Thursday, November 14, 2013

Excerpt from O'Shaughnessy's New Deputy

This excerpt is from Chapter 20 of the book I'm trying to get finished, but my production keeps getting interrupted:

      Del Whitney crawled out of bed in his cold, dirty hovel not far from the stable in Manti. He was feeling better than he had been. He was suffering from a bad case of the croup, but was finally getting over it. He made himself a pot of coffee and sat at the small table drinking it, his first in a week. Del was raised in a family of Mormons, the next oldest child, and didn't have the coffee habit unitl his parents kicked him out of the house in Ephraim because of his rebelliousness. It came to a head one evening at the kitchen table when his father told him to bring in the cows and start the milking.
      Del was in one of his bad moods and he told his father, "No, I ain't goin' to do it no more," and stared at the older man with anger in his green eyes.
      His father told him again, "Del, go bring in the cows and start to milking them. I'll . . ."
      "I ain't goin' to do it. You might as well save your breath, I've milked my last cow," and stood up with hs fists clenched. He was bigger than his Pa and knew he could whip him in a fist fight.
      The elder Whitney looked at him with disbelief in his eyes, shocked to think that his son would be talking to him like that. He stared at Del for a couple of seconds; saw that he was ready to fight. Keeping his eyes on him, he said, "Get out! Get out of my house and never set foot in it again! I don't ever want to see you around here again, is that clear? You ain't my son. Get out now with the clothes on your back and you're lucky I let you keep them. Get out."
      The day after he left home, he was looking for a place to live in Manti and saw those two misfits from Hillside, Tom Anderson and his cow-trailing, pipsqueak of a friend, leaving town. Del wasted no time ducking into a small space between buildings and taking some potshots at them. He disappeared quickly around the rear of the buildings and left town shortly after, camping out on the mountainside to let things cool down.
      He returned to town and hung around the stable for a day or two, hoping that someone would come along with whom he could join up and travel to California. Riley offered him a job of sorts and said, "You can move into my empty shed on that vacant lot over west about a half-mile. You can see it from here," pointing at it.
     Del met a couple of other wanderers, a man named Pulley and a half-breed who said to call him  Beeswax. Pulley moved in with Del and made his bed on the other side of the half-wall that divided the wooden shed.
      Now, Pulley joined him at the table afer helping himself to the coffee. Pulley was a tramp and had tramp habits, never took a bath, although he shaved regularly and preened in front of his little round mirror hung on a nail in the shed wall, thinking himself mighty handsome. He always wore his shirt with an extra button open at the top to emphasize his hairless, skinny chest, which he thought was as broad and muscular as anyone's. His blue eyes were too far apart under bushy, brown eyebrows and behind an elongated nose with a slight curve downward at the tip. Standing, he was around five-feet, six inches tall or maybe a couple inches taller in his cowboy boots.
      "Feeling better, huh?" he asked Del.
      "Yup, I think I about whupped it," said Whitney. "And my mind is such that I'm thinking about something I been thinking about for a long time."
      "Something interesting, I hope," said Pulley, "not another of those dumb things you told me about, shooting at those old friends of yours right in the middle of town in broad daylight. You were lucky to get away with that. I heard that deputy was asking questions about it. Tell me, what kind of hare-brained idea is it this time?"
      "As soon as Beeswax gets here, I'll tell you both, but this ain't no hare-brained idea like that. No, sir," said Del.
      "You ain't going to try to kill them two lawmen again, are you? I don't know whether I want to be a part of something like that, even though I ain't in love with the law," said Pulley. "I ain't never been arrested or anything and I don't want to get started now."
      "I told you, I'll tell you as soon as that half-breed shows up. Where is he anyway?"
      "You know him, he tells time by his stomach. If he ain't hungry, he don't know what time it is," said Pulley.
      "Well, I don't have to work today, so I don't care if he shows up today or tomorrow, but I think that's him now," said Del, getting up and pouring himself another cup of coffee.
      The door opened and the half-breed entered the shed. After closing the door, he stood in the semi-dark waiting for his eyes to adjust.
      "Where the hell you been, Beeswax?" said Whitney. "I told you to get here at sunrise. You want a cup of coffee?"
      "I overslept," said Beeswax, looking at his two friends. "What's the big hurry? You got something to eat?"
      He had a natural set to his mouth that gave Del the impression that he was always smiling as he looked at Pulley and moved his eyes to Del. Beeswax was taller and heavier than Pulley, about the same size as Whitney, with green eyes and lighter skin than the average Ute. He lived alone in a tepee outside of Ephraim to the north where the road takes off for the Salt Lake Valley. He had no inclination to live like a white man in a cabin or did he want to be part of the Ute tribe. It may have been a matter of mental  capacity or merely lack of any initiative. To his two companions he gave the impression of mental slowness nearly approaching dim-wittedness and they made him the butt of their few jokes.      
      "Fry yourself an egg there and sit down. Me and Pulley are going to tell you what we're going to be doing when that posse gets back from wherever they went," said Del. "You're still mad at Cobb for arresting you the other night, ain't you?"
      "You darn right I am. He had no right to manhandle me the way he did and throw me in jail. I've still got bruises from it and I don't like it one bit," said Beeswax, cracking an egg into the pan.
      "We're goin' to get even with the law, Beeswax, that's what we're goin' to do," said Whitney as the half-breed sat down at the table. "You know that posse that took off after somebody that stole the Sheriff's horses, don't you? Well, we're going to form a posse of our own and when they get back in town, we're going to find out what they did while they were out looking for whoever they were looking for. That's when we're goin to take our revenge and get nickels up on 'em, by damn." 

End of Excerpt. Just what the heck do they have in mind to get revenge on the law and what the heck are they goin' to do about it? You'll have to pick up a copy of O'Shaughnessy's New Deputy to find out. It WILL BE COMING OUT BEFORE MUCH LONGER and will be available at and THANKS for reading this blog.