Something in my throat wanted to scream but nothing came out. I feel so alone. Everyone is either dead, grown up, moved on or just too busy to visit the ranch. I should have sold it years ago but it's so hard to let go of good memories.
My attention was drawn down the mountain to the network of paddocks, all connected with a thread of fences. Fencing kept my hired hands, Chance and Rooney, doing sweat labor all one summer. Try putting a fence post in solid rock. Good workers, the boys were, but typical for Montana. Work hard all week, get your paycheck, drink or gamble it away and come home broke. It's the cowboy creed.
Where you saw Rooney, you saw Chance. They did rodeoing together, too. Rooney riding the bulls and broncs and Chance being rodeo clown. Chance, with his diminutive stature, stood as high as Rooney's armpit. He'd flash that boyish grin along with his gift of gab and charm the pants off of any gal in the grandstand. The young ladies hung around like bees in a hive but the boys had other vices as priority. I don't mean shades of Brokeback Mountain. Not that. Chance, with a name like that, you know gambling was his. Chance never touched a drop of whisky.
Not so with Rooney. He'd take a bottle over a woman any day. Of course, I didn't say a woman couldn't entice him "with" a bottle. Rooney was so gorgeously handsome, it'd drive the gals into a frenzy of pure lust. Have you ever seen a man so handsome, that your breath stopped somewhere between your throat and your belly button? That was Rooney, with rugged physique to match.
It was one summer on a Friday night when the boys came up to the house for their pay. I knew they were itch'n to get over to "Al's Saloon," the local watering hole. Already that money was burning a hole in their pockets. Not even a small attempt at a scam this time. They usually tried, needing extra cash for a saddle, or a clutch for the pickup, you know scammers. I knew scammers but often I'd go along with them. Pisces are like that. But money was mostly post epso facto, for getting Rooney out of jail for drunk N disorder after a Friday night spree.
Here's what happened when they got to "Al's." It was later described to me at the hospital. Oooppps I'm getting ahead of my story.
To Be Continued