Author From the Grassroots

Joyce Godwin Grubbs Author

                                          

                                     

                                                             

                   GREYHOUND   LADY   WALKING
                 Dedicated to My Oklahoma Man

Matthew Marrs smiled as he watched his mysterious new tenant, Sam Huston, sign her name to the property lease. He was grinning at the fact he had thought Sam Huston was a man when the original tentative agreement was made. Looking at this woman, nothing could be further from the truth. But, a little anxiety at a woman being isolated in the middle of a hundred acres of Oklahoma range land played in the back of his mind.

 She obviously had a background in law as she scrutinized the lease and requested some additional safeguards be added in. Normally,  Matt would have blown off anyone making demands, but this piece of property sat unprofitable and was a money pit when you considered the thefts that had happened recently at the location.

“Thank you, Mr. Marrs, for being so accommodating. I appreciate that these special clauses will insure my security concerns at the location and isolation of the property.”

She extended her hand.

 Shaking the extended hand, he noted she didn’t have the soft, smooth hands and manicured nails of so many women he knew.  She obviously liked outdoor gardening or some such, as her hands while attractive, weren’t feminine and pampered. Considering the “package” connected to the hand, she was one fit lady, and an extremely attractive one.

“You’re very welcome, Ms. Huston. But, I hope you will come to call me Matt in time.”

“Thank you, I’m sure that’s meant as Oklahoma hospitality. Undoubtedly it will grow on me in time. I come from a military discipline and easy familiarities aren’t natural to me.”.

He noted she did not say his name to indicate which choice she had made concerning his name.

“If you’ll give me just a moment, I would like to introduce you to our County
Sheriff.  He’s just pulling up in front and they’ll be patrolling your area. It’s a good  time to make the connection.”

He moved to grab his keys and paperwork  and walk her out.

She watched as he crossed the room and noted the athletic stride. He moved gracefully for a man easily more than six three. His physique was more like a runner’s, and she entertained the idea she might meet him someday on one of her marathon treks she disciplined herself to maintain.

She looked away to avoid the thoughts that came to mind as she looked at his trim rear end. She was never going to change. Shallow, shallow, shallow; but she really liked the sight of a man with a great derierre’. It had been a long time since she allowed herself to satisfy her hormonal drive but this could influence her.

Now facing the window, she observed a silver Porsche’ pulling along side the curb across the street. A beautiful blond woman was laughing in the passenger seat and leaning over to give her driver a powerful, lingering kiss. He must be in a hurry as he was pulling her arms from around his neck, and deftly stepped out of the car.

Not to be discouraged or give him time to be a southern gentleman, she jumped out of her side of the car,  coming around to plant another kiss on him with force. Her strapless red dress was short and the whole outfit left little to the imagination. He obviously had fallen prey to her pursuit.

“Ready?” Matt asked.

 “I really want you to meet our sheriff, Max Perks. He tries to keep a tight rein on everything going on in the county. But, as I was careful to share with you, the rural properties are no longer thought to be havens of protection. Too many thieves are ripping the properties off for their metal and equipment. Even their livestock and often in broad daylight.”

He opened the door for her to step out, and took hold of her elbow to guide her over to the Sheriff’s cruiser.

“Max, our new tenant for the old Potter place.”

“Mam” he offered taking off his cowboy style uniform hat, and extending his hand.”It’s a pleasure.”

She liked this man right away. He was undoubtedly in his thirties, but graying at the temples setting his dark brown hair off in a distinguished way.

“I’m Sam Huston,” she offered smiling.

A look of confusion came over his face, and he turned to Matt .

“This isn’t?”

“Yep. Turns out our new tenant is female.”

Max wasn’t smiling.

 “Sorry Mam, but you have a husband or someone with you don’t you? I don’t want to think of you all the way out there and in the dead center of a hundred acres by yourself.”

“I do have someone staying with me Sheriff, so please don’t worry. We are pretty street wise and used to fending for ourselves.”

“No offense Mam, but street wise don’t cut it here. I’m sure you’ve noticed out where you are, there aren’t any streets. Oklahoma’s different from up north, and while chivalry isn’t dead, we have a bunch of yahoo’s around here that think any skirt that walks by is flouncing for their entertainment. No offense, intended.”

“None taken. I hope you’ll feel free to come see our modifications to the place for security, and we can share some information with you, and hopefully you’ll share with us.”

“Mind if I have a word privately with Matt?”

Already indicating to Matt to step over to the patrol car, they moved out of hearing.                     

Sam let her eyes wander and saw that the attractive couple were still at the car and the woman was crying. The man was putting her in the car and seemed to be trying to get her to leave with out him. He stood tall above the car looking down on her.

His custom silk summer suit of ivory was creaseless and the coat  lay on his broad shoulders perfectly bordering the sky blue shirt.  Italian shoes on his feet glistened , so maybe he wasn’t a local. His almost black hair, was styled to hang long in back below his collar and looked feathered from the convertible wind which had been whipping it as he arrived.

Sam hated to be prejudiced against anyone without cause, but she found her hackles rising as she watched the scene. He seemed like a clone of Hale. Too polished, too traveled, too in control and calling the shots. She felt for the woman, whoever she was, because if she was reading this guy right, he was tolerating her for reasons of his own, but she wasn’t any meaningful relationship to him.

He was turning and suddenly aware of her staring at him. As the car drove off he stood straight up, almost posturing, and gave her an insolent look indicating he thought she had been admiring him.

Indignant at his temerity to think he was God’s gift, she turned away and walked toward Matt and Max. She hoped their conversation was ending as she didn’t want Mr. Full of Himself, to come her way and try to introduce himself.

 “Sorry, I think I should be getting back.”

“Sure, sorry.  Just catching up on the latest happenings. I’ll take you on out. I’m kinda anxious to see what you’re doing with the old place.”

 Matt seemed a little more distracted than she would have expected.

Just at that moment, the Sheriff’s radio crackled to life and he heard the dispatcher alerting him to trouble. At the sound of the location, “the old Potter place” Sam and Max made eye contact. Max was already heading for his driver’s side when Sam jumped into his passenger side.

 “I am going with you” she stated.

He didn’t even argue, just floored the cruiser and left Matt standing by his car momentarily disoriented. It had happened so fast, he hadn’t realized her intention. Or that Max would allow it.

On the drive out to her place, she mentally calculated from the radio information, where the altercation was taking place. Max was already calling in back up and then turned to ask her who is on the property that belongs there.

“At this time, there are four women besides myself in residence. One has a disability and walks with crutches. The other three are pretty resilient when it comes to being careful and taking care of themselves. Can you ask the dispatcher who called in the complaint?”

“Sure. Maxine, can you tell me the complainant?”

“Corky was the name. Wouldn’t give any other. Just said four  red necks were trespassing and wouldn’t leave and were staggering  drunk. Damn, Max.  Drunk at ten in the damn morning.”

“That sorta narrows down who to be prepared for, right? It’s gotta be those idiots again. Be sure the back up gets their selves here asap.”

“Be careful out there, Max.”

Sam had to ask. “I hope I don’t seem too........well...nosey, but .......Maxine? Max?”

Max grinned and gave her a side glance,.

“Yep, it’s my twin. She thinks she’s my guardian angel and personal match maker. She does okay in the guardian thing, but the other I wish she’d just give up on.”

They were arriving at the ranch gate and Sam saw Max’s whole demeanor completely transition. It was amazing to watch as he  transformed his friendly six foot, well built body, into  an attack mode.  Had he been coming at her as an official, she might have considered him formidable.

The gate was hanging broken from it’s support frame. It looked like someone rammed it. The no trespassing sign had bullet holes in it. Sam’s heart began to race, then her Irish began to show.

 “I just got that sign up this morning before I came in to sign the final papers. Who would do this?”

“I’m afraid I know and it won’t be pretty. Damn low lifes always high on marijuana and tanked up on rot gut. Hell, there they are.”

There were four men and two pick ups in front of the house. The Sheriff was reaching for his shotgun before even leaving the car. He had a look on his face that told anyone with half a brain, not to try him. The men had their backs to the cruiser and were focused on something Sam couldn’t see.

At the sound of the Sheriff’s voice apparently calling them by their names, they turned to look over their shoulders. Two turned to face Max and Sam, and their level of drunkedness was apparent even before they spoke.

“Aww, shit Max. Don’t go interfering where you ain’t wanted. Just drive off.”

Then looking at Sam.

 “But leave her. I think she fancys me”.

The others laughed, backing him up.

At that moment, Sam heard the voice of Corky, one of her house mates.

 “Dammit, Sam. Get them off me.”

Sam could hear the hysteria in her voice.

 Putting her hand on the Sheriff’s arm she gave him a direct look.

 “I know this will seem unorthodox, but would you give me a chance. Corky is pretty fragile since her last surgery, and I don’t want any gun play or rough housing to hurt her. I am ex military police, please trust me.”


“Give it your best shot, I’d rather not have to give it mine”.

 He lowered the shotgun.

 She walked forward and to the right of the group, maintaining a safe distance.

“You boys seem a little frisky to me. Makes me wonder why you picked on that little scrap of a woman there. Don’t tell me you big strong Okies pick on cripples.”

As she spoke, she had been unbuttoning her shirt slowly. She  watched as they saw her undo each and every button, as though waiting for a great reveal. She slid the shirt off arresting their full attention on her ample breasts in  the  tight, midriff, tank top.

“I think you ought to know you have a pretty sick little gal there. She’s needing her insulin about right now, and you big, brave, guys have taken her crutches away so she can’t go into the house and get it. Maybe you ought to let her go and try to deal with a real woman. Or are you afraid a Yankee couldn’t handle the four of you.”

Max stood amazed watching how the idiots were turning to watch her, leaving their backsides toward him and the gun. They also seemed unaware that Matt and his brother Dalton had pulled into the yard and parked behind the cruiser. Signalling them with a finger to his lips, he shook his head no when it looked like Dalton was ready to go at it.

“Now which of you big, bad, Okie, boys is going to trade that little cripple girl for a real woman?”

 The four intruders were leering and poking each other and so engaged in their posturing they didn’t notice a small face signal between the two women. Immediately, Corky appeared to go into a dead faint.

It was so unexpected that the man holding her let her go to the ground.

“Hey guys, I think she fainted or something.”

“Probably needs her medicine.” Sam offered.

 “ Why don’t you forget about her for now, and let’s see which of you cowboys thinks they can ride this”

 She began to run her thumbs under the waistband of her Levi’s as though getting ready to open them . All four men stood spell bound.

 Sam turned to walk away toward the barn.

 “And who was going first?”

The tallest of the group took a couple of steps forward.

“Yankee gal needs a lesson. Bet she never had it this good before.”

He walked toward her grabbing at his crotch. The others followed, and their staggering gait spoke to their level of drunkedness.  Without warning, three other women appeared from the house snatching Corky up off the ground and almost dragging her onto the porch..

The drunks were totally focused on Sam’s skimpy tank top and bare midriff.  They moved closer to her with every step of her  provocative body language. Now they had  completely turned to face her. The Sheriff and the two observers stood disbelieving as they watched her intrigue continue.

She suddenly stopped .

 “I bet it was you, tall  boy. You’re probably the sick son of a bitch who grabbed a cripple to screw with. What’s the matter? Can’t get it up with a real woman?”

At the comprehension of what she said about him,  Eric Prater had a sobering reaction. He walked toward her pulling his leather belt out of his pants, slapping it against his hand.

“Bitch, you’re going to learn some manners.”

Before Dalton, Matt or Max could even react, Sam was flying through the air with her foot landing square in Prater’s face. Whipping around, she got in three quick hits, then kicked him hard in the groin. He went down with a thud and a groan, hitting the ground hard. At the sound of the shotgun blast, the other three froze knowing Max doesn’t  fool around.

 Prater  lay on the ground repeatedly calling out, “Oh God, Oh God”.

Sam hoped he was praying to die, but even if he wasn’t , she had no sympathy for him or any of his kind. Now the locals knew they weren’t unprotected and she hoped  they would spread the word.

The other women were coming out of the house, including Corky bouncing on her crutches perfectly fine. Laughing, they all hugged Sam and gave her credit for taking care of business.

 Corky was heard to say, “And you were right about the faint. Gets them everytime.”

The three men who had witnessed the scene, all had varying interpretations of what they had just witnessed. Max looked at the group of women and thought there was more than meets the eye  here. This wasn’t your usual group taking up residence . He would have to get  to the bottom of this and run some checks. This was about more than needing a country home.

Matt was astounded by the events, and the women. He had thought he was leasing the property to Sam Huston, and probably Sam had a family since “he” wanted a big acreage and said “he” could fix up the run down out buildings and house. “He”  just was looking for total privacy,

While Matt had been surprised by Sam being a woman, he was now floored by these five women being here, all in work clothes, and all seemingly together in some way. At the self defense he just witnessed, he wondered if they were all former military or something. Or, lesbians?

Dalton Marrs stood silent and brooding. He hadn’t liked the way that woman taunted those men or for that matter, how she had given him her judgmental snub in town when he said goodbye to Audrey. As for the men here at the ranch, they were drunks and needed their collective butts kicked, but in Oklahoma, you didn’t let a woman do the butt kicking. What the hell was Max thinking? And you damn sure didn’t do it without knowing there would be a retribution down the line.

The woman who seemed to be the leader of some kind of group, had just bought herself a hell of a lot of trouble. Better to get rid of them now before a range war of the twenty first century kind broke out. He would speak to Matt as soon as they were alone.

Max was trying to bring some calm into the scene. He talked to the men involved in no uncertain terms.

 “What the hell are you guys doing here on private property. Can’t you read? That gate you busted down had a no trespassing sign on it.”

The youngest of the four intruders answered.

 “Max, you know we always come here to fish. Been coming here for years. No damn sign is going to keep us out. And no damn women either.”

“Buddy, you Purdy boys have just about had your last get out of jail free card. I don’t think I would push my luck with threats like that. This isn’t your land; this ladies lease it and they have the right to keep anyone out they want too.,”

The intruder with the most menacing appearance being dirty, unkempt and still leering at Sam growled,

“Ladies? You call that bitch a lady? Look at Eric down on that ground.”

Max gave him a look of warning.

 “You want to sit it out in jail while I try to get this straightened out, Dean?”

“I’m just saying, Sheriff. Those women stick together, well we stick together too,  And we owe them. We’ll come back here any damn time we want too”

“You set foot on my land again, and I’ll tear you limb from limb, and I won’t even have to crease my suit to do it.”

The  low authoritative voice caused all four intruders to look at Dalton.

 “Any questions or comments before Max takes you out of here and impounds those trucks?”

“Dalton, you wouldn’t let him do that. Come on. It just got out of hand. You know we wouldn’t do anything, really. Don’t let him take our damn trucks. Do you know how much impound and bails gonna be? We’re not all rich like you, ya’ know.”

 Gilbert Purdy  was pleading, and he looked the least likely to have been a part of this. “It might even screw with my scholarship , man.”

He was pleading his case unabashedly.

“My mom will die if I mess up.”

Dalton spoke in a hushed tone to Max who turned to his back up deputies.

 “Watch these guys. I want to talk to the ladies a minute.”

 Nodding to Matt to come, Max and Dalton began to walk to the group of women now up on the porch watching the proceedings.

Sam introduced the other ladies,

” Liz, Paige, Corky and Niki., this is our County Sheriff , Max Perks, and our landlord, Matt Marrs.”

 A knowing glance at the use of his first name, went between Matt and Sam. A small smile in the corner of her lips didn’t go un-noticed by Dalton.

“This is my brother, Dalton. Your other landlord.” added Matt.

 Sam took a new measure of him and he felt her censure as she assessed him; he just wasn’t sure why.

“Ladies,”

Dalton shook hands with each one, but by passed Sam, not even offering his hand.

 “I would like to talk to you all, inside, if it’s all right.”

They all moved inside entering the house by the kitchen door. Immediately both Matt and Dalton were stunned by the transformation from when they last saw the place inside.

Where walls with broken plaster and faded and ripped wall paper from the fifties had been, there were newly dry walled walls of a deep green so dark it almost looked black. Pickled white cabinets had replaced the old metal ones, and an island with a breakfast bar and vegetable sink now stood prominently in the middle. New flooring and counter tops gleamed, and a large harvest table with seating for eight was in the eating area.

The brothers looked at each other unaware of what to say. Hearing an invitation to be seated, they moved to the table. One of the women, Liz,  offered them a chair and was carrying an old fashion camping coffee pot to the table. Cups had already been  placed on the table, and Niki was bringing three more.

 “This pot holds thirty cups so there’s plenty.”

 As a little aside, she laughed and said to the men.

 “It really is only half full, I just like to exaggerate.”

 The ladies chuckled at what must be and inside joke.

Seated around the table, Dalton began.

“Ladies, I won’t insult your intelligence. You know those idiots are drunk, trespassing and scared the hell out of this little lady here.” indicating Corky.

 “I know you can press charges and they’ll be  Max’s till hell freezes over with their list of misdeeds. But, I want to be honest, you opened a can of worms”.

Now he looked directly at Sam .

 “You humiliated Prater, and he isn’t likely to forget it. But no sense in taking all of them down and compounding your enemy list, just to punish him.”

The ladies were all closely watching Sam as she calmly sipped her coffee looking at the flower arrangement on the table as if it were the most fascinating thing she had ever seen.

“Max knows these guys  and now that they know the rules. He can put them away any time he wants, they probably won’t mess with you.”

Looking at Sam again with a look of warning.

 “Unless you make it worse by pressing charges. Believe me, having your butt kicked by a woman is about as bad as it gets around here.”

“As we are all housemates, we will discuss it and let you know shortly” said Sam. “Ladies”.

She got up and left the table heading into the living room without looking at any of the three men, Max and Matt thought nothing of it, but it really irritated Dalton that she dismissed him with her action.

Max was saying to Matt, when Dalton’s concentration returned

”Just wonder what this is all about. You had no idea it would be a bunch of women?”

“Nope, not that it really matters, as far as the law and discrimination laws are concerned.” Matt said.

“Oh brother. Matt, I am beginning to think I should take over the rental duties if this is the best you can come up with.” Dalton spat at him.

“Let me get this straight. I get the asking price for the lease. They have paid out of their own pocket to add a few thousand dollars worth of remodeling for which there is no compensation when they leave. They aren’t the drunks in the damn yard, and I did a bad job?  Dalton, you’re an ass. Maybe if you’d stay around and get real again instead of being on this playboy  man of the world  kick, you could appreciate that I’m keeping our investments going while you play.”

At the heated exchange building between the two brothers, known for their sibling knock down drag outs, Max interjected,

“All right you two. I have four idiots in the yard, five mysterious new tenants in the living room, and you two fighting isn’t helping. Knock it off  before I knock your two heads together. And don’t think I won’t do it again. It was a pleasure the first time and I would do it better the next time.”

Matt and Dalton looked at Max and laughed. Both remembered the last time and in truth, didn’t want it to happen again. For any reason. Real or pretend. They didn’t agree to disagree, they just eyed each other stubbornly and sat  mute.

Sam entered the room and looking at the three men, said nothing. She walked outside as the other four women approached the table and spoke directly to Max.

 “What is your opinion?”

Liz was asking Max directly. Her amiable smile was still there, and she seemed to enjoy some leadership along with Sam.

“I guess I have to agree with Dalton about not taking them all down. Prater is the bad apple and I think I’ll have a go at him, but the others are do-able. I can honestly say it was the liquor talking, and Prater probably got that all going too. Only way he could recruit their company, I imagine. Except for Dean Huss. I think he might need some come uppance too, making threats to Sam like that. I’ll go with what you ladies decide. “

“What about you, little lady. You were being rough housed when we got here. Enough to get assault charges. You okay with this?”

Max looked at Corky and admired her quick recovery and her composure after the encounter. He had chuckled to himself when he saw her bouncing out on her crutches afterwards to congratulate Sam on her victory and confirm her faint had been a well planned ploy.

“It was the Prater guy who started it and grabbed me. The others weren’t in to it. I probably didn’t help by freaking out.” she offered quietly.

Max looked at her fallen countenance and felt more anger at the four men who had pitched her around when she obviously had health issues.  He wished she wouldn’t take responsibility for their actions.

 “Your reaction was justified, their’s wasn’t. They started it, not you.”

Dalton noted Max’s disgust, but he wanted to make his own point known.

“Well your friend Sam may live to regret the tease routine she pulled. Men don’t forget sights like that. They dwell on them and come back to finish the job”,

Dalton had little sensitivity to the fact it was Sam’s action that caused them to leave Corky alone so she could be rescued. He had pulled up with Matt after the beginning of the tease. It had probably  prevented a free for all with the men and deputies.

Walking back into the room in time to hear Dalton’s condemnation of her methods, she spoke in a deadly serious tone.

“I can take care of myself. As far as men not forgetting sights, I think maybe you’re speaking your own mind. I can assure you, no one will finish the job on me and live to brag about it” she added ominously.

The challenge was out there now and it was almost like there was bad blood between them. Certainly he had hit her Achilles's heel with something he said.

Matt was surprised by her vehement statement and Dalton was pissed. But Dalton also felt there was something else there. It was like she already had a chip on her shoulder where he was concerned when they met.

 Her statement, however, had suggested she thought he was hot for her and wouldn’t be able to forget her. He might have felt some attraction when he saw that tease, but now he suppressed it not liking the fact that she seemed to know it.

Angry, he retaliated.

“When I speak, Ms. Huston, I say what I mean and mean what I say. I was simply stating a fact concerning the  enemy you made today in Eric Prater. I know his kind and it isn’t any kind you want thinking about you this summer on a hot night when he is drunk and alone.”

 Pausing to let that sink in, he then added spitefully.

“ Frankly, you’re not my type. I prefer women. Feminine women, not jocks or.........” He left it unsaid.

o