Poachers, Stars and Killers

wadin' boot

Donny, you're out of your element...
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This is a 5,000 word pulp-fiction fishing story busted into parts so you can take your time and read it if and as you please. The original died with yesterday's server crash. I acknowledge this is a repeat post, but at least for me, sorta necessary. (I guage interest and may link later works.)

Poachers, Stars and Killers

By Wadin’ Boot

I- The Star

“Max Lawder. Selling Toothpaste. I’ll be damned. They love me in Belgium. And in Belarus. What a load of horseshit.”

He was no fool, he knew when his day had come. The agent’s wadded up memo bounced in the fireplace, Angela Felix would no longer represent him. Lawder’s reinvention would continue though, he swore as much. He’d done it a hundred times, a hundred different roles, trained for this all his life.

A man of pride, he took offense at her offerings- one line cameo mockeries, self-referential, time-dated, commercials for dog food, toothpaste. Holding the toothpaste like a pistol, saying his stock phrase “I’ll find you, wherever you are.” C’mon, what was she thinking? Twenty years ago Freight Train Comin’ opened a Labor Day weekend with solid reviews and turned $100 million, fans still wrote him about Steelhead Dawn with grin and grip pictures of their fish. Spooled and Fooled? Two sequels, all of them money. He knew when a star falls, he’d seen it before.

Lawder met with his finance man, liquidated reserves, and moved out of Hollywood to Montana. To a stretch of light ponderosa,12 square miles, from Winton ridge down to the valley below. National Forest surrounded all sides but one, and through the heart of the woods, the Kalena river. Ribboned with braids and pools, logjams and meadows, it was first-rate water.

He outbid ---- City Light, a media magnate, a land trust, even the State of Montana. Lawder bought it from an orphan kid that wouldn’t live inland. He drove a hard bargain, smart, when he was done with Stanford Law, Lawder told the kid to go to Hollywood, look up Angela Felix, and work with her. He gave her card and that was his last link, gone. Let the assholes all work together…

Over the next year he lived like he did on the set, in a trailer. His dyed hair (“Who am I kidding?”) grew out and white hair replaced it. Meanwhile, an army of men built a palace. Log walls, soaring ceilings, a mansion of exposed maple, ash, white, yellow and red pines, mahogany, birch and fir, all well mitered, massive, and almost finished. There were soaring windows, a few with unforgettable scenes from his movies in stained glass. (The final showdown from Freigh Train Comin’, the steelhead whispering from Spooled and Fooled.) They already looked dated, like the angular scenes you see in four-tone church art from 1970’s.

Most of these windows looked out on the river and surrounding ridges. Shafts of light flooded the place and construction dusts, still fresh with odors of wood resins, swirled with movement and made the place look and smell alive. Magpies ate the worker’s lunchtime scraps, curious with the goings on, and deer fed on the grass that grew well with the new irrigation. Fresh mulch on the garden beds, still without plants, made the house look surrounded by graves

There were fireplaces of river-rock, an outdoor reflection pool and small fountain, tiles of cut limestone, ammonite embedded, and a kitchen fit for a cooking show. He told the lead carpenter “Chris Walken could cook a chicken here alright. Stuff it with apples, or pears.” The guy met his name dropping with silence, nodded, moved on with his work. Lawder laughed at this joke, and some of his others as well. He was too old to make friends. He was oblivious to the hate that surrounded him and instead interpreted it, as he always did, as envy.

When the house was done he didn’t know the men by name. Hired two, Ron Jones and Pete Cressman, two dim bulbs of low imagination and big muscle. Their tasks? Yardwork and security. He had Cressman and Jones post the land with “No Trespassing” signs, made them run fence. Sharp razor wire on four foot stanchions at two-yard intervals all around the property. Hands on hips on his grand porch, looking out over the fire red sunset he muttered to himself:

“Max Lawder lives again”

II- Oly Farnham, Felon, Meets a Girl

“You see Freight Train Comin?”

Oly Farnham thought how best to respond. He didn’t see a rail line and wondered if he was missing something. Six months on the road, his travel instincts were sharp, a rail line, like a river, he would have seen. All he could see now were fences, weeds and darkness. An Eastern Washington middle-of nowhere dark.

“No where’s the rail line, I don’t see it”
“The movie? Freight Train Comin’? You seen it?
“Oh. No. Never saw it. What’s it about?”

There she was talking again, this girl sure liked to talk. Farnham didn’t mind, she was full of ideas and jumped around and it left him wondering how people think.

“It’s about a guy. A bum. He’s made his way to California to make it big, back in the depression. He’s an Okie, a dustbowl kid. He makes it out there and finds nothing for him, and goes back to his girl thinking everything’s going to be the same, but nothing is. Max Lawder’s in it. He plays this guy sorta like Quint in Jaws, you know that guy, the Captain that gets eaten? Hardass, salt of the earth kinda guy. Only he’s sorta delusional.”

“Sounds like Mice and Men? Or was it Grapes of Wrath? I haven’t seen a lot of movies. Why did you ask?”
“You remind me of him.”
“The guy the shark ate or the bum?”
“No you look like Lawder. Yeah, maybe you look like a bum too, I mean that’s everything you got right?”

She nods towards the back of the car.

“The only thing your missing is a stick with a sack tied to the end of it. You’re not an axe murderer right?”
“No. I never killed anyone…. I don’t have an axe either”
“And I’m not delusional. Least I don’t think so.”
“Nope? Well me neither.”
“Well we should get along just fine.”
She looked at him and winked.

Farnham smiled, here he was, an ex-con, three hours in a car with a beautiful girl, joking about murders, delusional bums and movies. She was right, all of his gear, his flyrod, his clothes and tent, his ragged backpack, lay in the back of her car. He was a bum. But what kind of bum gets this, her banter, her defenseless and free thoughts, a warm car, a half-eaten bag of sunflower seeds, an intermittent leg cramp that made him groan, curse and laugh at the same time, and a wink? All this was new. And through all the talk of freight trains, came a song, an Elvis song, Mystery train, made its way into his head, got stuck there. He once knew it by heart but now only the first lines:

Train I ride, sixteen coaches long
Train I ride, sixteen coaches long
Well that long black train got my baby and gone​

He hummed it some, she asked about it and laughed when he told her Elvis sang it. Tried to explain how someone else probably wrote it, but it was Elvis that made it a hit. Sung the lines real low only after much encouragement.

She didn’t care much for Elvis, found him cartoon-like. She’d been to Graceland once. Those suits, the Memphis dazzle. She told him about that Christmas. The Graceland oaks were dropping their leaves on a mechanized Christmas manger surrounded by sobbing Belgium tourists. She didn’t get it. They got to talking about what makes a star a star, and Farnham supposed that anyone, if the situation was right, could end up one. The trick, she thought, was not coming off as an idiot, an asshole, or lacking your dignity. The trick was not screwing it all up. The trick was remaining an inspiration.

“I used to dream of being famous once.”
“Yeah? Who’d you want to be?”
“ A singer. Like Ella Fitzgerald, Tina Turner, or Aretha. Beltin’ out some tunes with the big ladies backing me up. Horns, Trumpets, trombones, all of it. A guy with huge smile and a uniform, a suit, all of the musicians in suits, but the guy with the smile hitting the drums, smacking the hi hats, spinning his sticks, pumping that big bass drum…. I had my routines…”
“And what happened?”
“Nothing. I grew up, grew old I guess. Never moved out of the country, out of here. You can’t do that crap from here, you have to leave, go someplace where there are lots of people.”

Here, Eastern Washington, East of the mountains- Where was it she meant? She was right though. Only a fool really believes you can make anything out of nothing. Location, timing and talent are great but it takes an exceptional person to harness that all.

“And you never left?”
“I left. You figure out what you need to do, not what you want to do. And most of all you need to pay the rent. Then that becomes routine” Silence, Oly was trying to remember the next lines to the song.
“Do you think I’m a sellout?”

Oly said nothing. It seemed almost unthinkable to him. 25 years in prison, into middle age, how could anyone be pissed to have options of living as they choose and yet be unhappy or doubtful about it? Oly would give his left nut to be a sellout. That would be a good thing, a reliable paycheck. Stability. You can’t put a price on stability.

“Am I?”
“What? A sellout?” Talking about her again. She sure liked to talk about herself.
“I don’t think so. Maybe. You tell me. Was your star rising?”
“No. Maybe. Not as a singer.”
“then no, and I mean it in the nicest way.”

Road noise and tumbleweeds briefly illuminated, and soon to roll into the verge, driven by the car wake. There was a time, years ago, when he had left his own home, looking for adventure, all high spirits and ambition. He was going to find them, write about them, he was going to live them. But she was right, they never paid the rent, not for Oly Farnham. Adventures only got him into trouble.

“What do you do well?”
“Hitch rides.”
“Seriously though?”
“I don’t do much well. I can fish pretty well, flyfish, Most people can’t do that.”
“Oh yeah?”
“You ever seen a girl flyfish?”
“Not often.”
“Here’s a little secret.”
“Oh yeah, what’s that?”
“The only reason I picked you up was because I saw you had a fishing rod.”
“That right?”
“I figured if you fish, you can’t be half bad, and if you flyfish, you can only be a quarter bad.….How bout this, I’m getting tired, the driving’s making me ramble and I ramble when I’m tired. We pull off soon and stay the night someplace. Tomorrow we drive on, into Montana. And I know a river that’s so good…Well we’ll do a little fishing and we’ll see how good you can fish.”
“Suits me. I have no schedule.”
“You’re competitive?”
“You’re not? Am I wasting my time?”
“Depends if you think fishing is time wasting.”
“Not quite what I meant. I mean what’s the point if you’re not the least bit competitive, you’ll never amount to anything. You’ll never be someone.”

Oly Farnham was someone. In Oregon he was known as the Ole 97 killer. Was she wasting her time on him, is that what she meant? He could sure change that.

“We’ll what say you, are you a Bum or a fisherman?”

He said it, but deep down, he didn’t mean it. He wasn’t altogether sure who he was. The thoughts of an inn, a motel room with the girl, vs the alternative- his tent, that smoke-scented sleeping bag, his half stuffed backpack as a pillow. The motel was some luck he hadn’t anticipated. He would play this out slowly, deliciously. He had no schedule.

The second verse came to him after a night of sleep:

Train train, comin round, round the bend
Train train, comin round the bend
Well it took my baby, but it never will again​

The other words still eluded Oly, the tune still ran through his head.

III The Honey Hole

The motel clerk, a buck-toothed, peach-fuzzed rake of a child referred to them as Mr. and Mrs. She laughed, said nothing to correct him. Oly heard the exchange, he was encouraged. The maid, probably the kid, would make up their room and see two beds, both slept in.

After tired muffins and acid coffee, they headed on, further west, through Spokane and Cour d’Alene and further on they turned south and made their way up the beginning of the ----- River.. And in another hour they were at the forks of the Kalena and the -----River.

“I used to have a friend who camped up here. We’d go up and fish the Kalena in summer, way upstream in the forest and drift right through on whatever floated. We’d ride our bikes up and shuttle, sponge rides off whomever. Hitchhike.”
“Hitchhiking’s a lost art.”
What she didn’t know wouldn’t hurt her.
“Looks like some good water.”

The road paralleled the Kalena. Now and then gravel cutouts held vigil over pools and runs. Very few were occupied. Trees were turning, and on the winds of passing vehicles leaves fell. Floodlines and trolleys stretched here and there across the river to small shacks and cabins, mostly vacant, occasionally one with a wisp of smoke moving up into the forest’s loose, open canopy. Either that or a new tarp told you who was home. There were glimpses of white water and overhangs and curves, denser forest, all of it good. The water was perfect, no longer with midsummer lows and flush with rain from two weeks prior. Oly swore he saw fish rising on some of the flat water. Early autumn grasses were fresh with low growth, green, after the long summer. Ahead of them, a frigid winter, if they were lucky they might just flower and seed.

She turned the wheel suddenly, climbing up a log road. Further and higher up and away from the river, on some switchbacks and twists. The crossed a small cascade making its way down, fern lined. Some of the white waters had splashed and tamped down the dust and gravel, most vanished beneath the road through a culvert. Behind them a dirt plume and a low wisp line of clouds of a distant storm. Corrugations in the road made her voice sound funny. In five weeks it would be winter.

In another ten minutes they were on top of the ridge As far as you could see, forest and mountains, some with a first autumn dusting of snow, some rust-red with pine beetle die-off, or autumn leaves. The road descended into a deeper valley, and in another five minutes she had pulled the wheel into an overgrown cutout, killed the engine and got out.

Oly followed her, looking over his shoulder to see if anything or anyone was around. Habitual. The gravel road and altitude changes fuzzed his hearing. This road seemed to go nowhere. He yawned, his ears popped and gave him back some senses. She stretched. She was beautiful- long legged, brunette, fit, strong. It felt good to be out and walking again.

Bent at the hip, she dug far into her trunk and found a small cloth bag, untied it and withdrew the struts of her four-piece rod. Oly took his own out from his pile, undid the desiccating rubber bands that held the male and the female, and fit them together. ‘

In her bag he could see her things, clothes, undergarments, books (Heart of Darkness, Pride and Prejudice, Roadside Geology of Washington). She showed no fear of him, which struck him as odd. She found what she was looking for, a solid pair of Korkers, and took those out, unfazed to see the sands and dried mulch her felt soles left behind on her neatly folded clothes. Deeper in the bag she found a pack, withdrew a small reel in a velvet pouch and fit it to her rod. There were more velvet pouches. How could Oly not fall for this girl?

Oly did the same, rummaging through his own pack to find his reel and his jacket. Placed his knife in his jacket pocket, a length of rope, some matches. Should he bring the backpack, the tent? She said no to the tent so he left it. His pack, shouldered now, felt unfamiliar and light. He felt nimble and agile and strong, prison strong.

She led the way down an animal path. Overgrown with brambles and thistles, plenty of holdbacks of branches, molted fur stuck now and then in places where the twigs were sharp. Lots of ducking, no scratches on her legs though. Spider webs stretched over the path and tracks were imprinted in the mud in the darkest hollows. As they got closer to the river, it cooled, they crossed a vacant, overgrown rail line.

“The return path” she said, nodding her head down the line, before slipping down a last cut to a shallow beach. Young fry spooked out of the shallows when they approached.

“Where are we?”
“The Kalena, same river, it takes a dogleg turn at the end of the glacial valley. In the national forest, downstream there’s one property” then the turnoff road we took earlier. The thing is, turnoff’s seven miles back.”

She points with her rod.

“Upstream, where the wild things are, nothing but headwaters, forests, bears and wolves.”
“Sasquatch, mountain men, wolf boys.”
“You got it. I’ll watch your back if you watch mine?”

She prepped the last of her line and Oly followed suit.

“this is the first time I’ve fished with someone in years.”
“me too.”

Oly didn’t say it was twenty-six years, he didn’t have a chance, wasn’t necessary anyway. She had tipped a cap to hold her hair back “Op Ivy” sewn in over a black and white checkerboard, and stepped out into the waters and made her way downstream, wet wading. Oly looked upstream, a steady, slight staircase of constant, fast, straight tumble of almost white water. Unpromising. He looked at his work boots, there was no way he’d do well moving up on those rocks with his Chinese work boots. In the 25 years he spent in prison, the rubber had hardened, had lost some of its sponge and when wet they were slick.

Meanwhile she turned to him, talked loud over the falling waters.

“Don’t care if you follow me or lead me, best water’s downstream though. Don’t care if you lowhole me either” What’d she mean by that? He didn’t know her lingo, but he wanted so much to learn it. The last lines had come to him:

Train train, comin' down, down the line
Train train, comin' down the line
Well it's bringin' my baby, 'cause she's mine all, all mine​

She moved a forceful backcast, like a conductor, pausing, the turning, and shot her line straight into the head of a tortoise-green pool. Immediately she was on to a fish, her rod arched and her right hand fingering the line. A small fish, of no consequence. She looked at him and smiled, waved, and with a flick, the fish was gone. She worked downstream and he followed her, waiting for his chance.

IV- Lawder’s Henchmen

“Never met a crazy idea I don’t like. Let’s pop ‘em”
“I like the way your mind works”

Setting their empty bottles on a stump they took their paces back to the edge of the clearing. Ron Jones and Pete Cressman pulled their rifles to their shoulders and aimed as best they could. Alcohols caused Ron to shoot wide, but Pete was a competent shot, drunk or not. The bottle exploded in a satisfying pop. There were eight more to shoot and Ron missed every one of them. Not Pete though, his hand was steadier with drink.

They sat awhile, speculated what Lawder would want them to do tomorrow, just fencing or more, and they decided it was best if the fencing took longer than expected.
“Lawder’s an asshole.”
“Money’s good though.”
“Pays the rent dunnit.”
There were more beers and more time.

Bottles done and shattered, in the last-warm autumn sun, Ron Jones fell asleep in the clearing. His snores began to annoy Cressman who, restless, sheathed his jack knife, took his rifle and made his way up the old rail line. Bored, aimless, underemployed, he inspected the work they’d made on the fence, still far more to go. They’d need a couple of guys. He’d get those Salvadorans again. Ron called them Salvos. You could pay them in food and small change and they worked like Chinamen. He pulled a link of razor wire tight, the tightest strung had a low chord to it. He liked things strung tight, the moan of the wire.

Then in the river some movement caught his eye, the rhythm of a rod swung well, the pass of an orange fly line. He crouched low, instinctively, and watched. He couldn’t see well, brought the scope of his rifle to his eye, and followed the fisherman through the turning leaves. He moved his safety on and off, nervously, repetitively. He always got nervous, excited, with someone in his sights, that’s when his aim faltered.

“well, well, well…..look who’s come to Cressman’s stretch.”

He watched her cast into a field of rocks stuck-up like endgame chess pieces, here and there, clustered around their queen. The water turned and span in eddies around them and there she was casting. She was good, dexterous, her dry would land and she’d mend it into a seam and it would spin in a tiny whirl and then, more than once, he saw the take and the hook set. He could just hear her reel click and run during a fight. One rainbow looked maybe three pounds or so, a fat iridescent beauty that tail-walked, sparkled in the sun, blasted out of the water and then she set him free.

“Why would anyone let a fish like that go?” muttered. As he watched her work downstream he wondered if others were with her, scoped up and downriver and saw nothing. She had crossed the boundary line. Ignored the signs, he was well within his rights to have some fun, she was in Lawder’s property now, Pete Cressman’s territory.

V- Trespassers, Poachers, Regrettable Deeds

Oly Farnham watched the girl move around the river bend and out of sight. He took stock of his fishing, thought about how he described himself as good at this. Here he was, with a handful of flies from decades ago, falling apart as he first cast them. These fish were not simple. He could see them, up under the bank, subtle corruptions of surface water. Now and then a more aggressive splash, and as the overhanging branches shed their water, they bounced like dowsing rods, giving away their lie. Those same branches stole Farnham’s flies.

The girl, he thought, knew him for what he was. But Farnham was far off base, In reality, the girl knew nothing about him. Farnham was dumbstruck with puppy-love in a way that he shoulda grown out of , with experience, with other girls, over the last twenty-five years. Had he not ended up in Jail, he wouldn’t be such a fool, so stunted.

She was right about him not being competitive. And yet she still seemed intrigued. Farnham had to wonder about that. What’s she attracted to? He was a drifter, a bum. His half-assed plan to make his way up into Canada, to the oil sands. Fort McMurray, A boomtown, a goldrush, everyone’s hired, no questions. Just the sort of place you go to when you’re nobody. She didn’t judge him on it, said it sounded like a good idea, said people need fresh starts where no-one knows them.

The girl made him second guess, was there something better? She seemed so full of promise. Freckles, wit and smarts too, with some Metolius-like spring of kindness. His head clearing his mood better, his mind clearer. Deschutes ghosts, were leaving him, slowly, banished to the outer frontiers. Washed away by waters, eroded by seasons, bleached by sunshine, buried in new experiences, and soon to be frozen.

He heard the crack of a rifle and then a splash from downstream. It had to be the girl. He moved quickly, sprinting out of the water to the East bank, up its side and in a half dozen steep paces scrambled up the railroad embankment onto the old tracks. He ran, his Chinese workboots never finding a pattern on the rail ties. Sometimes gravel, sometimes creosote wood. It wasn’t long before he could see what was going on.

There was a man with his rifle drawn. And in the river there was the girl holding up a fish. Or half a fish, swinging on the end of the line. She was shouting at him. He was shouting back.

“You get out of that river right now”
“What are you talking about asshole, I have every right to fish here. What the hell did you shoot him for?”
She said it loud but she didn’t sound confident.
“You’re trespassing. This is not your land.”
“I’ve fished here for decades, and no one ever gave a crap.”
“New owners now. New rules. See the signs?”
“What the fuck, who shoots a fish?”
“Get out of the water now.”
“The hell I will. You’re going to have to drag me out of here.”
“What’s your name, pretty?”
“I said what’s your name gorgeous?”

Entering the river and taking the girl was not appealing. A deep central channel separated the two of them. In the darkest waters you couldn’t make out bottom, except for the flashes and glints of fish (or leaves) turning and catching the sun. It was at least seven feet down.

He pointed up to the signs nailed in the tree above the river, clear as day, NO TRESPASSING, and below it NO FISHING. She nodded towards the fish, half a trout, severed below the gills where the bullet had passed through, still swinging form the impact and still jawing its hook, flaring its gills, still alive.

Oly Farnham kept low. The man with the gun was unaware of him. That man, tall, sinews and bones, a lupine vigilance, pointed towards the girl again with his gun, flicking the safety on and off. As though his mind, running on cogs, wires and springs was straining to reach some critical motion, some decision. He continued to order her out of the water, and she continued to refuse. He raised his rifle again, and shot again, confidently, shattering her rod right above the cork. The girl looked very frightened, and her fear fed Farnham’s anger. Oly moved closer, sneaking now low along the underbrush on the side of the rail line.

He found a large fist-sized rock and lobbed it over the man off into the underbrush away from him. The man turned to investigate the racket, distracted, and as he lowered his rifle he called out:

“that you Ron? Ron Jones? Ro…”

The last repetition crushed out of him with Farnham’s spearing tackle, the rifle flying, and before Cressman could struggle out, Farnham had unleashed a solid left uppercut, some hard repeated rights, landing them straight into Cressman’s face. Cressman got a glancing blow back, but Farnham’s knee, brought strong up into the man’s soft belly, caused him to crump and exhale. Farnham’s head-butt collapsed Cressman’s nose,, accordion-like, into the pulp of Cressman’s face. You learn a lot in a jail fight, and Farnham wasn’t afraid to show it. The girl was calling him off, he would have kept going with calm, methodical precision. This, he was good at, really good, but you don’t go telling a young pretty girl that do you? He would make sure Cressman wasn’t moving. A jail fight’s not over until someone’s not moving.

The girl came out from down the tailout and made her way up to Cressman and kicked him square in the cods.

“You son of a bitch, you shot my trout, you wrecked my rod. Fricken’ Sage too”
She went back for another kick.
“And my name, for your information, is Sarah.”

Oly picked up Cressman’s rifle, slung it over his shoulder and taking stock of the situation, took Cressman by the heels and begun dragging him up onto the rail tracks, upstream, to the forest land.

“What are you doing?”
“You were trespassing.”
“So what?”
“So I just beat the crap out of a guy on his own property. Assault and battery. We have to make it look like he was trespassing, or hunting on closed lands.”
“You got a record?”
“No.” She said.
“Let’s keep it that way.”
“You got one?”
“I can’t afford a fuck up and this is one.”
“You do have one…my god you are an axe murderer. Who are you?”
“I’m the guy that just saved your ass. I’m Oly Farnham. I’m a Bum. A fisherman.”
She looked at him puzzled, alarmed, still frightened, and unsure what to do. At least until she saw Cressman’s head bouncing off the rail ties, splintered and worn.
“Sarah, do me a favor, grab his arms.”

The carried him for maybe thirty yards into the forest lands, beyond Lawder’s signs. She was staring at him. Oly couldn’t help himself, he winked at her, she just kept staring. They laid him down and Farnham checked Cressman’s pulse and breathing, both were good. He went through his wallet, read who he was, the girl looked upset, irritated. She wanted to go.

VI Resolutions of an Old Dog

Max Lawder heard two shots off his front porch. They could have come from but one place, upstream. He slung a shotgun over his shoulder, put on some aviator goggles, wrapped a scarf around his neck and found his dirtbike. Coaxed it into life with a puff of blue smoke and a gravel spitting stir, fishtailed a little before he got control and made his way upriver, along the rail path, towards the sounds. No-one gets to hunt on his property except Max Lawder.

Since his first motorcycle movie, Creosote Kid, he’d known how to ride. The bike was powerful, high spirited, and completely different to those he rode in his twenties. His pace was fast and it wasn’t long before he was on the boundary edge, a bleary Ron Jones stumbling out to wave him down with a backpack.

“What’s going on?”
“Pete’s hurt.”
“How do you mean?”

He followed Jones up to Cressman, now slowly walking through the boundary line, one eye swelling shut, clotted blood hung on his nose.

“What happened?”
Cressman looked at Lawder, slurred his words, a fat lipped dysarthria.
“Where? How many?”
“Where’d they go?”
Cressman was pulling jagged splinters of dark wood out of scalp.
“I don’t know.”
“what’d they look like.”
“She was beautiful.”
“I’m going to find her. And I’m going to…”
“Where were you Jones?”
Sullen, head hung, no answer. At least Cressman didn’t rat him out, Lawder respected that. He didn’t respect the drunkenness. And once confirmed, he slugged Jones hard in the gut, left him retching.

Max Lawder’s roles had an ethical hierarchy that bore little resemblance to law, and by now, those roles framed his personality. He had played judge, jury and executioner for decades. That’s what they loved in Belgium, in Belarus. He was typecast in a role that wouldn’t work for an aging star living on the edge of wilderness. That last recognition, detailed in Angela Felix’s memo, was never appreciated, he’d quit reading after she said she wouldn’t represent him no more.

Lawder thought his first mistake was hiring idiots. And now there was trouble. He didn’t want trouble, he wanted solitude, slow peaceful decay. A place to fish in a river that he owned. And now revenge and injustice come calling, his home was not safe. Out there, beyond his boundary, maybe within it too, there were violent people that needed to pay a price. He would hunt them down. He would start with Farnham’s backpack. In it he would find a journal, names, pictures. He would find them, wherever they were. That would prove his second mistake.


Background on Sarah
Background on Oly Farnham
Background on The Kalena and The Law Kid
Op Ivy
Of Mice and Men
Grapes of Wrath
Pulp Fiction
Mystery Train, the song Junior Parker and Sam Phillips, 1953
Mystery Train, the movie
Pride and Prejudice
Heart of Darkness
Roadside Geology series

And most importantly, motorcycle movies
For this and the WB stories listed here Copyright 2007 Wadin’ boot


"Ride'n Dirty."
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"Two Rods Way Up for Wadin' Boot! :thumb::thumb:"
L.A. Times

Thanks Wadin' Boot.....But I am a slow reader and I have a short memory so (no pressure) could you please come up with the sequel before I forget it.;)

Loved the story.....Pleaase bring more!!:beer2:


Erich with an H -Top Water Soldier-
I think we need a massive uber thread so we can read this book in progress! I love the imagery your words paint. I want the whole thing bound up together! I'm a big fan, and can't wait to see where this 'pulp fictionesque' time line travels next. Just starting to see it all come together. Thank you for sharing this with us all.

Zen Piscator

Supporting wild steelhead, gravel to gravel.
Wadin' Boot, I read this story in two segments. I couldn't wait to get back to it. So truely written, I love this.

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