Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sweet Saturday Sample - June 30, 2012

Welcome back to Sweet Saturday Samples! Today I'm sharing the first part of a scene I excerpted back in May. Bill Henry and Chico Henderson are the characters speaking.
Bill awoke before dawn with an uneasy feeling. As he sat on the edge of his bunk, he paused before pulling on his second shoe. What was bothering him? It didn't take much pondering to know that the path he had planned for his life had gone terribly wrong: Marie Owen was promised to that wretched farm boy, Tom Morgan. That was enough to bother anyone.
"Tom," he growled, yanking on his shoe. "What a puny excuse for a man!"

He tied the brogan, rose, and slammed his hat onto his head. Why did she choose Tom Morgan? Doesn't she know how I feel about her? Anger battled grief in his body, his heart pounding like galloping hooves on a hardpan road. He took several deep breaths, trying to get the emotions under control so he could get about his day, but the sense of wrong, the sense of foreboding wouldn't leave him. Maybe something else was gnawing at him.

Try as he would to shake off the feeling of disaster that lingered like a bitter aftertaste in the mouth, Bill went to breakfast without any relief from the sensation. Even three spoonsful of sugar mixed into his coffee didn't take away the dread.

A heavy hand came down on his shoulder from behind, startling him. Immediately the hoarse sound of Chico Henderson's morning voice cut through what remained of his reflective fog.

"Sorry I was a porcupine last evenin'," Chico said. "You don't usually take my money so handily."

Bill attempted to add a light tone to his reply. "You're a sore loser, Henderson." He failed. His voice grated in his ears as though he were drawing a rasp over a tin washboard. He clamped his jaw shut.

"I ain't so much, old son. You were on a winning streak the likes of which I ain't seen before." Chico sat in the chair next to Bill's and lifted his mug toward his mouth. "It took me by surprise, I got to say." After a slurp or two, he cut his eyes toward Bill. "What's tuggin' on your brainpan?"

Bill shrugged.

"Somethin' has you befogged. Out with it."

"I can't say." He shrugged again. "I don't know." He chewed on his lip for a moment, then blurted out, "How could she up and get herself promised to that lump?"

Chico wiped the last sip of coffee from his moustache. "Was you makin' plans with her?"

Bill hesitated. Then, acknowledging that Chico was the closest thing to a good friend that he had in this country, he said, "It didn't get that far along. I was hoping, but--" He stopped short when the cook, Sourdough Smith, slapped a plate of eggs and beans onto the table before him.

Chico waited until Sourdough stepped back to the stove before he spoke again. "Uh-huh?"

"I had no chance to speak to the girl."

"Why's that?"

"She went on that little expedition with her pa and the boys."

"She come back."

"Maybe so, but she's mighty changed. She's put up a wall the size of the Guadalupes."

"You sayin' you ain't much of a mountain climber?"

Bill snorted derisively. "Chico, you trying to make me smile? I'm not in a smiling mood."

"I'll say you ain't!" Chico took a plate from Sourdough's hand and shoveled a mouthful of eggs beneath his moustache. Then he mumbled through the food, "You oughta talk to her. Speak your mind."

"You think Rod Owen would stand for that?"

"The ol' man don't got to know."


Thank you for visiting. Come back every Saturday for more samples. Now, use this list to go to other blogs for more Sweet Saturday Samples. I know the authors enjoy comments as much as I do, so don't be shy.

Copyright 2012 Marsha Ward


  1. I always enjoy your dialogue so much! It reflects the period so wonderfully and delineates the characters perfectly. Great job, as usual, in this scene.

  2. I love these characters. I also appreciate your clever use of language in this excerpt: galloping hooves on a hardpan road.
    ... drawing a rasp over a tin washboard.
    They add so much sparkle to your scene.

  3. "What's tuggin' on your brainpan?" It is lines like this that make your writing shine!

  4. You've got some really great lines in this scene


I welcome your comments.

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