired and the middle can jumped backward.

"I did it! I hit the can." She started jumping up and down.

Tumbleweed reached out, safely extracted the gun from her hands, and held it high over her head. "Good shot, but don't jump around with a loaded gun in your hand."

Lynda acted as if she had been slapped. "I'm sorry. Can I shoot at another target?"

Tumbleweed held the gun pointed skyward and handed it to her F
father. "That's for you to answer, sir."

Pearson reached into his pocket and fished out the box of .38 caliber bullets and handed them to Tumbleweed. "Thank you. I trust you with a loaded gun." He returned Lynda's gun to the young man. "I'm making it your call."

Tumbleweed looked at Lynda. "What did you learn?"

"Not to dance around with a loaded gun in my hand."

"And...?"

Lynda looked up at him with a puzzled look on her face, then her eyes lit up. "To point the gun like my finger, cocked the hammer with my whole thumb, take a deep breath before I squeeze the trigger."

"And...?"

The girl glanced at her father who brushed his forehead with his arm. "Oh, yes! To keep my eyes open and on the target." She grinned.

"Follow me." Tumbleweed walked further away from the two targets. He turned and pointed. "Take the one on the left, then the one on the right."

As the girl took aim, he stepped behind her. "Easy, take your time. Aim for the top of the can."

She fired and the can jumped. "I did it!"

"Careful, you're holding a loaded gun."

"I know." She took a deep breath, aimed her gun and cocked it. The second can rolled away when she fired. She turned toward Tumbleweed with her finger on the trigger. He grabbed the body of the gun and eased it from her hand.

"Careful, the gun is still loaded." He handed the gun to Pearson and turned back toward Lynda. "You did good, but remember, a gun in a careless hand is dangerous."

Lynda brushed a bush as she walked past Tumbleweed and the brrr of a rattlesnake sounded.

"Look out!" A movement caught the boy eye. And he jumped into the bush, trapping the snake by landing on its head. The snake coiled itself around his lower leg.

Pearson pulled his daughter out of danger and drew his forty-five.

"Guns won't do the trick." Jerry bent and started freeing his trapped leg. "I need a two-foot long stick with a forked end." He freed his foot and stomped on the snake's tail with his other foot. For safety measure, he increased the pressure on the snake's head.

It didn't take long for Pearson to find the stick Tumbleweed wanted. Jerry took the stick and pressed the fork end into the ground trapping the snake head. "You might want to move your daughter and the horses back. This feller is going to be a might upset when I step off him."

Once he was sure everything and everyone was safe, Tumbleweed pressed the stick as hard as he could and stepped off the rattler. In no time at all, the snake's body was coiled around the stick and Tumbleweed flipped the stick as far as he could and hurried toward his horse.

"Which Carny taught you how to handle snakes?" Pearson picked up his visibly upset daughter, placed her on her horse. He mounted and held his daughter's reins. He stared at the young man who didn't appear to be upset by the near fatal experience.

"I helped a science fellow gather rattles down around El Paso. I got ten cent a rattle, which turned into a fair amount of money. The snake grows a new rattle every time it sheds."

"Thanks to your quick action, everyone, including the snake is safe and alive. There's been enough excitement for one day. Let's go back to the ranch."


Recognized


Thank you, cleo85 for the use of your image, "Motmot."
Jerry Reese aka Tumbleweed. Slender thirteen year old, five-foot-seven inches. Light brown hair, trimmed. Approximately ninety pounds. Hazel eyes.

Jim Pearson, owner of the Sweet Pea Ranch. Five-foot-ten inches, widower. Thirty-three. One hundred and seventy pounds, dark trimmed hair, dark eyes. Dark eyes.

Lynda Ann Pearson- Pearson's daughter, Ten year old-dark haired, blue eyes. Sixty pounds.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by cleo85 at FanArtReview.com

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© Copyright 2017. c_lucas All rights reserved.
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