Restless Spurs

Contributor: John Laneri

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It was a Sunday morning. Jillie and I had just finished breakfast, and I was sitting on her porch swing reliving our night of pleasure – a good one too. I'm not sure I got my boots off the first time around.

Jillie, as most folks know, runs the finest establishment in Texas. As to me, I'm the county's most confirmed bachelor. I'm also the sheriff of Neverton, a small community along the cattle trail to Fort Worth.

About then, I noticed the new girl standing to the side of the porch. In appearance, she was a cute little thing with freckles on her nose and a friendly smile on her lips. For dress, she was wearing a red ribbon in her hair and a man’s shirt with long tails hanging to her knees – nothing out of the ordinary for most of the girls working at the boarding house.

Thinking back, I suspect her spurs grabbed my attention most. They looked to be a size too big for bare feet, and they sported rawhide straps circling her ankles like the wraps attached to little dancing shoes.

She took a couple of steps in my direction, the spurs jingling as they bounced across the porch.

“Busy night?” I asked.

“Cowboys like their Saturday nights,” she replied, as she yawned softly and ran her fingers through her hair. “I’ve got another fellow waitin’ in my room – a wild one from Oklahoma.”

I pointed to the swing. “Have a seat. Jillie’s in the kitchen getting more coffee.”

She dropped beside me and laid a foot across her knee, her eyes turning to mine. “My name’s, Frances May.”

“Sheriff Carson,” I replied. “Jillie and I are friends.”

She looked away to begin working on a spur, her fingers moving deftly along the leather.

“Havin’ problems?” I asked.

“I can’t seem to get these straps adjusted.” She pulled on a buckle. “If they’re not right, fellows complain.”

Surprised, I looked away from the spurs and straight into her eyes. “You mean… you wear those things while you’re working!”

Her eyelids fluttered playfully as she reached to tug at another strap. “Spurring fellows comes natural. They pay me an extra two dollars for the pleasure.”

“Two dollars… For pleasure?”

She stopped and turned to me. “Lots of cowboys like the spurs best of all. Don't you know anything?”

Ignoring her, I watched her continue tightening the straps. Soon, she extended her leg to the front and spent a few moments admiring her handiwork. Then wiggling her toes in satisfaction, she turned to me and dropped the foot onto my lap.

“What do you think?”

I edged away, wincing as a tine poked my leg.

“Give the wheel a spin,” she said, pointing to the metal. “After a few turns, it starts to sound like music.”

Reluctantly, I sent the wheel to spinning, listening to the sound ring out. “Your spurs seem a bit sharp,” I said, as a flurry of goose bumps ran my spine.

“Most fellows like ‘em sharp. The hearty ones say they get more pleasure when I dig deep.” She inclined her head in my direction, her lips formed into a smile. “That’s when the screaming really begins.”

I set the foot aside. “I don’t see much need for spurs. Natural romancing suits me plenty fine.”

Relieved, I turned away when I heard the screen door open and saw Jillie head my way carrying two cups of coffee. As usual, she was smiling brightly, her red hair glowing in the sunlight.

“I see you two have gotten acquainted.”

Frances May spoke up. “I was showing Sheriff Carson my spurs.”

Jillie cocked her head in my direction. I avoided her gaze, preferring not to discuss the subject. And soon, Frances May returned to the house, the sound of her spurs fading somewhere in the distance.

Jillie settled onto the swing and handed me a coffee. “I didn’t know you were interested in spurs.”

“I’m not. Just thinkin’ about those things bothers me.”

We sat for several minutes, enjoying our time together. Soon, she laid her head against my shoulder and sighed. “You’re a good man, Matt Carson.”

“I try to be,“ I replied, feeling her warmth lift my heart.

She took my hand. “We should have gotten married years ago.”

I glanced her way. “Then we wouldn't be friends. We'd be miserable.”

She snuggled closer. “You're probably right. Being friends, keeps everything easy.” She looked into my eyes, her softness pressing against me. “Would you like to go upstairs and kick off your boots again? We have the whole morning.”

“Those are the best words I’ve heard since breakfast.”

She stood and started toward the house, saying, “We can begin easy with a few light scratches, and then…”

I stopped dead in my tracks, refusing to move another step. “My backside’s too fragile for that kind of stuff. I could be crippled.”

She pushed me on, determined as ever. “Don’t be silly. I’ve been wanting to try spurs for the longest time.”

“But, being injured for life doesn’t sound like fun to me.”

Laughing playfully, she gave me another push. “Then, indulge me this once unless you'd like to get married and be miserable for the rest of your life.”

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John is a native born Texan living near Houston. His writing focuses on short stories and flash. Publications to his credit can be found on the internet and in several print edition periodicals.
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