A Glibertarians Exclusive: Mystical Child Part V
From the diary of Robert “Cairo Bob” Allen, 1841-1928
November 18, 1886 – Somewhere in the Canadian Rockies
Evening at last. Fire isn’t helping us get warm, not much. Evans keeps coughing. Afraid he’s going to keel over. We rode through some bad country today. I’m thinking this trip is going to take longer than this man Evans thinks. We went up this steep-sided canyon, following a creek that’s froze hard as rock, and made camp up near where it starts, on the edge of a little pond, also froze hard is rock. We’ll have to hammer out some ice to melt for drinking, cooking and necessary. Just keeps getting colder, and colder. Sure do hope it ends up being worth all this hardship. But, if I can just come out of this set up well enough to maybe win Isis back, it will have all been worth it.
November 19, 1886
The two men had passed an uncomfortable night. Figuring they were far enough from the border, Bob had insisted on building the fire up enough to keep them from freezing solid, but he still slept poorly. Several times in the night he roused to throw more wood on the fire, but the supply ran out a couple of hours before dawn and, by the time the sun came up the South Carolinian was truly miserable. Evans coughed sporadically all through the night but other than that hardly moved; Bob kept up the fire by himself, and when morning finally dawned pale and watery, he was more than a little resentful.
Think of what’s ahead, he reminded himself, and keep your damn mouth shut.
The horses seemed to be faring well, at least. Bob had insisted on bringing along a sack of corn and another of oats. With that and the abundant dry grass, the horses were probably feeding better than the men.
Bob saddled the riding horses while Evans loaded the pack animals. Bob went over this saddle horse with a cavalryman’s care, checking teeth, hooves, and eyes; the animal seemed fine. The pack horses were holding up. Evans climbed on his saddle horse without apparently giving a thought to the beast’s state.
“Ready?” he asked Bob.
“I reckon.” Bob said, as he climbed into his well-worn saddle.
“All right then,” Evans said, and spurred his horse to a walk.
As they started out, Evans was rolling another cigarette and coughing. He seemed to have an inexhaustible supply of makings. He rode along, silent for once, leading one of the pack horses. Bob rode along behind, leading the other, in a contemplative silence.
Gold, he told himself. Amazing how everything seems to turn on that. With gold, a man can have damn near anything. Without it, he doesn’t have much.
I don’t want a palace in Egypt, or even a mansion in San Francisco. All I want is my cabin on Clear Creek and my wife back. I guess when she hooked up with me, she didn’t have it clear what life was like on a little farm out in the boonies like that, but she sure didn’t give it much of a chance. Barely that year.
But with gold, he thought, I can do a lot more for her.
This pans out, I’ll bring her back a big old diamond necklace, maybe some other jewelry, so she’ll know right off I’ve hit it big. I’ll get some men out to add onto the cabin, bring in a real iron stove so she doesn’t have to cook over the fire, maybe even get a well drilled. Hauling water from the creek sure ain’t no fun.
I suppose if she wants, we could move into Carson City. Damn lot of Yankees there, but if it means keeping Isis or losing her again…
The thought trailed off.
Dammit, he thought, war’s over, and long since. I got to stop thinking that way. Hell, Isis herself said she’s from Kansas – Bloody Kansas, John Brown’s Kansas, and I never thought I’d be so besotted with a woman as I am with her.
He remembered during that good year, when he had brought Isis into Carson City to do some trading. A shop there sold women’s pretties, and Isis’s eye had fallen on an Indian necklace of silver and turquoise, but Bob hadn’t the money to buy it. That’s the thing, he thought, remembering that bright summer’s day with Isis on his arm. If that’s still there in that store, I’ll buy that right off, or something like it at least.
The two riders had just crested a small ridge when Evans spoke up. “Look there,” he called. Bob rode up alongside, looked to where Evans was pointing.
And there it was, in the weak morning light – a mountain, with an almost perfect pyramid shape. To the east there was another, smaller peak of similar construction.
“So,” Bob asked, “which one is it?”
“Well,” Evans said, “The Indian said he heard tell it was on the eastern slope. Figure we may as well check that eastern peak first. See how the two sort of run together and form a saddle? Doesn’t look like there’d be any cave or any such in there.”
“Makes sense.” Bob stood in his saddle and examined what he could see of the ground ahead. “Looks like another waterway yonder, that might could lead us off to the east of that little mountain. Worth a try, anyway.”
“You’re the cavalry scout,” Evans agreed. He was rolling another cigarette. A sharp, barking cough escaped him. He hawked and spat, and Bob thought he saw blood in the spittle before it landed in the tall, dry grass.
“I suppose,” Bob said. “I’ll lead, then. Another damn canyon, likely, but at least this time we’re headed down, not up.”
Bob rode ahead, glancing once over his shoulder to make sure Evans was following. The man was just lighting up his smoke. He dropped the match into a patch of snow and booted his horse.
Imagine what Isis would have thought of this little adventure, Bob reflected. She would have thought it reckless as hell, that’s what she would have thought.
She won’t think so if I come back with a fat wallet, he thought. He could hear Evan’s horse’s hooves on the ground behind him, so he didn’t look back again. He went back to thinking of his wife, back there in the cabin on Clear Creek. Her long, black hair, her skin like new ivory, her full lips; the swell of her bosom, the curve of her hip, her biting, scratching passion in the bed when the light was out…
Don’t know how the hell we never had a kid, Bob thought bitterly. We may have had our problems, but good God that woman loves to fuck. He felt himself growing hard in his faded gray trousers and cursed silently.
This man Evans, he mused, damn well better know what he’s up to. Half a mind to shoot him and leave him here otherwise.
I was thinking about turquoise I was thinking about gold.
I was thinking about diamonds and the world’s biggest necklace.
As we rode through the canyons through the devilish cold,
I was thinking about Isis how she thought I was so reckless.