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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Westerns
  • Language:English
  • Pages:304
  • Paperback ISBN:9781098313562

Me and Jinx

by Skeet Will

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In the spring of 1884, young Johnny Fry and his little black cat, Jinx, set out on a trip he has dreamed of all his life. It doesn't take him long to realize the ride on the Pony Express Trail, where his father had ridden many years before, is nothing like his childhood imaginings. Along the way he meets robbers, drunks and killers who force him to defend both himself and his 'little buddy', if he wants to get where he's going alive and in one piece. Fortunately, he makes some friends as he travels. Handy, a big, blue-eyed, broad-shouldered Swede fresh off the farm who joins him in Nebraska, and George Washington Moore, Wash to his friends, an ex-slave and former Buffalo Soldier turned mountain-man, seeking the freedom he never seems to get enough of. Together the four of them (don't forget Jinx) travel a perilous, treacherous path through the mountains of Wyoming and Utah and across the deserts and mountains of Nevada and California toward his future. Among his fortunes and misfortunes: an accident puts him in a hospital for two months where he meets a wonderful red-headed nurse, who's a survivor of the Mountain Meadows Massacre; he is twice forced to defend himself from a man who wants to reclaim something Johnny doesn't even know he has; and he has a confrontation with a gunman who wants revenge for a brother who got what he deserved. The West of 1884 was still the wild and beautiful place of legends. Billy the Kid and Jessie James were not long in their graves; Wyatt and Virgil Earp were alive and living in California; and the Texas to Kansas cattle drives were still alive in the memories of many. Surrounded by the perils and beauty of the Old West, Johnny must become a man because it's that or die.
Johnny Fry's father rode for the Pony Express. Growing up in Kansas, Johnny listened to stories of his father's and his uncle Bill's adventures when they were but little older than him. When Johnny's father dies in the Spring of 1884, Johnny and Jinx, his little black cat, set off on a 1900 miles trek along the Pony Express Trail to Sacramento, California where his uncle has offered him a job and a home if need be. Johnny, man-grown at 18 but still a boy in many ways, rides into a reality much different than the imaginings of his boyhood dreams. Three days into the trip, with Jinx's help, he foils an attempted robbery, gets the drop of the gunmen and watches them walk away barefoot and in long johns, while he keeps their horses and guns. He has no idea he has created and implacable enemy, one who will follow him across the country to a deadly showdown in the shadow of the high Sierras. His route takes him along the Great Platte River Road in the footsteps of pioneers, where he meets a tall, blue-eyed Swede, five years his senior, who wants to come along on his adventure. In Casper, Wyoming, where the trial turns south and west, they meet another who wishes to join them. His name is George Washington Moore, also know as Wash. He is an ex-slave and Buffalo Soldier, who one night in a Casper saloon hears some men planning to ambush and rob Johnny on the trail over South Pass and decides to help him. With Wash's help they ambush the ambushers, but as they approach Salt Lake City, Johnny is thrown when his horse is spooked by a rattlesnake and wakes up in a hospital with many injuries, including a broken right hand, which forces him to learn to use his left. While in the hospital he learns the wonders of love and redheaded nurses, and finds out his pursuer is still dogging him. He spends the winter recovering among the Latter-Day Saints, and as he and his friends are preparing to leave in the spring, learns his old enemy will be waiting for him in Carson City and has hired a gunman to kill him. The trip across the Utah/Nevada desert with his friends amazes him with its wild, rugged beauty, but always in the back of his mind is the idea that soon he must face a professional killer with only the newly won skill of his left hand and the loyalty of his friends and Jinx to carry him through. The 1880's were the time of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday, of Jessie James and Billy the Kid and Geronimo, the great Apache warrior. The west was wild and dangerous and the Pony Express Trail takes Johnny right through the heart of it to a future he can only hope for.
About the author
I was born Douglas Carlton Will II in Luray, VA in the summer of 1943. I was nicknamed Skeeter at birth and have been Skeet ever since. My dad worked for the Navy, my mother for the Air Force and I grew up on the south side of the Potomac River, a stone's throw from the Pentagon. I spent two years in the Army in the early sixties and met and married my wife, Mary, in October 1964, just in time to avoid the Vietnam War. Twin daughters came along a couple of years later. After much trial and error I became a taxi driver in the mid 70's. The job allowed me to travel and we lived in seven different cities around the U.S. over the next twenty five years. We eventually settled in Portland, OR the year after Mt. St. Helen's erupted (1980). To keep me busy while my wife attended nursing school, I enrolled at Portland State University and did Master's Degree work in U.S. History graduating in 1993. I lost my job as a cabbie when I failed a drug test and after looking around a bit decided to join my wife as a nurse. I graduated in 2001 and spent eleven years as an oncology nurse and a travel nurse. After forty-five wonderful years I lost my wife, Mary in June 2010. One of the twins, Diane died in Sept. 2015. I met Bev in Sept. 2010 and we've been together ever since. At present I live in Gresham OR with Bev three cats, including a little black one named Jinx. My daughter Samantha lives in Vancouver WA and my grandson Will lives in Milwaukie Or. At age seventy-six, this is my first novel.