Saturday, September 3, 2016

Rancher Artie: Part Two

“Ya really think I could do my father proud, Ginny?”
Artie were settin’ on the young school teacher’s desk as she tidied up the school room.
“Ya shot ain’t bad,” she said with a smile.
“I dun’t think I’d win, o’ course; if I git even ter the second round I’d be might pleased.”
“I’ll come watch with yer parents,” she promised. “Just git off my desk so I can put these things away.”
He grinned and hustled off.

Ray Crawfish had set up some targets in a field, and had one of his hands draw up lists fer the competition order. Artie checked and double checked fer his name ta be sure he knew what time he had ter be ready. His parents sat on the grass with Ginny and waved. He tried ter smile, but he were nervous; he’d never set hisself up against anutter in compertition like this. He hurried back to his sack to git out his pistol and make sure it were in readiness. There was his handkerchief… extrar bullets… an apple… Panicked, he emptied the sack upside down, but there warn’t no pistol inside.
He was supposed ter shoot in near thirty minutes. It was a fair piece ter town and back, too. “I don’t have no other idear,” he muttered to hisseln. “Best make it quick.”
He flung hisself on the horse and set his spurs. Through the fields and along a dirt road into the dusty town. Once at the boarding house, he stopped only ter wind the halter ‘round the hitchin’ post before he charged into the buildin’. It were real quiet inside, since all the folks thereabouts was at the shootin’ contest. Up the rickety stairs that shook with evera step, and into the little room. In a moment o’ horror, he discovered the pistol were not in his box where it ought ter o’ been. He hesitated, befer tearin’ open his father Vin’s box. There were a nice pistol in there; it warn’t his’n, but he didn’t think his father would’a minded, seein’ the siteration. Back down ther stairs, onto his harse, and flyin’ down tha road ter the contest.

He’d never did as nice as he did that day; his shots were perfect with that pistol, which didn’t shoot ter the left as his other’n did. It fit real nice in his hand, with it’s gold-engraved handle, and he wondered how in the sam hill his father had sich a nice thing.
But he warn’t niver as shocked as when he done won the contest. That was a field-shaker and no mistake.
“The winner is Artie—” Ray Crawfish stopped and stared at the gun in Artie’s hand. “Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. Where’d you get that there pistol?” he asked.
Artie reddened. “It ain’t mine. It’s my pa’s.”
“Where’s ya pa?”
Vin stood up. “There be a problem, Mr. Crawfish?”
“Sure not!” Ray said enthusiastically. “Kin ya tell me where ya got that pistol?”
“It was giv’n ter me,” Vin said shortly. He looked at Arthur. “Kin we have a piece a’ talk alone, Mr. Crawfish?”
Ray nodded and drew him off.
“It’s like this,” Vin said quietly. “He ain’t no son o’ ours. He were a young’un, not a year old, when his ma brought him to us. She couldn’t take care of him no more. She said that pistol were his pa’s. I ain’t told the boy any of this. Wherever his pa and ma be, they ain’t done him no good turn and he don’t need to get mixed up with them none.”
“On the contrare,” Ray said with a grin, “his pa jist done him one real good turn.”

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