Busted Axle Road
Chapter 38

Copyright© 1993, 2001, 2010

"So how many dogs did you come back with?" Jackie asked, looking up from the sign she was working on. She usually tried not to work on Saturdays, but orders were orders, and the customer was antsy about this one.

"Just Cumulus, again," Mark reported. "But, something will turn up, sooner or later. Mike and I are going to get started on the sled."

Jackie shook her head. "I know you two were all aglow with the idea last night, but I'd sort of hoped you'd sobered up by this morning."

Mark and Mike went through a pair of double doors that separated Jackie's sign shop from Mark's general shop. His shop was well fitted out, neat and clean. "Nice shop," Mike commented.

"I have to make supports and stuff for Jackie's signs, sometimes" Mark said, "So it helps to have everything nice and handy."

They had left Horton's sled outside the garage door before they started for town earlier in the morning; now, Mark opened the door, letting the fresh breeze of early summer blow in. It smelt warm and refreshing, full of life. The two carried the sled inside, and set it on a pair of sawhorses. "Going to have to get some rawhide," Mark said. "I don't know where we'd get that, but I suppose for today, string and duct tape will do."

"There's a guy down by Albany River that slaughters steers," Mike said. "Maybe he could help out."

"Give him a call," Mark suggested. "You'll have to use the phone in the sign shop."

Mike was back a few minutes later, to find Mark on a stepladder, rummaging around lumber stored up in the rafters. "He says he sells all his hides to a guy over in Lynchburg," he reported. "So, I called the guy in Lynchburg. He's going to cut us some strips, and drop them off at the office when he's over here Monday."

"Sounds good," Mark's voice came floating down from above. "Damn it, I know it's up here somewhere."

"What are you looking for?" Mike asked.

"I've got some ash up here somewhere," Mark said. "I got into furniture making a little a few years ago, and I got some from that mill over in Hoselton. It ought to be pretty seasoned, by now."

It took Mark a few more minutes to find the lumber, and the two of them snaked several planks down from the rafters. They laid it on the floor, and turned to the sled. "Where do we start?" Mike asked.

Mark shrugged. "There's nothing to do but start somewhere," he said. "God, look at all the steam bending that's going to have to get done. It won't matter that we don't have any rawhide today, because we're not going to get that far." He picked up a tape, and began to take measurements.

After a few minutes, Mike began to feel a little useless. Over at a desk at the end of the workbench, he saw a computer, and that gave him an idea for something useful. "You got a word processing program on that computer?" he asked.

"Yeah," Mark said. "What you got in mind?"

"I thought I'd write up my notes from last night, while it's still fresh in my mind," he said.

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