Friday, March 6, 2009

The Ride to Japton

It felt right for all four Sackett brothers to be riding together again. Each brother had their own unique characteristics, and most men would run from a fight with any one of them, but together the boys felt like there wasn't much of anything that could stop them. Emmitt, the oldest, was the recognized leader of the group. Emmitt had studied law at Fort Smith College with Judge Parker, and had worked as a practicing attorney briefly. However, his love for his music was a constant distraction, and more than once he had to rely on the strength of his Welch tongue to get out of trouble in his part-time job, playing piano at Miss Laura's. Finally, one day old Judge Parker sat Emmitt down and flat out told him that he was more of a cowboy than a lawyer, and from that day on that's what Emmitt did. Elwood was the next born; he was the adventurer of the bunch. It wasn't nothing for Elwood to load up and head for Colorado and stay gone for a year or two at a time. He had a claim out at a place called Rifle; he never said nothing but the boys figured he probably hit a good vein, since he come back with them diamond spurs. Elwood was a mighty good hand to have around, especially when there was trouble afoot. Next in line was Elmo. As a child, Elmo was frequently left behind by Ma and Pa Sackett at various places; seems he was kind of a free spirit that was likely to follow a butterfly if it caught his attention. One time he was left at Old Man Bush's Grocery Store. The family had made about three miles when Old Bush came riding up behind him, yelling out "There'll be no child left behind in my store!" Most people considered Elmo a friend, and he was likely to drop everything and come running if one of his friends needed help. Logan was the last. He was the baby of the group, along with his twin sister Augusta Sackett. Logan was meaner than a snake, and on one or two occasions had found himself on the wrong side of the law. If the boys hadn't busted him out of jail at Mena, he'd probably still be there today. Usually Logan had a good reason for getting crossways with the law, but he found that a little hard to explain when the time came. He blamed most of his troubles on bad preaching at the Rock Church. Anyway, he had managed to stay on the right side of the law for the last few years, and the other boys were proud to have him along. One thing about Logan, he could shoot a locust bug plum out of a tree and never touch the branch it was sitting on. That could come in handy.

The boys were silent as they rode toward Elmo's place in Japton. There was trouble up there, not of Elmo's making. Somebody was taking cat pelts from Elmo's barn, and that was all Elmo had to get him through the winter. The boys intended to replace what was lost and then find out who was responsible. When you steal a cat pelt from one Sackett, you're gonna deal with the whole bunch.

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