Untitled Chapter One

There be the kind in men which is possessed by demons, as they like to say, and is afeared of the pack and they be of him. He lives by notion in his head or his body and by which if it ain't demons it be too apart of them living in town. These kinds of men always be apart of each other too, but they will come together, as like as is not, from their need and from sheer curiosity. They are curious men.

Females of the sort have a bad time, not being very able to set out by themselves, and they generally do not show themselves too much or else they just turn to witchcraft. Like as not they can't tell or trust a lone man when they see him. Or even tell themselves. I guess they go crazy.

Wayhe was one of these, and she was lost and did not know about it. It is hard for me to reconcile with a female what tried to kill me. It is a strange world that is so crowded or scared it sets Cain upon Cain and Abel upon Abel. Yet there will be adventurers and ever surviving curious strain that hardly can know what they chase and what they outrun, but they go on looking for their kind or cousin. The information that everybody is cousin you don't learn in a school, but it ain't just everybody together that gets chased off into the desert of his head and told to be fruitful, in sake of further truth that man and life is all right, is the right thing, God is Father and all there is, too. Comprende. You are lonely in the desert but glad to look. Though when I first got to the water hole there weren't nothing in me felt good, and I was not sure I wanted to live, because I was shot bad, and I drunk, and it was middle of winter in New Mexico Territory and cold in my buffalo coat and only just a little snow drizzling over that puddle of ice kept that hole from drying up, and I broke ice and drunk and turned that pool brown with my coughing. This is how I came to know Elizabeth.

Not at first, There weren't nobody down that way cept the miner and I knew it and was glad of that, because it had been hell getting away and I was going to die or I was going to live and I did not need the help either way. There was enough roof of what was left of the adobe to keep me and the horse and I had a little horse that could last in the winter by hisself, and I decided to live because two lost Indian ponies come down to drink and I shot them so they wouldn't run away with my horse, and I sat there that winter eating the cold horse.

Well, that is how I made the decision, and thought this was time to do the meditating I had been putting off for three years, see, because it was warm enough crammed under that piece of roof next to Grey, my horse, and he come in every night to drink and sleep under my protection, and there was one evening two wolves near outcircled him before he got back to the hole, and another night that a cat jumped on his back even with me there, and I could not shoot and when he got that cat about half off his back so the cat was trying for a new hold I caught the cat by his tail and it took both hands to rip him loose and all I wanted was to rip him loose and let him get, but it was a pretty hungry and mean old cat and he turned on me and I had to go with him into the water, which was only up to my knee at the deepest there but after me and the cat hit one another a few times I arose on top and got my boots in his chest and my knife out and then I put a whole foot of blade in him and then he come back up on top and was about to drown me before he got loose from me and got away. I tell you, that little bit just about changed my whole decision, because I was not a well man in the first place and this was about the hardest fight I ever had, and I was coughing more blood and bleeding all again where they'd shot me through the chest and was bleeding all over me just like I'd been through a knife fight with two men, but I'll say this, that fight made that water hole mine, for me and Grey. I knew I had to deal with the cat, he was the only cat down there with me and I'd been watching his tracks and thinking I was going to have to walk out after him soon and get him with the rifle fore he got the horse, and had been saving my strength for that one but instead he came to me, and now my strength was worse than ever, but that ended that cat. Grey laid down under the roof and I built up our fire high and dried off and dried my blood and eat some horse jerky and laid back on Grey and heard the wolf pair two three hundred feet off eating on the cat so I knew I could get my knife back and I needed my old knife to break up mesquite wood and cut horse with and knew the cat would hold those wolves for a time and knew those wolves knew I was the one killed the cat and living down in that hole. I went into a fever and got to my feet and give those wolves a howl and by walking out to where I heard the wolves I knew I was not dead yet by bullet, cat, wolf, dog or pneumonia, and the wolves backed off for me to get my knife. I had missed the heart by hanging my knife right in the ribs under the heart of that cat.

Don't remember everything in the weeks that followed but I got my meditating in, alright, and had visions.

I had me a schedule down where I slept in the day and hung some horse off the roof for smoking it at night, so there was less chance of men seeing my smoke and I did not have to eat rotten horse before summer. One morning I realized I was getting kind of clear headed. The sun had been shining on the earth and Grey dumb atop his feet and went out to eat some dried weeds. There was this old miner in the neighborhood and he thought he was spying on me and this morning he started whistling Dixie when he was a mile off and by time he arrived at my camp he was still whistling Dixie, and I thought he was about to clear his throat and speak, uh, say, Mr. Olive, do you know where a feller might graze his mule, I mean that I have two mules, one I left back up there grazing. See, he's grazing but there ain't nothing up there, and I'm wondering maybe the worse of the winter is over. But afore he could finish his little song and start on the speech I said to him the name is Wild Bill, and so he said his name was Fritz, and he wasn't meaning to ask no favors and did I know where he might graze his mule. How are you feeling by now, Wild Bill, he said next, and I said how do I look, and he said I looked mighty hungry and that if I was as mean as I been saying all winter, I was nobody to run against then. Well, why is it you been spying on me, I said. I mean nothing by it, he said, and brung out his pipe, and he said, you got a pipe, Wild Bill, and I said did he have any marijuanie. No sir, that stuff would drive me crazy. Get off your mule and have some horse meat. No sir, but how would you like company? All I got is horse meat. Wild Bill, I'll go back around and get my other mule. Got any coffee? No, I got whiskey. All right, Fritz, let me try the whiskey.

Fritz threw in camp with me and said he was going north a little, and he had corn meal and fat and made corn pones in his skillet while we drank his whiskey. How much whiskey you carrying, Fritz? One more bottle, Bill. I'll have to buy more on the way. Um, what else you got. Nothing, Bill. Why do you say that, Fritz? Because it is true, Bill. You got coffee, Fritz, and sugar, and more whiskey. I bet you even got lemons to keep off scurvy. Naw, Bill, I ain't. You're lying, Fritz. Why do you say that, Bill. Fritz, you're the kind that would. Well, Wild Bill, I guess you can read a man like a book. Well, I'll have a little more whiskey, Fritz. We drunk his two bottles and ate corn pones and then he went and got two more bottles, which was the rest of the whiskey, and then he would have some horse. The horse ain't bad, he said, if you got teeth, and I ain't got many. He had to cut it up with his pocketknife and put little round pieces of it in his mouth. I asked him if he ever found any gold or silver and he said not much. He said I must be a pretty tough feller to beat a mountain lion hand to hand and I said I was. What are you going to do for clothes, Wild Bill, he said, and I said I was going to grow more hair. We got to be friends, then, and he said, well, I tell you what. There is a ranch a hundred mile over there and that's on my way. Come along with me and give your horse some corn. All right, I said, next spring. Bill, the hole there won't last till spring. All right. Give me a week to build the energy. I don't got food for a week, Bill. Don't you like horse, Fritz? A man don't live on horse alone, Bill. Now that ain't true, Fritz. Look at these gashes coming together. This one on my belly had meat hanging I could cover my finger in and I had ribs bared clean right here. Wild Bill, you're the toughest man I ever saw and I bet everything you was hollering about last winter is true, but I got to have coffee and cornmeal and tobaccy and sugar, even if I can't always get the lemons, and look here, we're already out of whiskey and I been getting along with you this far but what kind of a man are you if you ain't drinking? Do you get these visions all the time, I mean, I get a few myself once in a while. Well, Fritz, I'm having'em right now. Is that a fact now? Say, Wild Bill. What kind are you having? Well, we got a water hole right here right now. But it is drying up, Wild Bill. Right. What's your vision, Wild Bill? Why, you know how it is, Fritz. Everybody's wanting to sleep safe and eat good and keep the water holes from drying up. Is that your vision, Wild Bill? No, Fritz, that is the way it is now. So what's your vision about? Well, that's the way it is, and has been, and will be. What's your vision then? Fritz, I see all these people breeding like flies and screwing each the other like maggots and crowding in and drilling wells and putting down pipes and turning on faucets. You're seeing this right now, Wild Bill? Right. Screwing one another like maggots in the earth. Screwing in pipes and everybody's elbowing. Why, that is awful, Wild Bill. Right. Clawing'n elbowing'n screaming'n hollering like the din from Hell. Wild Bill, that ain't no vision. That is a nightmare, Wild Bill. You have a bad mind, Wild Bill. How do you live with it all? Welp, they wiped out my company and they damned near killed me, but they ain't got me yet. Do you really see all this hell right now, Wild Bill? Right. I see it clear as day, but for some reason I can't tell how many of my company got away. I guess we're all still running, them not dead, and sometimes there ain't much difference tween running and death. Fritz looked at me and said I had him shaking and he was shaking and I saw the thought in him that he might leave that next morning. I could tell he was a verge of getting my visions too and he was horrified at how fierce a man had to be to live with that kind of thing, and he went and took his couple of horse blankets and rolled up in them and waited for dark. In the first place, Fritz, said I, a human being makes his own hell and he only takes so much of it afore he stops the show. Mankind is going to live or die one. If it's hard you die and if it ain't you don't, and final. They can build pipes and fau­cets and make laws and hang the outlaws till there is more law than can be remembered and more breaking'em than can be hung, and I see pestilence and disease sweeping the land, famine and wars and small wars, Fritz, and so man will come to understand he is not made to live under law he makes. Can't be done, said Fritz in his blankets. You got no faith, Fritz, I told him. How many men you killed, Wild Bill, he said. I never took count, Fritz, but any man or beast tries to get my horse I will do him in by natural law so he better understand to get his own. You ever steal a horse, Wild Bill? Yeah, much as I hated to. I've stolen horses, cattle, women and money. You can't win every time, Wild Bill. I'm working on it, Fritz. How we ever going to stop this bloodshed, Wild Bill? Physical violence ain't the worst kind of sin, Fritz. No? Hell no, hey, do you hear that? What? Can you hear it, Fritz? Hear what, he said half raising hisself up. The mother heartbeat, Fritz. What's that, Wild Bill? The mother heartbeat, Fritz, listen. Can't hear it, Wild Bill. Well, I do, listen! You're scaring me to death. Wild Bill. Shutup, Fritz! Well, Wild Bill, I'm glad to see you're pulling through but I don't. Shutup, Fritz! Yes, I could hear, and feel, the female aspect of the. streaming life men like to call God and Father, and it flowed warm and sweet through and about me. Shutup, Fritz, I said, you just got no faith. People ought to raise their kids right, stop dropping bastards. The mother rhythm sounded over the whole earth.

Hey, Fritz! Hey, Fritz! Hey, you want to live forever, Fritz? He said no, no, and pulled his head under, said he was going to sleep now.

When he was down to a couple spoonsfull of coffee, and that was only by the next evening, said he never saw a man drink coffee like me, he said why don't we save that much for the ride to the ranchero, because it was a hard hundred miles. Hell, Fritz, I been without coffee all winter. But if you're all set to go tomorrow why I guess I can pull my­self together and we'll go tomorrow. That's the spirit, Wild Bill. And I hope you don't talk so much on the trail as you do drinking coffee. You ought to be a preacher.

In this ranch lived Elizabeth. Her family owned it and I saw her looking at me when we rode in, and we come to the back door and she was peeping out a kitchen window with her little sister. All I had in clothes was the buffalo coat, the boots, and horse hide tied round my hip and thigh, and I wasn't paying her no mind and was talking to the men. Some of the hands said what could I give them for some clothes, and I looked at them and they shutup. Fritz said he'd buy me a pair of jeans but Elizabeth's brother said he was about my size and had shirt and pants he'd give me, and her papa was all right too and told a hand to take some care of my skinny horse. I had on my knife, my two belts of guns, and I had a rifle and didn't even have a saddle, dirt poor but armed to the teeth, but these was some nice people, and they even offered Wild Bill a job. What can you do, they said. I can break a horse gentle, I said. We don't need that, what else can you do? I can chop wood or carry water. Would you help with the cattle, can you use a rope? I don't want to do that, I said. They looked at me and the father sort of put his hands in his pockets and backed off. The brother said, he's a fighter. We might have trouble With Apaches. Then the father-he was a funny little feller, maybe two inch over five feet- said, we will give you food and for your horse too if you chop wood and carry water. Fine, I said, I'm real good at that. I don't need no bunk neither, cause I sleep with my horse, but I can eat very much food.

Mucho comida. It was pleasant life as spring come on and wore into summer. I surprised them with how much food I required, and I think they were about to let me go after a week, but then they saw that whereas I'd put on about ten pounds I was chopping wood like a devil, I had become a wood chopping machine that beat anything they had seen. Sometimes a couple of them would stand off and watch the ease in which I did the wood, and maybe the bullet holes would start to run a trickle and I would spit a little blood through my teeth for effect and take a breath and roll my bare shoulders and toss my furry head in the breeze, and go at it. Elizabeth would pass by and wave at me, and one day came over and gave me a head band she made, as she worked with leather and I'd been wearing a dirty bandanna as head­band. She was a pretty child, eighteen years old but about two inches less than five feet, but strong in hip and chest and you begin to see she was a little woman and filled with life, and always flirting with the hands and which angered her parents, and I saw she was infatuated with me and give me a little sunshine while my health was coming and my scars healing. She took to bringing me my meals, at first usu­ally with her little sister hanging by, but by and by she would sit and talk a bit in the evening, and I would hone down a few stories for her, tell her about my family and so on, and to prove it started in writing a few letters to my mother and getting a few back, which Elizabeth would carry for me, as I never wanted to see town or too many people, and I let her read letters from my mother, who had a emotionality which matched Elizabeth's and Elizabeth was filled with emotion. And then I would bed down real early in the barn with Grey and get a lot of good sleep and get up early and get set for Elizabeth to bring me coffee, and I sure was getting my strength back, seemed to be getting about ten years back, too.

And for you that like romantic stories, let me say, you will only get real life from Bill Olive. After about a week with Elizabeth bringing me coffee out to the barn by herself, and seeing me in the evening a little and usually by herself, she needed me to touch her, and one morning I was sitting with the coffee I took her hair in my hand and then stroked her shoulder, and she moved right into my lap and hugged me and I held her and touched her body and kissed her. She was filled with all quality of life and happy to get away every chance she could get that day to see me work and eager to see me in the evening. But she was not foolish and watched her folks watching me and when my mother sent me fifty dollars she told them all about it and took a few dollars of it to go buy me some nice clothes with. Her folks could see at least I had some people backing me up somewhere and though they protested when Elizabeth would go out riding with me Sundays and take her little sister along, they did let her do that much and they did not care to get to know me any better themselves then and did not know Elizabeth was climbing out her window during the nights and coming to see me out in the barn, and that we were having our affair of love. As this begin to proceed, our relationship changed from one of friendship to one of desire, and we had lover's quarrels. We had done a lot of talking, like I had never before done with a female, in proportion to her age and sex I was thinking there was more in common between me and her than I had seen between me and anybody, very much interest of life and intrigue of the human comedy, and she was very quick, and too she had appeared to think I was a kind of hero, this to the degree I could do a little mockery on some of my feats in the past and she just thought I was wonderful, but now the spring of her body caused her to question all I was doing, where I had been and where was I going, what was there between us besides lust, and so on. Again, she was the most passionate woman I had known, and best lover, and one morning she said to me, you just want me for your carnal appetites. Elizabeth, I said, that can't be true, because if it was I would not watch out for your pregnancy. Understand, I was most aware of her, showing her how to take care of herself, and this and that and took the utmost concern for her, but she said, if you really loved me you would be making something of yourself. Elizabeth, I said, my wounds, my health! You could study law, she said, reminding me of Black Hatch, that was supposed to of finally gone off to marry a good white woman and study law. And Elizabeth brung my spirits way low. You could study medicine, she went on. I could work for your father, I said. No, never! I will not marry a ranch worker! I could write a book about my memoirs maybe. That one made her real mad and she decided to pull a stunt and runoff, flounced right on out of the barn. So I went to work that day, kind of half-heartedly, and many thoughts going in and out of my head, wondering just what the hell was I doing getting myself wrapped up over such a silly young girl, knowing I had to get some weed from somewhere, and at noon time she was still a little mean, and we looked at one another, and the emotion, the passion, was in there, and I said, what if I went down to my water hole and built me a farm? But you are no farmer, she said. Yes, I can do that, I said with spirit. No, you're a hunter, a mountain man, a killer, she said and was crying in front of her little sister. I've been talking to my mother about you, she said and I was not surprised, as it showed that we was building a mutual interest, and her family was devout Catholic and if it was known how she was no longer a virgin they might had hung me and sent her to a nunnery. This is how bad this thing was on Elizabeth's conscience, though, at that time this I did not understand to its fullest. My mama, said she, says that the mountain man-she calls you the mountain man-she says that mountain man, he never had anything and never will. Well, goddamn, I said, I been rich a bunch of times. Shh! Not in front of my sister, she whispered and all upset. Her little sister was a chubby and jolly girl and big as Elizabeth already and stood off and watched the big drama with a grin, and Elizabeth got a hold on herself and next thing happened I was taken with saying, look, I'll do anything, why, I can do anything, anything at all for you, Elizabeth. I was so moved I was waving my arms and about to jump for the moon with crumbs still in my beard. But you don't know how, she said. What can you do? I'll rob a train and buy a ranch, goddamn! No, no, no! Why not, Elizabeth, it's simple! Shh, not in front of my sister, silence! Well, if I was to study law-which is of course totally against my principles and moral upbringing and whole way of life, mind you-but if I was to study law-and I will do anything for you, Elizabeth-why then, I'll have to get a little money together in the first place, see. No, no, it won't work, it's no use! Elizabeth, damnit, you just this morning said I ought to study law! But it's no use, I can see now it's no use. What should I do? You tell me and I'll do it, by God! You will have to leave the ranch, we can't go on like this, we can't go on meeting like this, she said. I ain't gonna. You must! You're strong now. Grey is fat now. Go back to your water~hole and build me a farm, and~ maybe then I'll come. What do you mean maybe? Please, you must do it this way, please!

This is the way it was going. Elizabeth didn't come to see me that night, and I was a little mad the next day and she was and so it went. The next night she came, and we made love and had a big argument and so it went. And so, I was then going to leave the ranch, alright, told her I was going in a week, and she started seeing me regular, and I started thinking, maybe once I got into the fresh air again I would not need her. Then, before our little week was up, I got a letter from my loving mother, telling me how Bix, Sieb, Dan, was alive and coming to see me. Yay, I said. Yay! Yay! Yay! Huzzah! Whoop! Whoop! Whoo-oop! I was out at the woodpile when I got the letter, and from the kitchen window Elizabeth's mother said to her, look at the mountain man, he is worse than a Nigger. I went, hee~e haw, aw, aw! ..... Haw, aw, aw! Aaa-aaa-aaa....Aaa! Jaa-ii-ee, caramba-a! Look, he is worse than a Comanche, said Elizabeth's mother. He used to live with Comanches, said Elizabeth and ran out to see me. My blood brothers are coming, I said, my blood brothers are coming! But this did not settle that well with her. She was glad to hear they were alive, and she was interested, by her nature interested, but she was afraid. You're going to rob the bank, she asked. No, no, of course not, I said. But maybe we'll buy a ranch. Oh, that would be wonderful, she said and tears filled her eyes. This is the way it was going, and I knew anything could happen now, and the week ran out and my compadres had not showed and she said she bet they was put in jail on the way and I said maybe they was coming on horse back and to give'em more time and she said they must be very poor then, like me. Mebbe so, I said and got mad. In that case we'll have to rob the bank. She had just about cut me off altogether by time the fellers got there about a week later, and I had been put out on the range digging some fence posts in rocky ground, for Elizabeth's parents was starting to worry about me being near their daughter so much and was giving me all kinds of hard work, and then along come the fellers, Bix, Sieb, and Rattlesnake Dan, riding along with good fresh horses and saddles and clothes and looking like they'd took a bath just yesterday, and shaved too and Sieb had a big handlebar moustache and Bix and Dan had clean Van Dykes, and they had hair cuts, and they rode on up and they said, look at that squawman. Then they jumped off and we had the bear hugs and greet­ings and salutations, and they had come in on the train all right but brung their horses too, and they didn't have too much money but they had a little bit. Who else is alive, I said. We are all alive, said Bix and half knocked down a fence po~ in its shallow hole with his fist. Is that a fact now? Why, I thought I saw you get killed, Bix. Naw, Dan saved my life for a change, and we got word to the others about the double cross and we scattered like shit in the wind, went to the four corners of the earth! We never got those sonofabitches either, said Dan and kicked over a fence post and Sieb picked it up saying,just like in Nuevo we never finished the revenge but let me say I got Cruz and I got Sanches, did those motherfuckers in, yessir, and Sieb went to bashing that post on the ground, and Packy went and finished his job on Cant, yes indeed, he sure did. Is that a fact now? So old Gunter got Cant, huh? Why yes he did, he sure did, said Sieb finishing his job on the fence post. Where is Gunter now? Gunter is laying low in Mexico, they said, even if he is about to starve to death. Why, we all must be near immortal, I said. We thought about that too, they said, and brung out the loco weed. Boy, I sure need to relax, I said, and Bix give me a ivory pipe, here is a present for you, Wild Bill! Knock off for the day, Wild Bill, they said. O.K. Hell, quit, Wild Bill! O.K. Sundown we rode back to the barn, went on up in the hay loft and laid down, and everybody said, whew, and that they sure was hungry. Elizabeth heard this, and was real sweet and started bringing everybody supper, and that was a lot of supper, but I guess they cooked a lot that day because she just kept bringing it up. Then she said, Mama wants to know how long your friends will be here and if they want breakfast in the morning too. Come up here, and let me introduce you to my friends, I said. I already know them, she said, but come up smiling and for the moment enjoying them all. So this is the young filly, they said. Hell, she's sweet. Elizabeth smiled and went beautiful the more they joked and looked upon her but they said, will you have Wild Bill, now, Elizabeth, for better and worse, for good time and bad, through thick and thin? Through hunger and feast? Through summer and winter. Night'n day. Poor'n rich. Winning'n losing. Triumph'n disaster. Riches'n total loss. Smooth sailing'n blood, sweat, 'n tears. In'n out. Over'n under. On through'n all the way back. Across the river'n into the trees. Over the snags and up the ridge and down into the gorge. No, she said. No? Elizabeth, it is a tough world, and Wild Bill needs a tough woman! He needs someone to nurse his wounds, Sieb told her with a emotion matching her own heart. My husband will be able to get a doctor, she said. That one threw them all back, made Dan mad and tears come into Sieb's eyes, and Bix going down on one knee and imploring her, look, Elizabeth, we see you're a stubborn little woman, that much we can tell, but since Wild Bill is in love with you, we know there has got to be more to you than that, so I'll tell you what. You marry Wild Bill now, because he needs you and needs to settle down before he gets killed. Then, all of us will go down with him to the water hole, which as you know is not far from the river and there ought to be water down there now and we will build you a honest to God farm, and you can watch us doing it, too. Her mouth went a little tight and she told them no, and went on out, said, no, you build him a farm and then if he can make an honest living, and pay the doctor and send my children to school, perhaps I will think about coming to marry him. They all got a little mad at her, told me to give her up, how she wasn't worth it, no fiber in her, and so on. She sure is a stubborn little bitch, remarked Dan. I lighted my new pipe, breathed in the good weed, listened to my compadres, and feeling all my male nature go relax I said, you know, you guys are probably right. Sure, Wild Bill, we'll find you a woman, said Bix. Hell, I need one myself, said Dan. Me too, spoke Sieb. And this is the way it come to be at the ranch there, and next morning Elizabeth did not bring coffee and did not bring us breakfast but sent her little sister with it, and the little sister give me a note, said something like, Bill, I am sorry that we are not able to solve our problem, and thank you very much for being so nice to me, and I will always remember you, and so on, and maybe a little bit more, and I had sort of expected some fool stunt like this, and it was nice I had my compadres and the loco weed up there with me, and the little sister was telling me her papa was wanting to know was I chopping any wood this morning and was I going to return to fixing the fence or was I going to quit on him. Go tell him I quit, I said. Hell, couldn't you wait till we at least get a second helping, Dan said. At noontime there we was, still up there, sleeping and talking, and the little sister come back up and said her mother wanted to know how long was we all going to be up there in the hay loft and if we was still hungry, and we said yeah, and that we was leaving at sundown. So they fed us that meal, second helpings too, but by sundown we was all too sleepy from all our smoke and talk, and decided to wait till morning. Morning time, here come Elizabeth early with a pot of coffee and cups, waking us up. She had mellowed some and I hugged her and kissed her but she said no please and could I just chop a little fire wood, her mother wanted to know, just break a little kindling as they were running low for breakfast, and I said we would all do that, soon as we had coffee, right, compadres. Oh, said my compadres, and broke wind and rolled over. After she went and I drank coffee I went out and started breaking kindling, and by and by out come the compadres, first Bix, then Dan, and Elizabeth had brung axes and they went at some big wood, but Sieb was still up in there. Elizabeth come out with breakfast and give it to us at the wood pile. You are leaving today, she wanted to know. Yeah. I love you, she said, stepping off like I might reach for her in front of her mother that was looking out the window every time she could see us talk. I love you, I said. Say, Dan said. Elizabeth, run up will you and get Sieb to come down here and help us. You don't have to do all this, she said. But she knew it was good politics and went on up to get him. But Sieb got Elizabeth into a big emotional discussion and we had to settle with only two out of three of my friends being working men, and it was noon again by time we was ready to move, but we had partaken of so much breakfast we decided to pass that one up, and there was all of us saddled, cept me, and mounted and ready for adventure and I waved to Elizabeth looking out from the kitchen window, and she run out and come up to me and said, I love you. I love you, I said, and she turned and walked back.
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