She drifted south for a few days, keeping the setting sun on her right. At long last she was approaching a small town on the border between Nevada and Arizona. The area she had been traveling through was all desert, and she hadnít noticed people in a while. Norny realized she hadnít come across any railroad tracks since she left the Joís. She was tired and hungry and Poco could use a rest. Up ahead she can see some structures and horses in a coral. Its a small town of very few, but it had enough to give her what she needed.
As Norny is approaching the edge of the town, she can hear a dog yelp and looks to see a man ( maybe the smithy ) chasing the dog and yelling, "Get out of here you mangy mutt!"
Of course she didnít like to see any animal abused. And dogs can sometimes make pests of themselves, so she just looked at the man and didnít say anything as she rode by.
Norny headed directly to the stable and boarded her and Poco for the night..
"How far to Sedona?" She asks the stable hand.
"About two days ride southeast after the canyon. So it might take you three and a half or four days total from here."
Before she went out to find a bath and some food, she made sure Poco was taken care of. "Iíll bring you back something special boy." And she kisses Poco on the nose.
The fellow at the stable told her if she went over to the hotel she could get a bath and there was a eating establishment right next door. There was nothing fancy there, because there wasnít much of a population. Mainly just people passing through on their way to somewhere else.
While Norny is walking over to the hotel she sees a woman chasing off the little dog with her broom. She doesnít think much about it except that someoneís dog is making a nuisance of itself.
Norny goes in and requests a bath, but all they had was a rain barrel out back that hung up in the air like a shower. She could use it for a dime, unless she checked into the hotel then it was free.
Norny gladly paid the money and went out back for her shower. There was a canvas around the area for privacy, but Norny could see that they over looked a spot sense there was a man on the second floor two buildings down that had a clear view of her. Norny had nothing to hide or be embarrassed about she didnít care, and went on with her shower.
That felt great! she thought. It was refreshing to wash the trail dust off and she felt better. While she was out there she could hear someone cursing out that same dog. She wondered who it could belong to.
Norny gets dressed and with damp hair she heads next door for a bite to eat.
Seated in the small dinner, she was one of four customers.
"What will you have maíam?" the man asks.
Norny looks at the man sitting at the table by the window, "Iíll have what heís having."
"Are you sure about that maíam? Thatís a mighty big piece of beef for a little lady like you."
"No, Iíll have that thank you."
"Yes maíam, coming right up."
When they delivered her meal, along with the huge hunk of steak, came a potato and some corn and a biscuit. She requested some tea. Right away Norny sticks the biscuit over her pinky finger like a piece of jewelry. She was still a little awkward with the silverware, but Emilly refreshed her skills that Daniel had taught her earlier. She was getting the hang of it.
Norny started right in ( she was famished ). Then drank her tea. The biscuit on her pinky finger got her a little attention, but she was use to it..
While Norny was eating she spoke with one of the other gentlemen there, and told him that she was headed to Sedona for the rodeo. He asked her if she had ever been down this way before and she told them no. Then Norny asks about that small dog she keeps seeing everyone chase off.
He told her that they didnít know where he came from, he just showed up here a couple of weeks ago. Probably someone passing through left him behind. She cleaned her plate of everything except the steak
She dropped four bits on the table, put on her hat, and then picked up the steak and heads towards the door. Their parting remark to her was "Donít fall into the ditch." She thought that was rather curious. Another man asked if she could use a guide. What for she thought. "No thanks she said."
Everyone in the place was looking at her as she walked out into the middle of the street and yells.
"Come here Hungry, come on boy. I got something for you.
Everyone that was in ear shot of Nornyís voice came out to see what
was going on.
"Whatís she doing?" one man asks.
"I donít know.".
Norny could see the small scruffy looking dog peering at her from under a porch, "Here you go boy, just for you." And she holds the steak out in front of her. The pooch sniffs the air.
The dog wanted that piece of meat bad, but it wasnít very trusting of people after being kicked and chased most of the time.
"Come on Hungry, I wonít hurt you, come on boy."
And slowly the dog moves forward towards Norny, then stopping and looking around in case it was a trick.
Few people in this town ever offered a morsel of food to him since he got here. He had to be a thief in order to survive, and thatís what made people angry at him. They thought of him as a beggar.
It wasnít necessarily that no one wanted to feed the dog. Its just that they were so busy with their own problems that they didnít notice that this little fella was in need of a hand out. The dog was someone elseís problem. And he was just a pest getting under foot.
Nornyís thinking was totally hers when it came to animals and children. But somehow she made sense.
She couldnít understand why someone wouldnít notice and feed the dog.
Her thinking was quite clear when it came to this.
The animal is a living creature in need of mans kindness to survive in the civilized environment, sense civilization does not provide for animals like dogs to help themselves. And a dog knows nothing of money, and is not capable in participating in a monitory world, but it must eat just as we do.
But when you give something you get something. And what the dog has to give in return was something that money canít buy, but in her mind was worth far more than money. For that small favor, one little show of kindness, he would give you his gratitude in loyalty forever. Thatís all a dog has to give, but what more could you want. In the end the value of money fluctuates with the greed or generosity of its users. So money has no real dependable or stable value, but love and devotion?
How could a human being, who needs love and devotion most of all, not want to help this little animal and receive what he has to offer? It would seem that a civilized society has no room for creatures that can not participate in a monitory exchange. And if the white manís culture didnít realize it, they would soon find out that they can not survive without the other creatures the gods put here. Perhaps the white civilization is blinded by there own wants and needs, or maybe they have theyíre priorities mixed up she thought.
As Norny squatted there coaxing the dog over to her, she held out her hand in a show of mercy to this mangy, but in her eyes lovable creature.
Finally the dog was so hungry he had to risk it and went for it. He dove into that steak, "Thatís a good boy, its all yours." And she gently pets the dog while he eats.
"Whatís with that woman?" Someone asks.
When Norny saw that everyone was going back to their business, and no one was going to bother the dog, she stood up and headed back to the stable and to Poco. She had picked up a hand full of carrots for him. Poco had traveled far and was deserving of some special attention. When she returned to the stable, she fed Poco the carrots then brushed him down.
Norny slept soundly that night. Only Poco knew whether she snored or not. But she felt well rested when she awoke. However the first thing that Norny saw when she opened her eyes was Hungry laying there next to her. The grateful little guy that knew, he at long last found a friend who cares.
"Well Hungry, did you have a good nights sleep? Huh boy?" She says as she ruffles the hair on his head.
"Poco, say hello to our friend Hungry."
Norny gets up and makes sure Poco has feed and water before she gathers her things together. Then she walks over to the store to pick up a few provisions for the trail ( enough to hopefully to get to Sedona ) She comes back and saddles Poco and they head on out towards the end of town and the southeast.
Before she gets to the end of town, with her peripheral vision, she notices Hungry traveling along side of them, "Sorry boy, but you canít come with me. You have to stay here."
The dog looks up at her with curious eyes.
Standing on the sidewalk is a man who is watching and listening to whatís going on, "Aw, take him with you, he likes you. He doesnít have a home here. And I saw you out there yesterday feeding him. You like the little guy. Go on take him with you." The man says to her with a smile.
Norny looks down at Hungry, "I guess your right. Why not? You donít mind do you Poco? OK Hungry, come on." And the three of them move out of town together in a southeasterly direction.
And there they went, like one happy family. Poco, Norny and Hungry.
They traveled along at a casual pace leisurely enjoying the day. It was getting to be late into the afternoon when Norny noticed that the horizon sort of disappeared. She kept looking out for the horizon to reappear but she couldnít see it. She was coming up a slow grade and when she reached the top, "What the?" She exclaims. This had to be the biggest hole in the ground in the world, but she couldnít be sure sense she didnít have any idea where the world began or ended. Norny had quite suddenly encountered the Grand Canyon. She was in shock.
After all that desert, to come across this, was like stepping into ice water on a hot day.
As Norny and Poco rode up to the canyon edge, she couldnít believe her eyes. "Emilly told me I was in for some surprises, but I never imagined anything like this.
She steps down from Poco.
Norny had never even seen anything like the Grand Canyon before, so she had nothing to relate to.
She was awe struck. It was so big and so beautiful, it was almost beyond belief. This is the gods wondrous work of art. She is holding Pocoís head next to hers, she peers off into the vast chasm.
"I never imagined you and I would ride to the ends of the earth together. Did you Poco? The colors and the lines and the depth is a treat for our eyes. Isnít it boy?" If I could only tell my people of what I have seen. They wouldnít believe it. She thought. The world is such a big and beautiful place and so different in so many ways. If I could only share it with them.
Their world has always been the plains and the buttes. If they only knew what the Gods had put out there for us to discover.
Now I understand what they meant when they said 'Donít fall into the ditch.' They were having fun with me. I told them I hadnít ever been here before, she thought.
"Well now we have to figure a way to get across boy." Norny thought about it for a few moments, but there was canyon as far as the eye could see. And it was wide across, not to mention a rapid moving river at the bottom. Which way should she go? To the right or the left, and how long would it take to go around the canyon.
"Well boy, we may have to turn back to find a way to cross." She said.
Norny and Poco head off to the right, which happens to be the direction she would have to go to get around it, but sheís guessing and didnít know that.
"Come on Hungry, this way."
Her and Poco ride along the rim towards the southwest hoping to find a way across, when Hungry spots a Jack rabbit and takes off after it. He chased it up ahead then suddenly disappears down the side of the canyon. Norny and Poco ride up there and notice there appears to be a trail leading down the side of the canyon. Slowly and cautiously they follow it down. About fifty yards down here comes Hungry with his tongue hanging out, out of breath and panting from the chase.
Back in the town they had just come from, they had been warned about the Apaches. They were a mean and nasty group and they hated the white man. But Indians were the last thing that Norny was frightened of.
All the while they journeyed into the canyon Norny is amazed at the natural beauty of it all. There were even some small creatures she had never seen before. Thinking to herself, sheís wondering if Daniel has ever been here or if he even knows of it.
When they reached the bottom of the canyon, they traveled along wild rushing river until the waters became still and it was fairly shallow to cross.
It was getting late into the afternoon, and the still, shallow water would be a good place to camp. Besides it was time to do some laundry. So Norny built a little campfire but didnít light it yet.
Hungry took off sniffing around and chasing anything that moved fast enough.
She eased Pocoís saddle burden then took off her boots and pants and walked out into the water.
She removed her clothing one piece at a time ( except her hat ) and diligently washed them. There was no one around to see, so it didnít matter if she were nude or not. She spread her clothes on a rock to dry, then went back to tend to Poco.
As night started to fall she lit the fire and took out something to eat. She brought along some carrots and turnips for Poco and she had some dried meat to give to Hungry.
While laying by the fire and looking up at the stars, she couldnít help but feel fortunate to be in such a beautiful place for the night. The high canyon walls made a picturesque framed setting for the stars in the night sky.
She remembered what Crow Feathers had once told her.
If you look at a star in the sky and think of me, and if I should look at the same star at the same time and think of you, our souls will touch and we will be as one.
Norny clutched the earring in her hand and looked at the biggest brightest star in the sky, and wished with all her might that Daniel would look at the same star and think of her.
She missed all the tribal members she left behind. After all they were her family and so she of course wondered if they think of her and how they were doing, where ever they are now. But mostly she missed the man who plunged like an arrow through her thoughts, through her heart and into her very soul.
Does he think about me once in a while? she thought, Does he hope to see me again someday? These were things she had no way of knowing, but were questions that she forever asked herself.
If she only knew that Daniel had never stopped thinking of her, and utters her name to himself at times when he feels most alone. She had no idea that Daniel would trade the last ten years of his life to just hold his beautiful prairie flower in his arms, and feel the warmth of her passion one more time. Since they parted company, Danielís heart was left with an affliction. A never ending ache. The residual effect of his final gaze upon her smiling blue eyes.
When morning came she was eager to greet the day and cover some miles. She saddled and readied Poco, gave a yell to Hungry, and they crossed the seemingly still water.
They traveled along the banks of the river looking for a spot where they could make their ascend to the top.
Suddenly Hungry starts barking for no apparent reason. Norny looks around but doesnít see anything. That is until she looked up. At the top of the canyon were some Indians looking straight at them. She didnít recognize from what tribe they were, sense she had never been so far from home. She wasnít going to worry about them yet. They didnít seem like a threat to her, so why worry. She noticed that as she traveled along the river, they followed her on the canyon wall.
Norny traveled on for several miles before she spotted what looked to be a good place to emerge from the canyon. When they reached the top, she expected to see the Indians waiting for her, but they were nowhere in sight. She didnít realize they had stopped following her some time ago.
Over the miles to come there were some incredible natural sights that were almost like a spiritual event for Norny. Natural monuments and plateaus in beautiful shades of red. Glorious shapes and colors as far as her eyes could see. She felt a great love and warmth for life at that moment. She felt fortunate to have been privileged to see such natural wonder.
After a day she saw her first sign pointing towards Sedona. Later when she saw the first sign advertising the rodeo, she couldnít help but remember Joe the sign man from back in Wyola. She didnít and wouldnít forget him just as she said.
As Norny was approaching Sedona, things were running through her head. Like would they let her ride or would she have to convince someone? Where Pete and Roscoe going to be here? Was this town going to be friendly or were they going to treat her like they did in Plumpbucket. And Norny was hungry. She could use something to eat.
Pete and Roscoe were already there, and had been there for a few days. They were good honest men. And they were best friends, but more like brothers. Pete and Roscoe were the epitome of the Rootin-Tootin cowboys that the wild west shows tried to portray. They both had skills that they kept between them and wouldnít tell anyone else.
Roscoe was getting known as the 'Cowboy Poet.' He liked the flow of words that rhyme.
But Pete and Roscoe came to this rodeo to ride. This is what they did for a living and how they made most of their money. And they knew that if Norny showed up and rode against them, the odds of them winning would be greatly reduced. However, they had a plan.
They knew that almost nobody here had ever seen or heard of Norny. So if they would gives odds against her winning, there were suckers out there that would take the odds and bet against her. They could clean up. They knew that Norny probably wouldnít go for something like this, so they kept it between them.
But this would only work for the first day of the rodeo, because once everyone saw her ride, no one would bet against her again.
So Pete and Roscoe had it all worked out. And they had enough money between them to cover all bets.
Right outside of Sedona was an Indian camp. Norny didnít know what tribe this one was either, but they seemed to be accustomed to being around the white man. She noticed the kids from the tribe playing together and taunting each other just as they did when she was growing up. There was a little girl standing alone that the other children seemed to ignore. She thought of herself when she saw the girl.
There were a lot of people in town because of the rodeo. It might take a while to find Pete and Roscoe if theyíre even here yet. Hungry was walking along side of Poco as they came into town, but there was so much traffic that Norny told Hungry to jump into the saddle with her, so he did.
Norny went straight to the stable to reserve a stall, but for the first time there was no space available for her and Poco. Norny wasnít sure what to do next, but if they had to they would make a camp outside of town.
Well Norny tethered Poco to the rail in front of the store while she took a look around.
"You stay with Poco Hungry." And she started to walk away, but Hungry followed. So Norny picked him up and put him on the saddle on Poco.
"Now you stay." And this time he did.
While Norny is out looking around, Pete and Roscoe are coming out of the saloon. As they walk down the sidewalk Roscoe says.
"Hey Pete. Isnít that Nornyís horse Poco?"
"Yeah, I think your right. But whoís that in the saddle?"
"She must have picked up a hiker."
"She has to be around here somewhere."
Before they could separate and start looking for her, Pete
spots her. "There she is Roscoe! Norny, Norny, over here." He
Norny looks and sees them, "PeteÖÖRoscoe, good to see you again." She says.
"Norny, your a sight for sore eyes." Pete says.
"Look Norny, we need to get you signed up for the rodeo right away. It starts tomorrow and there is only a few hours left to sign up. The entry fee is ten bucks. Can you afford it?"
"I can manage that." She says.
"They didnít want to let you ride, but we straightened them out on that account. And Tom is here. Do you remember Tom Mc Kinner?"
"Sure I do. How is he?"
"Well you can ask him yourself when you see him. Anyhow he put in a good word for you and told them if this was any kind of rodeo at all, they would jump at the chance to get a rider like you."
"Well thanks to all of you for your help. Now lets go pay the ten bucks. We can talk later."
So they went over and took care of Nornyís entry fee and got that out of the way. But the next problem was where to stable Poco and herself.
"Thatís not a problem Norny. One of the big ranches is taking care of that for the visitors, weíll take you out there." Roscoe says.
Well they solved that problem and now NornyĎs hungry, so the boys are buying her lunch and they can fill in the spaces in time since they saw each other last. Hungry tagged along with Norny and sat out in front of the restaurant waiting patiently for his master to reappear.
"I said hello to the Jo twins liked you asked me to. They
almost seem out of character running that railroad line." She says.
"But they were very nice and hospitable, they shared their lunch with
me, thatís how I first met them. Then when I was leaving Cotterville,
they held the train, and took me and Poco across the gorge."
"Where did you pick up the little dog?" Roscoe asks.
"I found him in a little border town called Mesquite."
While they are talking, in walks Tom.
"Hey Tom, over here. Look who we got with us." Pete says.
"Well Norny, Iím glad you could make it." Tom says as he pulls up a chair to sit with them.
"Did you bring your wife Angie and your son Jason with you?" She asks.
"Not this trip."
Tom says "What do ya say after lunch we go over and take a look at the stock weíll be riding tomorrow?"
They all agreed that would be a good idea.
"I have one little piece of business to take care of first. So Iíll meet you over there." Norny says
Norny had to get the chain replaced for her earring. She found a man there in town that makes jewelry and asked him if he could have a heavier chain put on it. One that wouldnít break so easily this time. And could she please have it before the rodeo tomorrow.
"Itíll cost you an extra buck." He said. "OK!" She agrees
Norny caught up with the boys; they all spent the rest of the afternoon together, and little Hungry tagged right along as they checked out the bulls and horses in the rodeo corrals. Tom, Pete and Roscoe taught Norny a few things about bulls and bull riding. That is except riding itself. She seemed to have a real handle on that already.
When the day was winding down and evening was closing in Norny excused herself and said she wanted to turn in early.
"We can get you a room here in the hotel with us if you like
"Thanks, but Poco and I like the outdoors, besides the earth has always been my bed. Iím used to the ground and my bedroll is enough."
"Your a lot tougher than I am." Pete says.
When the next morning came around Norny was up and ready to meet her challenge. She was well rested for her ride in todayís event. All the contestants were suppose to meet at the signup office at 10am. So Norny had a little breakfast and made sure that Hungry and Poco had theirs. Then she went over to the office where she ran into the boys. They were assigning numbers to the riders.
Pete got # 21, Roscoe got # 16, Tom got #12 and Norny #4
When they drew the bulls for the contestants they went over to look at them and see who got who.
They all put their numbers on their backs marking them as the riders. As they walked around the corral and the live stock, some of the other riders and cowboys saw the number four on Nornyís back and started to chuckle sense she was a woman in a mans event
When her friends Pete, Rosco and Tom heard it they just looked
at the men with a scowl. But Roscoe says, "Iíll bend those smiles
back in shape for em."
"No donít." Norny says. "Itís OK, Iím used to it."
Then Tom says. "Besides wait till they see her ride, those smirks will fix themselves."
They looked at the bulls they each drew for their ride and
Nornyís bull was huge; "Norny looks like you got the bad boy again,
but this time it was honestly the luck of the draw." Tom says
Then Norny tells them. "Iíve got a little business to attend to before the rodeo, so Iíll see you guys later."
She wanted to get over to the jeweler and get her earring back. It had become a sort of talisman to her. She picked it up and this time the chain was heavy enough that she would risk keeping it around her neck during the ride.
While she was out, she found a little privacy and put her colors on her left eye. It wasnít that she felt like she was near the enemy, but she felt more that she was in touch with her heritage by wearing her colors. She didnít want to ever forget who she was or where she was from.
The town was full of people. There were booths selling things and Maruichiís playing music and kids and more people everywhere.
When Norny returned to the guys they were curious about the paint over her eye and they remembered it from the rodeo in Plumpbucket. But they figured it was a personal thing, and they were too polite to ask what it meant, so they just ignored it.
Pete and Roscoe were always the gentlemen around the ladies, but amongst themselves they were scoundrels.
People were gathering around the arena to get a good view of the action. It was about time for Pete and Roscoe to put their plan to work.
They took their numbers off their back so that the people wouldnít know they were riders. Then they circulated themselves into the audience and said things like. "What the hell is this fool woman doing trying to ride in a mans event. Why a woman isnít strong enough to hold on to the bull. Sheíll be thrown right away."
Then Pete would say. "Oh yeah, put your money where your mouth
is. Iíll bet you twenty bucks she goes the eight seconds."
"No way." Roscoe says. And they were off. People all wanted part of the action, and Pete was giving good odds. They knew that they had to get it now, because once they saw her ride, nobody would bet against her again.
They were raking the money in as fast as they could count it, that is until they over heard a man say, "Isnít she the woman that won the bull riding event back in Plumpbucket?"
Pete and Roscoe froze as they looked at each other in terror.
"Quick Pete, grab him." And they each grabbed one of his arms,
lifted him off the ground and carried him around back.
"Look pal, were you in Plumpbucket for the rodeo a while back?"
"Yeah, I saw this woman stay on that bull for twice the time, in fact she won. There was no contest."
"Well listen here. You donít say a thing about what you saw and Iíll give you a hundred bucks, see."
"A HUNDRED BUCKS? You gotta deal." The man says.
So Pete gives the man a hundred bucks and tells him., "And if you say anything to anyone about this, Iím gonna blow your toes off with my six shooter while you dance in front of the whole town. You got it?"
"Yes sir, not a word from me." He says.
Tom was a favorite among bull riding fans. He had a reputation and people would pay to see him ride.
But the special attraction today was the woman riding in the menís event. Most of the people had just learned about a woman rider and didnít know what to expect to see. They put Norny last again sense she was the mystery rider and the main event.
As Norny wondered around looking at the people selling there wares, she noticed that there were quit a few Indians selling jewelry and blankets and things they made, to the white man. Here are some Indians learning to survive in the white mans culture she thought. They were the same Indians that camped just out of town.
Then Norny had Noticed that Hungry had taken off somewhere, but she figured he would show up again sooner or later.
The first event was about to begin. It was calf roping. As Norny wandered around the rodeo she kept an eye on the contest. Norny didnít know anything about roping, but it looked interesting to her. Then they had bull dogging, then bareback riding, then saddle broncís and finally bull riding.
Norny stood against the fence with Pete and Roscoe watching the first contestants. The very first one lasted about three seconds. The second went for about six. But then a bull comes charging out into the arena without a rider. Just the number 30 tagged on him.
"Why no rider on this bull?" Norny asks.
"Thatís Bob Morganís number. He was killed in El Paso a few months ago. They send the bull out in his honor as his last ride in spirit." Pete says.
This made sense to Norny. His last ride in spirit... the white man got this right. she thought.
Well a couple other riders came and went, and now its Roscoeís turn. The chute came open and the bull came charging out. Roscoe was good. He hung in there for almost eight seconds, but was finally thrown clear.
Pete and Roscoe were mainly Bareback and Saddle Bronc riders. But occasionally they would try the bulls. Theyíve won a few times, but not like Tom. Tom was champ about two years ago. But then got injured on Cricket, the very bull Norny rode and won on in Plumpbucket.
Tom would like to get the title back some day before its too late. But Tom had something else working against him. His wife Angie didnít come along on this trip because she canít bare to watch Tom knowing he could get killed and leave her and Jason alone. They had fought about it many times. The rodeo and especially bull riding was in Tomís blood. Tom loved his wife and son and he wanted to be a family man. But he knew he would have to give it up sooner or later, and wanted to hold out as long as he could.
Tom was up next riding Dynamite. It was a big dirty looking gray white brama bull. When the chute opened, the crowd cheered for their favorite rider. Tom was excellent. He had the form and the balance that it takes to be a winner. And the crowd loved this big handsome gentlemanly cowboy they came to know all over the country. The kind of cowboy that made Angie fall head over heels in love with him.
Tom rode Dynamite the full eight seconds, then made a clean dismount. The crowd whistled and cheered for their hero. He was going to be hard to beat.
Norny was the last rider. And when she made her way over to the chute, there were still a few chuckles left in the crowd, but not like before.
Tom is standing back by the exit on the opposite side of the
arena. He hears one of the cowboys say. "This aughta be good."
So Tom turns around and says. "How much money you got on you?"
"Who me?" The cowboy asks.
"Yeah you, lets see I got forty five dollars here. What have you got there?"
"About two hundred." He replies.
"Well Iíll tell you what. You see my paint Brisco over there? Iíll put up him and the saddle and my last forty five bucks against your two hundred that this woman goes the eight seconds."
"You canít be serious?" The cowboy says.
"We got a bet?" Tom asks
"Your on." And they shake on it.
A minute later the announcer says. "We gotta special treat for ya today. Thereís a little lady here who just rode in fromÖ.huhÖ..somewhere, and she wants to give it a try for yaíll. They call her Norny, and we paired her up with one of your favorites and mine, our prize buckin bull ĎTornadoí. So lets give the little lady a big western howdy, and see what she can do. What do ya say?"
There was a healthy applause as Norny climbs up on the fence rails. She straddles the bull just above him. One of the cowboys helping her says.
"You think this is a pony ride at the circus lady?"
She slowly turns her head towards the man and looks directly at him without saying anything. She would have been just fine without his smart mouth. Then just to get him back for his statement. She takes her hat off and puts it on the gate post. Then she puts her hair into a braid.
"Lady, where do you think you are? Iíd ask if your gonna put your makeup on next, but I see you already have." ( Referring to her war paint ). Norny finishes her braid then puts her hat back on. "Come on lady, this ainít no Shetland pony we got here."
The bull is snorting and thrashing around impatiently to get out. Norny knew the crowd wasnít going anywhere. And she is trying the patience of the cowboy next to her deliberately.
The bull is a huge black angus that got up on the wrong side of the bed, and someoneís gonna pay for it.
Nornyís casual attitude is pissing off the cowboy. "You wanna tell me when your ready lady." She clutches the earring around her neck with her left hand and closes her eyes for a moment.
Then Norny drops down onto the bull, leans forward likes sheís about to take a horsy ride, then pats the bull along side the neck whispering just loud enough, "Ride me big boy."
"Turn him out!" The cowboy yells angrily.
This was the moment the crowd was waiting for. To see the woman rider. It didnít take but a second to turn the disbelieverís around.
The instant Norny and the bull blew out of the chute and into the arena, the crowd came to itís feet yelling and screaming with excitement. Norny and the bull were flying. The noise from the crowds enthusiastic cheering was deafening.. She was incredible to see and they loved her. The bull was spinning around and around and kicking itís back legs high in the air. You could hear the bull grunting as its weight was impacting the ground. Norny was solid. They knew after the first two seconds that the bull wasnít going to loose its rider.
The cowboys and all the rodeo contestants couldnít take their eyes off of her. The other riders bonded to her instantly. The sarcastic cowboy on the bull chute looks at Norny and says "Well Iíll be."
One of the people that bet heavy against Norny lets out with a loud "Holy shit!!"
Roscoeís eyes were glued to Norny. He had lost his heart to her some time ago. Though he didnít know it yet. And as he sat there watching his cowgirl queen perform, words were slipping off his poetic tongue without even thinking.
Pete turns his head and looks straight at Roscoe and canít believe what he just heard come out of his mouth, "Damn, that was good Roscoe! When did you write that?"
"I didnít! It just came out of me as I watched her."
Norny possessed the magical spark that ignites inspiration in a poetic and artistic way.
She possessed the creative charisma so eagerly sought after and prized by painters and writers alike. She was more than one in a million and that was obvious to everyone. For that small package of a woman contained something of value for all..
The bull and Norny were all over the arena. Tornado was snorting fire and dust and kickin the hell out of the air. They could always count on Tornado to give a good show, and he wasnít disappointing them now. But Tornado had never been ridden by Norny until today. And Norny had paid her dues riding the buffalo years ago and the results of her efforts showed. She was a champion by all standards.
When the eight second clang of the cowbell sounded, two different riders charged out into the arena to pull Norny off the bull. Each wanted to be the one to slip their arm around their hero and rescue her from the back of Tornado. But only one could grab her, and he pulled her up tight against him and rode her once around the arena before taking her over to the exit.
While the clowns herded the bull out of the arena, the crowd was going crazy for Norny. They were yelling and cheering and whistling and screamin out her name. Norny had made the price of their admission worth their while.
As Norny walks through the exit, with the number four flag on her back blowing in the breeze, children are sticking their arms and hands out through the rails to touch their hero, and yelling "Hi Norny !" and wanting Norny to look at them and smile.
A woman bull rider was totally unheard of in those days, so Norny was like an albino elephant to them. She was the rarest of her breed.
Pete and Roscoe already knew how much money they stood to make if she wins. But this was only the first day, she had to ride again tomorrow. And to win she would have to do just as well.
After the rodeo and all the scores had been tallied, Norny was the favorite. Pete and Roscoe took Norny with them to the saloon. She didnít drink, but she could celebrate with a sarsaparilla.
Pete and Roscoe were the proud companions of Norny, and Norny got most of the attention.
Tom walks in and says, "Good ride today Norny. Drinks are on me boys. I just won two hundred dollars the easy way." Talking to Pete and Roscoe.
Pete and Roscoe knew they stood to make thousands, but they couldnít tell anyone.
"Its gonna be tough to beat your ride today Norny. Looks like you could win this one here just like you did in Plumpbucket." Tom says.
"Well if I do win, Iím gonna send the silver buckle back to Cotterville to a brave little boy named Danny."
Pete and Roscoe look at each other with a surprise expression on their face. They forgot about the silver buckel story they gave her.
Tom asks, "Silver buckle?"
"Huh, excuse us for a minute." Roscoe says as him and Pete get up and walk outside.
"Oh No! Not again!" Pete says.
"Hey, we donít have any choice, we gotta give it to her." Roscoe says.
"No way! I just got this buckle after we gave her the last one." Pete says.
"Weíll get you another one." "Yeah, thatís what you said about the last one. Maybe I oughta start wearing suspenders, she wonít be winning any of those will she?"
"Maybe she wonít win."
"Yeah, right." Pete says.
"Damn you Roscoe you owe me for this!"
"OK Pete, I owe you. But just keep your pants on, she hasnít won yet. Besides if she wins, you can buy all the silver buckles you want."
"Oh yeah, thatís right!" Pete says.
So Pete and Roscoe go back inside to finish their beers with Tom and Norny.
Tom sees a couple of old buddies across the room and excuses himself.
"You were something special out there today Norny. Your ride was quit literately poetry in motion. " Roscoe says. Pete and Roscoe got a little chuckle out of that one.
While the three of them sat there throwing the bull sort of
speak. A rather well dressed, eastern looking gentleman walks up to
the table. He removes the hat from his head and holds it to his chest
and says, "Excuse me for interrupting, but are you the woman I saw
out there on that bull today?"
"Yes I am." She says.
"I wonder if I might have a word with you for a moment?"
Pete and Roscoe look at each other, then Roscoe says, "Letís get another beer. Weíll be over here Norny."
"May I sit down?" the man asks.
He pulls out the chair and sits.
"Now Mr....? What do you have to talk about." Norny asks.
"Please, just call me Frederic. Last names arenít important."
"Well, was it Norny they called you?" He asks
"Well Miss Norny. I saw you out there today, and I have to say you were magnificent. I would have never imagined such a timid and may I say, pretty little lady such as yourself could ever ride in such a brutal event as bull riding."
"Thank you I guess." She says.
"Well what Iím getting at. Those people out there today loved you. They couldnít get enough of you. And Iíll tell you the truth, when that chute opened and you came out on the back of the huge animal, I couldnít believe it. When I saw the crowd stand to get a better look at you, and heard them whistle and cheer for you. Well, you sent shivers up my back. I knew I was looking at something special. A one of a kind woman."
"Thank you again." She says.
"More to the point Miss Norny, I want to paint your picture. Iím an artist and Iím doing a series of paintings on the wild west while its still wild, and I want to include you. People all over the world would love to see you on that bull, just as I and all those others out there did today. No one has ever seen a woman ride a bull before, but my painting would be proof of that."
"I donít know, what do I have to do?" She asks.
"Nothing! Just go on doing what your doing and Iíll try and capture your likeness as you do it. Oh you might have to sit and let me draw your face so I can get use to it, but thatís it."
"Well I donít see where it could do any harm." She says.
"Good then, weíll start tomorrow. Youíll be famous, people all over the world will no you and your name."
Norny thought about that for a second.
"Uh, Iím sorry. I changed my mind. I donít think Iíll have the time she says."
"But you donít have to do anything, Iíll do it all."
"Sorry, but Iíll be moving on in a day or so anyway. But thank you for making me feel so special."
"Oh you donít have to thank me for that. You are special, whether I paint you or not. Thatís obvious, I just donít think anyone will believe me when I tell them about you."
Frederic leans forward on the table, and looks straight into Nornyís eyes then says, "Miss Norny, as I sit across the table looking into your eyes, Iím seeing woman for what she truly is, for the first time. And Iím delighted to see that women are more capable than I ever thought they could be. You are living proof of that. But you are a rare flower, and your special qualities should be shared with others."
And then the man stood up and put his hat on his head..... He starts to walk away then stops for a moment.
"You know out in the plains of the mid west, the Indians talk about a white woman they raised as a warrior. And word has it that she can leap to the back of a charging buffalo and ride it like a horse. I try to imagine what a wonderful painting or a sculpture that would make. That woman wouldnít be you would it?"
Norny didnít say anything in reply to his statement.
"Thank you for your time, and good day to you." The man says.
"Good day." She says.
And he turned and walked away.
Pete and Roscoe come back over to the table with their beers.
"So Norny, was it anything important?"
"He was an artist, and just wanted to paint my picture." She said.
"See Roscoe! I told you he looked like one of those mamby pamby sissified picture painters. What was his name?" Pete asks.
"Frederic something, he didnít give me his last name. He said he was doing a series of works on the wild west."
"Frederic huh? Well Iím sure nobody has ever heard of him."
Norny never was one of the wild west characters in Frederic Remingtonís oils or bronzes, but she wasnít completely able to avoid the artists brush. For many years later another architect of color, light and form discovered Norny. And recognizing this special woman, he portrayed to the world the rugged charm and gentle nature that was Norny.
Well Norny and the boys jawed for a little while longer, then she excused herself and said she had to tend to Poco and Hungry. And she wanted to be well rested for the ride tomorrow.
The next day at the rodeo Norny got a chance to see Pete and Roscoe really do their stuff. They were both very skilled in the bronc riding department. And both men scored high.
Norny had made quite a few fans from yesterdays ride. People and especially kids were coming up and telling Norny how much they liked watching her. And that they were rooting for her to win. And many little girls wanted to be just like her when they grow. This made Norny feel great for a change.
When it came time for the bull riding one of the entrants was thrown and then gored with the bulls horns. It didnít kill him but he was hurt pretty bad. And it left a somber mood with the crowd.
Tom had a good ride and went the eight seconds again, but he got his hand caught up and had a problem getting loose.
Then it was Nornyís turn again. The crowd cheered extra loud when they announced her name. "And now the delightful little bull riding sweetheart, on Jumpin Jack, I give you Ö..Noooorrrrnnnyyy!" The announcer shouts. They even loved the sound of her name.
When the bull jumped out of the chute, it did a few spins and then charged out after the clown with Norny on his back. Something a bull doesnít usually do. Then back to jumpin and twistin in the air. He was kickin dust to hell and back. No matter what maneuvers the bull did, it couldnít break Nornyís concentration. Before you knew it the cowbell was clanging and Norny made her dismount on her own, clean and easy.
Well the bull riding event was over, and by the sound of the crowd there wasnít much doubt of who the winner was.
As Norny exits the cowboys were patting her on the back and
congratulating her. "Nice ridden." Theyíd say.
"Your the bull ridden gal for me." Another says.
Kids were running up to her yelling. "Norny, Norny, Norny."
She was the hero to all the little girls at the rodeo. They all wanted to be just like her.
Meanwhile Pete and Roscoe are pushing their way through the
crowd to get to Norny.
"Come on Norny." And they escorted her out.
"Iíve got to go see to Poco. Iíll meet you two back here in a while." Norny says
So she heads back to the ranch to take care of her animals. Norny hadnít seen Hungry since morning. She hoped he would be with Poco. When she got to Poco there was no sign of the dog.
Norny was excited by the prospect of winning again, and she wanted to share this moment with her best friend.
"Well Poco, it looks like we won again boy, but this rodeo was friendlier then the last one. I brought something for you." And she feeds Poco a couple of apples while she shares her experience and her feelings with her pal.
She could talk to Pete and Roscoe. But no one listened as well as her pal Poco. She told Poco everything. He knew all her secrets. And no matter what she did or what she said, it would always be OK with her best friend Poco.
Norny carefully brushes him as she tells Poco all about the rodeo today. She told him how one of the riders got injured. And how the children said they were cheering for her to win and so onÖÖÖ
Back in town the word had come that the bull riding event had been won by a woman. It wasnít unexpected by Pete and Roscoe or Tom. And as much as Tom wanted to win this event, he was a gracious looser. He recognized Nornyís natural ability and didnít mind loosing to woman if she were the better rider, and she was.
The celebrating was about to begin. There was going to be music and dancing and lots of libation. Pete and Roscoe werenít going to let Norny escape this time. They had plans to dance with their Ďdaring denim bull riding beauty.í But then so did every other cowboy in the rodeo.
Not everyone in town liked the idea of a woman proving herself in a mans sport. So a couple of cowboys decided to play a little trick on the woman, just for laughs.
Most of the cowboys were outside in the street in front of the hall were the big celebration was happening.
Norny is walking there to meet the boys when this cowboy says,
"Excuse me Miss, but my friends and I saw you ride today and we got
into a little disagreement about you."
"And what was that?" Norny asks.
"Well I said you could mount a horse by leaping up onto it from the back without a stirrup, but my friends think you canít. We were hoping you might settle it for us." The cowboy says.
"Sure." Norny says.
"Well you see that horse over there with the saddle on him. If you could just prove it with that horse there, weíd sure appreciate it."
"OK." She says.
What they didnít tell her was that it was a bucking bronc and it would react as soon as Norny got on.
Just then Pete and Roscoe come out from inside to see what was going on. They saw Norny take off running towards the back of the horse. Men were already starting to laugh, knowing what was about to happen. She puts her hands on the rump and springs forward into the saddle.
The moment she did the bronc started bucking. It caught Norny off guard, she wasnít expecting it. The horse threw her head over heels into the air and landed her hard on her back.
"OOOFFFF." She hit the ground with a hard thud, and dust floated up all around her. All the men broke into hysterical laughter.
Pete and Roscoe saw what happened, and they plowed through the group of men knocking them out of the way to get to Norny.
Norny didnít move, she just groaned. Pete and Roscoe were really concerned that she had been hurt.
"Norny, Norny, are you OK, are you hurt? Can you hear me Norny?" She couldnít make a sound.
Norny lay there on her back and couldnít get a breath. Her eyes were wide open and looked to be entranced. The wind was knocked out of her and she looks like she is turning blue.
"Norny!ÖÖ.. What do we do Pete?" Roscoe asks.
"I donít know, sheís not breathing. Try breathing into her mouth."
"Huh! How?" Roscoe asks.
"Like this!" Pete says, pushing Roscoe out of the way.
Pete bends over and breaths air into Nornyís mouth. Once, then again. Suddenly she takes a breath on her own. Pete and Roscoe look at each other in relief.
"OOOOHHH!" She slowly groaned.
"Norny are you OK? Is anything broken?"
After a few moments she tried to speak., "I donít ÖÖÖknow."
Then she slowly starts moving her legs and arms. She carefully moves to sit up, "Easy now, donít get up too fast, you flew a long way off that horse and hit the ground pretty hard." Pete says.
By now Norny is sitting up, "Iíll be OK." she says
"Your a tough little lady Norny." Roscoe says.
Pete and Roscoe each take one of Nornyís arms and lift her to her feet. Then Roscoe walks over and retrieves Nornyís hat.
"Come on Norny lets walk around a while and get the stiffness out."
"Norny, why were you jumping onto that horse?"
"Those men over there, asked me if I would."
Pete and Roscoe look over at the group of men laughing to see whoís ass they were going to kick for this.
Roscoe says "Weíll be back to deal with you boys later."
They go inside and sit Norny down and get her a drink. "Are you
going to be OK Norny?"
"I think so, I just feel a little sore."
"You could have had you neck broke." Pete says.
Just then Tom walks over and sees Norny looks like she is
ailing., "Whatís wrong? What happened here?"
"Weíll explain it in a minute, but would you keep an eye on Norny for us? Weíll be right back."
"Sure" Tom says.
And Pete and Roscoe went out to find those cowboys and make sure they are properly thanked for what they did to Norny.
"What happened to you Norny? You look like you got an ache or two." Tom asks.
"Iíll be Ok, I just got thrown from a horse out front."
"Thrown! You? What kinda horse could throw you."
"A few of the boys out front were having a little fun with me and I wasnít expecting it."
"Oh, I see. Thatís why Pete and Roscoe had business out there."
After a couple of minutes, Pete and Roscoe came back in. They
both looked a little ruffled up and Roscoe has a bruise on his face,
"You boys look a little wrinkled for wear. Are you OK?" Tom asks.
"Never felt better! How about you Pete?"
"Feelin great Roscoe. Thanks for askin." replies Pete, "How about a couple, three beers over here and a sarsaparilla for the our champ." Pete says.
"Hey! What do ya say we finish our beers and join in the
merriment with the others. Besides Norny your gonna dance with me if
I gotta pick you up and hold you in my arms like a baby." Roscoe
"Dance! What for?"
The only dancing that Norny was familiar with was the kind the medicine man did to bring rain, or to be protected by the gods in battle. Dancing is something that had a purpose or meaning for the tribe. But how and what does the white man dance for? she thought to herself.
"For fun!" Pete says "And your gonna have some, and weíre gonna see to it." He says.
They finished their drinks and followed the sound of the musicians to the dance floor. There was lots of people dancing and laughing and having a good time. The band played some kinda reel or something, so Roscoe takes Nornyís hands and starts her slowly through the movements. She kept looking down at her feet to see what they were doing and hopes to get it right or at least not trip herself.
Gradually she started getting the hang of it. And eventually a smile came over her face, and it was obvious she was having a good time.
The cowboys already had an eye for the magnificent rodeo performer who stole their hearts and the prize. But now to see the smiling eyes that were becoming legendary wherever she went, was like seeing her again for the first time.
As the dancing and music swept the two of them around the room, the big beaming smile and the sparkle in her eyes were unknowingly grabbing the hearts of all the cowboys there. And Roscoe himself didnít realize how deeply imbedded into his heart she was becoming.
When the song had ended, it was Peteís turn.
So the band laid out another tune and she was all warmed up for Pete, with her beautiful smile and eyes in place, she showed Pete her pleasure for him.
Then Tom asked if she would give him the pleasure, and of course she would.
The smiling was nonstop for Norny, she loved the music and the dancing, but especially the warmth of friendship that the three men Pete Roscoe and Tom had provided for her.
These three men gave freely of themselves making her feel at home, and letting her know she was not alone. And for that they asked and expected nothing in return. That was true friendship in any culture, white or red.
Other cowboys stood in line to dance with Norny, but she politely declined, telling them that this was her night with her friends Pete, Roscoe and Tom. "But thank you for asking"
After a couple of hours of fun and celebration, Norny decided
that she should go back to Poco.
"Weíre going to stay with you tonight." Pete says.
"Why?" She asks.
"Because weíre not going to take a chance that something could happen to you. You took a bad fall, and even though you seem fine now, we want to be there just in case." Pete says.
So they all went back to the ranch, and out under a big oak tree they built a fire and laid out their bed rolls.
Tom stayed on at the dance then returned to his hotel room after.
Later that night Norny and the boys are sitting around the fire. Their talking, while Norny just sits there not saying a word.
Pete looks at Norny and says, "Is everything OK Norny you seem quiet all of a sudden. If somethingís bothering you, then tell us about it. Weíre your friends weíll help you in any way we can."
She knew they were truly her friends now and she would trust
them, but that wasnít it, "Pete, Rosco, something happened to me
today. I donít know how to describe it to you.
"What do you mean Norny?"
"While I lay there on the ground after being thrown, I saw something."
When Norny hit her head against the ground, somehow she was in the same place but she was able to see into another dimension in time. Whoís to say this isnít possible or that it hasnít happened before. After all we know now that strange sighting like this have happened to people in the past and have come true.
"You saw something? What for instance?"
So Norny went on to tell them about her experience, "While I lay there on my back looking up at the sky, I saw something unbelievable. It was a great shiny bird. It must have been forty horses across with its wings spread apart. It was so large I couldnít focus on its size. It roared like a big cat and had a long white tail, that seemed to take forever to cross the sky."
"Norny you hit the ground pretty dang hard, you could have seen almost anything."
"No this is the prophecy described by Gray Cloud. He had told us when I was a little girl that someday men would fly like birds. He told us of a great shiny bird that would carry whole villages up into the sky."
" Well I believe that you saw this vision or what ever, but you have to admit that it seems a little wild Norny, I mean men will never be able to fly or God would have covered us with feathers. And who is Gray Cloud?"
"Iíll explain that some other time." She says.
While Norny sat there telling Pete and Roscoe about her apparition, they couldnít help but notice the fire light dancing on her face as she spoke. They thought she looked more beautiful then ever. If that were possible.
As they listened to the fluid tonal qualities of her voice in sync with her expressive facial movements, they felt the pounding in their chest getting stronger. They were becoming mesmerized by the sight and sound of the prairie flower they had befriended. They saw just what Daniel had seen when he had discovered that his heart had been stolen.
They now realized that she was dangerous and putting themselves at high risk if they let her into their heart. But it was too late for that. Though they were both Nornyís friend, they were still men, and they couldnít help but want more than anything to jump through that fire, and suck the words right out of her mouth.
Norny didnít really expect them to believe in her vision, but she felt she had to tell someone and they asked.
Some years later the beginning of Nornyís vision was being realized in a little place in North Carolina they called Kitty Hawk. And Norny's vision was accurate, men were learning to fly.
Norny excuses herself to go and check on Poco and take care of
some personal business. After she walks away Pete turns to Roscoe and
"Whatís bothering you Roscoe? Youíve been down since we left the dance."
"Damnit Pete! I had the chance to press my mouth against Nornyís today when she got thrown off that horse, and I didnít think fast enough. So instead you got to. I gotta be one of the biggest and dumbest fools of all time."
"Yeah Roscoe. I gotta admit, sheís a mighty tasty little lady. She put a sweetness on my lips that will never go away. And the magic in her mouth sent a shivering all through my body I wonít soon forget... Iíll tell you that." Pete just had to rub it in.
Norny told the boys that tomorrow she was going to take Poco and search for Hungry, then go look at the natural monuments around the area.
Next morning Norny gathered her bed roll, saddled Poco and headed out. She told the boys sheíd catch up with them later. Norny headed out of town all the while looking for Hungry.
As Norny is passing through the Indian camp she spots the little girl that she first noticed on the way into Sedona. The one that reminded her of herself when she was young and growing up, and had been out casted by the other children. The little girl had found herself a friend, Hungry. They were having so much fun together that Norny didnít want to take the childís new companion away. Norny couldnít speak the Indian tongue of the girls tride. But she understood the international language of a smile on a happy childís face.
That said it all to Norny. Hungry has found himself a real home, she thought.
Pete and Roscoe went back into town to take care of business, that is to collect their winnings from the gambling scheme. Then they had to collect Nornyís prize money for her.
By that afternoon theyíre in the saloon having a couple of beers talking to each other and figuring out how much they actually won. It was somewhere in the neighbor hood of six thousand dollars. When something that was said by a couple of men close by caught their attention.
They sat there listening to the two men talk, and they over heard the one man saying, "Iím gonna take care of that snooty rodeo bitch. No body is going to make a fool out of me!"
Pete and Roscoe suddenly looked at each other with surprise,
"He must be talking about Norny. What did she do Roscoe?"
"I donít know Pete? But what ever heís planning, he Ďs going to hurt Norny. Well you know what we gotta do Pete."
"We donít have a choice."
"I know, but what could Norny have possibly done to make this man want to hurt her. Well I guess it doesnít matter, we canít let it happen . Ok." Pete says " Lets do it."
Now Pete had a secret that he tryís real hard to keep. And mostly its still a secret except for his buddy Roscoe, and a few real close friends.
Pete says to Roscoe. "Alright, hand em over."
So Roscoe pushes his full mug of beer in front of Pete.
Then Pete gulps it down. "Gimme some of those hard corn things ( chips )."
Pete takes a big hand full of those and mashes them into his mouth and grinds them up.
Now he takes his own full mug of beer and gulps it down, then he sits looking at Roscoe for a moment, then lets out a big belch.
"God I hate this part. OK Roscoe, give it to me." Pete says.
So Roscoe takes out a little tiny bottle, with some brown liquid in it. "Here goes." And Pete slams it down and squeezes his eyes tightly closed as he does. He just sits there for another moment looking at Roscoe then says, "OK, I think its ready."
So Pete gets up acting like a drunk, staggering around then kind of weaves his way back to the gunman .then says, "Huh Oh! Excuse me." And grabs his belly and from the bottom of his stomach he heaves up and pukes his guts all over the slick looking gunman. His shirt, his pants and even his hat. The whole place burst into laughter.
It was a mess. It went all over him and was even dripping from
his hat, "Why you son-of-a-bitch Iíll kill you for that."
"Oh sorry mister, I wasnít feelin to good." Pete says.
"Your gonna feel a whole lot worse when I put a bullet in ya." He says.
Then the gunman says to Pete, "Your too drunk now, but Iíll meet you two hours from now in front of here in the street. You got that you drunken saddle bum?"
"Yes sir, I got it." Pete replies.
Then the gunman walks out, while the place is still snickering and laughing.
So Pete got the man into a gunfight. That should distract his attention from Norny for a while.
Two hours later Pete and Roscoe emerged from the hotel, the street was lined with people.
They were expecting to see someone get killed. Probably Pete.
Common sense tells us that Pete wouldnít just set himself up in a gun fight unless he had a fool proof plan.
There was something else to factor into the equation. Sense Pete was a kid he had a fascination with six shooters. As a child he witnessed a couple of gun fights, and he visualized himself as a gunfighter. So as he grew up, he used his fathers old gun and practiced shooting cans.
Over the years Pete got pretty fast and accurate with his weapon of choice.
When he was about eighteen he met a young gun with a reputation and they became friends. His friend ( Bobby Dunn ) showed him a couple of tricks that fast guns used to get the edge. Well when ever Bobby would come to town, he and Pete would get together and shoot cans.
One afternoon Bobby was going to quick draw on the cans and Pete just for the fun of it wanted to see how much quicker Bobby was. Well when he slapped leather Pete put two cans in the air before Bobbyís first one.
Bobby slowly looks over at Pete with his mouth partially opened and says, "You got a problem."
He went on to tell Pete that, as soon as word gets out about his speed, there wonít be any place to hide from the young guns looking for a rep.
They would come from the ends of the earth to try and test his speed.
This wasnít the kind of life Pete wanted, so he kept it his secret as best as he could.
But now they didnít have a choice. This other guy looks like a gunfighter and he wants to hurt their friend Norny.
Pete and Roscoe just stood there in the street talking until the gunman made his grand entrance. The gunman had changed into fancier clothes. Something that would give him the attention that he wanted. He walked out into the street strutting his stuff like the proud peacock that he was.
The kid up the street says "Oh my God! Thereís going to be a gun fight.
From where the kids stood they could see the whole thing without fear of being hit.
"Listen it was an accident. Canít we talk this thing out? Pete
says humbling himself before the crowd. Of course Pete knew the
gunman wouldnít talk it out , but it would make the gunman look like
an even bigger fool in the end. But Pete wanted to build his
Then Roscoe says to Pete. "Oh come on now, you meant to do that." Pete looks at Roscoe and says.
"Hey donít help me here OK."
"I have to apologize for my friend, he doesnít know what he is saying." Pete says.
"It doesnít matter. Iím gonna kill you anyway." The gunman says.
"Well before we start, there is just one thing. Your hat band is shinning right into my eyes." Pete says.
The gun fighter just smiles, but Pete knew it was a trick that gun fighters do to blind their opponent. Pete was warned about this from his old pal Bobby.
Pete didnít want to have to kill this man, or even put a bullet into him unless he really had to for Nornyís sake. The gun fighter was moving his head around just enough to get the sun into Peteís eyes.
"Come on take off the hat." Pete says. The gunman just smiles.
So faster than then the eye could blink, and in less than a tenth of a second Petes gun came up out of itís holster and blew the hat right off the gunmenís head. Then doing some fancy swirling and twirling, sideways and down Pete re-holsters his gun.
Pete's gun had come up out of his holster, but nobody saw it happen. He was that fast.
"There, thatís better. Its out of my eyes. Iím ready now. Make your play." Pete says.
From up the street the kids were watching. All they saw was a long puff of smoke eject from Peteís gun trailed by a smoke ring. Follwoed by the sound of the shot. And then Pete twirl and re-holster. They never saw Peteís hands move.
"WOW! Did you see that ?"
"No I didnít!" One kid exclaims.
The gun fight was over before they heard the bang of his gun. Everyone noticed that Pete was extreeeemly fast. Including his opponent
The gun fighter realizes that this is his lucky day, and he almost made a huge mistake.
The gunfighter looking to build on his reputation suddenly realized, he would be dead meat if he drew against Pete.
"Woah! cowboy. Look, there has been a misunderstanding for
which I would like to apologize. I wasnít really gonna shoot ya." The
Pete says, " Oh, well I knew you werenít going to shoot me, but now we heard you got a problem with my little sister, and you aim to get even."
"Oh, was that your little sister yesterday after noon? Delightful child! I was just funníin about that. In fact I was kind a hopeín she might dance with me later."
"Well you stay way clear of her." Pete says.
"Will do." He replys. And the gunman walks away with his life still intact.
Just then all the towns people that were there to see the swiftness of his gun, were rushing over to ask Pete. Saying things like, "Who are you mister?" And "Your the fastest gun Iíve ever seen." Then people kept asking, "Whatís your name?"
But Pete never forgot what Bobby told him about how they would be looking for him.
And Roscoe also knew what would inevitably happen once they knew Peteís identity. No matter what, he couldnít give out his real name.
So Roscoeís quick thinking dreams up some fancy name from a poem he remembered as a child, about how the sunlight would dance across the shimmering waters at Whispering Lake and quickly sayís to Pete, "You ready to go Sundance?"
Pete picking up on the phony name and knows what Roscoe is doing, replies by saying, "Er a yeah, Iím ready Butch."
Roscoe gives him a look like "BUTCH?" Roscoe never liked that name. But thatís why Pete said it.
People had plenty of questions, and they surrounded Pete and made it difficult to walk away. So Roscoe, or er a Butch, plows into the crowd and helps Pete shove his way through.
"Hey, where are you guys from?" Someone asks.
To which Roscoe didnít want to give a clue of where they were from says the first thing that come to mind, "ummm... South America."
"South America?" Someone questions.
From then on Pete and Roscoe became a kind of a legend in that territory. Under assumed names of course. No one knew their real identities.
The storyís of his lightening speed, and the accuracy of his deadly aim spread for miles wide and for years to come.
Pete and Roscoe had to chuckle every time they heard that a gang headed by Butch and Sundance robbed a bank or a train. And that they had a woman with them, but they werenít sure of her name. Someone said they were heading back towards South America where they were from. There were even stories written about them and their escapades. The legend went on and on.
Pete and Roscoe couldnít go back over to the saloon, or they would be mobbed with people. There really wasnít anyplace they could go to get away from the crowd. So they decided to ride out to the ranch and wait for Norny. The two of them agreed not to say anything to Norny about what happened. After all she didnít even know this man was after her. But they were real curious about why the man hated her. "I guess weíll never know" Pete says.
When the boys got to the ranch, they checked the stall for Poco, and noticed that all Norny;s belongings were gone. Pete asks the stable boy. "Whereís the horse and the things that were in here?"
"The woman took them with her this morning." The boy said.
Pete and Roscoeís hearts suddenly felt like lead and sank. How could she just leave and not say good-bye to us they wondered. And she didnít get her winnings. The last thing she said to us was that she would see us later. Then they thought something isnít right here.
"Which way was she headed?"
"Well the three of themÖ.."
"THE THREE OF THEM!!" Roscoe shouts. "Who were the other two?"
"I donít know? They were men in stripped suits like easterners. And Iím not sure but I thought they had the woman in hand cuffs."
Pete and Roscoe look at each other.
"Which way were they headed?" Roscoe asks.
"That way north." The boy points.
Pete and Roscoe both pull their guns out at the same time, and drop the cylinders to make sure theyíre loaded. Then they pull the rifles out of theyíre scabbards and make sure they were loaded. Then both men climb into the saddle and took off north like they were on fire. As they headed up the road, you couldnít see them go for the dust they left behind.
They didnít know how far out in front Norny and the men were, but they didnít have a whole lot of daylight left.
The two of them kept on traveling until it was too dark to see. So they made camp for the night.
While they lay there by the fire, they were both feeling a little down about what has happened. But they were sure curious about why these men took her. They both didnít say much, they just sat there by the fire.
Roscoe was writing something like he usually did. Mostly
Then Roscoe looks up at the fire and says to Pete, "Ya know Pete, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or in the arms of whoever would be holdin Norny."
"Well ainít you sentimental." Pete says.
"What ya workin on Roscoe?"
"Oh nothin much just a little poem."
"Well weíd better turn in so we can head out real early." Pete says.
"Yeah, your right." So Roscoe lays his little note book down and turns in.
The next morning Pete gets up first. As he is waking Roscoe he notices the poem Roscoe was working on layin there, so he picks it up and reads it.
Roscoe wakes up and says. "What do ya got there Pete?"
Pete looks at him and says, "What the hell kind of sissified-cow-dung is this? ...Angel blue eyes, ....heavenly horns!"
"Am I riding with a little girl now?... You wanna trade those chaps in on a frilly little dress?... What happened to those man size poems you use to write! You know.. like Ď the cactus horny toad and the lizard,' that was my favorite."
"Whatís happening to you Roscoe? Are you luuuv sick?" Pete says.
"If you donít give that back, your gonna be mighty uncomfortable in the saddle with my boot up your back side." Roscoe yells.
Pete laughs, "Look Roscoe, I know how you feel, but Norny ainít for us. The best we can hope for is that she will remain our friend forever. All this cow-pie mush your wallowing in ainít going to change a thing."
"I canít help it Pete, I get this burning feeling in the pit of my stomach when I see her. She makes me feel weak in the knees."
"Oh hell, here we go now Roscoe! I donít wanna hear any of this mushy crap. But I know what you are talking about."
"Truth be told Roscoe. When I saw Norny fly out of that chute on Tornadoís back, I felt a burning feeling in my chest that I havenít felt sense we had those Red Hots at Rosieís down in Juarez. I didnít plan to get caught up in Norny, it just kinda snuck up on me when I wasnít lookin." shaking his head, "I donít like that feelin, but I canít stop it."
"Look Roscoe, no matter how you or I feel about Norny, someone already has her heart. I donít know who. And she has never said, but Iím sure Iím right about that. That little thing she wears around her neck has something to do with him. Iíve notice how she holds it in her fist, and sometimes presses it to her lips unconsciously.... We gotta wake up and see the daylight here. You hear me?"
"Yeah, your right." He says as he crumples up his heartfelt words in longhand, and airmails it to the wind.
So Pete and Roscoe saddle up and hall ass out of there to catch Norny and her abductors.
Pete and Roscoe were as close as two men friends can get. But neither of them felt comfortable talking about matters of the heart. As many men do, they felt like children in that department. And love was an emotion that they couldnít keep a handle on, so it was best to ignore it or keep it to yourself.
For love is every mans Achilles heel, and they know it. But more important then that, so do women.
After a few hours they were only about three miles behind Norny
and her captors. They were riding hard when they came up to the top
of a hill and looked out.
"There they are!" Roscoe says pointing straight out.
"You swing out to the right and Iíll go left, and weíll head them off by that clump of trees." He says.
When Norny and the two men got to the trees, Pete and Roscoe
rode out into theyíre path, "Hold on there!" Pete says. "Who are you
and where are you taking our friend."
"Thatís none of your business." The man says. Pete whips out his gun and points it at them.
"You got about three seconds to explain before we blast you out of the saddle and set her free anyway."
"Ok ,weíre Pinkertons sent here to apprehend a woman that goes by the name of Norny."
"Sent by who?"
"We have an arrest warrant from the courts to find her and bring her in for arson."
"ARSON?" Pete and Roscoe say with surprise.
"Thatís right, and horse theft."
"We want to talk to her." Pete says.
"Sorry, we canít do that."
"Sure you can, I have the gun remember?"
So they take Norny down off her horse with the cuffs on. "Can
you take these off her?" Roscoe asks.
"The cuffs stay on." The Pinkerton says.
Norny, Pete and Roscoe go sit by a rock and talk.
"OK Norny, is there something we donít know about you that we should?"
"Well maybe there is." She says.
So Norny tells them all about her background.
After she was done Pete and Roscoe just look at each other.
"Why didnít you tell us about you before this?" Pete asks.
"I didnít see the need." She says.
That explains a lot, they thought. The little eccentricities that they didnít understand about Norny before, now made sense. Like the war paint she would put on her eye before she rode the bulls, and the sleeping on the ground and Gray cloud who spoke of his vision. And even her warrior like fighting abilities.
Then they remembered overhearing Frederic the artist saying there was a story about a white woman from the mid western plains that was raised by Indians and could ride the buffalo like a horse. It had to be Norny they thought. Who else was capable of that.
Of course the fact that Norny had been raised by the Indians and she believed in freeing the spirits with fire after death. She wasnít an arson, it was her religion.
Now they had to convince the courts of that.
"Well what about the arson charge and the horse theft?" Pete
So Norny goes on to tell them about Dr. John and Henry Willis.
"We have to find Dr. John. " Roscoe says.
"Where are you taking her?"
"Ballard. About thirty five miles from here. Their going to hold her there until her arraignment then theyíll take her over to Pacton for that."
"Listen Norny, weíre going to ride up towards Wells and find this Dr. John. Donít worry about anything weíll get this whole thing straightened out.
Peteís parting remarks to the Pinkertonís were, "You boyís treat this lady with respect. Or were going to be tracking you down."
So Pete and Roscoe charge on up the road heading for Wells in search of Dr.John. He was the only chance Norny had to convince the courts that she was innocent.
The world of the white man seem to be getting more complicated by the day. And as the days went by one after the other, and the life she had known gets farther and farther away from reality. Little things make her feel more like a stranger in a strange world as each mile goes by.