It was late and Johnny was back in the barn settling Barranca for the night. His hand touched his gun when he heard a noise behind him. Turning he saw Scott and sighed. “A man could get killed coming up behind someone without letting him know.”
“Sorry, Johnny, I didn’t know you were going to be so jumpy.”
“Yeah, well,” Johnny paused and started brushing the palomino. He didn’t really know how to explain.
“So, I hear from Murdoch you found your wolf cub. What did you do with him?” Scott smiled and leaned against a post.
“That is a long story, brother.” Johnny continued to brush Barranca; the sound was soothing and he started to relax. With a sigh he continued, “I took him back to his home in McCall’s Crossing and turned him over to his sister.”
“Sister?” Scott grinned, “What did she do with him?”
“Nothing, Scott. See, I kind of hired out to him.” Johnny turned and looked at Scott. Scott seemed surprised. Johnny turned back to Barranca and continued brushing. “See, Andy stole the horse to get money to hire a gunhawk to take out two ranchers who killed his father. He was hell bent on it and told me he would run away again if I left him there.”
Scott nodded, “So you hired out to Andy to keep him from doing something even more foolish.” Scott smiled, “So, how much did you get?”
Johnny turned and grinned at him, “Well, brother, I hired out for short money.”
“How short?” Scott was grinning too.
“Ooooh, $26.37.” Johnny’s grin was wider. “I told him for that kind of money he could get a bargain counter, broken down third rater.”
“And just what did you have to do to earn the money?” Scott was getting real curious and Johnny ducked his head a bit.
“Well, I stampeded a few cattle, took some pot shots at the ranchers and sat on a porch rocking in a chair. I made it look like they were doing it to each other and had them each thinking the other had hired me.”
Johnny sighed again and turned back to the palomino and started brushing him again. “The thing is, Scott, they knew who I was.” He didn’t look at Scott and kept brushing.
“And you think that might be a problem?” Scott paused a bit, “Johnny?”
Johnny sighed out through his nose, put the brush down and turned fully towards his brother. “I don’t know, Scott. It’s not like I make a secret of who I am but Lefty Morgan and me knew each other a couple years ago and he might run across someone who could be a problem. I’m not going to worry about it but it does bear thinking about.”
“But not tonight, brother. Come on inside, I think Barranca is shiny enough.” Scott held his breath and waited for Johnny to make the decision.