Copyright© 2005 by Openbook
Erotica Sex Story: Chapter 1 - Young Jay controls the high ground and all the water, but Franklin Lyons is not to be denied as he tries to protect his life savings which are invested in thirsty cattle. His wife wants some of what both men have to offer.In his need, Jay is forced to turn to his mother's people for help. Jay finds a side of him that he hadn't known before.
My daddy had owned all of the water rights in North Barlow County. Sounds mighty impressive, unless you happen to know that there were only thirty seven people, forty nine horses, one hundred and seven head of beef, seven dogs and an uncounted number of chickens that were now settled in that part of the County. Of course, that wasn't counting the Mexicans or the Indians. My mother died when I was seven, some kind of a fever my daddy told me, but I still remember hearing their loud arguing, a lot of yelling, and some crying and pleading right before my daddy's twelve gauge put an end to all of that. It was the next morning before he told me that the fever had taken her from us. She had been an Indian, one of the reservation Apache's.
Since she married my father, he was the only family that she really had. Daddy stayed drunk and surly for most of a month after he had dug her a grave, and had laid her to rest. When I was seventeen, daddy got drunk one night and took his .44-40 revolver and gave himself a fever of his own. I buried him next to my mother, and continued trying to work the broken down piece of hard scrabble land that daddy had grandiously referred to as his ranch.
The years passed by slowly, the sameness of everything tending to make the days seem longer than they were. I minded my own business and pretty much stayed away from the places that my daddy had told me were filled with trouble. About four times a year I saddled up one of the horses and put a pack lead on three or four others and made my way down from the ranch to the tired little town that lay closest by. I had been taught by daddy to trade close, and horses had been our livelihood ever since the first Gardner had set foot in Barlow County close to one hundred years before. I'd trade or sell two of my horses and then use the proceeds to stock up on anything that I needed to get by with. It took me most of two days and a night to make the journey, and I just hated leaving the ranch without a white man in charge. Humberto was a good hand mind you, salt of the earth for a Mexican, but he hadn't been raised to be able to stand up to anyone who came snooping around trying to get at either my horses or access to my water. If you grazed in North Barlow county, you did it on Gardner land, and you paid hard money for that privilege.
Humberto was my main Mexican hand, but he had three brothers and a cousin who were all good with the horses, and who knew how to scout around all of my land. All of them had women that came up and stayed with them for awhile, before heading back down to Old Mexico. It seemed like there were about seven of these women, the visitors I always referred to them as, and I could never figure out which ones belonged to which brother, or to Lupe, the cousin. Supposedly the Martinez brothers owned a spread in old Mexico that was far better than the ranch where they lived year around, and where they made their living. Sometimes I grew tired of listening to them telling me about how much better their hacienda was than the small ranch cabin that I lived in. They lived in my covered corral with the horses, winter and summer, pissing on the cactus, and taking care of their other business out behind the rocks near the cliffs.
Living alone doesn't make you friendly. There aren't that many opportunities to polish your social skills where I live either. That's why I was so surprised to see a motor car slowly making it's way up the trail towards my ranch. It was loud and there was a trail of smoke belching from it's backside, and I could make out at least two people in the front. I didn't recognize either of them, so I walked back inside and strapped on the rig for daddy's .44-40, spinning the cylinder just to be certain that no one had tampered with it since the last time I had needed to check. Satisfied that everything was like it was supposed to be, I stepped back out to greet my visitors. That infernal machine came to a stop way too close to my front porch, and then made as much of a clatter as I'd ever heard when the man who had been running it decided to shut it down.
"Have I the pleasure of addressing Joshua Gardner, sir?" The man who stepped from the right side of the motor car was shading his eyes from the bright sun as he approached my front porch. He was fifty, or thereabouts, and had long side whiskers tinged with gray and brown hairs, and was dressed just like one of those bankers that daddy had always warned me against. Bloodsuckers, he always called them, trying every way that they could think of to part a man from his property. There was a long list of people that my daddy never trusted, and bankers had a prominent position on that list.
"I'm Jay Gardner, mister, and that's all I'll answer to. My mama called me Joshua, but I don't let nobody else call me by that name. State your business with me if you have some."
"Mr. Gardner, I'm Franklin Lyons, late of Memphis, Tennessee, and I've stopped by this morning in order that I might introduce myself to you as being your new neighbor. I recently purchased the Denby Ranch from Cotton Gainey over at the Midfield Bank. He suggested that I come by to make your acquaintance at my earliest opportunity. I'm having a fine herd of cattle driven here from Temple, Texas, but there seems to be some dispute about the openness of the grazing range around these parts."
"No sir, no dispute that I'm aware of. Whole range is free, right up to my property line."
"I'm given to understand, Mr. Gardner, that all of the water in this valley has been bottled up with a dam created by your family. That pretty much precludes access by those of your neighbors who happen to live down range from your land."
"No sir, that isn't quite accurate. People have been known to drill successfully for water. Might be a little bit alkaline, but it's potable, and sufficient, except for having a rather unpleasant taste. Indians all drink it, and have for years."
"I believe you are deliberately being obtuse young sir. I cannot profitably graze fifteen hundred head of cattle from the output of an alkali well head, even if I knew where to drill for one."
"I disbelieve that to be any concern of mine. It was pleasureful to make your acquaintance sir. If I may, I'll kindly take my leave of you, as I have much that remains undone, and which requires my prompt attentions. Good day to you sir."
"I am not, by my nature, a litigious man Mr. Gardner, but I do know somewhat of the water use laws controlling these situations, and I have little doubt that I'd prevail in a court of law."
"Mr. Gainey didn't make mention to you of the other non litigious men who went and tried the same dang thing over the past fifty years or more? It sure seems like he would have, since his daddy was one of those men who tried that very thing."
"Am I to understand from you sir, that the matter has already been taken to court, and that your family prevailed?"
"At least eight times that I'm aware of. That water doesn't originate or conclude anywhere other than on Gardner ranch land. It is a natural aquifer that is being fed and constantly restored by natural means. I do hope that Mr. Gainey did mention to you that I won't entertain grazing any animal owned by someone who has attempted to contest the water rights that I have assumed through inheritance."
"Mr. Gardner, I have fifteen hundred head of prime cattle being driven here. One way or another sir, I will see them prosper on my land."
"Well, since we're neighbors Mr. Lyons, I think I'm obligated to fill you in on recent history in these parts. Clay Denby came here with ninety head of longhorn cattle that he'd thought sufficient to seed his ranch. He didn't have the two hundred and seventy dollars that it would have taken to water his herd from my water rights for a year. It turned out that all of his longhorns died off within three weeks of their arrival, either dead of thirst on the open range, or shot for trespassing on Gardner land. I sincerely hope that I don't have a similar tale to tell about your fine herd when my next new neighbor comes calling to introduce himself."
"Are you suggesting that I'm going to be forced to pay three dollars per head to water my own cattle?"
"Only if you want them to stay alive. Now sir, if you'll please excuse me."
I watched them as they pushed their motor car backwards and then managed to get it turned around so that they could head it back towards the Denby Ranch. If one of my horses couldn't back up on it's own, I'd be forced to put it down. I didn't think that those motor cars were much more than a passing fancy for the rich nabobs who couldn't sit a horse anymore. I went out and saddled up a horse and rode off looking for one of my Mexicans. That was one of the good things about having Mexican hands, if you found one, they could round up the rest for you real quickly. Being part Indian, I could always read sign and track them myself pretty quickly. Besides, I knew that Humberto was over in the back corral, breaking a couple of young colts. I wanted all of the hands to start keeping a lookout over at the Denby Ranch, just so that I'd know when those new cattle made it here. I didn't think that Mr. Lyons was the sort who'd just give it up and turn tail and light on out at the first sign of a problem. Not for the first time was I happy that I owned and controlled all of the high ground in the area. While I was presently a little short on the people that would fire rifles on my behalf, I sure knew where to get a few in a hurry if I developed the need for them.
It was another week before the cattle belonging to Mr. Lyons made their way into the valley. I'd never seen so many animals all in one place before. Even if I could come to an understanding with the owner of that large herd, I doubted that all of the existing flumes could carry sufficient water down to the open range water basins that we had set up for grazing herds. At least half the herd would need to graze on Gardner land until more flumes could be constructed. I worried about how much it was going to cost me in labor to get some more built.
I saddled up my best looking stallion early the next morning, using my daddy's fancy Mexican saddle with all the silver flourishes inlaid throughout the leather. The stirrups alone were worth a month's wages for all of my hands. I had cleaned up some too, knowing that I could afford to waste as much water as I wanted to. It had been my daddy's belief that rich men always needed pretty women around them so that people would know how rich and important they were. I didn't know for sure that Mr. Lyons had brought some, but I didn't want to go down there looking like I was riding in to beg for my supper either.
I rode up to the Denby ranch sometime after nine in the morning. They had two of those motor cars sitting in front of the ranch house, and they had a whole crew of men busy putting up fence to keep their cattle penned in. It looked like they had split them all up into groups of one hundred or so, and there were cattle surrounding the whole ranch. I pulled up my horse in front of the house and waited for someone to come out to greet me. It didn't take long for a woman to step out on the porch and ask me my business.
"I'm Jay Gardner, Miss Lyons, I came by to see your father, first, to make sure you are all settling in okay, and second, to find out if he's decided to contract with me for the watering of his herd. That sure is one impressive herd of cattle too. The most this part of the County has ever seen I'd bet."
"My husband is not here Mr. Gardner. He's driving to the County seat in order to inquire about temporary injunctive relief against your wholly unreasonable demands concerning what should be public water rights."
I'm sorry Mrs. Lyons, the sun must be playing tricks with my eyes. I was coming over today to let your husband know that I can only accommodate about eight hundred head at my existing water basins. I was also going to offer to water the herd for a dollar fifty a head for the coming six months while we complete our longer term negotiating. When he gets back here, assuming that my Uncle Charlie denies his petition, would you please have him come see me before these fine animals find themselves in dire straits from a lack of clean water. I can see them drinking from the standing rain puddles now, but the rains are about done in these parts for the next eight or nine months. It would be best if we can come to some accommodation before they suffer irreparable harm."
"I'll give my husband your message Mr. Gardner. Is the circuit judge truly your uncle?"
"Yes, ma'am, he sure is. My daddy's little brother, for a fact. I doubt that he'll actually deny the petition though. He'll probably just recuse himself and ask your husband to seek redress in another court with proper legal standing."
"Where might such a court be found Mr. Gardner?"
"Nearest one would be in the state capital Mrs. Lyons, but they frown on petitions involving strongly settled precedent. The Gardner water rights have already been upheld all the way up to the state supreme court. I tried to tell your husband that, but he's a man very sure in his convictions."
"Will you really allow our cattle to perish?"
"No Ma'am. Not unless Mr. Lyons decides not to pay me for my property. I have more than ten thousand pages of documents attesting to the fact that all of the water to be found on Gardner land is my undisputed legal property. I'm not being unreasonable with the price I'm asking of him. If he does decide to accept my offer, I'm looking at having to spend many times the money he'll be paying me this year just to upgrade my delivery system. From where I'm sitting Mrs. Lyons, it appears to me that I'm being pretty neighborly."
"Thank you for for stopping by Mr. Gardner. I'd offer you a nice glass of cold lemonade, but I'm afraid that we can't spare the water for it."
"Don't you trouble yourself none about that Mrs. Lyons. This morning, while I was enjoying my bath, I'm afraid I made something of a glutton of myself by drinking down at least a quart of the wonderful cold tea that my foreman's wife made for me. She keeps it in a clay pot that she submerges in the basin where we store our water for the ranch house and the main corral. My horses need two gallons a day each, just for drinking, and my Mexicans like to sponge them down everyday, right after working with them. Gardner horses are justly famous for being cleaner than the majority of the people who live in this half of the County. You have yourself a nice day Mrs. Lyons."
If Mrs. Lyons was anymore than twenty years old, I was a monkey's uncle. While she might not be considered a beauty, she was a handsome woman and looked to be in excellent health. In my estimation, Mr. Lyons had moved up a couple of notches. If he had three motor cars, which it appeared that he did, he must certainly be a man of some importance. Having a wife that looked younger than his daughter might have, that alone spoke of money, power and unbridled hubris. Such a man wasn't going to be easily turned away from getting whatever he wanted or needed. I was going to have to fight to preserve my water rights from his attempt at wresting them from me. It was time that I went and paid a visit to my mother's side of the family. I knew that there were a hundred reservation Indians that would willingly risk their lives in order to gain possession of a good repeating rifle and a box of ammunition. I had what they would be seeking as payment, but I was hoping to avoid any war of attrition. I figured eight Indians, well armed, and living among the rocks that guarded all access to my water, would be sufficient to safeguard my interests from anything short of an army. My biggest problem in recruiting them would be in convincing them that they needn't worry about being paid off with Gardner's fever once they had completed their end of the bargain. My grandfather had not been an easy neighbor to the Apache's before they allowed themselves to be pent up on the reservation. Likewise, my father had been somewhat hard on them as well. When my mother ran off with my father, she was disowned by all of the members of her band. I had the guns though, and, though it was highly illegal to do so, I was willing to make them available to the Indians should the need arise.
Back at the Denby ranch, Drucilla Lyons was sitting out in the shaded part of the porch, wondering whether Jay Gardner could be talked into allowing her to be treated as well as one of his horses. Right about now she'd love to be sponged down by one of his Mexicans. In Memphis, after a busy weekend at Madame Harriet's House of Pleasure, all of the girls were sponged down out in the gardens as soon as the last customer had been sent away. While this sponging was taking place, the maids would be busy putting freshly cleaned linens on all of their beds. Often, those sponge baths were the sensual highlight of her week. Some of the other girls were very proficient at using their sponges to do much more than just clean. She wished fervently that she had never let Franklin talk her into leaving Madame Harriet's for this so called life of respectability. At least in Memphis she hadn't lacked for any of life's simple basics, such as a plentiful supply of water. Already she missed the companionship that she had enjoyed, and all of the entertainment that a sporting life will bring. The prospect of wasting all of her remaining youth on her aging husband was becoming increasingly bleak in her mind, and she needed to start to look into some possibilities of changing the prospects for her immediate future. She hadn't even come close to having an orgasm since she had left Madame Harriet's.