Somewhere in your makeup lies sleeping, the seed of achievement which, if aroused and put into action, would carry you to heights, such as you may never have hoped to attain.
I had just pissed off the one man on this boat I did not want to piss off. He was drunk. He was mean. He smelled of buffalo or worse, and he held his Colt aimed at my belly button. I did not know if he was her husband, or her beau, or her brother. I had met her less than an hour earlier. She was really sweet and nice to me. She had her hands all over me like I had just found the mother lode.
“Oh, Bill, help me get away from those mean men,” she had whispered just a minute before.
She had led me to her bunk and kissed me like she knew what kissing did to a man’s heart. She was 19 and the prettiest girl I had ever seen. She knew I was going up the Missouri to the headwaters and that I had won a few pots at the poker table.
“We can’t be doing this Cheri, I smell like cows and the mud from the stockyards,” I begged off, holding onto the handle of my pistol.
I had heard about girls hustling the winner, only to find him with his head split open and his purse gone in the morning. This rickety old boat leaked badly and I doubted it would make it through the night. I excused myself for the moment, to go to the side and relieve myself. I heard footsteps behind me.
Before they got close I dove in. I surfaced and heard them yelling about a man overboard. I laughed and said, “Nope, boys, I just felt like a swim. I’ll see you up the river, but you won’t see me. Spend some money on some soap. I smelled you coming before I heard you, idiot.”
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