Saturday, February 9, 2019

The Man From Piney Woods


A 500 word short story by Scott A. Gese

He came out of East Texas. The Red River area, land of the piney woods. His roots were well established in the deep South, Louisiana bayou country. Some considered East Texas an extension of that area. He had made his way into Texas five years ago. Now he was heading further west, looking for adventure.

His name was Tyler Jones. He was the wondering type. Never satisfied to settle down in any one place for too long. Five years was long enough as far as Tyler was concerned.

Moving on to California was something that had been on his mind for awhile. He had been chewing on the thought of giving his notice for the better part of a week, but he needed to drum up the courage to tell his boss. He finally found it one morning after breakfast, before he was to start a full day branding calves.

The ranch foreman didn't appreciate the timing and made him cough up four bits for the breakfast. It was worth it. He gathered up his bedroll from the bunkhouse and strapped it to his saddle, then mounted up. He purposely meandered past the corrals where the branding was taking place. Several of the men cursed him for leaving and several others secretly wished it was them. Only one gave him a proper farewell.

Orley Boggs was a good man. Everyone called him “Ornery” even though it was far from his nature. When he shook Tyler's hand, he let him in on a secret. “I'll be right behind you in a week or two.” They agreed to meet up in a small town called Jasper, just short of the California line.

Tyler waited in Jasper for a long month, but Orley never did show. “Maybe he got cold feet, or maybe it just took him longer to chew on those quitting words. He either swallowed them or spit them out. Either way, he ain't here,” Thought Tyler on the morning he packed it in and hit the trail once again.

~~~~

It was true. Orley did chew on those quitting words. He chewed on them for so long that they finally dissolved in his mouth. A full month after Tyler had left, Orley did the same. He had gone out early one morning searching for maverick's and just kept on going.

He knew he was too late to find Tyler, so when he came to Jasper, he blew right on by, only stopping long enough to pick up a few supplies.

Once in California, he rode into a small town called Shedd. It wasn't much more than a mining town. As he rode down the street he heard someone call out, “Hey Ornery.”

It was Tyler, calling from a barred window. Orley was glad to see him. “What the heck are you doing behind them bars?” He asked.

I've been framed for murder. Get me the hell out of here.”

That night two good friends rode north toward Oregon territory.

© Copyright 2019 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.

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