Once I Was A Cowboy

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Cowboys. What do you imagine? Guns, American Indians and action movies? But who were the real cowboy's?

Submitted: October 23, 2014

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Submitted: October 23, 2014



Once I Was A Cowboy





The clouds were rolling in as Joseph Smith arrived in Abilene, his horse was slow and tired, the cattle he drove forward were even more so and trailing far behind at the back trundled William H.Bonney. The 12year old orphan was taken on by Smith not several years hence, he was skinny, relativity tall for his age and had curly black hair. As for Joseph Smith, he was a strong man with short hair that he kept well tended to, you couldn't tell about his riches from his looks, only from the 1,000 cattle he was driving did you have any clue how wealthy he was. The horse's hooves were loud as Sheriff William McCarty came out to greet them,

“Welcome my friends to Abilene!” his arms were wide as he stepped towards them “Cattle pens are over here, let us take care of the cattle so then we can get you boys some sleep” McCarty's gaze drifted at H.Bonney when he said 'boys'. He lead them to the pens and they drove the cattle into a section, “alright lads, chuck wagons over there, you can tie your horses up with the other cowboys. The inn opposite the jail allows one free night for anyone travelling with cattle, I'll tidy up here and I then better get back to the town. I heard there's a storm coming tonight, you've arrived just in time, better get some sleep I'll see you two in the morning” with that he strode off back to Abilene.

“Right then William, to the chuck wagon there's a good lad” Joseph followed him leading his horse towards the wagon. There was a fire with at least 6 cowboys sat round it, their quiet banter became loud when Joseph and H.Bonney joined them,

“Who's the boy? Can't be one of yours Smith” a cowboy on the opposite side of the fire yelled across to him as they sat

“No he's not mine Stanley, he's an orphan I picked up not too long ago, don't you remember him from last time we were here?”

“Stanley? He can't remember a thing once he's been in that inn drinking” came a voice filled with laughter

“I can, I know my name that's for sure”

“Just because we keep reminding you!” a howl of laughter rippled across the group

“I'm sure he can remember a bit more than that lads! He remembered me after all” Smith called as the group died down, someone was about to add a comment in but a crash of thunder came from the darkening sky,

“Eye, the storm” came an old voice from the wagon “Building up for weeks it has, finally got here”

“Better get to the inn” someone added getting up

“Don't let Stanley near the bar or he'll walk out in the middle of the night and get struck by lightning!” the laughter started again but soon started to become dim as the party moved to the town.





“Come on then smith, if you don't want to be caught in the rain” the old geezer who drove the wagon was holding a lantern and ushering at them,

“Come on lad, the horses will be fine” Smith comforted H.Bonney as they walked away. The reached the inn as the rain hit, it was stuffy inside and they headed right to the bar, “one room please landlord”

“You're the cowboy who arrived today arn't ya?” calmly said the landlord “room 16, on the house”

Room 16 was one of the top most rooms and looked over the cattle pens. Joseph was getting ready for bed when H.Bonney called out to him,

“Mr Smith there's someone by our cattle” Joseph Smith looked out to see Sheriff William McCarty by his cattle,

“Stay here, I'm going to check what he's up to. I just have that feeling” he said to H.Bonney then Joseph ran out into the pouring rain and reached the cattle by the time he was already soaked through,

“Smith! What you doing here?” he called over the howling wind

“Could ask you the same question” he called back

“It's my job to check the cattle are alright. Get back inside nothing to worry about!” Smith turned convinced nothing was up but then his mind changed when he heard McCarty's faint whispers, “If all of the herd are as plump as you are, I'll have no problems selling you just as soon as I've dealt with Smith”.





The sky was clearing as William McCarty stepped out of the jail and into the street,

“Very suspicious last night, don't you think?” Smith was sitting on a chair with a pistol in his right hand and H.Bonney behind him, “all that talk about selling my cattle”

“You heard that then” the Sheriff's hand rested on his gun hilt

“I'm not deaf you know”

“Shame” Smith rose out of the chair as McCarty drew the gun

“Your a real smart arse. Let's see how good your aim is”




Smith fell to the ground motionless, McCarty stood with the gun in his hand staring straight at the Sheriff.

“That's my boy Henry, that's my boy!” William called to him, Henry McCarty took Joseph's hat and put it on,

“I told you dad” he looked up with a hard gaze “it's Billy.” He sung the gun round in his hand and flung it into it's holster “Billy the Kid”

“Come here son” Henry ran to his dad and a smile came across both their faces as they hugged one another, “You like your guns don't ya?”

“Do I suit it?” William put Henry down and took a good hard look at him

“You look like a rattlesnake on fire” He walked over to Henry, put his arm round him and grinned “shall we go and get our fortune?”

© Copyright 2020 ShonaEH. All rights reserved.

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