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Monday, December 29, 2014

The Fourth Man - Chapter 5

My Continued Story "The Fourth Man: resumes
Four close by farms were purchased to make our spread bigger !
Bigger is better

I had made Jim my foreman some time ago for he was a top hand and could be trusted beyond a shadow of a doubt.  He said wasn’t interested in getting married although I had offered to build him a small house if he did.  

I had him go out and talk to some small ranchers he knew and offer to buy their spread if they wanted to sell. Their places were too small to make a decent living on and with no room to expand. As it turned out he was able to buy up four spreads right off. One was good for hay so I hired a dirt farmer to raise hay on it. One of the ranches had a good harvester and baler even though they were horse powered.

There were three hundred head of cattle on the three ranches which enlarged my herds so I now could sell off a couple hundred or more each year.

We were glad to get back home after our honeymoon and Chen welcomed us back with his cheery smile and said, “New boss enjoy cleaning lady wife?”

Sarah laughed and said, “Yes new boss enjoyed new wife very much.”

Billy started crying and hugging his mom for some time and Missy was much the same. They finally came to me and hugged me the same way.

Billy said, “I miss cleaning lady mom very much.”

I looked at Sarah and said, “I told you he would be talking like Chen by the time we got back.”

She said, “He will have to cut that out.”

Chen find nice wife from China
I saw something or someone new in the kitchen.  I asked Chen who that was and he said, ‘New boss got new wife, Chen need new wife.  Just come from China.”

He went on, “Too many men to cook for so got new wife to help.”

Come to find out he had been with her a lot in town and married her Chinese style. She had worked for some people in town and learned some English from them.  She actually spoke English better than Chen.

After thinking it over I concluded it would be better to leave things as they were than to fire him and have to hire two cooks to replace them.
Besides I was used to Chen and liked him.

Another thing happened after getting married and that was I put my past behind me.  I had done things that were evil but that was over in so far as I was able to put it behind.

I had taken on a far gentler tone in my voice than before. Sarah never asked me to change; what happened was the result of being with her and the children.

I want Jim’s job

Two months later one of the hands Jim had hired came to me and said, “I want Jim’s job and be top foreman.”

I asked, “What makes you think I would give you his job?”

He said, “I knew your wife’s old husband and I know some things about her that he told me.  Besides you don’t want the kids to know what their father was all about and how you treated him.”

This was a bit of a shock and because it was about my family and I knew I had to deal with it.  I wasn’t about to give him Jim’s job but I had to get him to keep his mouth shut.

I told him to meet me in the barn in an hour while I thought it over. After an hour I motioned for Jim to meet me at the barn and said for him to wait outside where he could hear.

I went in and told the man I couldn’t do what he wanted for there was nothing to keep him from coming back for more and more.

He started to threaten me as Jim walked in.  He became nervous and started to stutter as I asked him who had he told this story to.

He said, ‘No one… not yet.”

I said, “Tell Jim what you told me and that you wanted me to fire him and give you his job… tell him.”

The man was trembling and said he didn’t mean it he was just funning.

“You know you have to convince Jim you didn’t mean it for he likes his job and doesn’t take kindly to anyone who would take it from him.”

I said to Jim, “I’m going to let you deal with this issue for you have a vested interest in the matter.  Just remember he must not be able to spread his venom around so do whatever it takes to control that.”

I left them alone to settle this and listened outside the door.

Jim said, “So, you thought you could get my job and make them pay some hush money for the rest of your life.  Like a blood sucker take a little at a time so the victim lives to be controlled by you.”

I heard a sickening thud and then a few more punches thrown after which there was nothing but silence except for a couple of hens singing.

I saw Jim put the man on a horse and point him toward town.

I told Sarah I was going to town and pick up our new buggy which had come in.

When I got to town I went to the blacksmith’s where the buggy was and told him to harness up the team and I would be back shortly.
I made the rounds of the saloons and finally saw who I was looking for; the man who wanted Jim’s job.

As I entered the saloon a smallish fellow rushed the man I was looking for and knifed him.

He stabbed him repeatedly and the man collapsed on the floor.

I didn’t find out what the argument was all about but some people just rub folks the wrong way.

The bartender took the dead man by the collar and pulled him outside where there was a huge fire going. He put a rope around his neck and dragged him into the raging fire and watched him burn. An hour later there was nothing left but ashes.

I realized that this episode was over and I could rest in the knowledge that someone else did what I set out to do.

Sarah’s ex-husband had played his last hand and lost badly. He had armed the cowboy with information that he would have been better off not knowing.

No one should try to mess with my family and they do it at their own peril.

When I arrived back home, I filled Jim in on what happened in town and that the man wouldn’t be a problem anymore.

He said, “Good for I’m not in the killing mood right now.  That was the reason I let him go with just a beating.”

I had picked up our new buggy and it smoothed out the bumps the road with its soft springs.

When I brought it home both kids wanted to sit in it until supper was on the table.

To be continued


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