Sunday, August 16, 2009

Excerpt from my soon-to-be-available novel

Here's another excerpt from "The Stranger From The Valley," from Chapter 6:

Standing at the door was Widow Bigknife looking very excited, "Is Oakley in there? Tell him to get over to the saloon quick! Milt is tearing up the place! I don't know what he's doing but Charlie said he saw him through the window throwing chairs, cussing, and...and..."
Oakley went running out the door almost knocking Fedderson and Esther down, and jumped on his horse before she could finish, and raced down the road toward the tavern.
I spoke up, "I think I'll go see what Milt's doing. I heard he gets wild when he drinks too much. Thanks for dinner!" I told the Feddersons, as I climbed on Spottie.
"Tell Oakley to be careful!" yelled Hilaine.
By the time I reached Cranky's, everything was calm and peaceful. Cranky was telling Oakley, "I'm sorry I had to do it, but he lost his head and was going berserk in here, breaking my furniture, thowing glasses, chasing out my customers. What's the matter with him?"
"I don't know, Cranky. Sometimes he gets like this for no reason," Oakley replied. "I'll take him home and let him sleep it off. Can you give me a hand with him?"
"I'll give you a hand, Oakley," I said. "Where is he?"
He looked at me and said, "He wouldn't want you touching him, after what you already done to him. Cranky can help me."
"I ain't going to help him," stated Cranky, "and I'm not going to let him in here anymore, either. You can tell him that he's barred from my place 'til he learns how to behave himself, and he owes me some money for all the damage he did. I drug him back behind the bar here, to get him out of sight."
Widow Bigknife came in out of breath and looked directly at me, "What did you do to him this time? Where is he? Is he hurt?"
I just returned her gaze and shrugged my shoulders.
"Now, now, Esther," Cranky said. "He didn't do anything to Milt. I had to give him a little tap on the head to stop him from destroying the place. He's back here lying on the floor, still out."
Oakley went behind the bar to attend to the unconscious Milt. Chappie and Esther followed along. It was getting crowded in the small space between the bar and the back wall with all four of them in there.
"C'mon, Oakley, let's get him loaded up," Chappie suggested. "I'll take him by the legs, and if you get him under the shoulders, we'll have him on his horse in no time."
Oakley reluctantly relented, as Esther stood staring.
"Good riddance," offered Cranky.
Before we could get him on the horse, Esther had to take his face in both hands and plead, "Milt, Milt, darling! Wake up, wake up! You're going to be all right! Wake up!"
There must have been a subconscious reaction to her touch or sound, because he let out a long slow moan, "Unnh-nn-o-nnm-n," but he didn't wake up.
We hoisted him onto the horse, and went back into the tavern. Oakley walked up to the bar facing Cranky and said, "I'll ask Pa to come by and pay you something for the damages, but I don't know whether I should thank you or not. You must've hit him pretty hard to put him out for that long."
"I think he was about ready to pass out anyway. I just hastened it up a bit. He was drunker than usual, if that's possible. His Pa ought to do something about his drinking."
"Nobody can do anything about that, Cranky," Esther said. "It's just the way he is and always will be. I'm sorry for thinking you did it, Chappie, but I thought..."
"That's all right, Esther. Glad to be of help for a you too, Oakley," I replied.
I looked around the tavern. "There's a chair still upright at the table there, Esther, Care to have a sarsaparilla before you go home, that is, if Cranky has any unbroken glasses?"
She glanced at the preoccuppied barkeep, and then looked into my eyes. "I'd like that, Chappie. Set them up, Cranky, and have a drink with us."
"By crimany, I think I will," he said, grabbing three glasses from under the bar and a quart bottle of sarsaparilla. "Let's all drink to Milt Henberry, the rage of Altveel," he said, sitting down at the table and pouring the glasses full.

As you can see from this excerpt the characters are drawn with humor and sympathy, and in my opinion it's a GOOD READ! DON'T MISS IT! It will be out shortly.

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