The Holts… Chapter 6
Chapter 6… Kelvin & Luke
“Stupid moron,” Kelvin said angrily and pushed the swinging doors to the saloon open harder than necessary. They banged heavily against the door frame and slammed back into him. Almost knocking him back outside with their momentum. They did cause him to stumble slightly as he pushed his way on into the bar.
The noise caused the men inside to turn and look at him, surprised by the sound of the slamming doors. He headed quickly to the bar, calling out “Beer!,” to the bartender, flipping some coins on the bar. The bar’s atmosphere hadn’t changed much from earlier in the day as everyone settle back into their routine after his entrance. The same tired card game was going on. The older barmaid still talking, this time to a different local businessman. The younger barmaid coming down the stairs, from one of the bar’s three working rooms, and chatting with one of the town’s shop workers. Probably one of the townsfolk that had just gotten off of work in the past hour. The piano was still being banged on poorly.
Damn it. ‘You don’t act hot-headed ever!,’ kept echoing in Kelvin’s mind and worse in Carlton’s voice. He had been scolded many times by Carlton for letting his emotions get the better of him. Especially when it came to his feelings about Donni and the antics he would pull. ‘It just wasn’t fair,’ kept echoing in his voice along side of Carlton’s. He had to get this cleared out of his head if he was to play cards at all tonight. He had been promised a game earlier and he wanted that more than ever. A beer or two first though to calm his nerves.
Luke looked at him, “Who put the bur under your saddle,” he said, using some of his newly acquired western “lingo”. Blinking wide-eyed at Kelvin, as Kelvin joined him at the bar. Two empty whiskey shot glasses resting on the bar in front of him, a third looking like it had just arrived.
“Just one whiskey huh? Oh, never mind.” Kelvin grimaced and gulped down half his freshly poured beer, “Damn Donni. He’s off chasin’ some skirt again!”
Luke grinned, “So why are you mad. You like her or something?” He knew he shouldn’t poke Kelvin, but he just couldn’t help it. Kelvin was the easiest to get upset of the brothers and to get talking. Carlton knew better than to be drawn into a conversation that went no where, saying nothing, and Donni, well, no amount of conversation could keep his attention long. Luke really liked his cousins and especially like talking to Kelvin. He learned much from him about their past life, the life prior to him coming west.
Kelvin sneered, “Right, you don’t know nuthing about me. I’m s’posed to be watchin’ out for him… Carlton said so. I hate that. I don’t like following Donni when he’s getting all mushey and trying to sidle up to a girl. It’s downright disgustin’. I got better things to do than nursemaidin’ Donni.” Damn him.
Luke laughed at him, “I don’t think that you have to watch out for Cousin Donni. He’s been around the bend a few times.”
Kelvin sighed, “Let me tell you a little somethin’ Luke, this ain’t anything funny. You haven’t been riding with us for very long so sit up and listen close. Donni gets us into more trouble with his ‘little gals’ than any ten ordinary men could. Did Carlton ever tell you the story about why him and Donni had to leave Salt Lake City? Or why we all had to run out of Topeka?”
Luke nodded and tried to keep the grin off his face as Kelvin launched into his tirade against Donni. This was an ongoing feud between the brothers and he typically relished hearing them squawk on about each other. Well most days he did. Sometimes it got repetitive. It let him learn about his cousins though, and how they lived. He was the outsider, even though he was family. He knew he would never have the same bond that these men had with each other. He was enjoying visiting ‘The West’ with family, but doubted he would stay here long. He had figured out he was a big city guy and unless they settled in a city soon he would probably head back east soon. This southwest was just too hot and dirty for his likes.
Kelvin didn’t notice how Luke had reacted and continued, “…Well you know then that it was Donni’s fault. He seems to lose what little common sense he has whenever he sees a pretty petticoat… and it’s usually at the worst time possible. I mean my gosh we had just gotten paid for protecting that racehorse stud delivery and here goes Donni getting the ‘owner’s,’ our ‘client’s,’ little filly of a new wife broken in,” which caused Luke to laugh out loud, which did not make Kelvin pause. “We had to get out-of-town before he got shot, leaving most of our stuff in the hotel. Barely made any profit in the end. I couldn’t even go with my share back to the casino to fleece the suckers I had set up the night before. I almost lost my whole stake to them and was ready to clean them out that night. Donni owes me for that too. So really we were in the hole…,” Luke’s grin widened at that. The way Donni had told it Kelvin had his pants beaten off of him that night by some traveling card shark. Kelvin finally winding down, “Since Carlton’s always doing ‘something’ he expects me to keep an eye on Donni… and there you have it.” He morosely emptied his beer mug and ordered another, which was quickly sat in front of him.
“Well, I know Cousin Kelvin,” Luke commiserated with a smile on his face. “Cousin Donni is a handful when a pretty girl is around. He is one hell of a shot, fast with his pistol, and seems to be able to talk any woman he focuses on out of her skirts. I wish I had traveled with you boys the whole time. It was just lucky that I was able to contact Cousin Carlton and catch up with you a few months ago.”
Kelvin continued, “Well this time I’m not doing it. I’m not chasing after Donni to try to keep him out of trouble. Tonight I am going to stay right here, drink with you Luke and maybe get into a card game.”
The sound of gunshots rang from outside the saloon. Luke looked surprised as Kelvin dropped his beer mug and ran for the door, his face twisted in anguish, “Donni!” he yelled back at Luke and slammed the doors aside dashing out into the street.