When The Dust Rises
In the late eighteen hundreds, in a little town of Oregon called Seaside, a boy is about become a man. With a population less than two hundred, word travels fast, especially when it deals with one of the last cowboys of the west, a true cattle runner.
Billy Wilson is not a cowboy, nor does he have a spec of "the ole west" in him. His father, Frederick Wilson, though, is a cowboy through and through; and he's as rugged as they come.
"Git out here, now boy! I need to talk to you!" Fred said, staggering and about to pass out in his torn leather chaps and a muddy button down shirt.
"On my way!" Billy yelled from inside the little two-bedroom home.
Billy's wearing his pajamas but puts his untied boots on anyway. This isn't the first time his father was drunk, in fact, one could say Billy is used to this routine.
First, his father yells; then, he makes Billy watch him urinate over the bushes just in case there's a rattler; and finally, he goes out to the barn and talks to Billy about Billy's mom until Fred finally just passes out in one of the horse stalls. Fred has very low self-dignity, and yet is one of the highest respected men in the community.
Billy, on the other hand, is a gentleman and proficient in reading and writing, arithmetic's, and basic sciences, like, running water and electricity. He has a clear view of where the world is headed. His twentieth birthday is just a few days around the corner, around the same time as his late mother's.
Fred Wilson loves his son. There's nothing more important to him than his son. With the loss of his wife when Billy was only five, Fred has raised Billy by himself.
"Get up, Mr. Wilson," Sheriff Thompson demanded, as he and two deputies hovered over Fred's inebriated body.
"I said, get up, Fred. You're in a whole heap o' trouble," the sheriff insisted, as he nodded to his deputies to poor cold water on Fred as he just wallowed in horse dung, the same place he passed out.
"Saint Mary's Ghost! What the hell!" Fred yelled as his shocked senses made him clench in fright and disorientation.
Wiping his eyes, he could see Sheriff Thompson and his deputies, Lou and Doug.
"Whatdya want?" asked Fred, as he knelt up, wide awake and looking at the sheriff.
"Ms. Jensen claims you stole some horses and a few saddles from her. Now, we didn't believe her at first, so we went out there and there was nothing to be found. She claims you came by yesterday to shoe her horses, and then came back last night to steal them," the sheriff explained.
"Let me tell you one thing about Ms. Jensen, she's a liar and a cheat! That I can tell you." He stated. "As for her horses, I didn't steal them. I can prove it too. Why would I be in a stall with horse manure on me and smell like I just left the tavern?"
"He makes a point boss," Lou agrees.
"I didn't steal them. She's just upset cause I wouldn't lay with her last night. She asked me to and I just couldn't. So, I got drunk instead." Fred claims.
"Can someone verify that for you?" he asked.
"Yeah, my b-" Fred started to say.
"Sides' your son. Anyone else?" Sheriff asked interrupting Fred.
"Yeah. Harold." He stated.
"Okay. Let's go to the tavern boys," the sheriff said as he left the barn.
Billy watched from inside the house. He had a shotgun and two six-shooters loaded and ready to go just in case. Even though most of the residents in Seaside respect Fred, Billy doesn't trust them.
Billy started unloading the weapons as his dear old dad walked inside.
"You need a bath," Billy stated.
"I know. I'm gonna head out to the landing today. I need to talk to you." he stated.
"Yeah?" Billy responded.
"Yeah. Wanna go?" he asked.
"Yeah, I'll go. I'd like to talk to you too anyway." Billy stated.
"Alright. Will you round me up some of that soup you make?" he asked.
"Go take a bath," Billy said as he gave a slight smirk and shook his head sarcastically at his father.
Fred nodded and as he got up from the table, he patted his son on the shoulder and gave it a squeeze.
"Hey, son, I love you. Oh, and three guns is a bit excessive don't you think?" he asked as he walked passed him smiling.
In front of Billy were the three guns he was unloading. On him, he had two pistols holstered on his belt and two in a vest he was wearing.
Just as Billy unloaded the last of the three guns, he was about to take the guns out of his vest when he noticed a rather large and racing trail of dust heading toward their small ranch.
'Oh, great,' he mumbled to himself.
The trail of dust cleared and standing directly out front on a horse was Ms. Jensen. Behind her were her four brothers.
"Fred, git your ass out here! I'm gonna give you the count of ten and I'm-" Ms. Jensen yelled as she held her gun pointing at the door.
"I'm right here, Janice," Fred said with his hands up peacefully as he walked from the side.
Billy seen this and went under the house in a crawl space to watch through holes of the wooden siding.
"Where's the money, Fred?" She asked, as she pointed her guns at him.
"I don't have it," he said.
"I know you were trying to be a hero last night. Ain't nobody gonna take from me. Now, I'm gonna ask you one last time. Where is it?" Janice asked.
"I'll show you, but it ain't here. Let me go get my boots for god's sake." Fred demanded, as his wet body stuck to his white long johns.
"Okay, you got five minutes. Thomas, go with him." She ordered.
Thomas was a darker haired man and had beady eyes like a rat. He stood a few inches taller than Fred.
"Go on." Thomas said, as he got off his horse.
Fred stopped about ten feet in front of the door. He did this so Billy could hear him. He had no intentions of going inside.
"It's not your money, Janice!" he yelled as his arms were still up.
"Oh, it's mine alright. Now get moving," she yelled back.
Fred turned toward Janice and put himself between Janice and Thomas.
"I didn't take the money, or your horses. Are you mad at me cause I didn't kiss you?" he asked.
"I'm not gonna say it again. Get yer' boots!" she yelled.
"Why'd you rob those people? And you did it before the train was landing." Fred yelled emphasizing the word "Landing."
"They seen yer' faces. And you swapped wagons with me. Now the sheriff thinks I'm a wanted man too. He ain't gonna believe that I-" Fred's eyes widen and he was speechless as he fell to his knees. He looked down as his white overall pajamas were bleeding massively. Janice shot him.
"Take him boys! He ain't gonna help us," she ordered.
And in an instant, Fred's body danced back and forth as his body became a sponge for the Jensen Gang's bullets. He struggled to stay upright on his knees while slowly falling over.
Billy screamed "No!" loudly, but couldn't be heard over the guns. By the time his screams subsided, his father fell back in the dirt facing upward.
"C'mon boys. Let's go find our treasure." Janice ordered.
"What about the barn?" Thomas asked.
"It ain't here. He wouldn't be stupid enough to bring it home," she explained as she turned her horse and left.
The rest of the gang followed behind her.
Billy kicked his way through the bottom of the house and just kept kicking and crying until he seen full daylight. Barely keeping a grip, he ran as fast has he could sliding into his father like a baseball player stealing home plate.
"Da…d" he barely uttered as he hovered over his father crying.
Fred's lifeless body just lied there staring up at the skies. Billy fell back looking up at the skies trying not to throw up, as if the whole world was spinning out of control.
Billy left his father's body in the same position thinking the Jensen Gang may return.
"I'm sorry, father," he said, as he kissed his dad on the forehead one last time.
Looking up at the empty trail of dust and dirt the Jensen Gang left behind, Billy thought to watch his every step from here on out, to be as precise and concise with the perfect calculation.
Billy walked in his house and packed the essential cowboy gear to live off the land for at least a week. He grabbed as many guns and bullets as he could as well.
He packed a wagon with everything he could without making himself look conspicuous. He prepared two horses as well. Sitting in the wagon in front of the barn, he looked at his house and father one last time.
"Hya! Hya!" he blurted as he held the reigns from the wagon.
"Billy." His father faintly cried out. "I love you, son." Fred barely whispered as tears fell down his cheek.
Silence swept across the dirt and gravel as Fred's eyes slowly closed. A hundred feet away he heard rustling in the brush. He hoped it was Billy but knew it wasn't. All he wanted was to see his son one last time before he died.