Just before dark DeWane pulled up in the truck. I left the mutt in the house and went out and climbed in. We set off for Shine Well about three miles down the road. we went pretty slow as it was getting dark and we only had one headlight and no tail lights at all. But this is country just gravel roads so what the hell. When we pulled up to the place there were speakers in boxes tied in the trees with country music blaring from them. There was a few pulpwood trucks and two cars and one pickup. We went on in , just a big barn with poles holding it up in the middle. Against the far wall was a long bar with several men standing with jars and jelly glasses they were drinking from. Dewayne said he needed to go see someone and I walked up to where the others were and seen what looked like a woman behind the bar. She said what you want, ahh… what y’all got? well we got beer and shine and iffin you want either you got to have your own glass as I don’t furnish them. I don’t have a glass. Then I thought in the truck there was a water glass and old jelly jar, I’ll be right back and went and got it upon returning I ask how much the beer is she said 35 cents or three for a dollar and I told her I only had one glass she shook her head and said well I will refill it twice. Ok that is what I want and gave her a dollar and the glass. It tasted awful it was warm and flat. But I didn’t want to cause a scene just drank her down and gave her the glass back. You know got to fit in with the crowd one of the boys and all.
Soon there was this old man talking to me said he was a mule trader. I like horses and told him about Jack and Red River County. I ain’t never rode a mule I told him. Got one right outside get your beer and come on out and I will let you ride ol’ Pete smooth as a buggy with springs that mule is and can go all day and night never slow down. So I got my last refill and headed out and sure enough there was a big old’ mule about 15 hands tall. I scratched him around his long ears and picked up his foot they got a funny shaped hoof. Yep they do, takes a good furrier to put shoes on them. Then I put the foot down and looked in its mouth just sorta pulled the lips apart and looked at his teeth and said looks to be about four still young. Yep just turned four so you know a little about animals. Yes done my fair share of horse trading. Well come over here and there was an old mule saddle he reached in took out a bottle and said hold your glass out and poured some of the clear stuff in my glass. See what you think of that stuff made it myself. I took a long swallow and it took my breath I was on fire it burned all the way down and when it hit the bottom started to boil I just sit down right there for a moment, Good stuff hu? Hell it’s like liquid fire. Said wait till its hits and about then I got this real warm sensation all over and felt plumb happy. Yea I like that stuff. I got me another swallow and it didn’t quite burn so bad this time. Bout that time I started thinking how much I missed old Jack I wondered how he was a fairing these days and wishing he could have shared in this new found wonderful life. Then Jessie ,that’s Pete’s owner said put the saddle on him and take him for a ride you will never own another horse after that. So I did and I really enjoyed the ride and just as I got back Old Jessie said I got to sell old Pete I need 35 dollars real bad and soon as I find someone that would take care of him I am going to get rid of him. I hate to but gotta have the money. I got 35 dollars right here. I think me and old Pete will get along just fine. So I paid him before he changed his mind.
I couldn’t wait to tell DeWine about the deal I just made Now I got me a Mule. Well he was none to enthused as he said Jessie sells that mule all the time he wont stay anywhere else but old Jessie’s house said he will jump a fence to get home I looked around but old Jessie was long gone and upon closer inspection I saw the saddle was gone too. Guess that wasn’t part of the deal. So We set off for home Dewayne said he would follow us to make sure we got there all right the one headlight shining the way.
When we got to the house I pilled some old tires up where the gate should be as it was growed to the fence. I’d have to fix that in the morning I turned Pete loose in his new home and went in to see about Scrappy and there he was under the covers.
I touched him and he growled but came out. I wasn’t feeling too good by now and wanted to just lay down took off the boots and climbed in. Scrappy went out and I heard him barking so I went on the porch just in time to see Pete with his ears back teeth bared right on Scrappy’s trail and he was moving and was up on the porch when Pete came sliding up to the porch. I think he bites Scrappy. We went to bed.
The next morning I was up early I needed water in a bad way. When I moved my head it felt like it would explode god I felt awful. Then I remembered Pete, what the hell am I going to do with a mule I bet he eats, well like a mule. I looked out the window and there he was eating the yard, that would keep him busy for a while. I hoped. I decided to skip the coffee and got some water and ate some cheese and crackers. My stomach was not too well. I noticed Scrappy was up and viewing Pete at a distance. never leaving the porch. I noticed Pete had ate most of the corner of the yard and there was an old pickup truck showing well at least part of it it had weeds growing out of the hood and behind the cab. I walked out and sure enough that was what it was and had four flats. Not really in that bad of shape just covered in vines. there was also a pump house and inside was a fairly new pump. I wish Dewayne was here I bet he would be excited. Well not about the mule but the most recent finds. Old Pete was eating like a goat. There was one good thing I could tell Dewayne about him he is clearing the place. Then I am going to have to feed him and that is going to cost.
About three o’clock Jo Ann and Dewayne showed up they brought the laundry and some clothes she thought I could use. DeWine helped me get the gate free from the fence as it had all grown together. Then He seen the Pickup and said Hell I forgot all about Jakes old truck, ran pretty good last I remember and we went over and had a closer look at it. Bet we can have it running in no time. That’s what we will do next weekend I will see what we are going to need besides getting the tires fixed. What is this ? pointing at the pump house its the pump house looks like it is pretty new. He opened it up and said we need to get the lights turned on. If we can stop you from the mule trading that is. He will probably be gone when we get in Monday, either wandered off or old Jessie will come steal him back.
Then they were leaving and I stood there in the yard looking at the truck thinking there is just something about that old truck that is just wrong, gives me this uneasy feeling plumb to the bone. I wish it would have just stayed covered up I could not quite put my finger on it, but there was something about it…
To Be Continued
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