tagRomanceJinglin' Spurs

Jinglin' Spurs


Author's note. This story was previously submitted as my Valentines Day Contest story in 2005


Lucky was in town for a Saturday night, him and the other hands at the Double 8 had just been paid. He had stopped off at Sal's Tonsorial Emporium for a much needed bath, and a shave. He had changed into a pair of clean Levis and a clean shirt. And as usual he had paid the extra ten cents for the Wildroot in his hair, and the Bay Rum for his cleanly shaven face.

As he walked along the sidewalk his spurs rang like little chimes. He stopped at the corner for a moment. Should he go to the card room and play a little Faro, or should he head on down to Lou's and see that girl?

Lou's won out. He may have a few coins left after Lou's for a couple of drinks and a few hands of Faro, but if he started at the card room first, he might not have any money left in his pockets for Lou's.

As he passed over the railway tracks he could see the red light glowing dimly outside of Lou's place. He smiled as he walked through the door. The girl of his dreams would be here, ready for thirty minutes of heavenly bliss.

"Howdy Lucky," purred Lou, her expansive bosom threatening to break free from her dress at any moment. "Are you lookin' for her again?"

Lucky smiled, a smile that went from the Pecos to the Brazos. "You know I am."

"Well, you take them damn spurs off this time." Lou pointed at Lucky's boots.

"But Lou, she likes it with the spurs," teased Lucky.

Lou shook her head and laughed, "You damned cowboys you're all the same, well, it's a buck extry then if you leave your spurs on, to replace the torn up sheets." Lou pointed to the stairs. "She's up there, your favorite love, the girl with the round glasses."


Lucky and Earl had worked together jingling cattle for eight or nine years. They rode quietly along the road out of town, heading back out to the ranch. They had decided to spend the night in town at the hotel. When Lucky had returned to the hotel last night, he had found Earl fast asleep, and snoring.

"What did you do?" asked Earl, he already knew the answer, but he wanted some conversation.

"I went to Lou's, and then over to the Cattleman's for some cards and a few drinks," replied Lucky in a dreamy faraway voice.

"Lou have any new girls?" Earl looked over at Lucky.

Lucky shrugged his shoulders. "I dunno, didn't ask."

Earl grinned and shook his head. "Lucky if you don't stay away from them whores, you're gonna find yourself with a case of the drippin' dick."

Lucky blushed. "She always cleans me up right after."

"Not the one with the glasses again. Damn it Lucky, if you're gonna spend money on a woman, at least try to get a good lookin' one," Earl chuckled, "But then you always were a sucker for the homely ones."

"She's not homely," Lucky protested. He felt his heart skip a beat as he thought of her. "I think Rose is a handsome woman, and besides, after our business has been conducted she sits and reads to me."

"What the hell," Earl snorted, "She reads to you. What does she read, the paper? The almanac? Don't tell me, she reads the Word from the Bible to you."

Lucky shook his head. "Nope, she reads poetry, beautiful poetry," Lucky sighed softly, "Poems of love and stuff."

"You're going soft in the head," teased Earl. "Well I saw Budge from the Lazy J last night, and wait 'til you hear what he told me."

"How is Budge?" Lucky was glad that the subject of the conversation had finally changed.

"Good." Earl nodded. "But get this, he told me that there is some foreign Princess at the Palace of Pleasure in Cheyenne."

"Oh really, I've never seen a princess," Lucky commented.

"Wait, it gets better," Earl continued, "Budge told me that for twenty dollars she will take your willywhacker into her mouth and do you that way."

Lucky's jaw dropped in astonishment. "No!"

"Yup, at least that's what Budge said, twenty bucks." Earl had been waiting all morning to spring this piece of information on Lucky.

"I've never heard of that before, have you?" Lucky still couldn't believe what he had heard.

Earl shook his head. "Can't say as I have."

The two men road in silence as the town disappeared, the landscape of the open prairie rolling in front of them as far as the eye could see.

The rolling landscape ebbed and flowed like a sea of grass, rising and falling like waves on the ocean. It was just past noon when the two cowboys rode up to the ranch. They unsaddled their horses and set them out into the corral.

As Earl stretched out onto his bunk, Lucky grabbed a tin cup and poured himself a cup of coffee from the large pot that sat on the stove.

Lucky walked to the window and looked outside. "Wonder where everyone is?"

Earl was half asleep already. "Sleeping it off somewhere I would expect."

Lucky nodded. "Yeah, I expect you're right."

Earl's first snore caused Lucky to turn. He sighed softly and sat down at the table with his cup of coffee. He thought back to last night. Lucky could hear her voice in his head, and the words she read from the book. Lucky had never realized that there could be beauty in words until she heard her read for the first time. He closed his eyes, and her soft and gentle voice spoke to him.

When we two parted

In silence and tears,

Half broken-hearted

To sever for years,

Pale grew thy cheek and cold,

Colder thy kiss;

Truly that hour foretold

Sorrow to this.

The sound of the door opening and the stomp of heavy boots brought Lucky out of his reverie.

"Hey Lucky, how was your night in town?" asked Stubby, the short, stout ranch cook.

Lucky nodded. "It was good, I ended up six bucks to the good at the Cattleman's last night."

"Faro?" asked Stubby.

"Naw." Lucky shook his head. "I got into a game of Three Toed Pete with some of them railroaders."

Stubby grinned and winked at Lucky. "Did ya go to Lou's?"

Lucky blushed, and nodded his head. "Yep, I sure did."

Stubby sat down with a cup of coffee. "Did she read some more to you?"

A large sigh escaped from Lucky, "She sure did. Stubby I didn't know people could make words that pretty, and when she reads them to me, I dunno, Earl thinks I'm goin' soft in the head."

"You don't listen to him, there ain't nothin' wrong with words like that," Stubby waved his hand towards Lucky, and then sighed, "I would like to hear her read them myself. I saw a girl in San Antonio once who spoke a recitation like that in a theatre, she damn near made me come to tears." Stubby pointed his finger at Lucky. "And don't you go telling anyone 'bout that."

"Nope, I won't say a word," Lucky promised.

They sat in silence for a few minutes, drinking their coffee, when Lucky spoke up, "Stubby you been around for a while, Earl said that Budge said that there was this princess at the Pleasure Palace in Cheyenne, and for twenty bucks, she will take your willy into her mouth, and pleasure you that-a-way. Did you ever hear anything like that before in your travels?"

"No." Stubby shook his head. "But I have heard that some of them people in the old country have some odd customs. Maybe that's one of them."

Lucky thought for a minute, "Could be. Maybe next time I'm in town, I will ask Rose. She might know."


It was late spring, and that meant one thing at the ranch that Lucky and Earl worked at. Branding time, all of the new calves would be branded; male calves typically would be castrated also, a job that Lucky preferred to leave to someone else. It meant long days in the saddle rounding up the cattle from the range and branding the calves that had been born earlier in the spring. Lucky and Earl were combing the range now for any missing cattle. They knew how many head there should be, and as usual they were short from the count. This was not unusual as sometimes cattle died from natural causes, predators, and even rustlers.

The land looked flat, but it was deceiving, there were countless little depressions in the landscape where hundreds of heads of cattle could have stood without being seen.

Lucky stood tall in the saddle scanning the landscape with a pair of binoculars looking for any sign of the missing cattle.

"See anything?" asked Earl.

"Nope," replied Lucky, "I think we need to keep goin' north, there's that little creek that runs in the spring up a couple of miles. We might find some a hidin' up in there."

Earl nodded in agreement and waited for Lucky to pack his binoculars away.

Lucky looked at Earl. "You never told me what you did in town. I got back to the hotel and found you dead to the world."

"Aw hell!" Earl turned and spit his chaw of tobacco onto the ground. "I had me a few drinks, and got into a card game with Budge and his bunch. I drawed three jacks, and I got pretty frisky with the bettin'. Ended up with everything but the dollar I left up in the hotel room into the pot, and that son of a bitch Budge had himself three painted ladies."

Lucky laughed. "That's Budge for ya."

Earl nodded. "Well, at least he bought the drinks the rest of the night. And then I just headed up to the hotel and went to bed."

"Well tell me, how much did you have in the pot?" Lucky chuckled, he knew what Earl liked, and that was like a good card game.

Earl's face turned beet red, and he exploded, "Twenty-two and change. Damn! I just knew I had that hand won!"

Lucky let out a low whistle, "That's some serious coin old son."

"Yeah, tell me about it," Earl started to laugh, "And I had that, and the other sixty bucks in the pot spent before I had won it. Teach me to spend money in my head before I have won it."

Lucky was pretty good with his money. Before he went to town after being paid he would leave a couple of dollars behind. Lucky was a top hand, he made good money for a cowboy, ten dollars a week plus room and board. This in a time when some cowboys worked for as little as room and board only, especially in the winter months.

Even before they got to the creek, they spotted fresh cattle track head in the same direction that they were traveling. Once they came up on the draw where the creek flowed they spotted cattle up and down both banks.

"Well." Earl looked over at Lucky. "I guess this is where we start earning our keep."

Lucky nodded. "Yep, I'll take one side, and you take the other, and we'll follow the creek as long as we see cattle, then head them back to the ranch."

"I'll take the far side." Earl nodded at Lucky, and spurred his horse into a trot, and headed to the other side of the creek.

Lucky undid the tie that held his lasso to his saddle and slipped the loop until it was just a knot at the end of the rope. The two cowboys began moving the cattle slowly along the banks of the stream. By the time they headed their small herd towards the ranch they had collected twenty-one head of cattle and eleven calves. The bawling of the calves for their mommas always made Lucky smile.

They made it back to the ranch just in time for supper. Stubby was a good cook, and the men appreciated that. Tonight's fare was beef stew, fresh biscuits, and a peach cobbler made with canned peaches for dessert. And coffee, Stubby's coffee was always hot, strong, and fresh.

Often the cook was more than a just a cook, usually the he was an older man, wise to the ways of the cattle trail and the ranch. He would serve as an adviser to some of the younger hands, and confidant to the other men. He would be the closest thing to a doctor that many of these men would ever see. The cook would be called upon to set broken limbs, sew up deep gashes, and usually had a box of salves, powders, various elixirs, and tonics.

After supper most of the cowboys would sit at the table and listen to Stubby read the newspaper, which at the best of times might be a month or more old. Invariably someone would get a card game going.

Lucky walked outside. The evening air smelled sweet, a pleasant change from the dust he had endured for most of the afternoon while they herded the cattle back to the ranch. He looked up at the moon and softly sighed, he was thinking of Rose. He found himself thinking of her more and more often lately, and he got a funny feeling in the pit of his stomach. Lucky wondered if she was looking at the big silver ball in the sky right now, and the thought that she could be gave him a warm feeling.

They worked five and half days a week right now, and there were times that they went seven days a week. But now, the ranch owner would pay everyone Saturday afternoon, and give them the rest of the day off. Lucky enjoyed working on this ranch, the pay was good, the food was good, and the bunks were comfortable. There wasn't a whole lot more that a man like Lucky could want for. Or was there?

Every night Lucky found himself outside, preferring the solitude of his own thoughts to the raucous goings on in the bunkhouse. His thoughts were of Rose.

"Earl is wrong," he thought to himself. "Rose is a handsome woman."

He liked how her face softened when she smiled, and then when she set her glasses aside, he could see her green eyes sparkle. He always marveled at how soft her body was, how sweet she always smelled. It always reminded him of the smell of crocuses in the spring.

It seemed like Saturday couldn't come soon enough for Lucky this week.


Lucky was pulling his pants back on when Rose looked up at him. "Can I ask you a question Lucky?"

Lucky couldn't imagine what she would want to ask him, and nodded, "Sure go ahead."

"Well, you come in here every Saturday, and always ask for me, and I was wondering why? There are prettier girls here, and well, I just wondered why you always asked for me?" Rose watched Lucky's face as she asked him her question.

"I don't think any of the other girls are any prettier than you," Lucky blushed as he replied quietly, "And you never rush me out after we are finished, and you read to me. I dunno, I guess it's because you make me feel special."

Rose smiled. "Well Lucky you make me feel special too, because you always ask for me, and when you come here, you've just come from Sal's, all clean and smelling like Wildroot, and Bay Rum."

Lucky blushed. "Well I was always taught that a fella should get his self cleaned up before going out to see a lady."

A little gasp escaped from Rose. "Is that how you see me Lucky, as a lady?"

"Yup." Lucky nodded. "I do."

Rose slid across the bed and kissed Lucky softly on the cheek. "No one has ever called me that before, and meant it. Thank you."

Lucky's face turned bright red, he looked down as he stammered, "If I-I came over on a S-Sunday, would you see me?"

"Oh Lucky, you know we can't be open on Sunday," Rose's voice was soft, and gentle.

"Oh no, I don't mean like that," Lucky looked at Rose. "I mean, like go for a walk, or a picnic, like courtin' folks do."

Rose was taken aback; it wasn't what she had expected to hear from Lucky at all. "I don't know what to say. Wouldn't you be afraid of what folks would say?"

Lucky shook his head. "There's no one in this-a-here town that I pay much mind to, I uh, never had a girl before." Lucky twisted the end of the blanket in his fingers nervously, "You're the closest thing I ever had and..." Lucky looked up at Rose. There was a look of quiet desperation to him, "Oh hell Rose, I know I ain't no prize, hell I can't even read or write. I would be honored if you would accompany me out on Sunday next."

Rose looked deep into Lucky's eyes, and while it may be true that Lucky was not the world's most handsome man, it also could be said that he was far from the world's homeliest man. What Rose saw in his eyes was a man who was simple and true, there was a straightforward honesty about him. Tears formed in the corners of her eyes, she couldn't remember the last time that someone had done anything for her just out of kindness.

She liked Lucky, he came to see her every Saturday night as clean and fresh as a spring flower. He was gentle with her in his lovemaking; she had come to enjoy sex with him. With others, when there were others she was impatient for carnal activities to end, sex with them was just another financial transaction. She had something to sell, and they were looking to buy. Lucky was different, more than once she had fantasized that he was her lover, like the ones she had read about in books. Rose felt her heart pound as she looked at Lucky.

"I would be honored to accompany you on Sunday next, what time will you be calling on me?"

Lucky's face glowed. "Would eleven o'clock be too early??"

"No, eleven would be fine." She touched his face. Rose no longer saw the lanky cowboy, she saw a prince from a fairy tale in shining armor.

The look on Lucky's face said it all.


The week seemed to drag by, each day seemed to be an eternity. Normally Lucky lived each day at a time, not worrying much about yesterday or tomorrow. Just taking care of what had to be done today.

Each morning he would look at the calendar on the wall and count off the days until Sunday. He wanted to go see Rose on Saturday night, but wasn't sure if it would be the right thing to do, to visit her professionally Saturday night, and then see her socially on Sunday. He made up his mind to ask Stubby. Stubby would know the answer, and he would understand.

Thursday night after supper Lucky sat down with Stubby and explained his dilemma to him. "So what do you think, would it right for me to go see her Saturday night, I'm afraid that she will think that I have changed my mind."

Stubby nodded his head, Lucky never failed to amaze him at times. "I think she would be happy to see you Saturday night Lucky, if it were me, I would go."

"That's what I was a thinkin' too." Lucky nodded his head.

Lucky blushed as he looked at Stubby, "I ain't never taken a girl somewhere before. I don't know rightly what I should do."

Stubby patted Lucky on the arm. "What do you want to do on Sunday?"

"Well, I was a thinkin' of goin' on a picnic, down to the river," Lucky replied.

"You need to rent a rig from Hank at the livery stable, you should stop and see him on Saturday and let him know that you will be needin' one. You need to go down to the café and let them know that you will be wantin' a picnic lunch, and what time. If I were you, I might stop by the Mercantile and get a new shirt." Stubby rubbed his jaw. "I can't think of anything else, unless you can lay your hands on some flowers. Women like flowers."

"Hey boys, Lucky's gonna take one of Lou's whores out," laughed Billy, one of the other cowboys from the bunkhouse.

Lucky went to stand up but Stubby pushed him back down on the bench. "I'll take care of this."

Stubby reached over to the stove and grabbed a long handled ladle and whacked the offending cowboy sharply on his rear end.

"Ow!" Billy turned and looked at Stubby. "What the hell was that for?"

"For calling the woman that Lucky is going to stepping out with a whore," replied Stubby, "I think just maybe that an apology is owed."

"Christ on crutch Stubby, she one of Lou's girls." Billy rubbed the spot on his backside that Stubby had whacked.

Stubby shook his head. "That don't make no never mind, we all gotta do what we gotta to do to get through life, and from what Lucky has told me about her, she ain't no whore."

Billy still rubbing the knot on his back turned to Lucky, and extended his hand.

"I'm sorry Lucky, I didn't mean no offence."

Lucky shook Billy's hand. "None was taken."

Satisfied that order had been restored in his small domain, Stubby sat back down with Lucky. "Damn kids. Just be yourself Lucky, and treat her nice."

After Lucky had gone Stubby sat alone at the table and remembered a time in his life when there had been someone special in his life, and he sighed softly.


Rose removed her glasses and rubbed her eyes, and then glanced over at the clock. She was beginning to get a little worried. Lucky had never been here this late before, she hoped he would show up tonight. There was a nagging little voice in her head that told her that Lucky had probably come to his senses and wouldn't be showing up here tonight, or tomorrow morning.

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