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Roughriding Senorita
Saddle Pal

Posts: 2850
Registered: Jan 2007
 Posted January 25th, 2007 04:11 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Here is the first part of another one of my stories: Roy Rogers and the Smugglers of Santa Fe.

I base a lot of my characters on people from the movies; here is the "cast" for this story.

Roy, Gabby, SOP--themselves

Kay Macklin--Dale Evans

Sheriff Sullivan--Tim Casey (from In Old Cheyenne)

Jose--the Mexican cook that's in a lot of RR movies

Lopez--the Mexican general from Rough Rider's Roundup

May God keep you smilin' down a million happy trails!

"I'm not suffering from insanity...I'm enjoying every minute!!"
Roughriding Senorita
Saddle Pal

Posts: 2850
Registered: Jan 2007
 Posted January 25th, 2007 04:12 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Roy Rogers

and the

Smugglers of Santa Fe

By Nina Rose Hansen

Part One: Smugglers

The New Mexico sun was hot, as it beat down on the scrubland desert. Roy Rogers, Deputy Marshal, was riding patrol along the U.S.-Mexico Border. Bob Nolan, his good friend, rode next to him.
“So what’s up, Roy?” asked Bob.
Roy didn’t answer for a second. A flash of motion had caught his eye. He reined up his palomino stallion, Trigger, and stared intently at the spot where the movement had come from. Then his intent posture relaxed as he recognized the form of a coyote, trotting from brush clump to brush clump.
“It’s not really clear,” he replied then, nudging Trigger back into a walk. “There’s a lot of trouble with a group of tricky smugglers, going back and forth over the border. That’s part of the reason I asked you to come along on this ride today. I’m going to need help.”
Bob looked over at him. “Well, sure, Roy, you know us Pioneers are always ready to help.” Bob referred to the cowboy band he and five other men belonged to. “But what exactly is going on? It’s not like you to get all worried about stuff.”
Roy grinned fleetingly. “Maybe I’ve never come so close to being stumped on a case,” he admitted. “This is the layout. Somebody’s been smuggling valuable Indian jewelry and silver across from Mexico to the U.S., and then smuggling materials and other items from the U.S. to Mexico. Also, it looks like they could be running a underground railroad for crooks to get over the border fast.”
Bob frowned. “That does sound like a poser,” he agreed. “But you’ve rounded up smugglers before. How come this time it’s so hard?”
“This group’s smarter than blazes,” answered Roy ruefully. “And I’d bet a whole lot of stuff that they have some crooked law connections, because they manage to slip in and out of the country without even being seen.”
“Aha!” said Bob. “That’s why you want us to help.”
“Exactly,” grinned Roy. “Till I find out who these crooked law men are, I’m not going to trust anyone I don’t know. That leaves me pretty much on my own.”
“Well, we’re ready to help,” said Bob. “Got any clues yet?”
Roy shook his head. “So far, no one’s even seen any of these guys. The only way we even know they exist is because of all the untaxed jewelry that’s appearing on the markets, and the sudden disappearance of a lot of badly wanted criminals. That’s the biggest reason these crooks need catching. Every time one of these railroading groups sets up, crime soars, ‘cause the crooks know they’ve got a easy way out.”
“What are you going to do?” asked Bob.
“Let’s head for town, and get the rest of the boys wised up on this,” said Roy. “The more people we’ve got keeping their eyes open, the likelier we are to figure out something.” He grinned at Bob. “Thanks a bunch for riding with me and helping, Bob. I was feeling pretty down about this, but now I know we’ll get these guys!”

It didn’t take Roy and Bob long to get into town. The town was Coronado, a small little village only five miles from the border. Most of the inhabitants were inside their houses and stores, taking the midday siesta to escape the heat.
“Whew!” Roy whistled, wiping off his forehead and looking at the heat waves shimmering off the streets. “It doesn’t get much hotter than this. Where are the boys, Bob?”
Bob grinned. “One guess.”
Roy pretended to wince. “Why did I ask? They’re in the hotel, snoozing their heads off. Let’s go wake ‘em up.”
They rode their horses to the small hotel on the outskirts of town, which Bob and the Pioneers had rented for the season. Tying up their horses outside, they ran quietly up the back steps. The steps ended with a long balcony, which ran the length of the house. Sure enough, the shaded balcony was dotted at intervals with sleeping men.
The one closest to the stairs was red-headed Pat Brady, and Roy looked at him with a twinkle in his blue eyes. “Let’s see exactly how sound asleep they are.”
Moving silently, Bob and Roy tiptoed behind the Pioneers. There was a small bushy palm plant in the corner, and Roy and Bob slipped behind it. Then, they shot off their guns into the air together, and ducked low.
The balcony erupted. Everyone on it jumped up, grabbing for their gun belts. Pandemonium broke out as everybody shouted at once.
“What’s going on?”
“We’d better get out of here!”
Bob and Roy stepped out from behind the palm then. “Take it easy, boys,” announced Bob. “You’ll have to stop sleeping so soundly. We’re going on a case with Roy.”
Pat’s mouth, which had dropped open when he realized the trick, shut abruptly. He squirreled himself back down into his chair. “I’m not goin’ anywhere,” he growled. “Specially not crook huntin’.”
Bob took one step forwards and pulled Pat up from his chair. “Oh yes you are,” he announced. “And you’re going to listen right now while Roy explains.”
Pat opened his mouth to protest, but the sight if Bob’s determined face brought shut it again. “Okay, then,” he said brightly. “What’s up?”
With a grin, Roy explained. When he had finished, he said, “All that I need you to do is just snoop around and keep your eyes and ears wide open, for any clues at all. Will you do it?”
“Sure we will!” chorused the boys, including Pat.
“Thanks, boys,” said Roy.
“Say, Roy,” said Bob. “Why don’t you come sing with us tonight? We’re going to sing at Tamale José’s. That could be a place where someone might come in, right?”
Roy thought for a second. “Good idea, Bob!” he said then. “I’ll do it.”
He stood up then. “If we’re going to go singing tonight, I’ve got to go talk to the sheriff now. I promised I’d drop in sometimes today with any news.”
Sheriff Sullivan was in his office, going through papers, when Roy walked in. He tossed his hat on the sheriff’s cluttered desk. “I’m here!”
The sheriff’s head popped up. “Roy!” he exclaimed, his weather-beaten face lighting with a quiet light of pleasure. “Come on in.”
Roy sat down on the hard wooden chair opposite the sheriff’s desk. “Do you have any news, Sheriff?”
The sheriff shook his head. “Not if you mean a lead on the smugglers, no. But I have a report here from Albuquerque. There’s been a couple murders during a major raid on a bank, but all the crooks got away scot-free, and there haven’t been any leads.”
Roy’s face went grim. “I was worried about that,” he said. “Every time these smuggling railways start, people get hurt.”

“I was worried about that.”

The sheriff nodded. His face was grim too. “I know. Sure, and that’s why we’ve got to stop it.”
He sat back in his chair. “I’ve got a tiny clue from someone that a sheepherder some miles from here might have seen something. I’m riding out there tomorrow to find out.”
“Who gave you the clue?” asked Roy.
The sheriff grinned. “Gabby Whittaker.”
“Gabby Whittaker!” exclaimed Roy. “That old renegade? What was he doing?”
“I keep him posted about most of my cases,” answered the sheriff. “You know he used to be a ranger, and now, although he says he’s retired, he’s given me a whole heap of clues when I was stumped. I’ll see him tomorrow, and then I’ll ride out to investigate his clue.”
“Okay, sheriff,” said Roy. “Do you want someone along? I talked to Bob Nolan and his crew and they all said they’re ready for call.”
A slow, proud smile began to spread over the sheriff’s face. “You know, Roy,” he said, “I feel a whole lot less worried when I think of that. Somehow, knowing that you have loyal and trustworthy people on your side sure makes things easier.”
Roy nodded. “I know.” Then his glance fell on his watch. He stood up quickly. “Oh, I forgot! I said I’d meet the fellas by now. We’re going to Tamale Jose’s tonight to sing and try to pick up some clues.”
“Good idea,” said the sheriff. “I’ll be here tomorrow at this time, if you want to come. We’ll exchange notes on our sleuthing.”
“I’ll do that,” replied Roy, his hand on the door handle. “See you later, sheriff, and good luck.”
“Same to you, Roy,” answered the sheriff as Roy headed out the door.

Roy headed straight to the Pioneers’ hotel. He was still in the dusty clothes he’d been riding in, and he had to change before he could leave for Tamale José’s. The Pioneers had already left by the time he got there, and the rooms were quiet as Roy dressed.
Just as he finished, he spied a note on the dresser in Bob’s handwriting.

Roy—we’re heading out. I’ve got your guitar, so all you have to do is straddle Trigger and get a move on.

Roy headed out to take his advice. Even though cars and trucks were very much the norm out West, horses were still used extensively for traveling short distances, especially around small towns like Coronado. Lawmen patrolling the border, like Roy, couldn’t have gotten along without them. Their horses took them into places where a car or truck could never had gotten.
By the time Roy reached Tamale Jose’s, dusk was beginning to fall. After Roy slid off, he glanced at his watch. It was almost seven, curtain time for the Pioneers. Turning Trigger in one of the stalls reserved for performers’ horses, Roy hurried backstage.
Bob met him at the entrance. “Here,” he said, handing Roy his guitar.
“Thanks, Bob,” said Roy, taking it. “See anything suspicious?”
“No,” began Bob, but Pat interrupted him.
“Don’t ya believe him,” he admonished Roy, with a dark scowl at Bob. “There’s two guys in the audience who are crooks if I ever saw one.”
Bob rolled his eyes. “He’s gone loco again!”
Pat lowered his head and glowered at Bob. “Says you!”
Just then, another Pioneer called for Bob. He hurried off. Roy turned to Pat, his mouth pursed to contain a grin. “How about pointing these ‘crooks’ out for me?”
Pat pulled him over to the wings, where there was a peephole in the thin beaverboard. The lights were on over the tables where the audience was seated, and Roy could see clearly as his eyes followed Pat’s pointing finger.
When Roy saw who the two men were, he gasped through a laugh, “Pat! Good thing you didn’t play your hunch! Those two men are Dr. Moore, Coronado’s best medical man, and Mr. Santos from the grocery store! Didn’t you recognize them?”
Pat opened his mouth. No words came out. He shut it, and then opened it again. This time, he managed to squawk, “They—they’re both wearin’ cowboy hats. I ain’t never seen them in cowboy hats before! How was I supposed to recognize them?”
Roy suppressed a grin. “Never mind, Pat,” he said consolingly.
Pat suddenly snapped to his feet. “Oh, golly!” he sputtered. “I forgot to string my bass!” He darted off.
Roy let a chuckle escape him, as he watched Pat frantically squirreling around, trying to find his strings. Then he turned back to the peephole. Pat’s theory, harebrained as it had been, had given Roy an idea. The peephole would be the perfect place to watch the audience.
“Bob!” he called. Bob set down his guitar and came over.
“What’s up now, Roy?”
“Do you need me for the first song?” Roy asked him.
Bob shook his head. “Nope. It’s a chorus, and it’ll probably be cluttered as it is. Why did you want to know?”
Roy gestured to the peephole. “It’s just what I was looking for. I can look over the audience here, and then I’ll know who to keep an eye on.”
“Okay, Roy,” said Bob with a grin. He checked his watch. “I’ve got to get out there now.”
He grabbed his guitar, and called to the Pioneers to join him on the stage.
As the walked out, there was applause as Bob announced the title of the song. Then, things quieted down as the music began to play.
Backstage, Roy turned to the peephole. Although the lights had been dimmed inside the restaurant, the soft glow of the Mexican lanterns was sufficient for the work Roy had to do. His eye traveled from one table to the next, looking for something out of the ordinary. Then, something caught his attention.
At a table to the left of the restaurant were seated two men. For a moment, Roy stared at them, trying to figure out why they had caught his eye. Then he realized—almost everyone in the place had their attention fixed on the stage, but these two men did not. Their head were close together, and Roy could see by the movement of their lips that they were talking softly. Then, one of them pulled a large, folded sheet of paper from his pocket. Unfolding it and spreading it out on the table, he moved his finger along the paper.
Roy realized that, judging from the actions of the men, the paper was probably a map. He wished he could get a look at that map, and also have a chance to overhear what the men were saying.
Then he grinned ruefully to himself. He knew that he might be overdoing it, being suspicious of the men. They could be perfectly ordinary people, truckers, maybe, discussing nothing more law breaking than their next route. But, at the same time, Roy also was ready to grasp at straws for a clue. The smuggling situation was getting more and more dangerous, and more and more people were being hurt by it. So far, neither Roy nor the sheriff nor any of the other important men on the case had any clues. If there was the barest breath of a chance that the men might be involved in the smuggling, he had to follow it up.
Then, the audience began to clap, and Roy realized the Pioneers had finished their song. The two men looked up briefly as the noise began, and then went back to talking. As Bob and one other Pioneer came backstage, Roy got up from the peephole.
“See anything?” asked Bob, coming over to his side.
Roy nodded. “Nothing definite, but I did spot a couple of men I want to keep my eye on. No one else in the place looks even slightly suspicious. Now I’ve got them marked, I can come on out.”
“Good,” said Bob. “Got anything special you want to sing?”
“Just something we’ve done a lot,” answered Roy, slinging his guitar around his neck. “That way, I don’t have to concentrate on the music.”
They all went back out on stage again, then, and Bob struck up an easy, slow song. Roy played and sang and kept his eye on the men, but didn’t learn anything new. They stayed at the same table and talked and talked. For a half an hour, this went on—Roy playing and singing as he watched the men, who didn’t get up or even look up once.

For half an hour, Roy and the Pioneers played.

Then, Bob came over to Roy between songs. “We’re almost done here,” he said, showing his watch to Roy. “One more song and that’ll be it.”
Roy glanced over at the men; they were still looking at the map and talking. “Good,” he said. “I’m going to follow those two guys when they leave.”
The next song came on then, and Roy watched the men carefully for any sign of their departure. Suddenly, a small commotion near the front of the restaurant caught Roy’s eye.
José, the proprietor and a good friend of Roy’s and practically everyone else in Coronado, was piloting a young lady through the tables of the restaurant, heading for an empty table close to the stage. The girl was tall and slender, with shoulder length blonde curls. She was dressed in a dark tweed skirt, with a ruffled white blouse. José reached the table then, and pulled out a chair for her, then sat down as well. Both of them had their attentions fixed on the stage, although Roy could see that they were talking.
As soon as the Pioneers finished their last song, the audience clapped loudly. Through the noise, Roy stepped close to Bob. “I’m going to go down there and mix with the crowd,” he said in a low voice. “If the men go out, I’ll follow them.”
“You want us to come with you?” asked Bob, slinging off his guitar.
Roy shook his head. “No. It’ll be too obvious. I don’t know anything for sure, anyway. I just want to check up on them. If I find anything suspicious, I’ll call you boys in.”
He took off his own guitar. Bob reached for it. “Here, you’d better give that to me. I’ll take it back to the hotel with us.”
“Thanks, Bob,” said Roy gratefully, and then headed for the steps of the stage. He had barely gotten to the bottom, when José came bustling over to him.
“Roy! Señor Roy!”
Roy turned. “Oh, hi ya, José,” he greeted the man. “How’s things going?”
“Wonderful! Manifique performance! Now, Roy, there is a young lady here, who wishes to speak to you.” José gestured to the table far over, where the blonde girl Roy had seen was standing up, looking over at them.
“She wants to talk to me?” asked Roy, suddenly remembering the men. He glanced over in their direction, but people were now standing up and moving around, and his view was blocked.
“Si, Roy,” said José. “She is a young book writer, writing a book about the history of smugglers in Mexico and New Mexico. I told her you were a border inspector, and she wishes to talk to you. You come now, and I introduce you.”
Writing a book about smugglers! The words hit Roy like a physical blow. That was a coincidence! Then he shrugged the feeling off. Easterners were always coming out West, writing books about what they thought it was like.
While Roy had been thinking this, José had been firmly tugging him over to the table, next to which the girl was standing.
“Well, I asked you to introduce us, José,” she said now, smiling, “but I certainly didn’t expect that you’d have to drag Mr. Rogers over here.”
José deposited Roy in front of the table, and dusted his hands. “Oh, that is nothing,” he said briskly. “Señor Roy is often very busy. I think he was thinking of something just now, no?” Then he picked up the girl’s hand. “Señorita Kay Macklin, allow me to introduce you to Señor Roy Rogers.”
Roy sighed. “I’m sorry, Miss Macklin,” he said to the girl, “But I hardly think I can help you in the writing of your book. Meanwhile—”
She cut him off. “Oh, but I’m sure you can help,” she said smoothly. “I think you especially, Mr. Rogers, as a border inspector, can help. Surely, you must know much about smugglers. Perhaps, you are even trying to catch one right now. You certainly seem to be looking for someone.”
Roy had just been looking behind him again, trying to catch some glimpse of the men. At Kay Macklin’s words, which were spoken in a voice loaded with meaning, he turned back to face her abruptly. “What makes you say that?” he questioned sharply.

Kay smiled archly.

She smiled archly, her innocent green eyes revealing nothing. “Well, you’re looking all over the place. Did you promise to meet someone?”
At this exact moment, the crowd between Roy and the two men’s’ table cleared, and Roy could see across. Suddenly, he stared. The table was empty! The men were gone!
Without further words to either Kay Macklin or José, Roy headed for the men’s table, weaving through the crowd as fast as he could. When he reached it, his eyes darted around, looking for some sign of the two men. They were nowhere to be seen.
Suddenly, he felt a tug at his arm, and he turned quickly. Bob was standing there. “What’s up, Roy?” he asked. “You’ve been racing around like you can’t find someone. And what was with that pretty blonde girl?”
Roy frowned. “I don’t know,” he said quickly. “But I think there’s something weird going on. Bob! This is the table where those two men I told you about were sitting. They were here just a minute ago. We’ve got to try to find them, quick!”
Roy described the two men for Bob and best as he could. “Both were medium tall, and heavy built. Both were wearing dark cowboys hats, and one of the men had on a leather jacket.”
“I’ll do my best, Roy,” said Bob, but his face was doubtful. “Don’t count on anything.”
Roy grinned for a second. “I know, go ahead and say it. I’m grasping at straws, but right now I think we need to do that.” He headed for the door.
Once out in the street, Roy looked around. There were fewer people out here now, although there were still several. But, as Roy walked quickly along the streets, he knew for sure that none of the men he saw were either of the two men he was looking for.
Finally, after he’d searched every street in the entire town without success, he bumped up against Bob, back at Tamale José’s.
“Find anything?” asked Roy, pausing for a second to fix one of his spurs, which had come loose.
“Nope,” said Bob. “I even got Hugh and Pat out looking, and Shug’s inside making sure they don’t come in. No sign of them.”

Roy sighed.

Roy sighed. “Well, I guess it was just a wild hunch, anyway.” Then he frowned, thoughtfully. “But there was something else mighty funny that happened in there. You know that girl I was talking to?”
Bob nodded and grinned. “You sure didn’t look too happy about it, either!”
Roy pursed his mouth, still thinking. “Bob, she knew too much. José said she was a book write, writing about smugglers.”
“Smugglers!” repeated Bob. “That’s funny!”
“That’s what I thought,” said Roy, moving towards the door. “Let’s go in and see if she’s still around. She might be able to tell us a few things.”
Followed by Bob, Roy walked into the room. Most of the patrons were gone, leaving many tables bare. It was easy for Roy to look around the room, and see that the blonde girl was no longer there.
“I don’t see her,” said Bob.
“No, she’s not here,” answered Roy, heading for the back of the restaurant. “But José was talking to her, and he might be able to give us a tip. Come on, let’s go talk to him.”
They walked through the kitchen entrance into the huge steamy kitchen. Across the room, at the big stove, José was standing over a huge sizzling pan, smiling beatifically at the savory contents.
“Hey, José,” called Roy from the doorway. “Can you give us a second?”
José whirled around, and then saw Roy. “Oh, Roy! And Señor Bob! Come in, come in. I cannot leave my frijoles right now, but come in and sit down. Here, I give you some fresh corn bread.”
Roy and Bob sat down at the table, ready to partake of José’s bread, famous all across New Mexico.
After serving them, José cocked a keen eye at Roy. “Why did you vamoose out of there so fast, Roy, when I try to introduce you to Señorita Macklin?”
“I was trying to follow someone,” said Roy. “But I came back here, José, to talk to you about Miss Macklin. You talked for a while, right?”
“Si, si,” said José, nodding. “She told me she was the book writer, and she asked me if I knew of any law enforcers who she could talk to. I said that you were right there, on the stage, and then she asked me to introduce her. That is all.”
Roy nodded slowly. “She didn’t happen to tell you when she got into town, or where she was staying, did she?”
“Si! She had just gotten into town today. I know, because she apologized for her dusty gloves when she shook my hand, and said it was because she had just gotten off the bus.” José looked at Roy keenly. “Why do you wish to know all this?”
Roy thought for a second. He wasn’t worried about trusting José; he knew that he could do that. But it might not be the best idea to let anyone in on his suspicions.
On the other hand, José saw a lot of people every day. Having him helping them might be a big break, and right now, they needed one.
Roy made up his mind.
“I’m working on a smuggling case,” he said in a low voice. “You’ve read about the smugglers who are smuggling jewelry from Mexico, and supplies down? Well, I was watching two suspects in here this evening. Miss Macklin seemed to know too much about the whole thing.”
“Ahh!” said José, suddenly looking wise. “That is why you were in such a hurry!”
“Yes,” answered Roy. “As it was, they got away before I could get a lead on where they were going.”
“And you think Miss Macklin might have been trying to delay you.” said José. It was more of a statement that a question.
Roy nodded. “It looks like that could be right.”
“Well,” put in Bob, “it doesn’t seem to me that finding this girl will be much of a problem. There are only three hotels in Coronado, and you, Roy, as a deputy marshal, can get lists of everyone in them. Unless she’s using a phony name, we should be able to find her.”
“You’re right, Bob,” said Roy, getting up from his chair. “Jose, that bread was great. What do we owe you?”
José waved a big hand magnanimously. “Nothing, nothing. It is on the house. And, Roy, I will keep an eye out for both Señorita Macklin, and the smugglers you seek.”
Roy shook his hand gratefully. “We sure appreciate it, José,” he said, and then he and Bob left.
Once outside the restaurant, Roy stopped for a second under a streetlight and glanced at his watch. “It’s almost ten o’ clock,” he said. “We’ll have to put off going to see ‘Señorita’ Macklin till tomorrow.”
Bob yawned. “I was hoping you’d say that. Let’s make it an early night. I know you’re ready for more action in the morning.”
“You bet I am,” grinned Roy. “The sheriff told me that he had a clue, and the he was going to try to pick up on it. He said he’d be back in town be nightfall tomorrow. We should have more definite information then.”

The next morning, Roy woke before any of the others. Stretching, he swung out of bed and dressed quickly. Today, he had patrol duty only in the morning, so he was going to use the afternoon for scouting out around town, as well as riding out on the desert looking for clues.
He prepared himself a quick breakfast of bacon, eggs, and some of Pat’s leftover biscuits in the small kitchen. As soon as he’d made coffee, he sat down and sat quickly. Washing the dishes only took a few moments, and then he headed out to see to Trigger’s breakfast.
Inside the barn, Roy measured out feed for Trigger, and tossed hay to the jealously whinnying other horses.
While the stallion was eating the oats Roy had given him, Roy busied himself in checking his saddle over for cracks or other problems. He usually did that twice a week, but since he’d been so busy lately, he hadn’t done it for a while.
By the time he had the leather checked, Trigger was done with his meal and ready to go. Roy saddled him up, and then they headed out through town to the desert scrubland around the border.

For the first hour of riding, there was nothing to be seen on the desert. Not even the gray movement of a coyote, or the slither of a rattlesnake. Then, from up ahead, Roy saw a small dust cloud moving his way. He’d seen enough of them to know that this cloud was caused by a swiftly-moving horse.
Roy kneed Trigger into a gallop in the direction of the dust cloud. In a few moments, Roy recognized one of the patrol guards from the Mexican side of the border.
“Hola, Señor Rogers!” shouted the rider, a man Roy had seen several times before.
“Hi ya, Lopez!” Roy called back. “What’s up?”
Lopez drew rein as he came alongside Roy. “There’s a herd of sheep that are stampeding across the border,” he explained quickly, his dark, tanned face flushed and worried under his sombrero. “Their herders cannot control them, and we need riders to help turn them back.”
“Oh, sure, I’ll come,” said Roy. He turned Trigger to follow Lopez, and the Mexican patrol guard led the way back where he had come from.
Roy urged Trigger to go faster, then checked him as they matched the pace of Lopez and his wiry little paint mustang. Stampedes of cattle, sheep, and other animals across the border was a common occurrence, but one that did pose a real problem, since neither country wanted possible diseases being transported over the border.
“Are they Mexican or American sheep?” Roy called ahead to Lopez.
“Mexican!” came Lopez’s shouted answer.

Roy urged Trigger to go faster.

Then they topped a rise ahead, and Roy could see, down a slope, the milling white mass of sheep, racing across the border from Mexico in the U.S. There were many herders on foot, and a few on horseback, racing around, trying to control the crazed sheep. The place where they had stampeded was a rocky section of the border, with small canyons and many huge rock formations. Roy realized that if the sheep were not turned quickly, they would get into the rocks and become lost.
With a wild yell, he headed Trigger down the slope, straight for the sheep. Holding onto the reins with one hand, he whipped out one of his guns with the other and began firing above his head, hoping that the shots would scare the sheep into turning.
Then he and Trigger were in the thick of the herd. The air was thick with dust, making it hard to see or breathe. But the sheep were turning! Headed back towards Mexico! Trigger was everywhere at once. Without needing Roy’s guidance, the stallion was darting and dodging, here and there, back and forth. Every time a sheep swerved out of line, Trigger was there to turn it back. Through all the dust and noise, Roy realized that Lopez, on his paint, was also heading the sheep back.
Finally, the sheep were all over the border. Amidst the many shouts of “Gracias, señor! Gracias! Muchos gracias!” from the grateful sheepherders, Roy stopped Trigger on his side of the border.
Both he and his horse were panting, tired from the intense work. Roy saw Lopez, across the border, wave his hand. Roy lifted his arm in salute, and then waited till the dust cloud surrounding the sheep disappeared into the distance.
There, that would be all right now, he thought. “Good boy, Trigger!” he said aloud, stroking the stallion’s neck. The words came out hoarse and cracked, and Roy realized that, after having been breathing thick dust for a half an hour, he was very thirsty. He reached back of his saddle for his water canteen. His fingers did not find it.
Roy turned to look, only to see that the leather straps that had tied the canteen to his saddle were broken. He sighed in annoyance. He’d had that canteen for over three years, and there were a lot of memories attached. It must have fallen sometime during the wild work of rounding up the sheep.
For an instant, Roy thought about looking for it, and then realized that that wouldn’t do any good. Trigger’s head was low, and the horse was clearly even thirstier than Roy. Finding the canteen would take time, and Trigger deserved water right away.
With a last backward look over his shoulder, Roy headed Trigger back to town, across country. He’d ridden this area many times, so he knew of some shortcuts.
“Let’s go home through the canyon, Trigger,” he said. “It’ll be cooler that way.”
The canyon ran through the desert for almost five miles, coming out a mile or so from Coronado. The river that had carved it had dried up, and many people from the area around Coronado used the canyon to get closer to an area, rather than ride through the burning heat of the desert.
As soon as Trigger slid down the steep bank of the canyon, the shade of the rocky walls slid over Roy and his horse. Roy sighed in relief. He could even stand being thirsty now. Trigger was revived by the cool shade, too. His head came up, and with his usual spunk, he broke into an easy trot, knowing they were headed for home and a good, long, drink.
The canyon did not run straight through the land, but, following the curves of the old river, it swerved and zigzagged, back and forth. As Trigger carried him easily along, Roy sat back in the saddle and relaxed. Suddenly he snapped to attention.
From up ahead, Roy saw two riders disappearing around a bend in the canyon. Must be a couple of ranchers from around here, thought Roy. Trigger had seen the horses and riders, too, and he trotted faster, eager to have some company.
In a moment, they rounded the same curve of the canyon that the two men had disappeared around. They were now in view again, a few hundred yards in front of Roy.
Trigger saw them at the same second Roy did. Throwing up his head, he let out a deep whinny. The men whirled in their saddles. Roy lifted an arm to wave, but then stopped in shock.
With a hoarse shout, both men spun back in their saddles. Digging their heels into their mounts sides, they raced forwards.
Trigger leaped to follow them, but Roy reined him back. What on earth? Why had the two men panicked when they’d seen him?
Then an idea formed inside his mind. He opened his reins and let Trigger jump forwards. Bending low over the stallion’s neck, Roy rode him faster and faster, in pursuit of the men.

Roy galloped Trigger up through the canyon.

In the split second of thinking, he had put together a wild theory. The only reason he could think of for someone to light out like that was that they knew who Roy was, and that they did not want to meet up with a deputy marshal. In that case, they must have some good reason. The best reason Roy could think of was that they were somehow involved with the smugglers!
Even as Roy thought this, his eyes were searching ahead of him, looking for the men. Then he saw them. They were just ahead, their horses wildly galloping. Roy knew that the end of the canyon, a long, shallow rise, was just ahead. Once the men were out on flat range, they’d be almost impossible to catch.
“Come on, Trigger!” Roy yelled. The big stallion leveled his body and drove his powerful legs into the ground, surging forwards at top speed. They were gaining ground fast! The two men’s horses were good animals, fast and surefooted, but few horses could match Trigger’s speed, and Roy’s light weight in the saddle was an advantage. He knew now that they were going to catch the men before they reached the end of the canyon!
Only a hundred feet separated Roy from the men. Taking a deep breath, he shouted, “Stop!”
His words were swirled away by the wind, but the men heard them. One of them suddenly twisted in his saddle and Roy saw the glint of sun on steel. A gun!
Roy flattened himself against Trigger’s neck at the exact second the gun was fired. He heard the bullet whistle above his head, where he’d been a moment before.
All right, then! If gunplay was what the men wanted, gunplay was what they were going to get. Roy whipped his pistol out.
“Thanks,” he muttered to himself. Under law, he had had no right to shoot before, but now he had all the right in the world.
Another gunshot from ahead! This one was closer. Raising his head just enough to see, Roy shot, aiming for the gunman’s hand.
The bullet whizzed from the gun and connected. He saw the gun fly into the air, as the rider’s howled in pain. At that moment, they reached the end of the canyon. The two men’s horses plunged up the rise, just ahead of Roy and Trigger.
Then, Trigger lurched underneath Roy, his left front leg buckling underneath him. With a wild surge, he caught himself from falling. Roy reined him to a stumbling halt, and was out of the saddle in an instant.
“Easy! Easy, boy,” he soothed the trembling horse. “Let’s look at your leg.”
Roy ran his hand down the leg, and then paused. He saw what had caused Trigger to stumble. The gun he had shot out of the fleeing man’s hand had fallen on a large piece of shale, and Trigger’s foot had come down squarely on it.
Roy picked the gun up, and stuffed it in his belt. He wanted it for later, but right now he had to find out if Trigger was all right. He glanced up at the top of the rise, and saw the dust cloud of the two men disappearing over the top. They were gone now.
He pushed that out of his mind as he led Trigger a few steps. He sighed in relief as he saw that Trigger stepped firmly and evenly. He had stopped trembling now, and was standing square.
“You’re all right, boy!” sighed Roy in relief, rubbing Trigger’s face. “Good boy! Sorry I got you into trouble there.”
He voice dropped as he apologized, and Trigger sensed the meaning of the words. Turning around, he pushed his head into Roy’s shoulder, whickering very low.
“Thanks, boy,” said Roy, accepting Trigger’s gesture. “Come on, now.”
Instead of mounting, he picked up Trigger’s dragging reins and began walking up the slope. The men were gone now, and then was no chance of catching them, so it was only fair that he give Trigger an easier time going up the hill than he would have if he were carrying Roy.
Once at the top, Roy swung into the saddle, and then looking around. There was no sign of the men he had been chasing.
“Well, that’s another lead gone,” he said, turning Trigger towards town. “Guess I’ll have to start all over again.”

May God keep you smilin' down a million happy trails!

"I'm not suffering from insanity...I'm enjoying every minute!!"
Leah B.
Saddle Pal

Posts: 2746
Registered: Feb 2006
 Posted January 25th, 2007 04:39 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Thanks for posting that! I will read it as soon as I finish the other one you wrote!
Hot Heads and Cold Hearts never solved anything.

Vote for the Next Holiday Classic at
Brenda Castilla

Posts: 545
Registered: Nov 2005
 Posted January 25th, 2007 08:29 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Some people have the ability to put into words a script. There are many people on this MB with an array of talent . There are some on here that have beautiful voices and I am thankful I have had privilege to hear one sing/play.
Saddle Pal

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Registered: Apr 2006
 Posted January 26th, 2007 10:48 AM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Thank you for posting that! It was great, and I can hardly wait to read the next part!
'Weep not but think that I have past
Before thee o'er a sea of gloom
Have anchored safe and rest at last
Where tears and mourning cannot come' ~Emily Bronte

My Blog...
Deputy Marshal

Posts: 364
Registered: Dec 2005
 Posted January 26th, 2007 12:20 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
That's great Senorita! I didn't want it to end!
"...there's nothin' in life that's worth doin', if it cain't be done from a horse..."
Roughriding Senorita
Saddle Pal

Posts: 2850
Registered: Jan 2007
 Posted January 27th, 2007 01:10 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
I'm so glad everybody liked it! I'll post the next part in a little bit.
May God keep you smilin' down a million happy trails!

"I'm not suffering from insanity...I'm enjoying every minute!!"
Saddle Pal

Posts: 2154
Registered: Aug 2006
 Posted February 1st, 2007 03:23 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Hey, Brenda Castilla, I'm obviously not the one with the good voice! I can write pretty good, but not sing! I mean, I like singing, but I've got the biggest problem. Try as I might I can't stay on tune. What a problem, huh? I think her stories are good too. Just wait 'til you read her LOST VALLEY LANDGRAB and her DEATH IN THE VALLEY! They're so-o-o-o-o good! And I've read the first few paragraphs of her SPANISH JEWELERY, and that one's really good too!
Be without fear in the face of your enemies. Be brave and upright that God may love thee. Speak the truth even if it leads you to your death. Safeguard the helpless. That is your oath. (strikes him across the face) That is how you shall remember it. Rise a knight!
Knighting out of Kingdom of Heaven

You will listen to me. Listen! The Bretheren will still be looking to us, the Black Pearl, to lead. And what will they see? Frightened bilge rats aboard a derelict ship? No! No, they will see free men and freedom! And what the enemy will see is the flash of our cannons! They will hear the ring of our swords and they will know what we can do. By the sweat of our brows, and the strength of our backs, and the courage of our hearts. Gentlemen, hoist the colors.
Elizibeth our of Pirates of the Caribbean, At World's End
Roughriding Senorita
Saddle Pal

Posts: 2850
Registered: Jan 2007
 Posted February 1st, 2007 04:34 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Ooh, RRFan, you're buttering me up something terrible! Go read your own stories! They're just as good--and you'll make me less embarrassed!

For all the rest of you, thanks so much for liking my story! Here is part two--but first I'm going to post some pics that belong in the first part. Okay?

"Every time these rackets start someone gets hurt."

For half an hour, Roy and the Pioneers played.

Kay smiled archly.

That's not all the pics, but it's all I could find in a hurry! (I was trying to look through my 800+ pics!) I'll post more when I can find them. Now for the story.

May God keep you smilin' down a million happy trails!

"I'm not suffering from insanity...I'm enjoying every minute!!"
Roughriding Senorita
Saddle Pal

Posts: 2850
Registered: Jan 2007
 Posted February 1st, 2007 04:38 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Part Two: Friend or Enemy?

Even though Roy kept Trigger to a walk, they made the mile back to town in no time at all. Before doing anything else, Roy headed Trigger for the public watering spot, on the edge of town.
As soon as they got there, Roy slid off, and Trigger thrust his muzzle deep into the water, drinking in long gulps.

Trigger drank in deep gulps.

“Take it easy,” said Roy, pulling Trigger’s head back up. The stallion snorted in protest, but Roy was firm.
“I’ll give you more when we get back to the hotel,” he said. “You’ve just been running around. Too much water would give you one whopper of a bellyache.”
He swung back up, and rode through town to get to the Pioneer’s hotel. As he turned into the gate, he heard music coming from the porch. Clearly, they were practicing.
Without waiting to find out, he headed Trigger back to the barn. As he rode around the corner of the house, Bob—sitting on the front porch—happened to see him.
“Hey, fellas! Roy’s back!”
The Pioneers came running out of the house, over to the barn where Roy was letting Trigger drink again.
“Where’ve you been all this time?” demanded Pat. “You said you had only morning patrol today! It’s four-thirty now!”
“Hush up, Pat,” ordered Bob sternly.
Roy grinned tiredly. “I had a little excitement,” he said, his voice cracking a little. “Hold on before you ask me anything else. I can’t talk right.”
Hugh stepped forwards. With his usual quietness, he had sized up the situation and was acting accordingly. “I’ll take care of Trigger, Roy,” he said in his deep voice. “Go on in and get a drink.”
Roy gave him a grateful smile, handed him Trigger’s reins, and headed into the house.
After a long drink of water, he looked around at the Pioneers, waiting to hear what had happened.
“Well?” demanded Pat.
Roy explained about the sheep stampede, and then the two men that he had chased. “They were up to something, that was clear,” he finished. “I’ve never seen two crooks run so scared so fast before.”
“Whatever they’d done against the law must’ve been pretty bad,” said Bob. “Think they were some of the smugglers, Roy?”
Roy shook his head. “No. I did at first, but now, I’ve got another theory. I think those two men were a couple of the crooks that the smugglers have been shifting back and forth across the border. The smugglers wouldn’t have had to run like that. How was I supposed to know that they were smugglers? No, I think that the two men were scared I’d recognize their faces from wanted posters, maybe.”
“Did you get close enough to see anything of them?” asked Bob.
“Not for sure,” Roy told him. “We were moving at a good clip by the time I got close. But—” He reached in his belt and pulled out the gun Trigger had tripped on. “I did get this.”
The men clustered around. “Hey!” suddenly squawked Pat. “I know that type of gun! That’s the special make they use in San Antonio Prison!”
Roy glanced sharply at him. “You sure about that, Pat?”
“Sure I’m sure!” Pat indignantly declared. “I’ve seen ‘em before!”
“During your stay in jail?” needled Shug.
Pat glared at him. “I never been in jail, and you know it!”
“No, I don’t,” drawled Shug. “It’s news to me.”
Pat made a lunge at him, but Bob grabbed him by the collar. “Quit it, boys!” he said sternly. Pat subsided, with a last glare at Shug.
“Pat, if this gun is a San Antonio prison gun,” said Roy slowly, “than that’s the break we’ve been looking for. It proves that the smugglers are operating around here, and smuggling crooks escaping from prison.”
Bob rubbed his chin. “If only we knew how the smugglers were getting their stuff back and forth over the border!”
Hugh, who had come in a few minutes before, now spoke. “The border guards have been checking every vehicle, right?”
Roy nodded. “I had that from the sheriff. Of course, it’s possible that some of them are crooked, but I somehow don’t think so. The sheriff thinks that the actual border guards are on the level, although neither of us know about the patrolmen. But, the point is that no one has any idea of how the men are getting in and out.”
He glanced at his watch, then stood up. “I’m going to play that hunch I had yesterday, about Miss Macklin.”
“Did you find out where she was?” asked Pat.
“Nope,” said Roy, with a grin. “That’s where you boys come in. Two of you go to every hotel in town. If Miss Macklin is there, one of you start talking to her, and the other one come find me.”
“I think we can handle that,” chuckled Bob. “Where are you going to be?”
“I’ll take Pat and find out whether she’s in the Buenos Noches Hotel,” said Roy. He picked up his hat and headed out the door. “Come on, Pat!”
The Buenos Noches hotel was only a few blocks away from the hotel where the Pioneers stayed, so it only took Roy and Pat a few moments to get there.
Roy walked through the door, and went over to the desk clerk. “Can you tell me if a Miss Kay Macklin is registered here?”
The desk clerk opened his register. “Just a moment.” He ran his finger down the rows, muttering the names to himself.
“This is easy,” said Roy out of the corner of his mouth to Pat.
Just then, the clerk looked up. “Ah, here it is,” he said, pushing the register over so Roy could see the entry. “A Miss K. Macklin is registered on the first line.”
Roy turned the books so he could read it. Sure enough, there was the entry, Miss K. Macklin.
“Thanks,” he said, noting the room number, 24. “That’s the girl we’re looking for. Is she in right now?”
The clerk frowned. “I took over just an hour ago,” he said. “I don’t know if she’s in or not. Shall I ring her room for you?”
Roy thought for a second. “Yes,” he said then.
The clerk picked up his desk phone and dialed. He waited, and waited, and waited. Then he set the phone back down. “There’s no answer,” he said. “She must be out. Would you like to leave a message?”
Pat opened his mouth. “We sure—” Before he could say more, Roy brought his foot down hard on his toe.
“Ouch!” yelled Pat, grabbing his foot in his hands and dancing around the room.
Roy spun around, pretending to be terribly surprised. “Why, what’s wrong?” he asked quickly. “Did you stub your toe?”
Pat glared at him. “I sure did!” he growled. “Against your boot!”
“Oh, I’m terribly sorry,” said Roy sympathetically. “Let me help you out.” He grabbed hold of Pat’s arm with a force that made Pat groan, and propelled him out of the office.
“I don’t think we’ll leave a message,” he called over his shoulder. “We’ll be back later.”
Once outside and safely out of hearing range, Pat jerked his arm out of Roy’s grasp and faced him angrily. “What’s the idea of stepping on my boot toe?” he demanded.
Roy held in a grin. “Sorry, Pat,” he said, “but I had to get your attention before you said something. I just had an idea. Having Miss Macklin out is a lucky break.” He looked around the street. Seeing nobody, he grabbed Pat’s arm again and tugged him behind the hotel. “Come on!”
Pat hung back. “Whoa! What are we doin’?”
“We’re going to search Miss Macklin’s room,” said Roy.
A look of absolute determination crossed Pat’s face. “Last time we searched someone’s room, I got shot,” he reminded Roy. “I’m not searchin’ any room.”
“You didn’t get shot,” corrected Roy, “your hat did. You’ll be just fine.”
“Well, aren’t you going to get a search warrant?” protested Pat.
“No time,” answered Roy. “She might get back any minute. Come on, let’s go.”
He looked up. The back of the hotel had balconies all over it, but as far as Roy could see, none of them had people on them.
“How are you goin’ to tell which one is her room?” asked Pat logically, grasping at this straw of hope.
Roy had just been wondering that himself, but then he noticed something that made him grin. He pointed. “By that.”
‘That’ was a white, ruffled blouse hanging off one of the balconies. Roy recognized it immediately as the shirt Kay had been wearing the night he’s met her in Tamale José’s.
Followed by a muttering Pat, Roy walked beneath the balconies. He measured the distance from the ground to Kay’s balcony. “Stand on my shoulders,” he ordered.
Pat took several steps backwards. “No way!”
Roy looked at him in complete exasperation. “Well, then, you come over here so I can stand on your shoulders!”
Pat came over willingly. He crouched, hands on knees, and Roy stepped up on his shoulders. Wobbling a little, he stood up as Pat straightened. “Ow!” yelled Pat. “I got a crick in my neck!”
“This was your choice,” reminded Roy, grabbing hold of the balcony and swinging himself up. Lying on his stomach, he reached back down to catch hold of Pat’s hands.
With a good deal of groaning on Pat’s part, Roy pulled him to the floor of the balcony. Then, while Pat was picking himself, Roy walked quietly over to the French doors opening onto the balcony. He tested them with a careful hand, and they opened under his touch.
“She left the doors open for us,” he said dryly, and slid inside.
Pat followed after him. “What if this isn’t her room?” he protested.
Roy sighed. He headed over to the room door that opened onto the hall, and unlocked it from the inside. Sticking his head out, he inspected the brass numbers on the door.
Clearly blazoned on the outside was a 24.
Roy pulled his head back in. “It’s the right room, all right. Now, go through her stuff. Look everywhere you can think of for some papers, or something like that. But make sure you don’t mess anything up.”
“Don’t worry,” said Pat grimly. “I won’t!”
Roy grinned, and then went over to the desk. As he had expected, there was nothing in it. From what he’d seen of Miss Kay Macklin, she wasn’t the type to leave her documents in plain view.
Pat was rummaging through the closet, muttering to himself as he went through the clothes. Roy noticed that most of them were jeans and riding shirts, not dresses or skirts such as most women tourists brought.
“Hey!” exclaimed Pat suddenly. “Look at these!”
Roy went quickly to his side, as Pat held up a pair of heavy cow skin work gloves.
“What on earth does a gal want with these?” demanded Pat.
“Maybe to do some heavy work,” said Roy grimly. “Put ‘em back, Pat.”
He turned to the bed. Running his hands along it, he felt for any lump that might mean something hidden in it, but there was nothing. He turned then to go search in the bathroom, but then suddenly stopped. “Hey, Pat!” he said. “I just realized something! If Miss Macklin’s a book writer, where’s her typewriter?”
Pat pulled his head out from the closet. “Maybe she uses a pencil,” he said.
“Uh-uh,” said Roy. “Writers have to typewrite their stuff to get it published. No, she’s no book writer, that’s one sure thing.”
He turned again, and then something in the shadows near the head of the bed caught his eye. He leaped forwards, and grabbed a thin, brown satchel from behind the head of the bed.
“Come out of there, Pat!” he hissed. “I’ve got what we’re looking for.”
Pat wriggled out of the closet, and then came over to hang over Roy’s shoulder, as he unbuckled the satchel. The first thing that caught Roy’s eye was a thick bundle of papers. He pulled them out and opened them.
For an instant, he couldn’t believe his eyes. The first page was a list of people in Coronado, along with a description and information about their jobs, homes, etc. Roy saw his own name halfway down the sheet, together with some facts about him and his career.
Pat was making gulping sounds behind him. “How the dickens did she get this?” he finally choked.
“I don’t know, Pat,” said Roy, “but it looks like we might have everything we need to arrest a certain Miss Kay Macklin.”
“Hey!” Pat suddenly squawked, as his hand shot into the satchel. It came out clenched tight, and then he opened it under Roy’s nose. “Lookee this!”
Roy stared. On Pat’s hand was a silvery badge. Engraved on the badge were the words, Private Detective.
Slowly, Roy picked up the badge, and turned it over. Tucked in the back was a tightly folded paper. Roy drew it out and opened it. It read:

Kefner Detective Agency

Private Detective

Name: Katherine (Kay) Macklin
Age: 25
Physical Description: Blonde hair, green eyes, 5’3” tall.
Enrolled: June 27, 1950
Signature: Katherine Macklin
Police Chief Signature: James S. Fox, New York Chief of Police

Roy folded the paper up. “Well, that explains a lot,” he said. “She’s a detective. That’s why she knew what she did. I wonder why she’s involved with the smuggling case?”
Pat looked around the room. “Uh-oh,” he said. “Now look at the trouble we’ve gotten into! If she catches us, we’re going to be done for!”
At the exact moment, they heard a whistle coming from down the hall. Both Pat and Roy froze. The whistler stopped in the front of the door, which Roy had forgotten to lock. He saw a key being inserted, and then jerked out. The door flew open.
Kay Macklin stood on the threshold.
“Yikes!” yelled Pat at the top of his lungs. He raced for the window and flung himself out onto the balcony and over the edge.
Roy’s attention was fixed on Kay Macklin. She’d obviously been out riding, for she was dressed in jeans and a denim shirt. But he didn’t have time to think about that. Her face was changing swiftly from shock to anger. Two bright spots of red began in her cheeks. Her voice was low.
“What are you doing in my room?”

“What are you doing in my room?”

Roy stood up. “Miss Macklin, there seems to have been a mistake—”
She cut him off, as she took a step closer, her eyes shooting sparks. “There is going to be no mistake in what I’m going to do to you! Some law officer you are!” Her voice was rising, but then it quieted down. “Let’s see your search warrant, Marshal.”
From under the balcony came a wail in Pat’s voice. “I told you we should have got one!”
Roy took a deep breath. “Miss Macklin, I searched your room with the intent of finding incriminating evidence so I could arrest you,” he said steadily. He hoped that would get her attention, and make her listen to him. It certainly did.
“What for?” She spit the words out of her mouth like they were rocks.
“For smuggling criminals, and for being an accessory to murder,” said Roy bluntly.
His words didn’t faze her. She smiled sarcastically. “Why don’t you try it?”
Roy reached down and handed Kay her badge. “Because I found this,” he said. “I’d like to explain, Miss Macklin—”
She cut him off again. Pointing to the window, she said, “Get out of here the way you came, before I count to three. If you do not, I’ll arrest you, for illegal breaking and entry without a warrant. And believe me, I’ll prosecute.”
Roy opened his mouth to again try to explain, but she held up her hand. “One…”
Roy sighed. He went over to the French doors, walked out onto the balcony, and swung himself over. As he touched ground, he heard the doors slam over his head.
“Whew!” he whistled to himself. Yet, he realized Kay had some reason for being mad. He looked around for Pat. There was no sign of him.
“Well, I’d better head back and tell the Pioneers they can call off their search,” said Roy to himself, suddenly feeling tired. It had been a long, somewhat disappointing day. He had not learned anything new on the case, and he had made an enemy—one that looked like to stay an enemy.
Then he remembered that the sheriff had promised he was going to be back by this time. This thought put new energy into Roy, and he decided to stop there before going back to the hotel.
He didn’t knock before entering the office, but walked right in—then he stopped in surprise. There was no one at the desk. “Sheriff!” called Roy.
There was no answer.
“He must no be back,” said Roy to himself, a frown of worry on his forehead. “But he said he’d be back here before nightfall tonight…”
Wondering, and a little worried, Roy went out of the office and walked through town to get to the hotel. When he opened the door, the Pioneers were all gathered around. They jumped to their feet when he came in.
“Roy!” exclaimed Bob. “Where’ve you been? Did you find anything out?”
Roy’s eyes traveled quickly around the room. “Isn’t Pat here?” he asked.
Bob shook his head. “No, we haven’t seen him since he went with you. What’s up?”
Roy grinned tiredly. “He’s probably still running scared,” he said, and then explained what had happened.
“Well, you have had a day,” was Bob’s comment. “Come on in. We’ll have dinner, and then do something about all this stuff.”
Roy followed him into the house. “I just wish I knew why Sheriff Sullivan isn’t back yet. He said he was going to be back by this evening at the latest. It’s not like him not be somewhere when he said he would.”
“I know what you mean,” said Bob. “But I wouldn’t worry about him yet. Wait till tomorrow. If he’s still not back, or if there’s no word, then we can worry.”
Roy grinned. “You’re right. And I know I should stop worrying about him. It’s just because I care, I guess. And I know these crooks would go to a long way not to get caught.”
Roy’s mood lightened as they made supper together. When it was all on the table, Bob looked over at Roy. “Now, where on earth is Pat? It’s not like him to not be here when it’s time to eat. In fact, I’ll bet this is the first time he’s been late for a meal in ten years.”
A grin spread over Roy’s face, as he remembered the look of sheer terror on Pat’s face when he had seen Kay in the doorway of her room. Then he sobered. “Maybe I should go look for him—” he began, but at the moment the telephone in the hall rang.
“I’ll get it,” he called over his shoulder, heading for it.
“Hello—Roy Rogers?” came a hesitant voice on the line.
Roy stopped in amazement. It was Kay Macklin’s voice!
“This is Roy,” he said, getting back his voice.
“Roy—I—someone’s been talking to me, explaining what happened—and why you were in my room earlier. I—I called because I wanted to apologize for blowing up like that. I should—should have given you a chance to explain.”
“Don’t worry about it,” said Roy easily. “I wasn’t too surprised that you were mad.”
“Should I get mad about that?” she asked, laughing.
“No!” joked Roy. “But now, I’m dying to know—who explained to you?”
She hesitated on the line for a second. “He asked me not to reveal his name.”
“Well, I—” At that moment, the door ahead of Roy burst open, and Pat came hustling in. At the sight of Roy on the phone, he slid to a stop.
“I didn’t think she’d call that fast!”
That was all the clue Roy needed. “Pat Brady!” he exclaimed, then into the phone, “Kay, was it Pat who talked to you?”
“How did you guess?” she gasped.
“Too long for over the phone,” said Roy. “Tell you what. I’d like to talk to you about a lot of things, so how about you come over here to where I’m staying for dinner? I live with the Sons of the Pioneers, that cowboy band.”
“I’d like that,” said Kay, after only a moment. “I’ll be over in a little bit.”
Roy hung up the phone and confronted Pat. “Boy, I wish I had your persuasive powers! What did you tell her?”
Pat curled up his neck, and squirmed uncomfortably. “It was plain mean the way she got all mad at you,” he said finally, his eyes shifting away from Roy’s. “So I just went back after a while, and sort of told her the facts.”
“Just told her the facts, eh?” drawled Roy. “Remind me to learn how to do it.”
The Pioneers poked their heads out then. They had heard Pat’s voice, and for five minutes, he had to suffer through some of the worst teasing of his life.
“Some pal you are!” declared Bob. “Running out on Roy like that!”
Shug nodded his head mournfully. “And from a girl, too! Scared spitless.”
“Scared spitless?” demanded Pat. “Me?”
“Yeah, you,” put in Tim. “I’d love to see how fast you run from a real bad guy!”
“Well—well—” sputtered Pat, his face going from red to purple to pale.
Roy grinned then, and stepped in. “Okay, okay. You all have points. But, Pat did something afterwards which, considering, required more bravery than facing an entire gang of bad guys.”
“What?” chorused everyone.
Just then, there came a knock on the door. Roy reached over and opened it. Kay Macklin stood there, looking a little uncomfortable.
“I think Miss Macklin here will tell you,” said Roy, drawing Kay into the room. “Kay, the fellas were kind of giving Pat a little bit of a ribbing, and I was just about to tell them what he told you. How about you do it instead?”
She flushed a little. “Well—earlier this evening, I came into my room to find Roy and Pat there, going through my things. I—I got kind of fired up—” here Pat choked “—and I said some things I shouldn’t have. Well, Pat came back afterwards and coaxed me into listening to him, while he told me the reasons for it.”
At this, everyone turned to face Pat, new respect on their faces. This was too much —he couldn’t stand it. His face turned beet red, and he dived into the kitchen.
Everyone laughed, breaking the tension. “Kay—by the way, I guess I’ve been calling you that without being given permission,” said Roy. “Do you want it to remain that way, or would you prefer Señorita Macklin?”
“Just leave it at Kay, since that’s what you started with,” said Kay with a chuckle.
Roy bowed. “Then, Kay, these are the Sons of the Pioneers, a very fine band and some of my best friends.”
He introduced them one by one. Kay had recovered her natural poise, and in a few minutes, everyone felt at home.
Just then, Pat stuck his head out the kitchen door. His face had returned to its normal color, and his voice to its normal volume.
“Supper!” he bellowed, and then sucked back in the kitchen again as if he had been jerked in. Roy offered his arm to Kay, and they headed in to eat.
Once seated, Roy swung the conversation to where he wanted it. He still wanted to find out why Kay, a New York detective, was being put on the case of New Mexico smugglers.
“So, Kay,” he said casually, “what brings you to the Wild West? And, oh, pardon me, how’s your book going?”
“Delightfully,” she said, smiling sweetly. “I’ve picked up so much information, and quite a lot of—shall I say—local color to add to it.”
Roy pretended to wince as this shaft hit home. “I see,” he drawled. “I suppose your publisher sent you out here to discover the smugglers around Coronado, especially?”
She smiled again. “Why don’t you say what you mean?”
“He’s scared,” put in Pat from the foot of the table.
It was Kay’s turn to wince. Roy grinned. “All right,” he said. “What I mean is: how come you, a girl detective from New York, got sent out here to find out why there’s smuggling going on in Coronado? And how did you manage to narrow it down to our fair city? Even the law here only did that today.”
“Elementary,” said Kay loftily. “Kefner Agency was called in on this case when a wealthy woman in New York happened to be traveling here, and bought a good deal of Indian jewelry, which was later picked up by the customs office as being smuggled. I got sent out here because I actually was born in New Mexico, and I had a better idea of how to deal with the locals.” She sent a honeyed smile over to Roy. “If you think I’m an Eastern dude, you should have seen some of the others on the force. They don’t even know how to ride.”
“And—there was no issue about you being a girl sent to catch a bunch of bloodthirsty criminals?” said Roy, carefully.
She bristled. “Should there have been?”
“Ahh—pass the biscuits, please, Pat,” broke in Bob hastily. “Kay, did you have a good ride this afternoon?”
She accepted the change of subject, although Roy could see that she hadn’t forgotten his comment about girls—merely put it in the back of her head for further use. Well, that was fine with him, cause he’d meant it. Smuggling was dangerous business, and he didn’t think too highly of a detective bureau that had sent a girl in to try to stop it single-handedly. Probably, Roy reflected wryly, the bureau head was one of the Easterners Kay had mentioned.
With Bob to carry on a conversation, things did run smoothly for the rest of the night. Even with his reservations, Roy found that he was liking Kay. Despite her running commentary of spicy remarks, she was also thoughtful, and she had an excellent sense of humor.
The party didn’t break up till after ten o’ clock. When Kay saw the time, she rose quickly to her feet. “Oh, thanks for the wonderful time, boys, but I’ve got to be getting back now.”
Roy got to his feet. “I’ll walk you home,” he said. “Be back in a few minutes, boys.”
Neither of them spoke for a while, as they walked through the moonlit streets. Then Kay broke the silence.
“You’re still mad at me, aren’t you?” she said bluntly.
Roy shook his head. “No. I was just thinking.”
“What about? Unless it’s private, of course.”
“Not really,” said Roy. Almost to his surprise, he found himself telling Kay about the sheriff, how much he meant to him, and his concern on account of his lateness in returning.
Kay listened quietly, not once interjecting a word. When Roy finished, somewhat self-consciously, she didn’t reply for a second.
“I suppose all that sounds kind of corny,” said Roy.
She shook her head. “Not at all. And I understand about you being worried about him. Are you going to do anything about it?”
“Not unless he doesn’t come back or wire by noon tomorrow,” said Roy.
“Then what?”
“I’m hoping he comes back before,” Roy answered. “Otherwise, I’m going to try to ride out and talk to a friend who gave him the clue he’s checking for.”
“What is the friend’s name?” asked Kay curiously.
“Gabby Whittaker. Why?”
“Gabby Whittaker!” spluttered Kay. “Why—why I know him!”
“Know Gabby?” demanded Roy. “Are you sure?”
“Does he have a grizzled gray beard, bowl-cut hair, twinkling blue eyes, and tells the wildest, tallest, rootin’-est tootin’-est gun-shootin’-est tales in the West?”
“That’s Gabby!” shouted Roy, grinning at Kay’s highly accurate description. “Well, it’s a small world. Where did you know him?”
“Back when I lived in Colorado,” said Kay. “I used to get him to tell me stories. He’d always say, ‘then I reached—’ ”
“For my 45!” finished Roy with a laugh. “I can hardly believe you know him.”
“It’ll be great to see him again. Are you going to ride out tomorrow?”
“That depends,” said Roy, instantly becoming reserved. “Anyway, it’ll be dangerous stuff if we do.”
They reached the door of Kay’s hotel, and Roy held it open for her. She stopped for a second before going in, and looked at him levelly. “Just one thing, Roy. I’ve been in dangerous situations before, and I’ve managed to survive. Kindly stop treating me as though I was some kind of china doll.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it,” laughed Roy. “You’re got way too hot of a temper.”
She accepted the criticism gracefully. “Thank you.” Then a real smile crossed her face. “Thanks for tonight,” she said. “Please, thank everyone else for me again. I really enjoyed it.”
“We did too,” said Roy sincerely. “After all this stuff has been cleared up, we’ll have to do it again.”
“I’ll be looking forwards to it!” she called over her shoulder, as she slipped in through the door of the hotel. “Good night, Roy.”
“Night, Kay!”
Roy turned then. He walked across the street, to the building where Sheriff Sullivan’s office was. He knew it was futile, but somehow he wanted to check once more. Perhaps the sheriff had sent word. But there was nothing. With a sigh, Roy headed for the Pioneers and bed.

The next morning, Roy lay in bed for a few moments after waking, thinking over what had happened the day before. First, the day’s work, the roundup of the sheep, the chase of the two men in the canyon, the fight and then the fun with Kay, and, most of all, his worry over Sheriff Sullivan.
That last thought brought Roy to his feet. He had to ride morning patrol again. He wanted to get that over with quickly, both so that he was ready for any other action later today, and also to give himself something to do while waiting for the sheriff’s return.
He again went down and made breakfast for himself, but this time, Bob walked into the kitchen as he was finishing.
“What’s up for today, Roy?” asked Bob through a yawn.
“I’m riding patrol till twelve,” answered Roy. “Then—well, we’ll see. It depends.”
“On whether the sheriff’s back, right?” filled in Bob.
Roy nodded. “Well, I’m off. See you at twelve.”
Bob went to the door with him and gave him a friendly clap on the shoulder. “Good luck, Roy.”

May God keep you smilin' down a million happy trails!

"I'm not suffering from insanity...I'm enjoying every minute!!"
Saddle Pal

Posts: 4267
Registered: Apr 2006
 Posted February 1st, 2007 08:47 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
I can hardly wait for the rest! Thanks for posting it! I'm kind of glad too that Kay is a detective.
'Weep not but think that I have past
Before thee o'er a sea of gloom
Have anchored safe and rest at last
Where tears and mourning cannot come' ~Emily Bronte

My Blog...
Saddle Pal

Posts: 2154
Registered: Aug 2006
 Posted February 2nd, 2007 03:13 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Roughriding Seniorita, you have NOTHING to complain about with 800+ pictures. I have, lemme see, exactly 1270 stills, not to mention ones too small to use, and publicity pictures.

Now listen, I've already read my own stories a gizillion times! And your stories are as good as all that. Don't try to push it off, because I'm right.

Be without fear in the face of your enemies. Be brave and upright that God may love thee. Speak the truth even if it leads you to your death. Safeguard the helpless. That is your oath. (strikes him across the face) That is how you shall remember it. Rise a knight!
Knighting out of Kingdom of Heaven

You will listen to me. Listen! The Bretheren will still be looking to us, the Black Pearl, to lead. And what will they see? Frightened bilge rats aboard a derelict ship? No! No, they will see free men and freedom! And what the enemy will see is the flash of our cannons! They will hear the ring of our swords and they will know what we can do. By the sweat of our brows, and the strength of our backs, and the courage of our hearts. Gentlemen, hoist the colors.
Elizibeth our of Pirates of the Caribbean, At World's End
Saddle Pal

Posts: 2154
Registered: Aug 2006
 Posted February 7th, 2007 02:50 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Roughriding Seniorita asked me to post this for her 'cause she's gonna be busy and won't be able to get to the library for awhile. So here goes.

Part Three: Dynamite!

Saddling Trigger, Roy mounted and was off, through the still-sleeping town. He rode steady for three hours, till ten. The desert was still and quiet, nothing to be seen. Roy caught himself wishing that something would happen, something to make the time go faster. This inaction was driving him crazy.
Suddenly, he realized that they were near the rocks where’s he’d stopped the sheep stampede the day before. On an impulse, he reined Trigger to a halt. “I’ll look for my canteen now,” he decided. It must have fallen off somewhere around here.
But, search as he would, Roy did not find a trace of his canteen. Finally, he returned to Trigger, who’d been taking the time to catnap in the sun.
“I can’t figure it,” he muttered to himself. “That should be here, but it’s not!”
Suddenly he remembered the time. He pulled up his sleeve hastily and glanced at his watch. Eleven fifty-two! This search, while not successful, certainly had taken his mind off worrying about Sheriff Sullivan.
“Come on, Trigger!” he exclaimed, swinging himself into his saddle. “We’ll take the canyon home. Let’s go!”
As Trigger carried him quickly through the canyon, Roy kept his eye out for the two men he’d pursued the day before, but there was no sign of them at all.
As soon as he rode up the rise out of the canyon, he slowed Trigger to an easy jog, and they made it into Coronado with neither of them hot or winded. As soon as he rode into town, he decided to stop at the sheriff’s office first, without going to the Pioneers’ hotel.
He stepped inside the building, which was buzzing with activity, and went straight to the sheriff’s office near the back. As soon as he opened the door, Roy knew the sheriff was not back. The room was empty, and just as it had been the day before.
Roy took a deep breath to rid himself of the tight feeling in his chest. Something must have happened to delay the sheriff this long. He was so conscientious that he never would have left his post open this long without appointing someone to take over for him. Now Roy knew he had no choice. He was going to have to find out where the sheriff had gone.
He turned to go out of the office, but at that moment, the telephone on the sheriff’s desk rang. Briiiiiiiiiing! Briiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing!
Roy picked it up. “Sheriff Sullivan’s office.”
“Wal, it’s ‘bout time someone answered that there phone! I been callin’ for right smack near an hour!”
Roy recognized the voice immediately. “Gabby!” he said in surprise. “What are you doing? I though you didn’t have a phone!”
“Neither more do I,” retorted Gabby. “And who are ye, anyhow?”
“Don’t you recognize my voice? This is Roy Rogers.”

“Don’t you recognize my voice?”

“Roy Rogers!” Gabby’s voice was a bellow of relief. “This blasted tellyphone thang messes up talk so dang much I kin’t even figger out who ye be!” Then his voice changed. “Git me the sheriff, Roy. I hev some stuff ter tell him.”
Roy’s hand tightened on the telephone. “The sheriff?” he repeated. “He’s not here! I thought he was coming over by you!”
“Not thar?” Gabby’s voice slowed. “Roy, that’s bad. He did come over ter my place, ‘cause I’d told him ter git over here ‘cause I’d had ter tell him somethin’. So he did, early o’ yestiddy mornin’.”
“Then where did he go?’ asked Roy quickly.
“I up an’ tole him what I knew, an’ he rode off, sayin’ he’d be back at dusk. And I hain’t seen him since!”
In the few seconds that had elapsed, Roy had put together a plan. “Gabby, what you just told me makes me even more sure that something’s up. The sheriff’s either hurt or—”
Roy didn’t say the word. He wasn’t going to even think of it yet. “Anyway, he needs help. I’m going to go get the Pioneers, and we’ll be over at your place in about an hour. We’ll need you to tell us what you told the sheriff, so we can get a clue about what might have happened.”
“Good! Hurry up an’ git over here!”
The phone clicked down. Roy tossed his phone back into its cradle, jammed his hat down on his head, and raced out of the building. Jumping on Trigger, he flew down the streets, unmindful of the staring and the wild shouts of people as he went by.
Bursting into the corral yard of the hotel, he slid to a stop in a cloud of dust. All the Pioneers were out on the back patio, and they came running the instant he stopped.
“What’s the hurry?” shouted Pat.
Bob was at Roy’s side. “What’s up?”
“I just got a call from Gabby, trying to find Sheriff Sullivan. He was supposed to stop by Gabby’s place last night, and Gabby hasn’t seen a sight of him. We’re going to have to go try to find him.”
Bob turned to the rest of the men. “Saddle up, boys!” he shouted. “We’re going with Roy!”
Instantly, everyone grabbed a saddle and began to tack up as fast as fingers could fly. Roy hurried inside, grabbed up everybody’s gun belts, and checked to make sure that there was enough lead on all of them. This taken care of, he headed back out and tossed the belts to their owners.
Just then, Roy heard a girl’s voice calling from the gate.
“Roy! What’s going on?”
Roy threw a glance over her shoulder, long enough to tell that it was Kay. She hurried over to his side.
“The sheriff’s gone missing,” said Roy tersely, swinging into his saddle. “We’re going out looking for him.”
Kay’s hand flew to her mouth. “Oh, Roy, that’s awful! But—can I come with you?”
Roy looked over his shoulder. All the Pioneers were in their saddles and ready to go.
“No,” he answered Kay firmly. “This is serious business.”
“But—” began Kay, her eyes starting to flash.
“No,” said Roy again. “This is not stuff for little girls. We’ll tell you about it when we get back.”
He saw her mouth snap shut and a look of determination cross her face, but he was too busy to pay attention. He turned to the Pioneers. “Come on, boys! Let’s go!”

Roy led the Pioneers out of Coronado

Holding their horses to a steady lope, they headed out of the barnyard and onto the desert, to the north. Gabby’s cabin was in the mountains, about ten miles from Coronado. They could make it there in forty minutes, and still save their horses.
“Easy, boy,” Roy cautioned Trigger, bringing him back down to a trot. For an instant, a flash picture of Kay intruded into Roy’s brain. He felt a twinge of guilt at being so short with her. Maybe, if there had been more time to explain…but there hadn’t been. And the sheriff was in danger.
This thought kept hammering at Roy’s brain as he rode. He knew the sheriff was smart and cunning, and that he wouldn’t have taken crazy chances. But something had happened, something connected with the smugglers, that had caused the sheriff not only to not return to Coronado when he had said he would, but also not to keep his appointment with Gabby. That last fact was the one that, in Roy’s opinion, was the real clincher that the sheriff was either being held prisoner, or—
Again, Roy forced the thought out of his mind. He would face that only when there was no more hope.
The time flew by, as the fresh horses ate up the miles. Trigger’s morning on patrol hadn’t fazed him at all, since Roy had walked for almost all of it. He was at the lead still, and Roy had to keep checking him to keep the other horses at the same speed.
They were in the foothills of the mountains now. The rolling hills and dips were much cooler than the flat desert, and Roy let Trigger out into a canter. The others did so as well, and in no time at all, they were pulling up in the clearing where Gabby made his home.
He came barreling out of his cabin at their approach. “Roy!”
Roy and the Pioneers slid off their horses. “Gabby,” said Roy quickly, “what was the clue that you gave Sheriff Sullivan?”
Gabby squinted. “There be a sheepherder a couple o’ miles from here. We’ve talked some, and t’other day, he tole me that he’d seen a whole lot o’ stampedin’ cattle over the border.”
“Is that all?” squawked Pat. “Why, I could’ve told him that!”
Gabby sent a lofty stare over at Pat. “Ye jest keep quiet, young feller, an’ ye’ll hear something. You keep bellerin’ like a half-dead hound dog, ye won’t hear nothin’.”
“He won’t say anything more,” said Bob grimly, from behind Pat.
“Go on, Gabby,” urged Roy.
“Wal, as I was sayin’, afore that hound dog” here Roy heard low muttering from Pat, “interrupted me, this herder saw stampedin’ cattle. But this stampede was different. He’d seen that thar was a whole bunch o’ guys riding herd on the cattle, but after the cattle had been all rounded up after stampedin’ across the border, thar were a powerful lot less men with ‘em.”
Roy lowered his eyes and stared at the ground, thinking. “That’s strange, Gabby. What did you think?”
“I didn’t think nuthin’,” said Gabby. “But I figgered the sheriff might like ter do some thinkin’ on it. So that’s what I tole him. He said he’d go talk ter that herder, an’ I hain’t seen him since.”
“Do you think the herder might have something to do with that?” asked Roy quickly.
“Naw,” denied Gabby. “Old Juan, he’s a good feller, as sheepherders go. He didn’t hev nothin’ ter do with the sheriff not comin’ back.”
Roy turned back to Trigger and swung up. “Well, that was the last place where he said he’d be, so I guess we start our search there.”
“Hold on!” said Gabby. “I’m comin’ with!”
Roy looked down at him. “Gabby,” he began, trying to find the right words to say so that Gabby would listen to him and not get mad, “I think you need to say here. The sheriff did say he was coming back, and if he shows up here hurt, or something, somebody needs to be here.”
Gabby glared at him. “Young feller,” he demanded, “how come ye hev ter be so durn right all the time?”
Roy grinned in relief. ‘Then you’ll stay?”
“Course I’ll stay! What’d ye think I was goin’ ter do?”
“That’s great, Gabby. Where is the sheepherder’s cabin, exactly?”
Gabby pointed to the trail leading away from the cabin. “Ride down that a-ways, till ye hit a branchin’ trail. Go left, and ye’ll run smack inter the herder’s place. But ye better watch yer footin’ there. He’s built right on a shale cliff, an’ it’s mighty slippery.”
“Thanks, Gabby,” said Roy, meaning every word. “And, we’ll be back by sundown.”
Gabby snorted. “See that ye are!”
With a wave, Roy put Trigger into a lope and headed up the trail. Gabby’s words were right, and in only about twenty minutes, Roy reached the mesa where the herder’s cabin was.
The mesa was small, with a corral for the sheep on it, and, near the edge of a sheer shale cliff, a small cabin. The corral was empty, and the cabin looked empty as well.
“Well, let’s go see if anyone’s home,” said Roy. He understood Gabby’s warning as he swung off Trigger and walked towards the cabin. It was perched close to the edge of the cliff, and Roy knew how treacherous shale cliffs were, with the habit shale had of breaking off.
With the Pioneers’ right behind him, he knocked on the door. There was no response. Roy knocked again, then reached for the knob.
“We might as well go on in,” he said, opening the door, and stepping inside. The interior was one room, with a bunk near the far wall, a stove in the corner, and some tables and chairs around in the rest of the space.
“It looks like nobody’s home,” said Roy, beginning to turn around to face Bob and the rest. Then a strange voice cut in from the door.
“That’s what you think!”
Roy spun around. In the entrance of the cabin stood a man, with a gun pointed directly at Roy and the Pioneers. A dark bandanna covered his face, making it impossible to discern any features.
“Hands up and don’t move,” he ordered, his voice tough. “There’s four guns on you.”
“I only see one,” commented Roy coolly, his hands up.
“Look behind you,” sneered the man in the doorway.
Roy glanced behind him. The three windows in the cabin—empty a moment before—now had a masked man at each one, guns leveled.
“I see,” said Roy, as he turned back to the original man. “Might I inquire as to the reason for this holdup? We don’t have money, as you’ll see.”
“Don’t try to be funny,” snapped the gunman. “Your money’s not what we’re after, and you know it darn well.”
Roy did know it, but he wasn’t about to admit it. “Then why this friendly reception?”
“You’re gettin’ too nosy. Us smugglers don’t really like that. We get rid of nosy people, like your friend, the sheriff.”
Roy’s hands tightened. With an effort he managed to keep himself under control. “Where is the sheriff?” he asked through clenched teeth.
“Wouldn’t you like to know?” laughed the gunman. “Well, maybe you will in a little bit. Hope you all like floating on clouds, cause that’s what you’re going to be doing in a second.”
He looked past Roy and the Pioneers then. “Hey, you two,” he said. “Get over here and help me tie these smart guys up.”
The two men obeyed. Without a word, they tossed out their captives’ guns, and then took rope from the corner of the shed and tied their hands and feet tightly together.
Roy let himself be tied. The first wave of rage that had swept over him when these men had confessed to doing away with the sheriff had cooled into a determination to get out of this somehow. Then, suddenly, he saw something about the gunman at the door that had escaped him before.
He was wearing a leather jacket like the one the man had been wearing in Tamale José’s! Roy knew he was not mistaken. He locked that fact into his memory. Staring straight into the man’s eyes, he said, “You’re making a big mistake. The law never stops looking for murderers and criminals like you. For every lawman you kill, there will be five more on your trail.”
The gunman laughed. “Not when we’ve got our own personal lawman on our side! Anyway, you can stop worrying about it. In about ten minutes, you won’t need to worry about anything any more.”
Then he turned to the man who had tied Roy up. “Get going,” he said. “Let’s get this over with.”
Roy saw the man who had tied him up take something out of his jacket. With a slight shiver, Roy realized what it was.
Roy watched as the man tied a fuse to the dynamite. Then the gunman in the door laughed again. “See you later—oops, I forgot. Well, it’s too bad that we won’t see you again.”
A match flared in the other man’s hand, and he touched it to the fuse. “Okay!” snapped the gunman, becoming business-like. “Let’s get out of here!”
They ran from the room, and Roy could hear their horses’ hoofbeats echoing away up the trail.
Bob looked over at Roy. “What now?”
Roy started wiggling over towards the fuse. “I’m—going—to—try to—put it out,” he panted, trying to maneuver himself. His hands and feet had been first tied separately, and then tied together, so he could hardly move. As he wriggled, he could see the spark at the end of the fuse, climbing closer, closer, closer to the dynamite.
He realized that he wasn’t going to make it!
Suddenly, the door to the cabin flew open. Roy’s gaze darted that way, and then stopped in complete and total shock. “Kay!” he gasped.
Kay Macklin was standing in the entrance to the cabin. Roy snapped himself out of his shock. “Put out the fuse!” he ordered, but Kay had already seen the danger. With one bound, she was at the dynamite. She grabbed the fuse, and tried to pull it free of the sticks, but it wouldn’t come. Without giving it a moment more, she pulled her arm back and hurled it through the far window, out down the cliff.
The glass tinkled as it broke—and then everything was silent. Then, with a loud boom, they heard the dynamite explode harmlessly on the way down.
Everyone in the cabin let out a collective sigh of relief. “What on earth are you doing here?” demanded Roy to Kay.
“That’s a nice things to say after I’ve just saved your life!” she retorted angrily, pulling out a switchblade from her pocket. With a deft flick, she had it open. “Hold still,” she ordered. “This is sharp.” With a couple of slashes, Roy’s hands and legs flopped free.
Without giving him a second glance, she turned to the others, and cut their bonds as well.
Roy picked up his guns from the floor, and then came over to Kay’s side just as she cut Hugh free. “Kay,” he said, “I didn’t mean to sound like I wasn’t glad that you got here when you did.” He grinned. “I was, and I’ll bet I’m not the only one that was!”
A chorus of agreement arose from the Pioneers. Kay’s face melted a little. Snapping the knife shut, she walked out the cabin door. “Well, I wasn’t about to stay back in town when you were all coming out here,” she said, answering Roy’s question. “So I grabbed a horse and tore out after you.”
“You followed us all the way here?” demanded Roy.
She tossed her head. “Of course. And when I got here, I saw those men heading out of here, driving all your horses in front of them. I figure that you might like a little help.”
“Well, we did,” said Roy, “but didn’t you hear me back in Coronado when I said that this was going to be dangerous? What if those men had caught you?”
“Well, they didn’t.” She was getting more and more upset. “Besides, they wouldn’t have, anyway. I can take care of myself—oh, help! Help!”
As she had spoken, she had whirled angrily away from Roy, towards the cliff. The shale had suddenly broken under her feet, and now she was hurtling over the edge!
With a lunge, Roy grabbed hold of her ankle and dragged her back onto solid ground.
“You can take care of yourself?” he inquired, a twinkle in his eye. But Kay—eyes flaring with angry humiliation—didn’t see it.
“I certainly can!” she snapped, and then her voice trailed off. She looked sharply at Roy’s serious face and teasing eyes. “Oh, all right!” she said reluctantly, after a moment. “I get the point.”
“Let’s call it even,” said Roy with a grin, sticking out his hand. “I guess you proved your point, too. How about we decide to work together after this?”
She glanced keenly at him. “Does that mean I get to come along?”
Roy nodded. “As long as you promise to be careful. I guess you can take care of yourself as well as any of us can.”
She matched his grin, and took his hand. “All right, then.” Then she became very serious. “Did you find out anything about the sheriff?”
Roy’s face darkened. “Yes,” he said, turning away. “The smugglers have got him.”
She looked at the ground. “Oh, Roy…”
Bob stepped up then. “Roy,” he said, “I’ve been thinking. Those men didn’t come right out and tell you that they killed the sheriff. Maybe they’ve just got him stuck somewhere.”
Roy looked over at him. “I know, Bob, and I’m not discounting that.” His face hardened. “There’s one thing I know for sure. We’re going to finish what the sheriff started. We’re going to get these smugglers!”
“On foot?” Pat asked practically. “I don’t see our horses!”
Roy turned to Kay. “You said you saw those men driving our horses up the far trail?”
She nodded. “Yes, and your horse, that big palomino, wasn’t liking it one bit. He was snorting and rearing.”
Suddenly, as if on cue, the sound of pounding hoofbeats echoed into the mesa. They were coming from the trail!
Roy whipped out his guns. “Get behind us, Kay!” he ordered. To his relief, she obeyed instantly. Roy faced the trail, guns ready. Whoever was coming down was going to get a big surprise!
Then, Roy’s face broke into a huge grin, as a palomino horse he knew very well flew into the mesa, straight for Roy.

Trigger flew into the mesa.

“Trigger!” he shouted, racing to meet his horse. The stallion slid to a stop, and nuzzled Roy as if he would never stop.
“And look what he brought with him!” exclaimed Bob. Roy turned his head, and saw that there were three other horses streaking into the clearing.
“Trigger, you’re a hero!” shouted Kay, coming over. Trigger bowed low.
Roy swung into his saddle. “She’s right, Trigger,” he told his stallion. Then he looked down at Kay. “Where’s your horse?”
She pointed off to the side of the trail leading back to Gabby’s cabin. “I tied him to a tree off the trail,” she answered, breaking into a run in that direction.
Suddenly, the sound of an explosion shattered the air. Ka-boom! Everyone whirled. The cabin had just blown up!
“What the—” sputtered Pat. “I thought we got rid of that dynamite!”
Roy went over and inspected the flaming cabin. “They must have put another charge under the floor from outside,” he said, after a moment. Then a sudden idea struck him—an idea which just might be the one to crack the case!
He straightened and turned to the Pioneers and Kay in excitement. “And it’s a good thing, too!” he exclaimed. “I’ve got an idea. Come on, we’ve got to get back to Gabby’s in a hurry!”
Without a word, Kay went back into the woods where she had been heading. In a moment, she returned leading a tall bay gelding.
Roy glanced over the Pioneers and the four extra horses. “Pat, you double up with Bob on Kay’s horse. Kay, you ride with me. Gabby’ll have some extra horses for us.”
He kicked his foot out of his stirrup, and Kay swung up and slid behind him.
“All right, Trigger!” exclaimed Roy, and the stallion headed down the trail at a gallop. His surefooted strides carried him safely over the rocky trail, and Roy knew that the others’ horses, following close behind, would set their feet where Trigger set his—making the fast trip safe.
In what seemed like only a few minutes, they pounded into Gabby’s clearing. He came boiling out from behind an outbuilding.
“Roy!” he sputtered. “What durned fool idée made ye come headin’ down the trail like that?! An’ what’s goin’ on, anyhow?”
Roy swung himself off Trigger the instant the stallion stopped. “Can’t explain now, Gabby,” he said hurriedly, as Kay slid off next to him. “We’ve got to get these horses undercover, and us too.”
Gabby sniffed. “Trouble, more trouble! Young fellers these days kin’t seem ter stay out o’ it!” Then he jerked a finger towards the barn. “Plenty o’ room in thar fer the hosses.”
“Thanks, Gabby!” called Roy over his shoulder as he quickly led Trigger into the barn.
Bob came up beside him as he was stripping the saddle off. “What’s up, Roy?” he asked.
“I think I know,” said Kay. “Roy thinks that since the cabin blew up, the bad guys will think we’re all dead, and we can work undercover. Right, Roy?”
“Right, Kay,” answered Roy. “Except for one thing. You’re not dead, therefore you’re going back to Coronado first thing.”
She stared at him. “That’s not fair!” she spluttered. “You said I was part of this team now!”
Roy grinned. “Whoa! Hold your horses and listen! I meant what I said. Only, if you suddenly disappear, someone going to think something’s funny. However, we need a Coronado correspondent. I’ll bet a whole lot of money that these guys will come into Coronado. We need you there to spy on them, and get us the news.”
The indignant fire had left Kay’s eyes. “I get it,” she said. “But what are you going to do, meanwhile?”
“Figure out where the crooks’ hideout is,” answered Roy. “We still don’t know how they get the smuggling accomplished. Once we figure out how they do it, stopping ‘em should be easy.”
At that moment, Gabby burst in the barn door. “I’ve had all I kin take!” he announced. “Roy Rogers, tell me this durned second jist ‘zactly what happened!” Then he glared over at Kay. “And where’d this gal come from?”
Kay stepped up and held out her hand, smiling mischievously. “Don’t you recognize me, Gabby? I’m Kay Macklin, from back in Colorado.”
Gabby squinted at her, and then stared. “I should o’ recognized ye,” he sputtered. “More trouble that ye made, I never did see!” He whirled to Roy. “How’d ye ever git mixed up with her? I’m warnin’ ye, she’s trouble!”
Roy grinned. “You’re telling me! But, right now, she’s worth her trouble.” He explained quickly what had happened on the mountain, and everything about the smuggling and the disappearance of the sheriff.
Gabby listened, with a few interjections of “those yeller-livered cowards!” and fingerings of his gun. When Roy finished, Gabby snapped up straight.
“Wal, what are we a-waiting’ fer?” he demanded. “Let’s go round up them crooks!”
“I plan to do just that,” said Roy, “but in a round-about way. I want all the smugglers, the criminals they’ve been smuggling across the border and—if possible, the lawmen that have been helping them.”
“That’s a purty big job, young feller,” warned Gabby. “How ye plan ter go about doin’ it?”
“Well, since these guys think we’re dead and out of their way—” began Roy, but just then a light began in Gabby’s eyes.
“I git it!” he said, smacking his fists together. “Ye’re going ter do some undercover work, so ter speak. Pretty ghostlike, huh?”
Roy grinned. “You got it, Gabby. That’s what I’ve got planned.”
Kay had been curled up on a hay bale through this discussion, chin cupped in her hands. Now she sat up. “Hey, Roy,” she announced, “I’ve been thinking. Don’t you think the smugglers will lie low for a while? I mean, there’s going to be search parties out for you and the sheriff in no time. The smugglers don’t want to be caught.”
Roy nodded. “I did think of that,” he said. “Here’s what I bet will happen. There’s been nothing but quiet coming from the big cities, no big robberies, or murders, or stuff like that. Therefore, I think the smuggled criminals have been over the border and are just getting back into the U.S. Unless I’m pretty badly mixed up, I’ll bet there’ll be a crime wave maybe even some time today, and then the crooks’ll come hightailing it for the smugglers here and Mexico. We’ve got to catch ‘em.”
Kay tapped her fingers together. “That sounds good,” she said. “But—and this is a big but—how are the smugglers going to get their pals over the border?”
“I don’t know yet,” admitted Roy. “If we could figure that out, we’d have this case solved. Whichever way they do it, it’s good. None of the border patrolmen have scented anything fishy. And I know that at least most of the patrolmen are honest.”
“So what are we going to do for now?” asked Bob.
“Stick around here till dark,” said Roy. “Then we’re going to ride the trail and try to figure out where those guys went.” He turned to Kay. “You’d better get out of here now,” he said. “I think the crooks will be away from here for a while, but they might be coming back to watch this cabin. I don’t want you getting mixed up with them.”
She made a face. “Sometimes this Western chivalry can get a little boring. But I’m going, I’m going.” She rose to her feet, grabbed her cowboy hat and plastered it on her head, then stopped in her tracks. “Wait a minute,” she said. “How am I going to get word back here? Ride back?”
Roy’s face fell. “I hadn’t thought about that,” he admitted. “I guess I’ll have to ride in—”
“Oh no ye won’t!” said Gabby, stepping in front of Roy with a grin, his hand behind his back. “I was doin’ a little thinkin’ too, while ye were. I don’t s’pose ye’d want to use these fer message-carryin’ now, would ye?”
He withdrew his hand from behind his back, and held up a cage with four carrier pigeons in it.
“Gabby!” shouted Roy in astonished delight. “You old fox! How did you happen to have carrier pigeons at this nice moment?”

Gabby grinned slyly.

Gabby grinned slyly. “I been raisin’ ‘em,” he announced. “They’re all trained, and ready ter go. Let ‘em loose from any part o’ the good ol’ U.S., and they’ll come right smack back here.”
“That’s the answer,” declared Roy, turned back to Kay. “If you’ve got news, stick it on a carrier pigeon and we’ll get it in a hour or so.”
Kay grinned delightedly. “That’s the best scheme I’ve ever heard of! Gabby, you are an old fox! But, I’m not sure I know how to set up the actual note carrying. Show me, will you?”
Gabby, still looking satisfied, obliged. “It’s easy as kin be,” he announced, deftly grasping a pigeon, and sliding the little metal tube onto its leg. “That’s all thar is to it,” he said, handing Kay the bird. “Now ye try it.”
Kay took the pigeon, her hands instinctively cradling it, and she slid the tube off and on easily.
“Okay,” said Roy. “Now that’s settled, Kay, you’ve got to get out of here. Can you find your way back fine?”
Kay’s opened her mouth to indignantly reply, but she caught the teasing twinkle in Roy’s eyes. Her mouth shut with a snap.
“I should be able to figure you out by now,” she muttered, as she headed over to the stall where her horse was stabled. Roy followed her.
“Kay,” he said, “You’re going to be the big part of this scheme. Make sure you keep your eyes open, and don’t get yourself into any dangerous situations.” Then he dropped his serious tone, and grinned. “If you do, there won’t be anyone around to rescue you, and you’ll have to get yourself out of them.”
Kay swung up on her horse, and grinned saucily back at Roy. “I think I can handle that,” she said sweetly. Then, the teasing light vanished from her eyes.
“Be careful yourself, Roy,” she said earnestly. “Please.”
Roy nodded. “We will be. Now, scoot!”
With the cage of pigeons fastened onto the back of her saddle, Kay headed her horse down the trail, back towards Coronado. Watching her from the barn door, Roy thought over the plan he had come up with.
“What exactly are we going to do, come sundown?” came Bob’s voice from behind him then, interrupting Roy’s thoughts.
Roy ducked back into the barn. “Here’s what I figure,” he said. “I had Trigger reshod just a little while ago, and the blacksmith put special non-skid shoes on him. They leave a mark different from other horses’ hooves.”
“And you’re going to try to trace the smugglers by following his prints?” filled in Bob, starting to look excited. “That’s a good plan!”
“It’s just the beginning,” warned Roy. “Just catching the smugglers now won’t give us the criminals they’ve been smuggling, or crooked law officers in with them.”
Pat sat up. “Then why are we botherin’ to go after ‘em at all?” he demanded.
“Clues,” Bob informed him. “Right, Roy?”
Roy nodded. “We don’t know enough now. Most of all, we don’t know how the smugglers get the crooks back and forth across the border. We might find some clues about that, if we can find out where the smugglers went after they set the cabin ready to blow sky-high.”
“Well, young feller,” said Gabby, hitching his pants up, “I kin honestly say that I think ye’re crazy as a cactus, but I also think ye’re smart as a desert-wise burro. But afore we go gallivantin’ off, I’m goin’ ter go fix somethin’ fer us all ter eat.”
“We?” repeated Roy questioningly.
Gabby nodded his head decisively. “We. Ye had all the ‘citment ye had comin’ ter ye a’ready. I’m comin’ on this here hauntin’ party.”
Roy grinned. “Okay, Gabby! But, now, about that food you were talking about…”
“Say nuthin’ more,” said Gabby, heading for the barn door. “I’ll bring out yer dinner in the pails I feed the hosses in.” He stumped out the door.
“Come on, boys,” said Roy, turning back into the barn. “Let’s feed the horses now, and get everything ready to go.”
With a good will they all fell to work, ever Pat. By the time Gabby came back into the barn with pails stacked full of bowls of savory smelling, steaming stew, the horses were fed, brushed, and loosely saddled—ready to go.
They ate quickly, and then Roy stood up. Dusk was falling, and the shadows were deep enough now to afford some protection in case of someone trying to look for them.
“I think we can head out now,” said Roy. “Bob, you take Pat and head for the sheepherder’s cabin first, and then the rest of us will leave two by two. It’ll look less obvious that way that if we all left at once.”
Bob stood up. “Right, Roy,” he said, picking up the bridle for his horse. “We’ll be waiting in the woods off the trail, for when you get there.”
In just a minute or two, their horses were bridled and the cinched had been tightened. Then Bob and Pat swung up and left through the back barn door. In seconds, their forms were swallowed up by the twilight.
Karl and Tim left next. Five minutes after they’d gone, Roy swung into Trigger’s saddle.
“Okay, Gabby and Hugh,” he said. “Look like we ride.”
“Looks like we be doin’ that,” agreed Gabby solemnly.

Be without fear in the face of your enemies. Be brave and upright that God may love thee. Speak the truth even if it leads you to your death. Safeguard the helpless. That is your oath. (strikes him across the face) That is how you shall remember it. Rise a knight!
Knighting out of Kingdom of Heaven

You will listen to me. Listen! The Bretheren will still be looking to us, the Black Pearl, to lead. And what will they see? Frightened bilge rats aboard a derelict ship? No! No, they will see free men and freedom! And what the enemy will see is the flash of our cannons! They will hear the ring of our swords and they will know what we can do. By the sweat of our brows, and the strength of our backs, and the courage of our hearts. Gentlemen, hoist the colors.
Elizibeth our of Pirates of the Caribbean, At World's End
Saddle Pal

Posts: 2154
Registered: Aug 2006
 Posted February 7th, 2007 02:52 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
I might have to do the next portion for her too, but i'm not gonna do that 'til she tells me to.
Be without fear in the face of your enemies. Be brave and upright that God may love thee. Speak the truth even if it leads you to your death. Safeguard the helpless. That is your oath. (strikes him across the face) That is how you shall remember it. Rise a knight!
Knighting out of Kingdom of Heaven

You will listen to me. Listen! The Bretheren will still be looking to us, the Black Pearl, to lead. And what will they see? Frightened bilge rats aboard a derelict ship? No! No, they will see free men and freedom! And what the enemy will see is the flash of our cannons! They will hear the ring of our swords and they will know what we can do. By the sweat of our brows, and the strength of our backs, and the courage of our hearts. Gentlemen, hoist the colors.
Elizibeth our of Pirates of the Caribbean, At World's End
Drifting Gunfighter

Posts: 99
Registered: Feb 2007
 Posted February 7th, 2007 03:43 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
It is so great to see that you are writing new adventures for RR!
Saddle Pal

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Registered: Apr 2006
 Posted February 8th, 2007 08:49 AM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
The next part is great! Thank you RoyRogersFan!
'Weep not but think that I have past
Before thee o'er a sea of gloom
Have anchored safe and rest at last
Where tears and mourning cannot come' ~Emily Bronte

My Blog...
Roughriding Senorita
Saddle Pal

Posts: 2850
Registered: Jan 2007
 Posted February 9th, 2007 02:38 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Muchas gracias, RoyRogersFan, for posting that for me! As you can see, I made it to the library. Here's the next part!
May God keep you smilin' down a million happy trails!

"I'm not suffering from insanity...I'm enjoying every minute!!"
Saddle Pal

Posts: 2154
Registered: Aug 2006
 Posted February 9th, 2007 02:41 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Muchas Gracias, um, that means, 'much thanks' doesn't it? I did get that list of spanish prases!
Be without fear in the face of your enemies. Be brave and upright that God may love thee. Speak the truth even if it leads you to your death. Safeguard the helpless. That is your oath. (strikes him across the face) That is how you shall remember it. Rise a knight!
Knighting out of Kingdom of Heaven

You will listen to me. Listen! The Bretheren will still be looking to us, the Black Pearl, to lead. And what will they see? Frightened bilge rats aboard a derelict ship? No! No, they will see free men and freedom! And what the enemy will see is the flash of our cannons! They will hear the ring of our swords and they will know what we can do. By the sweat of our brows, and the strength of our backs, and the courage of our hearts. Gentlemen, hoist the colors.
Elizibeth our of Pirates of the Caribbean, At World's End
Roughriding Senorita
Saddle Pal

Posts: 2850
Registered: Jan 2007
 Posted February 9th, 2007 02:46 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Right! I decided that if I'm a senorita I'd better start talking the part. Now, here's the story.
May God keep you smilin' down a million happy trails!

"I'm not suffering from insanity...I'm enjoying every minute!!"
Roughriding Senorita
Saddle Pal

Posts: 2850
Registered: Jan 2007
 Posted February 9th, 2007 02:48 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Help! Ruth! I copied the wrong story!!! Can you please post part four? Oh, I can't believe I did this!!! I spent so much time formatting and I did it on the WRONG THING! AIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIE!
May God keep you smilin' down a million happy trails!

"I'm not suffering from insanity...I'm enjoying every minute!!"
Saddle Pal

Posts: 2154
Registered: Aug 2006
 Posted February 11th, 2007 01:12 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Okay, okay, don't blow up the message board! I'm coming, Seniorita.

Part Four: The Hideout

Roy wanted to let Trigger gallop to the sheepherder’s clearing, but he knew that walking, they were many times less likely to attract unwanted attention than if they were hurrying. Even with this knowledge, it seems to take years till they rode into the mesa.
From the corner of his eye, Roy could see that the cabin was still smoldering, and that the sheep pens were still empty. The herder had not returned. Then ghostly shapes emerged from the woods around the mesa. Roy recognized them as Bob and the rest of the Pioneers.
“What now?” asked Bob quietly, as he rode abreast of Roy.
“We head up to the trail till we get to a branch,” answered Roy. “Then we check for Trigger’s hoofprints. Hopefully, we find something.”
“We’re all ready.”
Roy headed Trigger up the trail. The starlight lit it just enough so he could see where he was going, but not much more. The path climbed upwards steadily, and then, Roy saw what he had been looking for. A branch of the trail headed at a right angle to the mountain.
“Here we go,” he called over his shoulder. “I’ll check for prints.”
He dismounted, looping Trigger’s reins over his shoulder. He knew that, in the dusk, he wouldn’t be able to see the tracks from on horseback. The stretch of ground in the opening of the branch trail was sandy, and Roy could see that it held many clear hoofprints.
He sat on his heels, studying the ground. His eyes traveled over the sand…not that print, it was too small for Trigger…not that print, it was too smooth…then, Roy saw it. Directly ahead was a print he knew was Trigger’s and no other’s.
“Here it is, boys,” he said, standing up straight. “They took this trail. Let’s keep going.”
He swung back up on Trigger, and they headed up the branch trail. In a few moments, it began to grow narrow. Pine branches grew closer to the ground, cutting out even the faint twilight. We could ride right past a side trail and never even see it, realized Roy.
“Whoa, Trigger,” he said aloud. Trigger stopped immediately, and Roy looked over his shoulder at the others.
“I’m going to have to break out my flashlight,” he said. “I can’t even see the sides of the trail anymore.”
Hugh spoke up then. “I can still see the trail walls, Roy. Want me to take the lead?”
“You bet!” said Roy, pulling Trigger over so Hugh could pass. “If you can see without having to use a light, that’ll get us out of trouble for now.”
Hugh grinned, and without saying anything more, he nudged his bay gelding into a slow but sure walk.
Strain his eyes as he might, Roy couldn’t see through the dark. But he smiled to himself, knowing from past experience that Hugh had eyes like a cat.
Just then, Hugh’s horse stopped.
“Branch trail just ahead, Roy,” came Hugh deep voice.
Roy reached back in his saddlebags for his flashlight, and then slid off Trigger. Shielding the light with his hand, he clicked it on.
The pale golden shone through his fingers, illuminating the piney walls of the trail. As Hugh had said, there was a little branch trail angling straight up the mountain to their left.
“Hugh, you shore got eyes like a hooty owl,” said Gabby in admiration.
Roy nodded. “You’re right about that, Gabby!” He stared at the trail. “This is so narrow and overgrown I might not have seen it even if I had had my light on!”
He stepped through the branches of the pines that shielded the trail, and again let some light from the flash escape through his hand.
The light hit the ground, and—without even having to bend down—Roy saw Trigger’s hoofprint in the sandy ground. This time, however, it was dug deeply into the dirt, as though Trigger had been moving fast.
“I’d say this is about where Trigger broke free,” said Roy, clicking off the light. “That right, Boy?”
He turned to his horse, and noted for the first time that the palomino had his head held high, nostrils flared, eyes fixed on the trail ahead. Suddenly, he let out an explosive snort.
“Easy, boy,” said Roy quickly, and then froze in his tracks.
The unmistakable sound of a horse’s whinny was coming from the up the trail!
As the sound echoed down to them, Roy laid his hand on Trigger’s muzzle. “Quiet, boy,” he commanded softly but firmly. He felt the stallion quiver under his fingers, but the horse obeyed and did not whinny back.
“We’re closer than I thought,” said Roy, after a long moment. “We’d better leave the horses here and go on foot.”
He slid out of Trigger’s saddle, and looped the reins loosely around a branch. He could hear from the subdued noise around him that Gabby and the Pioneers did the same.
“We’re all set, Roy,” came Bob’s voice, carefully low.
“What’re we waitin’ fer, then?” demanded Gabby, not so quietly.
Roy grinned in the dark. “Come on,” he said then, carefully heading up the trail. In a moment he found that it was much easier on foot than it had been on horseback. The only sounds that came to his ears were the faint dull thud of footsteps on the pine needles underfoot, and the soft swoosh of pine branches being pushed aside.
Suddenly, the ground underneath changed from pine-carpeted trail to rocks, and the complete darkness melted away into faint starlight. We’re in a clearing, Roy realized. At the same moment, his eyes saw a small building looming up a little ways away, and that stomp of feet could only be caused by horses in a nearby corral.
“Looks like this is the hideout,” Roy hissed over his shoulder to Gabby.
“Shore does,” said Gabby profoundly. “What ye want us ter do now, young feller? Surround the cabin and blast ‘em out of thar?”
“Nope,” said Roy. “Let’s just sneak around a little and see what we can see. Pass the word on, will you?”
Gabby turned back to the Pioneers, gray shadows a few feet behind. “Orders say ye’re s’posed ter do a li’l sneakin’,” he pronounced. “Figger out as much as ye can, and then meet back here.”
“Got it.”
“We’re on our way.”
The Pioneers slid off in different directions around the clearing. Gabby turned back to Roy. “Wal, young feller, what now?”
“Come on with me,” said Roy. “Let’s see if we can find out anything about who’s in the cabin.”
On silent cat feet, they snuck towards the little log building. The windows were dark, and there was no sign that any one was here.
“Wonder if anyone’s home,” said Roy to himself.
Gabby caught his words. “Shore don’t look like it, young feller,” he said gravely. “But thar’s some o’ them rats here shore as shootin’. Use yer sniffer a little an’ tell me what ye think then.”
Roy sniffed. It took him only a second to realize what Gabby had meant. The smell of wood smoke lingered faintly on the air. “You got me there, Gabby,” he said with a rueful grin. “The smoke means that someone’s in the cabin.”
“Shore does,” nodded Gabby complacently. “Let’s go figger out jest ‘zactly who.”
In a few more steps, Roy reached the cabin. Holding his hand above his head, he felt along the log wall. In a second, his fingers came in contact with what he was looking for.
“Here’s the window,” he whispered back to Gabby. “I’m going to see if I can see in. Give me a lift, will you?”
Gabby bent and cupped his hands together so Roy could kneel in them. With a shove, Roy was up level with the window. He looked in, and saw that Gabby had been right. A stove inside sent a faint red glow through the room, just enough light to tell Roy that there were two men inside, bundled up in bunks near the wall.
“Okay, Gabby,” he whispered down, and dropped.
“What’d ye see?” demanded Gabby.
“There’s two men here all right,” Roy whispered softly. “But only two. There were four men who jumped us at the cabin before. They must be off somewhere.”
Just then, Roy saw a flicker a movement a few feet away. Instantly, he whipped out his gun and slid back into the shadow of the cabin.
The movement crystallized into a figure coming closer. Roy held himself ready, and then—the figure tripped.
“Ouch!” came a startled but muffled squawk.
Roy grinned in relief. “Pat!” he hissed, sliding his gun back into his holster and coming over, Gabby on his heels.
Pat rolled to a sitting position. “Oooh, my shin will never be the same,” he groaned.
“Pat Brady!” said Gabby, drawing himself up, “O’ all the loco fools runnin’ these hills, ye’re the locoest. Ye’d manage ter trip over yer own shadow, iff’n there wasn’t anythin’ else handy!”
Pat bounced up. “Hey!” he sputtered, his voice becoming louder. “That’s no—”
Roy cut him off by putting a firm hand over his mouth. “Take it easy, Pat,” he grinned. “You’ll really have interesting things happening around here if you don’t watch out.”
He released Pat, and asked, “What’s up?”
Pat shook himself all over and sent a belligerent glare at Gabby, but his words were for Roy. “We found the corral. There are about four horses in it, and the barn’s got a lot of tack and such.”
“Good,” said Roy. “I want to take a look at some of that stuff.”
Gabby and Pat stalking behind, Roy headed for the barn. Bob was waiting for him in the doorway.
“In here, Roy,” said Bob.
Roy slid inside, and Bob shut the door after him. “The horses are all out in the corral, but the tack’s in here. Some of the saddle blankets are still wet, so the saddles the blankets are on must have been used today.”
“Good work, Bob,” said Roy. “Let’s get a good look at the tack.”
He pulled his flashlight from his pocket and clicked it on. “Where are the windows in here?” he asked Bob.
“There’s only two, one to your left, and one at the end of the stalls.”
“We’re okay as far as light goes, then,” said Roy. He headed over to where the saddles, their wet blankets draped over them, were balanced on a fence post. He lifted the first blanket off.
“Just looks like an ordinary saddle to me,” offered Pat. “What exactly are we supposed to be looking for, Roy?”
“Anything that would give us a clue as to the identities of any of the smugglers,” answered Roy. His eyes glanced from one end of the saddle to another. “Like nametags or a brand.” He replaced the blanket on the saddle. “There’s nothing on this one.”
Bob and Hugh both had flashlight, and, snapping them on, they started going over the saddles. Suddenly, Roy stopped. “Hey, we should count the number of saddles with wet blankets, and see how many people were riding today.”
He went quickly to each saddle. “This one’s wet…this one’s not…not…wet…two wet…not.”

Roy looked at each saddle.

He came to the last saddle. “This one’s wet too,” he announced. “That makes six wet saddle blankets.”
“That’s funny,” said Bob. “Cause I only remember four guys today.”
“Me too!” agreed Pat with a shudder. “Only, I just remember four guns, all pointed at me!”
Gabby favored him with a disgusted look. “Then these here smugglers must be plain loco, iff’n they think they need four gunmen jist ter keep you put.”
Pat sputtered indignantly, but Roy cut him off. “Cool off for now, boys,” he ordered. “Let’s get this over and get out of here.”
“What do you make of the extra saddle blankets, Roy?” asked Hugh then.
“Just this,” answered Roy. “There were two more crooks doing something today. Who knows what it was, but whatever, it probably has something to do with the smuggling.”
“Hey, maybe they were the smuggled crooks!” burst out Pat.
Roy glanced sharply at him. “Could be, Pat. But that doesn’t help us much, since we still don’t know how the smugglers work it.”
He went back to the saddles. “Let’s keep on checking these saddles.”
He went over two more of the saddles, but did not find any identification at all. They were simply ordinary roping saddles, such as most ranchers used. Wait a minute! Roy stopped dead, an idea whirling in his brain. Every saddle was a high-cantled roping saddle; therefore it looked like the smugglers were either cowboys now or once had been.
Roy turned quickly to tell the fellas what he had thought of, but just then, Bob interrupted. “Hey, Roy,” he said. “This saddle’s got a canteen attached.”
Roy strode over—and stopped dead. “That’s my canteen!” he exclaimed.
Bob stared at him. “Your canteen, Roy? Then how come it’s here on this saddle?”
Roy didn’t answer. The last piece of the puzzle had just fallen into place. His canteen was here. He’d lost it in the rocks, after he’d helped stop the stampeding sheep. There was only one way it could have gotten here. He spun on his heel. “Come on!” he called, heading for the door. “We’ve got to get back to Gabby’s now!”
He ran on cat feet out the door, and headed down the trail to where the horses were tethered. He could hear the thud of footfalls behind him, and he knew that the others were following.
Then, from ahead, he heard Trigger snort. Roy slid to a stop. “Quiet, boy,” he commanded. “It’s me.”
To his relief, Trigger obeyed his order, but keeping quiet didn’t prevent him from dancing excitedly in place, happy that his master was back.
Roy took a second to pat him on the neck, and then was up in the saddle. He turned over his shoulder. Gabby and the Pioneers were mounting their horses behind him.
“Hugh, can you get us back to the main trail?” asked Roy quickly.
“Sure, Roy.”
Gabby broke in. “Roy, I shore wish ye weren’t always plungin’ headfirst inter somethin’, without tellin’ the rest o’ us what’s goin’ on!”
“Sorry, Gabby,” apologized Roy. “But we’ve got to get back to your place. I’ll explain the moment we get there.”
Hugh moved his gelding ahead of Trigger then, and they were off. A trot was the fastest speed Hugh could go to see in the narrow trail, and to Roy, they seemed only to be crawling. But then, they were out of the little branch trail, and from then on, it was clear riding. Roy took the lead, as the still fresh horses ate up the ground as they loped back towards Gabby’s outfit.
Clouds had started to roll across the sky, and it was almost pitch black. Roy slowed Trigger a little bit. The stallion, sensing Roy’s mood, tossed his head, wanting to run at top speed.
“Easy boy,” soothed Roy. “There’ll be plenty of running for you in a little bit. Just hang on for now.”
Then, they were in the clearing surrounding Gabby’s home. Roy jumped off in front of the barn, and headed inside the building, followed by the others.
“Now, young feller,” dictated Gabby, “ye jist up an’ tell us what ‘zactly is goin’ on.”
Roy grinned, as he loosened Trigger’s girth strap, and tossed the stallion a flake of hay. “Okay, Gabby, but first, check your pigeons, will you? Maybe Kay’s sent a message.”
“Ye expectin’ one?” asked Gabby suspiciously, but stumped up the ladder to the loft.
“Nope, nothin’,” he called back down.
Roy frowned. “Could it be on it’s way here? Do pigeons fly in the dark?”
Gabby stumped back down the ladder. “Ordinarily pigeons don’t,” he said. But then he grinned, slyly. “But these here pigeons ain’t any sech thing as ordinary pigeons. They’re night flyers. Shore, one could be on its way. But now that’s ‘nough! Ye jist sit down an’ talk!”
Roy complied. He explained how he had helped stop the stampede, and had lost his canteen in the process. Then, he explained how he had surprised the two men in the canyon, and how they had fled.
“They didn’t want me to get close enough to them to recognize them,” said Roy. “That, and Pat’s identification of the gun they had as San Antonio prison gun, tells me that they were smuggled crooks, coming back across the border.”
He stopped for a second. Gabby glared. “Wal, don’t stop there!” he barked. “That’s old news! What’s got ye so all-fired hot that ye had ter hightail it back here like a snakebitten burro?”
“Just this,” said Roy. “I think I’ve got it figured how the smugglers are getting the crooks across the border. There’s an old saying, if you want to hide something, put it in the open. What would be the noisiest, loudest way to cross the border?”
Gabby’s and the Pioneers’ faces were a study, as they thought. Then Bob sat up straight. “Well, a stampede, I guess. But—ohh.”
His voice trailed off. Roy nodded. “Yup! That’s it! I’m sure of it. The smugglers either work for a ranch or once did, and they somehow obtain stock to ‘accidentally’ stampede over the border. In all the confusion, even a officer of the law wouldn’t notice it if a few of the cowboys were missing when the stampede was finished.”
“That’s jest what Juan said!” burst out Gabby. “Roy, I take it back. All o’ it! Ye’re not loco! Ye’re—”
He stopped dead. “Wait a minute,” he said slowly. “What ‘bout after they’re ‘cross the border? What then?”
“I’m not certain about that,” admitted Roy. “But, going on a hunch, I’ll bet it’s in cattle trucks. Some sort of compartment in the truck, along with the cattle, and no customs officer would see anything amiss.”
Just then, the silvery notes of a bell came from the loft above. Gabby jumped up.
“Pigeon’s in!” he exclaimed. “Come on!”
He headed up the loft ladder, Roy and the pioneers right behind him. Sure enough, in the coop where the pigeons entered was a sleek gray beauty, purling as she looked around for her supper.
Gabby stuck his hand in and gently took her out. “Yup! There’s a band round her leg, an’ it’s got a note in it! Git it out, Roy.”
Quickly Roy disengaged the band from around the pigeon’s leg, and unrolled the paper inside, while Gabby put the bird back.
“It’s from Kay,” Roy announced. “Here’s what it says.”

Roy—I just got a phone call from my boss. He says there’s been a huge robbery in Santa Fe, and two guards got shot. It happened only twenty minutes ago, I think. Some people in town are starting to worry about the sheriff. I went to T. José’s and heard some news about a possible search party. Hope some of this helps! And don’t you dare leave me out of the action!

Roy rolled the paper back up. “Come on, boys, we’re riding!”
“Where to?” asked Bob, turning to tighten his cinch.
Roy did likewise. “Coronado,” he announced. “I’ve got to get in there fast, so don’t try to keep up, but meet at the hotel. Come in through the back!”
The cinch was now tight, and with a jump, Roy was in the saddle.
“Don’t break yer neck!” ordered Gabby.
“Don’t worry, Pappy,” grinned Roy. “Trigger’ll take care of me.”
Gabby looked doubtful, but Roy had no more time. “See you in a little while!” he called over his shoulder, as he headed Trigger out the barn door and into the night.
As they flew down the trail towards Coronado, Roy held Trigger back just enough so that the stallion was safe. They raced; in between trees, around a tight turn in a cloud of dust, over a fallen log. Trigger held his even-striding pace, and then—they were out of the mountains and down into the foothills.
“Okay, boy!” called Roy, leaning forwards and giving Trigger his head. “Let’s go!”
With a snort, Trigger leveled out to run. Fast, fast, faster he galloped, the ground flashing away beneath his feet. After a few moments, Roy pulled him back to a hand gallop.
“Easy, now, take it easy,” he soothed the stallion, who was tossing his head in protest. “You’ve got a ways to go. Now take it easy.”
With a final snort, Trigger settled down into the pace Roy wanted. The easy, rocking chair rhythm of his gait made it possible for Roy to put his attention completely on where they were going.
In less than ten minutes, Roy saw a yellow glow just over the horizon. The lights of Coronado!
“You’ve outdone yourself, Trigger,” he said, patting his horse’s neck. “We’re almost there!”
He pulled Trigger down to a lope, as the lights began to grow distinct. This was going to be dicey. If he was seen now, it could spoil the whole plan he’d cooked up. To his relief, Trigger sensed that they needed to be careful, and instantly obeyed every command Roy gave him.
They were only a few hundred yards from Coronado’s first buildings now. Roy stopped Trigger for a second to think things through. He’d better leave Trigger at the Pioneer’s hotel, and then find Kay on foot. Any other way was too risky.
He bumped Trigger with his heel, and the stallion began soft-footing it around the first few buildings to the back of the hotel. Roy’s eyes darted everywhere as he rode, searching for a movement of someone in the shadows, a sign that someone was watching him.
He halted Trigger with relief when they slipped inside the hotel barn door. He’d seen nothing, and, since Trigger had seemed unconcerned, there was probably nothing to see. He turned Trigger into one of the box stalls, and shut the door.
“Be back in a little while, boy,” he said softly, as he headed out of the barn into the town streets.
He took a back alley between buildings as he tried to think of where he should look for Kay. Her hotel was a possibility, but it was also the hardest place to get into. Besides, from what Roy had seen of Kay, she was almost certainly not in her hotel, but busy snooping around. In that case, Tamale José’s was a good place to start. That was on the other side of town. If he took the back streets, he could get the without being recognized.
Walking fast, he headed through the dark alleys. There was no one in sight anywhere—wait. Roy stopped in his tracks as he saw something move ahead of him.
He stared for a second, and then relaxed and grinned, as he recognized the shape of one of the coyotes that haunted the back streets of towns at night, looking for food.
He walked two more blocks. Now, he was only a block away from Tamale José’s. He turned a corner into an alley—and stopped. Once again he’d seen a movement, but this time, he could tell that it was no coyote but a person.
The figure was walking quickly up the alley, directly towards him. Roy slid slowly back, into the shadows of a doorway. If he could get there, the figure would pass him right by. But then—his foot hit a glass bottle, sending it clattering directly towards the oncoming person.
The figure stopped dead. Roy held perfectly still. The figure began moving, slowly, cautiously, towards the doorway where Roy hid. Closer, closer, closer came the figure, until it was only a few feet away.
Roy thought fast. Whoever this person was had a bad case of curiosity, and clearly wasn’t going to go away. Roy made up his mind. When the figure came abreast of the doorway, he’d make a run for it, right into the person. That should give him more than enough time to disappear. He tensed himself for the spring.
The figure stepped closer, and Roy lunged. Thud! His shoulder hit the figure squarely, and it went down.
“Hey!” it yelled.
Roy slid to a stop. Oh, boy. He knew that voice. Turned, he reached down towards the sputtering figure.
“Kay Macklin! What are you doing?!”
Kay scrambled to her feet. “Roy Rogers!” she hissed indignantly. “What were you doing? Ramming into me like that!”
Roy grinned, a sudden and ridiculous picture of the event coming to mind. “I though you were a crook. You’re lucky I didn’t shoot!”
“You’re lucky I didn’t shoot!” she retorted. “I thought you were a smuggler!”
The word instantly reminded Roy of the haste necessary to his plan. “Look, Kay,” he said quickly. “Go call your boss from José’s phone, and get him to call every rest station within twenty miles of Santa Fe. Find out if any of them have a cattle truck that’s arrived within the last twenty minutes. Get descriptions of all the ones who have. Hurry!”
Kay sensed the urgency of Roy’s commands. “Got it,” she said quickly. “Where’ll you be when I’m done?”
“Right behind José’s,” answered Roy. “I’ll explained everything when you get back.”
Without another word, Kay turned and melted into the dark. Roy could hear her footsteps going away, and then they too faded. He himself hurried down the alley, and turned at the end. He was right behind José’s restaurant, and he slid back against the wall to wait for Kay.
The minutes ticked by, till it had been fifteen minutes since Roy had been waiting. Just when he thought that Kay would never come out, the back door swung open.
Kay’s blond head poked out the door. “Psst!” she hissed. Roy moved away from the wall and went to her side.
“Come on in,” she said, opening the door, and shutting it the instant Roy was inside. “I didn’t want to use your name out there,” she explained. “In case someone was listening.”
“Good thinking,” said Roy, glancing quickly around the little storage room where Kay had led him. “Now, what did you find out?”
She pulled a piece of paper from her pocket. “I wrote down everything. There are three rest stations around Santa Fe. All of them said there were cattle trucks there that had arrived within twenty minutes.”
Roy frowned at the tabletop. “That’s a big help,” he muttered. “Anything else?”
She grinned slyly. “Lots. José gave me a road map, so I was able to figure out where each of the stations were.”
She pulled the map from the pocket of her trim riding jeans, and spread it out on the table in front of them. Using her finger for a pointer, she showed him what she’d learned. “Here are two of the rest stations,” she said, pointing to two spots heading west and east. “And here’s the other one.”
This time, her finger tapped a spot to the south. Roy leaned forwards, suddenly realizing what Kay had been leading up to.
“The trucks at that station would have headed towards Coronado!” he exclaimed. “Otherwise they’d have had to go back into Mexico!”
Kay nodded swiftly. “That’s what I thought. So, I asked that rest station owner if he could give me a description of the drivers of the two trucks there. Here they are.”
She handed Roy the sheet of notepaper.

1st truck. Driver tall, red haired, wearing tan cowboy hat and denim shirt and pants. No other men in truck.
2nd truck. Driver middle in height, heavy set, wearing black cowboy hat and denim shirt and pants. Other man in truck middle in height, heavy set, wearing black cowboy hat, jeans, and leather jacket.

Roy’s eyes skimmed over the first descriptions, and then locked on to the last one. Two heavy set men, both in black cowboy hats and one in a leather jacket…the men from Tamale José’s!
He looked up in excitement, and saw Kay staring at him worriedly. “Do you recognize anyone?” she asked quickly. “That was all the information I could get.”
Roy grinned. “You bet I recognize someone. That second truck was driven by the men I was chasing the night José introduced us. That’s the truck we’re after! What’s the description of it?”
She tapped his sheet. “Right there, under your nose.”
Roy looked back down at the note.

2nd truck red panel truck, hauling longhorns. License number 354-7T8.

Roy shoved the note into his pocket. “Come on,” he said quickly, getting to his feet. “We’ve got to meet the Pioneers at the hotel. This is the clue we’ve been looking for.”
She stood up. “When are you going to explain?” she demanded, walking with him towards the door.
“As soon as we get there,” promised Roy. “You’ve been a good sport about it so far. Let’s hurry!”
Side by side, they walked quickly through the back streets of Coronado, Kay matching Roy’s strides. In a few moments, they reached the hotel yard.
Roy headed straight for the barn and went inside.
“Bob?” he called quietly.
“Right here, Roy,” came the answer from the tack room.
“Good!” said Roy, heading into the small room. The Pioneers were perched on saddles in the glow of the lantern Bob had lit.
“I’ve got good news, boys,” Roy said as soon as he got into the room. “Kay found out where the getaway truck is.”
“Now how about explaining?” asked Kay crisply.
“Here goes!” said Roy. In as few words as possible, he outlined his theory about how the smugglers got their crooks to the border in cattle trucks, and then got them across the actual border in a stampede of livestock.
“So that’s why you wanted me to find out where there were cattle trucks!” exclaimed Kay, as soon as Roy had finished. “But now—wait a minute. How are you going to figure out whether there are really crooks in with the cattle? Simply stop them on the road and ask nicely whether they are smugglers?”
Roy grinned. “Something along those lines,” he teased.
Kay’s green eyes shot sparks. “Oh no you don’t, Mr. Rogers! You tell me this instant what you’ve got planned!”
“Better do it, Roy!” came Pat’s frightened squeal from the corner of the tack room. “Remember what happened last time!”
Kay glared at him, but before she could retort, Roy chuckled and gave in. “Okay. Here’s the plan. I’ll have to tell the Pioneers anyway, so you might as well listen in. we’ll have to split up tomorrow morning, and go to the two border inspection spots, the ones a couple of miles from the border. When the patrolman starts checking their stuff, we’ll sneak in the back of the truck and see what we see.”
“Sounds interesting,” commented Kay. “What if you get caught?”
Roy’s eyes twinkled. “We’ll tell them you put us up to it.”
She snorted at him, but before she could think up an answer, Gabby broke in.
“When a man gits to gittin’ into the sort o’ stuff Roy gits into,” he lectured Kay, “thar’s only one thang ter do ‘bout gittin’ caught. Ye jist plain don’t git caught.”
Roy nodded. “That’s about right, Gabby. We’ll have to play it safe, and figure things out just right. I want every man in this bunch.”
“We’ll get ‘em,” said Bob confidently. “What do we do in the meantime?”
“Sleep,” said Roy. “We’ll need it tomorrow.” He turned to Kay. “You’d better get back to your hotel now. We aren’t going to have you falling asleep on our little excursion.”
Her eyes lighted in surprise. “Tomorrow! You mean you’re going to let me come?”
“I thought that was a given thing,” said Roy, face serious but eyes dancing with mischief. “Weren’t you planning to come along?”
“Well, of course!” said Kay. “But I figured I was going to have to talk my way into it.”
“I figured that too,” said Roy, “so I decided to save time. Besides, you deserve it after all that detective work. Head out now, and maybe this time you’d better stick to the main streets.”
“I’ll take your advice,” laughed Kay. “I certainly wouldn’t want to run into you again!”
She swept out the door. Roy grinned and turned to the Pioneers, but before he could say a thing Kay’s head popped back into the room.
“What time do I get here tomorrow morning?” she asked quickly.
“Four-thirty in the morning,” answered Roy solemnly. “And you’d better be here!”
She smiled sweetly. “Don’t worry! I will!”
Her head popped back out, and Roy heard her feet hurry down the aisle of the barn and outside.
He turned back to the Pioneers. “Well, looks like we have to spend our night in the barn,” he said. “Can’t very well sleep inside when we’re supposed to be blown up.”
A loud snore interrupted him, and Bob hauled a very sleepy Pat to his feet. “We’d better hurry up about sleeping,” grinned Bob. “They’re dropping like flies already!”
“I am not!” indignantly mumbled Pat.
“Take it easy,” said Roy peaceably. “Let’s all drop like flies.”
While the others were getting situated, Roy headed back to Trigger’s stall and unsaddled his horse, and fixed him up for the night. Then Roy headed back towards the tack room to get some sleep.

Be without fear in the face of your enemies. Be brave and upright that God may love thee. Speak the truth even if it leads you to your death. Safeguard the helpless. That is your oath. (strikes him across the face) That is how you shall remember it. Rise a knight!
Knighting out of Kingdom of Heaven

You will listen to me. Listen! The Bretheren will still be looking to us, the Black Pearl, to lead. And what will they see? Frightened bilge rats aboard a derelict ship? No! No, they will see free men and freedom! And what the enemy will see is the flash of our cannons! They will hear the ring of our swords and they will know what we can do. By the sweat of our brows, and the strength of our backs, and the courage of our hearts. Gentlemen, hoist the colors.
Elizibeth our of Pirates of the Caribbean, At World's End
Saddle Pal

Posts: 4267
Registered: Apr 2006
 Posted February 11th, 2007 01:38 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Thank you RoyRogersFan for the next part of the story- it is great!
'Weep not but think that I have past
Before thee o'er a sea of gloom
Have anchored safe and rest at last
Where tears and mourning cannot come' ~Emily Bronte

My Blog...
Saddle Pal

Posts: 2154
Registered: Aug 2006
 Posted February 12th, 2007 11:32 AM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
I'm glad ya all like it. Like I say, though, she's just gettin' warmed up. I still think that yar gonna like the next couple a storries better! Her stories continually get better and better! Mine too.
Be without fear in the face of your enemies. Be brave and upright that God may love thee. Speak the truth even if it leads you to your death. Safeguard the helpless. That is your oath. (strikes him across the face) That is how you shall remember it. Rise a knight!
Knighting out of Kingdom of Heaven

You will listen to me. Listen! The Bretheren will still be looking to us, the Black Pearl, to lead. And what will they see? Frightened bilge rats aboard a derelict ship? No! No, they will see free men and freedom! And what the enemy will see is the flash of our cannons! They will hear the ring of our swords and they will know what we can do. By the sweat of our brows, and the strength of our backs, and the courage of our hearts. Gentlemen, hoist the colors.
Elizibeth our of Pirates of the Caribbean, At World's End
Roughriding Senorita
Saddle Pal

Posts: 2850
Registered: Jan 2007
 Posted February 14th, 2007 04:15 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Muchas muchas gracias for posting that for me, RoyRogersFan!
Here is the next part of the story!

May God keep you smilin' down a million happy trails!

"I'm not suffering from insanity...I'm enjoying every minute!!"
Roughriding Senorita
Saddle Pal

Posts: 2850
Registered: Jan 2007
 Posted February 14th, 2007 04:16 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Part Five: The Trap is Set

Beep! Beep! Beep!
Roy sat up, blinking blurry sleep out of his eyes. He groped for the alarm on his beeping watch, and clicked it off. Four-fifteen on the dot. Time to get up and get going.
Stretching, Roy turned and saw that Pat¡¦s form was next to him, buried deep in the straw. Roy reached over and shook his shoulder. ¡§Hey, Pat, time to get up!¡¨
Pat¡¦s head popped up, and Roy could see in the dim light that his eyes tightly closed. ¡§Sure, Roy! I¡¦m up!¡¨ He sat upright for a moment, then plopped back down in the straw.
Roy frowned. ¡§Hey, I said time to get up!¡¨
This time, only a snore from under the hay answered him.
Roy sighed. Pat probably hadn¡¦t even woken up before. Guess he¡¦d better try to wake up someone else.
He stood up, and clicked on his flashlight. Hugh and Bob were across the aisle, comfortably tucked in between some bales. As the beam of Roy¡¦s light hit Hugh¡¦s face, he awoke.
¡§It¡¦s four-fifteen, Hugh,¡¨ said Roy. ¡§We¡¦d better get going.¡¨
Hugh nudged Bob, and pretty soon all of them¡Xexcept Pat¡Xwere awake. Bob stretched and looked down at Pat.
¡§What about him, Roy?¡¨
Roy grinned wryly. ¡§Better pick him up and tie him on his horse. He probably won¡¦t wake up anyway.¡¨
Bob¡¦s eyes squinted gravely down at Pat. ¡§Leave him to me,¡¨ he grinned back at Roy.
Roy picked up his saddle, and headed down the loft ladder to Trigger¡¦s stall to saddle up. Gabby stood up slowly from his bale and followed him.
¡§Whar do ye be plannin¡¦ ter head, Roy?¡¨ asked Gabby, going into his horse¡¦s stall as Roy went into Trigger¡¦s.
Roy opened his mouth to answer, but a smothered yell from the hayloft interrupted him.
Gabby whirled around. ¡§What in tarnation is that?¡¨ he demanded, his hand on his gun belt.
Roy¡¦s eyes twinkled. ¡§Oh, nothing,¡¨ he drawled, running a brush over Trigger¡¦s sleek back. ¡§Just Bob waking up Pat.¡¨
¡§Huh!¡¨ Gabby snorted, turning back to his horse. ¡§That young whippersnapper¡¦s more trouble¡¦n a mule that¡¦s been eatin¡¦ locoweed.¡¨
With a final sniff, he turned back to saddling, and Roy did the same. In a moment, the rest of the Pioneers¡Xincluding a groaning, glaring Pat¡Xwere inside the barn quickly brushing and saddling their mounts.
Roy tightened the cinch, slid the bit of his bridle between Trigger¡¦s teeth, and buckled the throatlatch.
¡§I¡¦m ready,¡¨ he said, turning to see how close the others were to being done. But at that moment, he heard the barn door creak.
Instantly, things went dead quiet inside the barn. giving the others a warning glance to stay still, Roy slid cautiously out of Trigger¡¦s stall. That noise was probably Kay, but it wouldn¡¦t hurt to make sure. On cat feet, he moved into the tack room, where the door was.
He was just in time to see the door close behind a figure. For an instant, he wasn¡¦t sure who it was, but then he caught the gleam of blonde hair in the faint light.
¡§Kay,¡¨ he called, clicking his light on. ¡§We¡¦re over here.¡¨
Kay hurried quickly across the room. ¡§Well, I¡¦m on time, am I not?¡¨ she asked.
Roy glanced at his watch. It read four-thirty on the dot.
¡§Sure are,¡¨ he grinned. ¡§Come on. Time¡¦s a-wasting.¡¨
He turned and started back to the stalls, but then Kay¡¦s voice came to him.
¡§Wait a minute, Roy. What am I going to ride?¡¨ she questioned. ¡§You¡¦re still using my bay, aren¡¦t you?¡¨
¡§Hmm.¡¨ Roy hadn¡¦t thought of that. ¡§Well, we¡¦ll have to borrow one of the horses from the hotel for you to ride.¡¨
¡§Planning to get hung for horse stealing now?¡¨ inquired Kay sweetly.
¡§Don¡¦t worry about it. We¡¦re already dead, remember?¡¨ retorted Roy.
She sighed. ¡§Wish I had been involved in that little thing. I can see that being dead might come in handy.¡¨
¡§Don¡¦t wish that,¡¨ teased Roy. ¡§If you¡¦d been involved, then we really would be dead. I like it just the way it is.¡¨
He reached the stall area then. The Pioneers and Gabby had heard his voice and Kay¡¦s, and had clicked their lights on and finished saddling their horses.
¡§Ready to go, boys?¡¨ asked Roy.
¡§Ready!¡¨ they chorused back to him.
Gabby glared. ¡§Don¡¦t ye go ¡§boyin¡¦ ¡¨ me, Roy!¡¨ he growled. ¡§There ain¡¦t no boy ¡¥bout me at all.¡¨
¡§Gee, Gabby, Roy didn¡¦t mean you,¡¨ protested Kay.
Gabby favored her with a glare too. ¡§Why don¡¦t ye let him speak fer himself, then? I got a funny feelin¡¦ ¡¥bout havin¡¦ you ¡¥long on this here li¡¦l ride, anyhow. I ¡¥member ¡¥zactly how much trouble ye kin git into. We¡¦ll prob¡¦ly all end up shot full o¡¦ holes.¡¨
Kay¡¦s hands flew to her hips. ¡§Why you old goat,¡¨ she bristled. ¡§I don¡¦t know why I ever hung around with you!¡¨
¡§I do!¡¨ snapped Gabby. ¡§To git ye out o¡¦ trouble once ye¡¦d gotten yerself into it.¡¨
¡§Ooh!¡¨ began Kay, but Roy stepped in front of her.
¡§Let¡¦s call in a draw, okay?¡¨ he suggested. ¡§The smugglers are probably on their way now.¡¨
With a swing, Gabby was on his horse. ¡§Wal, what¡¦re we waitin¡¦ fer?¡¨ he demanded. ¡§Let¡¦s go!¡¨
¡§Okay,¡¨ said Roy. ¡§Gabby, you, Hugh, Tim, and Carl all head to the check station north of Coronado. I¡¦ll take Bob, Pat, and Kay and head to the south one. If you see that truck, follow it. If anything suspicious occurs, arrest the whole crew and bring ¡¥em into Coronado. Gabby, as of now you¡¦re a deputy marshal.¡¨
¡§Shore,¡¨ began Gabby, and then did a double take. ¡§Me!¡¨ he sputtered. ¡§A deputy marshal? No sirree! I been a lawman once afore, an¡¦ I¡¦m not goin¡¦ to be one agin. ¡¥Sides, I¡¦m above age!¡¨
¡§Sorry, Gabby,¡¨ grinned Roy. ¡§It¡¦s only temporary, anyway. You don¡¦t want them ¡¥skunks¡¦ getting away, do you?¡¨
¡§Oh, all right!¡¨ rumbled Gabby. Still muttering under his breath, he led Hugh and the others in single file through the back door of the barn. In moments, their hoofbeats died away, and everything was quiet again.
Roy turned back to the stalls, and opened one of them, with a small pinto inside.
¡§Here¡¦s your horse, Kay,¡¨ he said. ¡§She¡¦s the owner¡¦s extra mount, and a good one. Can you saddle her?¡¨
Kay stared. ¡§Can I saddle her?¡¨ she demanded indignantly.
Roy grinned. ¡§I guess I should have known better than to ask.¡¨ He slapped the seat of a saddle on the edge of the stall. ¡§Get going, then. I¡¦ll bridle her. Bob, you and Pat head out and wait for us.¡¨
He picked up the braided bridle and slid it on over the mare¡¦s head. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Kay¡¦s hands flying dexterously as she cinched the saddle. Evidently she did know how to saddle up. In less than two minutes, the mare was ready to go.
Roy gave Kay a boost into the saddle, and then swung up on Trigger. ¡§Let¡¦s go,¡¨ he said. ¡§But take it easy and follow me.¡¨
They walked out the door, and joined Bob and Pat waiting there. The sky was just starting to lighten, just enough so that they could see where they were going as they walked out onto the desert.
As soon as they had cleared the town, Roy touched his heel to Trigger¡¦s side. The stallion sprang forwards into a gallop. ¡§Easy,¡¨ said Roy, collecting him. The stallion settled into an even rhythm, and they headed for the south check station.
Roy threw a look over his shoulder. Kay was just behind him, her pinto pony gamely matching Trigger¡¦s strides. She grinned as she saw him look back. Bob and Pat were only feet behind her.
That settled, Roy looked back ahead, over the scrubby desert. They were almost in the mountains¡¦ foothills by now. The highway ran along through them, and the check station was nestled deep in One Mule Gulch.
¡§We¡¦re getting close,¡¨ called Roy over his shoulder. ¡§Get ready to slow down and take cover.¡¨
A few more strides, and Roy pulled Trigger up. He could see One Mule Gulch just ahead, with the check station nestled in shadows¡Xfading as he watched, chased by the rising sun.
Roy slid off Trigger. ¡§This is where we walk,¡¨ he said, as Kay, Bob, and Pat also dismounted. ¡§Let¡¦s leave the horses in that little clump of trees back of the station house, and then we can go wait behind the house itself. That¡¦ll be a good position for seeing without being seen.¡¨
¡§Okay, Roy,¡¨ said Bob, and he and the others followed close behind as Roy quietly led the way down the slope.
Once in the clump of trees, Roy tied Trigger loosely to a branch, and the rest followed suit.
¡§Now, here¡¦s the tricky part,¡¨ said Roy. ¡§Patrol guards have good ears, and we don¡¦t want to be heard. This guard might or might not be in on the smuggling racket. If he is, we don¡¦t want to give ourselves away. Try not to step on sticks or stuff.¡¨
Bob surveyed the ground. ¡§Problem about that is, there¡¦s lots of sticks on the ground from here to the shack.¡¨
¡§And it¡¦s been so dry lately that all of ¡¥em are crackly as anything,¡¨ added Pat, nudging one with his toe.
¡§Take off your boots,¡¨ suggested Kay. Roy looked at her quizzically, and she explained, ¡§The twigs¡¦ll be less likely to snap under your bare feet than if you were in hard-soled boots.¡¨
¡§Where¡¦d you pick up that?¡¨ asked Roy, smiling.
She arched her eyebrows at him. ¡§Oh, detectives pick up all sorts of things.¡¨ Then, her eyes twinkling, she smiled too. ¡§I guess you¡¦ve done enough detective work to know that without me telling you. But come on, let¡¦s try it now.¡¨
¡§I¡¦m game,¡¨ said Roy, sitting down and pulling off his boots. Kay had hers off in a second, and Bob as well. Pat looked from their now bare feet, to his boots, and back.
¡§Ooh, I don¡¦t like this,¡¨ he protested. ¡§My feet are sensitive, and¡X¡¨
¡§Then you¡¦ll just have to stay here,¡¨ said Roy, beginning to cautiously walk out of the trees.
¡§No! No!¡¨ squawked Pat. ¡§Wait for me!¡¨
He plopped down, yanked off his boots, revealing one foot in a red sock, and one foot in a blue sock. Carefully, then, he stood up.
¡§Ow!¡¨ he moaned.
¡§Shh!¡¨ hissed Roy.
In single file, they headed towards the back of the cabin, Roy in the lead. Kay was right behind him, and Bob was next to her. Roy, glancing quickly over his shoulder, saw Pat in the rear, hopping from one foot to the next, both hands over his mouth to suppress his moans.
Roy grinned, and then turned back towards the shack. They were only a few feet away now. There were small, high-set windows on all sides of the shack, and Roy could see that the back one was cocked open. The patrol guard inside would hear if they made any noise at all.
Turning back again, Roy pushed his hands towards the ground, to signify quiet. Kay and Bob nodded. Pat was still dancing around, eyes bulging out of his head, but somehow he didn¡¦t seem to be making much noise.
Now they were right up against the back of the shack. Carefully, Roy lowered himself to the ground, till he was sitting with his back against the wall. Without another noise, Kay, Bob, and even Pat did the same.
Now that they were in place, Bob looked over at Roy expectantly. Roy realized that he needed to tell them what to do next, but talking was too dangerous. The window was open above their heads. Suddenly he had an idea.
Catching Kay¡¦s eyes, he signaled her to watch. Then, holding one hand out flat, palm up, he pretended to write on it with the other hand¡Xthen looked back up at Kay.
For one second, she frowned, not understanding. Then her eyes cleared. Reaching into her pocket, she pulled out her small notebook and a pencil stub and handed them to Roy.
He grinned his thanks, and then wrote quickly.

We¡¦ll wait for the truck. If it comes, we¡¦ll follow same plan as Gabby¡¦s, except that if anything suspicious, we¡¦ll stop it here. Patrolman will keep the men busy while we snoop.

Quickly, he handed the pad back to Kay. She read it quickly, nodded in comprehension, and then passed the note to Bob, and then to Pat. All nodded.
That settled, Roy leaned back against the wall of the shack and closed his eyes. He was still keyed up from the ride out, and all the excitement of the day before, and he knew that to pull this little coup off, they¡¦d all need to be working fast and cool. Rest was the best thing. From the even breathing around him, he guessed that he others were following his lead and trying to relax.
Time ticked by. After a while, Roy opened his eyes and glanced down at his watch. Five-fifty. They¡¦d been here for at least a half and hour, and no one had come. By now, the sun had risen and the entire valley was sparkling, as the warm sunbeams hit the dew-covered ground.
Roy shut his eyes again. Suddenly, a noise caught his ears. A motor!
His eyes popped back open and he sat bolt upright. Next to him, Kay, Bob, and Pat had done the same. The noise came closer, and Roy could hear footsteps inside the cabin. The guard was going out to see who was coming.
Cautiously, Roy poked his head around the corner, where he could see what was coming. For an instant, he had to squint against the sun¡¦s rays, then the vehicle came closer. It was a small car.
Slowing, it pulled up the patrol station and then stopped. The guard went over.
¡§Good morning,¡¨ Roy heard his voice. ¡§May I see your pass?¡¨
The driver, a middle-aged man, pulled it out and handed it to the guard, who checked it and waved the man through.
Just an ordinary person, Roy decided, and pulled back behind the wall.
¡§What was it?¡¨ whispered Kay.
¡§Just a car,¡¨ answered Roy. ¡§We¡¦ll have to wait some more.¡¨
More time ticked by, and two more cars passed. It was now six-thirty.
¡§How long are we going to wait, Roy?¡¨ asked Bob.
Roy shook his head. ¡§I don¡¦t know, Bob. The smugglers might have gone to the north station, and Gabby might have them right now.¡¨
¡§Or they might be waiting for a while,¡¨ suggested Bob.
¡§Or I might be all wrong and we¡¦re on a wild goose chase,¡¨ said Roy. ¡§This was just a hunch, remember.¡¨
Kay sat up straight. ¡§I do remember, and I remember it wasn¡¦t just a hunch,¡¨ she said indignantly. ¡§You had good solid proof to back it up. Besides, it was the only proof you have so far, so stick with it now.¡¨
Roy grinned at her. ¡§Guess you¡¦re right, Kay. Thanks. I just hope you¡¦re right.¡¨
A loud snore suddenly cut into the quiet. Roy turned quickly, only to see Pat blissfully sleeping, a peaceful smile on his face.
¡§That character!¡¨ Roy shook his head. ¡§Come on, we¡¦d better wake him up now. How¡¦d you do it this morning, Bob?¡¨
¡§Tossed a couple of hay bales on him,¡¨ grinned Bob. ¡§But that won¡¦t work now.¡¨
¡§No,¡¨ said Roy, ¡§but I think this will.¡¨
He leaned over and whispered into Pat¡¦s ear. Suddenly, Pat sat bolt upright. ¡§Where? Where?¡¨ he demanded, looking around. Then he saw the grins on Roy and Bob¡¦s faces, and began to glare.
Kay looked from Pat to Roy and back again. ¡§What¡¦d you tell him, Roy?¡¨ she asked.
Roy¡¦s face was dead serious as he answered. ¡§I said just one word.¡¨
Kay stared at Roy for a second, and then she began to laugh. ¡§Ohh, so that¡¦s why Pat woke up so fast!¡¨
¡§Yeah, and I think it was a dirty trick,¡¨ said Pat sourly.
Before Roy could say anything, he suddenly froze. Once again, the noise of a motor was coming. He held up his hand for quiet.
¡§Aw, it¡¦s probably just a car again,¡¨ grumbled Pat.
Roy stuck his head around the corner, and stopped dead. A red panel truck, hauling longhorns, was coming towards the check station!
¡§It¡¦s here!¡¨ he hissed, turning back to the others. The effect of his words was electric. Kay, Bob and Pat jumped up.
¡§What now?¡¨ said Kay quickly.
¡§We¡¦ll go around back,¡¨ said Roy quickly, beginning to lead the way. ¡§Cattle papers will take longer than regulars. Come on!¡¨

The truck was coming

As the truck pulled around the end of the check station, it turned, preparatory to going through the barriers after the check. The patrol guard waved it to a stop, and went around the corner of the truck to talk with the driver. The instant he was out of sight, Roy led the others to the back of the truck.
¡§Okay,¡¨ he whispered. ¡§Now, look hard! See if you can find anything unusual¡K¡¨
His voice trailed off, for almost at once he had seen something. The bed of the truck, instead of being flat, was built high and boxlike.
Roy grabbed Bob¡¦s arm and showed him what he¡¦d seen. ¡§Think men could fit in there if they were laying down?¡¨ he asked.
Bob stared for a second, then saw what Roy meant. So did Kay, who had joined them.
¡§I guess you could be right, Roy,¡¨ said Bob. ¡§But how are you going to prove it?¡¨
Roy looked around quickly. He could still hear the patrol guard talking, but it sounded like things were in order. ¡§I need time,¡¨ he said. ¡§We¡¦ve got to have a diversion!¡¨
¡§I¡¦ll be the diversion,¡¨ said Kay. ¡§I¡¦ve got an idea. Whatever you do don¡¦t stop looking no matter what!¡¨
With that, she turned and started running back towards the patrol shack. Roy stared after her helplessly. He had no idea of what she was going to try. But he couldn¡¦t call her back, and time was running out!
¡§Come on,¡¨ he said quickly to Bob and Pat. ¡§Get in the truck. There must be a trapdoor or something under the longhorns.¡¨
He slid through the gate at the back and was in with the cattle. ¡§Easy, there,¡¨ he soothed them, as they moved nervously. In an instant, Bob was at his side, and Pat, moaning faintly, was crawling through the gate.
Just then, Roy heard a scream. Kay! He whirled back towards the gate, only to see her come flying around the corner of the patrol shack on her pinto, screaming and waving her arms.
¡§Help! Help! Runaway!¡¨
Roy jumped up on the edge of the truck to see what was happening, as the pinto galloped into the road. Then, just in front of the truck, Kay kicked her feet out of the stirrups and slithered to the ground, where she lay still.
Bob grabbed Roy¡¦s arm. ¡§What are we going to do?¡¨
Roy slid back into the bed of the truck. ¡§Keep looking! Kay faked that runaway. That¡¦s why she warned us not to stop looking. She¡¦ll keep the guard and the men busy, while we find that trap door. Pat, you keep an eye on her! Bob and I¡¦ll look.¡¨
Moving bent over to avoid the horns of the cattle, Roy searched the floor, looking for some indication that there was a way to get into the empty space under the floor of the truck. While his eyes kept watch, his ears were open as Pat hissed what was happening in the roadway.
¡§The guard and the driver are over by Kay now. She¡¦s groaning a little¡K¡¨
Roy could hear her. ¡§Oh¡Koh, I¡¦ll¡Kbe all right¡Know¡Kjust had¡Kohhh...¡¨
Roy grinned broadly. Kay was doing a good job! But where was that trap door? Then¡Xover by the cab of the truck¡XRoy saw what he was looking for. A deep handhold in one of the boards. He grabbed it and pulled as hard as he could. Then¡Xwith a wild jolt¡Xthe bottom of the truck heaved under his feet.
The movement completely freaked the already-upset longhorns. With a wild bellow of terror, they began milling around the truck. Instantly, Roy flattened himself against the side. Pat slid down next to him, eyes wide with fright.
¡§Gee, Roy, the driver just picked Kay up and dumped her on the side of the road!¡¨
Roy could hear his voice. ¡§My longhorns are going to stampede! If they get out of the truck, we¡¦re all done for!¡¨
¡§Get ¡¥em out of here!¡¨ yelled the border guard. ¡§I¡¦ll take care of the girl!¡¨
The engine of the truck roared, and with a jolt, took off! Still inside the back, Roy whirled around to look out through the slats. He saw Kay, lying on the ground, spring to her feet, while the patrol guard gawked at her. For an instant, she stared after the truck, then leaped for her pinto pony, who was standing a few yards away. Wheeling him, she took off in a swirl of dust back where she had come from.
Roy turned away from the slats. He just hoped Kay was off to get help. Then, from across the truck, Bob caught Roy¡¦s eye. ¡§What now¡Xugh!¡¨ His words were cut off as he was smashed into the truck¡¦s side by an angry longhorn.
¡§Climb over the wall! Get on the outside of the truck!¡¨ yelled Roy, above the roar of the engine and the bellows of the cattle. The truck was going as fast as it could over the bumpy road, and each jolt was maddening the cattle more. If they didn¡¦t get out quick they¡¦d be trampled or gored.
Grabbing Pat by his collar, Roy dragged him up and over the edge. For an instant, they perched precariously on the top of the truck side, as the truck lurched underneath them. Then¡XRoy was over, holding onto the wall.
¡§Hold still!¡¨ he ordered Pat. ¡§Don¡¦t try to move¡Xlook out!¡¨
With a bloodcurdling scream, Pat lost his grip and fell over the side of the truck.
Squeeeee! The truck squealed to a stop. Pat¡¦s scream had alerted the driver.
Both doors of the truck flew open, and the men jumped out. ¡§Cover, Bob!¡¨ Roy yelled, leaping down from the truck and around the end. Bang! A bullet missed him by an inch.
At the same instant as Roy, Bob reached the back of the truck. ¡§You take your side, I¡¦ll take this one!¡¨ said Roy. Bob nodded in comprehension.
Roy looked around the corner of the truck. Bang! A bullet flattened into the side.
Bang! Roy fired back.
Bang! Bang! Bang! Roy fired. The two men at the front of the truck fired. Roy fired again. He looked at his gun. He¡¦d used up most of his round. This was getting nowhere fast. Dodging another bullet, he grabbed Bob¡¦s arm.
¡§Fire from your side, then from my side, and then jump up on the back of the truck!¡¨ he ordered quickly. ¡§I¡¦m going to shoot from underneath!¡¨
Dropping flat on his stomach, Roy looked under the truck. Just as he had thought, the men were not behind their wheel, and they were squatting near the ground. Aiming carefully, Roy fired.
¡§Oww!¡¨ The yell came as one of the men dropped his gun and grabbed his leg in agony.
Roy pulled himself up on the gate, and none too soon. The men, realizing what Roy had done, were shooting like crazy at the spot where he and Bob had just been. Then, Roy looked over his shoulder, and broke into a big grin.
¡§Pat!¡¨ he exclaimed, as that individual¡Xpanting from his run¡Xjumped up beside him. ¡§Thought we¡¦d lost you back there!¡¨
¡§Nope!¡¨ declared Pat. ¡§What do we do now, Roy?¡¨
¡§Now that you¡¦re here, I think we got ¡¥em,¡¨ said Roy. ¡§Bob, you and Pat stay up on the gate, but reach down every so often and shoot. I¡¦m going to go over the top of the truck and surprise ¡¥em.¡¨
¡§Okay, Roy!¡¨
As they began shooting, Roy slid his right gun into its holster and pulled out his left one. Carefully, he balanced himself along the sides of the truck, and then in one jump, he was on the cab.
¡§Drop your guns!¡¨ he ordered, looking down at the two men below.
The two men looked up, and their guns fell from their hands. ¡§Come on over here, boys,¡¨ called Roy back to Bob and Pat, still keeping his eyes on the two men. ¡§Let¡¦s tie ¡¥em up.¡¨
Just then, the thunder of hooves came from the steep hill just above the road. Roy looked up quickly, and saw four riders racing up.
¡§Get behind the truck!¡¨ Roy yelled, throwing himself backwards as a burst off gunfire broke out. The riders flung themselves off their horses and the top of the hill and began to fire steadily down on the truck. Roy, Bob, and Pat crouched behind it.
¡§Hey, I don¡¦t like this!¡¨ complained Pat. ¡§Before, we outnumbered them. Now, they outnumber us!¡¨
¡§By pretty bad odds,¡¨ said Roy. ¡§They¡¦ve all got fresh guns, and I¡¦m getting short on lead.¡¨
¡§I¡¦m almost out,¡¨ frowned Bob, feeling for his gunbelt.
Pat stuck his gun out and fired. ¡§I still got some,¡¨ he said, grabbing some shells off his belt and tossing a couple to Roy and Bob. ¡§But how long will that last us?¡¨
¡§Not long,¡¨ said Roy worriedly, firing again, more to keep the men from coming closer than from any hope of hitting something. ¡§This doesn¡¦t look too good. We¡¦ve got to think up something¡K¡¨ His voice trailed off, and he stared at the truck full of longhorns in front of him.
Bob looked at him, then at the truck. Roy met his eyes. ¡§I think I got my idea,¡¨ he said with a grin.
¡§If it¡¦s the same one I¡¦ve got,¡¨ grinned Bob, ¡§it¡¦ll be a beauty. Only, how do we make sure the cattle go for them, and not for us?¡¨
¡§We¡¦ll have to risk that,¡¨ said Roy. ¡§Come on! We have to shoot the gate open. Pat, you start firing heavily from the front of the truck. Draw the attention over there.¡¨
Quickly, Roy and Bob raced to the back of the truck. Taking carefully aim, Roy shot at the padlock that joined the chain holding the gate shut. Bang! Bang! Bang! Bob aimed and shot as well. One more shot, and the padlock broke. Roy lunged up, pulled it free, and then jumped on the sides of the truck.
¡§Get up, Pat!¡¨ he shouted, as Bob joined him on the side. The gate wobbled for a second, and then a horn smacked it. With a loud crash, it fell open.
¡¥Look out boys, ¡¥cause here they come!¡¨ yelled Pat irrepressibly, grinning delightedly as the longhorns pounded down the gate. For an instant, they milled at the back of the truck, looking for something to wreck their vengeance on. Then, a big bull saw the riders at the top of the ridge. With a furious bellow, he led the charge up the steep bank.
The riders yelled in terror. They shot at the oncoming cattle, but it didn¡¦t even faze them. Like a monster with one mind, the cattle charged towards the men. Realizing that shooting was no good, the riders flung themselves on their horses and bolted, the longhorns in pursuit.
Grinning, Roy slid down from the truck. ¡§That was pretty effective,¡¨ he said to Bob, who was grinning even wider than Roy. Pat was not just grinning. He was howling with laughter.
¡§They ran like¡Xha ha ha¡Xscared chickens!¡¨ he sniggered. Suddenly his face froze in horror. ¡§Roy,¡¨ he whimpered, ¡§Look at that!¡¨
He pointed to the floor of the truck. Roy and Bob looked quickly to where he was pointing. Slowly but surely, the floor was beginning to rise!
¡§Jumping cactus!¡¨ exclaimed Bob, instantly serious. ¡§We forgot about the crooks, Roy! They¡¦re in there!¡¨
¡§And they¡¦re armed for sure,¡¨ said Roy. ¡§Come on! We¡¦ve got to keep them from getting out!¡¨
Leaping into the truck, he ran back over the shifting floor to the cab, and stood on the handhold there. In a second, Bob and Pat joined him.
¡§Now what are we going to do, Roy?¡¨ moaned Pat. ¡§There ain¡¦t any more cattle to let loose on ¡¥em!¡¨
¡§We¡¦ll have to hold them down,¡¨ said Roy grimly. ¡§I used up every last bullet.¡¨
¡§Me too,¡¨ said Bob.
¡§Me three,¡¨ whimpered Pat. ¡§How are we ever gonna get out of this mess?¡¨
¡§I wish I knew,¡¨ said Roy. ¡§The cattle aren¡¦t going to chase those guys forever, either. They¡¦ll get away and either come back here or skip out.¡¨
Just then, as if to enforce his words, the sound of galloping horses started coming from down the road.
Bob looked over at Roy. ¡§What now?¡¨
For a second, Roy didn¡¦t answer. He was busy weighing their chances if they tried to escape. Finally, he made up his mind. ¡§The instant they come around the bend, jump onto the cab and into the truck. Bob, gun the motor fast when we get in. If we go fast enough on this road, the crooks might not be able to get out.¡¨
¡§What if they do?¡¨ quavered Pat. Roy didn¡¦t bother to answer. ¡§They¡¦re almost here,¡¨ he said tersely. ¡§Jump on the count of three. One¡Ktwo¡KTrigger!¡¨ yelled Roy, as the riders burst around the edge of the road. In the lead was the unmistakable golden form of Trigger!
Roy waved his arm. ¡§Trigger! Come on, Boy!¡¨
In a second, the golden stallion was in front of the truck. Kay, on his back, was grinning in relief up at Roy, and Gabby and all the rest of the Pioneers were clustered around.
It took a second for the noise to quiet down, and then Roy explained quickly. ¡§The crooks the smugglers have been taking across the border are under the floor, in the truck bed. We¡¦re out of lead, so we couldn¡¦t let them up.¡¨
¡§Wal, we got plenty o¡¦ lead, so let the skunks loose, Roy,¡¨ pronounced Gabby.
¡§Hold on a sec,¡¨ said Roy. ¡§Let¡¦s cover all the bases. Anybody got an extra gun?¡¨
Kay reached in her belt. ¡§Here, Roy,¡¨ she said, tossing a little gun to him.
¡§Thanks,¡¨ said Roy, catching it neatly and then climbing up on the cab of the truck. ¡§Okay, Bob, Pat, open her up.¡¨
With a heave, the floor opened. Five men were lying underneath. As their cover came off, they leaped to their feet, hands on their guns.
¡§Just a minute, boys,¡¨ said Roy coolly from over their heads and behind them. ¡§Drop those guns and get out of there.¡¨
The men whirled. For an instant, their hands tightened on their guns. With a click, Roy cocked his own gun. The men¡¦s gaze wavered, then dropped. So did their guns.
¡§Okay, out,¡¨ ordered Roy, waving them to climb out of the truck. Reluctantly, they did so.
¡§Let¡¦s tie ¡¥em up,¡¨ said Roy, tossing a couple of hanks of rope out of the truck cab.
While Bob held a gun on them men, the rest of the Pioneers tied them up. Roy turned to Kay. ¡§By the way, where did you head for in such a hurry back at the patrol station?¡¨
She brushed dust off her clothes as she talked. ¡§When that guy tossed me off the road and then took off, I knew you were in the back of the truck, and I also knew that I couldn¡¦t catch up to you. So I rode for Gabby as fast as I could.¡¨
¡§You rode all the way to the northwest station, and then back again in this time?¡¨ demanded Roy incredulously.
She flushed. ¡§Well, actually, Gabby and the boys were coming looking for you. I met them about halfway. And I was riding Trigger. I hope you don¡¦t mind about that, but I knew I needed speed, and I knew Trigger had it.¡¨
Roy grinned reassuringly at her. ¡§¡¦Course I don¡¦t mind. I was pretty pleased to see you and Trigger, and all the rest, when you showed up before.¡¨
Just then, Gabby slung the last tightly-tied criminal into the back of the truck and dusted off his hands. ¡§What I want ter know,¡¨ he announced, ¡§is what happened ter the driver o¡¦ this-here rig? From the looks o¡¦ the sides, you shore had a good fight!¡¨
¡§We did,¡¨ grinned Roy. ¡§We had ¡¥em pretty well overpowered when four more riders suddenly rode out from the rocks here, so they had us outnumbered pretty bad. Then we sort of let the longhorns they¡¦d been hauling loose, and the last we saw of any of ¡¥em was a big dust cloud on the horizon.¡¨
Gabby roared in delight at the story. ¡§That puts me in mind of somethin¡¦ that happened¡X¡¨

Gabby roared in delight.

¡§Oh no!¡¨ said Kay. ¡§Now he¡¦ll never stop talking. Don¡¦t we still have to round up the crooks, Roy?¡¨
Roy nodded. ¡§We¡¦d better go now. Tim, how about you and Karl drive these hombres back into town and deliver ¡¥em to the jail. They¡¦ll have to wait there till someone comes to get ¡¥em.¡¨ His voice sobered a little as he remembered that the sheriff would not be there, and never would be again. Then he stood straight. They had a job to finish, and men to catch.
¡§Their horses will be completely winded after that stampede,¡¨ he said, as Tim and Karl got into the truck. ¡§They probably won¡¦t be able to do more than walk. As soon as we spot them, we¡¦ll split up and surround them.¡¨
Kay swung off Trigger. ¡§Here you go, Roy,¡¨ she said. ¡§I¡¦ll ride Tim¡¦s horse.¡¨
Quickly, she mounted, as Roy swung up on Trigger. ¡§It sure feels good to be back on you,¡¨ he said, for the stallion¡¦s ears alone. Then, for the rest, ¡§Let¡¦s ride!¡¨

May God keep you smilin' down a million happy trails!

"I'm not suffering from insanity...I'm enjoying every minute!!"
Roughriding Senorita
Saddle Pal

Posts: 2850
Registered: Jan 2007
 Posted February 14th, 2007 04:17 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Hey, guys, would you mind telling me in detail what you think—maybe about who the bad guys are, where you think the story’s going, whether a scene was funny, etc? I don’t have anybody to critique or comment on my stories, so I’d love it if you would. If you liked a particular scene—or didn’t like it!—would you tell me why, so I can figure out what I’m doing right or wrong?
May God keep you smilin' down a million happy trails!

"I'm not suffering from insanity...I'm enjoying every minute!!"
Roughriding Senorita
Saddle Pal

Posts: 2850
Registered: Jan 2007
 Posted February 17th, 2007 12:53 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Here is the next--and last--part of my story.
May God keep you smilin' down a million happy trails!

"I'm not suffering from insanity...I'm enjoying every minute!!"
Roughriding Senorita
Saddle Pal

Posts: 2850
Registered: Jan 2007
 Posted February 17th, 2007 12:53 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Part Six: Happy Endings

Keeping their horses to an easy lope, Roy, Kay, Gabby and Pioneers headed out after the smugglers. The trail was not hard to follow. The stampeding cattle had made a trail that could have been followed in the dark, even though it went through the rocky sides of the foothills. For a few miles, they rode along, occasionally pulling their horses down to a trot, and then letting them lope again.
Suddenly, Kay, riding next to Roy, pulled up her mount fast. “Roy! Look!” she exclaimed, pointing ahead.
Roy squinted. “It’s the cattle,” he said finally.
“They must have run into a better mood,” observed Pat, surveying the placidly grazing longhorns.
“Where are the riders?” asked Kay, looking around.
“Not far,” answered Roy, moving Trigger out again. “Let’s split up. Ride in pairs. The smugglers will probably have stayed in a group, so they shouldn’t be too hard to find. Pat, you ride with Hugh, Bob, you and Shug go together. Want to ride with me, Gabby?”
“Shore, Roy,” said Gabby. “What ‘bout her?” he asked, jerking a thumb towards Kay.
“Guess we’d better take her along with us,” said Roy, eyes twinkling. “That way we can keep an eye on her.”
Kay flushed angrily. “Don’t mind me,” she snapped. “I wouldn’t want to become an eyesore.”
“Don’t worry about that,” drawled Roy. “You won’t.”
She glared at him. Roy’s eye twinkled merrily at her. For an instant, her face was a thundercloud, but then a reluctant smile began, which soon became a full-sized grin, matching Roy’s.
Off they rode then. They hadn’t gone far when Roy saw Bob a ways off, waving him over.
Touching Trigger with his heels, Roy led the way over to Bob.
“They’re down there,” said Bob as they came up, pointing down a steep gully. “Looks like all of them.”
“Good,” said Roy. “Shug, go get Pat and Hugh, and come down from the front of the gully. We’ll go on down here.”
“Okay, Roy,” said Shug, and headed his horse off.
Roy led the others in the slide down the steep sloping gully. Once at the bottom, he motioned the others for silence. Walking their horses quietly, they came up behind the smugglers.
A hundred yards from the men, Roy pulled out his reloaded gun and fired a warning shot, and at the same time burst Trigger into a gallop. The smugglers whirled and saw their pursuers. Desperately, they tried to get their exhausted horses to run. For a second, they succeeded. Around a corner of the cult they swept, only to run straight into—Pat, Shug, and Hugh.
“Okay, boys, off your horses,” said Hugh, his gun leveled.
“Yeah, sure, you betcha,” agreed Pat, nodding vigorously. “Or I’ll—I’ll—I’ll let my pet longhorn loose on you!”
“That’ll be enough, Pat,” said Roy quietly, from behind. The he turned to the smugglers. “You heard Hugh, off your horses. Looks like this is the end of a long hard trail.”
Sullenly, the smugglers did as they were ordered. Bob and Hugh slid off their horses and began to tie them all together with their lariats.
“Three, four, five,” said Kay. “Roy, wait! There’s something wrong! One of the smugglers is missing!”
Roy whirled. “Missing!”
“Yes! There were two in the truck, and you said four riders jumped you. That’s six. There’s only five men here!”
Quickly, Roy counted the smugglers lined up before him. There were only five!
“Okay, where’s the other one?” demanded Roy. The smugglers, their eyes fixed on the ground, did not answer.
“I said what happened to the other one!”
One of the smugglers looked up. Roy recognized him as the man in the leather jacket, from Tamale José’s. He sneered up at Roy.
“Wouldn’t you like to know? You think you’re so smart! The boss is too smart for the likes of you. You might have us, but you’ll never get him!”
Abruptly, Roy turned away. “Take them into town, boys,” he ordered tersely, heading over to Trigger and mounting. With a couple running steps, Kay was next to him.
“Roy, what is it?” she asked quickly. “Can’t you make the men talk?”
“Yes,” said Roy, “but by the time they do, whoever it is will be long gone. I’ve got to find him now! The missing man is the boss, and he’s also the crooked law connection. If we don’t get him, we might as well have not gotten any of the smugglers.”
Kay stared at the ground thoughtfully. Then she looked up fast as she suddenly got an idea. “Roy! If this man is the boss, he didn’t know about the trap you’d set for him and his men! That means he’s probably got to go back to his hideout!”
Roy sat up, electrified by Kay’s words. “The cabin in the mountains! Kay, you’re right. It’s the only answer! But we’ve got to get there fast!”
Kay’s face brightened as Roy said “we”. In one move, she was in her saddle. Then Roy suddenly realized what he’d said.
“Oh, gee, Kay, I don’t want you coming along,” he began.
Her face flushed. “Oh, you’re—” she started, hurt and angry, but Roy broke in.
“Not because I don’t want you along. But this is really dangerous. Whoever this man is won’t stop at anything to get away. I can’t let you get mixed up in that. This is my fight.”
Kay looked around. The Sons of the Pioneers, and Gabby, had disappeared up the slope now, herding the smugglers back to town.
“I can’t go back to town by myself,” she said hastily. Then her voice became very earnest. “Besides, Roy, this is my fight too. I’m mixed up in it already.”
Roy met her eyes squarely. “All right,” he agreed, after a moment. “But you be careful, and don’t take any chances!”
She shook her head.
Roy grinned then. “What are we waiting for? We’ll shortcut up these mountains, and cut straight across. That should bring us almost to the cabin. Let’s go!”
Trigger burst into a gallop, which Roy checked instantly into an easy lope. Trigger had already had a long workout, and although the horse Kay was on was pretty fresh, it wasn’t up to a long run either.
“We’ll have to do a lot of trotting,” Roy called over his shoulder to Kay. “It’ll save the horses.”
She nodded, and her horse matched Trigger’s pace as Roy brought him back down to a jog. They kept going up the mountain trail. Roy hadn’t ever tried to shortcut through the mountains like this, but he knew enough of the geography to know it could be done. Once they hit the rim of the mountains, and they had to do was ride along it, and they should come out near the sheepherder’s clearing.

Half an hour later, Roy pulled Trigger to a halt. “We’ve got to let the horses breathe,” he explained to Kay.
“How close are we?” she asked.
Roy glanced at his watch. “If the time table I set up for myself is working, we should be almost there. In fact, that clearing up ahead may be the mesa. Let’s go see—oh, and let’s leave the horses here. If there’s anyone in the mesa I don’t want him to see us.”
They slid off, tied their horses, and then walked on through the forest. But when they broke through the trees into the clearing, Roy stopped in shock. Without hesitating a second, he dove down behind a log and pulled Kay after him.

Roy dove behind a log and pulled Kay after him.

They were at the cabin in the mountains!
Kay took one look at Roy’s face and knew what had happened. “Some shortcut!” she whispered.
Roy caught his breath. “I wasn’t expecting it would be so direct,” he answered. “Let’s hope we haven’t given ourselves away.”
They waited a moment more, but there was no sign that they had been seen. Quietly, then, they rose from behind the log and headed towards the cabin’s front door.
As they drew close, Roy pulled out his gun. “Bettered have yours out too,” he said in an undertone to Kay. “Dive for the dust if anything happens.”
Cautiously, Roy walked up to the door. Nothing happened. Pulling Kay behind him, he knocked on the door with his gun.
There was no answer.
“Maybe he’s not here yet,” whispered Kay.
Roy nodded. “Let’s go in. Stay behind me.”
He pulled the door open, and advanced inside, gun leveled and ready. His eyes darted quickly around the room. It was small, with two sets of bunks flanking a stove, and some cupboards and shelves around the room. A table and chairs stood in the middle.
Then, Roy saw that the cabin was not all one room, as he had thought. There was a door in the middle of the far wall, a wall with no windows.
“I’ll try that door,” he said to Kay in his normal voice. “Looks like nobody’s here, but we might as well check.”
“Checking is always a good thing, si, señor?”
Roy whirled, knowing as he did so what he would see. Framed in the doorway behind him stood Lopez, the Mexican border guard.

Lopez stood in the doorway

“Lopez,” said Roy evenly. “So you’re the boss. I should have known.”
“Si, señor, it would have been better for you if you had, or if you had decided not to meddle,” said the Mexican inscrutably. His gun was leveled straight at a very angry-looking Kay.
“Drop your gun, Rogers, or this pretty lady friend of yours will be hurt.”
Roy let his gun slip out of his hand, knowing that he had no choice.
“That is good,” smiled Lopez. “Of course, the reprieve is only temporary.”
“What are you planning?” demanded Kay furiously.
Lopez bowed slightly. “Nothing much, nothing anywhere near what I would have like to plan. It is too simple. I prefer the more delicate plan. Shooting both of you in the back, and then setting fire to the cabin is so very, very simple. But, it will have to do.”
Roy took a step over towards Kay. “Go ahead and shoot me, Lopez, but you’d better let Kay go. If she turns up missing, you’ll have every detective in New York crawling down your neck.”
“On the contrary, señor,” beamed Lopez, “they will be breathing down your neck. Whatever is left of it, that is. I have ordered my men long ago that, if they were ever caught, they were to implicate you as their lawman helper.”
“Why, you sneaking crook!” blazed Kay. “No one would believe that!”
Lopez waved her loftily back into her place. “It is immaterial. A dead man cannot be hung, anyhow. Now, both of you, turn around.”
Roy glanced at Kay. Her fists were clenched. “Try and make me,” she challenged Lopez.
Roy didn’t turn either. He stared steadily at Lopez, trying to make him lose eye contact.
Lopez twirled his gun. “Very well, then. If you do not wish to turn around…” He clicked back the barrel on his gun.
Click! Another gun was readied!
“Drop that gun o’ yours, Lopez,” came an even voice from behind him, “or I’ll let you have all six slugs. And don’t think I won’t!”
Roy started in incredulous joy. He knew that voice! But, just then, Lopez brought his gun up fast.
“Duck, Kay!” yelled Roy, diving into her. They crashed to the floor as two guns went off in unison. Bang! Bang!
Hardly had Roy hit the floor when he grabbed his gun up and jumped to his feet. Slumped against the wall was Lopez. And in front of him, sticking his gun back in his holster, was—the sheriff!
“Sheriff!” exclaimed Roy, his face one big grin. He stepped forwards and grabbed the older man in a bear hug.
“Easy there, lad, take it easy,” laughed the sheriff. “My old bones are not quite as limber as they used to be.”
“But where did you come from?” demanded Roy. “I thought—”
“I know what you thought, lad,” nodded the sheriff. “And it wasn’t an accident you thought it either. Lopez slugged me and brought me up here for a trump card. I’ve been getting better slowly, locked in that back room, but he was going to finish me off when you came. He snuck out the window, but I’d got my ropes loose by then, and I just snuck out after him.”
Roy though his face would split if he grinned any wider. “Well, all that I can say is that I sure am glad you did!”
“I’ll say the same here!” said Kay, coming up, smiling.
Roy turned quickly. “Oh, sheriff,” he said, “this is Kay Macklin, from New York. She’s a detective, and she pretty much solved this case single handed.”
Kay stared at him. “I did not,” she began, but then caught the twinkle in Roy’s eyes. “Ooh, you,” she said through her teeth, as Roy’s eyes twinkled.
The sheriff took her hand then and looked her up and down. “A pretty girl like you a detective? Well, whatever will they think of next?”
He grinned teasingly. “I bet you’re a bit more trouble than you look, right?”
“She sure is!” said Roy, but this time Kay wasn’t going for his bait. She shook the sheriff’s hand cordially.
“I’m very glad to meet you, sheriff. I almost feel like I’ve known you for a while, from what Roy’s told me about you.”
The sheriff turned red. “I hope you haven’t listened to him,” he muttered. “He never could tell a straight story.”
Roy grinned, and then turned to Lopez, who was glaring weakly from the floor, clutching his shoulder. “Get up,” he ordered. “The sheriff barely nicked you. Should have thought twice before tangling with a crack shot like him. Come on. We’ll put you on one of the horses in the corral and pack you into town.”
“Dump him right in front o’ my door, Roy,” said the sheriff grimly. “I’m going to lock him up personally.”
“There should be a bunch of others there for you to lock up too,” said Roy. “I think we got the whole gang.”
The sheriff looked from him to Kay, and back again. “Well! I think we’d better be getting into town. I can see there’s quite a story to hear!”

A few days later, Roy, Kay, the Sons of the Pioneers, Gabby, and the sheriff all met at Tamale José’s for a late dinner and a proper rehashing of what had taken place. José was invited of course, and he heard the whole story from beginning to end.
“There’s only one thing I still am wondering about, Roy,” said Kay after dinner was over. “That day when you stumbled on the men stampeding the herd and the smugglers over the border—why on earth did Lopez ask you to help?”
Roy leaned back in his chair. “It was just another one of his daring plans,” he answered. “He figured that I was going to stumble on it anyway, and if I saw it from a distance, might see something suspicious. But he guessed—rightly—that if I was busy helping stop the stampede, I wouldn’t notice a thing.”
“Wal,” said Gabby, pushing his chair back and getting to his feet, “it’s time I was headin’ back ter the hills.”
He said goodbye, and then Roy stood up. “I’ll walk you out to your horse, Gabby.”
Kay jumped to her feet. “I’ll come too,” she said.
Together, they walked out through the dusk to where Gabby’s horse stood tied. He mounted, and grinned down at Roy and Kay. “I’ll be seein’ ya, now.”
“Bye, Gabby,” said Kay.
He glared at her, and turned to Roy. “Now don’t ye fergit, young feller. This here gal’s trouble.”
Kay huffed. “I suppose helping round up the smugglers was trouble?”
But Gabby had an answer for her even there. “It was trouble fer them, warn’t it?” he demanded, grinning at her slyly. “But I guess I like ye after all. Now ye stay out o’ Roy’s hair, hear?”
Kay narrowed her eyes at him, but wouldn’t answer. With a wave, Gabby headed down the street. Roy turned with Kay, and they began slowly walking back towards the restaurant.
“I guess you’ll be going back to New York soon,” said Roy, kicking a pebble in the dirt. It was more of a question than a statement.
For an instant, Kay didn’t reply, and Roy looked over at her. Her eyes were watching him, dancing with mischief.

Her eyes were dancing with mischief.

“Well, actually, not,” she said slowly. “You see, I heard that the Santa Fe branch of Kefner Detectives had an opening, and I applied.” She pulled a form out of her purse. “Here’s my acceptance. So, it looks like I’ll be around for quite a while, to be ‘in your hair’.”
Roy grinned. “Well, you know what? I kind of like you there!”
Kay’s eyes twinkled back at him, and together they headed back to Tamale José’s and their waiting friends.

The End.

May God keep you smilin' down a million happy trails!

"I'm not suffering from insanity...I'm enjoying every minute!!"
Saddle Pal

Posts: 2154
Registered: Aug 2006
 Posted February 18th, 2007 10:18 AM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
Hey, now that you're done with the Smugglers of Santa Fe you'll have to start on The Lost Valley Landgrab. That's the best one yet! Well, I can't decide between that one, Death in the Valley, or the Spanish Jewlery. Which, speaking of it, I've still gotta read the part you sent along with me! Almost forgot again!
Be without fear in the face of your enemies. Be brave and upright that God may love thee. Speak the truth even if it leads you to your death. Safeguard the helpless. That is your oath. (strikes him across the face) That is how you shall remember it. Rise a knight!
Knighting out of Kingdom of Heaven

You will listen to me. Listen! The Bretheren will still be looking to us, the Black Pearl, to lead. And what will they see? Frightened bilge rats aboard a derelict ship? No! No, they will see free men and freedom! And what the enemy will see is the flash of our cannons! They will hear the ring of our swords and they will know what we can do. By the sweat of our brows, and the strength of our backs, and the courage of our hearts. Gentlemen, hoist the colors.
Elizibeth our of Pirates of the Caribbean, At World's End
Saddle Pal

Posts: 4267
Registered: Apr 2006
 Posted February 19th, 2007 06:31 PM   IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
That is great Roughriding Senorita! Thank you for posting it!
'Weep not but think that I have past
Before thee o'er a sea of gloom
Have anchored safe and rest at last
Where tears and mourning cannot come' ~Emily Bronte

My Blog...

 Posted    IP           Reply with quote Edit Post Delete post
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