Mountain Man
Chapter 9

Copyright© 2018 by UtIdArWa

The day after I gave my statement about what happened, Doc Stone came to visit.

After looking me over, all the standards, heart, lungs, blood pressure he asked me “How are you doing Matt? Feeling up to a few more visitors?”

Feeling bored and just a little claustrophobic, I was more than ready for some human companionship.” That all depends Doc. I don’t think I want to go through the 3rd degree again. Maybe if you could bring in some good-looking hula girls, that might brighten my day.”

Doc chuckled, “I don’t believe this, some of the most attractive medical professionals in the world have been waiting on you hand and foot and that isn’t enough. By gosh that pretty much tells me it’s about time to send you back to work.”

More than a little serious I replied. “Doc, the sooner you get me out of here and back on my mountain, the happier I’ll be.”

Doc trumped me by getting even more serious. Frowning he said. “I know Matt, I don’t really like coming here either. BUT it’s going to be a couple of more days, a week at the most before we can even think about sending you home. I know that you don’t have anybody up there to help you up there. So, I need to make sure that you can take care of yourself. But in the meantime, there are some folks that would like to visit. Would that be OK?”

“Sure thing Doc, I’m kinda getting burned out on Gunsmoke reruns here.”

He opened the door and called out, “Ok folks, he’s cleaned the egg yolk off his chin and he’s seeing company now.”

After he said that he stood back and quite literally 3 sights for sore eyes came into the room. Pete, Agnes and Mabel kind of creeped into the room. Like they were afraid that the vibrations from their footsteps would be enough the send me to the pearly gates.

“Guy’s it’s great to see you, come in and sit down. You don’t know how glad I am to see you guys.” I was practically yelling.

Mabel and Agnes stopped and gasped, their hands flew to their mouths. “MATT, what happened to your eyes?” Mabel whispered.

“Huh, What,” Then I looked at Doc. He was watching my visitors’ reactions closely. “You didn’t warn them, did you?”

One of the results of my beating, from the busted orbital bones around my eyes was bleeding into my eyes. That had made the white’s a really bright and scary red. When I looked in a mirror, demonic was the first thing that came to mind.

“No Matt, I didn’t. And the reason I didn’t was you. I can quite honestly say that no matter what YOUR wishes are, these 3 folks are going to be the best restraints possible to keep you in bed here and off that damn mountain of yours. These folks are now my co-conspirators in the Make Matt Well project.”

I could see in Agnes and Mabel’s eyes that not only did they understand Doc, they enthusiastically agreed and short of a soviet invasion, they were going to make sure I didn’t leave that hospital one second before Doc said I could. I was roped and hog tied and the SOB didn’t use an inch of rope to do it.

What then followed was a mini family reunion. Mabel started it off by delivering My mail. She also brought me up to date on Margarite, Jughead and Shadow.

When Suzy had brought me down, she had found and used the travois that I used with Percy. She had also brought down Professor Barth.

Professor Barth was a total train wreck. She had obviously had a severe mental breakdown. All she would do is dial 911 on her cell phone. And if you tried to take it from her, she became violent. There was on ongoing argument between Washington State and Idaho State as to her care. Idaho was maintaining that because she was a Washington State employee, that she was their responsibility. Washington was maintaining that, as an Idaho state crime victim, that she was Idaho’s problem. During the ongoing legal debate, she was being housed in a private mental hospital in Boise.

Meanwhile, Ms. Suzanne Williams had, after making a statement to law enforcement, returned to Pullman to finish her education and degree plans. She had asked Mabel to express her thanks to Matt.

I was a little disappointed with that. I don’t know, maybe My expectations were too high, I had felt that the connection between us was a bit stronger. But, from past experience, I knew I wasn’t exactly an expert at romantic relationships. That and the obvious age difference, maybe it would be better this way.

Next Pete was up to bat. He started by letting me know that everything was running smoothly at the Bar T. It was high summer and all the cattle had been moved up to the high grazing country. Meanwhile the resupplies down below were also up to speed. Then he dropped his bombshell.

“Matt, I’m retiring.”

I was astonished “WHAT, Why, Pete why would you do that. You’re still young, Well older than me. But I’m sure you can still handle things.”

Pete was slowly shaking his head. “No Matt, I can’t. And I’ve known for a while now. I was going to tell you when you came to visit. But my replacement hadn’t showed up yet and I knew you would do something dumb. It’s time, I’m feeling the cold weather more and more. And it’s almost too much to sit a saddle anymore.”

“I decided last winter that I wasn’t going to be able to do the job anymore, So I called the owners. They were at their Texas spread at the time. They were sorry to see me go. But they had anticipated it. That’s when they let me know that they had set up a 401 K for me a long time ago. They had deposited 10 percent of my pay and 25 percent of the annual profit into it each year. I hadn’t known anything about it until they told me. That 401 is well over a million dollars Matt. I don’t need to worry. They’ve also told me that they’ll cover any medical costs from now on.”

“Matt, the owners are rich, and I mean rich with a capital dollar sign. They bought the Bar T as a toy and hired me on, mainly just to keep an eye on things. What I did was create an operating ranch. They would show up once or twice a year and consider the visit as a continuation of their life long vacation. This was the cowboy part.”

“The thing was, I started making a profit for them. And probably most important, I didn’t try to cheat them. That was so impressive, they started planned for MY retirement. They saw me as an honest man, in a world of crooks”

Rather than feel sorry for Pete, I got excited. “Pete, this is great. You can join me. You can move in up on the mountain. There’s plenty of room and you can do whatever you want. Sit on the porch in a rocker, fish in My stream, It’s about 30 feet from my front door.”

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