Just A Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 1

This entry is part 1 of 19 in the series Crazy



 Chapter 1

The yellow Jeep pickup was winding its way down the narrow crooked road. Occasionally the engine would backfire and throw black smoke rings from the exhaust blended with the gray dust.

The driver shifted the machine into a lower gear, giving the engine more control. For a few moments they moved forward at a very low speed. The man behind the wheel glanced at the small creek that flowed down the bottom of the canyon.

“Sure low this year.” he muttered. “Much lower than usual.”

The canyon broadened, the road was not so steep. The decent was about over. The driver took off his hat and wiped his forehead with the back of his hand. The weather was much warmer here, than in the valley above.

Now it was only a short distance to the main traveled road. He shifted to a higher gear. As the Jeep picked up speed the driver could see some movement on the road ahead. As he drew closer, a couple of Magpies took to the air. Leaving the carcass of the dead jackrabbit.

Just ahead, the road he was traveling intercepted another, which was in much better condition. Off to the right, mounted on cedar posts, was half a dozen mailboxes. They were a sad looking lot. Evidently someone had been using them for target practice. They were riddled with bullet holes, the flags were missing and the doors would no longer close.

One glance told: the driver that they were all empty. The mail carrier had not yet arrived. He glanced at his watch.

“Twelve thirty.” he muttered. “He should have been here a long time ago.”

He pulled the Jeep to the side of the road and got out. He would wait he decided.

A short distance down the road a bridge spanned the creek. Voices were coming from there. Childish voices.

The driver of the Jeep smiled. It had not been too many years ago, that he and his buddies had played there. It was cool under the bridge, a perfect spot for a kid on a hot afternoon.

The driver of the Jeep, was a young man, twenty two years of age and tipped the scales at one-eighty. He was six feet tall and quite handsome, in a rugged sort of way. His sunburned face had a straight nose and a firm jaw. The dark brown hair was brushed straight back and cut at the collar line. His eyes were a bluish green, the eyebrows full and dark, his mouth was quite large and seemed to always be ready to smile, showing strong, white and even teeth. He was wearing blue jeans, a blue cotton shirt and a white felt hat. On his feet were a pair of black oxfords.

Young Jim Green of High Valley was on his way to town. The country store down the road a few miles offered little other than a few groceries. Certainly no place to spend a weekend.

Payette was the closest town to offer much in the way of entertainment. It was still about a thirty mile drive, but this was nothing to this young man. The town was noted for it’s pretty women, and there should be a big dance tonight.

Childish yells and laughter were coming from under the bridge. Out of curiosity he started walking in that direction.

Fastened to the rail of the bridge was a metal sign put there by the forest service. It read… SHIRT CREEK

Jim smiled. This famous little creek also had another name. A dirty four letter name…

The old timers had given it this awful, name and for a good reason. It was small and never ran much water, but it quenched the thirst of livestock for miles in every-direction.

Lots of cattle grazed these mountains. There were also elk, deer, bear, and many more animals. And there were birds, grouse, quail, chucker and many more. And they all came to this little creek to drink. As they quenched their thirst, they covered the bank with their droppings. Hence came the name.. A proper name…

A few years back, the forest service had taken on the task of putting signs on all the creeks and trails. Evidently some officials in Boise didn’t approve of the name. An “r” was added. It became Shirt Creek.

A narrow path led to the water under the bridge. Jim took this and made his way down to the waters edge. He took a fast look around.

Two bare-foot boys wearing bib overalls were the occupants. They looked to be about five or six years old and no doubt they were, twins. They were as alike as two peas in a pod. Also, there was no doubt as to their identity. They were the Rotten Twins.

All Jim’s life, he had known Sam Rotten. These were a couple of his offspring. There was no doubt about it. The long shaggy hair that looked like it had never been cut or combed, looked exactly like their fathers some twenty years ago. It was impossible to see- their faces. The long hair covered them completely. They reminded Jim of Chris Fenton’s blue sheep dog.

For a few seconds, the boys stood staring up at him. Neither of them spoke.

Jim smiled down at them. “Hi fellas. Sure nice and cool down here.”

The boys paid no attention to him. They moved deeper under the bridge.

There wasn’t standing room for a man as tall as Jim. He stooped over and moved under the bridge. There was a big flat rock at the waters edge. It looked inviting. This would be a nice cool place to wait for the carrier, he decided. He would be able to hear the truck when it arrived. He sat down and looked around.

There was quite a pool of water. The local kids had built a dam at the lower end. This made an excellent place to sail boats, soak their feet or what ever else they might think of.

Jim made himself comfortable. He wondered what the Rotten twins we up to. It didn’t take him long to find out.

Jeb and Zeby, as they were called, had a project going that was of great interest to them. On their way to get the mail they had cut across the pasture below. As they came splashing through the water they had almost stepped on a large bull frog. They had captured the creature then proceeded on to get the mail. The carrier had not yet arrived so they retreated under the bridge.

They turned the frog loose in the pond. For awhile, he swam about, looking for a place to conceal himself from his tormentors. The water was shallow and clear. There seemed to be no place to hide. Each time he tried one of the boys would wade out and grab him by his long hind legs and start him off in a different direction.

For awhile this had been great sport for the Rotten twins. Then the big frog began to tire. He would swim out into the middle of the pond and lay on top of the water. He seemed to know that there was no way to escape

The twins were disgusted. Jeb scowled, “Let’s kill the son of a bitch,” he growled.

Zeb nodded his shaggy head, “Let’s kill the bastard then cut his legs off.”

“Let’s cut his legs off first then kill him.”

“A good idea well take them home to eat. Maybe he will grow some new ones.”

Zeb reached into his pocket searching for his knife. He went through all his pockets. “Damn !” he swore . Lost my knife!” He scratched his shaggy head’. “Must of left it where we nutted that cat yesterday.”

Jeb waded out and picked up the frog. For a few seconds he stood there staring down at the cold-blooded creature. Suddenly a wicked grin crossed his hair-covered face. Through the streaked strands Zeb could detect a look of cunning.

“What you think Jeb. You look like you just thought of something.”

“Damn right I did! And do you know what? We’re going to blow the son of a bitch up!”

Zeb looked puzzled. “How we going to blow the bastard up? We got no powder, not even a firecracker!”

Jeb sneered. “You stupid ass, you! I didn’t mean blow him up. I meant BLOW him up!”

Jeb’s eyes were focused on the ground beside the pool. On the bank was a bunch of litter, thrown there by children that had come here to play. A couple of soda straws were sticking out of a root beer can. Jeb snatched them up and shook them at Zeb.

“Now you see what I mean? See what I mean?”

Zeb caught on fast. His eyes lit up behind the hairy mask. “Sure see you idiot. We’ll blow the son of a bitch up till he busts!”

It was at this point in their conversation that the intruder came gilding down the ditch bank.

Jim made himself comfortable on a big flat rock. He took off his hat and wiped the sweat from his brow. A slight breeze was blowing under the bridge. It felt cool and refreshing. He glanced at the Rotten twins. What were they doing here? No doubt they were up to same sort of mischief. He grinned at them.

“Hi fellas. How are you today?”

Neither of them answered. They turned their backs and moved deeper under the bridge. Jeb had the frog in one hand; the soda straws in the other. They proceeded with their venture as though nothing had happened.

Jeb took charge. After all, it was his project. He handed the frog to Zeb. “Here, you hold the bastard and I’ll blow him up.”

Zeb took the frog and held it in front of his chest. The back of the frog was toward Jeb.

Jeb took one of the straws and proceeded to try and shove it up the frog’s rectum. The frog croaked and squirmed in his hand. The straw doubled up and he began to swear.

“Hold him still, stupid, and turn him around! Can’t you see that you got him ass backwards to me?”

Zeb turned the frog around, the yellow belly toward Jeb.

Once more Jeb tried. This time with more success. The frog grunted and squirmed trying to free himself. Jeb gave the straw an extra push, then stooped over and put the straw in his mouth. He took a deep breath, then began to blow. Like a balloon, the frog began to swell. His sides began to bulge, his long tongue lolled out and his eyes bulged. He began to croak. Jeb took a deep breath and blew until his cheeks resembled the sides of the frog. His face was red when he removed the straw. He drew a deep breath and grinned

“All right, put the son of a bitch in the water. Let’s see what happens.”

Zeb leaned over and laid the frog gently on the water. For a moment, he sat there riding high on the surface. Suddenly, he seemed to realize that his tormentors had released him. He went into action. He gave what should of been a mighty leap. Instead of going forward, his legs were threshing out over the water, hitting nothing but thin air. He tried to dive. His head went under the water the long hind legs threshed about, hitting nothing.

The Rotten Twins, howled with delight. Tears of joy ran down their cheeks . This was more like they had in mind.

The big frog was stubborn He raised his head out of the water and looked around. Suddenly the air began to expel from his rear, which was slightly under water. Bubbles began to rise. Then there was a big burst! He started scooting across the pond!,

“Jet propelled!” screamed Jeb.

“Look at him go!” yelled Zeb.

Young Jim Green, started to get up from: the rock he was sitting on. He stepped on a slick one covered with moss. His feet went out from under him and made a big splash as he hit the water. He struggled to his feet and about tore the top of his head off, as it come into fast contact with one of the bridge stringers. “Damn,” he swore under his breath.

The Rotten twins howled with delight. They hadn’t had so much fun in a long time.

Jim’s hat had fallen into the water. He stooped over to pick it up. A couple of mud balls struck him in the seat of the pants. He grabbed his hat with one hand, his sore head with the other. It was time to get out of here. Hie decided. He might lose his temper and give a couple of kids a good spanking. That, he had better not do. He would end up fighting the whole Rotten tribes

His face was quite red as he aimed up the steep bank. He felt the lump on his head. It would be there for some time.

He walked up the road to the Jeep. He opened the door and crawled in. This would be a much safer place to wait, he decided. He switched on the radio. A good western band was playing. He turned the volume down low, leaned back and closed his eyes.

The minutes ticked by… it was one-thirty when the sound of an approaching vehicle awakened him, He sat up and yawned. A quick look told him: that it was the mail carrier. He glanced down the creek. The Rotten twins were wading through the pasture below, evidently headed for home.

A battered Ford pickup stopped in front of the mailboxes. The driver began sorting through a stack of mail.

Jim walked over and greeted the driver. “Hello Buck. Kind of late, ain’t you?”

Buck nodded. “Yeah, had to wait quite, bridge being repaired down the road the road a piece.”

“Thought I might go to town. Is it passable now?”

“Yeah,, they got it all fixed up.”

“Good. Got any mail for me?”

“Just a minute.” The man sorted through a, stack of letters. “Don’t look like you got much but a bunch of bills; that, and some advertising.”

“You are a snoopy bastard. “ Jim remarked. “Do you have to read everybody’s mail? “

Buck grinned. “You got to be snoopy in this business. How else would I know where to put the junk?” He poked mail into several of the boxes, picked up another hand full and sorted through it. He laid it all back on the pile except for one post card. For a moment he sat staring at the picture side of it.

Jim was watching through the open window. He could see the card. The picture on it was that of a beautiful lake. On the lake were many sailboats. Across the bottom of the card were the printed words, LAKE WASINGTON.

Buck turned the card over and stared at it for a moment. He reached out the opposite side and put it in the box with the faded name of Rotten on the side. He turned to Jim. “Well what do you know. Elly May is coming home!”

Jim’s mouth flew open, “What?”

“That’s what it says on the’ card… By the way, you used to be quite sweet on her. What happened? Did she run off with another guy?”

Jim’s face was red. “Darned if I know.”

Buck liked to talk. “She sure was a cutie. You should have hung on to her. She had a Rotten name, alright. But she sure didn’t look rotten to me.”

Jim wished that Buck would shut up and get the hell out of here. “Yeah, she was quite a girl.”

“Too damn cute to be one of that bunch”

“I sure agree with you there.”

Buck yanked the pickup in gear. “So long, my friend. I had better get going. I am late now.”

“So long, Buck.”

Jim watched the mail truck disappear up the dusty crooked road. He took one fast look around and could see no one. Even the Rotten twins had disappeared

Jim knew he was going to look at the card in the Rotten mail box – the sooner the better. He yanked it out quickly and held it down in front of him. It was addressed to Martha Rotten and displayed a Seattle post mark. It was dated June 12.

The dainty small handwriting was as follows.

Dear mother:

Will arrive at Ontario, Oregon sometime in the afternoon of June the 18th. Have someone meet me at the Greyhound buss station. Love, Elly May.

Jim slipped the card back into the mailbox. His mind was in a whirl. Elly May was coming home. Beautiful Elly May, like a beautiful yellow rose growing out of a manure pile, she was one of the Rotten family.

Jim’s mind raced back. it had been over four years, since she pulled out. Four long years….

She was only fourteen then. Most girls were rather awkward at this age, but not Elly May… She was as pretty as a bouquet of wild flowers ands trim as a yearling deer.

A sudden thought crossed his mind. Wasn’t today the eighteenth? He glanced at his watch which had a calendar dial.

“It sure is.” he muttered. “That card must have gotten sidetracked somewhere along the way.”

The Rotten twins had come after the mail. Probably they would report that there was none. The chances were small that any other member of the family would come and take a look…. Elly May would arrive at the bus station and there would be no one there to meet her!

Jim paced up and down the’ road wondering what to do. He could take the card out of the mailbox up to the Rotten ranch… On second thought that wouldn’t be a very good idea. You are not supposed to go around poking your nose into other people’s mailboxes. There had to be another way

Jim glanced at the watch on his wrist. One forty-five. He had been there for over an hour. If the mail hadn’t been late he could have been in Payette by now. There was a number of things that he intended to take care of before he settled dawn to enjoy the evening.

He walked over to the Jeep and climbed in behind the wheel. Ontario, Oregon was only a few miles farther than Payette. He turned the ignition key and the engine came to life. He put the machine in gear and stepped on the gas. .

The girl wouldn’t be stranded. He would be there to meet her!

Just A Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 2

This entry is part 02 of 19 in the series Crazy

Chapter 2

Jim had made up his mind. The business that he intended to take care of in Payette could wait. Elly May was coming home. And unless he went to meet her she would be stranded. This should not happen to anyone. Let alone a beautiful girl like her.

As the fence posts flashed by his mind drifted back to the last time he had seen the girl. It was graduation day at the Valley View schoolhouse. This was a big day for the people in this neighborhood. Most everyone had a relative or a friend that attended school here. This was Elly May’s last year at Valley View. Next year she would go to high school in Payette.

After the graduation exercise the women put on a big feed. Most of them were noted for their cooking. Many fancy dishes were placed on the long table.

After the healthy appetites were satisfied the tables were cleared and put away. Next would be a big dance. Lizzy Cook played the piano while Earl Thomas sawed away on the fiddle.

The quality of the music wasn’t the greatest but it had lots of volume. To add to the racket one woman brought in an old wash board. She played this by rubbing a silver dollar over the surface. A man with two tin plates joined in. With these he beat on every part of his anatomy keeping time to the music.

Jim would never forget that afternoon. He had dinner with Elly May. She was his dancing partner and dressed like a princess. On her feet were a pair of black and white slippers. Her honey colored hair, which hung in ringlets covered her white shoulders. She had big blue eyes that seemed to flash each time she spoke. Her ruby red lips were full and inviting. Her teeth were pearly white and glistened like a string of pearls. He could not keep his eyes off her that afternoon. He was sure that she vas the most beautiful girl in the world!

The weather had been quite warm. After one of the dances he had taken her by the hand and they had slipped outside for a drink of water. The pump was back of the school house in the shade of a weeping willow tree. He had taken the dipper from the nail which was driven into the tree and pumped it full. She drank from the dipper, her eyes smiling at him over the top. She handed it back to him. He drank it dry and hung it back on the nail.

A strange feeling had come over him. He looked around no one was in sight. He slipped an arm around her waist drawing her close. Her big blue eyes were shining and her ruby red lips were slightly parted. There were roses in her cheeks. For a few seconds he stared down into the beautiful face. He drew her close. He could hear his own voiced; it was saying, Elly May… I want to kiss you.”

The little white arms stole around his neck. Her eyes were closed, her voice was soft, “Why don’t you, Jim?”

Her lips were soft and sweet .He kissed her long and hard. He had felt like he was in some sort of heaven. Then he pushed her gently away. Once more he was talking…

“Elly May. I want you to be my girl; my real girl for ever and ever.”

The big blue eyes had flooded with tears. She drew herself close to him he could hear her saying..

“Oh Jim I will always be your girl, and someday I will be your wife!”

He kissed her once more. “Promise? With all your heart?”


A ground squirrel running across the road brought Jim’s mind back to the present. He gave the wheel a slight jerk to jeep from running over the little fellow.

Shortly after the school party the girl had packed up and left. No one but her folks knew where or why she had gone, and they would give out no information.

He had gone to her mother Martha- She had treated him very badly.

“What are you doing here again?” She demanded.

He had tried to control his temper. “Where is Elly May? Where did she go?”

Martha had glared at him. “Young man, that is none of your business! Now get out of here.”

Jim had been stubborn. “It is my business Martha. She happens to be my girlfriend.”

“I told you to get out of here.” She had shook her finger at him. “Get out and stay out!”

“Not until you tell me where she is!”

Martha’s harsh features softened a bit. “I’ll tell you this much. She has gone to the coast for the summer. I am sure she will write you a letter if she wants to hear from you.”

He had retreated. There was nothing else he could do. For weeks he had expected a letter. There was none, not even a post card. Four years slipped by; he had almost forgotten her.

Now, like a bolt out of the blue this card bad come though the mail. Fate had taken a hand and placed it there in front of him. Was there a better explanation?

Then another thought struck him. Maybe she was married and had a bunch of kids. She was old enough; she would be eighteen now. The card: had been signed Elly May with no last name. Maybe Buck was right when he suggested that she might have run off with another guy. Women do strange things sometimes.

He put on the breaks and brought the Jeep to a stop.

For a moment he just sat there. Strange thoughts ran through his mind. Was he sticking his nose into something that was none of his business? If she had wanted him to meet her she could have sent him a card.

But there was one thing for certain. She would arrive at the bus station and there would be no one there to meet her. That is no one unless he kept going. Once more he put the Jeep in motion and once again he was rolling down the road. Husband or not he would be there to meet her. He would do this much for any friend

Just ahead was a road that turned off to the right. To one side was a cedar post. Two metal signs were fastened to it. The top one read, ROTTEN RANCH. Then there was an arrow pointing up the road. On the second sign were the words, DEAD HORSE GULCH. There was another arrow pointing in the same direction.

Jim smiled. These names had been there as far back as he could remember. They seemed to belong together. All his life the Rotten family had made their home in Dead Horse Gulch.

Elly May had lived there for fourteen years. Beautiful Elly May. Now she was coming home, back to Dead Horse Gulch.

Many years ago a young man by the name of Seth Rotten and his wife Lola settled there. Other than the Gulch itself the land was rolling foothills, suitable only for grazing. The Rottens had filed on what no one else wanted.

Jim’s grandfather was one of the first to settle in the area. He had located far up in High Valley. Up in the tall timber where the lush green meadows were surrounded by an evergreen forest. To Jim.” this was God; country.

Seth Rotten had been one of the last to homestead in this area. Dead Horse Gulch was all that was left.

Like Shirt Creek the old timers had given it the name it deserved. Dead Horse Gulch had long been a burial ground for dead cattle. Many years ago someone had dragged a dead horse into the gulch breaking a trail through the brush. Other ranchers did likewise. People for miles around disposed of their dead animals there. Old and worthless critters were brought up and shot. In the summer time the stench was awful.

Seth and Lola had come early in the spring. The ground was still frozen and covered with snow. The carcasses were well preserved The smell was not quite so bad. They homesteaded the place, pitched a tent, dug a well and then began building a house. It was a one room affair built of logs which they brought down from High Valley.

As the weather warmed up the aroma of Dead Horse Gulch filled the air. The nearby ranchers complained of the smell. They formed a committee and called the Sheriff. Together they went to see the Rotten family. The wind was blowing down the gulch when they arrived. The words spoken by the Sheriff were never forgotten.

“I don’t mind the smell,” he said. “But it sure makes my eyes burn.”

They rode up to where Seth and Lola were working on the house. The Sheriff was in a vile mood. He came right to the point.

“Mister Rotten. The smell of this place is something awful. Something must be done about it.”

Seth laid down his hammer and looked them over. He spit a stream of brown tobacco juice.

“What do you suggest?”

“Pour kerosene on all the carcasses and set them on fire. Put up some NO TRESPASSING signs. Get the name of anyone that drags a critter up here and I will personally throw his ass in jail.”

Seth shook his l head. “Can’t do that. The stuff is worth money. The meat and bones make darn good chicken feed. Not to mention the hides for leather.”

“How about the rotten ones?” Asked the Sheriff.

Seth had all the answers. “In the winter time when the snow is deep Coyotes for miles around will come to feed. Their pelts are worth money not to mention the bounty.”

The Sheriff and his party retreated. Seth and the smell of Dead Horse Gulch were too much for them.

There was a half smile on the face of young Jim Green as he recalled the many tales that had been handed down from father to son. This part of Idaho was sparsely populated and most everyone knew the history of everyone that lived in this area.

The history of Seth and Lola Rotten after they had settled here was common knowledge to everyone. Where they came from no one seemed to know. When they arrived their belongings were in an old wagon. Hitched to it was a team of mules.

Soon after the Sheriff had called on them their new house begin to take shape. It vas the topic of many a conversation.

It was a one-room affair with a large fireplace in the north end. There was a door and window in the east side. In the north end just above the floor line was a hole about three feet in diameter.

Through this hole with the aid of the mules Seth shoved a log the length of the room and into the fireplace. In cold weather it would burn off about three feet a day. Every morning Seth would hitch up the mules and give it a shove.

“Sure beats chopping wood!” He would say. “Besides it gives us something to sit on.” Seth was smart all right. The logs back of the house would keep them in firewood and furniture for the rest of the winter.

When winter came so did the coyotes. Seth was an expert trapper. Also a dead shot with a rifle. His trusty thirty-thirty got plenty of action.

Deer came down out of the high mountains to get out of the deep snow. Usually there was a deer hanging out in Seth’s woodshed. This kept them in meat most of the time. Now and then a neighbor’s calf would come up missing. Although Seth was never caught in the act it was common knowledge where the critter had gone.

Seth was a man of many talents and could brew white lightning like no one else in the country. He always he had a stock on hand.

“For sickness only.” he would tell the neighbors. But everyone knew he peddled the stuff in all the near by towns.

They had one child which was a boy they named Seth. He grew up in his father’s footsteps. He was a dead shot with a rifle a trapper and could brew moonshine as well as his father.

All this happened in the early nineteen hundreds.

Then come along World War I, the one that would end all wars. At least that is what everyone was told.

The war was followed by the flue epidemic which claimed more lives than the war. Seth and Lola Rotten were two of the victims.

Young Seth who was little more than a boy stayed at the ranch and followed in his father’s footsteps. He raised chickens, trapped coyotes and lived off the fat of the land. When he was twenty he married a girl from down in the valley.

Immediately, they began raising a family. They had seven children and all of them boys. The eldest they named Seth. Once more the Rotten family was a long way from becoming extinct.

The big stock market crash come in twenty-nine. The thirty’s were a nightmare. Times were really tough, but not for Seth Rotten. He bought a bigger still, a brand new Hudson Super Six Coach and started bootlegging in earnest.

Several times he had been arrested. He spent time in jail. Several times his outfit had been destroyed. This didn’t stop Seth. Each time he would start up again, bigger than ever. Just when everyone else was having such a hard time Seth was doing a land office business.

Lumber was cheap. The price of a gallon of moonshine would buy a thousand feet of lumber. They built a new house and moved in. The chickens took over the old log cabin.

Then one day up the gulch in the side of the hill there was a big explosion. It was heard for miles around. A big mushroom cloud of dust rose high into the air. Seth’s still had blown up, and with it had gone Seth!

Times really got tough for the Rotten family. Young Seth and Sam were the only ones old enough to help support the family. Like their father they seemed to know how to live off the fat of the land. The trusty thirty-thirty saw lots of action. When a deer or elk couldn’t be found a white faced steer did just as well. No one pressed charges for there was no market for the critters. Money was scarce everyone was fighting to survive.

Then Roosevelt was elected president of the United States. Liquor was legalized, a pint of grams could be bought for sixty cents and a half gallon of Golf Stream for two dollars. The day of the bootlegger and moonshiner was a thing of the past.

The P. W. A. was organized. The C.C. camps came into being. There was some relief.

Things weren’t going so good in Europe. Adolph Hitler decided that he was going to rule the world. England and Germany were at war. Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.

Seth and Sam were inducted into the army. Most everyone got into it one way or another. Then suddenly it was all over. Seth and Sam were discharged they returned to Dead Horse Gulch.

Their five brothers were gone. They had taken off for greener pastures. Now there were lots of good paying jobs.

The new house was a mess. There was a dead horse inside. Somehow it had got in and the door closed on it. It had been there for about a year. They cleaned up the mess and moved in.

While in the army they had learned the mechanic trade. They had a fair education in this field. With their mustering out pay they had bought several old cars that wouldn’t run and they were in business.

Several years later they both married, Seth to Martha, Sam to a half breed Indian girl from Pocatello. Seth and Martha stayed in the new house. Sam and his wife in thee old log cabin. The chickens had to find a new place to roost.

Sam and his wife started raising a family. Up to that time there were eight of them. Two of the litter were those terrible twins, Jeb and Zeb.

Seth and Martha had also been busy. Martha had given birth to five children in six: years, all of them boys. There had been a three year pause then she had one more. It was a girl and they named her Elly May.

As the years passed once more Dead Horse Gulch became a grave yard. Not only for dead animals but old car bodies and all kinds of junk squired by the Rotten brothers.

Young Jim Green pulled the Jeep off the highway into a roadside rest station. Here he would freshen up a bit. There was a faint smile on his face as his thoughts came back to the present.

Out of all this mess had come a beautiful girl with blue eyes and hair the color of spun honey. It was utterly unbelievable.

Just A Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 3

This entry is part 03 of 19 in the series Crazy


Like most ranchers, Jim usually went to town on Saturday afternoon. He shot a few games of pool, did the shopping for the week and went to a dance in the evening. Usually he went to the town of Payette. This was the county seat of Payette County and was quite a lively town. Also he was well aquatinted there for this was where he spent Ms high school days.

It was Friday so he was a day early. The reason for this he had to take care of some business at the courthouse. It was closed on Saturday.

The card in the mailbox had changed his plans. The business at the courthouse could wait.

It was late in the afternoon when he arrived at Ontario, Oregon. His first stop was the Greyhound Bus station. The girl at the desk informed him that the bus from Seattle wasn’t due until eight o’clock in the evening.

He drove to the local feed store and bought a few items for the_ ranch including salt for the cattle. His mother had given him a long list of grocery items his so next stop was the shopping center.

As he pushed the metal cart up and down the aisles he couldn’t keep his mind off the girl that he had come to meet. Four years could bring a lot of changes, especially in a girl her age. From fourteen to eighteen was quite a span.

She had been his childhood sweetheart. Many a long hour they had spent together. That last year she was his constant companion. They had gone swimming, horseback riding and many dances. They had taken in all the rodeos as well as the state and. county fairs.

It was that day at the school. party that he realized that he was in love with her. And she had promised to be his girl forever and forever.

It had been quite a shock to him when Martha had informed him that she was gone. What had happened? Had she got into some sort of trouble? Jim swore to himself. He should of made more of an effort to find her. On the other hand, she could have at least sent him a post card. She was a proud girl. Maybe living in Dead Horse Gulch and the name Rotten had been too much for her. She had quite a handicap there alright.

Now suddenly she was coining home. Maybe he could get this riddle solved. At least she owed him some sensible answers.

Jim checked his shopping list. He figured he had everything and glanced at his watch. It would be a lone time before the bus arrived. Maybe a few games of pool would help pass the time.

He put the groceries in the Jeep and headed for the pool hall.

Time passed slowly. Jim couldn’t keep his mind off the girl he had came to meet. After a few games he suddenly decided he needed haircut. In the barbershop was a kid shining shoes. He looked down at his own. A shine sure wouldn’t hurt them a bit. There were a few spots on his jeans; evidently they got there when he had the encounter with the kids under the bridge. He thought he had better get a new pair to look his best when she arrived.

At a quarter to eight he got in the Jeep and drove to the bus station. He bought a magazine and set down on one of the hard! benches. Time passed slowly…

It was quarter past eight and the bus had not yet arrived. He got up and walked over to the ticket counter. He addressed the girl in charge.

“What time did you say the bus gets here from Seattle?”

“Be patient.” said the girl. “It should be here anytime.”

Jim walked back to the bench and set dawn. From his position he could get a good view of the entrance. He would see her the second she stepped through that doorway. He picked up the magazine and thumbed through the pages.

It was almost nine o’clock when a voice come over the loud speaker… “Bus forty-two… arriving from Seattle… Will depart in ten minutes for Boise, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas… Have your tickets ready please.”

Almost everyone scrambled to his feet. Most of them were smiling. The bus seats were bound to be a lot softer than the wooden benches.

Jim held the magazine up in front of his face. He would get a good look at her before he did anything drastic. Four years could make a lot of changes. He held his breath.

Then she came walking through the doorway. To Jim it was as though a ray of sunshine had stolen in. She stopped and looked around there was a faint smile on her face. Probably looking for some of the family, he thought.

For a moment he set staring at her. Then breathed a sigh of relief. Not only was she alone but the slim left hand was ringless. The honey colored hair was no longer hanging in ringlets but lay in shimmering waves, cut at the shoulders. She was wearing a light gray suit, a white blouse and open toed shoes.

She was more beautiful than ever, Jim thought. There were more curves and all were in the right places. She took another look around the room then walked aver to one of the benches and sat down.

Jim laid the magazine down and took off his hat. He walked over and stood in front of her. There was a pet name he had always called her. Would it mean anything to her now?

“Hi Sweetie.” He whispered.

The girl was going through her purse evidently looking for something. She looked up and smiled faintly, then turned her attention back to the purse

Jim licked his lips “Elly May.” His voice was low. “You are Elly May aren’t you?”

As though startled she looked up suddenly. Her big blue eyes were wide her cheeks flushed. Her voice was low and a bit husky.

“Yes I am Elly May.” For a moment she sat staring up at him.

Jim stuck out a big brown hand. “Welcome home. I am here to meet you I will explain later.”

The girl stood up and put a soft white hand in his. She smiled faintly. “Thank. You, I am glad you came.”

She had a luggage check in her hand. Evidently this was what she had been looking for. They walked over to the counter she presented the claim checks. A man brought out two pieces of luggage and set them on the counter. For a moment Jim stared down at them. They looked new and on each of them was a name…ELLY MAY ROOTEN

Jim couldn’t help but smile. She had changed her name! He sure couldn’t blame her for that. She was far too pretty to have a Rotten name.

He picked up the luggage “Ready?”

The girl nodded, “Let’s go.”

Outside Jim unlocked the Jeep and placed the luggage in the back of the seat. He turned and faced the girl. The parking space was dimly lighted by an overhead light. They were alone. He moved close to her and looked down at the beautiful face. For a few seconds their eyes met. Suddenly his arms were around her pulling her close. The big blue eyes were closed the ruby red lips parted. Pearly white teeth glistened in the dim light.

Jim could hear his own voice as if it were far away. “Elly May, I want to kiss you.”

Her voice was low, “Why don’t you? Her slender arms stole around his neck.

Ms mind flashed back to that day at the school picnic. Nothing had changed.

First hes kissed her gently tencterly inside him rose a great passion. Four long years; it had been. He drew her close again. their lips mt. She responde to every touch. Then he released her and stepped back. Each of her Little hands were still in his Ells heart was beating madly. Once again he was talking. The words; seemed to slip out..

“You are: still my girl aren’t you? I love you Sweetie.”

The little arms were around his waist drawing her close to him. The big blue eyes were wide-open, her tears making them glisten. Slowly she nodded her head. Her voice was low and steady.

“Yes, yes, and soon I will be your wife.” Her arms were around his neck. “Hold me darling don’t never let me go!”

Jim’s mind was in a whirl. It seemed only yesterday that he had held her in his arms. Once again life was beautiful. Once more she was his girl and promised to be his wife. He felt like shaking his head to make sure he wasn’t dreaming. If it was a dream he hoped he would never awaken.

Probably she had a good reason for staying away these last four years. And what is four years? Most of their life was still ahead of them.

Then he released her. He took her by the arm and walked her over to the Jeep. He helped her in then went to the opposite side and crawled in behind the wheel.

The girl beside him slipped over close. “Please,” she whispered. “Can we go somewhere and talk? There are so many things I must ask you… it has been such a long time.”

Jim nodded. “Sounds like a good idea. I also have a few questions that I would like answered. I’ll bet you haven’t eaten all day. How about something to eat?”

Elly May nodded. “Sounds good. Come to think of it I am hungry. The excitement of coming down here made me forget everything else.”

He started the motor and backed away from the curb. He smiled down at the girl beside him. “There is a place up the street that serves meals. Sort of a nightclub with a restaurant on one side, bar and dance floor on the other. How does that sound to you?”

The girl looked up at him. “Sounds good to me. I have never been to a nightclub.”

“Don’t they have nightclubs in Seattle?”

“I guess there are lots of them. Uncle John and Aunt Nelly never took me to one.”

“You have been staying with your aunt and uncle

“Yes, for quite as while.”

Jim put the Jeep in forward gear and headed down the street. At least she hadn’t been shacked up with some other guy these last four years. He drove to the Palomino Club and parked. He locked the Jeep, took the girl by the arm and together they walked into the restaurant.

The place was almost empty. The early evening rush was over and the late crowd was quenching their thirst in the adjoining room. They seated themselves at a table near the rear of the place.

A girl wearing a black skirt and white apron came walking up and laid a couple of menu’s on the table.

“Would you care for a cocktail before dinner?” she asked. Jim turned and faced the girl. “Would you care for a drink before we eat?”

“Do you think I should? This is all new to me.”

“Don’t think a couple would hurt you a bit. You have had a long day.”

“Just as you say, but you will have to order for me. I don’t know one drink from another.”

“Fine. I will do just that.” He turned to the waitress. “Bring a Tom Collins and a whiskey and water in a tall glass.”

“Would you care to order dinner now?” she asked.

Jim nodded. “Might just as well. Bring us a couple of good rib steaks with all the trimmings. One medium rare the other well done.” He turned to the girl across the table. “I guess you still like your steak well done.”

Elly May nodded. “You have a good memory…”

The waitress wrote on the pad and disappeared.

There were a lot of questions that Jim wanted to ask this girl. Where should he start? Maybe he shouldn’t get into too big of a hurry for she seemed to be quite nervous. Perhaps after a drink and something to eat she would calm down a bit.

The waitress brought the drinks and set them on the. table. Jim passed the Tom Collins to Elly May and picked up the whiskey and water. He watched as she nibbled on the cherry and sipped from the tall frosted glass. it was apparent that this was a new experience for her.

Soon the glasses were dry. Jim ordered another round.

Now would be as good a time as any to get an answer to some of the questions that had been bothering him There were quite a few. Where would be a good place to start?

The waitress brought the fresh drinks and set them on the table in front of them. Jim picked up his glass and put on his best smile.

“Well here we are all alone. I’m sure we both have a lot of questions to ask. Where shall we start?”

The girl’s face seemed to turn a shade paler. The glass in her hand trembled. She looked down at the table.

Jim leaned forward; his voice was low. “Elly May. It has been four long years that you have been gone. Why did you go? Why didn’t you tell me you were leaving? Four long years you were gone and you didn’t even send me a post card. Why Elly May, why?

The girls eyes were big and round. Tears made them glisten. Her voice trembled. “1 don’t know. Honestly I don’t know!”

Jim was amazed at her answer. “Are you telling me that you don’t know why you left here?”

The girl nodded’.

‘But why in the world didn’t you write to me?’

The big blue eyes were nodded with tears. “Write to you? I don’t even know your name!” She buried her head in her arms and cried softly..

Jim was dumbfounded. He slid his chair around the table and put his arms around her shoulders Strange thoughts were running through his mind. She couldn’t remember his name. This was awful. The girl had been sick. She had lost her memory!

This would explain a lot of things all right. Why hadn’t Martha told him about this? Surely it was nothing to be ashamed of.

For a few moments the girl sat there with her head buried in her arms. Then suddenly she sat up straight with a determined look on her face. She wiped her eyes and smiled faintly.

“I think I will be alright now. I guess all this built up inside me and had to come out somehow.”

Jim gave the little hands a gentle squeeze. “Sure you will be just fine… Everyone gets sick once in awhile.”

“Forgive me… I tried hard not to cry

“There is nothing to forgive…”

‘I won’t cry any more.. It Just had to come out..”

“I understand.” Jim picked up his glass and took a couple of swallows.

Elly May picked up her glass and drank it dry. Suddenly she laughed.

I know that all of this sounds just a little bit crazy to you. It even sounds crazy to me. At times I think am just a little bit crazy.”

“Don’t talk like that. You are looking great.

“I am glad you think so.”

“Evidently you have been very sick, but you are alright now. That’s all that matters.

The waitress brought the steaks and set them on the table. They looked good. Elly May seemed to have her emotions under control as they enjoyed the dinner.

After the meal Jim ordered a couple of after dinner drinks. The two they had before dinner seemed to calm the girl and loosen her tongue a bit. One more shouldn’t hurt anything.

Elly May was smiling at him over her glass. “May I ask you a few questions?” she asked rather shyly.

Jim nodded;* “I wish you would. It is your turn now.”

There was a faint flush in her cheeks and the trace of a smile on her face.

“What is your name?”

Jim was startled. This was hard to believe! She had forgotten his name. He licked his dry lips “Jim Green.” he muttered.

The girl closed her eyes. “Jim Green..” she repeated. “Jim Green… It doesn’t seen to ring a bell. I hoped it would but I’m sorry.”

Jim stared at her. Her face was the picture of innocence. If she was putting on an act she sure belonged in Hollywood, but he was sure that this was no act.

“Go ahead and ask me more.”

The girl sipped her drink, her voice was low… “I was your girl wasn’t I?

Jim nodded.

“I must have loved you a lot…”

“I thought you did..”

“And you loved me?”

“Yes Sweetie. I really did.”

The girl’s eyes flashed. “I knew it! I knew it the minute I set eyes on you. Although I couldn’t remember your name or your face I knew that you existed somewhere. And I also knew that if I kept looking I would find you.”

Jim could hardly believe his ears.

The girl buried her head in her arms. Her shoulders were shaking. “And thank God I found you in time!”

Jim was utterly bewildered to say the least. What did she mean by this?

The girl raised her head and dried her eyes. “It’s your turn now,” she said. “Ask me anything you like I will answer the best I can.”

Jim thought for a moment. “I guess you have answered most everything already. Evidently you have suffered a total lapse of memory. Did this happen here or after you went to Seattle?”

“I don’t know. I can’t remember of being in this part of the country before.”

“Do you know what caused your loss of memory?”

“No, but I guess I must of been very sick. Anyhow, that is what I have been told.”

“Who told you this?”

“Uncle John and aunt NeIly as well as my mother. She came to see me a couple times.”

Jim thought for a moment. “How about your father and your brothers. Did they come to see you?”

The girl shook her head.

“You cannot remember a thing about them?”

“Not one thing.”

“How about the place where you lived?”

Once, more she shook her head.

“Does- than name, Rotten Ranch, or Dead Horse Gulch, mean anything to you?”

“What terrible names! Should, they mean something to me?”

Jim didn’t answer. One thing for sure; her past here, was a total blank.

“How far back, can you remember?” Jim asked.

The girl closed her eyes and for a moment appeared to be in deep thought. “The, first things that I can remember… It was about four years ago… I could talk, I could read, but couldn’t remember how I had ever learned.” She smiled faintly. “So you see Jim, you have on your hands a part, woman and part child. That is maybe just a little bit crazy!”

“Don’t talk like that.”

“In a way, I am only four years old. At least that is as much of my life as I can remember.”

Jim grinned. “You’re sure not built like a four year old.” He could now understand why she hadn’t written him.

Fourteen years of her life, was a total blank! Not only had she forgotten him, but the rest of her family. Boy was she in for a surprise when she met them, especially her uncle Sam and his family – and those terrible twins. Jeb and Zeb.

Jim licked his dry lips. There was another question. He spoke softly. “I can understand why you didn’t write to me, but what made, you decide to come here, out of the blue?”

The girl did not hesitate. “I am glad you asked that question, and I will try and give you the answer. There were a number of reasons.. Two of them, seemed real important to me. Let’s start with this one.”

The big blue eyes glistened. “In Seattle, there was a man that suddenly decided that I belonged to him. He was coming on strong. I didn’t care for him in that way but I knew I had to get out of there.” She hesitated for a few seconds, her little white hands stole across the table. Jim took them in his big brown fingers.

The girl continued. “And I knew, that I must find you!”

Jim squeezed the little hands. “Me?”

“Yes , you. This may sound crazy, but I knew that there was a man somewhere, that I was in love with. I couldn’t remember his name or what he looked like, but I knew that he was around somewhere and I had to find him. He wasn’t in Seattle, so I reasoned that he must be here. After all, this is where I had spent most of my life.”

The knuckles of the little hands were white, as she drew herself close to him. She continued: “Uncle John and aunt Nelly, were out of town. I packed my bags and got on the bus.” The big blue eyes flooded with tears. “I prayed all the way here, that I would find you. Then there you were, waiting for me…” The little hands gripped tight. “I wan t absolutely sure, until we were outside and you kissed me.”

She slipped out of her chair and moved quickly around the table. The little arms were around his neck. She drew herself close to him. “Oh Jim!” her voice was low. “Everything is so wonderful now!”

He kissed the soft red lips. “Everything is just great.”

“And we will pretend that these last four years were only four days. What were we doing the last time we were together?”

He kissed her again. “The same thing as we are doing now.”

“Oh Jim. We have four years of catching up to do. Will we make it?”

“We will sure try!”

The little fingers were running through his hair. Her voice was low and pleading. “Oh Jim, I need your help. I have been so confused, so lonesome; promise that you will help me, please.”

“I will do everything I can. I promise.”

“By the way, are you taking me home tonight?”

Jim had already given this considerable thought. He answered. “I think it best that we don’t go out there tonight. That card that you wrote is still in the mail box. It must have gotten sidetracked somewhere along the way. I know they are not expecting you, They won’t have a place for you to sleep.” He felt like adding. “Unless you want to sleep in an old car body.”

“What ever you say; I trust you, take care of me.”

“We could go to my house. Mother and I live alone. Father died a couple of years ago. Got tick bite and died of Spotted Fever.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s a long drive out there tonight, and roads are not so good. There are several good motels here in town. I think we had better stay here.” He grinned. “Besides I feel like celebrating. I got my girl back, and there is good music going to waste in the other room. Now what do you say about that?”

“We could go listen to the music.”

“Listen, hell, let’s go kick up our heels. That’s darn good dance music. Do you hear it coming through that doorway?”

“Sorry darling, but I don’t dance. I have never learned how.”

“The dickens you don’t know how, You are the greatest:”

“I don’t remember of ever dancing with anyone. However in my room In Seattle, I have practiced a lot. I can do a lot of crazy steps, by myself. I don’t know how they would look on a dance floor.”

“They will look great. Don’t you think this occasion calls for a celebration?”

Elly Nay laughed. “A couple more of these drinks and I will sure feel like whooping it up. “

“Good! There is no cover charge, but they expect you to buy their booze in exchange for a seat.”

“Oh Jim. These drinks taste fine and I feel great.. This is all new to me.. You will take care of me won’t you?”

“Sure I will. Let’s go.”

Jim left a generous tip and paid for the meal. He took the, girl by the hand, and together they went through the doorway, into the clubroom. The place was quite crowded. A girl ushered them to a seat near the rear of the place. Jim ordered a couple of drinks..

Elly May’s eyes were big and round. “Oh Jim, this is fun. I have never been to a place like this before.” She picked the glass up and took a big swallow. “This sure tastes fine and I will probably drink everything you set in front of me. Don’t got me too many . “

Jim laughed. “If you get out of place, I will let you know.”

Slowly their eyes become accustomed to the dim light. On one side of the room was a raised platform. On this was a four-piece band with two guitars, a set of drums and a fiddle. They had lots of volume and one of the guitar players was a pretty fair vocalist. The center of the room, was the dance floor. It was about twenty feet square and was surrounded by tables and chairs. Most of them were occupied.

Elly May moved close to Jim and put her head on his shoulder. “Oh Jim this is wonderful.” she whispered – a little white arm stole around his neck. “You can kiss me any time you want to. NObne can see us back here.”

Jim laughed. “I think you are a mush-bug.”

“Maybe I am, but I have four years of catching up to do, and I don’t want to waste any time.”

“In a case of that kind, I cannot refuse to help you.” He kissed her on the cheek.

The band opened up with a rock number. Elly May watched with fascination. Although they started out in pairs, each person was out there doing their own thing. Some stood in one spot, content to flail the air with their arms and wiggle their hips. Others hopped around like a Kangaroo, pausing now and then to shadow box. Then like a punch drunk fighter they flopped their heads back and forth as though trying to avoid the punches of some terrible, opponent.

The girl gripped his arm. “Jim. Is this a floor show or a dance?”

Jim laughed. “Both, I guess “

“Oh I wish I could dance. The only time I have seen anything like this, was on television”

“But you do dance, Sweetie. Maybe your mind can’t remember, but I’ll bet your feet haven’t forgotten.”

The girl took a drink from the tall glass. “A couple more of these, and I will sure give it a try.”

The rock number came to an end and the floor cleared. Once more the band was playing, but this time a waltz.

Jim took Elly by the hand, “Why don’t we give it a try?”

“Why not?”

The floor was filling up fast. Elly May took one quick glance at the couples that were dancing. She smiled up at Jim, put both arms around his neck, then whispered. “Let’s go.”

He had both arms around her, pulling her close. Her feet followed his every move, as he guided her through the crowd. It had been four long years, since he bad held her like this – that day at the school picnic was fresh in his mind. His arms tightened around her drawing her close. He looked down at her face. Her, eyes were closed. There was a faint smile on her lips.

When the number was over he released her. She stepped back and opened her eyes. They were bright and shining. She jumped up and down and clapped her hands.

“Oh Jim, I do dance! That was fun bet’s do it again!”

He stared down at her. What was that remark she had made about being half woman, half child? Right now, she did remind him of a little girl about four years old!

“Sure you dance. I told you that you were the greatest.”

The vocalist in the band, stepped up to the mike. “Break time!” he announced. “Be back in ten minutes.”

“What did he mean?” the girl asked.

Jim grinned. “The house doesn’t make any money when everyone is dancing. Now that most everyone is sitting down, watch the girls go to work.”

They set down in their booth and waited. In about a minute a girl stopped by and took their order.

Jim looked the crowd over. He didn’t recognize anyone; they were all strangers to him. Probably most of the people here lived in Oregon. If he were across the Snake River, in Payette or Weiser Idaho, he would be no stranger there.

There were several tables occupied by women with no partners – singles waiting for a live one. Jim looked them over, then turned back to the girl beside him. There was one thing for certain, she was one in a million:

He felt great. Now that she was home and once more his girl friend, there must be great times ahead.

Evidently the girls with the white aprons, had made their rounds. Once more, the band was playing, this time a fast number. He took Elly by the arm and helped her to her feet. “Come on Sweetie, let’s give it a go.”

They walked over to the dance floor. There was one thing for certain, dancing was here to stay, at least as far as young Jim Green, was concerned. He could do a lot of fancy steps and took pride in showing what he could do.

He took the girl by the right hand and spun her around a few times. The gray skirt arose to the occasion and revealed a shapely pair of legs.

He released her and started across the floor doing a series of fancy footwork. He glanced at Elly who was right beside him keeping in time with a big smile on her face.

Jim cut loose with a series of steps that would of made Sammy Davis Jr. sit up and take notice. Elly was doing her best to keep up to him. Suddenly she moved over to one side of the floor and stood watching

The crowd had moved to one side and quit dancing. All eyes were on the couple.

Jim glanced at Elly May. She was standing there, a big smile on her face. He felt guilty. He had been showing off. He shouldn’t do that. A few long strides and he was beside her.

Evidently Elly had ideas of her own. Like a Jack in The Box, she came to life. Out of the blue she did a series of hand springs across the floor, landed on her feet and spun around like a skater on ice!

The crowd howled and clapped their hands, followed by a series of wolf whistles. The band turned up the volume and sped up the timing.

She put into action the Crazy steps that she had practiced in her room in Seattle. The crowd yelled with delight. Jim stared in amazement. He wondered what shows she had been watching. There was no way of keeping up to her now, she was in a class of her own like she had done when he vas showing off. He stood watching, a smile on his face.

Then the dance was over. Elly was beside him and he took her by the hand. With loud applause ringing in their ears, they retreated to their booth.

A girl in a white apron came up and set a couple of drinks in front of them. “On the house.” she smiled. “The boss sent them. You were both great we haven t seen you here before.”

Jim squeezed Elly May’s hand. “Tell the boss thanks; and we will be back.”

Several dances and a couple of drinks later, Jim decided they had better call it a day. He had promised to look after Elly May. He’d better start doing it. A promise is a promise. Elly seemed to be alright, but both of them had consumed a number of cocktails and it was time to move on.

They had just finished a waltz. “Shall we call it an evening?” Jim asked.

“I think we should, darling. I feel sort of dizzy.”

“I am ready, let’s go”

Elly had a firm grip on his arm as they left the club and started walking toward the Jeep. She seemed have trouble going in a straight line. Jim slipped an arm around her waist, trying to hold her steady. “You alright?” he asked.

Elly May giggled. “You betcha. Never fat better’ in my life. Boy oh boy did we have fun!”

Jim helped her into the Jeep, then walked around and crawled in behind the wheel. He started the motor and put: it in gear. It was only a few blocks to the motel. This was only a short distance, but when he pulled up in front of the vacancy sign, Elly was asleep on his shoulder.

He starred down at her. In the dim light, she was more beautiful than ever. He. leaned over and kissed her gently on the forehead. Her eyes opened slowly.

“Are we there already?”

He nodded. “Wait here for a minute. I will go see about getting a couple of rooms, Okay?”

She snuggled close to him. “Oh Jim. Please don’t get two! I don’t want to be alone.”

It took a few seconds for this to sink in to his slightly foggy mind. He stared down at her, wondering if he had heard correctly.

Her eyes were big and: wide, “Please, Jim, I feel sort of dizzy. I might need your help.”

He nodded. She was not used to drinking, and probably had one too many. He kissed her on the cheek. “I’ll be: back in a couple minutes.”

He climbed out of they Jeep and walked over to the sign which read: “Office.” The door was locked. There was another sign which read. “Press buzzer for service.” He put his finger on the button and pressed hard.

Now there was no doubt in his mind the girl had far too much to drink. It was all his fault and he would take care of her.

A sleepy eyed clerk came to the door and turned on the light. He swung it open and stared at Jim “What can I do for you?”

“Got a room with two bed’s?”

The clerk nodded “Come in and fill out a card.”

Jim complied then paid the man and was given a key. The clerk pointed with his thumb. “Clear to the end, last one on the left – number ten.

Jim Climbed into the Jeep and headed toward cabin number ten. First, he carried Elly’s luggage into the room followed by her. She seemed light as a feather as he carried her through the open doorway and laid her on one of they beds. She buried her head in a pillow and curled up in a ball.

He stared down at her. The June night was quite cool. By morning it would be cold. Too cold to lay on top of the bed all night. He walked over to the other one and turned down the covers. She would rest much better in there, he decided.

Once again he was staring down at her. No one sleeps well with her clothes on, he thought. She should have them removed at least part of them. In his life he had never had the job of undressing a young lady, but he would give it a try.

Taking off the shoes was easy. The light gray jacket was next. He removed one limp arm then rolled her over gently until the jacket was off. He tossed it on the foot of the bed thinking he would hang it up later. He backed up a step, shut one eye and studied her carefully. It looked to him, like the skirt should be next. There, was a black patent leather belt around the slim waist. He removed it, then stepped back and surveyed his project. The small waistline of the skirt could not possibly be puled down over those shapely hips. There had to be another way. He rolled her over gently. There it was, a zipper going down the back. He zipped it to the bottom A few seconds later, the skirt joined the jacket.

Jim grinned. He felt proud of himself. He was doing great! Next, was the blouse. His fingers began to shake as he fumbled with the buttons. A minute later, the blouse joined the skirt and jacket.

Jim sat down on the edge of the bed and stared at the girl, clad only in a brau and panty hose. He licked his lips. His eyes drifted to the two pieces of luggage he had set on the floor. Probably in one of them, was a nightgown. He debated whether or not to take a look. He decided against such a move. He had no right to go poking through her bags. Besides, she should sleep alright with what she had on.

He slipped one arm under her legs, the other under her waist. He picked her up and walked over to the other bed. As he laid her down he could feel an arm around his neck. Her cheek was against his pulling him down. Then he was on his knees beside the bed. He could feel her warm breath in his ear.

Jim felt foolish. Was she really asleep?

He reached around and took the arm from around his neck. For a few seconds he stared down at her. The big blue eyes were open and there was a faint smile on her face. She propped herself up on one elbow and looked down at here scantily clad body.

“Oh Jim.” she whispered. “You quit too quickly. I can’t sleep without my nightie.” One hand went to her head. “And my night,-cap. My hair will get all mussed.”

Jim, swallowed a couple times. He was totally helpless. He turned his head and looked at the luggage: setting on the floor.

“The one on this side Elly May was saying. “They are right on top.”

Jim got up and walked over to the luggage. He pressed the spring latch on the one the girl indicated. They lid flew open. Right on top was a pink, silk nightgown trimmed in white tar. Also,. a cap to match. He picked them up and closed the lid.

Elly May was sitting up He laid the clothes down beside her. She turned her back to him, her voice was low, “Undo me please.”

Jim was totally helpless. If she had said…”Go jump out the window” he would probably of done so.

He sat down behind her and fumbled with the straps on her bra. Finally they come: unhooked. He breathed a sigh of relief, and tossed it on the bed with the rest of her clothes.

Elly May picked up the nightgown and slipped it over her head at the same time poking her hands through the fur trimmed sleeves. She lay back on the pillow and smiled up at him.

Jim’s face was pink. He felt embarrassed-.

The girl wiggled her toes. “Get a hold and pull.”

He got up and moved to the bottom of the bed.

Elly was flat on her back. She raised her hips and gave a downward push on the remaining, garment. Jim grabbed both stockings at the feet and gave a pull. At the same time taking a couple backward steps. Off came everything. He stared stupidly at the object he was holding. It swung back and forth like the pendulum of a clock. Elly May giggled.

Jim threw the clothes on the bed, Walked over and looked down at her. She had put on the nightcap and was tying the strings under her chin.

He sat on the edge of the bed and stared. Never before had he met anyone like her. She was one of a kind.

She finished tying the cap strings, then lay back on the pillow facing him. “Kiss me Jim.” she whispered. “I want you to kiss me.”

Like a puppet on a string, he would obey every command. He knelt beside the bed and drew her close to him. Her lips were warm, hungry, passionate… The little arms encircled his neck, pulling him down…down…

The animal in him sprang to life. He threw caution to the wind. He pulled her close, kissing her madly. First on the mouth, then the neck, the soft shoulders…

Suddenly he realized that he was fully dressed. He would do something about that!, He kissed her once more, then whispered. “I’ll get rid of some clothes and turn out the lights.”

“Hurry darling!”

He got to his feet. The first thing vas the lights.

He walked over to the door and flipped the switch. It was a moon-lit night. Objects in the room were plainly visible.

He walked over to the big window. The drapes were slightly parted allowing a big yellow moon to shine through. He glared at it for a moment, then pulled the drapes shut tight.

And there was the night latch on the door. Had he locked it? He walked over and gave it a twist, locking it tight.

He set down on the edge of the unoccupied bed, leaned over and took off his shoes, then the sox. The shirt was next. One of the buttons refused to go through the opening, he gave it a quick jerk,. The button flew across the room.

He glared about the room. Prying eyes seemed to glow behind those dim shadows.

His trousers were next. He dropped them down around his ankles, then for a few seconds stood there stomping first one foot then the other in a desperate attempt to get them off in a hurry.

The shorts were next. They were easy. He tossed them on the foot of the bed. He glanced down at the only thing he was wearing.

His under shirt. He slipped it over his head and it joined the shorts. He was ready.

His bare feet barely made a sound as he streaked across the floor. In seconds he was beside her, kissing her madly!

Suddenly her hot lips broke away from him. He could feel her body go rigid.

Then she was sitting up in bed; her face looked deathly pale in the dim light. She clamped one hand over her mouth with a voice low and muffled.

“Oh Jim! Get me to the bathroom quickly. I think I am going to throw up”

Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 4

This entry is part 04 of 19 in the series Crazy

Chapter 4

Dawn was breaking in the Snake River valley. Soon the sun would come peeking over the foothills. The brisk morning air was filled with many sounds.

Jim stirred. Somewhere in the distance a rooster was crowing. Dogs were barking, A jackass brayed. The Mexican settlement a few blocks down the street was coming to life.

Jim yawned. Time to get up. He rubbed his eyes; they were heavy with sleep. He sat up and stretched. “Boy oh boy, did I have a dream.” he muttered under his, breath. “And: what a dream! Man did I dream!”

He opened his eyes and gazed about the room. Everything seemed strange. There was another bed – and someone was in it.

Then reality dawned. It hadn’t been all dreams: someone was here alright!

In a daze, he got out of bed and searched for his clothes. They were scattered all over the place. As he buttoned up his shirt, he discovered that one of the buttons vas missing. His face became slightly red as he recalled the incident.

He looked for his shoes. They were under the bed. He stooped over and retrieved them. One sock was missing. He searched around and finally found it – on his left foot.

When he was fully dressed, he walked over to the bed and stared’ down at her.

No doubt she was sound asleep. Her breathing was slow and even. Her face peeking out from the pink nightcap was the picture of pure innocence.

He recalled some of the events of the night before. Ho doubt she had been well under the influence. He had been feeling no pain himself. He felt guilty. She had trusted him. She had asked him to look after her and not to give her too many drinks.

Jim’s face burned. He had looked after her all right. He had been a big help. He had got her good and plastered.

Last night, she had made some remark about being half child and half woman. At times she did act a bit childish. On the other hand she could be all woman!

She had also made some remark about having a lot of catching up to do. And would he help her.

He had been more than willing to help all right. Probably it vas a good thing she got sick. Maybe she wouldn’t remember a thing about what happened. A loss of memory could be a great asset at times he thought.

Anyhow, he didn’t feel like rushing her to a preacher, this morning. She had gotten sick just in time.

He wondered what had happened to cause her to lose her memory. She didn’t know and none of her family would tell her. He wondered why.

Some guy in Seattle had tried to claim her. She had pulled out and came here. She came looking for him. She couldn’t remember his name, but she was still in love with him.

This was hard to understand. Something in her subconscious mind, had prompted her to come here. Also, it told her that she had always been in love with him. At least that was her story, and he had no reason to doubt her.

Jim was hungry. He wondered if he should awaken Elly May. She had had a long day yesterday and a hard night last night. She could do with a little sleep, he thought.

On the dresser were a pen and some paper. He wrote a short note telling her where to find him in case she awakened before he returned. She might be frightened if she awoke and found herself alone.

A minute later, he closed the door and headed for the restaurant across the street.

Inside he ordered a pot of coffee and sat down in a booth. He would wait for Elly May before ordering breakfast. The coffee was good. He leaned back and closed his eyes.

Yesterday he didn’t have a care in the world. Now things had changed, but it had all come about: so suddenly.

Elly Nay was back. A couple of hours and a few kisses and once more she was his girl and promised to be his wife!

If she hadn’t gotten sick last night he would probably feel like running her to a parson the first thing this morning. But once again fate had stepped in. Or was it the booze?

She was pretty all right. The most beautiful girl he had ever seen. And smart too, maybe just a little bit too smart.

A terrible thought came to his mind. Could she be playing a game? The Green ranch was worth a small fortune and in a few more years and a few more payments it would belong to him.

The Rotten family lived up Dead Horse Gulch wasn’t above any kind of trick that would benefit them financially. And she vas one of them! Maybe all this loss of memory vas a big hoax.

Jim swore under his breath. “Damn it all, she doesn’t live at Dead Horse Gulch and she isn’t one of them. She couldn’t be.”

He took a sip of the cold coffee. His hand was shaking.

What made all these crazy thoughts come to his mind? Last night everything had seemed so wonderful. He leaned back and closed his eyes. Maybe he wasn’t ready for such a giant step. He had better take his time and take it easy for a few days. Don’t get in a big hurry. After all it had been four long years since they had been together. Four long years!

Last night both of them had quite a bit to drink. Perhaps when she thought things over a bit she would change her mind about staying here. It would only take one trip up Dead Horse Gulch and she would probably be on the first bus back to Seattle! One look at her relatives and where they lived would send her scurrying.

Anyhow there was no need of getting excited. He would just play it by ear. Probably in a few days she would get tired of the country life here and leave as suddenly as she had came. Last night he had let himself get carried away. Today would be different. He would be on guard!

A soft hand fell on his shoulder. He looked up quickly and set staring up at her. All his doubts about her went flying out the window. She was even more beautiful in the daylight. The honey colored hair had a golden cast. The big blue eyes were wide and clear. There was no sign of a hangover.

Jim rose slowly to his feet. His left hand stroked the stubble on his chin. He hadn’t brought a razor along and he thought he must look like a tramp.

The girl in front of him was dressed like a Queen. A rodeo Queen. She was wearing tan colored riding britches and boots to match. A white shirt and tan jacket with beads and spangles for decorations. On her head was perched a small white Stetson hat.

Once more Jim was helpless as well as speechless.

He licked his dry lips.

She posed for him and smiled. “Don’ t you like my outfit?”

Jim stumbled to his feet and stared at her. She might have forgotten fourteen years of her life but her taste in clothing hadn’t changed a bit. She had always been fond of horses and western clothes.

Her family always bad a bunch of old cars on hand but never any horses. That is no live ones.

He remembered back when she was about ten years old. She was determined to get a horse of her own. Her father and brothers were of little help they laughed at her and called her a Tom Boy.

But the girl hadn’t given up. Then either fate had taken a hand or her prayers had been answered. One day she was walking down the dusty road and met a man who was riding a fancy horse. Also he was leading another that wasn’t so fancy. He was carrying a rifle.

Elly May stopped him. Her eyes flashed. “Where are you going with that horse mister?” The man’s face colored. He looked down at the rifle. “You are going to shoot him aren’t you?” she said.

The man looked embarrassed. “Well you see he is getting kind of old and is blind in one eye.”

The girl grabbed the rope. “Mister this is our place and you are not shooting him here!” She had yanked the rope from the startled riders hand and climbed on to the horse’s back. Elly May had herself a horse.

The girl’s voice brought him back to reality. “Don’t you like my outfit?”

Jim grinned, “Sure, you look great. Like a queen, a rodeo queen.”

“You looked like your mind was a million miles away.”

“Not a million. About eight years.” He replied

“I don’t think you like my get-up.”

“1 love it. I just wasn’t expecting to see you in those kinds of clothes. You sort of startled me.”

“This is cow country, isn’t it? By the way do you have a horse?”

“Yes I have a horse,” he said taking her by their arm. “Please be seated and excuse my rudeness. I have been drinking coffee waiting for you. What say we have some breakfast?”

They sat down in the booth. The waitress came over with more coffee and a couple of menus. They ordered ham and eggs.

Elly May stirred a spoon full of powdered milk into her coffee. She took a sip. “By the way.” she smiled. “Do I ride? I can’t remember of ever being on a horse.”

Jim recalled the night before. She couldn’t remember of ever being on a dance floor.

He slowly nodded his head. “Yes Sweetie” you stick to a horse like a cockle burr.

The girl laughed. “I don’t know what a cockle burr is but I hope that is good. Do my folks have horses?”

“Only dead ones.”


Jim stared at her for a moment. A few minutes ago some dark thoughts had crossed his mind. Now they were all gone. Never again would he doubt her. She was twenty-four caret gold!

This girl was in for a let of surprises Jim thought. He had better prepare her a bit for what lies ahead.

“What do you mean by dead ones?” she asked again.

Jim shut his eyes. He could just- see her getting out of the Jeep in all her fancy clothes surrounded by The Rotten kids whooping and hollering. He shuddered. How could he tell her? Well at least he must try.

He chose his words carefully. “Sweetie you have been living in the city which was probably a very nice place. I’m afraid that where your folks live won’t be so nice. In fact the place is quite shabby. I know you can’t remember much so I thought I had better tell you. At least get you a little bit prepared.”

“I know, Jim, my folks are quite poor. My mother has already told me that. Oh Jim, don’t worry – I don’t need everything so fancy.”

Jim sighed, at least he had tried. There seemed to be no other way than take her there and let her see for herself. He hoped he had prepared her a little for what she would see when they got there.

“How many of the family do you know?” He asked.

“Only Mother Martha. She came to see me a couple times while I was in Seattle.”

“How about your father and five brothers?”

“I guess they were too busy to come and see me.”

Jim thought for a moment. “Have you seen any pictures of them or where they live?

Elly May shook her head.

There were only two of the brothers home now, he recalled. The two were the youngest Clyde and Oswald. That was enough, he thought.

“Other than the card you wrote did they have any other way of knowing that you were coming home?”

“Not that I know of.”

“Another question. Does your Uncle John and Aunt Nelly know. you are here?”

The girl looked startled. A faint flush came to her cheeks. Her voice was low. “No. They don’t know that I am here. A couple weeks ago they took a vacation and went to Hawaii. They won’t be back for another week or so.

Jim took her little hands in his. “Pardon all the questions, sweetie. I am only trying to get a clear picture of everything so we can put this puzzle together.”

“I understand.”

“You must trust me.”

“All the way. Oh Jim, there are so many things that are confusing. I know you are trying to help me. Ask me anything you like and I will answer the best I can.”

Jim leaned back in the booth, his mind trying to digest the many things she had told him. Apparently the decision to come here was her own. Uncle John and aunt Kelly had been gone a week before she made up her mind. The card in the mail box had been posted a week after their departure to Hawaii.

She had been living with them for four years. Surely they knew the cause of her amnesia. According to Elly May they would tell her nothing. He wished he could have a good talk with them as well as her own family. All of them were holding back the truth from the girl. Why the big secret?

None of this made any sense at all. Surely the girl was entitled to know the cause of her trouble.

Elly May took hold of his hands. “Oh Jim. You look so serious. Don’t worry everything is going to be alright.” She moved over close to him. “Darling you haven’t kissed me all morning. Is something the matter?”

Jim felt foolish. “’Not a thing Sweetie. I guess I am just plain stupid.”

He drew her close and kissed the up turned lips.

The waitress brought their breakfast and put it on the table. It looked good. They had better eat a good meal, Jim thought. It would probably be quite awhile before they got another.

Thee next stop would be Dead Horse Gulch.

Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 5

This entry is part 05 of 19 in the series Crazy

Chapter 5

It was almost twelve o’clock when Jim pulled up in front of the two metal signs.

Elly May stared at them for a moment then read out loud. Dead Horse Gulch. Rotten Ranch. She smiled at Jim. “Funny names aren’t they?”

“Yes I would say they are quite unusual to say the least. I thought maybe you would remember them.”

“Should I?”

Jim closed his eyes, searching for the right words. He remembered the monogram on her luggage. She thought her last name was Rooten. Someone had changed it for her; probably Uncle John and Aunt Nelly.

Jim began to perspire. Surely there was some gentle way of telling her.

Her hand was on his shoulder; her eyes were bright.

“What’s the matter darling? You look so serious.”

His mouth felt dry. He took her little hand in his. There was no other way out he must tell her.

“Elly May,” he gulped. “your name isn’t Rooten it is Rotten!” The girl looked dazed. A slap on the face would have been easier for her to take.

Jim swore under his breath. “Damn Elly May. It is just a name. Thank God someone had brains enough to change it for you.”

Her face was white and she bit her lip. “Oh Jim. This is awful!”

He slipped an arm around her and gave her a squeeze. His voice was low. “I am afraid that you are in for more surprises, and like this one, some of them will be quite unpleasant.”

She smiled bravely. “Elly May Rotten! I guess I might just as well get used to it.” She turned and faced him. “Kiss me Jim and may the good lord give me strength for what might lie ahead.”

He kissed her gently. “Don’t forget little gal. I am going to be right there beside you. And don’t worry. Everything is going to be just fine.”

She opened her purse and took out a little mirror and powder puff. She dabbed at her nose. “I may be Rotten,” she muttered. “But I’ll be darned if I want it to show.”

She sat up straight and stared out the window. “We might as well get going. Something tells me I’m not going to like what I see but I am as ready as I ever will be.”

The scenery changed as the jeep wound up the dusty crooked road. There was litter everywhere. Old car bodies were scattered about the bleached bones of dead animals that decorated the landscape. A giant buzzard soared overhead and a pungent aroma filled the air.

It had been a long time since Jim had been to the Rotten Ranch. The place was worse than he thought. The Rotten family had been there for about seventy five years and the place certainly looked it.

The new highway, which was under construction below would come up through Dead Horse Gulch. It had already been surveyed.

Seth Rotten had held up the project for several years, wanting a big price for his land. He had the State over a barrel for there was no other feasible route.

Finally they had reached an agreement. Next month construction would start here. The Rotten family would be paid off in full and would be forced to move. Dead Horse Gulch and Rotten Ranch would only be names to remember.

As the Jeep rounded a bend in the road they could see someone walking ahead of them. As they drew closer Jim recognized the Rotten twins, Jeb and Zeb.

They were carrying something between them. Each had hold of a grain bag. They were half dragging, half carrying it and it’s contents.

A big brown hound was following close behind. He was definitely interested in what was in they bag. Occasionally, he would lunge at it and bark loudly.

Whatever was inside the bag was very much alive. The barking of the dog caused it to wiggle and squirm.

The two boys seemed reluctant to move to the side of the road.


They acted as though they didn’t hear the approaching vehicle. “The little brats,” Jim muttered. “They act like they want to get run over.”

“There’s something in the bag,” Elly May whispered. “It keeps wiggling.”

Jim nodded and gave the horn a blast. The twins moved slowly to the side of the road. They stood shoulder to shoulder staring out between the stringy strands of hair.

Elly May gazed at them for a few seconds. “Who are they? do you know them?”

Jim flushed, “Yes, I know them. They are your Uncle Sam’s boys. They answer to the names of Jeb and Zeb “

“Then they would be my cousins.”

Jim nodded.

She turned a shade paler. “They could certainly do with a haircut.”

“A good currying’ would help.”

The Jeep was approaching the old log cabin. Jim pointed with his thumb. “That is where your Uncle Sam lives. Those two back there are a couple of his offspring. There are a half dozen more around here somewhere.”

The door swung open and they came pouring out. They were all sizes. Two of them were little boys about four or five years of age. They had long stringy hair covering their faces.

There was no doubt about their sex as they were stark naked. There were two teenage boys, shirtless and barefoot. The eldest of the lot was two girls. Both fat and stringy haired.

Then the mother. filled the doorway, and it was really filled! She had put on a lot of weight, Jim thought.

All of them stood staring as the Jeep passed by. Jim wondered how they could see with all the stringy hair hanging down over their faces. He stepped on the gas. It wasn’t a pretty picture. Now it was only a couple of hundred feet to the home of Seth Rotten, the former home of Elly May.

He pulled up in front of the house and shut off the motor. The place was in shambles, junk was scattered everywhere. Chickens were scratching in the dusty yard looking for something to eat.

Jim glanced at Elly May. She didn’t look as though her homecoming had revived any fond memories.

“Does anything look familiar?” Jim asked.

“No. And somehow I am glad. Maybe it is better that I don’t remember.”

Seth’s old truck was nowhere in sight. Probably he and the boys had gone to town, Jim thought. He wondered if Martha was home.

Jim opened the door or the Jeep. They both climbed out and for a few seconds stood staring at the old house.

He took her by the arm. There was one thing he had better tell her. “Don’t mention anything about me looking at your card in the mail box. Just say that you met me in Ontario and I brought you here. They might get all shook up if they knew I took a peek in their mail box. I will explain to you later.”

“Just as you say, Jim.”

“And another thing. We have a nice guestroom at the ranch. You are mighty welcome there.”

“Thanks Jim.”

They picked their way through the chicken droppings to the front door. At one time the house had a big screened in porch. Now the screens were all gone. The place was piled high with old automobile tires.

Jim knocked on the door and stepped back.

There was a rustling sound inside the door swung open. For a moment Martha Rotten stood there staring at them. If she was either glad or surprised, it didn’t show.

Elly May advanced toward her the blue eyes were bright with tears. She extended both hands. “Oh Mother Martha. It is so nice to see you. It has been such a long time!”

Martha took the hands and for a few seconds stared down at her. There was a faint smile on her face.

“Wen well if it isn’t Elly May? And what fancy clothes! Are you going to a rodeo or have you already been?”

Martha swung the door open wide. “Come on both of you. You are letting in all the flys.

They stepped inside. Jim gave the room a quick look. It was long, as long as the house. One end was the kitchen. There was a beat up cupboard and a sink. There was an old wood stove with the name HOME COMFORT. Stamped on the oven door.

There was a table surrounded by several rickety chairs. At one time the floor had been covered with linoleum. Only patches of it remained. The walls and ceiling were covered with wall paper that was cracked and dirty.

The living room was continuation of the same. There were no rugs on the floor and it was full of cracks and dark with age.

The furniture was something to behold. They had taken the front seat from four of the old car bodies and scattered them about using them to sit on.

Beside one of them was a wooden box. It was full of empty beer- cans. By the other three were Hills Brothers coffee cans, partially full of sawdust. These were used as spittoons and ash treys.

Martha motioned for them to sit down at the table. “Make yourself at home.” she said’. “Such as it is.”

Jim’s eyes were on the two women. In no way did they resemble each other. They were about as much alike as a Great Dane and a toy poodle.

Martha had black hair streaked with gray. Her eyes were a brownish green. She had dark skin and course features – large nose and thick lips – in no way did she resemble the Elly May sitting beside her.

And there was something else! Funny he hadn’t thought of it before. Clyde and Oswald sounded lust like Seth when they talked and the mannerisms of their voices were similar.

Elly May had a soft musical voice. Martha’s was loud and harsh. Surely they couldn’t be mother and daughter!

Martha was saying. “This is really a surprise. What brings you here girl?”

Elly May was dabbing at her eyes with a powder puff, trying hard to keep her composure. “Should’ t I come and see you?” she asked.

Martha shook her head. “I don’t know girl. We don’t live like uncle John and aunt Nelly. Look at them fancy duds you are wearing. They don’t exactly match the surroundings do they? You should have at least let us know you were coming. We could have cleaned out a room.”

And another car seat for a bed, Jim thought.

“I did write mother. I dropped you a card about a week ago. I asked you to have someone meet me at the bus station. No one was there. Then I met Jim. He remembered me. He has been very nice he brought me here.”

Her voice was rising. “You ask me why I came here, mother. You pretend you don’t know? Alright I will tell you.”

Jim watched her blue eyes taking the hue of chipped ice. She continued, “Something happened to me four years ago to make me forget fourteen years of my life. What was it mother? I want to know. Her face was as white as chalk. “every time I ask you this question you evade the answer. Why? Also I understand I have a father and five brothers. None of them came to see me. Why? Answer my questions mother. Answer me!”

Martha stared at her and licked her thick lips. Slowly she shook her head and closed her dark eyes. Her voice was low and a bit hoarse.

“As for the first part of your question I am very sorry. I am not free to give you the answer. So please don’t ask again. However there is this much I will tell you. I was in no way responsible for your condition. and I have done everything I possibly could for you. Thank God you are well now. So why dig into the past? I don’t think there are any fond memories for you there.”

Martha paused for a moment and wiped her eyes with her apron. “As far as your father and brothers not coming to see you, you will have to ask them. I know one thing it costs money to travel and that is one item that has been mighty scarce around here.” She wiped her eyes on her faded apron.

She got up and went over to the big stove She lifted one of the lids and crammed more wood into the fire-box. She opened the oven door and took out a tray of cookies. Several loaves of bread were baking on the lower shelf. In spite of the surroundings the food looked and smelt appetizing.

Martha forked the cookies on to a big platter. “Seems like I’m cooking all the time,” she muttered. “I don’t know how in the world I managed when all of you were home.”

She turned to a bowl that was setting on the drain board. “I was just starting to make some frosting when you came. See if you will excuse me and I will go ahead and finish the job.”

Elly May had once more gained control of her feelings. “Go ahead mother. We will watch.”

Martha took an eggbeater from a drawer, poked the blades into the bowl and spun the handle. Bits of the stuff flew about the room. After a couple of minutes of beating she picked up a spoon and tasted the mixture. “Need’s something,” she muttered. She selected a bottle from a shelf, measured out a spoonful and dumped it into the bowl. Once more she picked up the beater.

For several minutes she beat the mixture. Then took the spoon and sampled it once more. “Tastes good,” she smiled. She turned to her company. “How about a couple of home-made cookies with some of this to spice them up a bit?”

Both Jim and Elly May nodded.

Martha spooned some of the mixture on a few of the cookies and put them on the table. “Help yourself,” she offered.

Jim and Elly May helped themselves and took a bite. Then for the first time since they had entered the house Jim spoke.

“Boy, these are sure good cookies, and that frosting you just made it is delicious!”

Elly May nodded. “They sure are good. You must give me your recipe mother Martha.”

Martha beamed. It had been a long time since anyone had given her a compliment.

“Have some more.” she smiled. “It’s nice to cook for someone who appreciates my efforts.”

Both Jim and Elly May took another helping.

“Where are the men today.” Jim asked.

Martha shrugged her shoulders. “Gone as usual. They always go to town on Saturday. Go to town and get drunk You can bet you last dollar on that “ She produced a handkerchief and blew her nose.

“Yes they are in town getting drunk. They never take me. All I do is stay home and slave for them. I do all the washing and cooking and try and keep this dirty house clean. All they think about is feeding their faces – that and getting drunk!”

Martha was working herself into a righteous rage. Her face was turning red. Two big tears formed in her eyes.

She picked up one of the cookies, tasted it, then took a big bite. Her wrath was mounting by the second. She glanced dawn at the frosted cookies. “They are good aren’t they. “ Her face was turning dark. “Too damn rood for their worthless hides.”

She took another bite, then glanced dawn at the bowl containing the frosting.” I fix something real good and do you think I get one kind word? Hell no don’t. The better I make it the more they eat and the harder I have to work. I just can’t win!” Martha was furious. “They don’t deserve anything good. They area bunch of pigs.”

A look of cunning crossed her face. She was staring at a plastic bottle, which bore the label, Palmolive Dishwashing Liquid. Quickly she grabbed the bottle and squeezed a generous amount into the frosting dish.

A look of fiendish joy spread over her homely face. Her voice was loud and harsh. “That should make them last for a while!”

A smile spread over Jim’s face. Although Martha had not been born a Rotten some of their ways had certainly rubbed off on her.

Jim was having trouble keeping a straight face. The shock of Martha dumping soap into the food had come as a big surprise. He glanced at Elly May May. One quick look told him that in her four short years of remembering she had never seen anything like this! Her pretty mouth hung open as she watched Martha apply the bubbly mass.

Martha was; evidently enjoying herself. There was a tight grin on her lace. It resembled more of a snarl, Jim. thought. As she placed each frosted cookie on the platter her lips would move as if putting a separate curse on each of them.

Jim closed his eyes. He could imagine seeing Seth Clyde and Oswald each grabbing a handful of cookies and stuffing them in their faces. They would have most of it ground up and swallowed before they realized that something was wrong. There would be foam dripping front their chins. They would froth at the mouth.

The picture in his mind was becoming more vivid by the second. He opened his eyes quick to keep from bursting into a fit of laughter. However he couldn’t suppress the chuckle that emerged.

Martha stared at him for a moment. Slowly a faint smile came to her face. “I guess I sort of got carried away.” she muttered. Anyhow I don’t think a little soap will kill them.”

She opened a drawer and pulled out a white cloth. She whipped it over the platter, driving off the flies. She spread the cloth over the food. “At least the flies think it’s good.” she grinned.

With the cookies out of the way she opened the oven door and took a peek at the bread. Once more she took off a lid and poked more wood into the firebox. The stove was not only cooking the bread but was also doing a fair job on the people in the room.

Jim ran his finger around the inside of his shirt collar. He glanced at Elly May. Tiny beads of perspiration stood out on her forehead.

Martha sized up the situation. “There is plenty of wood in the stove to bake the bread. Let’s go outside where it will be much cooler.”

Many years ago, a row of locust trees had been planted at the rear of the house. They extended as far down as the old log cabin. An irrigation ditch ran close to them giving them plenty of water. The grass on the ditchbank was tall and green. Several rough tables and benches were scattered down the line. There was a teeter-totter and a couple of swings hung from the tree branches. Several children were playing there. They were the offspring of Sam Rotten.

The trio sat down on one of the benches. It would have been quite pleasant had it not been for the slight breeze coming up the gulch. Evidently someone had recently donated some fresh coyote bait to the Rotten family.

Elly May sniffed the air. She turned her back to the wind in an effort to avoid this aroma. She wrinkled up her nose. “What is that awful smell?”

Martha sniffed. “I don’t smell anything.” Evidently she had become immune to this fragrance.

About fifty feet below them the Rotten youngsters were gathered around one of the tables. On the table was a brown burlap bag. Something was alive inside the bag. It kept moving about on the table top.

Of course Jeb and Zeb were there and were the center of the attraction. One of them had a long sharp stick and kept poking away at the bag. The big brown dog barked loudly.

Suddenly someone grabbed the sack and pulled it off the table. Immediately it was surrounded by all the children. The dog was on the inside growling viciously.

Jim glanced at Elly May. She was watching with her eyes wide and the thumb and forefinger of her left hand was clamped firmly over the end of her nose.

Suddenly the dog let out a yelp followed by a series of sharp barks.

“I wonder what the devil they are up to.” Jim muttered. “’Whatever it is, nothing good will come of it.”

Martha nodded. “Those little devils – Jeb and Zeb always like to show off, especially when company is around.”

The dog let out another yelp. Elly May’s eyes were big and round. “Oh I hope they are not hurting the dog!” Her voice trembled. “Oh Jim can you stop them?”

Her hopes were short lived. The dog barked loudly and began to howl! Then all hell broke loose. The children were all yelling and screaming. The dog broke through the circle with a mighty leap. On his back was a big yellow tomcat who had his claws buried deep. The cat’s ears were flat, his back was arched he was hanging on for dear life. He spit his fury

With every leap the dog was trying every trick he knew to unseat this creature on his back. He stopped suddenly and rolled over. The cat turned loose for a second the hound took off in a cloud of dust. But he was a long way from getting rid of the big cat. Their tails were tied together with a short rope!

The trio stood staring at the animals that were battling their way toward them, each trying to get rid of the other.

The hound was furious and greatly confused What had started out to be great sport for him had turned into a disaster. The yellow demon tied to his tail was a tornado: Each time he turned to crush the creature with his mighty jaws his own tail would pull it out of his reach. But not before his nose and ears were ripped by sharp claws.

Jim went into action. He grabbed an old shovel was leaning against one of the trees and ran to the struggling pair.

Both animals saw this new menace coming at them with a shovel. This was too much for them. They quit fighting. The dog tried to go one way the cat the other. The rope was stretched tight. Jim came down hard with the blade of the shovel. The rope parted.

The big yellow tom cat took off in a cloud of dust. Judging from the speed he was going he would be in the next county before sundown, thought Jim.

The hound was headed in the other direction. He had had enough of cats for one day. Without a backward look he tore up the gulch. If he could find a hole he would surely crawl in it.

Suddenly Jim realized that he was under attract. Jab and Zeb were kicking him on the shins and screaming profane cuss words.

Martha decided it was time for her to enter the conflict. She broke a branch off the locust tree. On it was sharp spikes about an inch long. Martha let out an Indian type yell and charged.

One of the tribe shouted a warning. He had seen Martha in action before. The terrible twins turned and fled.

Jim turned to Elly May. She was as white as a sheet, her big blue eyes were wide with wonder. He slipped an arm around her waist his voice was gentle, “Don’t you think you have had enough for one day?”

She nodded dumbly. “Please.” she whispered. “Please take me away from here.” she turned to Martha. “I will be staying at Jim’s place. I will see you later.”

Martha stared at her for a moment then nodded her head.

“Yes I think that will be wise. I am sure that Jim and his mother will take good care of you. If I had known you were coming I would have had a room ready for you.”

“Thanks mother. But I think it will be much better this way.”

Jim took her by the hand and they started walking slowly toward the Jeep.

Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 6

This entry is part 06 of 19 in the series Crazy

Chapter 6

Once more Jim drove past the two metal signs. He hoped that the next time he drove up Dead Horse Gulch it would be on the new highway. The Rotten Ranch was a disgrace to the community. He would be glad when Seth and Sam moved out of there.

Jim took a quick look at the girl beside him. People had taken for granted that she was one of them. Could there of been a mix-up somewhere? Surely she wasn’t one of that Rotten family: Today he had tried to find one little resemblance between Elly May and Martha. There was none.

And how about Seth and the boys? One quick look would tell anyone that he was the father of that tribe And how about the girl and Seth? That beady-eyed hawk nosed buzzard had produced a batch of boys that looked just like him, but what about the girl? Jim shuddered. It wasn’t possible

He took another fast look at the girl beside him. She was just where she belonged, right there beside him. She was his girl and one of these days she would be his wife.

Taking her home today had been a big shock to her. Meeting her father and two of her brothers would be another. Only two of the boys, Clyde and Oswald, were home now. Thank God for that!

A sudden burst of laughter startled him. He gave Elly May a fast look. Her shoulders were shaking He couldn’t tell for sure whether she was laughing or crying.

“Are you alright?”

She took a handkerchief from her purse and wiped her eyes. “Oh Jim.” she laughed. “When I think of mother putting soap in the cookie frosting it almost kills me!”

Jim chuckled, “That was funny alright. I had a heck of a time keeping a straight face.”

“I was so shocked I couldn’t see the funny side of it at the time. But now…” She buried her head in her arms and her laughter filled the air.

Jim joined in. It was good to hear her laugh and quite a change from a few minutes ago. Elly May made a quick recovery.

They came to the fork in the road. He glanced at the row of mail boxes and wondered if the card from Elly May was still in the box. Very likely it was. There was no need of stopping; Buck didn’t work on Saturdays.

He shifted to a lower gear. The rest of the way was a long steep crooked road. The scenery began to change. Instead of foothills covered with grass and sage brush there were big mountains. They were covered with tall pine trees and big open meadows. Some big red white-faced cows stood there chewing their cuds, their calves beside them.

Jim pointed with his finger. “See those critters?” Elly May nodded. “They belong to the Green ranch. This is part of our summer range.”

“Oh Jim. That is wonderful!”

The pine trees were getting larger. Now and then a tall blue spruce decorated the landscape. There was a slight chill in the air, becoming more noticeable as they gained altitude.

A big black cloud could be seen on the horizon. There was no sign of a breeze and everything stood deadly still.

“It’s going to rain.” Jim muttered.

“It rains a lot in Seattle, almost every day all winter.”

The big cloud covered the sun. It was getting quite dark. They came to a wide place in the road he pulled over and stopped.

“Something the matter?” Elly May asked.

Jim shook his head. “Not a thing. Just taking a few precautions. The road from here on is steep and narrow. A darn poor place to meet some crazy driver that doesn’t have sense enough to come in out of the rain.”

Elly May looked puzzled. “If everyone in Seattle quit driving every time it rained they would stay home most of the time.

Then the storm sprang from its ambush. A giant streak of lightning streaked across the sky followed by a colossal clap of thunder.

Elly May trembled and slid close Her eyes were big and wide. “Oh Jim what was that?”

The big black cloud opened up with its biggest artillery. The lightning turned the sky to a sheet of flame the thunder roared. Then came the downpour

Her arms were around his neck and she pulled herself close. “Oh Jim, I am so scared. I have never seen or hear anything like this.”

He grinned. “Have no fear Jim is here” he gave her a reassuring hug.

“I have never seen or heard anything like this in Seattle.”

Then from out of nowhere came the wind. The first blast shook the Jeep. The next one pushed it several feet across the muddy surface.

There was another blinding flash followed by a terrific explosion!. A big tree across the canyon came crashing down. There was the smell of sulfur and brimstone in the air.

The Jeep was equipped with electric windshield wipers. He switched them on and the blades swept back and forth across the glass. He switched them off They were worthless in a storm like this.

Suddenly the huge drops of water turned to hail. The splatter on the roof turned to a mighty roar. The Jeep trembled. Elly May drew herself closer. “How long will it last?” she asked.

“Not very long. Usually only a few minutes,” he said assuringly.

The big black cloud gave one last supreme effort to terrify the inhabitants of the forest. The sky lit up with forked lightning. The thunder Gods beat their mighty drums . The wind howled and blew as the rain came pouring down.

Then as suddenly as it had began it was all over.

The sun came peeking out as though to see what effect it had on everything and everyone.

Elly May’s eyes were wide with wonder. No longer was she afraid. Her voice trembled with excitement.

“Oh Jim! That was exciting and wonderful was it not?”

“It sure was. We get a lot of them here. And one thing for certain is there are no two or them alike.”

Just ahead of them was a small meadow. Standing there at the edge of the forest were two deer, a doe and a fawn. Jim pointed through the windshield. “Look, sweetie. Do you see what I see?”

She stared at the two animals. “What are they, Jim?”

“Deer,” he said. “A mother and her baby.”

“But they have such big ears I have seen deer in the zoo but none with such big ears.”

“They are Mule deer, Sweetie. They were named after the Mule on account of their big ears I guess. They are quite a bit larger than most deer.”

For a few seconds the deer stood there flopping their big ears, then casually walked off into the brush.

Just a few yards up the road were a couple of ground squirrels. They were eating something, which they held in their paws. Their little jaws moved with lightning speed. Every little bit they would stop eating and chirp. With their chirps, their tails would go straight in the air.

Jim glanced at Elly May by his side. She was missing nothing while taking in the show that seemed to be just for them. He gave the horn a toot. The squirrels dropped on all fours and scampered over the bank.

“The storm is over.” He said. “Let’s get out and stretch a bit. The road is sandy from here on in. It will dry off in a few minutes.”

They climbed out of the Jeep and found a big flat rock to stand on. He slipped an arm around her waist. With the other hand he pointed to the mountains ahead, “God’s country up there. Years ago you loved it. I hope you still do.”

“I know I will. And oh Jim I am so glad you come to meet me. Suppose you had not been there and I found no one to take me out to that terrible place. I would of been stuck there and nowhere else to go. I think I would have killed myself.”

“Don’t talk like that, Sweetie.”

“Jim. You call me Sweetie. Did you call me that before?”

He nodded. “I guess I started that at the school party. It was then that we sort of got engaged. Do you like me to call you Sweetie?”

The girl’s eyes glistened. “I love it.”

He took her in his arms and held her close. “Listen darling. There is something that I would like to talk to you about. You and my mother got along very well. She loves you. She will certainly be surprised to see you again. I think it would be best at least for the present not to mention your illness. Don’t mention anything about you not remembering. There is something funny going on and I think we will have a better chance to solve this riddle if we keep this a secret. What do you think?”

The girl nodded. “I sure don’t understand why no one in my family will tell me what happened to me.”

“It’s strange alright, and another thing…”

“What darling?”

He was about to say, “You can’t be one of that family.” Then changed his mind, “Let her meet the rest of them, then tell her.” he thought.

His mother would certainly be surprised, all right. Could they convince her that they had kept this a secret for four long years? Maybe not, but after all you are not supposed to tell everything

“Can you explain all this to your mother?” she asked. “I will sure give it a try. Mom will understand. She won’t ask a lot of questions.”

He guided the girl toward the Jeep. “We might as well get going I think the road will be alright now.”

Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 7

This entry is part 07 of 19 in the series Crazy

Chapter 7

It was late in the afternoon when they arrived at the Green ranch. Jim pulled up in front of the house and parked the Jeep in the shade of a big pine tree

It was a large house built of logs and stone. At one end was a large fireplace and on the other end was an empty carport.

In the background several small cabins were visible in a grove of Jack Pine. Off to the side was a big red barn.

Jim helped Elly May out of the Jeep. “Well here we are. Welcome to our humble mansion.”

She looked around and took a deep breath of the pine scented air. A smile crossed her face, “Sure smells good. Doesn’t it?”

He nodded.

“And listen to the wind in the treetops. This is wonderful, Jim.”

He glanced at the carport. “And it looks like we’ve got it all to ourselves. Mother is gone. Probably over to one of the neighbors.”

He removed the luggage from the Jeep. The front door of the house was unlocked so they stepped inside.

There was a big stone fireplace in one end of the spacious living room. The floor was covered with deep shag carpet. The furniture was quite modern.

“Elly May’s eyes were shining, “Oh Jim, this is wonderful!”

Jim grinned. “You ain’t seen nothing yet. Wait till you see our fish pond.” He took her by the hand and together they went through the door into the back yard.

A high hedge in front had shielded this part of the yard from view. It was a breath taking sight. A small creek ran back of the house emptying into a large pond. Half way around it was a concrete walk. The rest was a blaze of color. Flowers of many kinds and colors decorated the perimeter. Several pine trees shaded the area, and under them were picnic tables and benches. Where the water left the pond was a small waterfall. The sound of the water tumbling over the rocks made a musical sound. A couple of love seats were at the waters edge and a huge rock barbecue and grille were back under the trees.

The trip up Dead Horse Gulch had a sobering affect on Elly May. Now once again her eyes were shining. She jumped up and down bubbling over with enthusiasm. “This is beautiful,” she said, holding his hand tightly and led him about, pausing now and then to marvel at her surroundings.

Jim had a feeling that in a way she was very much like a little child.

She led him over to one of the love seats, sat down and pulled him down beside her. She slipped over on his lap and her little white arm encircled his neck. The big blue eyes looked down into his. Her voice was low and a bit husky. “My darling Jim, everything is so wonderful here.” she was running her fingers through his hair. “Please, please darling. Don’t let me go back to that awful place. T think I would rather die than live there. Tell me darling was I really born and raised in that dirty old house?”

Jim slowly nodded his head. “I’m afraid you were sweetie.”

“Maybe mother sent me to Seattle just to get me away from there.”


“Jim, I can’t go back to Seattle. I have a very good reason for saying this.” Tears flooded her eyes.

He kissed her on the cheek. “I’m sure you have.”

She laid her head on his shoulder. “You won’t send me away, will you Jim?”

“Lord no!”


“With all my heart.”

She tilted his head back and kissed him full on the lips. Her lips were soft and tender, sweet and full of passion. “I love you, darling.” she whispered.

“And I love you too.”

She snuggled close to him. “You will marry me won’t you Jim?”

“I have always intended to.”

She kissed him once more. “Darling I will try hard to be a good wife. I will cook for you wash for you and,” She blushed, “I will raise you some nice children!”

“That will be wonderful.”

Her little white hand stole down the back of his neck. He could feel the goose pimples rise.

She whispered in his ear. “I hope you can stand lots of loving. I have so much for you”

“I am glad.”

With one hand she unbuttoned the two top buttons of his shirt. The other hand stole farther down, creating more goose pimples.

The animal in Jim wakened. He drew her close, kissing her lips, her neck and her soft shoulders. He could hear her talking She sounded far away. “I am so sorry about last night. I wanted you so bad. I wanted so much to make you happy. I drank too much. Don’t let me do that again.”

Jim: looked wildly about. He was fast losing control. The love seats were too small the benches too hard. He gave the table top a quick glance. He blinked his eyes. This was crazy!

And in broad daylight!

Elly May talking again. Her voice was almost a whisper. “Oh darling I have waited so long this seems like a wonderful dream to me.”

Jim fought to control his passions. What in hell was going on here? His mind flashed back to the many girls he had tried to seduce. Always he had been the aggressor. Some of them had been real sexy but they sure wouldn’t give up without a struggle. At least they pretended to put up a fight.

But now, this vas different! The shoe was on the other foot. She was the aggressor.

There was only one button left on the shirt. Her nimble fingers took care of it quickly. She removed the shirt and folded it carefully and laid it across the seat of the bench . Next was the tee shirt. She pulled it up over his head: and laid it beside the shirt.

Jim’s mind raced back to last night at the motel. He was the one that had done the undressing. Where would she stop, he wondered. Should he resist? On second thought, to hell with it. Time was wasting!

The little hands were feeling the muscles on his arms. The big blue eyes were bright. There was a smile on her face. “Oh Jim, you are so wonderful, so handsome and so strong.” She leaned over and kissed him on the neck. He could feel her hot breath in his ear.” And your muscles, they are so hard: “

“Not only my muscles,” he muttered under his breath.

Her soft lips moved to his mouth. One little arm was around his neck, pulling him close. The other running the little fingers up and down his spine.

His resistance was deteriorating fast. Cooperation was the only answer. He decided. His clumsy fingers started searching for the buttons on her fancy shirt.

He closed his eyes. If only it wasn’t so damn light; unseen eyes were everywhere. There were birds and squirrels in the treetops, butterflies in the flowers and ants in the grass, not to mention the cattle on the side hill

A sudden thought struck him. Why hadn’t he thought of it before? His room of course. They could pull the curtains and it would be quite private. This would shut out those prying eyes.

He picked her up and headed for the back door. He broke into a trot as he streaked down the concrete path. He put her down so as he could open the door.

The sound of a motor car filled the air. His mother had just turned into the driveway. There vas a sheepish look on Jim’s face. Elly May giggled. Oh well there would be another time.

Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 8

This entry is part 08 of 19 in the series Crazy

Chapter 8

The Sunday morning sun was peeking over the mountain and young Jim Green had already been working for over an hour.

He had cooked himself some breakfast, picked up the shovel that he always left leaning against the big pine tree in the front yard and headed for the meadow. Changing the water from one place to another was a daily chore.

This morning there was trouble. A gopher had burrowed his way across the field and into the irrigation ditch. The water came boiling up far down in the field below.

He took off his shoes, rolled up his pants and waded up the ditch, poking his toes under the overhanging grass. Suddenly, he stopped and reached down with his hand. He had found the hole all right. He could feel the suction as the water rushed through the opening.

He took the shovel and dug back into the bank, making the hole much larger. He then cut a large sod, which he placed over the opening. Then with his bare feet he stomped it firmly in place.

Changing the water around to keep the meadow wet was a daily chore. And now he was finished for the day.

He walked back up the ditch-bank to where he had left his shoes and sox.

He stepped out of the ditch and sat down on the grassy bank. He would let his feet dry for a few minutes.

He leaned back and closed his eyes. His thoughts raced in his head about the happenings of yesterday. What had started out to be just an ordinary day in his young life had taken a sudden turn. Once more Elly May was back into his life. Once again she was his sweetheart.

And it all happened so damned fast! Had fate really taken a hand? He shook his head. His mind was in a whirl.

The arrival of his mother yesterday had been at a very critical moment. If she had been a few minutes later there could be a wedding going on right now, his wedding.

He wiped the sweat off his forehead. Was he ready for such a move? Everything happened so damned fast! Marriage was a serious thing. He hadn’t better get in a hurry. Not at least for a few days.

She had been his only childhood sweetheart. Four years ago he had intended to marry her at a later date. Now that time had come. Was he ready? Was she ready! It all seemed so sudden.

What kind of a woman did he want for a wife? he asked himself. Of course, she must be a good cook Also a good housekeeper. She must be sexy, desirable and bear him children.

She must be someone that he would look forward to going to bed with every night. And last but not least he must love her:

Jim swore under his breath. Elly May was the only girl he had ever met that could come up to these qualifications.

Of course he hadn’t had a chance to try out her cooking. Actually he hadn’t tried out anything but a few kisses: But, on the other hand, if they were a sample of what was yet to come she could make him a very happy man. After all, aren’t you supposed to save something until after the wedding?

Jim grinned. If she didn’t change her tactics there was not going to be anything left “But what the hell,” he muttered. “Why wait? You don’t even buy a hat without first trying it on.”

At times she was like a little girl. Then again she could be all woman. Yesterday she had demonstrated that. And in broad daylight!

Was this a proper thing for her to do? Would he want her to be different?

He shook his head. “Hell no! A beautiful girl like her? I should say not! He shook his head and closed his eyes. She was the answer to his wildest dreams.

And there was something else to think about – her loss of memory. What had happened to make her forget those fourteen years? He intended to find out, but why let it matter? It certainly wasn’t her fault.

Martha knew what happened to her and so did the rest of the family. They would tell her nothing. Surely Uncle John and Aunt Nelly in Seattle also knew. Why were they keeping it a secret?

And there was something else and it was really important. Elly May bore the Rotten name. She had been raised by them. Surely she couldn’t be one of them! In no way did she resemble any one of them!

Then still another question. If’ she wasn’t one of’ them who was she? Who were her real parents?

The last four years of her life was all she could remember. At times she did act like a four year old. Yesterday when he had showed her the garden behind the house she had jumped up and down clapping her hands.

A few minutes later she was a beautiful passionate woman. One that could make his blood boil!

And now she could be his, all his very own. What was he waiting for? God hates a coward!

He had always taken for granted that someday he would marry. There would be a big church wedding and a honeymoon. Then they would settle down and raise a family, but he had never envisioned anything like this. He wondered if he was dreaming! If it was a dream it was dandy. One from which he should never awaken.

And still she was a girl of mystery. Who was she really? Yesterday when they were talking to Martha he had tried to find some family resemblance between the two of them. He could find none.

Starting from the top, the color and texture of the hair was wrong. The hairline was definitely different. The was no resemblance. Elly May’s eyes were a deep blue, Martha’s a dark brownish green. Martha had a figure like one of his Hereford cows, but Elly May had one like a yearling deer that roamed the forest dainty and full of spirit.

And as far as being the daughter of Seth Rotten all a person had to do was take a good look at Clyde and Oswald. They belonged to him all right. They looked just like him.

But who in the world could she be? Seth and Martha had claimed her as a daughter. She was raised by them and had gone through the grade school here.

As everyone watched her mature they wondered how such a pretty girl could be a member of that family. Surely at the hospital Martha had got away with the wrong child. This seemed to be the only sensible answer.

And this loss of memory bit, about the time it had happened she had gone to Seattle to live with Aunt Nelly and Uncle John. Why?

This seemed to Jim to be a good place to start asking questions.

Just who was Uncle John and Aunt Nelly? Why had they kept her these last four years?

And one more thing: she had been afraid. She had told him that she needed help and would he help her. He had promised that he would and he would keep his promise.

Sometime in the near future she would be his wife. And a husband and wife should keep no secrets from each other. In the meantime there were several riddles that must be solved.

Jim put on his socks and shoes, picked up the shovel and headed for the house. Just ahead of him was the big red barn. As he was passing he heard a noise inside. He walked over to the door and opened it wide. There stood his mother. She was holding a bucket of oats with both hands. A brown horse with white spots was eating from it.

Shirley Green was a little woman. Jim could hold an arm straight out and she could pass under it without stooping. She had nice features and a trim figure. Her most outstanding feature was her hair. In her younger days it had been a jet black. Now it was as white as snow and every hair seemed to always be in its proper place.

She always managed to keep busy. There was a chicken run back of the barn also a coop for laying hens. There was always plenty of eggs and a fryer now and then.

Every morning she made the rounds. Feeding the chickens gathering the eggs and now and then treating Old Spot to a bucket of oats.

Jim smiled at her. “Good morning mother. You are going to have that old crow bait spoiled rotten.”

Shirley Green patted the horse on the neck. “I had better look after him. I don’t think he will get much attention from you now that Elly May is here.”

Jim grinned. “Now that you mention it she is quite a lot better looking than Old Spot. By the way where is she?”

“In the house prettying herself up for you. Not that she needs it, mind you. God knows she is about the prettiest thing that I have ever seen. She says she wants to look her best when you return from the field.” She frowned. “My boy where have you been keeping her? It’s been years since I heard you speak of her. Tell me what’s going on around here? Are you two getting married?”

Jim laughed. “One question at a time mother.”

“Alright. Are you two getting married?”

“If we are, do we have your blessing?”

Two big tears formed in the little woman’s eyes. “You know very well young man. That whoever you chose will be alright with me.” She wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. “It’s getting about time you found yourself a nice girl and settled down. After all, you are the only one who can give me some grandchildren to play with. But I wish someone would tell me what’s been going on. I can get nothing out of either of you.”

Jim walked over and took the empty bucket from her hand and set it on the floor. He put his arm around her shoulders and gave her a squeeze. “Mother dear, when we get married you will be the first one to know and I don’t think you will have to wait very long. We have kept our secret pretty good. Don’t you think?”

“You certainly have, but I still think you are holding back something.”

Jim grinned, “When this is all over we will tell you a story that will be hard to believe. In the meantime, mother dear, you must trust us.”

“I guess I have no choice, but I’m dying of curiosity.”

He put a finger under her chin and tilted her head back, “Mother dear, I have a few questions I would like to ask you. They might not seem important to you but they sure are to me. One of these days you will understand.

“Well, go ahead.”

His voice was serious. “Do you really believe that Elly May is the daughter of Seth and Martha Rotten?”

For a moment Shirley Green didn’t answer. When she did her voice was firm and steady.

“I wondered when you would get around to asking that question. Hell no I don’t, and what’s more I never did!”

Jim could hardly believe his ears. His mother seldom used such words. He took her by the arm and they started walking toward the house. He gave her arm a gentle squeeze, “Mother dear, what do you remember about that night” or day whichever it was that Elly May was born? Was it at their home? Did you know the doctor?”

Shirley Green nodded. “All morning long I have tried to recall that blessed event. After all, eighteen years is quite a long time, then it all come back to me.”

She took a few steps, paused, then looked up at Jim. “Seth didn’t believe in doctors. He acted as midwife for the five boys. It was early in the spring and Martha was expecting once more. She and Seth had loaded up the old truck with scrap iron and took it to Boise to sell. I guess it was when they were unloading the stuff she and hurt herself. She was taken to a hospital and was there for a week. That was when Elly May was born.”

Shirley Green smiled. “I guess it was quite an event in Martha’s life. She talked about it for months afterward. I remember her saying, “It was The May hospital. The doctor’s name was May. It was the first day of May. They just had to name her May. I don’t know where they Elly came from.”

They were nearing the house. Shirley Green lowered her voice. “She is a wonderful girl, Jim, regardless of who her parents are. She loves you very much and that is what matters.” She gave his arm a squeeze. “I guess she isn’t too proud of her former home. Every time I mentioned Dead Horse Gulch she changed the subject. It seems as though she wants to forget her bygone days and I can’t say as I blame her. If I was raised there I would want to forget it too.”

Jim smiled. Elly May was keeping their secret about her loss of memory. This was wise, he thought. At least keep it a secret until they had solved the mystery themselves.

Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 9

This entry is part 09 of 19 in the series Crazy

Chapter 9

Dawn was breaking at the Green ranch. Two bushy tailed pine squirrels chattered in the treetops. The old red rooster crowed his loudest telling the world it was time to get up and get going.

Jim sat up in bed and yawned. He had spent a very restless night. Telling Elly May that he was convinced that Seth and Martha were not her real father and mother was not the easiest thing in the world to do, especially where he had no proof. It was a delicate subject alright. Maybe he should take her up Dead Horse Gulch once more and let her get a good look at the rest of the family That should do the trick.

Jim shook his head. This didn’t seem to be the right thing to do. He had better come up with a better idea than this.

He climbed out of bed and dressed. The women were still sleeping and there was no need to awaken them. He went into the kitchen and cooked himself a good breakfast.

The water on the meadow needed his attention. He slipped outside and carefully closed the door. He picked up the shovel, which was leaning against the big pine tree and headed for the meadow. There was a lot of work to be done. Maybe after a good workout a better idea would come to him.

It was almost noon before he got the watering done. He was hungry so he put the shovel over his shoulder and headed for the house.

No new ideas had came to him about how to tell the girl about his suspicions. But he knew he must do something. She had been a member of the Rotten family long enough:

He passed the barn. He would feed Old Spot later. One look at the house and he could see that they had company. An old beat up truck was parked in the driveway. It belonged to Seth Rotten.

As he drew closer he could see Seth and his two offspring, Clyde and Oswald. They were lined up in a row leaning against the truck bed.

They certainly hadn’t dressed up for the occasion. Their faces were covered with a couple of days growth of whiskers. Clyde and Oswald’s was a dirty black and Seth had a black and white mixture.

Their clothes were filthy dirty, covered with grease and grime from the old cars they were always working on. The three of them had on black hats that matched the clothes. At one time they had been the broad brim high crown type. Time had taken it’s toll. The brims sagged down over their ears almost touching their shoulders. They were withered and shrunken. They were a frightful looking trio.

Each of them had a straw in his mouth. Each had a pocket knife and was whittling on a piece of bark.

Jim stopped a few feet from them. He tried to make his voice sound cordial, “’Howdy fellers. How are you gents today?”

Seth chewed on the straw and whittled on the piece of bark. “We’ve come after Elly May,” he stated flatly.

Clyde and Oswald grinned showing tobacco stained teeth. “Yeah we come after Elly May.” they chimed in.

Jim took a quick look at the house. No one was in sight. A slight rustle of the window curtain indicated that someone was peeking through. He wondered what had taken place. How long had they been here?

His voice was cold. “Have you talked to her Seth?”

Seth spit on the ground. “Yeah we talked to her a bit. Seems like she has taken on some high and mighty ways. Say’s she will come down when she is ready.”

Jim leaned on the shovel handle. At the same time keeping a sharp eye on them. “Ain’t that alright Seth? If she says she will come down when she is ready I reckon that is the way it will be.”

From under the sagging brim of the black hat Seth glared at him. “She is my daughter, feller. And we are taking her home. You wouldn’t try and stop us now would you?”

Jim nodded. “I’ll stop you Seth. So better you crawl into that bucket of bolts and get the hell out of here”

Clyde and Oswald were grinning like a couple of apes. Clyde sucked air between his teeth. He hissed. “Let me take him Pa. Get out of my way Ossie!” He took a John Sullivan stance his fists stuck out in front of him.

Oswald moved down to the rear of the truck. Whittling away on the piece of bark. Jim took a firm grip on the shovel handle. He knew what was coming. He had seen this pair in action before.

Clyde was sputtering. “All right man. Put that shovel down and let’s get with it!”

Seth moved to the front fender of the truck. There was a sly grin on his face. He had taught his boys well. It would all be over with in a few seconds.

Clyde was moving slowly toward Jim. His: fists moving out and in like pistons.

The sun was at Jim’s back. Oswald was no longer in front of him. He was back there somewhere. When Clyde yelled to attract his attention Oswald would charge. He was ready and would watch for the shadow.

Suddenly Clyde let out a loud yell. Somewhere a woman screamed!

Jim spun around swinging the shovel like a baseball bat. The steel blade caught Oswald in mid air. The knife flew from his hand he came crashing to the ground

One quick glance told Jim that he was out of the fight. He was groaning loud and was clutching his right arm which was shattered at the elbow.

Jim turned to Clyde who was staring at his helpless brother.

“Want some Clyde?” he whispered.

Clyde’s face was as white as a sheet. He licked his dry lips and slowly he shook his head.

He turned to Seth who had not made a move. “Alright Seth are you getting off my place?”

A faint smile passed over Seth’s homely face. His voice was low and polite. “Yes sir, mister Jim. I reckon we had better do just that.”

Jim leaned on the shovel and watched while Seth and Clyde loaded the groaning Oswald on the back of the truck. It would be a long time before they pulled any more of their tricks.

Seth and Clyde crawled into the cab and without a backward glance retreated down the road. Jim had a feeling that this would be their last trip here.

Shirley Green opened the door and come walking out. Her face was white. Otherwise, she had retained her composure. She stopped in front of him with a faint smile on her face.

“You are a good man Jim. You remind me so much of your father. You certainly took care of that situation in a hurry.”

He glanced at the house. “How is Elly May did they bother her?”

“Yes and they tried to take her away from here. But she put up a fight.”

“Did she see what happened here”

Shirley Green nodded. “She saw it alright. Didn’t you hear her scream when he came at you with that knife?”

“I heard someone. Is she alright?” Did they hurt her?”

“Clyde and Oswald tried to put her in the truck. She fought Like a wild cat. Thank God you came when you did.”

Jim cursed under his breath. “Damn that dirty Clyde! I should of busted him one.”

Shirley Green shook her head, “No Jim boy you did just right. But right now I think the girl needs you. Go take care of her. I am going out gather the eggs and take care of some chores.”

Jim walked to the house and opened the door. Elly May was curled up on the couch her head buried in her arms. She was sobbing softly.

He walked over and looked down at her. What she had just gone through must have been a terrible shock to her. Even the trip up Dead Horse Gulch hadn’t prepared her for this.

His eyes smarted as he knelt down beside her. “Elly May darling. Are you alright?”

She did not seem to hear him.

“Elly May,” he whispered. “Look at me darling; I love you.”

Slowly she turned her head and looked up at him. “What did you say?”

“I love you darling.”

She propped herself up on an elbow. The big blue eyes were red rimmed and filled with tears. “Oh Jim you can’t love me. You mustn’t love me. I am nothing. They were so horrible, and I can never be your wife. Suppose I bore you a child and it was like one of them?” Sobs shook her body.

He slipped an arm under her and raised her to a sitting position. He then sat down beside her, “Elly May,” his voice sounded hoarse. “Listen to me for just a minute. Those people are no kin of yours they only pretend to be.” He stopped talking searching for the right words. Yesterday he wondered how he could ever bring up the subject. It was much easier now. The Rottens had opened the gate.

Her sobbing ceased. Her body stiffened. Slowly she turned her head and her blue eyes were wide. “What are you saying Jim? Your mother said they were and he said he was my father. Now are you telling me something different?”

Jim licked his Lips. He couldn’t lie to her and he had no proof. He must not mislead her for she had been through enough. He stroked the honey colored hair and kept his voice low. “Listen Sweetie.” he said. “I have no proof of what I am about to tell you. but it can be no other way. You are in no way related to that family.”

“But your mother said.”

“I know, darling, but she doesn’t believe.”

“Oh Jim, I am so confused!”

“So am I Sweetie. And we are going to get to the bottom of a few things. By the way, what day is your birthday?” She looked confused. “May the first why?”

“Just checking I have an idea.” His mother had this date correct. He continued, “Eighteen years ago, in the latter part of April, Seth and Martha took a load of scrap iron to Boise.

Martha was expecting. She hurt herself while unloading the iron. She was taken to a hospital and several days later on May the first she gave birth to a baby girl. They named her Elly May.”

He hesitated for a moment. The girl was listening to every word. He continued, “I guess it was Martha’s first time in a hospital. Seth had been the doctor for all the boys. Anyhow Martha returned home with a blue eyed beautiful baby girl which was quite a step above the rest of the family.

As the girl grew up she was the subject of many a conversation. No one could understand how such a lovely girl could belong to the Rotten family.”

A slight grin crossed Jim’s face, “As I grew up couldn’t keep my eyes off this girl. Rotten or not I was in love with her. Rut no one could ever make me believe that she was one of them. I always figured that Martha came home with the wrong child, and believe me, I wasn’t the only one that thought this.”

Elly May’s eyes were wide she said nothing.

“This is nothing new,” he continued. “It has happened a lot of times. A lot more than have been discovered.”

He drew her close and kissed her. “Listen sweetheart I don’t give a damn who your parents are. We will be married just the same.”

The girl moved close to him and put her head on his shoulder. “Keep talking.” she whispered. “Tell me more.”

He closed his eyes and rambled on. .

They would be married. There would be a long honeymoon. Probably they would go to Hawaii. They would have several kids. They would always be happy.

Jim quit talking and looked down at her. She was sound asleep with a contented look on her face . Once more she reminded him of a sweet innocent child about four years of age.

Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 10

This entry is part 10 of 19 in the series Crazy

Chapter 10

Jim spent most of the afternoon doing a few chores around the place. He weeded the garden, dusted the potato patch and watered the flowers.

Tomorrow he would take Elly May to the city of Boise, to the birth place of this beautiful girl. There should be some records there somewhere that would give him the information he was after.

There should be records at the county court house as well as the May hospital if it was still there. He would also check out doctor May, if he was still alive.

Anyhow they would just have to play it by ear. Boise certainly seemed the proper place to start their investigation.

The Green ranch had one hired hand, which they kept the year around. His name was Rusty Reed. Rusty had worked there for a lone time. He was just past sixty-five and was now drawing his Social Security. He lived in a small house at the end of the meadow that to the Green Ranch but everyone called it Rust’s Place.

Rusty’s job was looking after the cattle. The ranch ran about two hundred head of cows and a dozen bulls. In the summer time they grazed far back into the timber. Every day he would saddle up and ride out and look them over.

All the cows had at least one calf by their side and many of them two.

Just before winter set in was round-up time. The cattle would be moved to the valley below where the weather was much milder and the snow not so deep.

Then the calves would be sold. The cows would give birth to another crop and once again they would be moved back to High Valley along with a dozen bulls. Here they would spend the summer.

When Jim finished with the gardens he climbed into the Jeep and drove up to Rusty’s place.

Rusty was at the back of the house sitting on a stump, cleaning a mess of trout. He greeted Jim with a big smile. “Hello Jim just in time for a fish fry. Seems like all I get done any more is fish and do a little prospecting. Of course I ride out once in awhile and take a look at the cows – that and pick up me security check once a month.”

Jim grinned. “You have it pretty tough alright.”

“I don’t think I do enough work to pay my rent. Can you think up something else for me to do?”

“I just did. In fact that is what I came up for. I want you to do me a favor.”

“Shoot pal.”

“Tomorrow morning get on your horse and come over to our place. I am going to Boise tomorrow and I might be gone for a day or so. I want you to keep an eye on things while I am gone. The number one cabin is well stocked with food, and there are clean sheets on the bed.”

“Sure thing.” Rusty nodded. “Is everything alright?”

“Everything is fine. I just don’t like to leave mother there by herself. Don’t tell her 1 asked you to come over, just say you have a few things to do around there.”

“Will do; you can depend on it.”

Jim got into the Jeep and headed back toward the house. He was glad that was taken care of, for he didn’t trust Seth Rotten.

He parked the Jeep under the big pine tree and walked over to the house. He opened the door and stepped inside.

Elly May was alone in the big living room. She stood there smiling at him. She certainly had a quick recovery, Jim thought. She walked over to him and held out her hands.

Jim took them and looked down at her. “Want to go to Boise in the morning?”

“Did you think you could get away without me?”

He grinned. “I don’t intend to try.”

She had completely regained her composure and moved closer as her arms stole around his neck. She climbed up on top of the toes of his heavy shoes, her eyes sparkled, “Do you have something for me?”

He looked down at the ruby red lips. A pink tongue peeked out between the pearly white teeth and moistened them slightly. “Please?” she whispered-.

His arms wrapped around her and pulled her close. He could feel his heart pounding. He looked wildly about. No one was looking but he must be careful. Someone would come rushing in or the roof would fall. Something would happen.

He kissed her gently then pushed her away, “You little devil,” he whispered.

She smiled prettily. “Is that all I get?”

Jim flushed. “For right now yes!”

Elly May giggled, “I guess I can wait if you can:”