The Rusty Nail was busy for a Monday night. I walked to the bar, “Joe, Shiner please.”

“Sure Mac, how you been? I haven’t seen you around lately.”

“I’m good. Been pulling all the EMT work at Stockyards Rodeo this month, but this is the last weekend until after the first.” He put the bottle in front of me. I turned to find Angus and Randy.

I walked to the corner booth and slid in beside Angus, “Boys.”

“Hey Mac.” Randy smiled, “You look about as good as my sister. I sure wish the two of you would get your shit together.”

I looked at Angus, “I thought we were talking about bulls not bullshit.”

They both laughed.

“We are, and that was just an observation from someone who has seen you both. No more to say on that.” Randy was watching me, “I’m just worried about both of you.  About the bull though, that new Brahma bull you have could be a good stud bull.”

“Yeah, well Angus is the one who bought him at auction last spring. I’ll leave it up to the two of you to work out the details of how you want to work it.” I took a drink of my beer, “Just let me see the papers to give to the lawyers and we’re good to go. It’s time for Angus to earn his keep.”

He punched me in the arm, “Sure big brother, earn my keep really.”

I listened as they talked about which cows they both had that would make good breeding partners.


I stiffened as she walked in the door. I moaned out loud, “Did you two know she was coming tonight?”

They looked at each other, “Who?” they said in unison.

I looked at them and growled, “Allyson, that’s who!”

They just ignored me and went on talking about breeding bulls and cows. I’ll breed some bull for the two of you.


I watched her as she sat at the bar, she ordered a coke straight up. Two cowboys had asked her to dance and she had turned them both down. A third cowboy from their table wasn’t taking ‘no’ for an answer and I’d just about had enough of him. I stood up, walked up behind Allie, “Cowboy the lady said no. Now move on.”

He looked at me and grabbed Allie’s wrist, “You and who else are going to make me old man.”

Well now that hurt my pride just a little. I stepped in front of Allie, put my much larger hand on his wrist and squeezed until he let Allie go. “I don’t need anyone else, do you. I stood to my full 6 foot 7 inches and looked down on him, “If you do let’s get them and head out back so we don’t cause Joe any damage to his place.”

Joe winked at me, “Thanks Mac, I do appreciate that.”

“No wait you’re serious, you’re going to fight me over this girl?” He was turning white.

“Well that would be up to you. She said ‘no’, now you can walk away like a gentleman or you and I can take it outside. Then you can see just how old I am.” I smiled when Allie put her hand on my back, “You choose, what’ll it be?”

He looked from me to Joe, “Hell she isn’t even worth it.” He turned and walked away.

I didn’t turn around until he was back at his table, “You okay Allie? Did he hurt you?”

“No, no I’m fine.”

I was trying too not make eye contact, lest I fall apart.

“Mac, are you not even going to look at me?”


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