Thursday, August 20, 2015
Read the beginning of James J. Griffin's "Renewal of Faith" RIGHT NOW! What do you think?
“And after all that we might even find time for supper,” Jake said, with a grin. “I am a bit hungry, after all. In fact, it’s been so long since I ate my belly button’s plumb pressin’ up against my backbone.”
“You’re right, Jake. I clean forgot about supper,” Tom said. “We’ll do that first. My belly’s so empty it thinks my throat’s been cut. We’ll get us the biggest steaks, and the biggest hunks of apple pie, in all of Kansas, mebbe even in all of the West. And wash it all down with a whole pot of coffee.”
“Whatever you say, Tom,” Jake said, shaking his head and smiling at his friend’s enthusiasm. Both men were young, in their early twenties, tall and lean. Both had been working cowboys since they were sixteen, but that was where any similarities ended. Tom had dark brown hair and eyes, with a ruddy complexion, while Jake had blonde hair, and light blue eyes. Tom was gregarious and outgoing, always looking for a good time, ever ready for a prank. Jake enjoyed a good time as much as his partner, but he was quieter, more given to follow Tom’s lead. Tom usually started a conversation, Jake generally let other folks speak first, then would join in. There was only one other way both were alike… each of them was extremely fast, and deadly accurate, with a six-gun. Those Colts that hung at their right hips were always ready for action.
They grabbed soap, washcloths, and towels from a chest inside the bunkhouse, got their shaving kits and combs from the trunks at the foot of their bunks, then went outside and around the back of the building, to the washbench. Tom grabbed the pump’s handle and worked it like the barn was on fire, pumping water into the trough. As soon as that was filled, he pulled off his Stetson and bandanna, stripped out of his shirt, ducked his head in the trough, and pulled it out, shaking it vigorously. Water droplets flew everywhere.
“Whooee, that cold water sure feels good on a hot day like this,” he shouted.
“Yeah, I figure it does, but I don’t need you splashin’ it all over me so I can find out,” Jake said, laughing. “I’m already soaked, thanks to you, and I ain’t even had the chance to undress yet.”
He gave Tom a backhanded slap in the belly, causing him to grunt.
“I’m sorry, Jake,” Tom said. “Didn’t mean to get you wet. It’s just that this cold water feels so dadblamed good in this heat.”
“Well, if you’ll move over a little bit, and stop hoggin’ the whole trough, mebbe I can find out for myself, Tom,” Jake retorted.
“Yeah, I reckon you’re right, at that,” Tom agreed. He moved toward the end of the trough, leaving Jake room alongside him.
“That’s better,” Jake said. He also pulled off his hat, bandanna, and shirt, then ducked his head in the trough.
Both men washed thoroughly, getting out days of grime, scrubbing their skin until it turned pink. Once they were finished bathing, they lathered up and shaved, using a small mirror hanging from the bunkhouse wall to make certain they’d gotten every last whisker, Tom making sure his moustache was neatly trimmed. Once they were finished shaving, they combed their hair carefully in place. Their ablutions completed, they went back inside the bunkhouse. They beat as much dust as possible out of their denims and hats, donned clean socks, shirts, and fresh bandannas, then brushed the dirt and manure from their boots, spit-polishing the well-worn footgear until it had at least a semblance of a shine.
“Time to get our horses, and head for town!” Tom hollered. “We’re already way behind the rest of the boys. They left an hour ago. If it hadn’t been for those two stubborn stray dogies who led us over half the county, we’d have been with ’em.”
They headed for the horse corral, where their strings of horses were munching on hay. Very few working cowboys owned their own mounts, most using horses assigned to them by the ranch. Tom roped out a heavily muscled bay gelding named Night Train, while Jake just whistled, and a long-legged sorrel and white splotched pinto trotted up to the fence. He nuzzled Jake’s cheek. Jake gave him a leftover biscuit.
What do you think of the beginning of the series? Jim would love any feedback that you can give him! Please leave a comment here on the blogpost or use the "Contact Form" on the sidebar! Thank you very much!