The Holts… Chapter 18
Chapter 18, Breakfast
Luke was the first one out of his room, and it was early. He pounded on Carlton’s door until the elder Holt answered. “I missed you boys, last night. What’s up?” he asked cheerfully, “I feel like a grizzly that someone poked in the ribs until he woke up.” .
Carlton looked sick for the first time that morning. It had been a long day yesterday and today didn’t bode to be any shorter, especially if Luke kept up the perky attitude, “Luke, spare me your ‘Western Lingo’. Go wake up Donni and Kelvin and get everyone down for breakfast. We have things to do today.”
Luke inexpertly rolling a smoke replied, “Sure thing, pard. I’ll mosey on down and round’em up Cousin.” Carlton slammed the door. Luke sauntered down the hallway and knocked on Donni and Kelvin’s door, “Hey wake up. Time to douse the campfire and hit the trail.” After a couple of minutes the door cracked open slowly and Kelvin stood there glowering at him, he had just gotten out of bed, none of them besides Luke had more than 5 hours of sleep.
“Shut up, Luke! We’re up. Donni has been up for a while. Not that he would stand up and answer the door,” Kelvin replied as he directed his words towards the part of the room invisible behind the barely opened door. “You, Luke, sound like a damn dime novel or a Texan! Real Westerners don’t talk like that.” Kelvin admonished as he stumbled back into the room and sat on his bed.
Luke assumed a hurt expression, “They do too. I’ve heard them talkin’ Cousin Kelvin!”
Kelvin grinned, “You’ve heard Texans, Luke. They aren’t real Westerners. If you don’t want people hating you on sight, stop talkin’ like that. If you wasn’t kin I’d hate you… and Donni would shoot you in the head.” Kelvin finished waving towards the other side of the room. Luke pushed open the door further and there sat Donni at a small side table cleaning his revolver, dressed and not looking any worse for the wear from the previous day’s activities.
“He’s right, Luke.” Donni agreed as he held up the pistol to examine its cleaning, pointing it towards Luke in the doorway.
“Carlton wants us to meet him downstairs for breakfast,” Luke replied. Dropping the familial salutation in his response as he looked down the barrel of the pistol towards Donni. He closed the door and headed downstairs to wait on the brothers.
The three, Luke, Kelvin and Donni, continued the conversation once they were settled in downstairs eating breakfast and waiting for Carlton to join them. No one knew for sure what Carlton had planned for them that day.
“So did that little filly take a shine to you Cousin Donni?” Luke, having recovered a little composure, asked through a mouthful of eggs.
Donni frowned, “If I was courtin’ a horse, Luke, then I could say I made out fine. She was a woman, Luke! An honest to God woman! and I did just fine, thank you very much… not that it’s any of your business.” Luke grinned and took a large drink of coffee.
Kelvin leaned back in his chair, “Why do you chase women, Donni? There’s no money in it, and damn little excitement. Seems like a waste of time to me.”
Donni just grinned at him, “Someday, little brother, you’re going to meet a woman that’ll ride you into the next state. Then you’ll forget about cards for a while and be a real man.”
Kelvin set his fork down, “I don’t appreciate you talkin’ about me that way, Donni. And just what do you mean, a `real man’? I beat Chandler all over the ranch and I can sure as hell whip you!”
Donni grinned, enjoying his little brother’s anger, “Settle down, Kelvin. I’m just sayin’ that a good woman is worth a lot more than deck of cards.”
Kelvin looked mollified, “That’ll be the day! Shows what you know. I’ll take a good hand and a table full of suckers over a good woman any day.”
Luke watched the two with amazement, egg dripping from his mouth. “Lord almighty,” he said, wiping his mouth, “You two are crazy.”
Kelvin sullenly ate his breakfast while Donni grinned at him. Luckily Luke had cut them off before Donni could reply to Kelvin’s last statement. It would have been sure to raise the stakes to physical actions that typically occurred when the brothers were quipping at each other.
Carlton appeared on the stairs, “You boys, finish your breakfast. We got things to do. Someone needs to go get the horses.” Carlton planned on getting the three of them moving and getting things ready while he had a quick breakfast. Then it was first off to the Marshall’s office to be deputized, but first he settled into his seat at the table.
Luke smiled at him, “A good cowpoke never hits the trail without a hardy breakfast, Cousin Carlton. Sit down and shovel some of these eggs in while I get the cook to rustle you up a plate and some coffee.”
Carlton stared at Luke’s back like he was a moron as he headed toward the kitchen door. Someone was going to shoot him for being a Texan someday, he was sure of it. When it happened the rest of them would either have to shoot back or join in.
Donni grinned at Kelvin, “Hand me some more of that rustled up coffee, little brother.”
Kelvin started laughing, spitting eggs onto his plate, “Here,” he choked handing the pot to Donni, “I’ll get the horses.” He stood sniggering loudly as Luke returned to to the table.
“They’re in the stable, Kelvin,” Donni called.
Kelvin quite laughing and glowered at Donni, “I know that.”
“Make sure that there aren’t any burrs under the saddles,” Donni said grinning big.
Kelvin started laughing again and left. Luke frowned, suspecting that he was the butt of a joke, but not quite sure.
Carlton watched them, shaking his head slowly and without comment until Kelvin left. “If you all are finished with this morning’s comedy, maybe we can get on to business now?”
Donni gave him an innocent look, “Sure thing, Carlton. Sure you don’t want some of this rustled up coffee?” Carlton sat down and held out his cup. Donni filled it.
Luke smiled at him while he drank it. “Kind of hits the spot doesn’t it? Makes you feel as happy as a prairie dog in June.”
Carlton just stared at him, dumbfounded. He turned to Donni, “You watch yourself with your guns, Donni. We don’t need any more trouble then we’ve already got. Think before you shoot.” Luke opened his mouth to say something and Donni just looked at him. He closed his mouth thinking about earlier upstairs.
Donni still looking at Luke stood and hitched his gunbelt up. “Let’s go help Kelvin while Carlton finishes his breakfast in peace.” Donni wanted to get away from Carlton before he could tell him some more things to do and think about. Things he would most likely ignore or forget when it came time. They headed out to the stables leaving Carlton at the table just as Mrs. Bisby sat a plate of food down in front of him.