Grey Man snippet…

Up to 50000 words! About half way there!!!

The usual caveats, and comments/corrections appreciated as always!

Old Friends

A month later, the old man came out with his small bag in hand and dropped it by the table as Jesse put a plate of ham and eggs in front of him. “Going somewhere, Papa?”

He took his coffee up to the pot and refilled it as Yogi sniffed the bag. “Goin’ down to see Clay and Eddie for a day or two.”

“Are you up for the trip?”

“It’s only an hour, maybe a little more. I won’t have any problems. Haven’t seen Clay in a while, and Eddie’s wanting to talk horse trades. Says he’s got a couple that I might want to look at.”

“Do we need any more horses?”

“One is none, two—”

Jesse chimed in, “Is one. I get it, but we have…seven now, including Buttercup.”

“You don’t ride much anymore, and the boys, other than Cruz, won’t ride her in case you or Felicia want to. You or I are the only ones that can ride Diablo, but since Aaron is busy with work, Felipe and Cruz are riding Monday, but the reality is we’re still short with Matt, Ernesto, Felipe, and Cruz riding any given day. They each need at least two horses, and Matt needs a bigger horse as a backup.”

Jesse nodded glumly. “That does make sense. Either that or buy more Gators.”

“Gators aren’t worth a shit for herding cows. All they do is spook them, and the cows can move faster than the Gators, although a spare one of them wouldn’t be a bad idea either.”

“We don’t have enough stalls in the barn.”

“I know. Matt and I have been talking about expanding the barn toward the road. I’d like some more hay storage, and we could add four stalls fairly easily on the ground. Plus Matt wants to make some improvements to the current floorplan.” He took a couple of bites as Jesse fed Kaya, then let her pick up the eggs from her tray with her hands.

“Are you happy with the job Matt is doing?”

He took a sip of coffee, then said, “Hell yes! Matt’s worked out better than I thought he would or could! He’s done a lot of learning, and he’s cautious about changes and spending money. I can’t complain about either of those, and he’s a good people manager too. Felipe and Cruz have both said they’d like to stay on, and Ernesto has at least another year before I think he’ll be bolting for Sul Ross. He’s apparently told Matt he wants to be a veterinarian.”

Jesse sneaked a bit of breakfast and smiled. “Ernesto a vet? That would be good. He’s always been one to care for the animals the right way!”

Jace came in dragging a blanket, closely followed by Boo Boo, and the old man laughed. “And a good morning to you, Sleepyhead!”

Jace came over and lay his head on the old man’s lap, mumbling, “Morning, Papa.”

He tousled his head, then moved him off his lap, “Papa’s got things to do. Did you feed the dogs yet?”

Jace dropped the blanket, “No, Papa. I feed them now.” He headed for the dog food bin by the back door, closely followed by both dogs.

The old man got up, carried his dishes to the sink, and pulled a go cup from the cabinet. Pouring himself a cup, he gave Jesse a peck on the cheek. “I’ll be back in a couple of days.” Picking up his bag, he stopped by the office and buckled on his gun belt before grabbing his hat. He eased out the front door, and smiled when Yogi didn’t start barking, Dog has a two track mind. Eat and piss, I swear that’s all he wants to do. It’ll do Jace some good to have to put up with both of them for a few days. Help him learn how to deal with multiple animals. And a little payback to Jesse for all the times I had to take care of her mutts. He chuckled to himself as he threw the bag in the back seat.

He stuck his coffee cup in the cup holder, started the truck and drove slowly out of the yard, whistling to himself.

***

A little over an hour later, he pulled up in front of Clay Boone’s place below Alpine, and honked the horn. Clay came around the corner of the house a minute or two later and waved, “I’m in the middle of a project in the barn.” He turned around and disappeared, as the old man got out slowly, winced, stretched, and followed him.

He walked into the barn and saw a tent set up inside. Sticking his head in, he saw Clay pulling on a respirator, and said, “I’ll be out here, where it’s safe!” Clay nodded distractedly, and picked up a spray gun as the air compressor hammered to life, stopping any conversation. The old man smelled paint and took a couple of steps back to the door, leaning against it until Clay came out.

“What the hell are you doing?”

“Finishing a table top.”

The old man waved a hand at the tent. “What the hell is the tent for?”

“Keeps the damn dust off the table top until it’s dry. Kinda keeps it off, I should say.”

The old man chuckled. “Who are you kidding Clay, nothing can keep the damn dust out down here. Or at least nothing I’ve ever seen.”

Clay shrugged. “Well, how about it makes it less noticeable. Ronni and Iris can’t scrub the table hard enough to get it off, even if they try, and I’m getting bitched at because of the other table.”

“Why are you doing tables?”

Clay walked back to the house with the old man following. “The bakery is doing well enough that they want to add a couple of tables, and allow people to actually sit down and enjoy the pastries.”

“What about Eddie?”

Clay laughed. “Eddie got me the wood. Center cut cedar. Absolutely beautiful, but a bitch to get sealed.”

“I thought y’all were in the horse business.”

Clay led the old man in and poured him a cup of coffee, then motioned to the kitchen table. “You know, I’d have never believed that giving him that ride home from Huntsville would lead to my being in business with a convicted felon, much less have my wife in business with his wife. Eddie’s really turned his life around. That time spent horse training down in Huntsville gave him a totally new direction, and one he’s damn good at.”

The old man nodded, and Clay continued, “He trained Dusty, which is how I knew he was good, and the whole thing with his first son…”

“Yeah, I remember that clusterfuck. Just lucky the sheriff got to the house before Iris found his head.”

“And Ronni took pity on Iris, comforting her, and getting her into the church as a way to deal with her loss.”

“Well, Ronni has always been one for the strays.”

Clay snorted coffee, choked and said, “Dammit John, you just had to say that didn’t you.”

The old man grinned. “Well, you were pretty much a stray according to her.”

“Fuck you. I might have been a tad footloose when I came back from the Army.”

“So, what about horses.”

“Yeah, we’re still doing horses. Why?”

“I need four more. With Felipe and Cruz staying on, and the work they are generating, I don’t have enough horses for them, Ernesto, and Matt. Much less when I throw in Aaron or Jesse. Besides, Cruz doesn’t like riding Buttercup, not just because of her name, but because she’s Jesse’s horse.”

“Eddie did mention you were a few shy when he came back from helping y’all move the cattle and separate the cows and calves. Speaking of which, how are you doing?”

The old man rolled his shoulders, and replied, “Alive. Bored. Jesse and Felicia have kept me cooped up in the house for damn near a month. I’m still a little stiff, I bend wrong and it gets my attention, but I’m fine.”

Clay got up. “More coffee?”

“Sure. I’d really like to get that appaloosa from Eddie, if he’ll let it go. Big cows need big horses. And whatever else y’all can lay your hands on.”

Clay poured and sat back down. “I know he’s got three that are ready to go, but I need to find out if they are already promised to somebody. You going to stay the night? Ronni would love to see you.”

“If you don’t mind. I just need a day or two without adult supervision as they call it. Damn women will drive you nuts.”

Clay laughed. “Really, you just now figuring that out? We’ll go meet the girls for lunch, then go talk to Eddie. Or…hell, I’ll call Eddie and tell him to meet us in town for lunch. That way we can write it off.”

“Write it off?”

“Taxes. Any damn thing we can find to lower taxes. The money we’re making on the horses and what the girls are making on the bakery are killing my ass on taxes. Old man Levine told me to charge everything I can to the business card, and especially anything that can be classified as business.”

The old man rolled his eyes. “Yeah, taxes suck. And Jesse is always on my ass about documentation. But she’s kept us out of trouble for years, so I can’t complain.”

Clay pulled out his cell and called Eddie, telling him that they would meet him at noon in town, and got up. “Need to go check on the table.”

The old man rinsed his cup and set it in the sink, then followed Clay out. Back in the barn, Clay held the tent flap and the old man went in, then stopped cold. “Damn…that’s…beautiful!”

He reached out and Clay said, “Don’t! It’s not dry!”

“How the hell?” The old man turned to Clay. “Where did you learn how to do stuff like this?”

“My old man did woodwork. I picked a lot of it up from him. Hell, he built most of the furniture in his house. When he and mom passed, I ended up with it, and his tools. It’s always been kinda a hobby. It’s…kinda brain dead work, you know? You don’t have to think, you just have to do. Or rather let your hands and your eyes do the work.” He looked critically at the table top and continued, “That’ll work. Once it dries, I’ll take this one in and bring the other table back, sand it, and respray it in the tent.”

The old man whistled. “You say Eddie found the wood? I don’t think I’ve ever seen cedar that nicely patterned.”

“Yep, I don’t think he cut it, but he knows pretty much every cedar chopper in Texas, I think.”

***

Two hours later, the five of them sat in the café, dawdling over lunch. The old man groaned and pushed his plate away. “That was a damn good chicken fried steak! I think I ate too much.”

Ronni grinned. “So you don’t want any pie?”

Clay and Eddie laughed, and Eddie said, “What she’s not telling you is she and Iris make the pies they serve here.”

“Oh damn. You’re gonna make me eat dessert aren’t you?”

Iris replied sweetly, “Only if you want to John. We’re not pushing you to eat more.”

Clay and Eddie were openly laughing now, and the waitress came over. “Clay, Eddie, your usual?” They both nodded and she turned to the old man. “And for you, sir?”

The old man threw up his hands. “I give. What are my choices?”

“Apple, chocolate, lemon, and coconut crème pies, German chocolate cake, and…” she looked around at the pie case. “That’s it.”

“Coconut crème, please.”

“Coffee?”

“Please!” The waitress disappeared, and he looked at Ronni accusingly, “She didn’t ask y’all.”

Ronni laughed, “We don’t eat dessert. We make all the desserts, so we’re taste testing all the time. If I ate desserts all the time, I’d weigh three hundred pounds.”

The waitress returned with three pieces of pie and dealt them out saying, “You guys don’t get ice cream today.”

The old man looked questioningly at Clay who replied, “We only get ice cream one day a week. That was Wednesday.”

“Where is CJ,” he asked Iris.

“Mrs. Gutiérrez keeps him at the day care two doors down from the bakery.”

“That must get expensive doesn’t it?”

Iris grinned. “If you call a dozen pastries a day expensive, it is. But I think it’s a good trade. She has a sweet tooth, and so do her helpers.”

The old man laughed. “I think she’s getting the better end of the deal! I’ve had your pastries and they are so good!”

Iris had the grace to blush and she nodded as Eddie said, “They are. That’s why she’s not allowed to bring them home. I’d eat myself sick.”

The old man said, “Speaking of which, we need to go look at horses.” He waved at the waitress miming writing and she delivered the check, which he paid, saying to Clay, “You get the tip.”

***

Clay and the old man stood arms hooked over the top rail of the corral as Eddie opened the stalls in the lower barn and let the horses out. A grulla, a pinto, and a roan came trotting out, and the old man asked, “Where’s the appaloosa?”

“He’s up at the house. Eddie keeps him close. Honestly, I don’t think he wants to let him go.”

The old man sighed. “That’s one of the ones I really need. Matt is a big ol’ boy, and he needs a big horse. That app would be a good one, and I saw how well he worked the cows.”

Clay pointed at the pinto. “That’s a good little pony there. Quick on his feet, and he takes every cow as a personal challenge. He’s the best cutter we’ve trained.”

Eddie came walking out, pushing the roan’s nose out of his pocket as he walked over to them. “These three are ready to go. They’re all right at two years old, and all three have been worked as cutters. The pinto is the best, then the grulla. The roan,” he pushed his nose away again. “Is a moocher. Damn horse will just about get down on his knees and beg.”

Clay pulled three carrots out of his back pocket, and the roan immediately came over and nosed Clay in the chest, “You want something, horse?”

The old man laughed as the road whinnied, and Clay gave him a carrot. The grulla, ears pricked sidled over, as the pinto closed in from the other side, and he commented, “Now the fun begins. So what you’re saying is I better buy stock in carrots if I take these three?”

Eddie shook his head. “Don’t blame me. That’s all on Clay!”

“How many do you have up at the house?”

“Three. Spots and two more.”

“You want to ride any of these?”

“Let’s go see the ones up at the house. I’m not sure…not sure I can ride. Getting up might be an issue with my ribs.” He turned away and Eddie and Clay looked at each other, worried expressions on their faces.

Up at the house, Eddie turned the appaloosa, a big grey, and a dun out. Something about the dun turned the old man off immediately, and he shook his head. “Dunno what it is, but that dun…I just…he’s definitely not the one I want.” Glancing at Eddie he asked, “How’s the grey working cows?”

“Not as aggressive as the pinto, but damn good. I’d put him third behind the app and the pinto.”

“Would you let the appaloosa go?”

Eddie winced, “I’d rather not. I really like him, and he’s my…sales pitch…I guess you would say.”

The old man cut his eyes to Clay, then said, “Alright. I can understand that. The grey, and the three from the lower barn. Can you deliver them next week?”

Eddie nodded, a relieved look on his face. “Of course. You need tack for them?”

“Not unless there’s something I didn’t see with them. I’ve got spares up at the house.” He thought for a second, “Maybe halters. I’m not sure how many of them I have left.”

“Okay.”

The old man arched his back and said, “Maybe I’ll ride ‘em. I need to get back in the saddle, and if I try to do that at home, everybody is going to scream at me. If you’ll saddle ‘em up, I’ll take a turn.”

Three hours later, holding his ribs, the old man sat down at Clay’s table, and Clay said, “Told you that wasn’t a good idea.”

“I was fine till that damn roan saw you walking up with carrots. At least I landed on my feet!”

Ronni didn’t say a word, but put two aspirins next to the old man’s plate as she started serving supper.

***

Clay and the old man were sitting in the kitchen, cups of coffee in hand when the rain started. Clay smiled. “We need the rain. It’s south Texas. We always need rain.”

The old man chuckled. “And we don’t have to go out in it anymore. I hope we are getting some up at our place.”

“Y’all get inches more rain a year than we do.”

“Inches, when we need…all of us down here need about a foot or more just to catch up.”

“True!”

Ronni came in and said grumpily, “You old farts can stay up and talk, I’m going to bed. I have to get up and go to work in the morning.”

“Love you too, Honey. I’ll be there shortly.” Clay’s phone chirped, and he pulled it out, reading the text that popped up. “Shit. Somebody is screwing with the horses down at the south barn. Eddie’s going down there.”

“What?” The old man was already getting up, and headed for the bedroom his gear was in, “Lemme get my pistol.”

Ronni had stopped short, and she turned back to Clay. “Be careful. You want me to wait up?”

Clay got up and hugged her quickly, then pecked her on the cheek. “Nah, go to bed. I don’t think we’ll be gone that long. Probably some kids looking to get out of the weather. It is Friday night,” he said with a smile.

Ronni rolled her eyes and snorted. “As if you remember what that’s like, you old goat.”

The old man walked back in, “Who are you calling an old goat, Ronni?”

“Both of you assholes. Y’all are like a couple of old warhorses, charging off at the first sound of…whatever.”

Clay grabbed his gun belt and hat out of his office, and said, “We’ll take my car. I’ve got stuff in case we need it.”

“Okay, I’ll go grab a slicker out of mine and meet you there.”

Ten minutes later, just before they got to the turnoff to the barn, Clay’s phone chirped again.  Clay handed it to the old man who looked down at it. “Eddie says it’s coyotes and mules. He counts twelve. Two coyotes with AKs, and ten mules. Clay reached down and flipped a switch, shutting off the brake lights, and interior lights as he rolled quietly by the path to the barn and pulled the car to the edge of the road. Taking the phone back he quickly texted back to Eddie that they were walking in and not to do anything stupid. “We’ll have to walk in, I’ve got a bad feeling about this. I’m going to call Levi.” A couple of minutes later, Clay said, “Levi is on the way. He’ll call the Border Patrol, but who knows how long that will take.”

They got out of the car, shut the doors quietly and each took one side of the path as they walked toward the barn. So much for not going out in the rain, and I’ve got my good boots on, dammit! I don’t remember Clay saying anything about calling the sheriff, or was he assuming Levi was going to do that? And what the fuck are we going to do? I don’t see us being able to capture all these guys. Ronni may be right…

As they approached the barn, he reached through the slicker pocket and pulled out his 1911, and slipping the safety off. He could dimly see Clay was matching him on the other side of the path, and he could see a bit of light escaping the partially open door. Suddenly, he smelled marijuana smoke, and saw the arc of a blunt being toked on the side of the barn near him.

As he moved quietly forward, he made out the shape of a man smoking, and fiddling with something around his belt. He got within three steps and realized there was an AK leaning against the barn, and the man was taking a piss while he smoked. With a feral smile, he slipped the safety back on, indexed his trigger finger outside the trigger. Taking two quick steps, he rolled the pistol and thumped the man behind the ear with the top of the slide, knocking him out. The man slumped to the ground, and he hissed toward Clay, motioning him over. “Cuffs?”

Clay shook his head and smiled as he handed the old man a set of cuffs, which were quickly applied to the man. Making sure his head was not in a puddle, they eased around to the front of the barn, Clay in the lead. Clay stuck his head around the corner of the door, then drew back, holding up five fingers, then again, then one finger. The old man tapped him on the shoulder, and Clay eased his shotgun out from under his slicker, then nodded. The old man tapped twice, and Clay stepped through the door to the left, as the old man jumped through and to the right.

Clay said softly in Spanish, “Amigo, you reach for that gun, I will blow your head off.”

The old man had scanned from the right to the left, and said, “No guns on this side.”

Clay continued, “Everyone on the ground, face down. Hands on your heads, and feet crossed. Anybody that moves dies.” The coyote snarled something softly as he started getting slowly on the ground, and Clay fired, blowing the AK seven or eight feet away as the coyote started to grab for it. The old man shook his head, Dammit, there went the hearing.  Again… He sensed movement behind him and started to turn, until he heard Eddie yell, “It’s me!” Eddie headed for the horses, trying to calm them down, as the old man knelt on the coyote’s back, holding his hands in a pressure point hold, and said loudly, “Cuffs?”

Clay handed him another set, and the old man cuffed the coyote, then groaned as he got to his feet. He grabbed the coyote by the feet and pulled him around sideways, then walked to the first mule, saying in Spanish, “You, lay down next to him.” He looked at Clay and mouthed, “Cuffs?”

Clay shook his head, and he heard Eddie say, “I’ve got piggin strings.”

“Get ‘em. We’ll tie one at a time up.” The old man moved to where the last mule lay, and kicked his foot when Eddie finished with the first one. “Move. Go there. Lay down.”

Once they were all tied up, the old man and Eddie went out and drug the other coyote in out of the rain, dropping him next to the one closest to the door. Clay called Levi as they heard sirens in the distance. The old man heard Clay say, “Box truck?” A pause. “I wonder if it’s their pickup. Can you have county stop him? Another pause as Clay looked around. “Uh, looks like ten mules with probably twenty kilo packs.”  Levi said something that caused Clay to laugh, and he punched the cell off. “Levi is a minute or two out. Border Patrol is a half hour, probably an hour plus for a bus. County is going to stop a box truck that was heading south on one-eighteen.”

Twenty minutes later, Levi, Sheriff English, Clay, Eddie, and the old man stood outside the barn in the rain, as the Border Patrol sergeant was questioning the prisoners. The sheriff asked, “So, you got a camera down here, and that alerted you, right?”

Eddie nodded, “Yes, sir. And I called Clay, well texted him actually. I snuck down here and saw who was here and updated him.”

The sheriff rounded on Clay. “And you, ya old fart, decided to do this yourself? Really? Take on twelve?”

Clay shrugged. “I had help. And it was only two. Mules don’t usually move.”

“And you went along with this didn’t ya, John?”

The old man nodded. “Ain’t like we haven’t done this before, Sheriff. And we’re—”

“I know! You’re both special deputies. But dammit, Levi was the one that called me! Not a peep from any one of the three of you!”

Levi chuckled. “But the piggin strings were a nice touch.”

Sheriff English started to say something, but suddenly laughed. “Yeah. Necessity is the mother of invention.” He turned back to Clay, “But you get to drag your ass in and fill out the paperwork, Mr. Special Deputy…tonight.”

The old man chuckled as Clay groaned, and Clay said, “You’re coming with me. You were in the middle of this too, John.” The old man looked at the sheriff for help, but the sheriff just smiled.

Comments

Grey Man snippet… — 33 Comments

  1. Damn good read – I was worried for our intrepid heroes, but they won the day, fair and square. :^)

    Good read, but now I have to look up some equine terms I am not familiar with – Grulla is ‘crane’ in Spanish, yes ? I never read that description before.

  2. Good story, and of course I want more!

    I’m trying to blow the cobwebs off of that part of my brain, so I will tentatively say that I don’t think the Border Patrol has sergeants.
    I’m pretty sure the BP officer’s title would be, “Border Patrol Agent.”

    I enjoyed the scene when John kayoed the coyote with his cocked and locked 1911 and I noticed that John’s trigger finger was in the safe place, but I thought that the scene was just a touch risky. On the other hand, needs must when the devil drives, and maybe John’s pistol has the later firing pin block.

    • Oh yeah, what’s wrong with the dun?
      I could call on my lifetime experience with horses, but that only adds up to riding one time for an hour.

      • Beats mine, I only rode for about a minute then competed the trip by air. LOL

        • I’m guessing you found that “buck” doesn’t always mean a dollar bill.

          • Yeah, it also cured any romantic notions about cowboys and horses. After that, I only swung a leg over something with two wheels. In my defense I was only eight or nine years old.

  3. One typo: I think “road whinnied” should be “roan whinnied”.

  4. I am about two thirds through the first book. Interesting read for sure. Looking forward to more.

    • Finished Payback, and started in on Changes. I am definitely getting into he storyline. I will have to get the others on order pronto. Is #6 available in paperback yet? Or is there a better source that you would recommend?

      • I picked up #4 & 5 at AMAZON this morning, and turned #1 over to a friend to see if she likes it. She prefers to read on her tablet, so I will turn her onto your site. Cheers!

  5. jrg- Grulla is a grey with black mane and tail, and usually black leggings.

    John- Thanks! I’ll fix that. If done properly, that strike won’t drop the hammer, even on an old 1911 🙂 Horse sense… Cowboys will take a dislike to certain horses just by the way they move or act.

    Bob- Thanks!

    Jon- Thanks, fixed!

    GW- Thank you sir!

    • Thank you for the explanation sir – I’m native Texan but ‘horsey language’ is one I have yet to learn. I know – bad dog, BAD DOG !! :^)

      Have a great weekend.

  6. Cowboys take a dislike to certain horses…

    Blue-eyed paints, the redheads of the horse world.

    You keep writing. I’ll keep buying.

  7. Great. Looking forward to spending more money. A minor language useage note: you usually use “poured himself a cup” before sitting down. You might want to usecsomething like “poured it full” instead, and maybe not use “coffee cup” and “cup holder” together. Maybe coffee in the cup holder, or coffee cup in the holder.
    Love it as always. John

    • Or maybe say put the go-cup in the cup holder since you had previous had John filling a go cup?

  8. Hey Old NFO;

    Excellent read, nothing jumped out at me and gnawed on my leg…except I forgot how the old man hurt his ribs.

  9. All- Thanks! I’m either getting better at this, or y’all are getting lazy… LOL

    Posted from my iPhone.

  10. I liked it, no other typos or odd words. I know a couple guys like Edfie, haven’t seen one for years. Good guys who get in trouble and need a firm hand to help ’em pull out. I like the threads when he and Iris come into a story.

  11. OldNFO, just a few and a niggle, otherwise a darn good yarn.
    *****
    ‘He took his coffee up to the pot’
    Should that be ‘coffee cup’?
    *****
    “Are you up for the trip?”
    ‘up to the trip’ ?
    *****
    ‘add four stalls fairly easily on the ground.’
    ‘on that ground.’? Or just drop the phrase?
    *****
    ‘“… He counts twelve. Two coyotes with AKs, and ten mules. Clay reached down and flipped’
    Missing closing quotes after ‘mules.’
    *****
    And the niggle. Split whatever they’re called e.g.
    ‘“My old man did woodwork. I picked a lot of it up from him.’

    Unless it’s a colloquialism, I’d go with ‘picked up a lot of it from’.
    Similar split wotsits further on.

  12. Ok, my niggles are: I like the way you have this one: “My old man did woodwork. I picked a lot of it up from him.” I hear folks say things like this all the time.

    But this one sounds awkward: Get ‘em. We’ll tie one at a time up.”
    I would change that to We’ll tie up one at a time.

    Just me, and you are the author. I like the story very much!!

  13. I really like it. Does any of ’em piss after all that coffee?
    All us geezers go a lot. Heh.

  14. Maybe I’m reading this wrong, but

    “You or I are the only ones that can ride Diablo, but since Aaron is busy with work, Felipe and Cruz are riding Monday, but the reality is we’re still short with Matt, Ernesto, Felipe, and Cruz riding any given day.”

    That doesn’t flow, is the horse named Monday?

    “and saw the arc of a blunt being toked”

    glow of a blunt might be a closer description

  15. The only other thing I would change, aside from those already mentioned is road to roan: “The old man laughed as the road whinnied, and Clay gave him a carrot.”

    • Well dammit, if I’d been paying more attention I would have seen that Jonathan already mentioned the road vs roan.

  16. As a horse person, unlikely that two year olds would already be proven cutting horses, three would be a more reasonable age. Also, actually what he is looking for is solid ranch working horses, not so much cutting horses specifically. And all of them fancy colors? A little bit of a stretch….color is relatively rare and commands more money. A dealer might have one or two, but the rest would be bays, chestnuts, greys, blacks at any given time. To have a dun, grulla, pinto, roan, and an appy, but no bays or chestnuts doesn’t ring true.

  17. Possible lack of continuity. Clay said that he would put the bill at the restaurant on the company card and write it off as a business expense. The Old Man paid the bill and left the tip for Clay.

    Can’t wait for the book to come out.

  18. Anne- Thanks, I’ll fix that

    Ray- got it, thanks!

    All- Appreciate the comments!

    Posted from my iPhone.