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The Saving of Joel Claughtrey, Part I

At the remote Carmacks trading post,
during eighteen hundred and ninety-four,
a teenage child, a scared-looking half-breed,
timidly entered through the front door.

Joel Claughtrey barely noticed the young man,
and was far more concerned with whiskey,
he took a long drink, the passed in around
to his partners, who numbered just three.

They’d ridden in here right after a job,
knocking off a gold mine for its pay,
it had been a hard chase through Yukon woods,
but they somehow had gotten away.

Here at this post nobody knew them,
so they’d pitched their tents to stay a while,
there was little to do, no cards and no whores,
but the whiskey went down in fine style.

The post was busy that mid-summer’s morn,
bustling with people looking for supplies,
amidst the crush, Joel noticed a stare,
locked on him were the young half-breed’s eyes.

tomething about the kid troubled him,
Though he could not say what it was,
he was already feeling grouchy that day,
the reason?  An old memory of loss.

It had been about this time of year,
when Running Moon had fell to the flood,
fifteen years later just recalling it
brought a harsh boil to his blood.

But that was all in another life,
when he’d been a much different man,
a kid really, barely even eighteen,
when God had struck down with a harsh hand.

A half-hour later, the factor came in,
said,”Whoever owns those ratty ol’ tents—
I saw that ’breed snooping around out there,
and I fear he might just try to lend

himself whatever strikes his fancy,
never seen him around here before.”
Alarmed, Joel leapt from where he sat,
beating the rest of his gang out the door.

They saw the young man, riding fast away,
on a small, paint trail-horse, half-broken.
Joel scanned the tent, his best rifle gone,
screamed,”That rat bastard just stole my gun!”

In a mad rush, he and his whole crew
grabbed their loot and saddled on up,
Joel felt precious seconds streaming by,
he had no patience when his dander was up.

They took to the trail, easily finding
the rough path that the young thief had made,
and tailed him through the Yukon wilds,
over hills, over meadows, through glades.

The kid was quick, and swerving his trail,
kept them guessing as to where he went next,
Joel grudgingly admitted to the boy’s skill,
but would still find him, and wring his neck!


Copyright © | Year Posted 2018

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