At the Buckin’ Broncos

I do love me a western. Here’s a snippet of a western novel idea I’m concocting. Nothing serious–just something fun. *grins*




Banners streamed from a window on one side of main street to a window on the other side, criss-crossing above the heads of Guntry’s festive inhabitants. The sun shone brightly and the music blared boisterously. People milled around various stands: produce, baked goods, clothes, seeds, and games. The harvest finally all gathered, Guntry had gathered for a day of festivities.

At the far end of main street, beside the livery stable, a mass of cowhands pressed close against the corral fence. Jonah excitedly pushed through the crowd, Cassie following close behind weaving around the burly men. Reaching the fence, they stepped up on the first rail. In the corral, a muddy sorrel bucked, kicked, and reared until the rider toppled off onto the ground. The unsaddled ridder dusted his jerkins as two other cowhands ran the sorrel back into its colliding gate.

From the middle of the corral a man shouted, “And now, what y’all’ve been a’waitin’ fer—git ‘im out, boys!” The same two cowhands opened another gate, hee-hawing a buckskin out with their hats. Out sprung the buckskin, nearly running over the spokesman who spun away in the nick of time. “Creature o’ twisters—Nado—the doggonit most unrideable sprite in the state of Nevada,” continued the spokesman from a safe distance, “He’ll twist in a whirl-wind of ‘is own and throw ’is riders all the way to Calerfornia and back in less ‘an five seconds—who’d like to give ‘im a try? Lay down yer bets, boys, lay ‘em down!”

The cowhands rumbled among themselves, and several shouts went up as two, three daring cowhands jumped into the corral. Nado pawed the ground and shook his head wearily observing the approaching men.

Jonah stuck his tongue in his cheek, looked sidewise at Cassie, and grinned with his eyes. Cassie caught his look. “You won’t last three seconds, Jonah Wylde.”

“Two weeks of blackboard duty says I will and more, Cassandra Finch,” he shot back, his grin widening.

“Don’t you even try,” she replied.

“Just watch me.” Jonah jumped up and over the fence. “Don’t worry. I’ll come back to collect my due.” He flashed his full grin back at her.

“Wait, I never bet anything!” she shouted as he ran over to the huddle of cowhands about to try their luck on the infamous Nado.

One cowhand after the other rolled off Nado’s back into clouds of dust raised by the buckskin’s pernicious habit of bucking and kicking while turning round and round. None beat the five second record. Disgruntled, one brushed the red dirt of his sleeves and stomped away mumbling to himself; another swept his jerkins until the dust came billowing out and grinned sheepishly; still one more—a particularly hot-headed, tiny but thick-set Irishman—snatched his hat off the ground and shook it menacingly at the buckskin sending a thick volley of garbled insults. Nado stared, flicked his ear to avoid a fly, snorted, and wandered away to the other side of the corral before being chased back into the side gate.  

Cassie watched as Jonah climbed over the fence and lowered himself onto Nado’s back, his jaw clenched and eyes squinting. She could hear the men’s muffled guffaws and felt their skeptical gaze. He really did look like a weed. A wiry weed with a tassel-top for that insufferable mop of curls, she thought. A weed riding a tornado: that was no good. Seriously, what was he thinking…? She bit her lip and glued her eyes to the scene in front of her. With a nod, the gate opened and Nado bolted out twisting and turning in a whirlwind of his own creation.

1…2…Cassie counted in her mind. Jonah bounced and swerved like a ragdoll.

3…4…For all of that, he’s actually doing pretty good, she ventured smugly, picturing the cowhands’ impressed expressions. Jonah clenched Nado’s mane and hugged his flanks.  

5…Oh my stars, he made it. She heard whistles and whoops from the surrounding throng.

6, 7, 8. What in tarnation—does he want to snap his neck or something?! Just jump off already for heaven’s sakes! Cassie climbed onto the higher rail and leaned forward, ready to drag Jonah off Nado if need be.

…9. Jonah flew off Nado’s back and into the red dirt. The mass hushed. Cassie felt her insides drop for a millisecond as he lay unmoving. But sure enough, he slowly crawled to his feet, grinned, and ran his hand through those dusty, unruly curls. Cassie stepped down from her perch. Still grinning victoriously, Jonah strode towards her, jumped over the fence, landed in his previous spot beside her.

“Honestly, Jonah—” Cassie began, looking at him accusingly, but was cut short. Jonah cupped her face and kissed her soundly on the forehead.

She stared for a moment before reacting.  “Just what—what in the—” she stammered. “WHAT was that, Jonah Rupert Wylde?!”

“I said I’d come back to collect my debt.” His eyes laughed.

“But I never—” she argued back as he grabbed her hand and pulled her out of the chuckling mass of cowhands.    

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