"Welcome to the McCain Ranch"
Waste - part 2
I knew it wouldn't be long until the
bandits would come after us. I had to think of a way to get us out
"Pa? What will those bandits do when they find the other one up on
"They'll come after us and try and keep us from getting to our
horses,” I answered quickly. I didn’t really have time to talk. I
had to figure out what to do! “Keep an eye out for them son."
Mark went to the door and opened it to watch for them. When he saw
them, he closed the door quietly and put a chair under the door
knob. He hurried over to me. "They’re comin' Pa!"
"This way?" I asked.
"No...the other way like you said, where the horses are." I was
relieved, because I certainly wasn’t ready for them yet!
Micah was still bleeding some. “How much?” Mark wondered. He was
still so full of questions! “Just enough to keep it clean.” Again, I
spoke rapidly because I didn’t really have time to talk. “Look,
check the front.” Mark hurried over to the window and scratched some
of the paint away with his knife so he could peek out without them
I watched the back of the saloon. I sure was worried with Mark
there! I turned and looked at him as he peeked out of the hole. He
walked over to me. He stood behind me as I watched out the back.
“What are they, Pa?” Mark asked. “What kind of men are they?”
“Bandits, son.” I didn’t’ turn to him, but continued watching out
the back. “The worst kind. Dirt poor and stupid. There’s not the
brain of a coyote among them. Best they can do is sneak around the
countryside, find a man alone and knock him on the head for his
horse…or his gun…or his boots.”
. "Pa, you didn't have to give them the rifle. You didn't have too!"
Mark declared regretfully.
"I couldn't start a fight with you in the middle Mark!" Mark
apologized. I snapped at him then. "You know, having you here is
like having both hands tied behind me. You're not a child anymore,
Mark. You must know that."
My words just got Mark all riled up again. "We've already settled
that Pa. I'm not goin'! If we do get out of this it'll be together
or...or not at all. Pa, they cut up Micah something
awful...someone's got to take care of him!" Mark was worried for me.
"You can't do it alone! And even if you do send me off, I'll come
right back and jump one of them with a rock. I swear I will!"
talked to me like that before son,” I commented quietly.
“I've never had to. We've never been in such a fix before."
"No, I...” I sighed heavily. “I guess we haven't."
It was only a matter of time before the bandits figure out where we
were. I had to act fast! I started by dusting off a mirror. I
started positioning it the way I needed it for my plan. As I was
doing so, Micah started moaning. I hurried over to him and bent down
beside him. “Micah?” I whispered.
Micah turned and looked at me. “Lucas Boy!”
“How is it, Micah?” I asked worriedly. Micah moaned. “How bad is it?
I’ve got to know!” Micah was confused. I quickly explained to him
I found some old rifles. They only had one shot a piece in them, if
they worked! I had taken them from the guy I killed on the hill.
“Now, that leaves three of them, Micah. Now, they’re across the
street behind the shack they were living in. They’re drunk, I think,
which should give us an edge.” Micah wondered what they were doing
here. I figured they were probably on the run and had to hole up
somewhere. I told Micah the head man’s wife was having a baby – I
think she was having it now.
Alphonso had managed to sneak to the place his wife was holed up. He
called to the old woman. “Los Gringos? Los Gringos?” he asked, but
she didn’t know. Alphonso sat in the doorway. His wife turned her
head and looked at him. He smiled. He couldn’t stay away. He came
over to her with a bottle of whisky. He wanted to take away some of
her pain, but she shook her head and turned away. He turned away
sadly and left.
They had cut Micah up bad. Micah didn’t know how bad it was. “What’d
they do it with?” I asked. Micah didn’t remember anything. He didn’t
I asked him if he could see to shoot. He said he could see. I tried
to give him a rifle, but he was too weak. He couldn’t even hold it.
I was frustrated – it looked like I was on my own! Micah wondered if
they knew where we were. “Yeah, I’m sure they know by now,” I
“You got a plan?”
“Yeah, I got a plan, Micah. It’s a little involved, but it just
might work.” I didn’t want to tell him about it
I hurried to set up my plan. After finding a lantern, I started
positioning the table. “Pa?” Mark turned from the window, curious as
to what I was doing. “Pa, what are you doing’?”
I didn’t have time to explain. I sat the lantern on the table. “Just
a minute. Let me work it out,” I answered quickly.
“Tell me what you’re doing!” Mark argued.
I put a chair at the table. Frustrated, I turned to Mark. “Just a
minute, son. Just a minute!” I insisted. I then went to adjust the
mirror. I took some matches from my pocket and sat them on the
table. After getting everything adjusted, I said, “All right,
that should be right.” I told Mark to sit down and light the lamp.
Mark went to the table and started to move the chair. “Don’t move
the chair! Just light the lamp!” I ordered.
He lit the lamp. “What’s this all about, Pa?”
“All right, good.” I told him to turn the wick up all the way. I
walked to the door and looked
at the mirror. From there, it looked like Mark sitting at the table.
I told Mark to blow it out for now. “It just might work if they’re
Mark walked over behind me. “What’s this all about?”
I turned to him quickly. “Quiet and sit down!” I ordered again. I
reached for the rifles. “Now you stay there.”
Mark slowly lowered himself. “Sit
down, son. You get ready to light that lamp.” I looked out the
peeping hole to watch for them. I was nervous. This had to work if
we were to get out of here alive. I had to make sure…
Suddenly, I decided on something else. “Mark, set a couple of empty
bottles on that chair near the back door, huh?” I was ready for
them. I wanted to get this over with.
As Mark started back for the table, Micah called out to him. Mark
stopped and hurried over to him. All of a sudden, Micah was feeling
so good. Micah needed some whisky. Mark told him there was nothing
there but empties, but the bandits had some whiskey and we would get
some of that soon. Micah wasn’t so sure.
I could hear Mark talking to Micah about Margaret. I overheard Mark
as he told Micah, "No I.....no I don't really remember her at all.
Sometimes I think I do, but sometimes I’m almost sure, but…I don’t
really. I know that what I think I'm remembering is just the
photographs that Pa has. I was only three."
“It’s hard,” Micah stated. “And so is…everything else. Funny thing,
I’ve always had a notion that nine out of ten people in North Fork
who’ve never even saw a picture of your Ma could give an accurate
description of her just from knowin’ your Pa.” I smiled about that.
It made me happy to know I was keeping her memory alive.
Suddenly, it was back to reality. I saw the bandits coming down the
street. They were headed here. “They’re coming,” I announced. I
hurried to the door. “Mark, the lamp!”
Mark hurried over to the table and waited to light it on my nod. I
watched the door as it slowly opened. The bottles fell from the
chair one by one. The door came open all the way. Mark looked
towards me, but I shook my head to wait. The first bandit stepped
in. I nodded for Mark to light the lantern. As soon as he did, the
first bandit fired his gun at the mirror and shattered the mirror.
With the two rifles I had, I shot the first two bandits. Now all I
had left was Alphonso. Mark blew out the lantern and hurried over to
Micah. Micah wanted to cry out, but Mark covered his mouth with his
hand to keep him quiet.
I took a handgun from one of the bandits. I hurried behind the wall
and waited for Alphonso to come in. The door opened slowly. But as I
stood there, I suddenly got an idea that would buy me a little
insurance. I took out some of the bullets from the handgun, then
squeezed the trigger, three times, hearing three clicks. The gun
sounded empty. My plan worked like a charm! “No more bullets,
Gringo?" Alphonso yelled out as he entered the room. I then shot
into the air. Alphonso dropped my rifle and started begging me for
his life. "Don't shoot...I don't shoot...my woman is going to have a
son, just like yours!" I shoved him away. Yeah, my son! “Please
senor, I feel really bad for what happened to your friend, but I
don’t do that! They do that! They’re very big man! They big man!” He
just kept ramblin' on. He was hoping to keep my attention while he
pulled the small gun from his belt. But I knew what he was doing. He
turned and started to draw on me, but I shot him first. He fell to
It was over. I was upset as I
threw the gun to the floor and hung my head. I suddenly felt the
pressure and anxiety overwhelm me. I wanted to sit down and cry, and
I may have if I hadn’t suddenly heard Micah call my name. He and
Micah needed me. I had to stay strong for them.
“Lucas, I’m needin’ some
whiskey real bad. Will you…see if you can get me some?” I turned to
go. “Oh Lucas-“ Micah stopped me. “Don’t be gone too long.”
I knew it was bad. I had to help my friend! “I won’t,” I promised.
Micah looked up at the roof. It was broken and he could see the
stars. “I came into this world under a open sky, so Mama told me.
And I just soon go out the same way. And I thank the Lord, Mark, you
and your Pa are here with me.”
I left to find some whisky. I saw the old woman. She saw me with the
rifle and fled. I walked into the building where the pregnant woman
was. When she saw me walk in, she was suddenly fearful. I wanted to
help her, but she was so afraid. She was all alone. I had to get
some whisky back for Micah. I saw the disgust in her face. I quickly
turned and headed back to the saloon with the whisky.
I bent down next to Micah. “Micah, these wounds have to be cleaned
up.” I started to pour the whisky on his cuts, but Micah stopped me.
He didn’t want me wasting drinking whisky on his cuts. He wanted to
drink it instead. He didn't want me to waste good liquor on the
outside of him. "I never could stand waste. That's all this whole
day has been, just waste." He told me to sit down with him.
I told him I couldn't because the girl was having her baby now and
the old lady ran off and left her. I didn't know if I could help her
but I had to try. I hurried back to help the girl. She was ready to
deliver. I quickly started washing my hands in preparation of
delivering the baby. I didn’t even have time to finish. She let out
a cry and I knew I better catch that baby. I pulled the covers back
and put my hand between her legs in time to deliver the baby. She
let out a scream.
I cleaned the baby up, happy to have been able to save it. Then I
washed my hands. I smiled at her. After all, this was supposed to be
a happy time. But she wasn’t happy. She turned from me. I was the
reason for her unhappiness, and I was sorry for it. I hurried out.
Back at the saloon, Micah and Mark were sleeping next to each other.
Mark mumbled to me as I bent
down in front of them. “It’s a boy, son,” I announced.
“A boy…yeah,” Mark mumbled sleepily. I smiled. “Can I go back to
“You sure can son.” I watched my two best guys sleeping. I couldn’t
help but smile. I was so happy we survived. I don’t know what I’d do
without either one of them!
The next day, I hitched up the wagon for the girl and her baby. She
would have to go somewhere. She couldn’t stay here. I waited for
them to walk out. I reached out to help her into the wagon, but she
pulled away. She wanted nothing to do with me. She would do this all
by herself. I handed her the reins. I knew she hated me. We stared
at each other. She finally took the reins from me, then she slapped
my face really hard. I reckon I deserved that since I killed her
husband. I watched her ride off.
When I got back to the saloon, I smiled as Mark dumped water over
Micah’s head. Micah was groaning from his aching head. “How do you
feel now, Micah?” Mark asked.
“You know something? I shoulda died when I had the chance,” he
complained. Mark laughed. “Instead of drinkin’ all that bad
whiskey!” Micah knocked the bottles out of the way.
Boy, I sure did love these guys – even if they were impossible!
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