Sunday, August 11, 2013

another fork in the road

In the story, "Riding Buffaloes," Earl Dean has come to yet another fork in the road in his marriage to Lucille. Now moving closer to a resolution, he ponders the latest set back . . . and the buffalo.

Earl Dean was astounded by his hesitation. He should have balked more, but then he also felt defeated that he was so quick to capitulate. His life was truly not his anymore―seeming to be in total ruin. The ride home was a nightmare. Although careful not to malign Lucille in anyway, his aunt and uncle let their feelings and thoughts on the matter be known. Their voices swirling around his ears like the wind coming through the open windows―catching a word now and then―nodding his head in response―grunting out an agreement. But in his mind he had two choices―give up his wife or fight to keep her. He settled on fighting to keep her. But then he wondered if it was to save his marriage or to wreck his good-for-nothing cousin’s aims. He knew in his heart the buffalo was all that mattered to Lucille. Then he shuddered at the thought of it with a bullet between its eyes.  If they found it dead it would be as though he pulled the trigger himself. In the midst of the entire debacle, a satisfied smile crept across his face. It occurred to him that he might be as drunk on the whole messy state of affairs as if he were drunk on moonshine.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Excerpt from my upcoming book, "Riding Buffaloes."

This is from the last chapter of the book:

“Look-it what I found,” Little Orive declared holding up a jar of amber colored liquid.
“Hey, that’s uncle Benny’s personal stash. He won’t favor you getting’ into it,” Woodrow said. “You leave it be now, ya hear? He’ll skin you alive. He won’t care if you are kin.”
Little Orvie put the jar back in place, but T.W. was always the adventurous one and so he opened it and took a sniff of the liquid. Little Orvie stuck his nose over the lip of the jar. T.W. handed it to him and with a quick jerk of his chin he indicated that he should try some of it. Little Orvie cut his eyes to Woodrow who was sacked out. Only his boots could be seen and his feet looked like he was asleep.
“We could dip our beaks in every jar here and refill them with water. This shit’s so strong it might improve it,” T.W. whispered.
Little Orvie tipped the jar to his lips and took a swallow. Sweat broke out on his face―the wildcat whiskey that his uncle used to cut the beer taking his breath away. His eyes bulged and his face became a contorted mask from the burning effects of the liquor. He clamped his eyes shut, furrowing his brow to fight back the headache that came on him.
“Purty good stuff, huh?”  T.W. said grinning.
“He’s flavored it with apricot,” Little Orvie said.
T.W. tipped the jar back and took a big drink and repeated the same contorted antics that his brother went through. The two men snorted and giggled. Before they knew it, the jar was near empty and they were both roaring drunk.
Now into their second jar, the boys settled back and smoked. Little Orvie pulled a tarpaulin off their uncle’s still and was looking it over when T.W. made the comment that he should try riding the buffalo since it was so tame. Little Orvie was hesitant but with sufficient prodding, he was persuaded to sit on it while it was hemmed in the stall.
“What’ll I hold on to?” Little Orvie asked.
“Shit, just pile on and grab hold a-his horns, that’s what I’d do,” T.W. said.
“Well then whyn’t you just go ahead on and do it then if you’re so brave?” Little Orvie said.
T.W. stifled a laugh. “Cause I ain’t near as drunk as you are,” he whispered.
“Well, all right, then,” Little Orvie said and he went to the stall and climb it. Standing above the buffalo, he lost his courage and tried to back down.
“Shit,” I knowed you wouldn’t do it,” T.W. taunted.
“I’ll show you,” Little Orvie declared and tossed his burning cigarette to the side. It landed in the wooden crate that held the jars of choc packed in hay. The dried material went up fast, but they did not notice it because Little Orvie let out a loud Indian hoop and holler when he threw himself onto the buffalo’s hump.
The buffalo bellowed and fought to get away, but it was hemmed in so all it could do was buck in place. T.W. jumped to his feet to go the aid off his brother who lost his grip and slipped down into the stall. He screamed for help and Woodrow sat up in a start. Unaware that the barn was now on fire, T.W. struggled to open the gate to the stall, but it was wired shut to keep the buffalo in. The horses were screaming with fear and fought against their tethers. The barn filled with smoke as Woodrow went to set the horses free.
“Open the god damn barn door, T.W.” Woodrow yelled out.
T.W. left the stall  where Little Orvie was being stomped to death and ran for the barn door. Woodrow untied the panicked horses and they reared and charged for the door, too. At that same moment, the buffalo busted through the stall gate and charged through the frightened horses and was on top of T.W. before he could unlatch the barn door. The buffalo hit him head on and pushed T.W. through the splintered door followed by the horses thundering over him.
Woodrow staggered out of the smoke and fire dragging Little Orvie by the arm. Now engulfed in flames that dripped from the roof like water, the three boys lay on the ground wondering why they were still alive.
“You alive, Little Orvie?” Woodrow said and then he coughed.
“It’s hard to breathe,” gasped Little Orvie.
“Probably a broke rib or two,” Woodrow said. “How ‘bout you T.W.?”
“I’m okay,” he said sitting up. “Skint up some.”
Woodrow could tell T.W.’s shoulder was dislocated because it hung lower than the other one. Also, his left ear was hanging off his head by a piece of skin. Most of his clothes were torn off and he was covered in scrapes and cuts.
“Yeah, you look fine to me,” Woodrow said and then he looked back at the burning, smoking rubble that once was their uncle’s barn. “Boy’s we best head for the hills. Uncle Benny’ll be gunnin’ for us for sure now.”
“Let’s not tell him we did it,” T.W. said.
“You was always the smart one,” Woodrow said. “I’ll see if I can run down the horses and then get us to a doc.”
“What about the buffalo?” T.W. said.

Woodrow laughed and waved his a hand at his brother as he limped away following the tracks left by the fleeing horses.