“The Great Liquor War” is available once again and now we are working on “The Making of Jake McTavish”. It was going to be “Jake’s Justice” but there are at least two efforts out there with that title and one of them is a SF or perhaps fantasy which might upset a reader who got something he wasn’t expecting.
Perhaps another four weeks and you’ll be able to read about Jake and what happened to him after he ran away from home in
Here is a little clipping from Chapter 6
May 16, 1887 when Egan and four other
men rode up to the cabin. Jake had just finished having lunch and was on his
way out, intending to ride around the cattle.
Jake was feeling cocky and proud of himself. Of the hundred and fifty cows he first started out with he still had one hundred and four. They had also increased their numbers with sixty-three calves, which was not a great rate of reproduction, but considering that the cows were all malnourished and many had wounds, it was a good number. Besides, other people Jake had talked with had lost far more. Some had lost most of their herds.
When the five men rode up Egan opened his mouth as if he was about to say something but the man riding beside him, the only one with a full beard, spoke first. “You get out of here saddle tramp, and be damn careful what you take with you. Everything here is mine.”
Jake hung his jacket on the saddle horn, turned slowly, jacked a round into his rifle and fired a round under the man’s horse. A dirt geyser peppered the horse’s belly slightly. The mount liked neither the blast nor the geyser, reared slightly and then bucked. By the time it hit the ground Jake had chambered another round and fired again. When Jake fired the third round the horse took off bucking across the prairie. The other four horses were backing, humping, and dancing. Jake’s mount, used to him shooting wolves, coyotes and wounded cattle turned his head to watch the antics of his equine brethren with some interest.
“Damn it, Jake,” Egan complained. “Settle down. I lost everything to him in a poker game. It’s his.”
Jake looked over to see if the other three riders were close enough to hear, then asked, “Everything? What about the pay you promised me? If I’m lookin’ fer a place t’ live, I’d say I’m in a bit of a pickle.”
“Now just settle down and keep quiet. I’ve a plan for that, but don’t interrupt. I expect it’ll take me a few minutes, now that you’ve upset Carter.”
They sat in silence for a few moments as the other men brought their mounts under control.
“As far as that goes, you could have had no place to live over the winter,” Egan pointed out.
“Now that’s true,” Jake admitted. “But I did a damn fine job on these cows an’ figure I deserve some recognition.”
“Well, you won’t get any from Hal Carter. As for me, I certainly appreciate it as I’ve already said. Not that your efforts will help me much now.
“My own fault. I know better than to gamble. I’m a good card player, but when I take chances, I lose. If I had followed my own rules I’d still own this herd.”
The other four riders returned with jumpy, snorting, head-shaking mounts. Jake still held a loaded rifle in his hands so they came up in such a way as to keep Egan between them and the wild man with the weapon.
“Now, Hal, you just take it easy for a minute,” Egan said. “Jake here has managed to make it through the winter with about three quarters of the animals he started out with and that’s a lot better than many have done.”
“Cattle ‘r damn thin,” Carter observed.
“They’re alive,” Jake said.
“That’s enough,” Egan said, glancing at Jake. “He’s right, though, they’re alive. I’ll get back to that in a minute.
“As for you owning everything, Hal, I put up the cattle and horses I own out here. That includes anything wearing an E C connected brand and most of the horses are wearing Bar 2. There are four horses here aren’t wearing either brand. Jake’ll be taking them when he leaves. And there are several other things around here that aren’t wearing those two brands I mentioned, like the food in the cabin.”
Egan paused, turned his gaze and unreadable expression from Hal to Jake, and then looked back at Hal. “What do you say you and your men take a look at the cattle and I’ll help Jake pack up?”
Hal chewed on the ends of his moustache for a moment and then nodded. He let his eyes flicker to the Winchester Jake still held under his arm, nodded again and said, “Reckon that sounds like a good idea.” He turned his mount away and the three other men followed.
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