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Saturday, March 29, 2014

ELLIOT JOHANSON STORY CHAPTER 12 Going Broke

Mayfields Daughter's caused him to be broke

The next two years went by without any issues of drama.  El felt that Clarisse and Missy moving back East solved a lot of problems for him.
 
Clara received a monthly letter from each of them.  It was mandatory otherwise they wouldn’t have bothered.  Strangely enough Missy had found a decent guy among the upper crust snobs and had been married for a year.
 
Clarisse and her friend Lauren were doing what she described in one of her letters as playing the field.  Missy as it turned out was pregnant and wanted Clara to be there when she birthed her first.  
 
Clara was excited about the whole affair but wasn’t treated with the respect she deserved by Missy’s husbands family.  
 
The family wasn’t as well off as they pretended they were and when it came to setting Missy up in a new house they weren’t slow to ask Mayfield to pay for a lot of extravagance that was needed to keep up the family image.
 
El kept his opinion to himself concerning that but Sid’s wife Lucy had a lot to say and said it more than once.  
 
In the end Mayfield emptied his bank account and set both daughters up in style. Missy’s in-laws felt they had found the answer to their needs and kept asking for more both for Missy and themselves.

When they found out there wasn’t any more they were quite put out.  

The end result of all this was Mayfield couldn’t afford either girl’s life style and he told Clarisse she would have to earn her own way or come home.  
 
Instead she elected to marry an older man who was divorced but had quite a bit of money.

It took Mayfield a couple of months for him to realize he was broke.  He tried to sell his share of the ranch holdings, but it required the signatures of him, Sid and El.  
 
Sid said I would have bought him out but his girls would have run through the money in no time.  Then they would have left him penniless with no place to stay and Clara and Lucy being sisters they would have moved in with Lucy and me.
 
As it is Mayfield will just have enough to clear off his local debts when we sell our steers this year.  
 
At first Mayfield was furious when he found he couldn’t sell his share of the ranch but he knew better than to mess with Sid.  He wasn’t ready for a trip up to the glades where many never returned from.  
 
Buck was getting a number of fine offspring via the mares from Argentina. They were fancier looking than El’s favorites which were the two colts out of the mustangs.  El had pretty well got them broken and they were going to be used by El at the next roundup.
 
He spoiled them even worse than he did Buck who by the way isn’t as interested in El since he had all the mares to care for.
 
In a month the roundup would be starting and then it would be a couple more months until one of the hands would be moving to the line shack and stay there till winter was over.  This year they were limiting the hands stay to one month and then they would rotate and another hand would take over.
 
It can get pretty lonesome being there for all three months by yourself.  El decided to go up and check the line shack and see if it needed any repairs.
 
He named his two ponies Bob.  He couldn’t tell them apart so they both were Bob. They were quite attached to him.  If he was going to ride one of them the other had to go.  
 
Leaving one of them there usually resulted in the barn getting a hole kicked in it or the corral turndown.  It was easier to ride one and let the other run along side and if he was going very far to switch horses after awhile.

When the shack came into view El saw a couple of work horses in what was left of the corral.  In it there was an old wagon with a caravan top on it.
 
There was a fresh grave off over where the ground was digable and another started.  El quietly opened the door and saw a figure sitting slumped over asleep.  The person had a shovel in their hand and there was what looked like a dead body nearby.
 
El slipped out and went to the unfinished grave and finished digging it.
 
When he returned to the shack the figure was beginning to stir and jumped when it realized someone was there. It grabbed a shot gun nearby and pointed it at El.
 
Neither the figure nor El said anything.  Then the figure collapsed dropping the gun.
 
El had unloaded the shotgun when he was first in the cabin for he didn’t want to be shot by someone who wasn’t all there.  
 
 
El went over and was going to drag the figure outside in the fresh air for the dead body was beginning to smell and found the figure weighed very little. He laid it on a cot on the porch and then wrapped the dead person in a blanket and buried it.
 
He got a bucket of water and returned to the porch where he found himself staring at the shot gun he had removed the shells from.  He then realized the figure was a female although he couldn’t tell what kind she was.
 
She still had the blanket wrapped around her and was pretty well covered up. He spoke to her in gentle tones and said for her to lie down before she fell.
 
Upon hearing that she eased back down on the cot.  El got the dipper from the water bucket and gave her a drink as she lay down looking confused.
 
Building a fire he put on some coffee he had brought with him and scrambled some eggs.  He tried to feed her but he could only get a little coffee with sugar in it down her.
 
After she lay back down El went out and tended to her team of horses.  It looked like they hadn’t had any water for some time. He watered them and threw down some hat left over from last winter which they ate.
 
It was getting too late to head for home so El fixed a little soup made from an unlucky rabbit he had spotted, and managed to get some of the broth down her two or three times during the evening.
 
Inspecting the wagon he found it wouldn’t be usable.  The only things of any value were pictures of people El assumed was the girl’s family.  He took out the pictures and pushed the wagon to an open spot and set it afire.
 
Finding a shirt and some old pants he washed and hung them out to dry before the sun went down.
 
It was obvious she hadn’t changed clothes or washed in several days, maybe weeks. He figured it was no time to worry about being shy so he cut her rags off and washed her up as best he could. She was still half out of it but the bath seemed to bring her to.
 
He put the clean shirt and pants on her and told her they would be sleeping outside tonight.  Opening the windows he removed and burnt all the bedding for it reeked with death.
 
The next morning he warmed up the broth for her and then tended to the horses.  He put a rope on her horses and tied them to one of the Bob’s.
 
Saddling the other Bob he sat the girl sideways on the saddle then mounted the horse himself.  He said this is going to be fun and they headed for the ranch.  He went to Sid’s place and told Lucy he had a project for her.
 
He said, “I’ve done my part now’s up to you to see if she is going to live.  I’ll send one of the hands for a doctor.”
 
He put her horses in the corral and the wrangler tended to them.
 
El was still staying with Mayfield and he asked Clara for some food.  He said, “I’m perishing,” to which she said, “If you are perishing then I won’t waste any food on you.”
 
To be continued  

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