Sunday, June 22, 2008

I still know, damn it.

This cowboy story just propped up in my head. Why, PB, don't you continue one of your many started stories?

Good question. Too damn good for me to answer.


Who Wears the Pants?

Who Wears the Pants?

Chapter One

Hand Talkin

Roy Leiter trotted his horse down Last Town Road. Last Town’s water well dried up years ago, he was told, and the citizenry moved almost every bit of wood east three miles to a more reliable river. There was a lot of “I told you so’s” for a time, but equilibrium returned. It only took ten years.

Roy took Austin out for a good trot every Saturday. He sometimes went North or East or South, but this time he went West, and when he headed back to town he came across the last vestiges of Last Town being put to use. A horizontal horse post, once for the sheriff’s office, was the only wood left behind. Some said because it was wood-eating worm ridden. Others said it was a bad luck post because three horses lost their teeth within a month after being tide down. A quiet majority believed that Sheriff O’Keefe was a fat, lazy drunkard no-good shiftless son-of-a-bitch didn’t want to upstake and haul any horse post.

The post was at work now. Roy’s long sight wasn’t all that good, but his ears worked ok and he could here a belt whipping across the plains long before the blur turned into an Indian woman draped over the horse post, her bottom bared and catching hell from the long belt of a big bellied giant. There wasn’t a sound from the squaw, but the music of leather and hide was loud enough for Roy to sneak up on the two newly weds discussing proper behavior.

‘Er… pardon me.’ Roy said from the top of Austin. The man didn’t seem to notice, and he continued his attentions. The woman quivered under the husbandly duties, but she said not a word of thanks. Roy got down and tapped the man on the shoulder, a foot taller than his own. He whirled, a stream of white hair from a birthmark adding a touch of flair to the act, distracting Roy from the belt hand up and ready to go. “Ah! Er… pardon me.’

‘Can’t you see I’m negotiating?’

Not many teeth, but his breath was enough to make a man standing too close drunk.

‘Yes, I was just wandering if…’ It then occurred to Roy that he hadn’t the faintest idea what he was doing. ‘It just seems that this is something that should be done indoors.’

‘She’s mine! I caught her, so I’m the one that skins her when she runs. And she runs!’ Roy assumed he meant “ran.” Three more blistering licks to the fine hide before Roy tapped the giant on the shoulder a second time. The giant grew frustrated. The Indian, looking more curious than impatient for more punishment, looked over her shoulder. Roy only glanced at her, but was a little struck by her almost serene face. There was a definite strain around the eyes, and the lips were pressed closer than looked natural, but otherwise she seemed quite together. She must appreciate a guiding hand, even a public one.

Glance over, Roy got back to the belt wielding monster.

‘Women sometimes want attention and, yes, I agree, they sometimes “runs” to get it, but you see, that doesn’t address my point, which is, you can do this indoors. That’s probably a law. See, you’re disturbing the public peace.’

The giant looked around at all the nothing. Roy looked too, longer than the giant did, at the vast wasteland of scorpions and lonely cacti around them but eventually he had to face the man he spoke that nonsense to.

‘Well I’m the public. Now let her up and we can go into town and you can rent a room and discuss your marital problems in a more…’ Roy had never been punched in the face before, but he guessed the giant had done it right when he woke up a minute later. His legs didn’t want to admit they were connected to his body, but his eyes worked OK, giving him two clear pictures of everything. For a short distance anyway, which is all he needed to study the bare foot squaw and her two seared bottoms.

The red skin’s rear end skin wasn’t red, but crimson with blotches of purple and blue and white. If her sitter were twice its normal size due to the thrashing then her seat at the obedient times was twice the normal size of the average white woman’s. Her waist was thin, but her bottom was huge and would go loose, tense after a lick, then stay tense a few seconds, then relax just in time for another lick. The woman never made a sound, but her straining muscles couldn’t lie.

After a time of reflection, Roy got up, retrieved his hat, and shook some dirt off.

‘I see you don’t want to talk. I’ll just get on my horse.’

‘Do that!’ WHACK WHACK WHACK. He whipped up a “gurrah!” at last from the obstinate creature. It was low and constrained, but it was a start. ‘Ah! So you can feel. I tell you, savage, my arm was spent, but I think you’ve just given me another hour of effort. So lets decide once and for all who you belong to.’ The woman craned her neck to set her eyes square on the large man’s eyes. She stretched her shoulders, set her chin, and dared him on. He laughed. ‘One… two… three-’

Roy drove Austin into the giant at a high gallop. It was remarkable to see a man fly like a bird, indeed, but Roy was more preoccupied with his horse and her victorious neighing. She seemed to enjoy the act of knocking that bastard down. Well, knocking him nine feet over, and four feet down from his hips. Why? Roy’s mind catalogued several possibilities:

1. Austin didn’t like a man punching her master.

2. Austin didn’t like a man who beat another woman, same species or not.

3. Austin didn’t like people.

4. Austin’s shoulder was out of sorts, and needed a jolt.

5. Animals like to attack other animals.

Roy choose to operate on number one. Roy got off Austin, pet her, fed her the sugar cube he’d saved for his coffee but didn’t use because he hated sugar in his coffee, and decided that any or all of the possibilities he could live with. He never beat Austin. He preferred giving the cold shoulder for punishments, not that the mare needed many.

He walked over to the sleeping giant and took his gun belt and pistol. That it was heavy and ugly was all Roy could think, not knowing its name. Six shooter. It wasn’t a Colt, which is all he knew for small arms. Well, it didn’t really matter. Roy took the bullets out of the pistol and the belt, put them in his pocket. He did a little math in his head. Figuring done, he put a dollar in one of the bullet rings of the belt, and dropped it on the sleeping nephilim.

He got that feeling of being watched. Looking over his shoulder he got his first good look at the squaw’s face. She wasn’t pure Indian. Something about her was white, or maybe chinaman, Roy couldn’t tell. And maybe a little Mexican. Or Arabian, but Roy had only seen the one in his life. He couldn’t begin with the mystery of her, but he could see the cold eyes and colder mouth, and the lines of strain and her sweat. He unsheathed his knife.

‘OK, now look. I know I hit your husband with my horse, but that’s no reason to hit me, OK?’ She didn’t move or express emotions of any kind as far as Roy could tell. ‘I could leave you here, and your husband would cut you loose when he wakes up, but it doesn’t look comfortable, and there might be an ant hill around here. So I’m going to cut you loose, but don’t hit me, or Austin here will kick you.’

He stood behind her bent form and got to sawing her bonds off, but he ran into an insurmountable problem. No bonds. He couldn’t help but smell her while he searched for some rope. If smells could be seen, this smell would be pretty.

Her hands weren’t bound, but instead held onto loops which she let slip. She stood up and lowered her dress. It wasn’t a real dress. Not a proper dress. Whatever tan cloth the Indians wore was ragged and short around the bottom. Very un-Christian, but that was to be expected with a savage. Someone had taken a pare of scissors to cut the rag in half to show off the stomach and lower back, and the slight frock showed all of her arms and legs and stomach without shame. Shameful! Roy had never seen such a thing since he left New Orleans and all her bars three months ago. He stood and sheathed his knife and concluded that she was probably a Mormon.

Whatever she was, she didn’t rub her sitting fat. Didn’t look to cry neither.

Something about her. She wasn’t a proper Indian, not that you could always tell. Lots of different types, even after President Jackson. Roy couldn’t help but stare, though he knew it was rude. She was darker, and her eyes were slanted a bit and her hair was softer than what her heard Indian hair would be, but raven dark and soft, yet she looked strong.

Roy walked over to the giant’s horse, tied it to the recent whipping post, and took the bullets from the rifle and the belt. He had to put three bills into the holster to make amends. He shook his head at the expense. The men in his family were never very good at money. Like water in a clenched fist. He removed the saddle from the brute’s horse and rubbed the beast’s back until the blood flew right.

‘So, I’m sorry I hit your husband with my horse. He’ll wake up. Well… see ya around.’ She just stared at him. ‘Do you speak? English? Deutsch? Latin… no, I guess that’s stupid. Besides, I can barely… I mean there are two poems I’m pretty good at and an essay by Seneca but on the whole… so… are you angry? No? Good.’ She kept looking at him with that blank face that scared him a little though she didn’t quite reach his shoulders and he still had Austin for defense.

Roy got up on Austin, and went East. After about a minute he noticed the Indian girl walking along in his wake. He stopped Austin. She stopped too. Roy offered her his cantina. She drank it, then put it back into place on the saddle before resuming her vigil. Her head down and submissive.

‘I see.’ Roy hadn’t shaved that morning, and the bristles on his chin rubbing against his hand helped his brain to sort the sundries out. ‘I’m starting to think you two aren’t married, and if a man is whipping a woman that isn’t his wife, then I’m guessing that woman isn’t submitting to that whipping like a dutiful wife. Frank Johnson never ties up Victoria when he whips her. She wouldn’t allow that, given her pride. From Virginia, you know. Prideful people. Not to say she’s a bad Christian, just that after God, Jesus, and a few others, she thinks she’s way up there on the righteous list. Maybe she is…’ Roy looked around. He didn’t find anything to help, so he looked back at the Indian maiden.

Had he rescued her from a tyrant? If he had, was he obliged to become her tyrant? In China, maybe. But what about the States? What would Mr. Jefferson say?

‘Well, OK. I can get you into town. It’s a ways, so…’ Roy stepped down from Austin. He gestured for the Indian to get up. ‘Get up. Go ahead, my legs could use a stretch. Now look, maybe you don’t understand English, but I’m sure you understand this!’ He gestured again. With both hands, but it didn’t help. She shook her head a little, side to side. ‘Pride!’


He took her arm as soft as he could and prodded her towards the saddle. She shook him off. She was strong. Roy held is arms out, palms up, and gave the woman a gesture that men have given women since ancient Egypt that asked, ‘Why?’

Roy saw her first expression. It was annoyance. She looked up at him with eyes that rebuked. He didn’t know what he’d said that upset her so, especially since she couldn’t understand a word he said. Maybe, in her tribe, it was insulting for a woman to ride when men walked. Maybe her tribe was like an Indian Virginia?

Roy’s deep contemplation ended after the Indian stamped her feet. She was very frustrated, just like Victory was before a whipping. Roy always suspected a connection, but here this Indian was just whipped, and harder than Frank ever whipped Victory, and Victory was always so nice after, yet this redskin was very frustrated. It didn’t make any dang sense.

The squaw regained control of her female pagan emotions, looked Roy blandly in the eye, and made an exaggerated show of rubbing her bottom. She then pat the saddle harshly, like she was spanking it, then rubbed her bottom again and made an exaggerated face of pain.

‘Oh! OK. I understand. You don’t want to… yeah, of course! Silly me. We’ll, lets just walk then.’ Roy led his horse into town, a flustered squaw walking stiffly in tow. ‘You know, people can get along if they’re patient. That’s what you need—a patient man. I’m sure you’ll find one, the towns’ bursting with all kind of men.’