He had always wanted to be a cowboy…he would practice saying hankerin’ when he played in front of the mirror as a child. Then, when he was a grown man, he finally got his chance. All those dreams about sitting at the bar stool where the good old boys gathered on Friday nights and talking about hankerin’ for a big ole t-bone steak or a wantin’ to see that ole boy he used to hang out with when he was a kid were about to come true. He would keep his eyes down like a real cowboy. Mostly he would just listen.
It had taken him a long time to chose this saloon. He would walk by during the daylight. All the rigs parked in front were old and many were missing fenders or even a head light. The rifles hung in the rack in back of the driver’s seat in every pickup was the deciding brick. This was the perfect place to start looking.
The bar crowd was a little murky about who he really was. They could tell he wasn’t low down like they were. There was something about his eyes. It seems that one night he came around in those cowboy boots and dirty jeans. Being men, they didn’t ask too many questions. It wouldn’t be seemly. If he was an errant husband they would not tell…they would not tell even if he were Jessie James…the less they knew the better off everyone was. So when he let the western drawl slip one night as Joe on the end bar stool began complaining about his neighbor’s dog howling all the time, everyone turned to give him a new look over.
Joe the cowboy said, you don’t need to put up with that kind of thing. There are laws.
LAWS!!! Never in any one’s memory had the word “law” come up in the conversation. All heads turned in unison and the man they all called Hap mumbled something under his breath. What say Hap? Joe asked.
I SAID, How’d he know that? IS he a judge or something?
The cowboy looked down at his drink and turned his head real slow like…could be, he said, could be.