Talk about tradition!!!

Heck of a way to build a bridge…

I’ll bet walking across that is NOT for the faint of heart!

Hackett short story, part 4…

Confrontation and Departure

Rio’s hand slipped into his jacket as he loosened both thongs on his pistols and looked at the slovenly dressed small man. He wore a six gun low on his right side and was slipping a rifle with something on top into a scabbard on the saddle. His anger rising, Rio stepped to the side, clearing the area behind Stiles, and said loudly, “Stiles! You back shootin’ sumbitch, you killed my partner!”

Stiles shoulders hunched, and he spun, dropping into a crouch as Rio continued to stride toward him. He saw Stiles squint as if he was looking at something, then look quickly around as if searching for a way out. Rio, still striding toward him, said, “Can you face somebody standing in front of you, you low life sumbitch?” He’d closed to about 25 feet and wasn’t slowing down, as he saw Stiles hand twitch toward his six gun. “Afraid to draw, you sumbitch? I’m right here. Want me a little closer?”

Rio was about 15 feet away when, with a whining yell, Stiles started his draw. Rio sidestepped and crouched as he heard the crack of a rifle. His hat went flying. He drew smoothly and thumbed back the hammer even as he heard the boom of a pistol behind him, but all his concentration was on Stiles, who disappeared behind a wall of black powder smoke even as Rio triggered his first round. He saw dirt jump in front of him and sidestepped as he thumbed back the hammer again and again, putting round after round into Stiles, who finally sank to his knees, then fell forward. Rio walked up to him, kicked the six gun away, and used his toe to roll him over. Looking down at him, he saw Stiles trying to say something and crouched down.

Stiles, wide eyed, looked at him in wonder. “I done kilt you once. How?” He coughed, and blood bubbled from his mouth as he took a last breath.

Rio looked around in a daze and saw another body ten feet away, behind the horses. Getting up, he turned and saw Jack off to the side, his pistol in hand, and a rueful expression on his face. “You got a little too focused on Stiles. I had to kill Harvey to keep him from killing you.”

“What?” Rio shoved the six gun into his cross-draw holster and realized he was still holding his laundry in his left hand. He looked at it in wonder, then up at Jack. “Where was Harvey?”

“Hidin’ behind the horses. He tried for you with his rifle, but you ducked at the right time.” Jack walked back and picked up Rio’s hat, bringing it to him. He poked a finger through the hole in the crown, wiggled it, then looked closely at Rio. “You didn’t even register that, did you?”

Mexican Joe and others came out of the cabins since the shooting had stopped, and Joe walked up to him. “Fair fight. Jack, you beat me to Harvey. I was lining up to shoot his back shooting ass in the back just like he deserved.” Joe gestured to the laundry. “Ain’t never seen a gun fight where a man don’t even drop his laundry before.”

Rio looked down, then back up. “Well, I didn’t want to get it any dirtier. I heard Cruz’s wife does some washing.”

Joe shook his head. “Man, you are…crazy.” He yelled out, “Lupe! You got laundry to do.” Under his breath he said, “Be gone by tomorrow. Take what they have on them. I will take the horses.”

Cruz’s wife Lupe came shyly out of the cabin, and Rio proffered his bundle of laundry. “Can you do these for me by tomorrow?”

She took them, looked quickly at them and said, “One dollar. I do tonight.” Rio took a silver dollar out of his vest and handed it to her with a nod. “Noon tomorrow. Will be ready.” She disappeared back into the cabin with a smile.

Rio walked back to where Stiles lay in the dirt, pulled his shirt up, and grunted as he saw the holes in his chest, still leaking blood, Damn. No money belt. Where would he keep the money? He looked at the horses and saw saddlebags on both of them. He saw Jack picking up the rifle that Harvey had dropped and walked over to Stiles’ horse. Pulling the rifle out of the scabbard, he saw that it had a Malcom scope on top. He put it under one arm, then said softly, “Jack, get the saddlebags and the rifle. Joe is going to keep the horses.”

Jack looked at him sharply, but pulled the saddlebags off as he followed Rio back toward the cabin. “What’s going on?”

“Stiles didn’t have a money belt. I’m betting Harvey didn’t either, so the money will be in one of the saddlebags. And…Joe wants us out of here tomorrow.”

Jack stopped cold and stared at him. “What?”

“I guess I wore out our welcome,” Rio shrugged.

Jack started walking again and asked in an exasperated tone, “Where the hell can we go now? It’s damn near winter, and I don’t have the money to pay for—”

“I know a place where we can go. It’s…the ranch where I’m working over by Fort Collins.” Rio opened the door to the cabin and Jack walked in, then slumped into a chair, flopping the saddlebags onto the rickety table and leaning the rifle against the bunk.

Rio continued, “You’re a damn good hand when you want to be, Jack. And I’m down a…partner.” Rio slung the saddlebags he was carrying on the other bunk, lit the lamp and turned the wick up. Looking at the rifle, he saw some engraving on the action. Holding it closer to the lamp, he rotated it to read what it said. “Huh. Earl of Dunraven? I’m guessing Stiles stole this rifle from somewhere.”

Jack grabbed the rifle he’d picked up, pulled out his bandanna, and wiped the rifle down. He looked closely and said, “I’ll be damned. This is one of those fancy Winchesters. One of a…thousand.” He laid it next to the other rifle and continued, “Looks like these are almost new. These are both high grade rifles, so they were probably stolen.” He shoved it across the table. “You can have it. I like mine.”

Rio had been digging in the saddlebags he’d pulled off Stiles’ horse and finally found a heavy poke buried in the bottom of the bag. He bounced it in his hand, and it clinked loudly. Loosening the tie, he spilled the contents on the table and whistled as he moved the coins around. “That’s…six hundred dollars. So about half of what they got for the cattle.”

Jack pulled open the saddlebags he’d laid on the table and dumped them out, finding another poke on top of the pile. He swept the rest of the contents to the floor and opened the poke, emptying it on the table. He counted the money and looked up at Rio. “Four hundred eighty-six dollars. I wonder if Stiles made him pay for stuff?”

“Possible.” A knock on the cabin door startled them, and Jack swept the money into the saddlebag, kicking the rest of the stuff on the floor under the bunk as Rio stepped lightly toward the door. Jack got up and moved quietly to the other side of the door as Rio said, “Yes?”

A Mexican voice said, “We bring food.” Rio opened the door cautiously and saw a middle-aged Mexican, hat in one hand, a pot in the other, and a young Mexican girl, just budding into womanhood, standing there. “Come in, Señorita, Señor, por favor.”

.

The man walked in, followed by the girl who jumped when she saw Jack step out of the shadows, but she didn’t drop whatever was in her hands. The man set the pot on the table and in broken English said, “Thank you for…doing away with bad men.” He looked at Rio and continued, “He was…after little Juanita for…not good things.” The girl blushed as he went on, “My… esposa, wife, fixed these tamals, and we have eggs.” Juanita opened the rag in her hand and proffered four brown eggs.

Jack’s eyes grew wide as he very carefully took the eggs, setting them carefully in a pan next to the stove. ‘Muchas gracias! I haven’t had eggs in…weeks!” He pulled two plates out of the cupboard and dished the tamales into the plates, inhaled deeply, and said, “My thanks to you and your wife.”

The Mexican and his daughter left as Jack sat down and started unrolling the tamales. Rio saw them out, then closed the door. “Interesting.”

Jack mumbled around a mouthful of tamales, “I don’t care about that. These are good! If you’re not going to eat them—”

Rio flopped down and picked up a fork, miming a stabbing motion. “Touch my tamals and die!” Jack laughed as Rio dug into the tamales. After they’d finished, Jack was picking up the dishes to go wash them, and when Rio said quietly, “Keep the money Harvey had. You deserve it for saving my life.” Jack looked at Rio, then shook his head as he took the dishes and poured water into the washbasin.

***

The next morning, Rio and Jack enjoyed the four eggs, bacon, some fry bread, and coffee for breakfast. They cleaned out the cabin, packed their saddlebags, and checked the horses over before noon. Jack managed to buy some provisions and confirmed the word was out that they were leaving. He picked up Rio’s clothes from Cruz’s wife and brought them back right at noon. Loading the packhorse, he looked over at Rio as he tied the blanket roll stuffed with the two rifles behind Red’s saddle. “So, Fort Collins?”

Rio nodded glumly, “But I’m not sure how to get there. I know we’ve got to follow Vermillion Creek to its head and then strike off east, but I’m not sure of which passes we need to take. I think we have to go south of Sand Mountain.”

“I don’t think…naw, there’s got to be somebody that knows the way. But I’d like to get there before we get snowed in. Wonder who we could ask?”

Rio shrugged. “I’d rather they didn’t know where we are going, just in case somebody wants to rob us.”

They mounted up and rode south, without a word from anyone. As the sun touched the mountains in the west, they rode up to a bench on Vermillion Creek that offered good grazing and was at least a couple of miles from the main valley. They’d picketed the horses, and Jack was cooking beans and the steaks when a voice came out of the darkness. “Hello the fire.”

Jack dropped the spoon and drew as he dropped behind a log. Rio sighed. “Monte?”

Laughter echoed down the bench and the voice said, “Coming in. Yore pard is a bit skeered ain’t he?” Jack started to reply when four men rode into the firelight, and he quickly shoved his gun back in the holster.

The four were old mountain men, dressed in a variety of clothes and carrying very little on their saddles. Monte Henderson dismounted smoothly, belying his being in his late 60s. His long grey hair and beard fluttered in the light wind, but in his buckskins, he moved noiselessly to the fire. Pointing at Fat Jack Jensen, who was anything but fat, he said, “Figures, y’all don’t even have enough to feed company. We brought a deer Isom got. Hope you got salt and pepper.”

Fat Jack effortlessly flipped the deer off the back of his saddle, adding, “Hope you got some Arbuckle’s too. I truly hate cold camps.”

Jack looked at Rio in consternation, and Rio sighed again. “Jack, um… Texas Jack Hart, this bunch of…reprobates are Monte Henderson, Fat Jack Jensen, Isom Grissom, and Arapaho Joe, who if he ever had a last name, forgot it years ago.” Jack nodded as he scanned the group of old mountain men, then looked back a Rio, a question in his eyes. “I…work with these…reprobates.”

Arapaho Joe smirked. “I gots a last name, never use it. Ain’t no good nohows. Mizz Tammy done sent us to look for you when you didn’t come home. I talked to my boys, and they said two white men had ridden to the Hole, and two more were following. Figgered that was you and somebody,” he said, pointing at Jack.

Isom said softly, “We watched you take out two men. I assume they were the ones that killed Bear?” Jack’s jaw dropped open to hear the erudite elocution coming from an old black man in buckskins. Isom’s smile was interesting, and he said, “What, you’ve never heard a mountain man speak correct English?”

Jack gulped. “Um…no, sir. Actually, I never have. How—”

Isom’s laugh defused the tension. “Well, I was snowed in one winter with Plutarch, the Bible, and Shakespeare, along with a former professor of languages from the Sorbonne in Paris. We had many philosophical discussions on the meaning of life, and—”

Fat Jack finally interrupted. “Dammit Isom, we all heard that story time and time agin’. I’m hungry and the boy ain’t cookin’ listenin’ to you rattle on.” He patted his very loose clothing, adding, “I’m a poor starvin’ ol’ man. I needs my nourishment.”

Monte pulled a Bowie knife out of his belt and mumbled something as he dragged the deer to the edge of the firelight and began cutting it up for supper. The others got cups out of their saddlebags and poured coffee, then sat around the fire, looking at Rio and Jack. Arapaho Joe poured another cup of coffee and remarked, “Ain’t strong enough. You ain’t usin’ enough mother.” He shook the pot, “And it’s empty, too.”

Rio got up and took the pot with a disgusted look, heading for the creek as Monte brought venison steaks over to the fire, piled on the deer hide. Jack looked around at them and asked, “Who is…Tammy?”

Monte smiled. “She’s Rio’s wife. She’s been managing the ranch since he left, and she ain’t happy with him. He was supposed to be back three weeks ago. When he sent Juan back with the word about Bear, we told her he’d probably gone huntin’, so she sent us to find him, not that we wouldn’t have left to go kill the sumbitches that done for Bear ourselfs.”

“Wife? Ranch? But…he’s…you work for him?”

Isom chuckled. “Why yes, as a matter of fact we do. Along with the other fifteen hands. It takes quite a few cowboys to manage five thousand acres they’ve homesteaded, and over one thousand head of cattle grazing on an additional twenty thousand acres on any day.”

Jack shook his head. “Oh, hell. I thought he just worked on the ranch.”

Rio came back with the coffeepot, took one look at Jack’s expression and growled, “You…assholes told him, didn’t you?” He shook his head. “It’s a long story—”

Monte grinned. “We’ve got a long ride to get back to the ranch, plenty of time.”

Rio sighed. “Is supper ready yet?”

THE END

TBT…

This one goes back a LONG time…

There is a strong possibility the gent in the white hat, left background is my maternal grandfather, James Clark.

I ran across this picture while doing some research. At least 26 people were killed and 40 injured, most of them railroad employees, and debris was thrown up to seven blocks away when the 4-6-0 steam locomotive blew up. I know grandpa had moved up from engineer to an inspector around 1910, and worked for multiple railroad organizations, including ATSF, SP, UP, and others. Sadly, I’ve not been able to find any identification of the people in the picture, but that is one hell of a mess. Thankfully, most of those that died never knew what hit them.

HERE is a the link to the write up of the disaster.

 

Posted in TBT

Short story snippet…

This one is for another anthology…

Comments/recommendations appreciated, as always!

Up the Trail

 

Danny Boyle wiped the sweat from his face with the ragged sleeve of his homespun shirt as he tried to get a good sight picture on one of the Indians surrounding his house, but they were riding fast and the black powder smoke was blanketing the area between the barn and the house, tickling his nose, and the pain of the bullet wound in his leg kept blurring his vision.

He’d been unsaddling Blue after hunting when they’d come whooping and hollering down on the family ranch west of Camp Wichita. He knew he couldn’t make it to the house before they got him, so he swatted Blue on the hip and yelled at him to run. The horse had bolted from the barn and disappeared to the west before the Indians got there. He’d knocked one of the Indians off his horse in the initial attack but took a round in the thigh for his trouble, dumping him back into the barn.

He’d managed to get behind the log post that held up the door and tied his bandana over the wound as a crude bandage. He knew his da had gotten at least one Indian, and he saw his mother take another one with the old shotgun out the front window, but since then the Indians had been doing all the shooting. He finally got a sight picture and squeezed off a round, the old Henry Yellow Boy thumping against his shoulder. He almost screamed in pain as the recoil caused his leg to twist, but he saw the Indian throw up his arms and cartwheel off the back of the horse.

That left three…How many shots do I have left? I shot three times on the two deer, and I’ve been shooting the odd shots here and there. I guess they thought I was dead, but…shit, here they come! Two of the Indians had seen the billow of powder smoke and charged the barn, screaming ululating Comanche war cries as one raised a rifle and the other drew a bow. Danny took aim on the one with the bow and squeezed off another round, worked the lever and frantically shifted his aim as the other Indian continued charging. He was rewarded with a click of an empty rifle and cussed under his breath as he rolled behind the log, splinters exploding from it.

He rolled back far enough to get the old Remington conversion pistol out of his belt holster and waited, but the Indian didn’t come in the barn. Suddenly he smelled smoke and realized the back of the barn was on fire. Hearing a horse trot by the front of the barn, he rolled far enough to see out, hoping that help had come, instead he saw an Indian throw a torch on the roof of the house as four more drove their dozen cows and three horses behind the house. He could faintly hear them talking but couldn’t understand what they were saying, however, he knew laughter when he heard it. The one Indian pointed at the barn, but the other waved him off and they trotted after the others, leaving Danny to his own ends.

The fire finally forced Danny out of the barn, and he crawled to the water trough, didn’t see any movement, and using the rifle as a crutch, got to his feet and limped toward the house. He yelled for his da and mother until a gust of wind brought him the odor of burnt meat and he fell to the ground sobbing; knowing he’d never hear their voices again.

***

The sky to the west held the last rays of sunlight when he heard horses again and managed to roll over, fumbling at his pistol as he peered into the encroaching darkness to see who it was. He heard a tumultuous cry and a girl calling, “Danny? Danny, is…that you?”

He heard a thump and swish of skirts and looked up to see the blonde curls of the nearest neighbor’s daughter, Lana Smith. “Lana? What are you doing here?” He felt something wet hitting his face and realize she was crying. He reach up and grabbed her arm. “Lana! What is wrong?”

“They…killed ma and pa. Burnt us out. I was down at the creek trying to catch some fish. I…hid in the brush.” She buried her head in his shoulder and sobbed as he tried to comfort her.

When he reached up, his leg burned and he hissed in pain, causing her to jerk up. “Oh, you’re…where are you hurt?”

Gritting his teeth, he said, “Right leg, mid-thigh. I got a bandage on it. I gotta get up, gotta find da and momma. That was what I was doing before I passed out.” He reached for her, “Help me up!”

Lana helped him up saying, “We gotta get out of here afore they come back. I brought Blue with me, but all he has is a bridle. No saddle or saddle blanket.”

Danny hobbled closer to the smoking remains of the cabin and saw two burned figures curled in fetal positions. Biting his lip, he said, “Don’t come any closer Lana. I see ‘em, but I can’t do anything about it. You’re right, we gotta go and get some help. Lead Blue over to the water trough, please.” He hobbled over and, with Lana’s help, got up on the end of the trough, then on Blue’s back. He dashed the tears from his eyes and looked over at her. “Only thing we can do is ride for Henrietta. Hope I can make it.”

She stared at him. “Henrietta? In the dark? Why not Camp Wichita? How will we—”

“The injuns head toward the Camp. We’ll follow the wagon tracks. Should be enough moon to see them.” He kneed Blue. “C’mon, boy.” Blue turned his head and flipped his ears at Danny, snorting at the smell of blood, but he started out at a good walking pace.

Danny groaned as the bouncing set his leg on fire. Lana asked worriedly, “Are you…going to make it?”

“Ain’t got a choice. Can’t do more than what I did. Ever thing else is gone up in smoke.”

Lana sobbed. “I know. Our place too.” She sniffed and wiped her nose on her sleeve, but continued to ride by his side. The sun gradually set as the moon rose and they continued into the night. The last thing Danny remembered was mumbling about the wagon tracks as Lana took Blue’s reins out of his hands. He came to laying on the ground with Lana tugging at his pistol. “Somebody’s coming,” she hissed, terror in her voice.

He slapped her hand away, “Get my rifle…crap, I…he reached up and found three rounds in his shirt pocket. “Here, load these and help me sit up, then get off the trail. Take the horses.” She helped him get to a sitting position and he flipped the thong off the hammer of the pistol, sliding it out of the holster and setting it in his lap. He could hear hoofbeats and he said grimly, “Get going. Get in that clump of cedars over there. Hurry!”

“What about—”

“Dammit, Lana, go!” She sobbed once but gathered up the reins and made her way through the buffalo grass to the small copse of cedars fifty yards off the trail, leaving Danny sitting in one of the wagon tracks.

The hoofbeats got louder and he saw hats, then a group of men come around the bend in the trail. They pulled up short in a cloud of dust, as Haseltine, the grizzled old storekeeper jumped down. “Danny? Danny Boyle?”

Danny sagged back, “Yes, sir.” He turned and yelled, “Lana! Come on out. They’re friendly!”

Haseltine knelt beside him, an arm around his back. “Looks like you got yourself shot, somebody give me a canteen,” he looked up and said loudly, “Get Morgan up here. Got a wounded man.” He took the canteen and turned back to Danny, giving him a drink as he asked gently, “How bad was it? We found out just before sunset when Ethan Morice and his brood rode into town, saying they saw two streams of smoke from the direction of your place.”

Danny sighed. “Da and mom are…dead. Comanches got ‘em, and almost got me.” He nodded to his thigh. “But we got at least four of the six that hit our place. They hit the Smith’s place too. Lana was…the only survivor.”

She walked up leading the horses just as Morgan knelt by Danny and looked at the leg. “I can’t do much here. Need to get him to town. We can make a travois and drag him in that way, ain’t but a couple of miles.” He took out his knife and started to cut Danny’s pants off, but Danny grabbed his hand.

“Don’t please. I ain’t got any more than what I got on. Ain’t got no money either. Get me on Blue and I can make it to town.”

Morgan shook his head. “You sure, kid?”

“No, but I ain’t got much choice, do I?”

Morgan chuckled. “Well, we’ll find out. Jory, help me get him on his horse and tie him on with some piggin strings.” Lana was deep in discussion with Haseltine and Smith, the blacksmith as they lifted Danny onto his horse.

Two painful hours later, they arrived in Henrietta and an unconscious Danny Boyle was lowered from Blue and gently carried into the store. Gerta Hazeltine took one look and said, “Bring him on back here, boys.” She looked sharply at Lana, then added, “You too, Lana?” She held out her arms and Lana rushed into them, bursting into tears. Gerta comforted her as she steered her back into their quarters and pushed her down at the table, then pointed at the biscuits and honey sitting there, “Eat, child. I’ll be back.”

She found Morgan on the back steps stripping Danny out of his clothes as he checked him for any other injuries. He looked closely at the leg and whistled softly, “The boy is lucky. Through and through, missed the bone and the big artery. I’m gonna wash him down out here, but I need some whisky and some clean cloths. I gotta clean the wound channel out, then pad it.”

“Give me his clothes, I’ll wash them and try to darn the holes in his union suit and pants. I’ll get Royce’s bottle and some cloths for you in a minute.” She disappeared as Morgan gently poured water over Danny’s leg as he moaned and twitched from the water hitting the wound. Fumbling in his bag, he pulled out a folded piece of leather and shoved it between Danny’s teeth as she came back with a whisky bottle and some torn cloths. “These should work. I ripped up a petticoat to get you something to tie the pads off with.”

Morgan nodded. “Thank you Greta. Jory, get around here behind Danny and hold him. He’s gonna fight when I pour this whisky in the wound.”

Jory grunted as he slid around behind Danny, then grabbed him in a bear hug. “Go head. I got him.” Morgan sat across his legs, sighed and poured a little of the whisky into the wound. As expected Danny started fighting it and screamed around the leather in his mouth when the whisky penetrated down into the wound.

Inside, Lana started up when Danny screamed, and Gerta said, “Ain’t nothing you can do, Lana. ‘Sides, he’s nekkid out there. You don’t need to see that. Matter of fact, you probably need to clean up, don’t you?” Lana, tears running down her face, nodded mutely as she stared at the back door. “I’ll get some water on the stove and get the washtub out. While the water’s heatin’, we need to find you something to wear. I think we got something in your size up front. C’mon.” She put the water on and led Lana into the store and over to the corner where the store bought clothing was. “See what you can find.”

Morgan poured more whisky into the wound and swabbed the back of the leg with a rag soaked in it. “I know this hurts Danny, but I gotta do it.” Danny nodded through tears as he bit down on the piece of leather. Morgan finally reached in his bag and took out a brown bottle. “Carbolic. Gonna pour this in the wound and then bind it. Best I can do.” Danny nodded again, and only winced as the mixture was poured into the wound. Morgan quickly soaked two cloths, folded them into pads and bound the whole thing with the cut off petticoat. Danny sagged back into Jory’s arms and spit out the leather. “Damn. That…hurt.”

“You were lucky. I cleaned it out as best I can. Now we need to get you into some clothes and lying down somewhere.” He handed Danny the bottle. “You get one drink.”

Danny took a swig and shuddered. “Damn! That’s…strong!”

Gerta came back out, a union suit in her hand. “This should fit him. We’ll put him in Johann’s bed for now. Lena is cleaning up and I’ll put her in with Erica.” Morgan nodded as he took the union suit, then stretched it out beside Danny. He took out his knife and cut one leg off so that he could get to the wound after he had the union suit on.

He looked at Danny and asked, “Can you get dressed or do you need help?”

“Can you pull it up over my legs? I think I can get it from there.” Morgan did as asked and they got Danny up on his good leg as he pulled the suit the rest of the way on. Once that was done, they half carried him through the back to a bedroom with a small single bed, a chair, and a dresser in it. Danny more or less collapsed on the bed, looked up and said, “Thank you. I…thank you. Where’s my gun?”

Greta bustled out and came back with the belt, holster, and gun. “I’ll put it up here on the dresser. I hope you don’t think you need it here!”

“No, Ma’am. I sure hope not, but…I’m used to having it close to hand.”

Jory glanced at Morgan. “You want me to carve him a stick to walk with?”

Biting his lip, Morgan nodded. “Yes, otherwise somebody will have to help him to the outhouse.” Danny was out cold, and Morgan felt his forehead. “No fever. Kid’s gotta be wore slap out.” Gerta came back in with a pitcher of water and a can and Morgan added, “He’s out. I’ll be back in a couple of hours and give him a dose of laudanum. Leg’s goin’ to bleed some, if it gushes let me know.” She nodded and he got up with a groan. “Thank you, Greta. Is Lana alright?”

“She’s…as good as can be expected. She’s bathing right now. I put her in with Erica. You go on about your bidness, I’ll take care of them.”

BAG Day…

Mea culpa…

I was late this year. But this one followed me home, so I guess I’ll keep it…

It’s a 4″ Trooper MKIII, 1976 version. It hasn’t been shot a lot, and the standard check on it looks good.

For those that may not remember, or don’t check a used gun, this is how I do it. YMMV, etc…

The first thing I look at AFTER I make sure the revolver is unloaded, is the overall condition of the blueing, any pitting on the exterior, and whether or not the grips are original. You’re going to be manipulating the pistol in ways you don’t normally do, so MAKE SURE YOU KEEP THE MUZZLE POINTED IN A SAFE DIRECTION!

Next, I take a light (you always carry one, don’t you?), open the cylinder, see that it spins freely, and check for a bulged barrel, both internally and externally. Next is the bore. I look for rust, pitting, odd wear patterns in rifling, and excessive leading (meaning it’s been shot a LOT and not cleaned regularly). Then I use the light to check the chambers, again rust, pitting, gouges, crud, and any bulging.

Then I check the ejector rod: Look for smooth operation with no binding. Turning cylinder between thumb and forefinger may reveal a visible wobble at tip of ejector rod. Another thing to check is the knurling on the tip for any tool marks from pliers. Then I check ratchet and the extractor for wear/chips.

Next I close the cylinder and check for a sprung or bent crane, a gap between yoke and frame when cylinder is closed is bad. The cylinder should NOT be hard to close. Look for obvious visible cylinder misalignment. Next check for endshake (cylinder movement forward to rear), there is almost always going to be a little play. If there is too big a gap, or no gap, that’s a problem.

Look at the cylinder stop notches for deformation of the cylinder stop from hitting the off side of the notch due to heavy use in fast double action shooting (or excessive snapping in double action dry-firing) and general wear. Worn notches may not allow the cylinder stop to catch. Next, check the cylinder bolt for chips and rounded edges denoting wear. NOTE: An extremely worn cylinder stop may not catch or hold a cylinder.

Now we get to the important parts-

This is how “I’ check action/timing: Again make SURE the gun is unloaded!

I  pull the trigger very slowly in the double-action mode. I want to see the cylinder stop fully engage the cylinder stop notches before the hammer falls. I do this six times (it must engage on each of the chambers). If the hammer falls before the cylinder stop engages a notch then the revolver’s timing is off.

For single action slowly cock the hammer while observing the cylinder as it turns. The cylinder stop should fully engage the cylinder stop notches before the hammer reaches full cock. Again, do this six times (the cylinder stop should engage properly on each chamber). If, after the hammer is holding at full cock, the cylinder can be rotated by hand into position so the cylinder stop can engage the notch then the revolver’s timing is off.

Next, I drop the hammer and hold the trigger back. I check for side play on the cylinder. Colts are designed with a hand system that locks the cylinder tight when the revolver is fired. If the cylinder can be moved sideways at all or incrementally rotated with the hammer down and the trigger held back then the revolver has timing issues.

A timing issue is evident if the cylinder fails to advance enough to lock up, whether this occurs on all chambers or only a few. And, depending on the gun, that may be the deal breaker, as they are not cheap to get repaired…

And a couple of last items…

The trigger should return forward smartly when you release it. If it doesn’t either the gun is very dirty (see above), or somebody has monkeyed with the springs.

Check the trigger pull in double action and cock it for single action. If the revolver seems to have a very light double action trigger pull or cocks very easily, then the main spring could have been altered or the main spring strain screw could have been shortened in an effort to give a lighter trigger feel.

Note: This could cause primer light strikes if the work was done wrong!

Then check the hammer by pushing forward on the cocked hammer. If pushing on the hammer, even fairly vigorously, causes it to fall then the revolver has sear problems.

Note: Guns that have been shot a lot may be worn enough to suffer from this malady.

Lastly, inspect the sights. Are they there (don’t laugh)? Check for damage or modification. Does the front sight appear to be centered right on top of the barrel?  Make certain that the front sight isn’t either built up or filed down. Could indicate a revolver that slipped out of the factory and be shooting way off from point of aim. Also, if the revolver has adjustable sights, check for mechanical adjustment, damage, or modification.

Note: Most fixed sight revolvers shoot close to point of aim at 15 yards with ammunition of “standard” velocity and bullet weight.

 

Da Rulz…

Seems people are having a bit of problem understanding the ‘new’ rules…

So here is the latest list.

  1. Basically, you can’t leave the house for any reason, but if you have to, then you can.
  2. Masks are useless, but maybe you have to wear one, it can save you, it is useless, but maybe it is mandatory as well. But they aren’t available, and if you don’t have one it’s a $1000 fine.
  3. Stores are closed, except those that are open. But only for essentials… No sneaking over and buying shoes.
  4. You should not go to hospitals unless you have to go there. Same applies to doctors, you should only go there in case of emergency, provided you are not too sick.
  5. This virus is deadly but still not too scary, except that sometimes it actually leads to a global disaster.
  6. Gloves won’t help, but they can still help.
  7. Everyone needs to stay HOME, but it’s important to GO OUT.
  8. There is no shortage of groceries in the supermarket, but there are many things missing when you go there in the evening, but not in the morning. Sometimes.
  9. The virus has no effect on children except those it affects.
  10. Animals are not affected, but there is still a cat that tested positive in Belgium in February when no one had been tested, plus a few tigers here and there…
  11. You will have many symptoms when you are sick, but you can also get sick without symptoms, have symptoms without being sick, or be contagious without having symptoms. Oh, my…
  12. In order not to get sick, you have to eat well and exercise, but eat whatever you have on hand and it’s better not to go out, well, but no…
  13. It’s better to get some fresh air, but you get looked at very wrong when you get some fresh air, and most importantly, you don’t go to parks or walk. But don’t sit down, except that you can do that now if you are old, but not for too long or if you are pregnant (but not too old).
  14. You can’t go to retirement homes, but you have to take care of the elderly and bring food and medication.
  15. If you are sick, you can’t go out, but you can go to the pharmacy.
  16. You can get restaurant food delivered to the house, which may have been prepared by people who didn’t wear masks or gloves. But you have to have your groceries decontaminated outside for 3 hours. Pizza too?
  17. Every disturbing article or disturbing interview must start with ” I don’t want to trigger panic, but…”
  18. You can’t see your older mother or grandmother, but you can take a taxi and meet an older taxi driver.
  19. You can walk around with a friend but not with your family if they don’t live under the same roof.
  20. You are safe if you maintain the appropriate social distance, but you can’t go out with friends or strangers at the safe social distance.
  21. The virus remains active on different surfaces for two hours, no, four, no, six, no, we didn’t say hours, maybe days? But it takes a damp environment. Oh no, not necessarily.
  22. The virus stays in the air – well no, or yes, maybe, especially in a closed room, in one hour a sick person can infect ten, so if it falls, all our children were already infected at school before it was closed. But remember, if you stay at the recommended social distance, however in certain circumstances you should maintain a greater distance, which, studies show, the virus can travel further, maybe.
  23. We count the number of deaths but we don’t know how many people are infected as we have only tested so far those who were “almost dead” to find out if that’s what they will die of.
  24. We have no treatment, except that there may be one that apparently is not dangerous unless you take too much (which is the case with all medications). Orange man bad.
  25. We should stay locked up until the virus disappears, but it will only disappear if we achieve collective immunity, so when it circulates… but we must no longer be locked up for that?

Menotomy 4:00pm…

The Battle of Menotomy- 4:00pm

The village of Menotomy was located on Concord Road between Boston and Lexington. With its meetinghouse and burial ground, its taverns, and its mill sites, it had encouraged settlement by dividing pastures. The Committee of Safety met in Black Horse tavern on April 18 to criticize the oppressive British policies. At 3 a.m., the next day the committee was awakened by the marching of the British troops through town going to Concord to destroy the military stores collected there. They did no damage on the way through…

Percy gave orders to clear every dwelling to eliminate snipers. Houses along the way were ransacked, plundered, and set afire by the retreating British. The running battle continued to Jason Russell’s house.Returning from encounters at Lexington Green and Concord Bridge, the British troops reached the Foot of the Rocks in Menotomy around 4 p.m. on April 19. Thirteen towns had sent militia, now stationed along both sides of the road the Redcoats would take back to Boston. Lord Percy put out strong flanking parties to his main forces so the militia was now sandwiched in between. The running battle continued to Jason Russell’s house.

With his wife and children safely out of harm’s way, Jason Russell joined men from Beverly, Danvers, Lynn, Salem, Dedham and Needham at his house, when Redcoats came from behind the house, sending the men into the house. Jason Russell, hampered by his game leg, ran to take cover too, but was shot down and bayoneted on his own doorstep. Those men who took refuge in the cellar escaped after shooting soldiers who tried to follow them down the stairs.

But eleven men were killed in the house and yard during the skirmish, and bullet holes still show in the cellar way, parlor, and best room. Two Redcoats were also killed here, making it the bloodiest fighting on the first day of the American Revolution, April 19,1775.

The total ‘cost’ of the day?

TOTAL ESTIMATED CASUALTIES (all causes)
American- 93 total
49 killed
39 wounded
5  missing & captured

British- 300 total

73   killed
174 wounded
53   missing & captured

Concord 7:00 am…

7:00 am– ninety minutes had passed since the Battle of Lexington and Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith leads his force of 700 redcoats into Concord. As they marched into town the several hundred person troop led by 65-year-old Colonel James Barret became just as terrified as the Lexington men and run.
Three hours pass and the Americans only stand and watch the British troops take over their town, seizing weapons and gunpowder. 

The battle at the north bridge in Concord. Amos Doolittle 1775.

 About 10:00 am– A man overlooking the town covered in a smoke cloud asked Colonel Barret, “Will you let them burn the town down?”
On that note Colonel Barret orders his troops to advance toward the 100 redcoats guarding Concord’s north bridge. When the Americans had about 200 feet between them and the British the redcoats fired at them. Two Americans were killed and several were wounded but they did not run.
“Fire, fellow soldiers, for God’s sake, fire!” An American officer called.
The American soldiers began to chant, “Fire! Fire! Fire!”
Fifteen redcoats were killed or wounded by the time they began retreating toward Boston.

For the next six hours the redcoats retreated back toward Boston… Had it not been for reinforcements commanded by General Percy, they would have been slaughtered at Lexington on the way back.

Two Hundred Forty-Five Years Ago…

The battle for America started just after sunrise at 5:20 am…

“Major John Pitcairn at the head of the Regular Grenadiers,” detail from The Battle of Lexington, April 19th. 1775. Plate I, by Amos Doolittle, 1775.

The report below is from “Battle at Lexington Green, 1775,” EyeWitness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2001).

Twenty-three-year-old Sylvanus Wood was one of the Lexington militia who answered the call that spring morning. Several years after the event he committed his recollection to paper in an affidavit sworn before a Justice of the Peace which was first published in 1858:

When I arrived there, I inquired of Captain Parker, the commander of the Lexington company, what was the news. Parker told me he did not know what to believe, for a man had come up about half an hour before and informed him that the British troops were not on the road. But while we were talking, a messenger came up and told the captain that the British troops were within half a mile. Parker immediately turned to his drummer, William Diman, and ordered him to beat to arms, which was done. Captain Parker then asked me if I would parade with his company. I told him I would. Parker then asked me if the young man with me would parade. I spoke to Douglass, and he said he would follow the captain and me.”I, Sylvanus Wood, of Woburn, in the county of Middlesex, and commonwealth of Massachusetts, aged seventy-four years, do testify and say that on the morning of the 19th of April, 1775, I was an inhabitant of Woburn, living with Deacon Obadiah Kendall; that about an hour before the break of day on said morning, I heard the Lexington bell ring, and fearing there was difficulty there, I immediately arose, took my gun and, with Robert Douglass, went in haste to Lexington, which was about three miles distant.

By this time many of the company had gathered around the captain at the hearing of the drum, where we stood, which was about half way between the meetinghouse and Buckman’s tavern. Parker says to his men, ‘Every man of you, who is equipped, follow me; and those of you who are not equipped, go into the meeting-house and furnish yourselves from the magazine, and immediately join the company.’ Parker led those of us who were equipped to the north end of Lexington Common, near the Bedford Road, and formed us in single file. I was stationed about in the centre of the company. While we were standing, I left my place and went from one end of the company to the other and counted every man who was paraded, and the whole number was thirty-eight, and no more.

Just as I had finished and got back to my place, I perceived the British troops had arrived on the spot between the meeting-house and Bucknian’s, near where Captain Parker stood when he first led off his men. The British troops immediately wheeled so as to cut off those who had gone into the meeting-house. The British troops approached us rapidly in platoons, with a general officer on horseback at their head. The officer came up to within about two rods of the centre of the company, where I stood, the first platoon being about three rods distant. They there halted. The officer then swung his sword, and said, ‘Lay down your arms, you damned rebels, or you are all dead men. Fire!’ Some guns were fired by the British at us from the first platoon, but no person was killed or hurt, being probably charged only with powder.

Just at this time, Captain Parker ordered every man to take care of himself. The company immediately dispersed; and while the company was dispersing and leaping over the wall, the second platoon of the British fired and killed some of our men. There was not a gun fired by anv of Captain Parker’s company, within my knowledge. I was so situated that I must have known it, had any thing of the kind taken place before a total dispersion of our company. I have been intimately acquainted with the inhabitants of Lexington, and particularly with those of Captain Parker’s company, and, with one exception, I have never heard any of them say or pretend that there was any firing at the British from Parker’s company, or any individual in it until within a year or two. One member of the company told me, many years since, that, after Parker’s company had dispersed, and he was at some distance, he gave them ‘the guts of his gun.'”

And the first rounds were fired…

Sigh…

Ya know, sometimes I ‘really’ wonder about people and their ‘intelligence’…

But Twitworld is truly the gift that keeps on giving…

With the stoopid, that is…

Of course Farcebook isn’t any better…

Sigh… One has to wonder. I’ll be in the corner crying for humanity and the ability to actually think and communicate civilly!!!