Curse of Cormac by  Sasquaw

 

Love Field Airport, Dallas, Texas  ( mid 50's)
               

His eyes search the skies, waiting patiently to see the big silver bird descend. Finally, a sigh of relief as the clouds part and the bird breaks through. He moves forward with the rest of the small crowd that has gathered to meet loved ones. The crowd is pushing forward and he is pressed against the metal fence, he strains to look out over the tarmac in search of her.

He feels someone pushing him and a loud voice that barks, "Out of the way 'injun, you don't belong here!”
           He stares back at the man in his fancy suit, his eyes bore into him. "I have as much right to be here as you" he replies softly.
           The man laughs as he observes the man before him, eyeing the long, dark hair that is being held back by braids. He snickers as his eyes fall upon the ragged jeans and plaid shirt, the beads that circle the dark skin of the man.
           "Who could you possibly be waiting for at an airport?” The man's voice rises so that others might hear him. "I thought all of your people traveled by horseback!”
           The rest of the crowd laughs as they look back to the tall man, he starts to reply and then thinks twice about it. He backs up against the fence and lets the others go before him.
           She is one of the last passengers to emerge, and his heart is in his throat until he sees her. At long last, he sees the flaming red hair and his heart skips a beat. He moves forward to her, she smiles and then greets him with a kiss, the scene being noticed by the earlier irate passenger.
           The man sneers as he taps the shoulders of his friends and they make their way towards the couple.
           The tall man smiles softly as he takes her luggage, "I was so afraid that----you might---change your mind---and not come back.”
           The woman is unaware of the three men approaching them, she has eyes only for the man in braids. " I said I was coming back, you doubted me?”
           He tries to smile, "But----you were due back nearly 2 weeks ago----I was afraid, my heart was in my mouth every time the phone rang at the shelter----I was so afraid that they----had talked you into staying!.
           She takes his hand and they start walking towards a beat up old truck,  "They tried to make me stay----but my heart would not listen---my heart was here----with you.”
           "Were they not happy that you were coming back, are they still angry with you?”
           The woman's greenish/blue eyes look into the dark eyes of the man before her, "I don't care that they are upset with me, I have made my choice---and that is . . . . “
          "Hey----you dirty filthy redskin----get your hands off that white woman!”!!
          The couple turn to see the three men circling them slowly and making gestures.
          The woman shakes her head, "You're making a mistake---now leave us alone!”
          The three men all laugh, "Would you listen to what she is saying----she wants to be with-----this  'savage
          The tall man puts his hands up slowly, "Please---we don't want any trouble----we're leaving!”
       "The hell you are!” Shouts the first man, “You'll leave---but the woman stays here!”!!
        The woman begins trying to explain, the men refuse to listen and they rush the tall man. The man sidesteps the first attacker and he goes headfirst into the side of the old truck. The second man gets a forearm across his neck and he goes down in front of the red haired woman. The third man picks up a broken tree limb and swings it at the tall man, he ducks and hits the man in the stomach.
        The man goes down on one knee, grabbing his stomach and trying to catch his breath. The tall man mumbles something that the men can't understand and he brings his right leg back and ready to kick.
        "JOHN---no!”
        The man stops and looks back at the red-haired woman, her eyes plead with him not to kick the man. She walks up to him and nudges him towards the truck.
        "Let's just go---please John----let's get out of here.”
        John walks hurriedly to the drivers' side and the woman starts to enter the passenger side. She feels the hand of the man on the ground grab her ankle, she screams for him to let go, he refuses.
        The woman bites her bottom lip, "Then may the saints have pity on your soul"---and with that she kicks out with her other foot and lands a solid blow to the man's chin. He screams as he hits the ground, then has to scramble to get of the way of the truck's wheels. He stands up and curses the couple as only clouds of dust can be seen flying down the dirt road.
         The couple look back and then the man begins to shake his head, looking to the woman beside him.
         "Elizabeth Kathleen Tralee---you have some fire in that temper of yours!”
          Elizabeth laughs, her eyes turn to the man---"I guess I have been known to throw a punch or two in my heyday---after all---being raised with six brothers---I have had to scrape for what is mine!”
        "I pity your brothers if they ever crossed you---or any man that ever tries to hurt you. I would die for you, Elizabeth---you know that!”
        The woman nods her head slowly as she takes his right hand, "And, I would die for you, John---we are like swans---we are soulmates!”
       John smiles back at her, squeezing her hand, "I love you so much, Elizabeth---I was so afraid---you wouldn't come back to me.”
       "My parents begged me to stay, I kept refusing. I begged them to meet with you, just to meet with you---to give you a chance----they refused.”
       "I know-----I have talked with my people--they are all angry, even my Mother will not listen. She says to marry a white woman is a disgrace to the Cherokee people----And then, I brought up our ancestors ways of taking white women and keeping them prisoners back in the days when the buffalo tread these very plains.”
       Elizabeth swallows as she knows what the next reply will be, "Did he hit you again?”
       His answer is silence and then a nod. "I told him that would be the last time he raised his hand to me-----and I left our village..”
       The woman starts to cry, "Why can't our families accept us for the way we accept each other, not the color of our skin?”
            "I have lived in the white man's world for as long as I can remember, and yet trying to be a good Cherokee too. Elizabeth, are you sure about-----our decision?   You know how the white man feels about racial marriages mixing---back there with those three men---has happened before---and will happen again---over and over!”

"I have made my decision, and I want to marry you---have you changed your mind about marrying me?”

The truck comes to a screeching halt at the side of the road, he turns to face her---"Never!!! I want to marry you, Elizabeth---more than anything else in the world---I love you.”

A soft smile crosses the woman' lips as she touches her stomach, "You better not have changed your mind about marrying me, John Firewalker---especially----now.”

His brows arch as he watches Elizabeth’s hand caress her stomach gently, her eyes look back to him tenderly.

"Elizabeth------are you saying------you're with----child?   A baby?”

Her voice begins to breaks, "Yes---we are with child----you're going to be a Daddy --- John Firewalker.”

John stares back at her and then he grabs her, kissing her over and over---"Are you sure---are you sure----a baby?”

She nods her head, "Yes!!!  I am sure!”!

John throws open the drivers' door and runs around to the other side of his truck, he reaches in and kisses her stomach. "When?---Please say it will be soon!”

She touches his face with her hand and smiles, "In the spring---is that soon enough for you?”

John starts to laugh as he begins pacing in a circle, "It could be right now---right at this very moment----and I would be so happy!”

"John, don't you think we should take care of other matters first---like----making it legal?”

"Yes, yes----we will get married tonight----as soon as we can find someone-----that---will marry us.”

Elizabeth's smile fades, "Do you think there will be a problem?”

John takes her hand, "I don't care what I have to do to get someone to marry us---I will cut my hair and pretend to be of Mexican descent---or I will darken my skin even more to that of the negro brother---but---our marriage will come about, Elizabeth----and it will be legal---if only in our eyes.!

"I believe you, John Firewalker----and our son believes in you!”

John's eyes stare back in disbelief, "A son? I'm----going to have a son---how do you know?”

"Well---I don't know for sure---but I say it's going to be a boy----and you know how stubborn I can be!”

"Yes, Elizabeth Tralee---I know how stubborn that Irish blood can be---as stubborn as my Cherokee blood.---Together, any child that we may have will be the devil to partake in this white man's world---he will have the Cherokee strength and make a fine warrior that his ancestors will be proud of----but he will have your tenderness, your compassion for his fellow man.”

The man gets back into his truck and they head north, looking for a justice of the peace. It's early in the morning as they stumble onto the small little church just outside Wichita Falls, just a few miles short of the red river that is the border between Texas and Oklahoma. The sign below it reads:

"Wichita Falls----" and there is a picture of a Indian on horseback, looking weary and forlorn.  A further inscription saying: the long ride home.

John studies the picture and it's inscription for the longest, he turns to the woman beside him and then nods to the young preacher.

"It is a good sign---the spirits shine down on us-----we have found our home----if only for a short while.”

The months pass and Elizabeth's belly swells with the life growing inside her. It's getting more difficult for her to follow John while he is riding the rodeo, he begins taking more jobs in the cotton and oil fields so he can be closer to his wife and their unborn child. They are living in a small town outside of Eagle Nest, Oklahoma when a telegram has reached them. Two of her brothers have been killed in the war against the Irish republic, her parents are in poor health, they are asking for her to return.

John has watched in silence as his wife reads the telegram, he asks softly, "Do you wish to go, Elizabeth?”

"We do not have the money for such a trip-----"

"But, the telegram said that they would send you the airfare----if it is what you want, Elizabeth-----"

Elizabeth tears up the telegram and answers quietly, "No-----when I left Ireland almost seven months ago, they both said that if I returned to you, that I could never return to them. They have turned me away, John, and for that I will not forgive them.”

John shakes his head slowly, "No---there's something else in that telegram that you are not telling me, what is it?”

She lowers her head, "The telegram----says-----to come-----alone.”

"Alone?---You mean without me, or our son?”

Elizabeth takes a deep breath, "They don't know about my being pregnant----I never told them!”

John's eyes take on a sad look, he begins pacing---"I see---then it is true---you're ashamed of me, aren't you?”

Elizabeth grabs her husband's arm and spins him around, shaking her fist at him. "Ashamed?   How dare you say that I'm ashamed of you---I love you John Firewalker and I am proud to call you my husband and even more proud to be carrying your baby----our child!”!

"But, why didn't you tell them----maybe they would change their feelings if---they knew?”

"Your family hasn't changed their feelings about me----and you told them months ago!”

"The only one I told was my brother Ray, he said it would be better if he told the rest of the family------and "him.”

Elizabeth starts to cry, "And, they haven't changed their opinion of me-----or the fact that I'm carrying your child---have they?”

"It doesn't matter what my family thinks---the only thing that matters to me is you---and our child----but I know with a woman that feelings sometimes are different. Elizabeth, call them---tell them they are about to become grandparents---call them!”

Elizabeth falls into the arms of her husband, "I will----I will call them this weekend.”

"Very well" John answers, "I have to go now, I promised Mr. Wilson at the feed store that I would help him for a couple of hours, we could use the extra money.”

She waits until her husband is out of sight, then she retrieves the torn telegram and reads the rest.

"Sister, beware--Cormac knows your secret."

On the night of March 9th, John Firewalker is rushing his wife to the little hospital outside of Lawton, Oklahoma----and within the first hour of the new day a new Firewalker makes his way into the world, screaming and kicking. The couple stare down at the life before them.

John picks his son up and hold him close, "He's beautiful Elizabeth, he has your hair---it shines like copper when the light hits it.----And, his eyes will be like yours.”

Elizabeth smiles proudly as the nurse observes the couple gleaming over their first born.  She walks towards John and holds out her hands for the baby.

"I have to take him now---he has to have records of his birth, and prints have to be taken.”

John looks back to his wife, puzzled---"Can't you do that here?”

Elizabeth laughs, "Honey---let the nurse take him, he's only going to the nursery then they will bring him right back.”

The nurse takes the baby and turns to the nurse walking beside her, saying quietly. "That's unusual.”

"What is unusual?”

The nurse nods back to the couple, staring at the man in buckskins and braided hair. "I've seen a lot of Indian babies, I ain't never seen one with red hair!”

The younger nurses argues, "But, the Mother has red hair---what is unusual about the baby having the same color of hair?”

The older nurse scoffs, "All of the Indian babies I have seen come into the world have the dark hair and eyes, the Indian blood dominates---don't you know that?”

The two nurses walk towards the nursery and John is watching them suspiciously. He feels a tug on his hand and he looks down to see Elizabeth smiling back at him.

"John, are you happy with the name I picked out?”

The man smiles, "Cordell-----yes, I like the name, what does it mean?”

"It means someone is strong---like a warrior-----and our son is very strong---he has powerful lungs---does he not?”

He sits down on the bed beside his wife, taking her hand.” Yes, Cordell is a strong warrior.  What did your parents say when you told them?”

Elizabeth becomes quiet and then replies softly, "haven't told them yet---I will send one of those announcements---as soon as I am feeling up to it.”

The man watches his wife's eyes as they turn away from him, there is something troubling her. "Elizabeth, what is it, why are you so hesitant about telling your parents?”

"Telling them will not make any difference on how they feel, but I will tell them---just don't rush me----o.k?”

They hear a faint tap at the hospital door and another man in buckskins enters slowly.

"Ray!----Elizabeth---it is my brother---Ray Firewalker!”

Elizabeth watches as the two men embrace and then Ray walks over to Elizabeth. "I hope you don't mind that I am here.”

"Of course not---welcome Ray---you are always welcome in our home----always---John talks about you all the time!”

John smiles and slaps his brother on the shoulder, "She's right!---I have missed you, little brother. ------ Are you alone?”

The man nods his head slowly, then reaches inside his shirt and brings forth a small rag, unwrapping it to reveal a small arrowhead, shaped crudely to that of a bird.

"I found the arrowhead down on the Red River, I thought it was a unusual shape--like that of an bird---so I tried shaping it, and this is how it looks.”

John takes the stone and then he smiles, "It looks like an eagle, ready to strike, his talons extended. Look Elizabeth---does it not look like a eagle to you?”

"Yes, it is beautiful----thank you, Ray.”

"I wanted to give my nephew a gift----will it be o.k. to give him this?”

John smiles and embraces his brother, "Of course, it will be o.k.---do you wish to see your nephew now?”

The two men wheel Elizabeth down to the nursery and Ray is straining to see which of the new babies is his nephew. He points to a dark haired one that is screaming to be fed, "I'll bet that's him---the one with the quick temper like yours John---the one with the head full of dark hair!”

"You would be wrong, brother---Cordell is the one in front of us---with red hair----like his Mother's!”

Ray stares back at his nephew in confusion, looking to Elizabeth and then to his nephew. He nods his head slowly, "Of course-----he has the Irish blood running through his veins too.”

John begins motioning for the nurse to bring his son out, "Do you want to hold him, Ray?"

The nurse brings the baby out and stares back at the two native Indians and then to Elizabeth. Elizabeth stares at the woman, her lips become tightly set.

Ray takes the baby and looks down at him, trying very hard to see the Cherokee, he then looks to his brother who is smiling down at the baby proudly.

"Isn't he a handsome warrior, brother? Look at the way he holds his fist up----who does he remind you of?”

Ray smiles back at the baby, "I hope you are not referring to "him"-- he looks nothing like White Eagle!”

Elizabeth can feel the tension in Ray's voice, and John is stammering for an explanation. "I know you are angry with our tribal chief."

"And---you're not----for the way he has treated you?”

"I hold no grudges, brother----I'm willing to forgive and forget.”

Ray's voice is stern, "You forgive too easily, you have become soft---like a squaw!”

"Well, that's what happens when you fall in love with a woman that is going to be beside you for eternity---and when you hold your first child---you will understand even more how easy it is to forgive and forget those that have tread against you.”

Ray takes a deep breath staring back at the infant, his tears swell---"I hope someday that you are right in my finding that special someone----and I hope to have many fine sons. What is his name?”

Elizabeth smiles, "His name is Cordell---I named him after one of my brothers.”

John nods his head, "That is his Irish name----but his Cherokee name will be "Washo'---and  whether you want to admit it or not, my brother---you were thinking of White Eagle when you pounded that arrowhead out. White Eagle is always within us, so it only be fitting that he be called "Washo.”

"What does that name mean, John---"WASHO?”

Both the brothers speak at once, "It means Lone Eagle---" and Ray says softly, "Happy birthday to you, nephew.”

                                   *********************************************************


        March 10, 2004----Walker ranch:

 

The bearded man has heard the muffled whispers as he pretends to lay sleeping. He opens one eye as he looks across the room to the full length mirror that is showing the reflection of a little blonde headed girl walking very slowly, carrying something in her small hand. He smiles to himself as he fluffs his pillow and waits.

The small voice shouts, "Happy Birthday Daddy!”

Walker pretends to be completely surprised as he sits up in bed and pretends to rub the sleep from his eyes.

"Wh-- at?----What's going on here?”

The little girl is squealing and slapping her hands together, "It's your birthday, Daddy---get up!”

"My birthday?"  He looks over at the woman that has walked slowly behind the little girl, encouraging her at what to say. He winks back at her and then to the little girl he replies.

"Is it really my birthday, are you sure?”

The little girl is now handing him a cup cake, with chocolate icing dripping over the side. "Yes, Daddy----it's your birthday-----Mama said so!”

The Ranger laughs as does the woman also. "Well, if Mommie says so---then I guess it's true.”

Alex walks over to the bed, reaching down to kiss her husband, "Happy birthday, honey----were you surprised?" She asks, winking and nodding towards their daughter.

Walker nods his head, "I sure was----what a nice surprise---come here, Angela!”

The little girl goes scrambling upon the bed and to her daddy, throwing her arms around him. "Happy birthday, Daddy---how old are you?”

Alex laughs as she then hands her husband a cup of coffee, "Yes Daddy----how old are you?”  She teases.

Walker kisses his daughter and then sips the coffee, "I forgot----I've had so many---can't keep up with them.”

"But Daddy---you got to know---I'm almost 3 now----how old are you?”

Both Alex and Angela are staring back at him, he sighs------"Let's just say that I'm old enough not to answer that question---ask Mommie how old she is!”

"But, it's not Mommie's birthday----it's yours!”

Alex smiles, "Honey, you might as well tell her---what's the big secret?”

Walker hesitates, "Well----my baby----your daddy is old in years----but young at heart-----and every time I look into your eyes and see your love for me, I get younger.----And----if Mommie doesn't stop looking at me that way, then I'm going to tell her age

Alex clears her throat, "O.k. that's it---no more talk about ages!---Now honey---Angela has fixed you bunny pancakes for breakfast, do you want to eat first---or open your presents?”

Walker makes his eyes go wide and stares back at his daughter, "I got presents too?”

"Yes, Daddy---it's no birthday less you get presents.”

Both Walker and Alex laugh, and then Alex nods to their daughter. "Aren't you gonna sing happy birthday to Daddy now?”
        The little girl nods and then she sings very softly as Walker smiles back at her.
        "Thank you, baby----that was so pretty---Daddy loves you.”

"I love you too Daddy---now---let's open your presents!”!!!

The rest of the morning is spent opening Walker's presents and eating bunny pancakes.

"Did you like my present, Daddy?”

 Walker touches the drawing that Angela has drawn of him, a stickman with a dark blotch on his face  and a huge star. "I sure do, baby---I'm going to put it on my desk at work---so everyone can see it!”

Angela continues to squeal and clap her little hands, nodding her head up and down. Alex is laying on the bed beside him leaning over onto Walker's shoulder, she smiles as she caresses her protruding stomach.

"What about my gift, did you enjoy it?”  She teases.

"Ooooooh yes------I would be willing to have a birthday every morning in order to be woke up that way.”

She kisses him softly, "And since when do you have to have a special occasion in order to be awakened that way?”

He returns her kiss, "All I know is---that this morning was insatiable for both of us---being pregnant sure puts your hormones in overdrive---double overdrive----and I love every second of it!!!”

She laughs, "Being pregnant with twins has it's rewards, doesn't it, honey?”
        "Yep" the Ranger answers slowly, "but wait until we start getting up every two hours to tend them, we won't think it's rewarding then.”

She hits him softly in the chest, "Oh---stop it---you never complained too much with Angela.”

Walker smiles at his daughter as she is finishing the last of the bunny pancakes, "Well---she was a perfect baby---and there was only one of her!”

Alex nods her head in agreement, "You're right, I have a feeling that we are going to be doing double duty---big time!”

"Daddy----come on, get up--we got to go.”

"Go where, baby?”

"Daddy, did you forget?  You said we would go to the carney-val and you would buy me cotton candy.”

Alex smiles, "But, Angela--today is Daddy's special day, we want to do what Daddy wants to do, remember?”

The little girl looks back to her Daddy and replies softly, "Oh.-----What do you want to do, Daddy?”

Walker remains silent as he pretends to ponder the thought, his wife is looking at him suspiciously.

"Walker, you are not thinking---what I think---you're thinking----are you?”

He stammers as looks back at her like a little boy, "Well----it is my birthday and you said I could do anything on my day---didn't you?”

"Not that, Walker----you promised. Tell me you're not thinking about wanting to ride the bulls again----are you?”

"Alex, I promise---I will get a nice bull and ….."

Alex starts laughing, "A nice bull?----Honey, a nice bull can hurt the same as a bad one.”

Angela is staring back at her parents, "Daddy, are we going to the rodeo again---are you going to ride that big cow again?”

Walker begins shaking his head at his daughter but Alex has already picked up the deception, she takes a deep breath.

"Walker----have you been going down to the rodeo grounds---and taking Angela?----You had her there around those bulls, Walker, how could you?”

Alex is sliding out of bed and staring back at her husband in disbelief, Walker sighs and starts reaching for his jeans.

"Hon, what's the big deal, we've taken Angela to the rodeos before?”

"That's just it, Walker---we took her, I was always there to watch out for her."

"She was fine, Alex---I watched her!”

"And, who was keeping an eye on her while you were riding?----Which is another thing---you promised me that you wouldn't ride the bulls anymore after you got hurt last year in Mesquite!”

"I didn't get hurt all that bad, Alex---just a few bruises.”


Part 2

"Just bruises?----Walker, you knocked your shoulder out of joint, that was more than just a bruise!”

The Ranger sighs, "Alex, how many times have I knocked a shoulder out----I just pop it back in---you have even helped me to do it, remember?”

Alex shakes her head back and forth, "Honey----that is not the point. I worry every time that you ride those disgusting beasts, I'm worried that you're really going to hurt yourself or get yourself killed!”

They stand there looking at each other as Angela's eyes go from one parent to the other, she looks to her Mother.

"Are you mad at Daddy, Mommie?”

"No sweetheart, I'm not mad.”

"But, Daddy says that gampa John got to ride the big cows with horns, is that true, Mommie?”

"Yes" Alex answers slowly, "yes, your grandfather John and your great Uncle Ray both rode the big cows and their wives worried about them too.'

"Will daddy get hurt if he rides the big cows?”

Walker looks quickly to his wife, pleading with her on how to answer that question.

Alex sees the look in her husband's eyes, she crosses to the bed and sits down beside Angela.

"Sweetheart---I worry about your Daddy the same way I worry about you."

"But, Mommie, I wasn't riding the big cows---only the little ones.”

"The little ones?----Oh my God, Walker----what have you been doing, are you putting Angela on those baby bulls?”

"Alex, would you calm down?---Do you think for one moment that I would risk getting our daughter hurt---Angela is referring to the mechanical bull.”

"Good grief, Walker---they can be dangerous too!”

"Not if they're not turned on---Alex---I just sat her on them, so she could get the feel----and Zeb----might have----turned the machine-----for just a second-----or two----that's all!”

Alex's bottom lip is quivering, "Cordell John Walker----I am too upset with you right now to discuss this in a civilized manner and I'm going to skin Zeb alive if he ever does anything like this again!!---I am taking a shower----would you please get your daughter dressed?”

Alex stomps off to the bathroom and Angela looks back to her daddy, "Mommie's mad at you, daddy---did you make a 'boo-boo?”

The Ranger shakes his head, "I sure did, my baby-----a big boo-boo.”

"WALKER!”

"What now, Alex? Now ----what did I do?”

She stands there staring back at her husband, "Nothing" she says softly, "I know that riding the bulls is in your blood, and sometimes I get really angry at you and fearful that you will get hurt----but I have to keep reminding myself that  that is one of the things that made me fall in love with you. That----and your stubbornness!! I can't and won't take that away from you----just please remember to be careful!”

"Alex, hon--------

Alex turns and goes into the bathroom, slamming the door and the Ranger is left with another confused look. He sighs as he looks to his daughter, "Guess that's about all to hope for right now----'cause I know your Mother well enough not to push it any further. Your grandmother Elizabeth had the same temper---but she was a red head and redheads are noted to lose their tempers-I wonder what your Mother's excuse is?”


                    ****************************************************************

Mesquite, Texas  (early 50's)        

Elizabeth Firewalker watches as her son is taking his first ride on the young bulls, his Father standing nearby.

"You can do it, Cordell---just remember to let him know that you are in control--not him. Keep your knees in tight, but keep the rest of your body relaxed---remember son--ride with the wind---not against it!”

The chute is open and the young bull charges out among the hoots and hollers of the spectators. The boy feels like every bone in his young body will surely break, but the boy is not afraid and he stays on the back of the bull till the buzzer is blown.

John is running to his son as the boy is dismounting---he looks up to his Father through freckles and rustic colored hair---"I did it, Father---it was fun, when can I ride again?”

John is laughing and holding his son close to him as they begin walking to the side of the arena, Elizabeth is there waiting for them.

"I did it, Mother, did you see me ride?”

"I sure did, Cordell---your very first ride---you were amazing!”

Cordell nods his head up and down, "Yep, that's because Father has been bringing me down here and letting me practice. I wasn't afraid, Mother---truly I wasn't!!”

Both John and Elizabeth are gleaming as John goes down on one knee in front of his son, "You were a great warrior my son and I am so very proud of you---the spirits were with you----now go----and get your prize money!”

Cordell is all smiles as he looks to his Mother and winks, "I'm going buy Mother a green scarf to hold her hair back, what would you like, Father?”

John shakes his head and stands up, "You don't spend your prize money on me---you buy something for yourself!”

"There is something I would like, but I hear they are very expensive.”

"What's that?”

"Riding chaps, father----I would like to have riding chaps, do you know how   much they cost?”

Elizabeth watches her husband as he shakes his head slowly, "Riding chaps, huh? Son, they cost a lot more than your prize money, you're only getting $10.00."

The boy stammers, "But, Father---I want to ride more often, and if I do I could save up the money---how much would you say they cost?”

John is embarrassed as he tries to think, "I'm really not sure, Cordell, I don't have any of my own, I borrow from one of the other riders--so I have no idea how much they cost" John then clears his throat, "Go get your prize money and maybe we can stop at the circus on the way home."

The boy lets out a war hoop, and then starts running to  the judge's table to claim his prize.

A tall muscular man in dark clothes has been watching the boy with his parents, and observed the boy's victory over the young bull. He walks slowly to the judge's table and listens as the boy tries to tell the judges that he is there to pick up his money. The four judges laugh and one of them throws a belt buckle to young Cordell.

The boy stares at it, "But, where is my money?---I won first place---I won $10.00!!!

The men continue to laugh as John Firewalker walks up to the table, he puts his hand on his son's shoulder and asks. "What's wrong, Cordell?”

The boy stares back at the four men and then very timidly he replies, "They just gave me this buckle---they won't give me any money!”

John stares back at the four men, "Is this true? My boy won that money fair and square----he stayed on his bull for the full 8 seconds, now where is his money?”

The one judge stands up stares back at John, "Now, you listen here you filthy injun, the boy did not stay on for the required time---he gets only a belt buckle!”

Elizabeth has heard the arguing as she walks quickly up to the four men, "You are wrong, I was timing my son's ride---he stayed on for the required time---give him his money!”

The other three men stand up and move slowly towards John as he pushes Cordell safely behind him. The tall dark stranger moves slowly towards the four men.

"The only thing that this boy, this half breed is going to get, is my boot up his ass---now you---John Firewalker----take your squaw and your bastard son and . . . ."

The man does not finish his sentence as John's fist goes into the man's face, and the other three men rush at John. Elizabeth is pulling Cordell out of the way as she watches the men knock her husband to the ground. She starts looking around for a weapon, and for just a second she sees the dark stranger staring back at her. She spots her weapon, a cattle prod! She grabs it and starts swinging at the three men who have her husband pinned down.

One of the men swears and rushes at Elizabeth, only to be met with a right fist going to the side of his face. The dark stranger has made his entrance and now he is grabbing the other two men and throwing them around like they are weightless.  John has managed to get up and he is going after the first man, hitting him, over and over. A gun shot is heard and everyone stops and looks to the where the shot came from.

The sheriff  is standing there, his gun in the air, he glares back at them.

"What the hell is going on here?”

The four judges are all trying to talk at the same time and pointing towards John. The sheriff walks gruffly up to John, "You’re under arrest for starting a riot!”

Elizabeth and Cordell are yelling back at the sheriff, but he is refusing to listen as he drags John away.

"Hold on sheriff, you're not taking that man anywhere" the stranger speaks.

The sheriff stares back at him, "You better watch it mister, you're interfering with the law---and I can arrest you for that!”

The man is tall, well over 6ft and very muscular with wide shoulders, he's dressed completely in black, he sports a huge handlebar moustache, his voice is deep.

"I know the law" he answers as he pulls back his long rider jacket, revealing a badge in the shape of a star. "I saw the whole thing, the boy was claiming his prize money, these idiots were refusing to give it to him---now let that man go-----or you will be the one gong to jail!”

The sheriff stares at the man and his badge, he shakes his head and starts releasing the cuffs on John, "I ain't messing with no Texas Ranger----no sir!”

The four men are mumbling between themselves, the sheriff barks at them to disperse and they all start to walk away.

"Wait a minute"  the stranger yells at them, "You're forgetting something, aren't you----like the boy's prize money?”

One of the judges grumble as he stomps back to the table and throws two $5  bills down, and then he holds his hand out for the buckle.

The stranger glares back and answers in a low, gruff voice---"The boy keeps the buckle----any problems with that?”

The men all walk away, and John holds his hand out to the stranger, "Thank you for speaking up.”

The men shake hands and the man tips his hat to Elizabeth. He looks down at young Cordell.

"I saw you ride, you're very good.”

Cordell stares back at the man and to his badge, he whispers, "Wow------is that a real Texas Ranger's badge?”

The man manages a smile," It sure is, would you like to have a closer look at it?”
           The stranger takes the badge off of his vest and hands it to Cordell, the boy's eyes are huge as he keeps whispering to himself "WOW.”

The stranger laughs, "I've heard of you, John Firewalker, your reputation for riding the bulls is known all over Texas and Oklahoma, I watch you ride every chance I get.”

John stares back at the man, "I'm just one man, trying to do what I can for my family---I didn't know that my name was so well known in the rodeo circuit!”

The stranger nods "Not only in the rodeo circuit----but in the logs of internal Indian affairs of Lawton----I've heard that you and your brother are pressing for more land to be released to the Cherokee people.”

Elizabeth reaches out and takes the badge from her son and hands it back to the man, "We are not saying anything more----here take your badge----and go!”

John moves around nervously on the heels of his boot, "So, this is how you approach us---by pretending to help us?”

The stranger's eyes narrow, "I don't know what you think I am trying to do---but my helping you out was just a friendly gesture of evening the odds, so to speak!”

"I can fight my own battles, and protecting my family is my responsibility---not yours!”

"I understand that, and I have great respect for a man that does also, --- I assure you and your wife that I am not befriending you for any other reason. ------ I'm sorry if I have caused concern to be suspicious of me, I meant no harm."

Elizabeth eyes the man, "Wait a minute, you said that you knew John's brother---Ray?”

"Yes ma'am, I know Ray Firewalker----or at least I am beginning to know him---through his letters.”

"Letters?---My brother is far away, in another place called Africa---he's writing to you, who are you?”

"I work for the Internal Affairs of the native Indian, I am looking into his request to check out the land rights to your Great Grandfather, Grey Wolf.”

"But,---you wear a badge?"

The stranger nods, "I'm also a Texas Ranger, Company A out of Austin---but right now I'm more interested in talking to you, John Firewalker---to get all of your paperwork together on the land that has been taken from you.”

Elizabeth shakes her head and pulls on her husband's arm, "Don't listen to him, John, it's another trick."

The stranger looks back to Elizabeth, "A trick? I'm sure I haven't the slightest clue to what you are referring to.”

Young Cordell is watching his parents and the stranger, he studies the man and the way he is dressed. He's intrigued with the handlebar moustache and the rugged attire that he is wearing, the dark, mysterious look. He's also intrigued with the way the man talks, he sounds very educated.

"We've run into your kind before! You try to befriend us, get all of the information, turn it over to your government and then we are told that we are not entitled to anything. My forefathers fought for this land, their blood seeps the soil, their spirits moan---- I do not wish to talk about this anymore, I will fight for my people alone---without the white man's help!

The stranger is silent for the longest, his fingers caress the badge as he turns it over and over, "I understand how you feel."

"You know nothing!” John's temper is rising, "You are a white man, you know nothing about what my people have gone through---come on Elizabeth, Cordell---we are leaving!”

"Wait" the stranger pleads, "just hear me out---I'm not trying to trick you. Don't you trust your brother? He's the one that has started writing the letters to The Department of Human Rights, and pressing the Oklahoma legislature to start finding the deeds and to find out what you are entitled to!”

John's voice is still anger, "You are not going to trick me into telling you what kind of proof I have------when Ray gets back from his military duties, then together we will take our proof to the governor of Oklahoma---or whoever we have to take it to."

"You have a lot of red tape to go through, John Firewalker, and you and your brother Ray need someone on the inside to help get these cases seen to. Not only are you entitled to land in Oklahoma, but you have a big chunk of it, right here in Texas. Right here, in this very area! We just have to find out where your rights start, and how much land was claimed by your forefathers!"

John shakes his head as he glares at the man, "Are you saying I'm stupid? My forefathers were all over Texas, they had homes, they raised families----they were cheated out of everything they ever owned!. I may not be school smart, like you----but I am not stupid----my forefathers told the stories, I listened, I remember.”

"John, let's go" Elizabeth pulls on his arm, "we do not have to talk to him.”

The couple turns, and Elizabeth takes young Cordell's hand, they begin to walk away. The stranger speaks Cordell's name, and as the boy turns, the badge is flipped to him. Cordell catches the badge and then looks quickly to his Father.

"Let the boy keep it, if he wants it" the man says sternly.

Cordell looks to each parent, they slowly nod their heads. He looks back to the stranger, "Thank you sir.”

The stranger smiles, "Maybe someday when you grow up, you might want to be a lawman, maybe a  Texas Ranger!”

Cordell looks at the badge and then the belt buckle, he weighs them back and forth and then says proudly, "No sir---I want to be a bull rider----like my Father!”

The stranger tips his hat, "There's nothing wrong in that, Cordell Firewalker, but who says---you can't  be both?”

The stranger walks away.


                                    ****************************************************

Mesquite, Texas (the present)

 

Alex and Angela are watching Walker as he gets ready to ride, the Ranger is putting on his riding chaps.

"What are them things, Daddy?”

Walker smiles, "They're called riding chaps, Angela, they help me to stay on the bull better.”

"Ohhh" Angela looks to her Mother,” maybe I can have some too?”

"No way, Angela---and there will be no further discussions on your riding any kind of bull, big or small---real or mechanical----so no more talking about it, o.k?”

Walker reaches over and pinches his daughter's nose, "Don't get Mommie upset---she just got over one mad spell, o.k., baby?”

Alex starts to reply when Zeb, the mechanical bull operator, calls out the Ranger's name.

"Hey, Walker---you're up next----" and then he sees Alex, he forces a smile, "oops----hi Alex----hi Angela.”

Alex nods to the man and Angela shouts, "Hi Zeb---Mommie is mad at you, she says she is going to skin you live!”

Alex is shushing her daughter as the man mutters a excuse, "I'm sure sorry, Alex---but it was all Walker's doings----he was the one that said to turn the machine on.”

"Thanks a lot, Zeb" mutters Walker.

Alex smiles back at the man, "It's o.k. Zeb---Walker and I have talked it over and he will not be putting Angela back on any kind of bull---real or otherwise-----right honey?”

The Ranger sighs and answers slowly, "Right----no more bulls.”

Zeb is still nervous, "Oh by the way, Walker---there was a man here asking questions about you for the last couple of days!”

"Who was he?”

"Don't know, didn't give his name---but he sure was weird acting----mean looking dude!"

Walker's brow arches, "What did he look like?”

Zeb takes a deep sigh, "Like I said, real mean looking, red hair, long and shaggy, had a beard------talked kind of funny---with a accent.”

"What kind of accent?”

Zeb scratches his chin, "I'm not sure--maybe Scotch or Irish, I can't tell them apart---sorry!”

Walker shakes his head, "The description doesn't ring a bell, did he say what he wanted?”

"That was the weird part, he was asking questions about you, but he kept saying "Firewalker"---now I know that not too many people around here know that you shortened your name some years back---around here we all know you as just  "Walker.”

Alex is staring back at her husband and then to Zeb, "Honey, maybe the man knew your Father, he was well known in the rodeo circuit?”

"Yeah, most likely" answers Walker, "how old of a man was he?”

Again Zeb scratches his chin, "I would say---around his late 60's, early 70's."

Walker nods his head and reaches for his gloves, "Then, he was asking about my Father, not me."

"No, Walker----he was asking about a Cordell Firewalker------and he was being very arrogant about it----he kept saying "that"-- Zeb stops and looks to Angela and then clears his voice, "he was saying "that darn red savage!”

Walker's face becomes rigid, "My Father had his share of enemies---just exactly, what was the man asking?”

"Like I said the man was very arrogant, I told him that you were suppose to ride today, and if he wanted to ask anymore questions to come back and talk to you----I got to go----I'll talk to you later----bye Angela, bye Alex."

Walker sighs, "I got to be going too, I'm up-----Angela---wish daddy good luck" and he reaches over to kiss her cheek. He then kisses Alex, she is staring back at him, her eyes are wide.

"Honey, what do you suppose that was all about?”

Walker forces a smile, "Hon, don't worry about it, we'll talk after my ride---o.k.?----Angela, you ready to go to the carny val?”

The girl squeals, "Yes daddy, and you buy me cotton candy?”

The Ranger winks, "You got it, baby---anything you want---Daddy will do his damnest to get it for you---for you and your Mommie----I'll lasso the moon!”

As he starts to walk away, Alex grabs his arm and asks , "What bull did you get?”

Walker stammers, "Uuuhhh, Widow Maker."

"Widow Maker? The same one that you rode over three years ago and broke your hand and wrist?”

"No, hon, this is his off spring.”

"Oh great" sighs Alex, "a younger and even meaner bull---Walker you are going to get bucked so high, you won't need a lasso to rope the moon----you'll be able to reach out and grab it!”

Walker shakes his finger back at his wife and then he turns to his daughter, "Angela, tell your Mommie to stop trying to be funny.”

Angela turns to her Mother, "Mommie---Daddy says…''

"Never mind, Angela" she answers between clinched teeth, and then to her husband she hisses "Walker!”

The Ranger laughs and then walks toward his chute, in the shadows a figure is watching. He watches the man in his rodeo gear climb upon the back of the bull and then his eyes go towards the waiting area and spots the blonde headed woman and small girl. He wipes the spittle away and curses, the pain between his eyes increases as he rubs the back of his neck.

"You will pay for your deception, Elizabeth---the years have been many, but I have not forgotten. Ye have carried the secret for too long---I am here to claim what is mine."


                                             ***************************************

 

Laredo, Texas

 

It is now the 8th summer of young Cordell's life, he and his family have traveled the rodeo circuit non-stop and Elizabeth is having yearnings for her son to attend public school.

"You know what will happen, Elizabeth---it will be just like the last time that we enrolled our son in a public school, he will be taunted and teased---just like the other times, when his little friends find out that he is half Cherokee!”

"He has to learn to deal with it, John---my teachings have been limited and the government says that he has to attend.”

Cordell is listening to his parents argue, he remains silent as his memory goes back to the last school he attended. His new friends thought he was o.k., his mistake was inviting a friend to his home. Everything was fine till his Father came home and the boy saw the tall man in buckskins, dark skin, and his hair in braids. The boy was terrified of John, no matter what Cordell or his Mother would say, the boy went home crying and told his parents. Again, the cruel tests of prejudice.

John sees his son standing in the doorway, "Come here, Cordell---this is your decision too. Do you want to go to public school?”

"Yes, Father" he answers softly, "Mother is right----I have to deal with it, I promise I will not complain.”

The following week, and Cordell is enrolled in the second grade. The other kids have watched him closely, noting the worn jeans, but how nicely they have been ironed. The boy has only three shirts, and he tries extra hard to keep the shirts clean, and therefore avoiding many of the games that the other boys play. Instead, he chooses to read more and stays to himself.

Another boy is watching young Cordell as he sits under a tree reading a book, he approaches him slowly.

"My name is Billy, what's yours?”

"Cordell----my name is Cordell.”

The boy repeats the name, "What kind of name is that, I ain't never heard that name before?”

Cordell's defense is rising, "It's Irish----so what?”

"Irish?---Oh, o.k.---didn't mean nothing by asking---it's just different--alright?”

Cordell goes back to reading his book and the boy points towards the football field, "Wanna play some ball?”

"No----no thank you.”

"What's the matter, you afraid of getting your clothes dirty--we been watching you----are you some kind of sissy?”

Cordell stands up and walks to the boy, "How would you like a fist to your mouth---don't you call me no sissy!”

"Then, why won't you play with us?”

"Cause I don't want to---that's why" Cordell snaps back.

"Maybe its cause you don't know how to play football---is that it?”

Cordell is getting angrier, "I do too know how to play, I just don't want to---it's a silly game!”

The boy starts to walk away and then turns back to Cordell,  "I could teach you how to play, if you want me to?”

"I don't need your help---I told you---I know how to play that silly game!”

Billy walks back up to him, "O.k.----then prove it--- football is made up of how many guys?"

"NINE!" Answers Cordell---"Everybody knows that!”

Billy starts to laugh, "That's baseball, stupid!!! Football has eleven---I knew it---you don't know anything about the game!”

Cordell is doubling up his fists, "Don't call me stupid, or so help me, I'll punch you!”

Billy looks back to the field and sees his friends waving to him, he shakes his head, "Look, if you change your mind and want to play, we could use a running back and I've seen you run track---you're very fast.”

"What's a running back?”

Billy smirks, Boy---are you stu------I mean---look I can teach you how to play--and you will make more friends than sitting here under this tree---reading!”


Part 3

 

Billy starts to walk away, Cordell calls him back. "Wait------I will play your silly game---if you want me to?”

"Good----come on---you can meet the rest of the guys, we don't bite!”

Young Cordell has made a new friend, but still he avoids saying too much about himself. He's all smiles as he goes running home to the old trailer that sits at the outskirts of town.   He hits the door running, calling to his Mother.

He sees her sitting at the old kitchen table and writing in the same book that he has seen her write in before. She quickly closes the book and looks to her son.

"Cordell, what's wrong? You're all out of breath!”

"Mother, I made some new friends---and guess what----they are learning me to play football!”

Elizabeth smiles, "My son, no one can 'learn' you---you mean 'teaching' you---football?”

"Yes ma'am---I mean teaching me---I have a new friend, his name is Billy, and he's teaching me all about the game."

"That is great, Cordell----but----this game of football will not interfere with your chores down at the stockyards, will they?”

"No, Mother---I won't stop helping Father---because I am still saving to buy those chaps for him."

She smiles back at him, "Oh sweetheart---you know your Father will not accept your spending money to buy him riding chaps, he's already told you to spend your prize money on yourself!”

The boy sighs, "I know what he said, but I've been talking to some of the other riders and they told me of a place that I could buy them, what they called---second hand---like the clothes---we wear!”

"Cordell Firewalker, you do not question what we have and have not---your Father works very hard to support us--you do not forget that---do you hear me?”

"Yes Mother, I mean no disrespect---but if Father sees that I can buy him his own chaps, he won't have to borrow anymore, and so far I've got almost $50.00 saved!”

Elizabeth nods her head, "We will see---but right now--you need to take some sandwiches down for your Father, he said he would be working late.”

"Does this mean the new broncos are coming in? Father will be breaking them, can I stay to watch?”

She laughs, "Is your homework done---if so---then you can stay and come home with your Father.”

The boy  gives out a war cry, "YES!" He then sees the book laying on the table and recalls how quickly his Mother closed it, when he came in.

"What was you writing in that book, Mother?”

"It's not just a book, my son, it's called a journal---and I was writing about----personal things that have happened in our lives.”

"Can I read it?”

"May? The  word is 'may' I read it?----and NO---you may not, this is like a diary, and diaries are very personal!---Now--go----your Father will be getting hungry!”

She waits until she can no longer see him running down the gravel road towards the stockyards and then to the rodeo grounds. She turns back to her possession, and starts reading slowly:

 

"My heart was heavy, I did not know what to do---my mind was

racing. How can someone's world be turned upside down in such a short length of time?  I fought him with every ounce of me, but he kept tugging at my clothes---I do not wish to remember the rest of the night but my mind has a mind of it's own. He must never know, I shall carry the secret to my grave, for to tell him would surely be his demise. May the saints forgive me--keep me strong in this web of deception.”


                                     **********************************************

 Shriner's Carnival, Dallas (present time)

 

The Walkers are watching as their daughter is being painted up as a clown by one of the carnival workers. They have her dressed as a Raggedy Ann clown, the girl is giggling and pointing at her red nose.

"See my nose, Mommie!”

"Yes sweetheart, I see your shiny, red nose----you are so pretty.”

Walker is gleaming as he reaches out and pulls her fake hair, "Come on Angela, let's go ride the rides.”

The Walkers are moving slowly towards the kiddie rides and Alex sits down at one of the tables urging Walker to put her in one of the little cars.

"Go ahead, honey---I'm going to sit here for a few minutes, rest my feet.”

"You feel o.k., hon?”

Alex sighs, "Just a little 'winded', your sons are kicking double time-----I just want to sit here and catch my breath---you two----go ahead and ride the rides---I'll wait here!”

As Alex is watching her husband and daughter, the figure from the rodeo has followed them and  is watching her. He keeps staring at her and shaking his head, the pain is going towards the back of his head now. He squints his eyes and looks back to Alex's hair.

"What have ye done to your hair, lassie----it is not the color of fire any longer?  Me guesses that it has changed too over the years------but it has not been that long----has it?”

 The man continues to watch Alex as his memories go flashing back to another time, another place:

He's staring back into the face of Duggan Talley, an old drinking buddy.

The face is blurry as the man keeps rubbing his eyes, and the pain increases.

"Ye better not be lying to me, Duggan---me will cut your heart out if ye are!”

”What me tell you is the truth---she is back----I saw her---just as beautiful as the day she left.”

The man downs his Irish whiskey and orders more, he downs that too.

"Was she alone?”

His friend nods, "Aye, she came alone---me heard the brother say.”

"Which brother?”

"The youngest one, Kordell.”

The man downs more whiskey, "He is trouble---he won't be so easy to approach----"

"Certainly not by you----he hates you!”

"Tell me everything, where does she stay---her parents have disowned her!”

Duggan downs another drink and shakes his head, "I hear Kordell say that she will stay with him.”

The man hits the bar in anger, "Curses!!!! She is at the church?”

"Aye----they are probably there by now----she will not talk to you-----and Kordell will never allow you into his house.”

"He cannot keep me away---his house is suppose to be open for all, even us sinners---right Duggan?”

"What do you plan to do?”

The man hesitates, " Me has to think of how to approach her---she will talk to me---ye will see!”

 

The figure is brought back to the present as he hears a young voice giggling and running to the blonde headed woman. The man shakes his head as he watches the little girl climb upon the chair near the woman.

"Mommy, Daddy said we could ride the 'erris wheel, want to ride with us?”

The woman shakes her head, "No way, sweetheart---Mommie can't ride any of the rides, they would make Mommy and the babies sick.---But, you go ahead and ride with Daddy, I know he is so anxious to ride the ferris wheel, aren't you honey?”

The Ranger sighs and takes a quick sip of his wife's diet drink, "Oooooh yes---I'm just counting the moments till I can go around and around and around."

"Walker, stop it---I'm getting nauseous just listening to you" the woman laughs.

"O.k., we'll ride the ferris wheel and then if I'm not too dizzy, I'll let Angela ride the 'tilt a whirl'---we'll be back in a few minutes!”

The man watches as Walker and the little girl walk away, he  grabs the back of his head, he stumbles towards an old tree and sits down underneath it.

 

"Me head feels like it is coming apart----things are so----confusing----who is the little girl?-----Is that Firewalker?---She called him "Walker", who is he? He does not look like the picture that I saw in her purse---the other man was----dark and had long, dark hair---who is this man, he looks like you, Elizabeth.  Can this man be the one called Kordell?----The years could be right, there have been many---no---no it has only been a few years-----the pain makes it hard for me to think straight."


          
The man continues to wrestle with his memory and the pain that is shooting through his head, he looks back to the blonde headed woman.

 

"Everything changed that night, Elizabeth----ye were in me arms, and then-----the pain was driving through me body like no pain me have ever known. Ye were crying, me knows not why---these things are confusing me------but everything will be set right again---when our child is born, the child ye conceived that night."

 

 The man is still observing Alex as his eyes linger on her protruding stomach, he smiles.

 

"Ye carry me son, Elizabeth---everything will be good again----So, this is America----you will all know me wrath, the wrath of CORMAC!”!


                                              
************************************************

 

Laredo, Texas (1962)

 

The latter part of the year and young Cordell will learn valuable lessons in a turbulent time of civil rights, his own prejudice, and the value of losing a friend.

Cordell and his young friend, Billy have been fishing and returning home with quite a catch. Billy has proved to be a very true friend. When he met John Firewalker, he didn't run home crying like Cordell's other 'so called' friends.  Instead young Billy is impressed with having a friend that is half Indian.

"Wow, Cordell--your Father is really brave when he rides those bulls-----and so are you! Could you teach me how to ride too?”

"Sure, the next time that I go down to the rodeo grounds I will ask my Father to teach you how to get started---but you have to listen very closely----and you have to have your  parents' permission, 'cause it can get dangerous!”

"I've watched you, Cordell, how dangerous can it be?---If you can learn to throw a football and run from one end of the field to the other, I can certainly ride one of those little bulls!”

Cordell laughs, "You will see that riding those little ones are not so easy, you will shake your insides up so bad, you will think that you have been run over by a train.”

The boys continue laughing, they do not see the other boys following behind them. The taunting begins.

"Hey Sambo" the tallest boy shouts, "want some watermelon?”

Cordell stops and looks back at the other boys, Billy grabs his arm, "Pay them no mind, Cordell---come on.”

"Who are they calling Sambo, and what's that suppose to mean?”

Billy continues to pull on his friend's arm, the other boys have caught up to them, and now trying to take the fish away from them.

"Leave us alone, we're not bothering you, " replies Cordell.

The second boy pushes Cordell, "We'll get to you later, "half breed!”

The other boys are circling Billy, and the first boy sneers as he pushes Billy to the ground, "Get up, Sambo---so I can knock your black ass down again.”

Cordell is staring back at the boys, "What are you saying?---Billy's not black---leave him alone!”

The second boy hits Cordell in the head, "When we want your opinion injun,--- we'll beat it out of you---now step back and watch the fun---because you're next."

The other boys are chanting, "Yeah, we don't want no niggers or any Indians going to our school!”

Billy shouts back at them, "We don't go to your school---you're older than us!”

"Exactly---" chimes the first boy" and we intend to make sure that you don't want to attend any of the schools in our neighborhood---got that---Sambo?”

The fight is on as the four boys start hitting Billy and kicking him, Cordell is screaming at them to stop, they won't listen. Cordell picks up a stick and starts swinging at the older boys, one of the boys takes it from him and starts hitting Cordell with it. Both of the boys lay bleeding on the ground as the older boys laugh and walk away.

Billy is hurt the worst as Cordell drags himself over to his friend. Billy is crying, "I'm sorry Cordell---I should have told you.”

"Tell me what? What were those boys  meaning----you're not black---what did they mean?”

Billy sobs, "Yes, I am----my grandmother was black----I've tried to hide it----I don't know how they found out!”

Cordell is trying to stand and to hold his friend up, "It don't matter, I got to get you home---my Mother will tend your cuts.”

Billy pulls away from Cordell, "NO----I'm going home!”

Cordell pleads with his friend to come to his house, Billy continues to walk away. Young Cordell goes running home as fast as his legs will carry him.

He runs into the trailer screaming for his Mother, she runs to him. He tells her the story about the other boys and how they beat Billy.

Elizabeth goes with her son to Billy's home and tells the parents what has happened. The Mother is frantic, wanting to know where her son is. The police have been notified and the search is on for young Billy.

Three days later they find Billy's body washed up on the banks of the Blanco River, Cordell is there when his friend's body is dragged ashore. The boy breaks down and sobs, his parents try desperately to console him.

Cordell's life will change, he becomes irritable and depressed, his grades starts failing, and he loses his position on the football team. He no longer wants to help his Father at the rodeo grounds and shows no interest in riding the bulls. He begins spending more time alone and rarely speaking to anyone. He finally approaches his parents to ask that they leave Laredo.

They travel now back to the Ft. Worth area and again, John Firewalker is following the circuit and doing as many odd jobs as he can to support his family. Elizabeth continues to do her share by taking in laundry and sewing.

Cordell is now attending school in Ft.Worth, he says little to anyone, he begins to read more. Some of the other kids try to approach him, he walks away from them.

He's now standing in front of an appliance store and watching the story on the TV unfold about racial unrest. He hears the snickers behind him as he hears the crowds cheering for the police that are beating up some blacks. His heart becomes heavy as he thinks about his dear friend, Billy.

He screams back at the spectators, "You're all a bunch of hypocrites, going to church on Sundays and then criticizing someone for the color of their skin!”

The crowd turns away from the TV and stare at the boy, "You're too young to know what is happening son, we can't let the blacks take over..”

"Take over what, they're just trying to be equal."

The crowd laughs, "Equal?  The niggers will never be equal to us-----and neither will the Mexicans----or those damn Indians!”!!!

Cordell kicks the man in the knee for the statement he has just made and now the other men are pulling Cordell away and pushing him to the street, "Go home kid, you don't know what kind of trouble you can get into by taking up for the likes of them kind---now go home before we beat you silly!”

The walk home is slow as neither his body or his mind want to go there. He knows his attitude is changing, he has begun speaking back to his parents and being disrespectful to others around him. His Father's temper is starting to show and the threat of getting a belt taken to him is imminent.

As he walks into the little two room house that his parents have rented, his Mother comes running to him.

"Cordell, where have you been?---He waited for as long as he could----he wanted to see you!”

"Who?---Who wanted to see me?”

His Father walks into the room, his lunch box under his arm, "Your Uncle Ray was here----he wanted to see you!”!!

"Uncle Ray? He was here, where is he?”

His Mother's smile fades, "He waited for as long as he could and then he had to leave to catch the bus----he's going back overseas.”

Cordell becomes sad, he would have liked to see the Uncle that he has heard so much about. "Back overseas? To Africa---again?”

"No" replies his Father, "to a place called Korea.”

"Cordell, why have you taken so long to get home, Ray wanted to see you so very bad, he hasn't seen you since--you were barely walking?”

The boy shrugs and walks to the kitchen, "No big deal, I just wasn't in any hurry to get home---I got busy doing some other things.”

John takes a deep breath as he starts to walk towards his son, Elizabeth pulls him back, "Go to work, I will have a talk with our son.”

Elizabeth waits till after her husband is gone and young Cordell fixes a baloney sandwich. She tells him to sit down at the old table, she studies his face. His hair is getting darker now, and his eyes take on a dark hue, making them look almost black. The freckles are abundant as they sprinkle over his nose and cheeks.

"Things are changing my son, and you are changing----I don't like what I am seeing in your attitude!  Talk to me, son, tell me what it is that bothers you so deeply!”

"It should be obvious as to what is bothering me, everything around me---look at the way we live, Mother!”

"I know we don't have as much as a lot of people, but we have more than some, and we should be grateful for what we have. That was one of the reasons your Uncle stopped by, he was telling your father that the government has accepted to look into the land rights belonging to your great, grandfather.”

"Oh please---not that again---Mother---the government has been saying that for how many years? There is nothing on paper to prove the land rights, only the scribbling of some whisky drinking redskin that just happened to squat on land that didn't belong to him!”

Elizabeth's temper is rising, "Watch your language, Cordell Firewalker---or I will take a belt to ye---do you understand me, lad?”

Cordell sighs, he knows his Mother is angry when she talks talking in the Irish brogue, he shakes his head.

"I'm sorry Mother---I just get so angry that Father even tries to fight for his people, when they treat him so badly. The last time that we went to the reservation, his own Father avoided him, his Mother said very little----and they still have nothing to do with me!   Why do they hate me so?”

Elizabeth becomes sad, "I don't know why your father's people ignore you except for the fact that you are not a full Cherokee---and for that---that is their loss."

"What about my grandparents on your side, they don't like me either, and they haven't even met me? How can someone hate someone so much when they haven't met that person?"

"I wish I knew the reason why people are so afraid of things they know nothing about, and I am sorry for my parents' distance to you, but you have a Uncle on both sides that have tried to be there for you. Your Uncle Ray is fighting in a war thousands of miles away and he's also fighting to get the rights for the land that is due your Father's people. And, your Uncle Kordell---he fights another war, but in a different way, he fights for the souls of the people that are losing blood in my country too. He has never seen you, but in his letters---he says how much he would love to meet you someday.”

Cordell downs the last of his baloney sandwich and stale bread, he clears his throat, "My----my Uncle Kordell---he's a priest?---Isn't he?”

A smile crosses Elizabeth's face, "Yes, he is a soldier of God, and you would like your Uncle---I wish so much that you could meet him.”

"Ireland is a long ways off, isn't it, Mother?”

"Yes-----maybe someday you can go there.”

"I would like that, I've seen pictures and I've heard you describe the place, the green rolling meadows, the mountains of the Tralee valley---that's where you were born, right, Mother?”

Elizabeth's blue/green eyes begin to sparkle, "Yes---and the valley is so beautiful, you would love it there.”

"Do you think that someday you, Father, and I could go there?”

"I wish it so---and there is nothing wrong in wishing and having dreams---but to go there would take a lot of money---money, that we don't have!”

Cordell looks to the brown leather case that sits upon his Mother's sewing kit, he rushes over to it and brings it back to her.

"But, Mother----Uncle Kordell said he would send us a plane ticket if we wanted to come---write to him---tell him to send it----please?”

Elizabeth touches her son's face lovingly, "I will talk it over with your Father, but Cordell---you have some adjusting to do. Your Father misses you and needs you to help him more at the rodeo grounds. He has been trying to do his part in helping to regain his people's right to the land taken from them, he is so very tired---he needs your help!”

The boy sighs, "O.k. Mother, I will try to work harder to help him. It's just that I feel----so confused, the world is crashing down around us, everyone is hating----and I miss----Billy ---so much.”

Cordell wipes a tear from his eyes, "You know what one of the last things was that Billy and I talked about?”

"What, my son?”

"I was telling him how much I wished that I had a brother or a sister---so I wouldn't feel so lonely. He told me that since he was older than me, that I could pretend he was my big brother. We laughed and we said that we would always be the best of friends, and I was so happy----I finally had someone that was wanting to share my life---as my 'make believe brother'. Was that wrong?”

"No" replies Elizabeth, "I think that was a very nice gesture on both your parts.---Cordell----I'm sorry that I was never able to have anymore children. Your Father and I wanted to have more, but I had a lot of trouble birthing you and the Doctors advised us to not have anymore. I'm so sorry for your loss in never knowing a sibling and I'm deeply sorry for the loss of your friend."

Cordell rises from the table and reaches out to hug his Mother, "I'll be going now---to help Father with the chores.”

 

The time passes and Elizabeth returns to her journal:


           " I know I wasn't completely honest with my explanation to Cordell on why he didn't have brothers or sisters and for this, my heart breaks. His birth was hard on me, but the Doctors said in a few years it would be safe to get pregnant again, but seeing the way that our son has been treated by both sides of the family was even more heartbreaking, and both John and I decided we would not bring another life into such a world that carries so much hate for the color of someone's skin.
           My son is so lonely and so unhappy, maybe it is time that I make one last effort in taking him to see his grandparents in Ireland. My brother, Kordell, has expressed his desire to see his nephew, and he could very well be my son's only tie to my side of the family. I am afraid of what awaits me there, sometimes I believe that he truly knows my secret as Kordell mentioned many years ago.  I know his anger, I will have to be very discreet in arriving there, I hope my son will understand it all. May the saints protect us and my decision in taking Cordell to Ireland."

 

The months pass and finally Elizabeth has gotten the money for her and Cordell's plane ride. Cordell begs his father to go with them, but the man refuses, saying he has to stay behind to continue working and take the endless trips back and forth to Lawton, Oklahoma and his fight for land rights.

It's a tearful goodbye at DFW airport as Cordell and his Mother kiss John goodbye.  Cordell watches as his parents embrace and the stares they are getting from the other passengers. Soon, their flight number is called out and young Cordell is taking his very first plane ride. He's both sad and happy as he waves goodbye to his father, he could see the tears swelling in his Father's eyes, but Cordell knew the man would not cry.

The silver bird is making it's departure and Cordell's heart is in his mouth as he feels the plane rise----he whispers to himself:

"Billy---I will never forget you----the clouds are so close that I feel as though I can reach out and touch them, and you. I know you are watching me----I'm going to Ireland-----wish me luck---huh, big brother!”!


                                                  *************************************

Walker Ranch:

 

The Walkers have returned from the carnival and putting a very exhausted daughter to bed.

Alex pulls the blanket up around her daughter and then kisses her goodnight. She looks over to her husband who is staring out of the window of the nursery. She walks slowly up behind him, trying to put her arms around his waist, but her belly prevents the closeness.

"Honey, what's wrong? You've been so quiet ever since we left the carnival!”

"I don't know hon, I just get the feeling that there is something in the air, an uneasy feeling that I just can't put my finger on.”

"Uh oh" laughs Alex, "there's that Cherokee intuition kicking in again-----I wonder if our kids will inherit these traits?”

Walker smiles, "I'm sure the twins will inherit a small part. Look at Angela---she's already showing her Cherokee prowess, and she's got her Mother's stubborn streak and the gift of arguing.”

"What was she arguing with you about?”

Walker turns around and encircles his wife's stomach, "She was wanting to ride the ferris wheel again, I told her "no" and that bottom lip began to pout.”

"What's the matter, honey, why didn't you want to ride it again?”

"I hate the ferris wheel---it was all I could do to just ride it once---I've always hated them, even when I was a little kid. I hated going around in circles in a backward motion!”


Part 4

 

Alex laughs as she gently pulls away from her husband and walks towards the two little bassinets that sit side by side. She turns back to him.

"Poor baby" she teases, "did you get dizzy? Honey, you have jumped out of airplanes and rode those rails on the side of a helicopter---how can you get dizzy riding a ferris wheel?”

Walker shrugs, "Beats the hell out of me, but I do.. I've always hated them!”

Alex begins folding and unfolding the tiny little clothes inside the dresser, she pulls out matching blue infant attire. "I think I will have one dressed in blue and the other in maybe a light green, what do you think, honey?”

He walks up behind her and kisses her neck, "I think that you are going to change your mind about what to dress the twins in at least another hundred times---honey---just play it by ear and---- dress them in whatever---they're not going to know the difference!”

"You're a lot of help" she scoffs---"honey---let's move the bassinets over there to the other side of the room and sit them at a diagonal slant. That way I can be between them---o.k?”

The Ranger sighs, " Alex, that's the way we had them in one of the earlier moves and we are not going to be moving them, I will do it---go sit down!”

 She starts to argue and then sees the determination in his eyes, "O.k.------ I'll sit. Oh Walker, are you getting excited?”

Walker is picking up the first bassinet and moving it, he shakes his head, "No, I'm damn right petrified!!!!  I was a nervous wreck waiting for Angela's arrival and now----we got two of them coming at the same time.!!!   And, by the way---have you made arrangements to hire someone to come out and help you after you bring the twins home?”

"No---not yet" she answers softly.

 Walker sits the first bassinet down, "is this where you want it, hon---at this angle?”

Alex nods her head, "A little more to the left---that's it----just like that.”

"And, why haven't you hired someone to help you---honey--you will have three to take care of, you need help. I will help you as much as possible when I'm home, but you need someone here-24/7!”

"I will sweetheart, I'll take care of it---I promise!”

Walker takes a deep breath and reaches for the other bassinet, "I don't know why you don't let Martha Ferguson help you, she has offered to help a dozen times----even more!”

Alex is pointing to how she wants the other bassinet, "Martha gets a little 'bossy' at times.”

"She's from the old school, hon---and she's just trying to be helpful.  Her ways of doing things might sound 'bossy' to you, but she means well..”

Alex goes to sit back down, she looks at her husband sadly, "It's times like this that---I miss---my Mother---Walker, do you realize that our kids will never have a grandmother? And, they will only have one grandfather----kids need that stability of having grandparents around. I know my Mother would have spoiled Angela rotten, not that you haven't already done that----and---it's just not fair!”

"I know hon, I think about my parents a lot especially when we got married and even more so when we learned 'we'  were pregnant.  Walkers smiles.  "My parents would have spoiled Angela too---and the twins-----I can sometimes see the expression on my Father's face if he could have lived to share these moments with us."

Alex wipes a tear away, "Honey----have you decided on what the names will be?”

"All I'm asking is that one of the boys be named for my Father----and we can name the other one after your Father.”

"But, John and Gordon don't rhyme---and twins usually have names that are similar, or at least the same initials."

"Hon, there is no law stating that twins have to have similar sounding names-----and we have plenty of time to discuss names.”

"Well, I know that you don't want a Jr. but I insist that one of the boys be named Cordell-----no arguments!

Walker shakes his head, "I can hear it now---John Cordell---that attention getter again!”

Alex ponders the thought, "Well---how about Cordell John?-----And remember you said that you wanted to name one after Jimmy?”

"Yeah, I do---I think it's only right since he named J.W. after me---and because Trivette has been the closest to a brother----" Walker's voice trails off.

Alex knows that her husband is thinking of his childhood friend, Billy. "Then---we will name the second one James, and we could name him William after your friend, Billy, if you like?”

"Maybe" Walker replies----but you said you wanted them to have the same initials----I have another name to consider----Cooper!”

Alex smiles, "Cooper---Hayes Cooper---your hero!!! I like that---Cooper James or James Cooper?”

Walker scratches his chin, "How about Cordell John and Cooper James---same initials---C. J .W?”

"I like it!” Alex is beaming. "For someone that doesn't believe in naming a child till after their arrival---you make good choices, sweetheart!-----After all, you picked out the name, "Angela.”

Walker is smiling as he walks over to his wife and kisses her, "You know what this means, don't you? Somewhere down the line we're going to have to have a little "Alexandra?”

She puts her arms around his neck and snuggles in close to his chest, "I love making babies with you, Cowboy-----and, not that I wouldn't love to have another daughter---but Angela has a part of my middle name----and that's good enough for me.”

He kisses her tenderly, "O.k.---then it's settled---or at least till the next time and you change your mind again!----Now, come on Mrs. Walker---let's go to bed.”

They walk slowly back to Angela's room and Walker checks the window again to make sure it's locked. He then reaches to turn the night light on and winds up the little carousel horse. The tinkling of the old player piano begins and Alex sings softly.

Outside a soft March wind is blowing and a figure crouches down beside the mesquite trees and looks towards the ranch house and to the window that the bearded man was standing at earlier. He shakes his head in confusement.

 

"Why do me have trouble remembering certain things? Some things are clear, others are not. I can still see your face,  Elizabeth, ye were like a angel---why did ye fight me so?---It was inevitable that we be together--not him! Me have come to take ye both back to the homeland and to the valley of Tralee where all things were young,  we were young , promising our lives to each other for eternity.  I watch as your belly swells, and the life inside you grows----our son grows. It is time, Elizabeth---no more games.”
                                         ***********************************

 

Dublin, Ireland (middle of 1962)

 

Young Cordell and Elizabeth have arrived in his Mother's homeland, and the boy is mesmerized at all of the greenery and rolling hills on their journey to Galway.

"Wow---Mother---it is so pretty---are we near the Tralee valley, where you were born?”

"We'll be there soon, my son---in about two more hours, but first I want to take a trip into  Kilkee---I want to see someone very special.”

"Who, Mother? Uncle Cordell?”

Elizabeth is all smiles, "Yes, you're Uncle Kordell, remember the spelling is different here. I wanted your name to be spelled with a K" but those silly nurses messed up the records and spelled it with a "C!”

Cordell smiles, "It's o.k. Mother, I don't mind.  I just wish Father could be here----tell me the truth, were you afraid for Father to come here, because of the way your parents have rejected him?”

"Yes" answers Elizabeth sadly, "I'm hoping that after they meet you, things will be different and maybe the next time your Father can come with us. But, Cordell--we have civil unrest here too---we are still fighting Northern Ireland , and I did not want to put your father through more turmoil here too. It's bad enough that his people are not even accepted in the country they settled!”

"Yes ma'am, I know Father was worried about us coming here, but I know that he wanted me to have one last chance on seeing my grandparents. I promise to be on good behavior, Mother---I will not get angry should they turn me away.”

"Thank you son, but there is something else I must ask of you, and I will explain it all at a later date..”

Cordell nods his head, "I think I know what it is, you want me to stay with my Uncle until you can talk to your parents-----about me?”

Elizabeth reaches out and hugs her son, "It would be better this way, please try and understand.”

Cordell hesitates, "Are you sure that my Uncle Kordell wants to see me, he won't be ashamed of me?”

"Sweetheart, you read his letter, he is asking to see you---he's not ashamed of you.---There's nothing to be ashamed of.”

"But, he lives in a church---how will I act? What do I say, what do I do?”

"You just be yourself, be polite, and remember to talk in a soft voice when you are inside the church. God has very tender ears and this church is not like the ones we have attended in Texas, where the revivals can sometimes get very hectic!”

"But, you like those revivals, Mother---there's always lots of singing and dancing!”

"True---and I have to admit that the Irish jigs here can get very wild, and in some places they dance in the streets--even on table tops! Those are called Octoberfests and they are so much fun!”

Elizabeth and Cordell arrive in Kilkee, and they are directed to the church of St. Thomas. They have chosen to walk the two miles as their carriage has gone on ahead of them to the church. Elizabeth is pointing out all the points of interest to her son, when they see a man in a black, flowing, robe running towards them.

"Elizabeth,---Elizabeth!”

She puts her hand to her mouth to stifle the tears and then she starts running to the man.

They fall into each other's arms and Elizabeth is crying uncontrollably. "Kordell----I have missed you so very much.”

The man is crying too as he brushes his sister's flaming red hair back out of her eyes, "My baby sister---thank you Lord for bringing her home.”

Cordell approaches them slowly and looks at the man that has a red beard and very stoutly built. The man pulls away from his sister and looks at Cordell.

"And, this is my nephew---this is Cordell?”

Elizabeth motions for her son to come nearer, "Yes---this is my son---Cordell---this is your Uncle Kordell.”

The boy continues to stare at the man's red beard, he then rubs his hands on his jeans and extends his right hand, "It's nice to meet----you----sir.”

Kordell grabs the boy and starts hugging him, "Me have waited so long for this moment----let me look at you, boy---you are the spitting image of your Mother.”

"Thank you, sir" and young Cordell is struggling to get out of the bear hug that his Uncle has him in.

Kordell is laughing and messing up Cordell's rustic colored hair, "Ye are a little thin, my lad---but we will fatten ye up---come---come----to my house of the Lord.”

The rest of the evening is spent exploring the huge church and young Cordell stares at the huge pillars and stained glass.  He approaches the altar as his Mother and Uncle watch him. Kordell turns to his sister.

"Has my nephew been baptized, what religion is he?”

Elizabeth shakes her head, "John and I have not baptized him into any religion, he is free to worship any way he chooses. You know I was never much into our religion brother, and that is another reason why our parents have shut me out---that and the lies that he has spread”

"Sister, our parents are very ill---are you sure you want to tell them-----about what happened that night?"

"Yes, it's time they learned the truth and if it means they will never accept my son---then so be it!  But, I refuse to continue living in the shadows of deceit, they have to know how the man has spread the lies. I will leave for the valley in the morning.”

"Aye, and me will be going with you.” Replies her brother, "Ye can not face this by yourself and for me am guilty too of letting the lies spread. Together we will face them, and may the saints forgive me for not speaking up on your behalf!”

Elizabeth hugs her brother, "I asked you not to say anything and you kept your word----the saints do not blame you.”

She turns and motions for her son, "Cordell---come my son, it has been a long trip and you must be tired.”

"I am tired, Mother, but there is so much to see----Uncle Kordell, can we go fishing tomorrow", he whispers.

The man laughs, "We have plenty of time to fish, my nephew, but me has decided to go with your Mother----and you can explore all you want."

The three walk out of the church and to a small cottage that sits in the back, and soon Cordell is fast asleep.


                                                   ****************************************


 Dallas, Texas: April  3rd 2004

 

The Walkers are attending the wedding of their dear friends, Gage and Sydney. Walker is Gage's best man and Trivette stands proudly by him. Alex is Syd's maid of honor, Angela is flower girl and young J.W. is ring bearer. Everyone is on pins and needles as the young boy is bouncing down the aisle, and the pillow on which the rings rest, is bouncing up and down too. Erica is trying to get her son settled down, as Walker and Trivette can't stifle their laughs.

Gage is all smiles as the music starts and the flower girls come down the aisle, spreading pink rose petals. Finally, the bride appears in her long, satin gown, pink flowers hold Syd's raven colored hair back softly over one shoulder.

As soon as the wedding song starts, Angela runs to J.W. and hugs him childishly.  The parents smile and soon everyone is dancing.  Trivette dances with Alex, Walker dances with Erica.

"Whoa, Alex---you look as though you're going to burst at any moment" jokes Trivette.

"I better not, I have at least another four weeks to go---and Walker is already a nervous wreck!”

"Don't I know it!  Remember I have to ride shotgun with that man? ----He's constantly on the phone calling you.”

Alex smiles, "Isn't that ironic?  I can remember a time when Walker hated using a phone, especially a cell!”

"Guess that's what married life does to you, I've never seen a man change so much since you two got married, and more especially after Angela was born!   He talks non-stop about that little goddaughter of mine and I can't say I blame him----she sure is pretty!”

Alex looks over to her husband as he and Erica are laughing about something, "Yes, she is definitely a "daddy's girl", I just hope that he pays equal attention to the boys when they get here."

"Are you kidding, Alex?---The man has already bought season tickets for them to all the Dallas Cowboy and Texas Rangers games!”

Alex laughs, "What about you, Jimmy---when are you and Erica going to have another baby? J.W. will be soon be three, don't you want to have another baby?”

Trivette's face becomes sad, "I  would love to have another, but Erica is not in any hurry. I keep telling her that we shouldn't wait too long, and have the kids close together like you and Walker have chosen to do, but she says she wants to wait till J.W. is in school.” 

"Well, Walker and I didn't exactly plan on having another baby so soon---or in this case-two babies!---But, we are both happy at how things turned out. And, I think that after I have the twins, I would like to wait awhile too before we start planning for a fourth one.”

"Uh oh, does this mean that my partner will have to go back to taking cold showers again?”

Alex lowers her eyes and smiles, "Nooooo----it does not! I’ll have you know that my husband hasn't had to take cold showers during any of my pregnancies!----Why?---Are you speaking from experience?”

Trivette takes a deep sigh, "I'm taking more cold showers now than I ever did while I was single-----Erica is----well to put it bluntly----she doesn't----like sex----that much!”

"Oh" Alex stammers, "sometimes that happens after a baby is born---the hormones get all messed up, she is getting help for that, isn't she?”

"Yeah, she takes the hormone pills and all of that stuff---but the truth is---after she got pregnant with J.W. she didn't want to have sex hardly at all. At first she said it hurt and then she was saying---she didn't feel right. Is that normal, Alex?”

Alex starts to reply and then she sees her husband tapping Trivette on the shoulder, "Can I have my wife back now?”

The two friends laugh as Walker reaches out and takes Alex in as close he can  without squashing her tummy.

"What were you two talking about, it looked serious?”

"Now, don't tell me that you're jealous of your best friend" she teases.

He kisses her cheek, "I'm jealous of any man that even looks in your direction----and I know what kind of Romeo Trivette can be---he's still giving the ladies the 'eye'.

"Oh really?” Replies Alex, "I hope it's not rubbing off on you, Cowboy!”

"I got all I can handle" he kisses her softly, "and when a man is happy at home, his body doesn't roam.”

She returns his kiss, "Does that go for the eyes too? I've seen the new women Rangers, they are very attractive and so shapely in those uniforms.”

"Yes, they are---they are very attractive and I've noticed them---I'm not blind!   But, I see only you, Alexandra----you're the love of my life, and I happen to think that with each new pregnancy ---you get even more beautiful." He then whispers in her ear, adding "And, so damn sexy!”

The Walkers continue to dance, and Trivette is standing by the punch bowl, eyeing one of the bridesmaids. She looks back in his direction and smiles, Erica has watched the scene unfold. She walks slowly up beside her husband and whispers.

"Is she the one you're 'banging?”

Trivette sighs, "Don't start anything, Erica---not  now. This is Gage and Syd's big day----don't spoil it!  At least my friends are happy in their marriages, wish I could say the same!”

Erica stares back at the bridesmaid, the woman turns away quickly. She hisses back at Trivette, "I hope you're taking precautions, I'm not raising any of your bastard kids!”

Trivette stares back at her and whispers," Erica, what is wrong with you? You 'dish’ me for looking at pretty women and accuse me of sleeping around---maybe if I was getting it from my wife, I wouldn't be looking at other women!  And, that's all I've been doing, Erica---is just looking-----so far!”

The cake is being cut and everyone is toasting the happy couple. Alex starts rubbing her stomach, and then pulls gently on her husband's arm.

"Honey, I got to go to the little girls' room----again--would you keep an eye on our daughter?”

"Sure hon, I got my eye on her. She and J.W. are over there playing with the other little guests, she'll be fine. Oh, by the way Trivette and I want to go to a Rangers game tonight, do you feel like going?” 

"No honey I think I will go home and soak my feet---you two go ahead---I know how much you've been wanting to see this game. Against Anaheim, right?”

Walker puts his arm around her, "Yep, our arch enemy----thanks hon, I'll take you and Angela home and then meet Trivette at the main gate. "

Trivette grins as he looks over at the groom,  " Walker, watch this!-----Hey Gage---Walker and I are going to the Rangers' game, want to come?”

Gage quickly looks to his new bride and then asks, "Who they playing?”

Everyone laughs as Syd hits Gage in the shoulder, "What difference does it make who they are playing----we have a honeymoon to go on----remember?”

"Oh yeah, I almost forgot" replies Gage as he reaches out and spins his bride around, and then he grins back at his friends, "Guess I'll just have to listen to it on the radio-----sorry guys!”

Alex shakes her head and hits Walker playfully, "Would you guys stop teasing  the new groom?”  And then she goes in search for the ladies' room. She does not notice that she is being followed by a man in coveralls, that is pretending to be emptying the trash cans.

The man looks back at the wedding and to the spectators, no one has seen him following the blonde. He begins walking faster up behind her and then suddenly another woman's voice shouts.

"Hey Alex, hold up---I'm making a 'pee' trip too!"

The man stops abruptly and pretends to reach down for some paper, he notices another woman walking up to Alex, holding her stomach.

"Hi Wendy, how's it going?”

The woman stops to catch her breath and leans up against the wall, "I don't know how you do it, Alex------you're further along than I am, and I am exhausted carrying this extra weight!  All I seem to do is 'pee' constantly-----Jack is threatening to make me sleep in the bathroom!”

The women laugh and Alex rubs her stomach, "And, you're only carrying one!”
           The women turn to go into the ladies' room and then the man sees more women coming down the hallway.

 

"Curses!!!! Does everyone go to the loo at the same time here in America?”


                                                 
***********************************************


           Elizabeth's parents have listened to her story and about the night in question. Her brother stands beside her, nodding his head.

"It is true. Elizabeth is telling you the truth. Why don't ye believe her?”

Her Father is a huge man, built like Kordell and he too has the red beard, his face is red as he stares back at his daughter. The Mother is very frail and in her last days as she looks pleadingly back to her husband.

"Please Angus----what would it hurt?  Me wants to see my grandson---no matter who the Father be---he is still a part of our daughter!”

Elizabeth shakes her head, "It does matter who my son's Father is----the Father is my husband----John Firewalker---why can't ye accept that?”        

Angus spits back at her, "Maybe it would have been better if the boy's Father is Cormac---he would be better accepted!”

"Better for who? You, Father?”

"Do not raise your voice to me, Elizabeth Kathleen Tralee----or I will raise the stick to ye backside!”

Elizabeth lowers her voice, and then very sternly she replies---"Ye will not raise your stick to me---ever again!   I am a woman now-----and my name is Elizabeth  Kathleen Firewalker----I am John's wife, and Cordell is our son!!!! Do ye understand that---Father?”

Her Mother is now crying and shaking her head, "Please do not make ye father angry!”

"I do not care if he is angry, Mother----I have told you the truth about my son, but you and Father would prefer that he be the son of the monster that raped me!”

Angus is stomping around the room, "Ye say Cormac raped you----what about this John Firewalker---did he rape ye also?”

Kordell takes a deep breath, "Father, why do ye insist that?  Elizabeth has told ye that she loves this man, she told ye that years ago when she was here last time and you turned her away, telling her that if she returned to America and to John Firewalker that she would not be welcome in your home.  It is time to stop the hate, have we not seen more than enough, and the bloodshed that it causes?   Ye have lost two sons to the war in Northern Ireland and may lose two more if the fighting does not stop!”

Angus continues to swear underneath his breath and glares back at his daughter.  The Mother continues to cry.

"Me days are numbered---and so are yours, my husband. Me wants to see my grandson----please let Elizabeth bring him here!”

"Never!" Screams Angus, "I will not let a redskin inside me home---have ye lost your mind, Kathleen Tralee?”

Elizabeth starts to cry softly as she bites her lips, she turns to her brother----"It's no use, he will not change!----And, as for your question as whether or not I was raped by John---the answer is "NO----I gave myself to him willingly, I made love with the man I have loved since the day I met him!”

Angus's face is getting redder, his blood pressure is taking it's toll. "Slut!!!!----Is this the way ye were raised, spreading your legs for the likes of a stinking, redman that is also scorned by the Americans? Ye shame me, ye shame this family---go---get out of me house!”

Elizabeth turns to leave and then her Mother screams out, "No----this is me house too, Angus Tralee and me will have me say! Elizabeth, ye bring me grandson to me-----please!”

"Me will not allow that boy to be brought here!”  Screams back Angus.

Kordell puts his arms around his Mother, "Fine----then me will take Mother to the church---to see her grandson---ye can come too, Father---if ye wish---if not---then do not try to stop us. Do ye hear me?”

"I hear ye!  Ye Mother is too sick to go all the way to Kilkee."

"Me will risk death to see him, Angus----we have shunned him for too many years, it stops now. We don't have much time to be with him, let him come----please my husband, it is me last request.”

The room is silent as Angus reaches for a small bag, "Very well, bring the boy here---but me will not be here---me will return when he is gone!”

Elizabeth and her brother return to Kilkee and the story is relayed to young Cordell. The boy is sad, but happy.

"Does she really want to see me, Mother?   What about----my-----grandfather?”


Part 5

 

Elizabeth holds her son tightly, "My son, please do not worry about your grandfather's acceptance anymore. He is from the 'old times' in a time where people stayed within their racial boundaries. I have wandered, and maybe God will punish me, that is my cross to bear.”

"It's wrong, Mother---the bible does not hate because of the color of someone's skin. I will be content in seeing my grandmother, do I call her that---or something else?”
           "Why don't you ask her what she prefers---and Cordell---you will have to listen very careful. My Mother's  brogue is very thick and she is in poor health.”

The boy nods his head slowly and the two begin the journey back to the Tralee Valley.
            At the church, the local fruit and vegetables have been delivered, the vender is looking back to the church very curiously. Kordell is watching him, he shakes his head in distrust.

"What ye have this time, Duggan O'Malley?  Me hopes the vegetables are in better shape than the last time---- and when ye leave this time---clean your mess!”

The man sneers---"Me are not in your house, Kordell Tralee, ye cannot tell me what to do.”

“Ye will never change, Duggan, do you not bathe?”

 "Listen, "Father" and me stomach turns when me mentions your title----me still remembers you as a snot nose kid from the valley--- just because ye wear the frock---me can still kick ye religious butte!”

Kordell takes out the pouch that holds the church's mere spending, "Here----take ye money and go---me will not listen to your remarks!”

Duggan grabs the money, counts it quickly and turns back to Kordell, "This is not enough!”

"It is all the church could afford from the donations, it's always been enough before!  What's the matter, Duggan, have ye been hitting the pubs again?”

Duggan wipes his spittle away, "Ye have always thought ye better than me. Cormac has beaten ye several times, do ye forget his wrath----Kordell?”

"Do not mention the man's name in the presence of the church--- he is the lowest of the sinners----being  a man of the cloth, me are not suppose to think evil thoughts, but me wishes that the man had died---years ago!”

"He almost did----thanks to that sister of yours---ye did nothing to help him and ye call yourself a priest?”

"Sometimes the Lord has a deaf ear and blinded by truth."

"What rubbish ye spill-----ye will pay for your deception!  Cormac will bring ye to your knees-----and ye won't be praying, Father!”

Kordell's temper is rising, his fists close and open, "Go from my house----do not come back-----me will take the church's business elsewhere!”

Duggan stomps back to his horse drawn wagon, and leaves in a huff. Kordell and the other church members take the food inside.

Duggan stops halfway down the dirt road and looks back, scratching his scraggly beard.

"Something is different, Kordell's anger was quick. Someone else is staying in the church, probably his stinking brothers are hiding out again. He gave them shelter the last time they were in hiding, maybe it is time to gain another reward by telling the Army where they are----the stinking  deserters!”!!


                       *********************************************************


Easter Sunday: Walker Ranch


           Walker is getting Angela dressed in her little bunny costume while a very pregnant Alex is wobbling back and forth to the bathroom. She rubs her backside and sits down on the edge of their bed, looking for her shoes.

The Ranger smiles as he pulls gently on the whiskers of his daughters' costume.

"O.k., "bunny nose"----you're all ready----now hop out of here!”

Angela starts hopping to her parent's bedroom, carrying a Easter basket.  "Look, Mommie---see me hop!”

Alex laughs, "Yes, I see you hopping---you make a very good little bunny!”

"I'm going downstairs, will Grandpa be here soon?”

Walker nods his head, "Your Grandpa's plane should have landed about an hour ago---he'll be here any moment." He watches as his daughter gets safely down the stairs.

He turns back to Alex as she is trying to slip her foot into a sandal, he shakes his head.

"Hon, are you sure you're up to this? Angela would understand if you couldn't make the play!”

"I am not missing my daughter's very first play----Walker, would you just help me please---to get the sandal fastened?”

Walker squats down on the floor, eyeing the sandals, "Alex---please don't wear these sandals---wear something more comfortable. How about those Danskins I bought you last week?”

"They're the wrong color, honey!---My dress is a pale blue---the shoes are black!”

"What's wrong with black shoes?”

Alex sighs, "Sweetheart, it is spring----I want to wear spring colors.”

The Ranger swears underneath his breath, "What's more important? Color----or being comfortable?”

Before she can reply, Walker takes the sandals away----"Never mind, I know how you are on coordinating your colors! As soon as Gordon gets here, I'm going out to buy you another pair---what color do you want?”

"Walker, you don't have time to shop-----and this is Easter---everything is closed!”

"You’re not wearing those sandals, Alex---they give your ankles no support and you will be complaining before the evening is half over.-----What about these shoes?”

Alex looks at the shoes in question and then back to her husband, "Walker---those are tennis shoes!!---I can't wear them things to church!”

"Honey, you are almost ready to deliver---all of our friends will understand why you are wearing them---they are not going to be looking at your feet!”!!

Alex takes a deep breath, "Could we compromise?---Can I just wear the sandals into the church, and then once Angela's play starts, -----I'll put the tennis shoes on, o.k?”

Walker sighs, "I would much rather you not go to this play at all---but I know it's Angela's first play----and I can't talk you out of it!----O.k.---a compromise---as soon as the play starts, those sandals come off!”

"Oooooohhhhhh, Cowboy, I like the authority in your voice---what else do you want me to take off?”

He reaches out and pinches her nose, then kisses it---"Behave yourself, woman---we don't have time for this."

She smiles back at him, "I can remember a time when you would never have said that---we always 'made' time.----Guess, I'm getting just too big and-----a little---disgusting?”

"Alexandra Cahill-Walker---don't ever let me hear you talk like that again. You know what the Doctors said, we're past the safe period of having sex---and the last time we did, you were in a lot of pain!”

She says nothing as she continues to rub her stomach, "I know-----and I'm sorry.”

"Sorry for what, Alex?  I don't expect you to be wanting sex at this stage of your pregnancy, I know it's uncomfortable for you---I understand that!”

"Do you really, you're not just saying that? I'm as big as a house, Walker!  I must look hideous to you.!

"Alex, we went through this very same thing when you were carrying Angela, of course you're going to gain weight, that goes with the territory!”

"I don't know what gets into me, I don't want to say these things or have these doubts."

"What doubts, Alex-----who have you been talking to---Erica?”

"Yes" replies Alex slowly, "yes, I talk to her, she's Jimmy's wife and my friend---why shouldn't I talk to her?”

Walker takes a deep sigh as he remembers back to Gage and Syd's wedding and when he was dancing with his friend's wife. Erica was taking their conversation into a direction he didn't feel comfortable with, asking personal questions about his marriage. He soon went in search for his wife.

"Alex, honey---sometimes Erica can say things all wrong-----and you know as well as I do that she doesn't have the same views on marriage as you do. What I'm trying to say is, is that she's changed---she and Trivette aren't getting along too well right now and she's bitter.”

"Yeah, I know---Jimmy has expressed that he would like to have another baby, but Erica doesn't. Do you know what the problem is, did Erica say something to you about it?”

"Well",------ Walker hesitates, "at the wedding she was starting to ask some personal questions, at least I thought they were too personal---and I walked away from her.”

"What kind of questions?”

Walker walks over to their bed and sits down beside his wife, "She was asking------things------like----you know---how far along were you with Angela----did we continue---to be intimate?"

Alex stares back at her husband, "And, how did you answer her?”

"I said that----that,---- that was something she should ask you and I walked away!”

Alex shakes her head,  "I can't believe that Erica would ask you a question like that-----but come to think of it----Jimmy was getting a little personal too."

"How personal?” Walker's voice is stern.

“Grandpa----Grandpa's here!”

Alex dabs at her eyes with a Kleenex, "Oh no, I can't let my Dad see me like this, honey---go down and talk to him----I've got to put fresh makeup on----and damn it----I got to 'pee' again!”

Walker just shakes his head and heads downstairs, he sees Alex's Dad picking Angela up and spinning around with her.

Angela's squeezing his neck, "Do you see my bunny suit, grandpa?”

Gordon sits his granddaughter down and gently pulls the bunny whiskers, "What are you suppose to be, a turtle?”

"No Grandpa---a rabbit---a Easter bunny! Turtles don't have whiskers----and look," Angela turns around and points back to her bunny tail-----see, Grandpa---see my bunny tail!”

Gordon winks back at Walker and then pretends to be so embarrassed, "Oh, that's right----you are a bunny rabbit!  I should have known----but where are your ears?”

Walker laughs as he reaches out to embrace his father-in-law, "Her ears are at the church, they had to be reshaped.”

Gordon slaps Walker on the back, "Aaah, I see----for a moment there I thought Angela was going to be the only rabbit in the world----with no ears!”

"You're silly, Grandpa----are you going to church with us?”

"I sure am, where is that Mother of yours---the real rabbit?---And, believe me, son, the way you and Alexandra are popping these babies out---you're putting me in mind of rabbits!” Gordon teases.

Walker laughs, "And, who was saying just last Christmas that he was wanting another grandchild?”

"Guilty, guilty as charged---and speaking of babies, how is Alex and the twins?”

"She and the babies are fine, Gordon. She just had a checkup on Friday---everything is fine---the babies are due May 3rd!”

"Ooooh, that's great----uuuhhhh Walker, will it be alright if I gave you and Alexandra a little early 'congratulations' present?”

Walker sighs, "You don't have to give us anything, Gordon."

"I know that!  Why do you have to be so stubborn?---I just want to give you both a nice present----actually---something that you will all enjoy.”

Walker shakes his head, "What are you up to now, Gordon?”

Alex is slowly coming down the stairs, "Hi Dad---Happy Easter!”

Gordon is all smiles as he walks up to the stairs and stares back at Alex's condition-----"Are you having twins, daughter----or triplet’s?”

Alex laughs as she hugs her father---"No, Dad --I'm having Quads----can't you tell?”

"Good" Exclaims Gordon, ---'my present will come in very handy.”

Walker walks over to the picture window and looks out, he shakes his head, "There is no way that we are accepting 'that'!!!!

Alex is walking slowly to the window as Walker is pulling the blinds up and Alex sees a  motor home sitting in the driveway.

"Oh my God, Dad---you didn't!”!!!!!

Angela is jumping up and down, "It's a big car!”

Both Alex and Walker stare back at Gordon, he just smiles---"It's all yours--- bought and paid for----and it sleeps up to eight people, I think the salesperson said. I had him drop it off at the airport and I drove it here---that's why I was so late, trying to fight that DFW traffic!”

Walker picks his daughter up, "Gordon---there is no way---we will accept that---it's too expensive----not to mention too big!”

Alex smiles nervously, "Dad, there's no way we can afford that---it would drink our paychecks every time we drove it.”

"What about vacations? You can use it to go on vacations---not to drive everyday---what do you say, pumpkin-----don't you like it?”

"I like it, grandpa----can I go play in it?”

"No, Angela---it's not to play in----Dad---we can't discuss this right now---we have to get Angela to the church for an early rehearsal---we're running late!”

“Fine----let's take the motor home---here Walker----you can drive!”!!!

"Dad, we are not taking the motor home, it's less than 10 miles to our church, we will take the SUV---now please---we got to go."  She looks quickly to her husband who is doing a slow burn---"Honey---let's not get into this---we have to go!”

The drive to the church is quiet except for the Ranger, mumbling under his breath, "A motor home?   Of all things---that motor home is as big as our house!”


                                              *****************************************


Ireland:

 

Elizabeth and her brother wait in the living room while young Cordell has his first and last visit with his grandmother. His Mother was right, Cordell is having a difficult time in understanding her strong Irish accent. His visit is short as Kathleen has started to cough and the nurse has insisted on taking her to the hospital.

Three days later and Kathleen has died of a heart attack, Cordell is standing by his Mother and Uncle as she draws her last breath. Her last words are to Cordell as she whispers,  "Please forgive me, lad.”

Angus has come down out of the mountains long enough to attend his wife's wake, he looks quickly at his grandson and then he leaves again. Elizabeth will never see her Father again, she and Cordell are now making final arrangements to fly back to the states.

Cordell is sitting on the river bank, his Uncle walks up to him slowly.

"Me will miss you lad, me regrets there has not been more time for us to be together.”

"I will miss you too, Uncle Kordell---but Mother says she wants you to come to America someday to visit us---will you?”

The man smiles, "Me promises that someday soon me will do that, me would like very much to meet ye father---ye miss him, lad?”

"Yes, very much so.  A lot has been happening since we've been gone, the government has started looking into the land grants and my father says that some of the land that his forefathers  lived on is now being turned back to the Cherokee people.”

"That is good, Cordell---maybe your father's people can finally receive what was taken from them ---so many years ago by the white government.”

Cordell nods, "The good thing would be that my father doesn't have to continue working 2 & 3 jobs to support us----Uncle Kordell, who were those men at the church earlier asking questions?”

"They were from the Irish liberation---asking for the whereabouts about me brothers, Michael and Damien.”

"Oh" replies Cordell slowly, "Mother says they deserted, is that true?”

"Afraid so, me lad. But, that is a long story and ye not be concerned about that---me brothers are far away now---they will not be caught.”

"They kept staring at me and then Sister Marie made me go to the kitchen and stay till they left. Why were they asking questions about me?”

Kordell starts to reply when he hears Elizabeth's voice, "So, here you two are! I've been looking all over the grounds for you two" exclaims Elizabeth as she walks down to the river bed.

Kordell sighs, "We are here sister, just watching the waters and making plans to see each other again---real soon---right, nephew?”

The boy smiles and Elizabeth turns to him and nods towards the church, "We have to be going soon, my son---are you ready to head to the airport?”

"Yes, Mother---I'm ready---I'll go take the bags to the carriage.”

Elizabeth waits till her son is out of hearing, "What's wrong Kordell, you look worried?”

"They were here again, sister---asking about Michael and Damien-----and then they asked about Cordell.”

"What were they asking about, you didn't tell them anything, did you?”

"No, Elizabeth---me told them nothing, me lets them think that Cordell was one of Michael's sons. Me don't think they suspected anything else!”

Elizabeth takes a deep breath, "In another hour it won't make any difference, Cordell and I will be on our way to the airport, if Cormac had suspected that I was here, he would have made an appearance by now.”

Kordell grunts, "Me never knows how that man will react to anything anymore, he has not been right in the head for almost ten years now."

"If I could turn the clock back to that horrible night, I would have bashed his head to a pulp----and I should have!”

Kordell shakes his head, "If only had me gone with you to see the Doctor -----maybe nothing would have happened----me blames myself!”

"Stop blaming yourself, brother, the only one to blame is Cormac-----I told him to stop, I begged him to stop-----he raped me----even after I told him that I was pregnant with John's baby."

Kordell shakes his head, "The man should have been whipped and rode out of town---and that's exactly what me should have done when ye told me what happened!

Elizabeth begins to sob quietly, "As much as I have tried to put that night out of memory---for John's sake---I can still remember it as though it was yesterday. Cormac was waiting for me when I came out of Dr. Kenny's office, he refused to listen to anything I had to say, he kept saying that I belonged to him and things would be right again.”

"Cormac has always been in love with ye, sister. The man is possessed by ye and has been since ye both were kids.”

"The feeling was never mutual, Kordell---I couldn't stand the man---that is why I begged my parents to go to America with cousin Margaret. I felt so free when I arrived in New Mexico and then Margaret wanted to show me a rodeo---and there my whole life changed---after I saw him.”

"Aye" Kordell sighs, "and that is when the parents became furious when they found out that you were seeing a redskin. Me thinks that the old man lost all logic when he got that news---ye disappointed him, Elizabeth. He expected ye to marry Cormac, your own people.”

"What about you, Kordell, do you understand now why I married John, and how much I love that man?”

"Over the years, me has been angry with ye too---but when me took the vows of the church, me started to change me views. Ye letters were filled with so much happiness, me could read the happiness when ye talked about this John----and more so after me nephew was born. Me heart was busting when ye said he carried me name, no greater tribute could a man receive and even more so when me vows prevent me from having me own child. He is a good boy, Elizabeth---ye have raised him well.”

"Cordell is my life and John is to be congratulated too, in spite of how his family has rejected us also, John is a great Father. He loves that boy more than life, we both do----and yes, Cordell is a good son!”

"Me prays that Cormac has not learned of ye being here---there is no telling what he would try to do----especially after what ye did to him--that night.”

"I have no regrets for what I did---I should have killed him!! All I could do was to keep hitting him with that rock, finally he drug himself off and all I could do was try to figure out how I would tell John that I had been raped. I agonized over what to do for weeks and finally I said that I would never allow John to know what happened. That was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, pretend that everything was alright when I returned to Texas. I was bound and determined that he didn't have to know what happened, I was already pregnant with his child."

"Aye, me knows that is true, but Cormac's mind has stopped, he believes the child ye was carrying was his---he is crazy, Elizabeth!”

"What do you mean, his mind has stopped?”

“He was in and of jail countless times---and in the insane asylum as well, he told everyone that would listen that ye were carrying his child!”

"Lies, nothing but lies------I told him I was pregnant, I begged him not to----to----have his way with me---he wouldn't listen!”

"The only other person that knew that ye were already with child was Doc Kenny---he tried to tell Cormac that he was crazy---Cormac beat him to a pulp--- and then he was back in the crazy ward again!”

"What happened to the Doctor?”

"He died a few weeks later of his injuries-----Cormac was sentenced to 20 years----the man did hardly no time at all---and he was out, he fled to France and hid out for several years!”

"Good, I hope he rots there!”

Kordell takes a deep breath, "Don't count on it sister, Duggan "O Malley has been hanging around me church, you can bet that Cormac will not stay in hiding for long.”

"But----Duggan doesn't know that I am here, even at our Mothers' wake---I stayed in the distance and kept a veil over my face---I didn't see him there, did you?”

"Nay, but that does not mean that he was not there---he is like a snake---he hides---but he can still be in plain sight."

"It's been almost 10 years, why is he still saying that I was carrying his child---I don't understand how someone's mind can shut out the truth, what does he expect to gain?”

Kordell doesn't answer, he just looks back at his sister in silence.

Elizabeth's face drains, her expression is  total shock, she asks slowly, "My son?  Does he expect to take my son, I would never allow that to happen---John----John would kill him----or anyone that tried to take Cordell from us!”

"I told you, sister, the man's mind has stopped---it stopped 10 years ago when he raped ye---he erased everything up to the minute that---he raped---ye! When he was told that ye were with child, his mind refused to listen that it could be anyone else's, but his! And, through the years he has convinced himself that ye were carrying his child. The Doctors that treated him at the insane asylum said he had brain damage, that it was deteriorating and he suffers from blackouts. Sometimes he remembers what happened that night, and then other times, his mind goes blank!”

Elizabeth shakes her head, "Kordell, I can't take the chance that he should find out about Cordell.  Brother, will you do something for me?”

"Anything for you, sister, all ye have to do is ask---ye know that!”

"Could you please arrange for someone else to take Cordell to the airport---someone that will not draw attention to himself or to my son? If Duggan has become suspicious and if Cormac is back-----Kordell----please---I can't take the chance, is there someone that you can trust?”

Kordell nods his head, "Me believes young Peter and his wife can do this. They are good people and Peter takes frequent trips into Dublin to treat his ailing Mother, do not worry sister---me will take care of everything---but what about the lad---he will ask questions?"

"I will tell him that something has come up, involving some last minute paper work in his grandmother's funeral plans and I have to take care of it.  Please just get him to the airport ahead of me and please have Peter and his wife wait with him.”

"It is done, me will make the arrangements---try not to worry, my sister." Kordell walks over to his sister and embraces her, he whispers softly, "Me baby sister, me wishes me could take all of this pain from you, ye cannot imagine how much me has thought of ye through the years.---Maybe it would be better if Cordell knows what it is going on."

"No---I can't tell him---to tell him would mean I would have to tell John what happened---and I can't do that!   John-----is very hot tempered, he would kill to protect me and his son---and it wouldn't matter that there is a ocean between America and here---he would find a way to get here----and he wouldn't stop till he confronted Cormac.---I can't tell him, I have accepted what happened that night and I have tried very hard to forget it and go on with my life-----I can't hurt John or my son by telling them---please---try and understand!”

Kordell puts his arms around his sister and they walk back to the church and tell Cordell about the change in plans. Within the hour, Cordell is going to the airport with Peter and his wife. Elizabeth breathes a sigh of relief and she makes her own arrangements to follow soon after.


                                       *************************************************

 

Springtown:

 

The man has watched the ranch house for several days.  He has watched as the blonde headed woman leaves in the morning and follows her to the other side of town and to a day care center where she leaves the little girl. She then leaves to drive into Dallas and to a courthouse, he has not had the nerve to follow her inside as he observes many law officers entering and exiting the building. He has observed the bearded man, with his rustic colored hair, and he too wears a firearm and a badge.

The man has watched from a safe distance and sometimes he sees the bearded man pull his truck up to the front of the building and then walks up the stairs to support the blonde as she comes down the stairs. He watches and follows as the grey pickup goes easily in and out of traffic, the man fights desperately to keep up with it. Sometimes they stop at a restaurant, other times he is taking her to St. Mathews' hospital.

.
Part 6

 

St . Mathews Hospital

 

The man has waited for what seems an eternity, finally he slips the old baseball cap over his stringy red hair and checks his American attire again. He takes a deep breath and then exits his rental car and starts for the entrance of the hospital.

He sees the directions to different departments, he doesn't know which one to take. A nurse is coming towards him, he stops her.

"Excuse me----but where do me go for baby appointments?”

The nurse stares back at him, "Excuse me, I don't know what you mean---are you here to visit someone that is having a baby?”

He glares back at her, "What is wrong with ye lassie, me said 'appointments'!

The nurse is taken back by the man's rudeness, she points to the elevator, "Then you'll be wanting the oby/gyn department----I'm sure someone on that floor can help you.” She walks away quickly and goes in search of a security officer.

The man has found the floor in question and just as the elevator door opens he sees the blonde walking out of an office and walking slowly towards the elevator. He steps back and then a voice calls out to the woman.

"Hon, wait up.”

The blonde stops as the bearded man walks quickly up to her, handing her a plastic cup, "I couldn't find any tea on this floor, had to go down to the cafeteria.”

"Thank you, sweetheart" she takes the cup and then they both go to some chairs to sit down.

The man looks around him and then approaches the couple, he grabs a discarded newspaper and pretends to read, getting closer to them.

"So, what did the Doctor say, you and the boys o.k.?”

She nods, smiling back at him, "One of them was turned slightly, but Dr. Bates said everything was o.k.---and I had to do more lab work."

"More lab work? What's wrong?”

"Stop worrying, honey----this is just typical, routine stuff. ---Are you going back to the office today?”

"Yes, and before you say anything more---you are not going back to your office-----if you got anything to check up on, you can do it from home---that's what the telephones and that fax machine is for----right?”

"I wasn't planning on going into my office----I just wanted to ask you if you had cases today---remember since I'm on maternity leave I'm not up to date on all of your cases---so clue me in----please?”

"All I'm going to do is run down to Burleson with Trivette to check on a case about cattle rustling----I won't  be down there long and if I get back in time, I'll take you to Ernesto's for dinner tonight. Think we can get Trivette and Erica to babysit Angela?”

"I'm sure we can, she's been wanting to play with J.W., I'll call Erica and check with her" Alex smiles and then looks back to her husband, "Cattle rustling?---Are you serious?”

"Yep, despite all the modern technology, stolen cattle is still very much in the headlines---you ready to go, hon?”

The man watches as the couple walk very slowly back to the elevator, he sees the nurse and a security guard getting off one of the other elevators, he turns and goes in the opposite direction and then down the stairs.

He gets to the bottom of the stairs, and then hurriedly looks for the exit and then to the parking lot. He sees the gray pickup in the emergency lane and the bearded man is helping his wife to climb inside the truck.

The pain shoots through his head, he shakes his head back and forth, rubbing his eyes. He pops more pills into his mouth, throwing his head back and swallowing them, without any water!

"Curses------see what ye have done to me, Elizabeth---me head pounds like hammers going together-----why did ye hurt me? The Doctors say me brain is dead, that there is a cancer eating away at it---but me will not give up till the three of us are together----ye, my son, and me. Ye belly swells with our son growing inside ye---the time is almost here, my love. Ye will soon be giving birth---everything will be right again!”


                                       **********************************************

 

Kilkee, Ireland:

 

Father Kordell has breathed a sigh of relief as he has bid farewell to Elizabeth. He walks slowly back into the church and sits down at one of the pews, he crosses himself and kisses the crucifix that he wears.

" Thanks be to ye Lord, and keep my sister and nephew safe on their journey home. Within the hour their plane will be in your heavens, guide them home Father---and keep them safe, forever in your debt me will be and….

A voice screams out---Father Kordell is in prayer, "NO----ye can not go in there"

Kordell turns to see the three men pushing their way into the church, they push the nun out of their way, and then Kordell sees him---the devil, himself----CORMAC!

"Get out of me Lord's house---how dare ye come in here!”

"Where is she, Kordell---where is Elizabeth?”

"Me knows nothing about what you are spouting off about---my sister is not here---she is in America!”

One of the men pushes Kordell backwards and then turns to Cormac---"He lies----Elizabeth was here----me has spies, she was seen here.”

"Aye" agrees the second man, "Duggan can verify that she was here----he told  ye she was here---at her brother's church.”

Kordell spits at the feet of Cormac, "Duggan O'Malley does not know what he is talking about----see for ye self, there is no one here, but Sister Marie and meself!”

Cormac is a big man, well over six feet and stoutly built, he has the long scraggy beard and piercing blue eyes.  In his younger years, many women had found him attractive and did not think twice about spreading their legs for him, but only one woman held his heart---the beautiful Elizabeth.

For as long as he could remember, he was in love with her, and spent many countless years trying to win her heart. The woman not only rejected him, but other suitors as well. Cormac had gone to Angus and begged for her hand, and Angus had agreed that Elizabeth would marry him.

Elizabeth refused and begged her Mother to let her please accompany her cousin back to the states, and in return that Elizabeth promised that she would reconsider Cormac's marriage proposal. Six months had passed and then the news came back to the valley of Tralee that Elizabeth was in love with another man-----and he was a native Indian---a full blood Cherokee! Her parents were devastated and Cormac was furious, vowing that he would stop her, even if it meant going to America to do it.

Her parents begged her to come back for a visit, but they did not want to meet their future son-in-a-law, so Elizabeth flew home, alone!

She had been home only a few days when Cormac had learned that she was at the Doctor's office, he waited for her to come out and then he confronted her. Cormac's mind races back to the last day that he remembers clearly, and to the day his mind stopped.

His mind was like a steel trap that had clamped down onto the moment he wanted to remember the most: how she looked.  She was wearing a pale blue dress with a Victorian collar, her long red hair was cascading over her shoulders and she was humming to herself. He approached her slowly.

"Ye are a vision of an angel, Elizabeth Kathleen Tralee---and me hearts skips a beat just looking at ye beauty.!”

She stood there nervously looking at him and then she tried to walk away, he grabbed her arm gently and turned her towards him.

"It is time now Elizabeth, we have to make wedding plans---ye will make a beautiful bride, the most beautiful in all of Ireland!”!!

She smiled timidly, "I'm sorry---but I have changed my mind, I will not be staying in Ireland, I'm going back to America!”

They argued and all the while she kept touching her stomach, "What is wrong, why were ye seeing Doc Kenny---are ye sick?”

"That is none of your business, Cormac---I have to go now."

"Ye are not going anywhere till we have discussed the wedding plans----and make them soon, Elizabeth---do ye hear me?”

Elizabeth's blue/green eyes stared back at him in anger, "I am not marrying you, Cormac---not now---not ever---now let me go!”

"What is wrong with ye, Elizabeth---ever since ye went to America, me has been hearing all sorts of foolishness?  Get your head straight again, woman, forget America and whoever it has been that is trying to turn your head!!  Americans lie---they want only to enjoy the fruits between ye legs---are ye so naive that ye have been blinded by their ill  promises?”

Elizabeth's temper is flaring, "And you are a fine one to be talking, Cormac O'Hare---how many women in the valley are carrying your seed? At last count I was hearing that both the Gallon sisters and the widow Mc Gee were in a family way----get out of my way---I do not care to discuss my private life with the likes of you!”

Cormac is getting angrier, "The other women mean nothing to me, it was lonely here without ye, Elizabeth----a man has needs---and a real woman understands that need!”

The woman laughs, "I do not care how many women you are sleeping with, I do not love you, I never have loved you----and never will!   You get it straight in your head, I am in love with someone else!”

Cormac reaches out and slaps Elizabeth----"Who?---Who are you spreading ye legs for, lassie?”

"I don't owe you any explanations" Elizabeth screams back---"it's none of your business!”

He grabs her by the arm and drags her to the side of the old building, the trees hide them from the old dirt path that leads back to the Doctor's office. He glares at her as his eyes rake up and down her slim frame.

"It is time me shows ye where ye place is, Elizabeth-----ye have toyed with me long enough---now ye will become mine----all mine!”

She starts to scream, he backhands her. "Be quiet, Elizabeth and it will not hurt.”

He has her down on the ground now and pushing the skirt of her dress up, while he is undoing his pants, she continues to beg.

"No, please don't do this----we will talk, Cormac---please don't do this."

"Enough talk, Elizabeth---after tonight you will be mine and no man will want ye after I have planted my seed within ye."

She screams louder----"Cormac---please don't----I am already with child.

He stops and pulls her up to him, "Ye lie----don't lie to me, Elizabeth!”

"I'm not lying, that's why I was here to get an exam from Doc Kenny,----I am pregnant----please don't hurt me, you might hurt the baby!”

Cormac begins cursing and walking in circles, "The American? The one that ye parents have forbade ye to see---the Indian-----the filthy redskin?”

Elizabeth is crying softly, "Yes, I love him-----and we are going to be married when I get back to America.”

He throws her to the ground again and continues pulling at her clothes, "No------ye are lying----it will do no good, Elizabeth----me will not listen to ye lies.”

She continues to fight him through the whole assault, and then he finally spends his fluids within her.  All she can think of is John, and how it would crush him if he ever found out. She sobs harder as her hands are reaching out for some kind of weapon, she feels a rock. She starts striking Cormac at the side of the head and trying to push him off of her.

She continues to hit him as he finally rolls away, the pants down around his knees making it impossible for him to stand up. She is screaming at him as she reaches for a bigger rock, and she continues to hit him repeatedly. She can see the blood ooozing from his temples as she scrambles to get up, and then she runs. She stops to look back and sees that she has forgotten her purse, she runs back to retrieve it.

As she grabs her purse, some pictures fall out and Cormac grabs them, and Elizabeth's ankle. She kicks out with her other foot and he finally releases her. She runs away as fast as her legs will carry her.

Cormac is bleeding profusely from the temples, his eye sockets are turning black as the blood has begun to seep into his eyes. he curses the red haired woman as he slowly crawls away. He stops a few yards away and then looks down at the pictures.

He sees a man with dark hair, pulled back into a ponytail. The man is wearing beads and buckskin and he has a saddle thrown over his shoulder. The other picture is of Elizabeth and with the same man. They are standing in front of a sign that reads: Ft. Worth Stockyards.

He stares at the picture for the longest, he shakes his head, "What was she saying------about a child?"   The man nods his head slowly, "Aye, a child----she carries my child, that was what she was trying to tell me---that's it-----me remembers---now----ahhh, me sweet Elizabeth!”

The booming voice brings him back to the present: "Cormac----do ye hear me?”

He turns to the voice and sees the two men and Father Kordell staring back at him. The first man swears under his breath, "He's doing it again----he is retreating back into time.”

Cormac is shaking his head, "What was me saying, where are we?”

The two men go to Cormac and pull him over to the other side of the church, they are all speaking in harsh, but quiet voices. They keep turning and looking back at Kordell.  Kordell can see the anger and hear it in their voices, he nods for Sister Marie to come to him.

"Listen to me, sister---go out the back way and over to young Peter's place, stay there till he returns----are ye listening, sister?”

The nun is petrified, "What about ye, Father---come with me----we can make it out together.”

"There is no time---go now----do not look back!”

She makes her retreat out the back way and then she hears the voices shouting once more.

"Tell us where Elizabeth is------or ye dies!"  Hisses Cormac.

Kordell goes down on his knees, "Then ye will have to kill me, because me tells you nothing!”

"Very well" replies Cormac, as he brings forth a long, thin knife. "Me will make ye suffer first, by taking one ear at a time and maybe ye can feel the agony that me felt when ye sister was bashing my head----see how ye likes the pain, Father."

The hand goes up in the air and downward, taking Kordell's left ear, he screams out in pain. The other two men are grabbing Cormac and pushing him towards the exit.

"Enough, Cormac----ye cannot kill a priest!" And then the man goes down on his knees and quickly crosses himself.

The other man is shouting for them all to get out of there and they are dragging Cormac out. He is fighting both of them and trying to go back into the church. They throw him into an old beat up car, and soon are heading away.

Kordell grabs the side of his head and applies pressure to the gaping hole, he crawls to the back of the church and there he will wait till help arrives.


                                              ************************************


Dallas, Texas, 1965

Dallas is still reeling from the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  Young Cordell and his parents were watching from a distance when the shots rang out, and everyone scattered. Later at home, they listened to the news as millions of others, not only in America, but around the world.


                                        THE PRESIDENT IS DEAD


           
Cordell cried himself to sleep that night and many other nights to follow as his Mother tried to comfort him. He looked back at her through tears, sobbing quietly. The pain still remained.

"That was a terrible day in history, Mother---not only have we lost the greatest president we will probably ever have, but Father says that the civil rights movement will suffer and be set back another hundred years!  What about the negro now, there will be more racial attacks---and now Father says that the government has stopped again about releasing the Cherokee their land rights?”

"I know, Cordell--things have changed---the world will never be the same again. But, you are too young to worry so much----you need to be out playing with your friends, let the adults worry about these issues."

"I have tried not to think of it, but it's all around me. Down at the stockyards, I have seen the way they treat Old Gus, the stable hand. They are constantly pushing him around and calling him 'nigger'. Father has tried to stop them and.."

Elizabeth becomes frightened, "And, what?---- Is your Father getting into fights again?”

Cordell knows he has said too much, he replies softly, "I wasn't suppose to say anything---but yes----both me and Father have had fights.  When Father tries to help Gus, they turn on him and start calling him 'a filthy injun----and they say it's not much better than the stinking niggers---they start pushing him around---so I clobbered one of them good with a shovel!”

Elizabeth grabs her son and holds him close, "Oh no----Cordell---please stop fighting.”

He pushes her away, "When they pick on Father, I will fight them, I don't care how many times they knock me down, I will get up---and one of these days I will learn to fight the right way-----and win!!  I'm bigger and older now, and I will stand up for what I believe in----isn't that what you have tried to teach me, Mother?”

Elizabeth's mouth sets firm, "Yes---but fighting will not solve the problem---look what happened to your Uncle Kordell, he lost his ear!”

Cordell looks back to her sadly, "did they ever arrest the men that attacked him in the church and did that to him, Mother?  I never understood why they attacked him, he's a priest---and, in a church?”

Elizabeth shakes her head slowly, "No----they never found the men responsible and no one knows why your Uncle was attacked----things like that happened----please do not think about it anymore.”

"I know it makes you sad to talk about it, I wish Uncle Kordell would come to visit us, did you ask him to?”

The woman takes a deep sigh, "I have asked him to come several times, but he can't afford to come right now----and now with Kennedy's assignation, things in Ireland have taken a turn for the worst----they have more fighting breaking out---he is needed in his home land.”

Cordell becomes quiet, "I miss him, he's the only member of your family that ever really liked me. Your Mother said to forgive her for forsaking me all of those years, but Mother---I haven't forgiven her---not entirely. There was no reason for your parents to treat you or me that way----and look at Father's people---they keep doing the same thing!"

Elizabeth nods, "Is that the reason you have stopped wanting to go to the reservation with your Father?”

"It's been years since I was there, and I don't care if I ever go there again!”  Even Father goes only long enough to discuss the land rights with the officials when they bother to show up for the pow wows. It's a disgrace that humans get treated this way----because of the color of their skin!”

"I know, my son and I wish it wasn't so----but I don't look for things to change, not anytime soon-----at least not in my lifetime!  But, I hope that by the time you get married and have kids, things will be different.”

"Marriage? Mother I'm only eleven---are you trying to get rid of me" teases Cordell.

Elizabeth laughs, "Never!!----I would love to see the kind of woman you will marry---and your kids-----I want to see you hold your first born.”

Cordell smiles back at his Mother, "The kind of woman I will marry will be like you, Mother----very beautiful, with a smile that will light up a whole room. She will be warm, like you----soft and tender----but she will have also have a temper!”

"CORDELL FIREWALKER---are you saying your Mother has a temper?”

"Yes ma'am, it may take a while for it to get riled but when you do lose your temper---everybody, including Father knows to get out of the way!”

The two laugh and hold each other tight. Elizabeth smiles and looks to her son.

"Hey, that carnival is still in town and I'll bet that together we could talk your Father into taking us, what do you say?”

"The carnival?   Are you serious?  Father said we would go last week, but you weren't feeling well----can we really go---really?”

"Yes, now crawl into bed---I want to write a letter to your Uncle Kordell and tomorrow we will mail it.  I will ask---no I will beg----for him to come for a visit---how's that?”

Cordell is all smiles as he pretends to sleep, he spots the old mason jar at the atop the chest of drawers, he runs to it and starts counting out the change. His eyes become wide as he counts out $76.00 and some loose change.  He sighs.

"Father has forbid me again to buy him those chaps---but I've got the money saved for a good second hand pair and I'm buying them tomorrow.  And also, I will buy Mother something really nice with what I got left over, another scarf to hold her beautiful red hair back. ----Wow---the carnival, it's the biggest one to come here---in years! Tomorrow will be a fun day----I'll remember it for the rest of my life!”

As Cordell is going over in his mind about the day to come, Elizabeth takes pen and pencil to write her brother a letter---and to write in her journal.:

 

"It is July 17th, 1965 and tomorrow John and I will take our son to the carnival, he is so excited.  Cordell needs diversion to all that has been happening, he was sad over the President's assassination and the news that you had been attacked in your church. We have prayed for your full recovery and thank you so much for not saying anything about Cormac being the one that attacked you. He will perish in hell for what he has done. I am begging you to please come for a visit, Cordell misses you ---so do I---and John has expressed that he wants to meet you. You are his only family aside from us---his Uncle Ray has been so involved in the land rights that he has no time to visit. He hasn't seen Cordell since he was barely walking, and now we hear that he has taken a bride and expecting a family.  John is crushed at his brother's distance, I'm sure the elders and White Eagle have had their say about what is happening now.
           A few days ago Cordell and I witnessed another form of prejudice, the hatred and torture of a beautiful swan. The bird was innocently swimming in the pond where Cordell and I visit often. Some kids were playing near by, and they shot the bird with an arrow---it was so sad and my tears have not stopped falling.  The bird eventually died, the mate followed in death shortly. Sometimes I feel like that bird, she could not have survived without her mate and neither could he. I have wondered if the swans had cygnets (babies), I have inquired about them, but the information is scarce, I know not why.

 It is time now to fix John his supper, he'll be coming home soon. Tomorrow is a big day, Cordell has talked about nothing other than riding the ferris wheel. He says up there, he can see the world, and the turning of the wheel is like the turning of time, that things have to change for the better----I pray he's right. Goodnight, my brother---you will always have a place in our hearts---come visit us---real soon---Elizabeth


          
The day of the carnival is a day that young Cordell will not forget and it will live in his mind forever, but for a different reason. It is the day that his parents are murdered, right before his eyes.

He had just bought the chaps and taken them back to the truck and was now buying the scarf for his Mother.  He paid the man for the scarf and was running to catch up to his parents.

"Mother, this for you" Cordell holds the scarf up to her and Elizabeth is in tears as she takes the yellow scarf. She smiles back at her son.

"Cordell, we told you---don't spend your money on us---keep the money that you have won by riding those bulls---and buy something nice for yourself!”

John is all smiles  as he helps his wife hold her long red hair up so that she can tie the scarf. "Elizabeth, the boy is only trying to make you happy.”

Cordell smiles, "I got something for you too, Father---they're in the truck----and please do not try to deny them."

"Not the chaps, son---they're too expensive."

"John"-- replies his wife slowly----"if you don't accept those riding chaps---I'm not accepting this scarf, now you just said that our son was only trying to make us happy----he wants you to have those chaps----please don't refuse him.”

John looks to his son and then breaks out in a smile---"Very well, thank you son----I will wear them with pride---thank you!”

Cordell is all smiles, "Could we ride the ferris wheel---just one more time before going home?”

His parents agree and they go in search of the big wheel, and Cordell sits between them, holding his Mother's hand. The yellow scarf is blowing gently in the wind and Cordell believes he has never seen his Mother looking more beautiful. He turns slowly to his Father and studies his face. His Father is tired, but he is trying so hard to make this a fun day. The man turns to him slowly and whispers something in Cherokee.

"What does that mean, Father?”

The man repeats the phrase, "It means, the heavens are close, the wind and the water are your brothers----always follow your heart and the flight of the eagle.”

The evening has worn down and the family is walking towards the parking lot when suddenly four men rush them. They are wearing army fatigues, shouting Nazi slogans. Their heads have been shaven and Cordell can see the swastikas tattooed on their arms, and even across the foreheads.

Three of the men have knocked John to the ground and the knives come out, going deep in his Father's stomach. Elizabeth screams and runs to help her husband, the forth man grabs her and another man approaches slowly. He stares at her, raising his hand back and Cordell is rushing at him, and jumping on his back. The man whirls and Cordell goes sliding across the grass. The boy is back up and running towards the man, his eyes are filled with tears, his heart full of hate. Another man knocks the boy down and then he holds him as young Cordell watches his Mother being stabbed. The boy is screaming for them to stop, some spectators have heard the screams and running towards the fight. The 'skinheads' run away.

In less than 10 minutes, Cordell's life has been turned upside down as he stares back at the bodies of his parents. He walks slowly over to his Father, the man does not move, there are gaping holes in his stomach.  He falls down on the ground and tries to hold his Father's body, finally some spectators pull him away and someone closes the man's eyes. Cordell is sobbing as he lays over his Mother's body, she is barely breathing as she whispers:


           "Go with peace, my son----not hatred"  and then she is gone.


Part 7

 

Saint Jo's orphanage:

 

It has been nearly three months since John and Elizabeth have been killed. Cordell was taken to the home of the sheriff and his wife until they could find a foster home and then onto the orphanage in St. Jo, nearly 80 miles north of Dallas.

The boy has not said one word since his parents' deaths, he stays to himself, and cries.  The nuns watch him sadly as he holds onto the yellow scarf that had been around his Mother's hair.  He touches it softly and then the tears begin.

It is now late evening as the sun is starting to set, and the stranger is watching Cordell as the boys sits under an old tree. The man turns to the nuns.

"Why hasn't his family been notified?”

"What family?”  Asks the nun, "We weren't aware that he had a family, he hasn't said a word since coming here! We asked him if he had a family, he wouldn't speak.”

The man shakes his head sadly, "The boy has a family, they live on the reservation outside of Lawton, he has an Uncle that I'm sure would be very anxious to take him.  Wasn't the parents' funeral listed in the paper, the name of Firewalker is not that common, hasn't anyone tried to contact him?”

The nuns look back and forth to each and shake their heads sadly, one of the nurses replies.  "He won't even respond to his name, he just keeps that scarf near him and he looks up at the skies------and cries.”

The stranger is tall and muscular, he looks towards Cordell and says slowly, "What are the Doctors saying?”

"The Doctors say that he has shut everything out and he's very angry!”

The stranger's face becomes rigid, "You would be angry too if you saw your parents stabbed to death right before your eyes---the poor kid is beside himself with grief----may I try to talk to him?”

The nuns give their permission and the man walks towards the young boy, the sun is behind him, emitting a dark shadow,

"Hello Cordell----it's been a long time."

The boy wipes his tears and looks towards the shadow, not being able to identify the man, but the deep voice is familiar. He squints and stares back at the shadow.

"Do I----k---know you" the boy sobs?"

The man steps sideways and Cordell can now make out the figure of the man in dark clothes, a handlebar moustache, and the star is glinting from the sun. The man kneels down beside Cordell and reaches out to touch him, the boy recoils.

"I'm so sorry about the deaths of your parents---I would have come sooner had I known---but I've been down in Old Mexico working on a case.---I knew the sheriff and his wife and when they told me what happened and where you were, I came as soon as I could!”

Cordell stares back at the man, "Why should you care about me or what has happened----it was the white man that murdered my parents?”

The stranger nods his head, "You have a right to be angry, Cordell---and not every man that is white can be blamed for your parents' murder.  The men that attacked and killed your parents were Neo-Nazis--skinheads that hate the minority groups.”

"More hatred" mumbles Cordell, "just because my Father's skin was dark.”

"It makes no sense, Cordell, and believe me--those men will be caught and tried for their crimes----I promise you that.  But, Cordell why haven't you told the nuns about your Uncle Ray, I'm sure he's worried about you?”

Cordell pulls further away from the stranger, "It doesn't matter anymore, I don't care what happens to me---Uncle Ray doesn't care about me---no one cares about me---cause I'm just a filthy half breed and it's my fault that my parents are dead!”

"Cordell, the only ones to blame are the sons of bitches that stabbed your parents---how can you say that it's your fault?”

The boy starts to cry harder, "Because if I hadn't wanted to ride the ferris wheel again, we would have probably made it home safely and there wouldn't have been a fight----but I wanted to ride the big wheel again----and now my parents are dead---can't you understand?”

The man shakes his head, "It was not your fault, Cordell---you and your parents were enjoying a day of fun at the carnival and you had every right to ride the ferris wheel again as many times as you wanted---no one had the right to attack your parents---for any reason!”!

Cordell rolls himself up in a ball, "I don't want to talk about it anymore----leave me alone---get away from me!”

The stranger stands up, "I'll be going now, Cordell---and I am notifying Ray Firewalker---now whether or not you want to see him, he has the right to know about his brother's death. The two of you can deal with it---but if you ever need to talk to me---about anything---here is a number where I can be reached. Call me, Cordell, and let me know how you are getting along---will you do that---as a favor from one bull rider to another?”

Cordell turns to the man slowly, "You never mentioned that you rode the bulls, is that where you knew my father?”

The man smiles, "I used to watch John Firewalker ride from Santa Fe, Mexico, all the way up into parts of Wyoming----he was one of the best that I have ever seen. And, when I saw you for the first time on that young bull about---5 years ago----I said to myself----this young man will be the bull rider of the future. Yes sir----Cordell Firewalker---champion bull rider!!  I saw you ride a few years back down in Mesquite, how many buckles you got now?”

Cordell wipes the tears away, "I don't know---a bunch---they are-----oh no----the chaps---my Father's riding chaps---where are they?”

"I don't know what you're talking about, son---what riding chaps?”

Cordell jumps up and starts running to the front porch of the orphanage, one of the nuns stop him. The stranger follows.

"Where are my Father's riding chaps---what have you done with them?”

The nun is looking back at the stranger and shaking her head, "The only things that were sent here with him were a few old books and---a diary of some sort, there was nothing else---what are chaps?”

"They are riding gear for rodeo riders, sister---are you sure there was nothing else sent here?”

Cordell goes running to his room and going through the boxes, he sees a couple of pictures, his Mother's journal, and a newspaper clipping about the swans being killed.

"They're not here----they were in my Father's truck---please----I got to have those chaps---they belong to my Father!”

The stranger walks across the room and lays his hand on Cordell's shoulder, "I will talk to Sheriff Cates, and I'll find out about the chaps---don't worry Cordell---I will find them.  Can you describe them?”

Cordell is speaking through tears, "They were----second hand---but it was all I could afford---they were brown----and they had a Mexican bird on one side----I think the man called it a road runner---please find them"---the boy sobs harder, "he never even got to wear them.”

Cordell falls down onto his bed, his whole body is shaking, he pulls the yellow scarf in closer to him. The stranger walks over to him.

"I have to go now, Cordell---but I promise you---as a law officer and as a friend--I will find the men responsible---and  I will find those chaps---I promise you!”


                                                ********************************************


Springtown: 2004

 

Alex has made the arrangements for Erica to come and take Angela back to their place so she and Walker can enjoy an evening out.

"Are you sure that it's not an inconvenience, Erica---we can take Angela with us---if it is?”

"It's no problem, Alex. J.W. is all excited about Angela's coming over---I will pick her up around 6 pm, will that be o.k.?”

"That will be perfect, our reservation is for 8 pm and Walker will have plenty of time to shower and change---see you then----bye!”

Angela is looking back at her Mother, "Is J.W. coming over now?”

"No, sweetheart----in about another two hours he will be here----now let's get you bathed, put on some fresh clothes---and get you fed.  Want a PBJ sandwich?”

"Yes, please---I don't like Aunt Erica's cooking---it tastes funny.  Daddy says it tastes like cardboard. What's cardboard, Mommie?”

Alex shakes her head, "Angela, please stop repeating everything your Daddy says---it's not polite----and you will hurt your Aunt Erica's feelings---you don't want to hurt her feelings, do you?”

"No ma'am" Angela replies, "can I have some milk with my pbj sandwich?”

"You certainly can---lots of milk--makes strong bones" answers Alex as she turns to the kitchen, massaging her stomach in a circular motion. Angela starts to follow her when the doorbell rings, the girl turns and runs to the door. Alex shouts out to her.

"Check the peephole first, Angela---you know the rules!”

Angela is pulling the little step stool over to the door as she stretches to look out the 'special" little peep hole that Walker has installed for her. She turns back to her Mother, "It's a man----with flowers---Mommie!”

Alex looks out the picture window and sees the delivery van with the slogan "Roses on The Run", she looks back to the door and immediately recognizes the errand boy, Randy.

Alex takes the roses and thanks the young man, giving him a nice tip. Angela is trying to help her Mother get the box open and together they pull out a dozen pink roses, and orchids.

Angela is clapping her hands together and breathing the fragrance of the roses, "They smell pretty , Mommie---are they from Daddy?”

"They better be" replies Alex as starts looking for the card, she takes a deep sigh, "yes---they are from Daddy.  Want to read the card?”

Angela takes the card and starts trying to mouth the words out that are printed----for her sake. "It says----To-my 2 ----what's this word, Mommie?”

"Special---the word is 'special.”

 Angela starts reading again---"To-my--2-special---girls---is that right, Mommie?”

"Yep, that's right---that's what it says!”

Angela looks at the card again, "What else does it say, Mommie---there's writing stuff---on here too!”

Alex reads the message and smiles to herself, "Well---sweetheart----it's something special---for only Mommie to read---but the important thing is----it's from Daddy---and he'll be home soon.  Now---let's get these beautiful flowers into some water---o.k., sweetheart?”

The man has watched from the safety of the barn, he has observed the delivery van going up to the front door to deliver the flowers. He watches as the young man goes around to the back of the van to arrange his next delivery. The figure walks up quickly behind him, taking him by the neck and pulling him to the other side of the van, pushing him in.

He hisses back at the young man, "Drive away quickly----over there to the safety behind the barn---do it now or me will slit your throat!”

 Randy pulls the van behind the barn and stares back at the man, "What do you want mister, I don't have much cash on me---just the $20 the lady just gave me as a tip!”

"Be quiet and me lives ye live---who is in the house with the woman?”

Randy stutters, the man hits him, "Just----her-----and her daughter---that's all!”

The man begins rubbing his head and then his eyes as he swallows more pills. Randy pleads with the man not to hurt him, his answer is the man's fist to the side of his head.

"Me says to be quiet----me can't think straight with all this chatter-----me head is splitting---but soon it will be over----and the pain will stop!”                             
                               .
                                             ***********************************************

Saint Jo:  1965

 

Cordell has received another visitor, the man is tall and wearing buckskins, his hair pulled back. The man's face is soft against the skin that shows many hard years. Cordell looks back at him timidly.

"Are you---my----Uncle Ray?”

The man kneels down beside the boy and studies his face, the Irish blood is very noticeable with the rustic colored hair and the freckles. Ray tries to hide his disappointment that Cherokee blood has not surfaced, he clears his throat.

"Yes, I am your Uncle Ray---and the deaths of your parents have saddened us all----I'm here to take you back to your p-----I mean to the reservation!”

Cordell shakes his head, "No----I don't want to go there---my Father's people do not like me.”

"Things are different now, nephew---there is nowhere else you can go---we are your family. You will stay with me and your Aunt Ruth.”

Cordell still refuses to go, he thinks about the stranger with the badge---"No---I don't want to go----my friend will come back to visit me---I'll ask him if I can live with him.”

"I know who you speak of, nephew----the man travels all over the state, he can't make a home for you.''

"Then I will travel with him----I don't want to go with you---you have never paid me any attention-----I hate you!”

Ray Firewalker stands up straight and looks back to the boy, "I have thought of you often and have wanted to be a part of your life----but things were happening-----things I could not change----- all I can say now is that I am willing to take you to my home. There you will be raised as 'my son'----and-------

Cordell's anger is rising, he clenches his fist and yells back at his Uncle---"I am not your son----you are not my father---you will never be my Father----you could never fill his boots!

Ray is looking at the boy hard, he studies the eyes and the way the boy sets his mouth----he sees his brother!  Ray smiles faintly, "I am not trying to take my brother's place, I would never do that to him-----or you!   Please come with me, nephew---I will treat you good, your Aunt Ruth is anxious to meet you.”

Cordell starts shaking his head, "No---I will wait for my friend to come back---he said he would.”

Weeks pass and the stranger has not come back to visit with Cordell, but his Uncle Ray has come to visit him often. Cordell is mellowing to his Uncle and asking questions about where he will live.

"I have a small place on the reservation, and I live there with my wife.  I have many cousins and second cousins all over the reservation, I have talked with them about you. My brother, Blue Elk has a older boy, he's called Sam Coyote---he's about your age.”

"What about Blue Elk, does he want me to come live there too?”

"Blue Elk has passed over the rivers."

"Passed over the rivers?  What does that mean?”

"It means that he is dead, nephew---he died several years ago.”

Cordell becomes sad, "Oh-------like my parents---they passed over the rivers too?”

"Yes nephew, but my brother's spirit will never die----he lives through you---and the children you will have someday!”

Cordell kicks out at the ground, "I will never have children---I would never bring a child into a world that has so much hate!”

Ray becomes silent and very sad, "To deny bringing forth a life is denying your parents their future-----yes---the world has hatred from so many sides----but to stop producing life is unforgivable.  If the spirits choose to let you go forth and multiply, then that is your greatest treasure----some are not so lucky!”

"What about you, do you have kids?”

"No nephew---I do not---the spirits have chosen not to give your Aunt Ruth the gift of life----but we do not give up hope.”

"I wish I could have have had more brothers and sisters---like the other kids I knew.  I had a good friend----his name was Billy---he said I could call him my big brother----he's dead too" and the boy starts to cry again.  "Everybody----that I love----is dead.”

Ray puts his arm around the boy's shoulder, Cordell pulls away--"I'm here nephew----I care about you.  Won't you please come and stay with your Aunt Ruth and me----just for awhile?  If you are not happy, then I will bring you back here!”

Cordell agrees to go to the reservation to live and now a whole new world is awakened.  Now he is learning the way of his Father's people and it doesn't come easy as the other boys his age tease him about his red tinted hair.

His Uncle Ray teaches him how to hunt and make his own weapons, the riding has become natural as young Cordell is riding like the wind---even bareback!  Eventually the other boys have come to accept him and now he is being prepared for his 13th season---the year he will become a man.

Cordell is sitting beside his uncle and stretching the intestines of the elk to make his bow string.  Older boys are watching him and snickering. Cordell's body has gotten more muscular, his hair has started to turn darker, the freckles are fading. Cordell has heard the other boys snickering, he turns to his uncle.

"Uncle Ray, why are they laughing at me---they know I can hold my own against either of them---I whipped Running Bear's butt last week, does he want more?”

Ray smiles, "To show your outer strength is not what the boys are laughing about---nephew, you do know what it means to go into manhood---don't you?”

"I've passed all of the tests, Uncle----you said so yourself that I was becoming a great warrior, I killed my first game---even though I did use more than one arrow and my teacher was not happy with me.”

Ray stops working on his bow and looks to young Cordell. "That is not what I'm talking about, nephew----this is your 13th summer---you become a man---in every sense of the word---you will lose your virginity.”

Cordell swallows, "No!----I've heard some of my cousins talk about that---they say the woman is old and wrinkled---like a old squaw---or a witch.---They say the woman is mean---and that----it-----hurts."

Ray smiles, "Sometimes--the woman is old and wrinkled, but she has to be---in order to teach you about how to become a man---to perform."

"But why, Uncle---there are many pretty young girls here---why can't they take us into manhood?”

Ray looks quickly to his wife who is sitting nearby, she just smiles warmly. "Well, because nephew---they will not lose their virginity till they are wed--to do so would disgrace the Cherokee.”

"That is not fair, Uncle----why do they have to wait and the young boys don't?”

Again Ray looks to his wife and smiles, "It is not for you to question the ways of your ancestors, this is how it is and this is the way that it will always be.”

"And, what if I refuse?”

His Aunt Ruth moves closer to him and says very softly, "You can not refuse, "Washo," to do so would embarrass not only you---but your Uncle as well.  The older boys would tease you even more, it's part of your life and the way of our people."

Cordell shakes his head, "I will not embarrass you, Uncle---I will do it, but I won't like it.  I have watched the older boys down on the river with the older girls whose husbands are away. They make strange noises and the girls sometimes scream out. I have also heard Sam Coyote say that sometimes it hurts him to walk, and he puts his hands on his private parts, and he makes noises------then he says he feels good!”

Ray is trying hard not to laugh, "It is a sign of your body changing, "Washo", and new demands will be asked of it. Go softly, but quickly into your change, my nephew----and I know something that might make you feel better.”

Ruth looks at her husband suspiciously and Cordell's eyes grow wide, "What do you know, Uncle Ray?”

"I know who the woman is that will take you into manhood, and she is not old---she is rather young-----and pretty!”

Ruth throws the basket down that she is working on, stands up and walks away in a huff. Cordell's eyes follow her.

"Is Aunt Ruth upset about something?”

Ray takes a deep breath, "She will get over her mad spell---"Washo", the woman's name I cannot tell you, and after your encounter with her, you are never to approach her---do you understand?  You are never to even try and talk to her---it is forbidden, and to do so would heap a strong discipline on her-----she could be driven from the village!---Her husband would beat her!”

"Husband?  She is married?”

Ray nods his head slowly, "Yes nephew, that is why you can never approach her----not ever!”

Cordell swallows hard, "Now I know I'm not going to like it, I'm scared to death!”

"Everything will be fine, nephew, you will see, and now I have to make mends with your Aunt before she bars me from our humble little home!”

Ray goes in search of his wife and young Cordell is having all sorts of thoughts going through his head.  He keeps mumbling to himself, "Maybe I should have stayed at the orphanage, maybe I should just run away---oh man---I am so scared-----and confused.  I don't like this, not one bit!”  

Ray approaches his home very carefully as his wife is throwing things around inside. He walks in slowly.

"Ruth----you have made our nephew very confused with your behavior!”

"My behavior?  You were not suppose to tell "Washo" about who would be taking his innocence, you have betrayed our laws.”

"You are not upset because I told "Washo" about that----you are upset because of the woman in question-----aren't you?”

Ruth starts mumbling and throwing the deer meat down on the table, "Do not speak her name, Ray Firewalker-----or you can sleep with the animals!”

Ray starts to laugh, then thinks better of it, "She is no threat to you, my wife----I do not seek her!”

Ruth starts to cry, "She is young and she is pretty, why don't you seek her?----She could give you what I can't-----a son?”

"She is fertile and she has given her husband several fine sons---but you are the one that I want to carry my sons----not her!”

"She would only be too glad to service you, I have seen the way she looks at you---the way she 'pines' for you.”

"We were lovers a long time ago, I do not desire her any longer, it is you that I have pledged my love to----only you. I have not desired to be with any other woman---only you Ruth."

Ruth sits down at the old table, fighting her tears.  Ray sits down beside her and looks outside at his nephew, who is still talking to himself and walking in circles.  He takes his wife's hand.

"I forbid you to ever talk like this again---to show jealousy is weakness.  I will not accept it---not from you, Ruth you are too strong a person to humble yourself to the ways of the weak.  It is you that I have chosen to be my wife---and it is you that will bear me children."

"But when, husband?  We are going into our 4th year and still I am barren----I have failed you!”

"Do not question what the spirits hold for us!  Maybe it is their way of making our lives complete by bringing us young "Washo'.  He is becoming a fine young man, is he not?”

Ruth smiles and looks out at her husband's nephew, "Yes, I see your brother more and more in his face----the Cherokee blood is coming through."

Ray sighs, "Yes, but  I just wish that he was more anxious to lose his virginity---if he hesitates at the ceremony next week, White Eagle will be very upset!”

Her smile turns to a frown, "Let him be upset----has he lost his virginity yet, he's a grown man?"

"Ruth!!!  Do not talk about our tribal chief that way,  to question him in any way could be bad medicine.”

"I'm sorry--- I have spoken out of line, will you punish me, my husband?”

Ray tries not to laugh, "And, risk sleeping with the animals again---I think not!---Your only punishment will be is to make me a blueberry pie and make two, because young Washo's appetite is increasing.”

Ruth smiles back at her husband, "I will look for the blueberries now----and maybe I can talk "Washo" into helping me'’.

"You can't do that, Ruth---Washo will be watched extra close in the next week, he is not to be helping with any woman's work.”

The woman picks up her basket and places it in her husband's hand, "Fine---then you will help me to gather the berries---you are not  being watched----at least not by the ceremonial committee!”

Ray shakes his head and follows Ruth to the fields in search for the berries.

The week has come and passed and Cordell has passed his final test of 'manhood'.  He could see his Uncle becoming very nervous as White Eagle watched from a distance.  Cordell decided to be the first one to volunteer as the other boys started to become nervous and not quite so brave as the moment approached.

It is now three days later and his Uncle Ray is watching him curiously. Cordell has avoided his Uncle's look and concentrates more on the new set of arrows that they have been making.  Ray clears his throat and sits down beside his nephew. 

"Do you want to talk about it nephew, do you feel different now?”

"Yes, Uncle---I do feel different and I was so scared, but the woman was nice. I couldn't see her face too clearly, it was dark inside the tent-----but she smelled nice---like wild flowers!”

"I was proud of you, nephew and your father looks down on you with the same pride.  You are a man now, "Washo" and now you must be very careful with your new found discovery!”

"Discovery, Uncle? What do you mean?”

"Your body has awakened and it will start making many demands on you---- there will be ways to satisfy the new demands and soon you will be looking at the young girls in a entirely different way----you will be desiring their bodies.  Remember what I said about the young girls, "Washo"---they will be a temptation to you and you must be very careful in releasing your fluids.  Do you understand what I am saying, nephew?”

"Yes, Uncle---I'm not stupid---I know how babies are made, but if the young girls are not permitted to be with us, then what is there to worry about?”


Part 8

 

Ray takes a deep sigh. "Nephew, just because the laws of our people say that the young girls cannot have sex, does not stop them all---there will be some that do not care about our laws.  Their bodies are awakened too and they have urges----and will act on those urges.”

"What about the ones that are married and their husbands are away----are we allowed to approach them?”

Ray ponders the thought and looks at his nephew curiously, "You have changed, nephew----is it safe to say now that you enjoyed your trip into manhood?”

Cordell remains quiet, "I was really scared, Uncle---but after the first time---it was not so bad. I felt really stupid because I didn't know what to do, but she was patient with me and we talked about ----a lot----of things.”

"Were the talks helpful to you nephew, did you learn how to control yourself?”

Cordell blushes, "Yes sir-----you mean-----about releasing the fluids-----at the wrong time?”

"Yes, nephew----you have to be very careful now---you do not want to be a Father, before you are ready for the responsibility. And-----there are ways that you can still be with a woman and enjoy the treasures, without bringing an unwanted child into the world.  Also---in answer to your other question----about the women whose husbands are away.  You reap what you sow, nephew and if you choose to go after another man's wife---be prepared for the fight that will certainly ensue and if you choose this way----the husband could kill you and be vindicated!”

"Vindi----what does that mean, Uncle?”

"It mean that if he kills you, our laws will not do nothing to him, that he has that right to save face.-----Just remember one thing, nephew and ask yourself this:---How would you feel if some other man was moving in on your territory, be prepared for whatever is thrown at you nephew!”

 Cordell thinks about it for a long time, "I guess I wouldn't like it very much---but in answer to your question if I have changed my views on being a man----Yes Uncle---I have---and, you know what?"  Cordell looks at his Uncle and smiles devishly, "I kinda of like it!”

Ray tries to hide his smile, but he remembers how he felt in his 13th summer, he slaps his nephew on the shoulder---"Just be careful nephew----the temptations will be there, you are a man now----and you must act like a man----in more ways than one!”

"WASHO----Washo----come quick!”!!

Cordell and his Uncle look up to see Ruth waving a letter to them. Cordell is on his feet quickly----"I got a letter, Uncle Ray---it must be from my Uncle Kordell" and the boy is off and running.

"Thank you, Aunt Ruth" the boy grabs the letter and starts reading, the smile on his face turns sad.

"What is it nephew----is it bad news?”

Cordell nods his head, "It's not from my Uncle, but one of the sisters from the church, she says my Uncle Kordell is very sick, the infection from the knife attack has spread through his body, he is very weak.”

Ray becomes silent as he reaches out and lays his hand on his nephews' shoulder, "I am sorry, nephew-----I wish I had the money for you to fly back and visit with him----but our money is scarce.”

"I understand, Uncle Ray-----maybe if I could call him?  How much would that cost?”

"I don't know---but we can drive into Lawton and ask someone there---is that what you want, nephew?”

"Yes" Cordell's tears start to surface and then he wipes them away quickly, "I can't cry like a little kid anymore---I'm a man now and I will face this like a man would.---It's just that my Uncle's last letters were filled with so much sadness over learning of my Mother's death.  Sister Marie says that he has lost the will to live----I need to call him---please!”

Ruth is standing nearby, she takes off a turquoise and silver bracelet and hands it to Cordell, "Maybe, this will bring you enough money to pay for the call, "Washo.”

Ray shakes his head, "No, Ruth---not your bracelet---I will get the money for my nephews' phone call---no matter what I have to sell---I will get it for him!”

Cordell and his Uncle make the trip to Lawton and inquire about the long distance call to Ireland.  When the operator at the information desk of the phone company tells him of the costs, Cordell's face drops in disbelief and hurt, he knows that his Uncle doesn't have that kind of money.  Ray approaches the young lady and hands her a piece or paper, she looks back at him, shaking her head.

"I'm sorry, I can't accept this. It's a deed to some property near Ft. Worth---even if I could accept it, how do I know that it's legit.  You people are still fighting for the rights, the government hasn't legalized any of these transactions yet.”

"It's got to be worth something" replies Ray---"sooner or later that land will be released to us---but now---my nephew needs to make that call.  It's very important to him----isn't there someone you can talk to---to help us?”

The woman sighs and looks to Cordell, "Maybe there's something that I can do, I know what your people are going through, I'm a quarter Kiowa and I know what it feels like to be fighting for your land that was taken away.  I will keep this deed, until you can pay me the money."  She turns to Cordell and smiles, "We'll make that call now, young man, what part of Ireland are we calling?”

"KILKEE" replies Cordell---it's near Dublin---that's all I know.   And, my Uncle is a priest----his name is Kordell----spelled with a "K"---the last name is-----Tralee.”

The woman smiles, "It may take awhile to get the call through---you might want to sit down and wait.”


                                           *********************************************

Walker Ranch:

 

Cormac is holding the young delivery man hostage, and watching the Walker home.  The young man is shaking the cobwebs from his head.

"Me has to get into the house, is there a back way?”

"I don't know, this was my first time here" Randy lies.

"Ye will take me up to the door, when she answers---me can get in.”

Randy stutters, "You're not going to be able to get in, she keeps a safety lock on the door, she won't open up if she sees a stranger with me.”

Cormac strikes the young man again with his fist. "Ye lying to me, lad---ye said this was ye first time to come here---now what other lies are ye telling me?”

"Please---don't hit me again---- I'm sorry I lied---I'm so scared!”

Cormac sneers and throws the young man back against the bales of hay, and then he continues to watch the house------and thinks.

A half hour has passed and Alex is helping her daughter to get her little bag packed. Angela is very quietly getting her little doll's things packed away too. The phone rings, it's Erica.

"Alex----I am so sorry, but I'm going to have to run out to the university and pick up some papers---I'm running late!”

"It's o.k. Walker said he was running late too, where are you?”

"I'm just pulling out of my driveway.”

Alex smiles as she can hear her godson shouting that he wants to see his Aunt Alex, "Erica, you're just down the road, drop J.W. off and I will watch him and Angela till you get back, o.k.?”

"Are you sure, Alex?”

"I'm positive----that's what neighbors are for, right?”

Alex hangs up the phone, shaking her head. "O.k. Erica, what are you up to? Every time I ask you to look after Angela, something is always coming up in some sort  shape or form.”

"Did you say something, Mommie?”

"No sweetheart, things have changed and J.W. is coming over now---his Mommie has to go over to the university.  They're leaving their house now, they'll be here in a few minutes.”

Cormac has averted his thoughts back to the van, and to Randy. "Ye will make another delivery, and when she answers the door------who is that?”

Randy looks toward the gravel road and the little sports car, a dark skinned woman and little boy are inside the auto.  He shakes his head, "I don't know who they are---visitors, I guess.”

"Curses-----ye find ways to make me angry, Elizabeth!”

Randy stares back at him, "Who is Elizabeth?”

Cormac's eye bore into him and Randy decides to not anything more. He watches as the woman and little boy go up the steps, soon the door opens and the little boy goes inside. The women are talking and then the dark haired one walks quickly to her automobile and drives away.

The man continues to swear and Randy pulls himself as far away from him as possible, the wait begins.


                                              ****************************************


Lawton, Oklahoma 1967

 

The call to Ireland took many hours to get through. It was difficult in finding Kordell, and messengers had to be sent to the little village. Finally the priest and a friend made the 20 mile trek to the nearest phone.

The priest has tears in his eyes as he listens to his young nephews' voice, finally they say their goodbyes and the priest is left alone in his sadness.  The sisters beg him to eat, he keeps turning them away.

"Arrangements have to be made to secure me nephew's safety" the priest mumbles, almost to himself.

"The boy is a ocean away---he is safe, Father---Cormac can't get to him!”

Kordell shakes his head as he walks hurriedly to his desk and writes into his journal, "Cormac is the devil----he will find a way to get to America."

"But, Father he is back in the asylum again, don't you remember?  The police caught him over a year ago, trying to steal a passport.”

Kordell rubs the left side of his head and feels the socket where his ear once was. "He will get out again, and he will try again to get to America---he has to be stopped!  Me nephew has had too much pain and hurt in his young life---he does not deserve this!”

"Maybe-----the boy should be told what is happening---ye say he is living with his Father's people now----they will protect him.  They-----they are savages----remember Father---they have terrible fights and----they kill to protect----remember the westerns on TV, Father?”

Kordell tries to smile, "Do not believe what ye see on the loony tube, sister---Cordell was not a savage----he has his Mother's blood running through him---he is not a savage!  And, me forbids ye to ever talk like that in me presence again, do ye hear me sister?”

The nun apologizes, "What are ye going to do, Father---how can ye protect ye nephew when he is thousands of miles away from us?”

Kordell sighs and goes back to his writing, "The only thing me can do and that is to put everything down in writing-----and maybe someday me nephew will forgive me for me secret of not telling him. I need to talk to Peter---will you get him please?”

The nuns go in search for the young apprentice, and Kordell feverishly writes in his journal, he stops and looks around him. He is talking to himself.

 

"I remember Elizabeth mentioning something about a diary that she was writing---or journal.  Oh, my Lord----has she left evidence of what has happened to her?---The boy never said anything about a diary---was there one?----It does not matter now, the truth has to be told and Peter will help me. In the meantime me has to keep writing, me knows there is not much time left---the infection has turned cancerous---me life is limited.”

 

                                            *********************************************


           The next 4 years will be again a learning period for young Cordell. His skin is turning darker and the boys do not tease him anymore, but just the opposite, they are now looking up to him. The girls have also noticed him and he is not ignoring their flirtations as he becomes involved with many, but always remembering  the cautions of his Uncle.

He's now in high school and quite the jock. On weekends he rides the rodeo circuit with his Uncle, and he always carries his Mother's yellow scarf, tucked inside his denim shirt, near his heart. Every time he rides, he is reminded of that fatal day that his parents were killed and as he watches the other riders don their riding chaps, the sadness returns and he remembers the chaps he bought for his Father.  His father never got to wear them.

He has become closer to White Eagle and now spends many hours in the sweat lodge with the tribal chief.  The old man studies Cordell and once in awhile they talk. Most of the time is spent in silence and Cordell can't help but wonder what the old man is thinking when he is studying him.

It is the beginning of Cordell's senior year in high school and he is now learning the sorrow of losing his first real sweetheart.  Her name is Shauna and he has been dating her for over a year, they made plans to go to their senior prom, and then she tells him she will go with someone else.

Sam Coyote and Johnny 2 Bears have found him down by the river, throwing pebbles across the water.

"Hey "Washo', Sam and I are going down to the strip to race some cars and pick up some chicks, come go with us. We may even go to that strip joint over in Lone Grove, we can get in now---we're 18!”

Sam slaps his cousin on the shoulder, "Yeah, come on cuz----forget that stupid prom----we'll have more fun spreading ourselves out.  Remember that little waitress that you've been screwing----she's probably waiting for you again---what do you say?”

Cordell sighs and walks over to the edge of the water, reaches down and picks up a gym bag. He stands there for the longest and looks out at the water and then he turns to his friends.

"I'm leaving.”

"What do you mean you’re leaving, you're going home this early---the night is young.”

Sam Coyote stares back at his cousin and sees the look on his face and then to the gym bag.  "What's going on, cousin, what's with the bag?”

Cordell looks to his watch, "My Uncle will be here soon to take me to the bus stop, I was just waiting to tell you goodbye.”

"What you talking about, "Washo"---where you going?”

Sam takes a deep breath, "I think I know where he's going----Cordell---you didn't sign the papers, did you?”

Cordell's silence is all that Sam needs to hear, the man lets out a string of curse words. "Damn it, Cordell----you joined the Army?”

"No" replies Cordell, "I joined the Marines!”

"The Marines?---"Washo" you joined the service?----Sam-----is he telling us the truth?”

"I'm afraid so, we both took the physical several months ago----I didn't pass it because of my busted ear drum----but Cordell----they said you didn't have to sign the papers right away, that you could wait.”

"There's no point in waiting----there's nothing here for me anymore----I've

outgrown this place---I got to see other parts of the world!”

Sam's face becomes sad, "But, cousin---the Marines are the first to go when a war breaks out and things are really getting bad over there in that place---Viet Nam. Just last month two of our high school buddies came back in body bags, cause they were so anxious to get over there.  They begged their parents to sign the papers.---Hell---Cordell,  Bobby Briscall hadn't been over there but hours till his whole platoon was wiped out!”

"Yeah-----I remember--we were pall bearers at his funeral.  We carried what was left-----of him.”

A deeper voice speaks out and Cordell looks to see his Uncle Ray staring back at him, "Are you ready to go, nephew?”

Cordell looks to his cousin and his best friend, "Goodbye----I'll write when I can---in the meantime----tell Shauna that she can keep all of my high school stuff, the ring, jacket---whatever-----they don't mean anything to me anymore.  I hope she finds happiness and I don't hold any bad feelings towards her.”

The three young men embrace and soon Cordell is on his way to Camp Pendleton, California:


                                                *******************************************

 

It's a happy time for Ray Firewalker as he gets the long awaited letter from his nephew.:

Hello Uncle,
            It's been over a year now since I left the reservation, this place is hell---I miss you and Aunt Ruth so much it hurts.  The fighting is all around us, they took out Nu Quan, wiped it out, many villagers were killed, innocent people killed.

The light is not too good for me to see to write, forgive me if I repeat myself. I got your letter about the land being released down near Ft. Worth, and the way you described the land---it holds promise. But, I  am most excited about yours and Aunt Ruth's news of expecting your first child.  Words can not express how happy I am for you and can't wait to see my new cousin.  I have made arrangements for you to receive my government checks, please use the money to buy whatever you need for your land. I have no use for it here, I'm developing a bad taste for tobacco, I've tried cigarettes, but do not like their taste, so I'm chewing the tobacco juice instead. It helps when we are in the rice patties and have to be absolutely still for hours on time.

The records department notified me that my name would be shortened soon. Please do not be upset with me for shortening it, I mean no disrespect for my Father's name, I hope there is no problem in cashing my government checks.  Tell White Eagle that I am practicing to listen with my mind's eye, he will know what I'm talking about. When I get home, all of us will have to go fishing.

Yes, I got the news about my Uncle Kordell---he hung on for a long time---Peter said they still had no news about his attackers--I find that hard to believe.  I also read the article on my parents' murderers, and each time I have Charlie in my gun's sights--I pretend it is Clint Murdoch---the murdering son of a bitch that helped to murder them. I will have my revenge someday---but for now--I have to fight another battle-----so far from home. Love, Cordell

 

Ray has read the letter at least a dozen times as he looks out over the land that the government has given back to him. He smiles at his wife and touches her protruding stomach.

"Things are good, my wife.  We have our land, the spirits have given us a new life to welcome in the spring----and my nephew's checks will go into a special account for him-----the money will not be touched---"Washo" will need the money for when he comes home.  I'm afraid that our nephew will be deeply changed from the affects of this war---the American people are treating their soldiers bad and calling them names.”

"Yes, my husband----I feel it too. In your next letter please tell "Washo" that his Fathers' riding chaps have been found, that will make him feel better.”

Ray smiles, "Yes, Jake Mc Call has kept his word on finding them, he was also the one that brought John and Elizabeth's murderer to trial---at least one of them. Another cross that our nephew will have to burden when he returns---vengeance!”

 

The years pass and it has seemed forever that word comes from Cordell. He has been listed as a MIA and then he is found and treated, and sent back to the battlefields. Ray and his wife are writing letters to bring the MIA's home, his good friend, Jake McCall has been trying to get them home too.  The retired Texas Ranger lays his hand on Ray's shoulder.

"Ray, you know as well as I do that Cordell is staying over there on his own accord, he's re-upped his enlistment for another tour. He doesn't want to come home---he feels it his duty to stay over there.”

"He's done his time, Jake----my nephew has been a MIA and a POW---how long does he have to keep paying? "

"Only Cordell can make that decision---him and the 'man upstairs’.”

Ray and his old friend are looking out over the land and the government has given him more land further north.  He watches the sunset and sees the old two room house that he has built with the help of his friend Jake.

"I will sell the land up north and put that money into the land here, raise more cattle---and Ruth wants some goats---for what reason I don't know---but it's what she wants.”

Jake has started to cough harder and Ray is noticing the blood around his nose. "What do the Doctors say my friend?”

The man wipes his nose and smoothes out the handlebar moustache, "TB---the Drs say  it's tuberculosis, so don't stand too close to me, my friend---I hear it's contagious!”

Ray snorts, "I keep my distance only because of Ruth and the possibility that she will get pregnant again.”

Ray's eyes linger toward the river and then his shoulders began to shake, "I have not let myself grieve for the loss of my baby sons----but sometimes----my heart is so heavy.”

"I was so sorry to hear about the twins dying----how old were they?”

"Barely a week, they both had defective lungs---they died within moments of each other. We buried them down close to the river, their names were Wren and Raven.”

Jake sighs, "I guess that's one of the reasons I never chose to have a family----not in my line of work--- I can't afford the luxury of caring for someone else."

"But, you have cared for Cordell---you have been his friend through many years and you are trying to bring him and the MIA and POWs home. I never understood why you took such a liking to him.”

The men sit down on the old tree stumps that are being dynamited.  Jake clears his voice.

"Don't exactly know myself why the boy caught my eye at the rodeo so many years ago. I was a admirer of his Father and the way he rode the bulls, and then I see this little guy climbing up on the back of a young bull, his hat pulled down over his eyes, the left arm up----and then he was riding that damn beast for all he could muster. The look on that boy's face when he was told he had won first place---just stayed in my mind. Then when the judges refused to give him his money and both of his parents were fighting the men, I could see that the young man wanted to exchange some swings himself. He had his little fist all balled up, and spit in his eye---I knew he was going to be a fighter, guess he reminds me of me.”

"And, Washo is still fighting---in a land so far away that most people don't even know where it is and the other half can't even pronounce it" replies Ray.

Jake nods his head, "I'm going up to Oklahoma City and check myself in for some more tests.  I have left word with my friend in Ft. Worth to give you all the help you need in buying  your farm machinery.  He's a good friend, retired Texas Ranger----no---make that 'semi' retired----old C.D. still likes to stay active in the field and he can kick butt with the best of them, and as cranky as the day is long!!  Just don't get him started on that damn chili---he'll have you and your bowels moving your bedrolls to the damn outhouse!”


                                            *****************************************


 July 1975---Ft. Worth Stockyards - C.D.'s bar & grill:

 

The customers are gathered around the small TV watching the embassy in Saigon fall, the choppers landing on the roofs, and people being evacuated.  The proprietor is watching the man in the corner, bent over his cup of coffee, he comes from around the bar and approaches him slowly.

"Let me freshen your cup, Uncle Ray.”

"Thank you" the man replies and then looks towards the TV, he shakes his head slowly.

"There hasn't been a word from my nephew in almost 2 years, I'm so afraid.”

"Hey, don't talk like that---Cordell is not dead-----his battalion was being deported back to the states in Hawaii----I'll bet you ten-to one that nephew of yours is kicking up the hula skirts---as we speak.”

Ray tries to smile, "You would be wrong---my nephew can't dance!”

The two men watch the TV from the distance, Ray looks to his new friend. "When my nephew comes home, I want you to meet him.”

"I'll be more than glad to meet him---I got his picture over the bar there with some other young men from the area---he's a Captain now---so you say?”

Ray nods his head, "Yeah----"Washo" says the bars are just another target for the "Charlie' to zoom in on, he didn't sound too impressed with his promotion in the last letter I received.  But, my nephew's letters have changed, he sounds so distant in his words----he never says anything about what is going on over there---actually----he says very little. I guess he has heard what the people back here are saying about them and the protestors!”

"Well, I'll tell you one damn thing----those protestors will not come in here---blasting our boys that are trying to give them the very freedom that they take for granted.  No sir---I'll introduce them to the butt of my shotgun---and I will continue to march against them!”

"You’re a good friend, C.D.---Jake has spoken very highly of you---have you heard from him?”

C.D. clears his throat, "He ain't doing too good so I hear.  Would you like to go up to Oklahoma City with me and pay him a visit?”

"I would be very glad to accompany you, but first I have to get home and take Ruth her medicine----though I know the medicine can't help---to heal a broken heart. She sits and cries----all the time, I was praying that we could have another child, but it's not to be.”


                                             *************************************

 

September, 1976. Dallas bus station.

 

The three men are waiting and watching as the passengers unload, the man in the wheel chair is straining to see over the shoulders of his friends.

"Do you see him yet?”

"No, Jake--I don't see him---most of the passengers have already got off---Uncle Ray----do you see him?”

Finally the last passenger has exited the bus, the three men shake their heads.

"Another delay" swears Ray----- "I guess he didn't make this bus either.”

"I don't understand" C.D. replies, "did you get the arrival date wrong?”

The three men start arguing and are completely unaware of the bearded man watching them from the rear of the bus. The man is dressed in old jeans, denim shirt, and an old cowboy hat. He reeks of alcohol, his beard is unkept, he stares at the men for the longest and then walks away.

The man starts hitchhiking up to the Oklahoma badlands. A sports car stops beside the hitchhiker and the occupants look at the military jacket that the man has put on, to fight the light chill of the Texas night. The driver extends his finger, and speeds off, shouting "baby killer


Part 9

 

The hitchhiker watches the little sports car till it's out of sight, he then pulls a bottle from his jacket and drinks it down quickly. A half hour passes and then a semi stops.

The trucker and the hitchhiker stare at each other for the longest and then the trucker notices the patch on the hiker's jacket. He asks slowly.

"How far you going?”

"Up around Lawton---to the badlands.”

The trucker nods towards the patch, "Special services----what outfit were you with?”

"101 first, out of De Nang--later Quang Nhion, all up and down the Mekong delta.  Any more questions?  It's starting to rain.”

The trucker laughs, "Climb in son---just had to make sure that you weren't one of those damn hippies that just found the jacket!   Welcome home son----I got home last year----and it hasn't gotten any easier.  So just lay back and try to get some sleep, I'll wake you when we get to your destination!”                      
                        
                              ************************************************

 

Reservation:

 

Ray Firewalker is staring back at his nephew, it's no wonder that he went unnoticed at the bus station.  He extends his hand and pulls him close.

" Welcome home, nephew---how long have you been here? "

"A few days, I've lost count" answers Cordell.

Ray fans the air, "I can understand why, the firewater is strong.---We can talk---when you feel like it.”

"I don't care to talk, Uncle---not about that place! I just want to be left alone!”

The weeks pass and both White Eagle and Ray keep their distance from Cordell. They watch him as he stumbles around in the dark, draining the whiskey bottles and talking to the demons.  Ray's heart is heavy as he remembers his own military tours in Africa and later to Korea.  And, just like his nephew---he couldn't and wouldn't talk about what happened.

Cordell goes into the city alone on the weekends, drinking till he can no longer stand, the hookers keep him busy at night----often rolling him of his little cash afterwards. He gets into fights and is soon spending more time in jail, than out. Finally, Ray can hold his silence no more and he, Jake, and C.D. go to get Cordell out of jail---one last time!

The four argue and the fighting begins.

"You have to snap out of this, Cordell----we've all been there---we know what you're going through---but you got to put it behind you and get on with your life" argues Jake.

"That's true son---" replies C.D.---"all of the wars come with a price---and God knows you have given every ounce of yourself as a true patriot---you can't keep fighting that war!”

Ray nods his head, "Come back to us, "Washo" before it's too late.”

"It's already too late, I don't want to be here----I'm going back to Nam---I'm going to re-enlist.”

"No, nephew---stay here---make a life for yourself.”

"There is no life, Uncle----I'm called a 'baby killer' I'm being spit on by my own people---they don't want me here----at least in Nam---I know who my enemies are!”

The men continue to argue while Cordell has gone to visit White Eagle.  "Maybe it's best he does go back, maybe he can straighten himself out over there.  The sheriff in Lawton said that  Cordell took on 6 men in that bar and he whipped the daylights out of all of them.  He said Cordell was using a new form of fighting, kicking and breaking boards like they were nothing!”

"Yeah, I've heard of the new basic training---they are bringing in instructors from the Orient to teach it, it's called martial arts" replies C.D.

"Whatever it is, my nephew has taken to it-like a fish to water. He's also gotten into fights at the reservation, he beat the grand nephews of White Eagle---they were literally crawling away from him.!”

"White Eagle's nephews?” Asks C.D,---"What ---started all of that?”

"They were questioning our tribal chief's authority and one of the nephews attempted to strike  White Eagle---big mistake---Cordell heard of it and went after the two---beat them senseless.  This new way of fighting is good, but I'm afraid that my nephew is letting it overtake his logic, his temper is getting the best of him.  That can't be good!”

 "You're right about that, his hands and feet are now lethal weapons and have to be registered as such" replies Jake, "Cordell has got to learn to control that temper before he kills someone----and G.I. hero or not---he would be punished for it.”

"So, what do we do guys?” Asks C.D.

"He's a grown man, nothing we can say is going to change his mind. Maybe White Eagle can reach him” Ray answers sadly.

It is now midnight and Cordell and Jake are sitting around the fire, Cordell is staring into the flames, like he's in a trance.

"Cordell, I'm only going to say this once----and then you have to decide how to take it.  I know what it's like to be in a war and see your buddies killed, but I was never taken prisoner so I can't imagine the torture you must have endured.  But, you are going to have to choose a path to follow, and  this could be the decision that will control your destiny.  If you keep fighting, you're going to end up in prison---because sooner or later---that martial arts is going to end up getting someone killed!”

"I know" answers Cordell, "White Eagle has talked to me and I've made a decision---I'm going back to Nam!”

Jake shakes his head,  "I should have known what your decision would be----and I have to respect it.  I just hope that someday you will come home and be free of all the nightmares that are haunting you.”

"You’re right about the fighting, I have been mis-using it for how it is intended. There is a instructor in Hong Kong, I want to study under him and then I will take my learning’s and try to teach the arts to other soldiers----the right way.  I want to be an instructor in special forces again.  I have to do this---and then maybe I can think of coming home.”

Jake is very sad, his coughing has gotten worse and the trips back and forth to Oklahoma City are more frequent, but he has postponed his last check in so he could spend more time with Cordell.  He lays his hand on Cordell's shoulder, his voice is breaking.

"I hope it's soon, my young friend---I'm wanting to take that fishing trip with you and the guys----maybe we could take White Eagle with us.”

Cordell smiles, "That would be nice, though White Eagle doesn't fish---he just tells you how to do it!”

The two laugh and Jake sees something in Cordell's eyes, "what else is bothering you, Cordell?  I see a determination in those eyes, what are you thinking?”

Cordell's eyes are sad as he whispers, "they're still over there, Jake-----and our government is ignoring them.”

Jake starts coughing harder and through his coughs, he answers, "you mean the POW's?”

"And, the MIA's---they have been forgotten by our government----not enough is being done to find them---and I want to do something about that.”

"What can you do, the military has people going over there, trying to find the prisons-----they can't find them!”

"They are looking in the wrong places, Jake---Cambodia is the place to look, and underground----not above!”

Jake studies Cordell's face, "Is that where you were being held, underground?”

Cordell grits his teeth, "Some of the time----until they took us out and beat us---then when they would tire of beating us, they had us beat each other------and they laughed.”

"I know that you have to try and make it right----just be careful, Cordell----and don't come home to us in a body bag.  I best be going, the last bus to the City will be leaving soon.”

C.D. and Ray walk up to the campsite and C.D. is carrying a camera--- sits it down on a rock and sets the timer.  Then he goes to sit down beside his friends and whispers---"got to make this one good guys---I have a feeling that it will be a long time till we're all together again.”


                                              ******************************************

 

1980---C.D.’s bar and grill

 

It has been a long four years and true to C.D.’s comment the four men will never again---be all together.

Jake died six weeks after Cordell went back to Nam, and Ray's wife died the following year.   Then they got the news that Cordell was missing in action again and for almost three years there was no word about his status.

C.D. is helping Ray  build on the ranch house that Ray has decided to build. The man says very little as his eyes linger on the little two room shack that sits near the river.   C.D. was with him the day Ruth died, and this time Ray could not hold back the tears as he and C.D. buried Ruth near where the twins lay in their final resting place.

C.D. takes a deep breath as he observes the new cement mixer that Ray has bought.

"Dad burn it, Uncle Ray, ---what are you building this time?  The house is getting bigger each time I come out here!”

"I have to make it big so when "Washo" comes home---he can fill the bedrooms with babies----my grandchildren!”

C.D. is confused, "Grandkids?----Don't you mean grand nephews or nieces?”

"Nope--I mean grandkids!----'Cause "Washo" is my son in every  way, maybe I didn't give him birth----but he's still my son!----And, I like the sound of "grandkids" better.”

The two men become sad, and Ray replies, "I know what you're thinking C.D.---my nephew is not dead.”

"It's been almost three years, Uncle Ray---there has been no word.”

"He's not dead! " Ray turns the mixer on and the cement is pouring into the forms for a new sidewalk.  "White Eagle says that my nephew is still alive---that he is walking with the dead and wounded, his face is blackened from the military paint his eyes see so much pain and death----but his eyes----still see!”

"I pray you and White Eagle are right" C.D. answers-----" so----now what do you want me to do now---want me to pour the cement?”

"Why would I want you to pour the cement---the machine is doing it just fine?”

"Look at all those lumps----the machine is not mixing it up smooth enough----get out of the way---you crazy old Indian---I'll show you how to pour cement!”

"Watch it, paleface----or I will scalp what hair you got left" argues Ray.

"Yeah?----And who's going to help you?"

"I need no help, white man------ that will be the day when a white man can outfight a red man!”

"Oh yeah?” Screams back C.D.---"Tell that to Custer!”

Ray's temper is rising and he shakes his hand at C.D.----"Don't dare mention that yellow, livered coward in my presence----or so help me---I'll mop the ground up with you!”

C. D. begins rolling his sleeves back, "Bring it on----I haven't had a good fight since last Saturday night!”

Ray is circling his friend and snorting, "And, was that the night that jealous husband came looking for you?”

"Yeah----and who was the last one standing?”

"Couldn't tell---you were both weaving back and forth like one of those cupie dolls---with hula skirts and. . ."

Ray stops and stares over C.D.’s shoulder, C.D. stops and turns around, they both see the man exiting a taxi.  Their mouths drop open and their eyes grow wide, C.D. whispers, "Oh my Lord---can it be?”

Ray is walking and then running towards the man in a Marine uniform.   “WASHO"---C.D. it is "Washo!”----He's home!”


                                              ****************************************

 

1984:  Springtown

It's July and one of the hottest on records, the temperature has already topped 104 and still rising.

Cordell's return to the states hasn't been easy and the horrors of Viet Nam still haunt him. He has gone through another part of adjusting to the cruel ways of the American people and their opinions on the war. He travels around, not wanting to stay in any one place long enough to plant any kind of root. When he finally returns to Texas, his friends are still worried about him and the nightmares of being held captive.   He starts seeing old Marine buddies and the drinking and carousing has started all over again.

It's been an all nighter for Cordell and his buddies as they are now dragging themselves out of bed, and stumbling towards the kitchen for coffee.  Ray has watched them, saying nothing.  He waits till all the friends have left, except for one.  The friend is trying to talk Cordell into going to Old Mexico with him.

"Come on, Walker---there's nothing here---but the women in Mexico are there for the taking---come on, Cap---let's get out of this flea bag!”

Ray's temper is rising as his nephew is saying nothing.  Ray turns to the man, "You best be watching how you talk about my home--or I will show the door---and not bother opening it!”

"Oh pipe down, old man---don't get your shorts riding up your ass hole-----or maybe you should loosen those braids---so your brain can think!”

Cordell is sipping his coffee as he listens to the man back talking his Uncle. "Back off, Billings---this is his house."

"It's your house too nephew---and this man is making a mockery out of it---look at this place---it's a pig sty!”

Billings looks around him and smirks, "Hell----we've stayed shacked up with some whores in better places than this, huh Walker?”

Ray glances up the stairs and turns to his nephew----"And, that's another thing-----I will not allow you and your friends to bring whores into this house---now get those women out of here!”

"You just said that this was my house too, Uncle---don't I have any rights?--- Don't tell me who I can and can't have here!”

Ray walks over to his nephew and stares him in the eyes, "For years I have fought for this land to be given back to my people---and for you to have a home.  I have put many hours into this house to try and make it a home for you and this is how you repay me?”

Cordell is still fighting the effects of the alcohol, the coffee seems to be making it worse.  "I have sent you my government checks, I have paid for part of all of this---have you forgotten that?”

Ray turns abruptly and walks out the front door, Cordell watches as his uncle is heading down to the remains of the old 2 room shack.  He swears under his breath and turns to his friend.

"Get your things, we're getting out of here---it was a big mistake coming back here, and tell those girls to get out of here before my Uncle returns!”

"You got it, Captain----we can always find other babes in the land of enchantment---I'll get their buttes up----Mexico--here we come!”

Cordell is throwing some of his clothes together, he looks up to see his Uncle standing there, holding a box. Ray dumps the box at his nephew's feet, then he grabs a handful of un-opened government checks and throws them in his nephew's face.

"Here are  your checks----you better cash them now so that you and your friend will have money when you get to Mexico---the liquor and the whores are cheaper down there---but you will still need money!”

Cordell stares at the checks and goes over the dates that each one was issued, all the way back to the very first one that he sent home. He stares back at his uncle----"You didn't cash  any of them?”

Ray's temper is rising, his fists close and unfold, "Not one check-----I was saving them for you.---Now take your damn money and leave----this is not your home anymore---and take your filthy friends with you!”

"Hey Walker----come on man----Mexico is waiting!”

Cordell stares back at the checks and then he starts walking in circles----"You go ahead, Billings-----I'm not going!”

"What?----What are you saying, Cap---are you going to listen to this old Indian----who the hell is he anyways?”

Ray turns to the man and hits him with his fist, "I'm his Uncle and I will give you five seconds to get out of my house or I will throw you out!”

Billings gets up and charges at Ray, Cordell grabs him and spins him around, "Get out, Billings---take the whores and get out of my Uncle's home.”

Billings stares back at Cordell and then to Ray, "I don't believe it----you're part redskin---how can that be--the name Walker is American!”

"My name is Firewalker, but it was shortened----now take your things and get out---or I will finish what my Uncle started---and you know I can!”

Billings backs away, "Yeah----I've been your sparing partner many times and I know what you can do with that karate stuff---I'm going---I'm out of here!”

Cordell looks to his Uncle and shakes his head, his voice breaks, "I'm sorry Uncle Ray---I didn't know.”

"There was no reason to tell you, the checks were being saved for you---I didn't spend one dime of your government checks!”

Cordell rubs the stubble on his face, "I feel so ashamed----I see what you have done to this place and I have failed to appreciate it---please forgive me!”

Ray takes a deep breath, his voice is breaking too. "I just wanted you to have a home to come back to---I know you have been going through hell with the memories from over there---but nephew---you have to let it go---before it's too late.”

Cordell starts to cry, his Uncle embraces him.  "Just let it out, nephew---there is no shame in crying."

"I couldn't cry before, Uncle" (sobbing) " I saw all of my buddies being ripped apart, limbs lying all over the place and I couldn't do a damn thing about it.  The nightmares won't go away" Cordell continues to cry, his shoulders heaving.

Ray pulls away from him, "I will leave you now---you have to make a decision "Washo"---you can stay or you can leave.  Whichever decision you make, I will never stop loving you---but if you stay---changes will have to  be made---do you understand me, "Washo?”

"Yes sir” sobs Cordell, ----"I just need to be left alone.”

Ray starts to walk away and then he points towards the box, "You have some things in there that belonged to your parents, Jake found the chaps that you bought for your Father---I've kept them oiled for you, so the leather wouldn't crack. You might want to look through the things---I'm going downstairs to start cleaning up.”

Cordell clears his throat, "The box can wait, Uncle Ray I will help you to get things cleaned up and I will start with this room!”  Cordell walks over to his bed and strips it, walks over to the window and throws the bedclothes out. He takes a deep sigh and then turns to his Uncle, "I will burn them later---and never again will I ever embarrass you in this manner again.”

Cordell has kept his word, he has started seeing someone to help him to cope with the horrors he left behind in a place that seems so far away.  He joined the highway patrol then switched to the Texas Rangers.

Between his career as a law officer and part-time rancher, he has opened up a school for martial arts.  The nightmares are fading, as he and his Uncle work side by side branding cattle.

His Uncle is watching him as Cordell seems to be lost in his thoughts.

"Want to talk about it nephew, who is she?”

Cordell smiles,” Her name is Ellen, she works in the records department, I'm dying to ask her out---but every time I start to, my legs get weak and the words won't come out---I can't remember ever being this tongue tied around a woman!----I've never had this problem before!”


Part 10

 

"Nephew, apparently this young woman is different from the other women---you have been with."

"Yes, she's different Uncle Ray, and she is so sweet, wait till you meet her.”

Ray smiles, "You mean I'm actually going to be introduced to this woman, you've never introduced me to any of the others, but they didn't have names either!”

"Don't start in on me, Uncle, I know I haven't exactly made good choices in the women----I've been with----but Ellen is different.  I know she likes me---cause I've heard that she does---but she's so shy."

"Well nephew, one of you is going to have to make the first step and I would suggest that you get up off your hinney and ask this woman out.  And, do it soon, maybe one of these days I can see those extra bedrooms put to use-----as nurseries?”

"Come on, Uncle Ray---I haven't even got a date with her and you're already talking about me having a family?  And, that's something I would like to ask you about----why do you keep building on?   The house is already too big now!”

"You don't listen too good, do you nephew?  I said I wanted the extra bedrooms used for nurseries---that means 'children' nephew----you do know  how to make them, don't you?”

"Now, this a twist---for years you have pounded into my head about not releasing the fluids---by the way---the appropriate saying is 'semen'!-- And "YES" I know how to make them Uncle, but I've always heeded your advice about being ready to undertake the responsibility of fatherhood and I have tried to practice that advice.”

"What about this Ellen, does she want to have a family?”

"Uncle Ray---I don't believe what you're asking!  How would I know if she wants to have a family?  Oh I get it, I ask her out and then I say, "Oh by the way, my Uncle wants to know if you want kids or not.”

"You keep mocking me, nephew and I'll take you to the shed and whop your backside!” warns Ray.

Cordell laughs, "and, I know you're more than capable of whooping my backside----I still carry White Eagle's scar!  Tell you what Uncle, I'm going to ask Ellen out and when and if the subject ever comes up about having kids-----you'll be the first to know!”

The months pass and Cordell has had several dates with Ellen and he knows that he is falling in love with her. They are walking along the river and Ellen asks softly.

"Cord, why do you men call each other by your last names, I can't get used to someone calling you Walker?”

"It's just a male thing Ellen, I guess it starts with military training. All of the G.I.'s are called by their last names, if a drill instructor ever called a grunt by his first name---he would probably get clobbered!  Besides the last names are on the uniforms, not the first names!”

"But, you don't wear any kind of uniform now" argues Ellen.

Cordell scratches his beard, "I know--- but I'm sort of liking the sound of my last name, does it bother you?”

She smiles back at him, "No---I just like  the name of Cord better--so don't expect me to call you Walker---it's too impersonal!”

"O.k. I won't, but more and more people are calling me by my last name, practically the only that calls me Cordell anymore is C.D.”

Ellen becomes silent, "And, even more so now that you are a Ranger.”

"I suppose even more will call me by last name, are you o.k. with my career as a Ranger?”

"If that's what you want, Cord.”

"Well----yeah----it's what I've wanted for a long time now, but I have to know if you're happy with it, because----you have a stake in this too----you know.”

Ellen's dark eyes look back into Cordell's, "Cord, is there something you want to  tell me?”

"Yeah" Cordell's voice is cracking, "I've been wanting to tell you something for several weeks now."

"And----that is?”

"I've----I've fallen in love with you Ellen" the Ranger stammers, "I just thought you should know.”

Ellen's face breaks out in a huge smile, "Oh Cord, I've been waiting to hear you say it-----I love you too.”

The two embrace and the Ranger is on cloud nine as he and Ellen head back to Ft. Worth and to C.D.’s.

C.D. can hardly refrain himself as he is introduced to Ellen, he keeps smiling and shaking her hand.

"So?---You’re Ellen, the one Cordell has been panting over for the past couple of months----Cordell---she's beautiful, even more than you and Uncle Ray said she was.”

They talk for several hours and then Ellen goes back to work, C.D. is watching the way Cordell kisses Ellen goodbye, smiles.

"How serious is it, Cordell?”

"As serious as it can get, C.D.---I'm going to ask Ellen to marry me---just as soon as this Pike business is over with!”

C.D.'s smile fades, "That Pike is one mean son of a bitch, Cordell---you be careful.  I hear he's not too happy with you, that he's made threats against your life!"

The Ranger sighs, "won't be the first time that I've been threatened----and won't be the last!”

"Just the same, you be careful---have the Rangers found him yet?”

"Yeah, we got him---this time he won't get of jail on a technicality that some damn lawyer can dream up---God---how I hate lawyers!”

The weeks pass and Ellen is spending more and more time at the ranch, but always at the end of the day she is going back to her place. Ray has been staying down at the cabin when Ellen is visiting, but each time that she leaves, Cordell is in a tailspin.

 

C.D.’s bar and grill:

 

The evenings are still hot and C.D. is staring at Uncle Ray as he drinks the hot tea.  He sighs and walks around to the other side of the bar and sits down.

"Tea?---Datburn it, Uncle Ray---how can you drink tea in this kind of weather?”

"I happen to like tea---it's better for you that that stuff you call coffee---it looks more like motor oil!”

"Don't be knocking my coffee, you crazy old Indian---it's the best in the state---Cordell likes it---keeps him awake on those boring stakeouts!”

Ray grunts, "It's not just your coffee that is keeping my nephew awake at nights, it's the cold showers after Ellen leaves!”

C.D. starts laughing, "ironic, isn't it?  After all of those women that old Cordell was keeping time with and then someone sweet and innocent like Ellen is the one that steals his heart away---a virgin---no less!”

"A lot you don't know, you old coot---Ellen and Cordell have shared the teepee, so to speak, but she draws the line in the sand about spending the night.   So therefore, my nephew has to drive her back to Dallas, and by the time he gets home, he needs a cold shower to stop thinking of her.”

The two men break out laughing, "and, how do you know all of this, you spend more time up at the reservation with White Eagle on those seminars? Or, whatever the hell you call them!”

"I know what I see and hear--- it's in the wind.”

"Don't go laying that Cherokee crap on me, when is he going to propose?”

"Soon, I hope----my water bill is getting higher and higher---thank goodness it's not hot water he's using or the gas bill would be going up too!”

C.D. nods his head, "He's sure changed in the last year, hasn't he? Is he still going to church?”

"As much as he can, and he reads the bible all the time, even takes it with him on those stakeouts!”

"I was sure getting worried about him, but he's turned his life around, and opening up that karate school has helped too.  I think he's on the right track, Uncle Ray --- Ellen has been a good influence on him!”

The old Indian nods his head in agreement, "yes, she is soothing and maybe her old fashioned ethics are just what my nephew needs.  For awhile there, his ethics and morals were doing a fast downfall and I was very upset with him.  I know that the scars of wars affect all men differently, and "Washo" is not any different from any other man that has endured that kind of horror.  They sometimes make bad choices and my nephew was making his share---but C.D. he is trying to make things right again. "

"I know that, and you are to be commended for having patience with him and keeping him on the right track.  Not too many parents would have endured what you have in keeping Cordell on the straight and narrow.  That man loves you, Uncle Ray---he worships the ground you walk on.  You and White Eagle have both given him guidance.”

Ray smiles, "He's my brother's son--but I have been the only parent he has known since his parents were murdered.  I feel like he is my son, but I don't mind saying that I was starting to be very disappointed in him and his ways. But, I knew that if I looked deep enough, I would see the same boy that I had seen so many years ago when I took him under my wing.  He's still the same person underneath all of what he has to face, I just had to wait till the demons and bad spirits let him go.”

The two men  ponder their thoughts, and Ray stands up to leave.

"I got to be going --want to finish that patio thing out in the back yard before "Washo" gets back into town.”

"Patio thing?----What the hell you doing out there now, Uncle Ray?---Every time I come out there, the house is getting bigger?”

"Got nothing else to do during the day, got to keep my mind and my body in working shape-----Ellen planted more flowers---got to be careful not to step on any of them. "

The old Indian turns and  looks at C.D.---"Oh by the way, next time would you please get the water hotter for my tea, tonight's was almost like ice tea!”

C.D.’s face is getting red, "yeah, and the people in Hades would welcome it with open arms!!----Of all of the nerve---always knocking my food and my drinks----why do I ever allow you in my establishment, you crazy Indian!!!  " C.D. continues to sputter as Ray heads for the door, laughing.

C.D. is still muttering, "I have never had anyone complain so much about my food-----and that's another thing" C.D. yells back to Ray---"stop knocking my chili!  My chili is the best in Texas-----hell----no one else complains about it--it would be un-patriotic to not like my chili!”

 

1986:

 

Cordell has become more used to going by his last name and he is making quite a name for himself with the Rangers. His karate school is succeeding and one of his instructors has come to America to visit him. The instructor has asked his favorite pupil to come back to Hong Kong, Walker has refused.

They are at the airport and the Ranger is saying goodbye to his dear friend.

"Will you not change your mind,?” Mr Kai is asking.

Walker smiles, "I can't, I have a very important reason, I'm going to be getting married soon, that is----if she will have me.---I'm planning to ask her tomorrow.”

The day has come that will again change Cordell Walker's life. He has pondered on the question and how to ask it, he and Ellen are at their favorite place down by the river.  They have just finished a picnic lunch in which Walker couldn't eat anything.

"Cord, is there something wrong with the lunch I packed, you haven't touched the potato salad----or the chicken?”

He takes her hand and stares deeply into her dark eyes, they are unaware they are being observed.  The couple is being centered through the cross hairs of a rifle, and other weapons are being centered on them.

"Ellen---I love you---and I want to----ask you something.”

Her heart is skipping so fast she can hardly breathe---"What-----wh---what do you want to ask me, Cord?”

Walker takes a deep breath and then he blurts it out, "Will you marry me?”

The woman starts to cry as she runs into Walker's arms, "Yes----yes----I will marry you."

The words are barely out of her mouth when a shot rings out and strikes her in the back, Walker screams out her name and tries to break her fall.  Soon other shots are finding their marks as both Walker and Ellen are hit repeatedly.  He tries desperately to cover her body with his, and then everything becomes quiet----so quiet.

 

Three months later and Walker is being released from the hospital, his friends are there with him as he is driven to the cemetery. He places a small bouquet of flowers on Ellen's grave and  he walks away.

Ray starts to call out to him, but C.D. stops him. "Let him be, Uncle Ray---he's not going to stop until he finds the ones responsible.”

Ray looks back at Ellen's grave, "We know who is responsible------and I know my nephew----he won't come home till he's had his revenge!”

The months have passed and even after Pike and his men have been caught, Walker is still staying away from the ranch and his friends. The Captain of the Rangers has again inquired about him at C.D.’s.

The Captain is a tall man, slender built, and short on patience.

"I'm trying to understand Walker's disappearance, but if he doesn't get back here soon----I'm going to be forced to resign him----does either of you know where he is?”

Ray shakes his head sadly, and so does C.D.  "We haven't a clue----we thought he might go up to the badlands---but White Eagle hasn't seen him either!”

The Captain shakes his head and walks out.

"I'm worried about Cordell, Uncle Ray---not a word---in months-----where the hell can he be?”

"The last anyone saw of him was when he brought that murdering son of a bitch into Ranger headquarters, they say "Washo" looked like hell---that he had the look of the devil------and then he just left!”

C.D. curses, "Damn it----how much can one man take?  He was just getting his life on track----everything was starting to come together for the man----and then this  happens.  This might be the end of him, Uncle Ray, Cordell may never be able to recover from this!”

"I'm worried about him too----but what can we do?  We don't even know where he is or where to look!  White Eagle has taught him well, and "Washo" will not be found until he's ready to be found.  If he's in the badlands, he knows places to hide that not even his own shadow can find him!  We wait------till he's ready to come home----and that may never be!”

Another month has passed, and Cordell Walker walks into C.D.'s bar and grill, he sits down at the bar.

Both C.D. and Ray are firing questions at the Ranger, and Walker answers

slowly.

            "After I brought Pike and his goons into headquarters----I went to the airport and took the first flight to Hong Kong, for the past few months---I've been there-----trying to cope with Ellen's death.”

"We've been so worried about you son, are you alright----how can we help?”

"I'll be o.k., C.D.---Mr Kai has reached deep in my inner soul and has helped to deal with my anger and my hurt.  He has taught me how to practice Zen.”

"Zen?  What's that, nephew?”

Walker's voice is quiet but stern, "It's a power within, Uncle---it teaches inner strength and tranquility, and Mr Kai's teaching has helped me to not go back down that road that I just came off of.  I am dealing with Ellen's death, the only way I know how, but I will not tarnish her memory by becoming bitter and returning to that life I knew when I came back from Nam.”

"What about your job, Cordell---Captain Malloy has been here, saying he was going to terminate you?”

"I've talked to him, C.D. and I'm going in front of the board, I will ask for my badge back----if the Rangers choose not to take me---then I understand.”

"We'll back you all the way, nephew----whatever decision you make---we'll be behind you.”

Walker has been reinstated with the Rangers and right away he starts taking cases that none of the other Rangers will touch.  His reputation of not being a man to mess with has reached the streets, and  the bad guys want no part of him----or his way of fighting.  His technique of bringing in the bad guys has raised issues with the authorities, but Captain Malloy backs him, and the bad guys are looking for holes to climb into.

However in another part of the world, another chapter of Walker's life is starting to surface again.


                                                ********************************

 

Dublin, Ireland 1990

The doctors are examining the man before them, the American doctor shakes his head.

"By all medical standards, this man should be dead---the tumor on his brain is growing so fast, I don't know what is keeping him alive.”

The other doctors agree, "He has been in and out of here for almost 22 years, what time he isn't in prison!”

"Aye" the third doctor nods his head, "and he's been in the insane asylum too.”

"I've gone over his medical records, he had a small contusion at the back of his temporal lobe that has increased over the years.  It says here---he was hit in the head several times, does anyone know the history behind that incident?”

The other two doctors shake their head, "I've only been here a short time Dr. Smith" the other Doctor nods his head in agreement.

"Does he have any family, that could shed some light on what we're working with?”

"He doesn't get any visitors, except for a man that dropped in from time to time and his visits were rather odd.”

"How so?”

The American doctor stares at the doctor very puzzled.

"Well, the few times that I have seen the man come to visit, he never went near our patient, he just stood over there and observed him.  The man's face never showed any emotion and that is indeed odd since he is a man of the cloth.”

"The visitor is a priest, who is he?”

"Was"-- the doctor says slowly, "the priest has since died----and for several years a younger man was coming by and asking questions about the patient.  Then he too stopped coming by, I heard one of the nurses say that the man had made a comment---"He's not going anywhere----but to hell!”

 The doctors continue to examine the man, the patient stares back at them with vacant eyes.

"If ye wants to know about me, then why don't ye ask?”

"Very well, I will, what happened to you, how did you end up here?”

"First---ye answer me question, what's wrong with me, why can me remember some things and not others?  Why does me head hurt so bad?”

"You suffered a contusion."

"What's that, speak in words me can understand!”  The man screams back in anger.

Doctor Smith sighs, "I'm sorry, a 'contusion' is a bruising that you have suffered at the temporal lobe of your brain, and this is one of many stems that make up the brain.  Different parts of your brain control your movements, speech, and memory.  This bruising has caused swelling and bleeding inside this part of your brain, and therefore pressure is causing your brain to press against other stems.  This pressure is causing you to have severe pain and it's affecting your eyesight, but, that's the least of your worries, I am afraid.”

The man stares back at the doctor "Ye trying to say me is dying?”

"I'm afraid so, I don't know how you have survived this long, you now have a tumor growing – actually several tumors, and they are inoperable. You must have a strong desire to have lived this long---something or 'someone' is keeping you going.  Do you have a family?”

The man looks away and then back to the doctor "Aye, me has a family---she is in America.”

The doctor smiles, "Really? What part of America?  That's where I'm from.”

"She lives in a place called Texas, have ye heard of it?”

The doctor laughs, "Of course, I've heard of Texas, it's the largest state in the union so the Texans want to believe then there's Alaska. But, a true Texan will say that state doesn't matter, it's mostly ice!”

The man's eyes become wide, "Have ye ever been to this Texas?”

Again, the doctor smiles "Yes, I've been there, I went to college in Dallas and Houston, they are two of the biggest cities in the state.  What part of Texas is your friend living in?”

"Me are not sure" the man starts rubbing his head, "she lives in a place----called Ft. Worth stockyards?”

The doctor repeats the name, "I know where that place is, it's near Dallas---this woman that you are referring to---what relationship is she to you?”

The other doctors are staring back at the patient, he hisses, "She is me wife---she is with child---our child.”

Dr. Smith does a double take "with child?  Has she visited you?  I see no records of any women visitors, how long ago was she here?”

"Me can't remember, me head hurts.”

The doctor nods his head, "take him back to his room---I want to go over his records again.”

The doctor returns to his office and starts digging out all of the files on one 'Cormac OHare'.


                                                 *********************************************

 

The next four years is going fast as the name of Walker is fast becoming a 'four letter' word for the bad guys.  His name is synonymous with law and he doesn't make all of his arrests going by the book.

The cons fear him, the other officers fear him too, but in a different way. They know he is short on temper, and paperwork is not in his category.  He keeps refusing a partner and his Captain is on his case constantly.

"Walker----you are due in court----and would you please cooperate with the new District Attorney?”

"As long as he doesn't try to lay all of that 'hog wash' on me about failing to read the prisoners their rights."

"It's the law, Walker!” the Captain barks back.

Walker's anger is rising as picks up his hat and walks to the door, he turns and faces his boss, "Yeah, I know it's the law---but where was the rights of that young Mother that was raped and left for dead---where were her rights?”

The Ranger is still fuming as he walks back to his office, he sees some of the other Rangers staring at the blond headed woman that has stopped at the water fountain. The eyes of the Rangers all follow every movement that her body is making as Walker looks in her direction.  Even through the two piece suit, he can see that she has one hell of a body.  He can't see her face, she turns and walks away.

The other Rangers are speaking low and making snide remarks.  Walker watches as the woman continues walking down the hallway, her skirt fitting snug on tight hips, and the legs seem to go on forever.  He smiles to himself and whispers "Damn, she sure looks good walking away----I wonder how she looks coming towards me---she's got some nice looking legs!”

 The Ranger goes back to his office and picks up his messages, " A message from C.D. wanting me to meet him at the swimming pool of the Athletic Club---now why in the hell does he want me to meet him there?  As soon as I testify at this damn trial, guess I'll go and see what he wants.  Trial?  What a crock!!  I wonder what kind of crap this new prosecutor is going to come  up with?  God, I hate lawyers!”


                                         ************************************************


Dublin, Ireland  1991 (insane asylum)


           The doctor is staring back at the young man before him,” thank you for coming Mr. Daniels."

"Peter----just call me Peter---what can me do for ye, doctor?”

The doctor has aged over the past couple of years as he too has developed a tumor that is advancing rapidly.

"I called you here because you seem to be the only visitor that this Cormac ever receives, but yet----you never ask any questions about how he is doing.  How well do you know the patient?”

Peter's face turns rigid, "Too long----Cormac is the devil----me will be glad when he is dead and gone.  Me comes here about twice a year---just to make sure he is still here and to make sure he never gets out.”

The doctor is weak as he looks over the patient's records. "You sound like you despise the man, and yet you bother to show up, why don't you just call and inform about him, why waste time in driving all the way from Kilkee, is it?”

"Me told you why, me wants to make sure that he never escapes from this place again!   The other doctors told me that his tumor is advancing, how long does he have?”

Dr. Smith shakes his head, "Your guess is as good as mine, he is defying all the medical odds, his brain is like mush!”

The young man reaches in his briefcase and hands the doctor a journal, "Me has also been told that ye have a cancer, that is why ye needs to read this, it will explain some things about Cormac, it belonged to a very dear friend, Father Tralee.”

"I've heard of him, I hear he was a good man.”

"He didn't deserve to suffer at the hands of that devil.  Why do ye keep Cormac alive?  He has killed and hurt a lot of people.  He does not deserve to draw another breath.”

"I'm sorry, but I have taken a oath, and as much as I might agree with you, it is not my place to decide when he dies.  The tumor will do that!”

"Rubbage!”  The man spits on the floor, "Me used to be a God-fearing man, but when the Lord chooses to let a man like Cormac survive and he takes the likes of Father Tralee, me loses my faith."

 

 

Part 11

 

"Thank you for bringing in this journal on Cormac, maybe it will help me to understand more about him and why he is the way he is.”

Peter is getting angry, "Why bother to learn these things, but ye can answer questions that me has.  What is exactly wrong with him, does he have amnesia?”

"No----not exactly.  When he suffered that attack---many years ago---his attacker hit him many times in the head, causing damage to the temporal lobe of the brain cell."

"First of all, Dr---Cormac deserved the attack on himself."

"How can you say that, no man deserves to be attacked and have his head bashed in?”

Peter slams his fist down on the Dr's desk, "He was raping a young woman, is that reason enough for ye man?”

The doctor stares back and Peter lowers his voice, "And the woman was already with child---she tried to tell him, the man would not listen----he raped her anyways.”

Dr. Smith sits down slowly in his chair, "I wasn't told of this and it's not in any of his records----are you sure about this?”

"Aye---me is sure---it's all there in the journal that Father Tralee was writing---read it!"

"How did Father Tralee find out, did she confess to him?”

Peter takes a deep sigh, "Aye---she confessed to him----she was his sister!”

"A sister from his parish?"

"NO---she was his flesh and blood---his baby sister!”

"Oh my" the doctor's face is white----"and so, Father Tralee was doing the same thing that you are doing now, making sure Cormac didn't escape again?”

"Aye-----and when his sister returned after some 10 years and Cormac found out she was here---he attacked Father Tralee wanting to know where she was.  Me wife and I had taken her son to the airport, just in case Cormac found out that she was there at his church!”

The doctor is shaking his head, "This is all so confusing."

"It's in the journal, Dr. Smith---please read it---me has to go now---will you call me again?”

"Oh, you can count on it, Peter----and I will not stop till I have read it all.  I will call you in a couple of days.”


                                          *********************************************

 

Tarrant County Courthouse: 1991

 

Cordell Walker is in shock as he is staring at the new Assistant District Attorney, she's the blond headed woman that he had seen earlier at the water fountain.

She's all business as she tears into his version of 'single handily' arresting 7 felons.  For a good 20 minutes she grills him on the witness stand, he's not a happy Ranger as he is leaving the courthouse, heading for the athletic club to meet with C.D.

He's still muttering to himself as he is zipping through traffic, "Who the hell does she think she is, questioning me that way?  I hope I never see that woman again---of all the confounded nerve--she more less called me a liar!!!  She better hope I never become a witness for the prosecution, I'd show her. Oh well---it's over!---what a way to start the day---what else could possibly go wrong?”

 

 He sees his friend walking towards him, checking his watch.

"Cordell, where the hell you been, you're late?”

The Ranger is still thinking about being raked over the coals by the new District Attorney, "Don't start in on me, C.D.---I'm not in the mood!"

"I can see that---you got smoke coming out of your ears!”

"C.D., what was so damn important about wanting me to meet you here?”

"Don't get your shorts all ruffled, I want you to meet someone.”

"Who?---It better not be a woman, C.D. I'm in no mood for blind dates!”

 C.D. stares back at his friend, "I sure don't know what has crawled up your backside-furthermore I don't want to know.  Captain Malloy has been on your case about getting a partner.  I have someone in mind!”

"I don't want a damn partner, C.D.!”

"You don't have any choice in the matter, son---now would you just meet the young man, and reserve your opinions till afterwards?”

Walker takes a deep sigh as he's looking around for someone who might be the man in question. "O.k. C.D.---where is he? I don't have time for games!”

C.D. points toward the pool, "There---he's just surfacing.”

Walker looks to the pool as a young black man is coming up the ladder, grinning---wearing a swim cap---and a pair of SPEEDOS.”

Walker does another double take---"Oh good grief---another Mark Spitz?”

C.D. is smiling, "Cordell, this is James Washington Trivette.”

Walker is shaking his head as he listens to the young man talk about solving cases via computer while drinking a green liquid.

"What the hell is that?”

The young man continues to show his pearly whites, "This here is a health drink---you might want to try it sometime--celery juice, and wheat germ mixed in with all kinds of herbs."

"Save me the details---Tri-vit, I got to get back to headquarters, that is if that dizzy broad hasn't gotten me fired!”

"Trivette---the name is Trivette!”  The man answers quickly as he looks to C.D. and then to Walker.  It's actually French."

Walker is walking away, and waving his hand up in the air "whatever.”

The young man looks to C.D.--"I don't think he likes me.”

C.D. slaps the man on his shoulder, "Nonsense---Jimmy---old Cordell would have thrown you back in the pool if he didn't like you!”

"That's comforting to know, big dog!”


                                            ************************************************


Dublin---Christmas 1991

Young Peter has returned to the asylum to talk with Dr. Smith.

The doctor shakes his disbelief, "From what Father Tralee has written into this journal, he is saying that Cormac believed himself to be the Father of Elizabeth's child, but according to Dr. Kenny's exam, Elizabeth was already pregnant.”

"Aye, and he raped her anyways.  Then she attacked him, hitting him with the rock---over and over.”

"That explains all of the damage to the front part of the brain and the slow process on getting to the main stem of the brain, which could have killed him, or left him paralyzed.  How long has it been since this Elizabeth was here, according to this --she was last here around the early 60's?”

"Aye, the boy was about 10 when she was here.”

Dr. Smith rises from his chair and walks slowly to Peter, "I have never seen a case quite like this before.  When Cormac was hit with the rocks, his left side of the brain waves shut down.”

"What does that mean, doctor---is he faking his illness?”

"No, he's not faking and I can show you proof of the x-rays on his head, there is no way he's faking, and why would he fake something for over 40 years?  It sounds like to me that he is still believing that Elizabeth is carrying his child and it's still the summer of  1949!  When I asked him last month if he had a family, he said he had a wife---living in Texas.”

"Oh no, he has learned of Elizabeth's home."

"But, your brother's last entry is talking about Elizabeth's death---Cormac is not aware of this, or else he has blocked it out, refusing to go forward from that date of the rape.”

"Can someone do that, doctor?  Me does not understand how ye can stop ye brain from thinking.”

"Cormac has lost all of his logic where this woman is concerned.  It's like his brain waves are frozen to that date, but there is still enough waves on the right side that puts his memory in the present, but for only short times.  That's why he has short term memory!  He doesn't know about Elizabeth's son, does he?”

"Nay, Elizabeth and Father Tralee were very cautious in letting anyone know about young Cordell.  The boy was kept in the dark about many things, including his Mother's rape.  When Elizabeth and Cordell were in Kilkee, it was a last attempt to get their parents to accept him.   Ye see Dr. Smith, the man that was the Father of Cordell was a native Indian and Elizabeth's parents were ashamed, they ignored the boy for many years.  Finally, Kathleen Tralee agreed to see her grandson, she died about 3 days later.”

The doctor takes a deep breath, "I was afraid of this, if Cormac was told again about the boy not being his, that this boy is a full grown man now, I'm not sure how it would affect him."

"No!” Exclaims Peter, "Ye cannot tell him, it was Father's Tralee's promise to his sister that the boy would never know---what would be the point to tell him now?”

"I wasn't referring to the boy, I was thinking of Cormac."

"The devil needs no consideration.  No, me refuses to allow ye to tell him!!!  Me will take my friend's journal and go."

"Wait a minute, Peter, don't you see that this could be a medical breakthrough, a complete turnaround in treating patients with this kind of brain damage?”

"Me does not give a damn about your medical breakthroughs or whatever ye are calling them!  Me only concern is keeping the disgusting truth from Cordell, this would kill him if he knew!”   Peter starts crossing himself, "The boy loved his Mother more than life, me still remembers the day we got word of Cordell's parents being murdered.  The boy was sent to a orphanage until his Father's people came for him, he does not need anymore pain!  Me begs you, doctor do not tell Cormac about any of this let him rot in hell for what he has done!”

"I think you're wrong, Peter for wanting to keep the truth from Cordell as well as Cormac.   Cordell is a man now, he could handle the truth now, and maybe if Cormac is told then he will get over this vendetta about going to America!”

Peter's eyes grow wide as he hugs the journal to him, "He is still talking about going there, how can his mind think that way?  He can't ever be released, trust me Dr. Smith  the man is crazy, -there is no telling what he would do once he is aware of Elizabeth's death.  What have ye been telling him?”

"I haven't told him anything, Peter."

"How does he know that Elizabeth was living in Texas?”

"I don't know.  I swear I don't know!”

"Something is not right, we have been so careful in keeping any of Elizabeth's whereabouts a secret.”

"It's been 40 years, Peter, surely someone has told him by now information is leaked out and for some reason, he has remembered the part about Texas.  He believes that she is still alive, and in his mind, still pregnant, and.."

"Me does not understand any of this, how can Cormac remember just certain things?   What has he told ye about that day in question, when he raped Elizabeth?”

"He says he doesn't remember and the tests that we have run on him shows that he doesn't have any reaction to any of the events that unfolded during the assault.”

Peter is shaking his head back and forth and walking in circles, "All the more reason that he is not to be told, as long as his mind is frozen to that date, then he can't go forward.  To go forward would only hurt more people, let his brain remain where it is doctor, and maybe soon, he will leave this earth.”

Peter has left the asylum and taken Father Tralee's journal with him, but unknown to him, the doctor has made copies of it.


                                        *****************************************

 

New years' Eve---C.D.'s bar and grill

 

The Ranger is stomping back and forth in front of the bar, nursing a long neck and grumbling under his breath.

C.D. is staring back at him and to the half empty bottle of beer.

"Datburn it, Cordell you been nursing that one beer for over an hour now.  I can't make any money this way!”

"It's New Years' Eve, C.D. the drinks are free! Walker snaps back at him.

"Not the beer, just the champagne."

"I don't want any damn champagne" Walker starts downing his beer and then slams the empty bottle down on the bar.  He turns to Lindy, the waitress, "I'll have another longneck!  Are you happy now, C'D?”

"What in Sam Hill are you so upset about, Cordell, you're not still fuming over that incident in the courthouse, are you?”

 Walker takes a long drink and then he shakes the bottle in C.D.'s face, "I'll tell you one thing, C.D. if I ever see that woman lawyer again, it will be too soon!”

"She was just doing her job, Cordell, interrogating you."

"She sure has a very unprofessional way of interrogating witnesses, she was rude, obnoxious, muleheaded."

"I've heard all of this before, Cordell.”

"I never said 'muleheaded.”

"No, that's what she said about you." C.D. responds.

Walker grunts and steps backward, and he feels someone bumping into him, he mutters a quick apology and then both he and the person stare at each other, it's her!

Her blue eyes stare at him and her mouth drops open, "You"--- they both say at the same time.

The words are flying between them and the woman's voice screams back at him, "Unprofessional?  I'll tell you one thing, Cowboy, if I ever get you on the witness stand again, I will expect you to conduct yourself in a more professional manner!”

Walker can't get a word in edgewise as the young attorney is blasting him, the adjectives are still flying from her lips as the music of 'aulde lang syne' begins to play.

Walker is staring at the woman's lips, he grabs her quickly and lays one huge New Years' kiss on her, she starts to withdraw, then she responds by kissing him back. Finally she pulls away and sees the Ranger smiling back at her in a egotistical manner.

She starts muttering, "Excuse me, what was I saying?”

Walker is fighting the smile on his face and C.D. is staring at both of them and grinning.

The woman continues to sputter and then she excuses herself and heads for the ladies' room.

Walker is watching her as she is walking away and looking back over her shoulder at him.  He smiles to himself and takes another drink of his beer, he turns to C.D.

"This is going to be the start of a very good year. C.D., yep, I can feel it in my bones.”  He grins as he can still taste the woman's lipstick on his lips.

C.D. nods his head in approval and then he points towards the ladies' room, "I have a feeling that little lady is going to turn you upside down, Cordell, she's going to turn you 'Every which way, but loose----and neither you nor Dirty Harry is going to know what hit you!”


                         ************************************************************** 


Ranger headquarters—1992

 

The incident at C.D.'s is trying to be treated as nonchalant as possible between the Ranger and the new ADA. Their paths have crossed many times, and they are cordial to one another.

When he wants to get her riled, Walker winks at her, even in court. The woman is trying very hard to keep a straight face, but he knows that it's affecting her.

They are leaving the courthouse to go and interrogate a witness in Burleson. The witness has been un-cooperative and Alexandra Cahill is ticked.

She climbs into the Ranger's truck, pushing over debris to make room.  She frowns, looking at the empty Styrofoam cups.

"Walker, have you ever thought about cleaning your truck? They do have car washes, you know!”

The Ranger stares back at her, "Don't be trashing my truck----I happen to like it this way!”

Alex frowns as she starts looking around at the mess,  "I can just imagine what your apartment looks like!”

Walker frowns, "What apartment?  I don't live in a apartment.”

Alex lowers her eyes, "Excuse me, I would guess that you live in this truck, judging by the way it looks, goodness, I've never seen such a mess!”

"For your information, Ms Cahill, I do spend many hours in my truck and have spent many hours sleeping in it, while on stakeouts!  I eat and sleep in here---so back off!”

The woman is not backing off as she glares back at him, "What about your dates?”

"What dates?---Now what are you yapping about?”

"Where do your dates ride---in the back of the truck?  I've also noticed that you have some plywood back there, now that's interesting.  ell me, don't your dates find that a little uncomfortable?”

Walker grins back at her and replies, "I haven't had any complaints!”

Alex groans as she is still moving around trying to find a spot that is not cluttered, she starts pulling out trash from between the back of the seat, then she makes a disgusting sound.

"Oh gads, a half eaten apple, there's no telling what else is back there especially knowing that you have your dates in this thing!  I would probably find bikini underwear tucked in between the seats somewhere!”

Walker winks at her,  "What's the matter Counselor, are you in the habit of leaving your undies in the autos of the jerks you go out with?”

"Of all of the nerve---how dare you talk to me like that?”

Now Walker is angry, "You started it, Alexandra, don't dish it out if you can't take it.  And, for your information my dates don't wear underwear it saves on time.”

Alex's mouth drops open and she starts to sputter "That figures, a cheap date in this truck is probably all of the action that you ever see!”

"Oh, and I'm sure that all of your dates take you to only the most expensive hotels and motels in Dallas!”  Walker snaps back at her, "Let me inform you on something, Counselor, just because a man throws his money around and takes you to fancy places does not make him Don Juan in the sack.  I've seen some of the men you've been going out with, pure wimps!”

The Attorney is fuming, "Really?  And, are you so bored with the women you're seeing that you have to watch my life?”

"Don't flatter yourself my love life is more than filling."

She crosses her arms in front of her and swears under her breath, "I can just imagine the kind of women you date."

"You sure do a lot of "imagining' or is it because that's what your love life is 'imaginary

The bickering keeps going back and forth until finally they are back at Ranger Headquarters, she stomps off towards her office, he goes to his.

In the months to follow their relationship continues to battle back and forth like a John McEnroe tennis match, with neither of them mellowing.

C.D. and Ray have witnessed another clash between the Ranger and the Attorney.  Ray is staring at his nephew and shaking his head.

"I do believe that you two could run out of things to argue about if just one of you would shut up for five minutes!  What you need nephew is a trip to the sweat lodge and it wouldn't hurt Alex, if you went too!”

Trivette is listening to the debate, "Naw, that wouldn't work, then they would argue about the temperature inside the tent.”

"They wouldn't be able to argue for very long, 'cause that tent gets mighty hot they would both pass out from dehydration!”  Replies C.D.

"Would you three stop trying to sort out our relationship?” Alex asks "And, by the way, there is no relationship!”

"You got that right" adds Walker, "a relationship with you is like talking to the wall---a blank wall!”

Alex coils back in anger, her bottom lip starts to quiver, her eyes squint, "Of all the lowdown, cold bloodied insults, you egotistical male!”

Both C.D. and Ray are grabbing the glasses off the bar, Trivette is backing up "Whoa, easy Counselor.  Hey guys, if a truce is not called soon, these two are going to start swinging at each other!”

"Take it outside, Cordell----I'm still trying to clean this place up from the Saturday night fight!”!!

Alex stands up and looks back at the four men, she glares at the Ranger, "I'm going home and I would advise you to stay out of my way come Monday morning, don't even look in my direction!”

"Don't worry, I won't" replies Walker.

Alex stomps out and Ray is reaching for his hat, he takes Walker's and places it on his head too, "It's time for the sweat lodge, nephew no arguing or I will tell White Eagle to find another tree limb!”

They are halfway to the Cherokee badlands when Walker does a U-turn and heads back to Dallas.  Ray is holding onto the dash as the GMC truck crosses a median and heads south.

"Nephew, what in tarnation?  Are you trying to kill us?”

"Sorry, Uncle Ray---but I need to do something.”

"What?”

The Ranger stammers, and then lets out a deep breath, "Apologize to Alex, I don't know why that woman gets under my skin, but she does!   And, in the last few months I've said some sort of unkind things to her.”

"Are you taking me home first?”

"No, it's already late and by the time I take you all the way home and then go to her apartment  she could already be in bed and then she really would be upset with me for waking her up.”

Ray shakes his head back and forth, "You just can't win, can you nephew? Maybe you better call first and make sure she's home.”

"It's almost midnight, why wouldn't she be at home?  Where would she go at this un-godly hour?”

They pull up in front of Alex's apartment, and Walker does not see her little Pontiac convertible in her parking place.  He hits the steering wheel and Ray sinks lower in his seat muttering, "I tried to tell you nephew---you needed to call first!”

 Walker heads his truck towards Springtown, he's not a happy camper. He's almost to his ranch, when once again he makes another U-turn and heads across highway 199, in the opposite direction.

"Washo, what in George Custer are you doing?”  Ray is being thrown all over the front seat, the seat belt breaks and he ends up in the floorboard.

"I'm sorry Uncle will explain later!”  Walker turns on his siren and the lights start flashing.

Ray is trying to get up from the floorboard, "You're off duty nephew----who are you after?”

The truck is picking up speed and then starts to slow down as Ray can feel the truck leaving the highway, and slamming to a stop.  He's still trying to climb back into his seat as he sees Walker opening up his door and jumping out.

 Ray hears his nephew's voice getting loud and angry, "What the hell you doing out here alone?”

The old Indian is crawling out the passenger side and he sees Alex's little convertible stopped at the side of the highway. His nephew is walking in circles and shouting back at the woman, she in return starts yelling back at him. Ray sighs and sits down on the grass, crossing his legs.

"Here we go again" he mutters.

"Don't you dare yell at me, Cordell Walker!”

"I'll yell at you if I feel like it", he yells back, "What are you doing out here, Alex?”

Alex bites her bottom lip as she stares back at the Ranger, "I was going home!”

"Home?  You're going the long way about i.  Your apartment is on the other side of Dallas, you're almost to Springtown ---what-----what are you doing out this way?”

Ray is getting up and walking over to the battling duo, "Nephew----if you would stop yelling and think this out you would know what she was doing out this way!  Less than five miles from the ranch?  Does that send out any smoke signals of any kind?”

Walker clears his throat and walks up to the driver's side,  "Were you going to the ranch?”

"I don't know  anyone else that lives out this way" she answers angrily!

Ray looks to his nephew and nods.” Your turn aren't you going to ask her why she was coming out to the ranch?”

Both Walker and Alex meet each other's stare, she replies softly, "I was coming out to apologize, big mistake!” She throws the car in reverse and Walker quickly reaches in and takes the keys out of the ignition.

"Wait a minute Alex,---can't we talk about this?”

Ray pushes his nephew aside and opens the door to Alex's car, gently pulling her out.  "Why don't you two go somewhere and discuss this over a cup of coffee?  In the meantime",  he reaches out and takes the keys from his nephew, "I'm taking your car, Alex and I'm going home!"

The old Indian is still muttering, "Sure hope there's some 'fire water' left.  I just might 'hang one' on tonight, after riding across medians and racing down the highway with that Mad Max nephew of mine!  WASHO, you better tread quietly when you come home.  I might just decide to shoot you and say you were a burglar!”

The little convertible heads to Walker's ranch and the Ranger and the Lawyer agree to go to I-Hop.

They sit for the longest, neither of them saying anything as the waitress brings coffee for Walker, tea for Alex.
                                             
                                     

Part 12

 

Walker is turning his coffee cup around in circles as he keeps trying to clear his voice. Alex is dipping the tea bag back and forth and looking up at him out of the corner of her eye.

"I'm sorry" they both blurt it out at the same time.

They start to smile as the tension has finally been lifted.  Walker clears his throat again.

"I just want to say that I'm sorry for what I've said to you, especially the little incident in my truck.  I said some things that were totally 'uncalled' for and I apologize.”

"Your remarks were rather 'off color' so to speak" answers Alex.

Walker is getting defensive, "My remarks?  I have you know Counselor, that you're not all that innocent in the things you were saying!”

"What was I saying?” Alex's voice is starting to rise and other customers are looking towards her.

Walker takes a drink of his coffee, it's too hot and he starts coughing and trying to talk, "For starters, you were asking very personal questions concerning my truck!”

"Your truck?--- She yells back at him, and then she lowers her voice, "How was I asking personal questions about your truck, you make it sound like that your truck has feelings.”

Walker grunts, "I should have known that you wouldn't understand, in Texas, a man is faithful to his transportation, which is usually a horse, but in my case it's my truck!  But, you 'city slickers' wouldn't understand that, would you?”

Alex's bottom lip is trembling, "All of you cowboys are all alike, I haven't met one yet that had a lick of sense oh excuse me. I meant horse sense!”

"Now don't go trashing my horse!” Replies the angry Ranger.

"What horse, what are you talking about?  Oh good grief"  Alex stops and leans back in the booth.  "We're doing it again, still arguing.”

Walker shakes his head, "I think we need to just back up about 6 months ago or so and start all over again.”

Alex smiles and then she starts to laugh, "I think you’re right, truce?”

The Ranger smiles, "Truce!  Why do we argue so much?”

She sips her tea, "Well, without the risk of starting another argument, I would say that our professions are to blame for the most part.”

"Why do you say that, are you implying that your career is condescending to mine?”

Alex remains quiet and then she tries to smile, "Well actually now don't get angry but I do 'outrank' you, and you resent that!”

Walker is fighting his anger, "Oh, I get it---this is all about rank and monetary value right?”

"I haven't said anything about money" argues Alex.

"It all comes down to you thinking that your job is more important than mine!  That is why you tore into me on the witness stand!!  You were trying to make a name for yourself in your circle of lawyer friends, and you see this poor little law enforcement officer on the witness stand, you see your chance to make some points and you tear into my testimony, right counselor?”

"No---that is not what I was doing and I resent your remarks and oh never mind, I'm going home I'm tired of arguing with you.”

The woman stands and Walker takes her arm, "You can't leave, you don't have a car!  Remember Uncle Ray has it?”

She yanks her arm away, "There are always taxis!”

The whole restaurant is watching and listening as Walker pulls her gently back to their booth.

"Look, I'm sorry let's stop arguing just for the one night, o.k.?”

The manager comes over to their table, "Is everything all right, Ranger Walker?”

 "Yeah, everything is fine Artie, my friend here is a lawyer and you know how lawyers are they like to argue!!  We were just discussing a case that's all! I promise I won't let her get out of control again tonight!”

The man walks away and Walker is staring into the glaring eyes of Alex, her lip is quivering more, and she is clutching the silverware so tight, her hand is turning red.  She mutters under her breath, "Count to 10, Alex---slowly.”

Walker nods his head in agreement "Yeah, real slow.  Alex, calm down or I'm going to be forced to arrest you."

"For what?” she asks through clenched teeth.

"I don't know---I'll think of something" he snickers.  He motions for the waitress to come back and then he turns to Alex, "Want something to eat?”  He asks slowly.

She never stops glaring at him, "Yes---I want something to eat---nails!”

The young waitress is staring back at Alex, "Nails?  I don't understand.”

Walker is relentless in his taunting, "My friend meant that she needs more iron do you have something on the menu that has a lot of iron, like maybe liver?”

Alex smiles and smacks her lips, "Liver? Ooooohhhh, I love liver!”

Walker grimaces, "You like liver?”

"Yessss, doesn't everybody?  Maybe that's your problem, Walker you don't eat enough liver!”

The young waitress doesn't know whether to leave and come back or just leave their table all together, she keeps looking back at her manager.

 Walker notices that the young waitress is very nervous, "O.k.!"  He makes a time out call with his hands, "We're causing this young lady to think about other employment, what do you say we skip having (ugh) liver at this hour of the night and have breakfast, o.k.?”

Alex smiles at the waitress, "I would like some scrambled eggs, light on the toast some juice and more tea?"

"Is that all you're going to eat, no wonder you're so skinny!”  He grins back at her.

She hisses back at him, "Walker are we going to risk another argument or do we let this young lady order our breakfast?”

"I'm not going to argue anymore arguing with you makes me hungry.  I want the grand slam with all the extras and bring plenty of coffee.  I think I'm going to need it!”

They continue to stare at each other and finally Walker replies, "I guess you could be right."

"I'm afraid to ask, about what?”

"Well, I never have been fond of lawyers and being in my profession, you can understand why.”

"No, I don't understand why.   Walker, it's obvious that you and I are never going to see both sides of the law from the other's point of view, and we will probably never be friends."

"Why do you say we can't be friends?”

"Because we argue too much, have you forgotten?”

"That's no excuse, even best friends argue on different points of views.  Hell even lovers argue!”

Alex shakes her head, "There's no way we will ever be lovers, no way!”

"I never said I wanted to be your lover, I was using that as an example!  And furthermore, what's wrong with the idea of our ever being lovers, you could do worse!”

"I doubt it, besides I'm involved with someone!”

"Fine, that makes two of us, besides I have better sense than to get involved with a lawyer.  We would never do anything but argue!”

They both become quiet as both their memories return to New Year's Eve and the kiss they shared, Walker smiles, "But, I will say one thing on your behalf as a lawyer you're not bad in the kissing department!”

Alex is remembering the way she returned his kiss and the way she felt afterwards, she replies slowly.

"It was just a New Year's Kiss.  It meant nothing.  Everyone was kissing someone and we just happen to kiss each other that's all!”

Walker is still grinning, "Well, I didn't see you kissing anyone else.”

She shrugs, "How would you know, you soon left.”

"And, how would you know that, if you hadn't been looking for me?  What's the matter Counselor, wanting a rematch?”

Alex sips her tea and deliberately lets her tongue glide over her bottom lip, "I'll tell you what, Cowboy, when I decide that I want a rematch, I'll let you know and when I do kiss you, I mean really kiss you---you will know you've been kissed!”

 Walker is trying hard not to let her see that she has definitely affected him, he sips his coffee and thinks of her lips, against his. "I'll be looking forward to it, Counselor.”

She lowers her eyes, and smiles back at him, "Who knows, I may just change your views on lawyers.”

"Well, I wouldn't go as far as saying that I will change my opinions of all lawyers, but I'm definitely looking forward to being cross-examined by you again.  I just hope it's not in any courtroom!”

They call another truce and  the rest of the night is spent talking about their careers.

In the months to follow they will still go their separate ways of dating others, but remaining friends. They work side by side on cases and for the most part, trying to keep their opinions professional.  But, they both know they do have feelings for each other, they just don't show them.

It's now another New Year's Eve and Alex is with her date at C.D.'s.  Walker is nowhere in sight as the New Year is brought in.  She kisses her date at the stroke of midnight and then makes a feeble excuse to go home.  Her date has had too much to drink and is insisting on taking her home, Alex is asking C.D. to call him a taxi.

"It's going to be awhile, Alex, the taxi's are all maxed out, you can go on, I'll make sure the driver gets him home!”

Alex looks to her date and frowns, "I guess I should stay with him, make sure he gets back to his place alright.”

At a few minutes past midnight, Walker comes walking in, dressed in a western cut suit.  He takes one look at Alex's date that has passed out in one of the booths and he grins.

"You sure are hard on your dates, Counselor, need some help?”

Alex takes a deep breath, "I'm waiting to load him up in a taxi and then I'm going home.  Where have you been?”

"Had a date.  Why, did you miss me?”

"And, you're not bringing in the New Year with your 'so called date'?"  She answers back.

Walker continues to sneer, "Already celebrated it.  I told you, I don't waste time!”

"Cordell, how you could you have already celebrated the New Year with a young lady, when it's just now 12:15?”

Walker sighs and walks over to Alex's date, reaches down, picks him up and throws him over his shoulder.

"This clown better not throw up on this suit, if he does Counselor, you'll be getting the cleaning bill!   And, C.D. haven't you heard of daylight savings, it's a hour later in Mississippi?”

Walker is heading for the door with Alex's date thrown over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes, she follows quickly behind.

"The taxi is not here yet, where you taking him?”

"To my truck, you know the one that's always filled with trash and the plywood in the back?”

"Walker, you are not going to put Glen in the back, he'll freeze to death back there!”

"With all of that alcohol inside him, I don't think so, Alex he's not going  to feel a thing!”

Alex looks up at the sky, "But, it might rain.”

"Nope, not  for another two hours or so, then it's going to pour!!  I'll have him to your place in plenty of time!”

"My place?  Oh no, you're not taking him to my place he's drunk!  Would you mind driving him home?”

The Ranger sighs, "Alright, where does he live?”

Alex hesitates, "Uhhhh, Denison!”

"Denison?  Alex, that's almost a 2 hr drive one way!”

"Well, I guess it's better that I put him in a taxi maybe one will be here soon.”

"Never mind.  I'll take him but you're coming too!”

Walker puts the man inside and then motions for Alex to get in on his side. She climbs in and as the interior light comes on, she notices that Walker has cleaned his truck!

She looks around at how clean it is, and then she smells the fragrance of the pine.  "Well, Walker," she answers as she keeps pushing Glen over to the door, “ must be someone special for you to clean up your truck and the air freshener is a nice touch."

"Actually, I cleaned it up because I'm thinking of trading it in on a new one next week.”

"I don't believe it---you're trading your truck off, I thought you loved this truck?”

"I do, but she's got almost 100,000 miles on her.  Time to trade her in on something younger and with more performance under the hood " he winks.

The drive to Denison goes quickly and as they get to the city limits he asks Alex where the guy lives.  She is still pushing on him as he continually falls down on her shoulder and she keeps hitting Walker's.

"I don't know, I'll have to get his wallet out and find out his address.”

"You don't know where your boyfriend lives?”

Alex has pulled out his license, "No, I've never been to his place before.”

Walker is grinning, "I see, so you've been entertaining him at your place or is it some fancy hotel in downtown Dallas?”

"That is none of your business, Walker. I'm not asking you where you take your dates oh here it is, 1603 Cimarron.”

It takes a good 20 minutes for Walker to find their destination and just as they are pulling up at the address, Glen 'upchucks' all over the front seat.  Alex is scrambling to get out of the way of the projectile and Walker is cursing!

Walker slams on the brakes and both he and Alex scramble to get out, "Did you get any of it on you?”

Alex is looking at her dress and shaking her head, "No, I don't think so, oh my God the stench, what was he drinking?  Oh no, Walker your truck I'm so sorry!”

Walker waves her off, "It's o.k. not your fault let's get this creep up to his house.”

As they are walking up to the house, steadying Glen in between them, Alex says quietly, "Oh no, I don't like this feeling I'm getting.  Walker, are you sure this is the right address?”

They stop and Walker checks the drivers' license, "Yep, this is the right address, why?”

Walker keeps looking back at the blonde as she sort of back steps, while he rings the doorbell.  There are Christmas lights still up and the sound of children inside. Suddenly the door is jerked open and a woman is standing there staring at the three before her. Her eyes go to Glen.

"Glen, honey where have you been are you o.k.?”

Alex stares back at the woman and then to Walker, her eyes are pleading with him.  The woman then stares at Alex.

"Who are you people, what are you doing with my husband?”

Walker clears his throat as he tugs on Glen, taking him into the posh living room, and laying him on the couch. Soon, the screams of kids can be heard as they are running to the man, "Daddy.”

The Ranger glares at Alex as she is desperately wanting a hole to climb into, her mouth is moving but nothing is coming out.

"Uhhh, our friend here, uhhh Glen, uhhhh he was attending one of our office parties."

"Office party?  What kind of office party?”  The woman is looking at Alex and her evening dress.

Alex speaks up quickly, "Our office party in Dallas, he came in with some friends from his company.”

Walker nods his head slowly, "Yeah and my wife and I, we could see that he had too much to drink and we didn't want him driving all this way in his condition so we said we would bring him home.”

 Now the woman is staring at Walker, "All the way from Dallas?  You drove him all the way here, where is his car?”

"It was on our way" Walker explains to the woman as he keeps shooting daggers at Alex, "we live not too far from here.”

The woman is not convinced as she keeps staring at Alex, Walker reaches out and takes Alex by the elbow, "Come on honey, time to get you home, know what the doctor said about your condition.  Jr. is going to start kicking again at any moment.”

They head back to the truck and Walker makes Alex go to the other side while he tries to clean up the remains that Glen left behind.  Alex is still apologizing.

"I didn't know he was married, oh my God, I feel so embarrassed.”

The stench from the vomit is making Walker even angrier, "How could you not know, Alex how long have you been seeing that creep?”

"This was our fourth date, oh God and he has kids? I feel like I could crawl in a hole somewhere and just die.”

 Walker is looking around for something else to use to wipe up the mess, he spots the trash can in front of Glen's house, goes over and pulls a bunch of newspapers out and starts sopping up the waste, while all the time cursing. "Now I know why I never clean my truck.”

"Walker, I said I was sorry about your truck, let's take it to a carwash, I will help you wash it.”

"Never mind.  I will take it back tomorrow and have them redo it again.  You're going to have to sit in the middle, it's still wet over here and it stinks to high heaven!  I'll have to keep the windows down!”

Alex crawls back in and tries to stay away from the wasted area, she holds her nose, "I have some perfume I could use to stifle the smell."

"Don't go spraying any stinking perfume in here" the Ranger starts to argue!  Too late, Alex has sprayed the area.  He starts coughing again.

"Good grief, Alex now it really smells in here!”

"Well, it smells better than that vomit and I have you know, my perfume doesn't stink!”

Walker floors the truck and they are heading south again, Alex is shaking her head back and forth, "No matter what you think, I did not know he was married.  I'm not in the habit of dating married men, especially ones with children!”

The rain has begun and now Walker is having to put the window back up on the  passenger's side, the smell is overwhelming.  He looks back to Alex, she is shivering.

"It's o.k. Alex, stop blaming yourself, it happens to all of us at one time or another.  Did you ask the man if he was married?”

"YES" She snaps back at him, "He told me "NO!”

"You're a lawyer for heaven's sake, Alex, couldn't you tell that he was lying, that's what you lawyers are good at, finding out the truth!”

"I didn't feel like that I had to run an investigation on the man, just the usual 'no' is usually sufficient.”

Walker is trying to get his jacket off, "Here, take my jacket.   I can't put the windows all the way up, because of the smell, the rain is coming in more on your side, just scoot closer to my side and it won't be so bad!”

She heeds his advice and moves closer to him, "I really meant it when I said I was sorry about your truck and this mess about Glen and thank you for speaking up back there.  I didn't know what to do, as soon as we walked up into the yard and I saw the house, I just had a feeling that everything was going bad and it did!”

"We should have both gotten a clue when we saw the decorations still up just forget it Alex.  We all get 'lied to' at one time or another it's no big deal!”

"Are you speaking from experience?”

Walker takes a deep breath, "Yeah, several times we just get over it and go on.”

Alex shakes her head, "If I ever see Glen again, he will wish he had never met me, the gall of him lying and having kids!”

"Alex, get over it, you’re probably not the first one he's lied to and you won't be the last.  Are you warm enough, I could turn the heater up a little?”

"If you turn the heat up, the smell is going to get worse. I'll be o.k., thanks for your jacket, what about you?  Aren't you cold?”

"Well---you could move a little closer---you know what they say about 'body heat

She smiles as she moves closer to him, "You never said anything about  a trip to Mississippi---is that where your girlfriend lives?”

"I never said that I was with a woman friend, that's what C.D. assumed---I just said that I celebrated early and flew back to Dallas."

She grins devishly, "So---you didn't bring in the New Year with someone else?  Did you even get a New Year's kiss?”

"Yeah, several, I was at a party, but didn't stay long.  So here I am, waiting for that rematch that you've promised me.”

"Rematch, huh? " She reaches up and kisses his cheek, "Happy New Year, Cowboy.”

"That wasn't exactly what I was hoping for, but if that's what you think is your best,  then who am I to argue?  After all, you are a lawyer."

"Walker, there's a car wash let's pull in there and after your truck is washed then we can think of other things without having to hold our breath, deal?”

Walker pulls slowly into the car wash, he turns to Alex, "We're going to look pretty stupid washing my truck in the pouring rain!”

"I didn't say the outside of your truck!  Over there Walker is where you clean the interior, vacuum hoses and disinfectants, and there's enough cover overhead that you won't get wet!”

"Me?  I thought you were going to help me?”

"I will help you, hope you got plenty of quarters for the machine!”

They both dig for quarters and soon the vacuuming and spraying of disinfectants is being done by both of them. Alex is grabbing paper towels and blotting the area good.

"It's still wet, but at least the smell is gone, now maybe your air freshener will kick in, or I could spray a little more perfume?”

"Just not too much, I'm sure you paid a arm and leg for that expensive stuff!”

"Didn't cost me anything, it was a gift, actually it was from Glen!”  She tosses the perfume into the trash, "I don't want any reminders of this night!”

"Whew!” Sighs the Ranger, "remind me to never give you a gift if you can toss them away so quickly!”

"Would you rather I keep the perfume?”

"I don't care what you do with it, Alex right now I want a cup of coffee and there's a 7-11 over there across the highway.”

They cross over to the convenience store and as soon as Walker gets back in the truck, the whole sky opens up.  The store owner has said they are under severe storm warnings.

"Storm warnings? In December?”

Walker floors the truck and heads back to the cover of the car wash, just as it starts hailing.

"For your information, Counselor, this is January now!  And, don't forget you're in Texas, where the weather can change at the drop of a hat!”

Alex frowns and sips her coffee, "I suppose you're right nothing about the weather in this state surprises me anymore!”

"You mean I'm actually right about something, careful counselor, you're mellowing!  How's your coffee?”

"My coffee is fine, thank you and as for that other remark, that's one of my new year resolutions not to argue so much with you.”

The Ranger grins as Alex is turning around in the seat and facing him, leaning up against the dashboard.  She continues to sip the coffee and looking at him with those blue, smoldering, eyes.  The Ranger is getting warm, and it's not from the coffee, or the heater.

"What other resolutions have you made?” He asks slowly.

"Isn't that enough?”

Walker sips his coffee, his eyes never leaving hers, "I was sort of hoping you made one, concerning paybacks, rematches."

His voice trails off as Alex starts leaning into him, taking her hair down, then she shakes it gently.  Her lips are only inches away from him, they can both feel their hearts pounding, and then her lips are slowly kissing him.  He's trying to keep from spilling his coffee as she takes it from him and sits it down on the seat beside hers.  He leans back against the seat, taking her with him, his mouth covering hers and sucking in her warm lips.

 

 

Part 13

 

The inside of the truck is fogging up as the kiss between Alex and Walker deepens. The hail is hitting the truck with no mercy, but the two figures inside seem not to mind.

He has encircled her waist and pulling her into him, their breathing is becoming heavier as she is now exploring the inside of his mouth with her tongue.  He responds, groaning.  Finally she pulls away from him, and just looks back at him with those eyes.

"Well----? Are you still disappointed?”

He tries to speak, but his words don't want to come out, finally he just nods. She giggles as she goes back into his embrace.

"Happy New Year, Cowboy.”

He takes his forefinger and lets it glide slowly over her face, stopping at the little mole to the left of her lips.  He gently glides over it with his finger and replies, "Happy New Year to you too, Counselor and "no" I'm not disappointed, but I don't think we should stop here, what do you think?”

Her answer is finding his lips again, and their kiss is getting out of hand as they are both trying to get more comfortable.  The pounding is getting louder and neither of them wants to acknowledge it.

“Hey----everything o.k. in there? Open up!”

Walker sits up quickly and pushes Alex to his right side, he sees the light shining in and the man is tapping on the window harder.  Walker groans, and start putting the window down slowly.

Walker can't make out the officer's face, but he knows he's young. "O.k. buddy, drivers' license and proof of ID---this is not a motel, you know!”

Alex is groaning and reaching for her purse, Walker puts his hand over hers, "I'll take care of this, just stay behind me", he whispers.

The officer is trying to put the light on Alex, but Walker keeps getting in his way, "Here, officer---this is all you need", and he hands him his license.

The young officer sees the badge and then the name he stammers, "Walker, Ranger Cordell Walker?  Hey I've heard of you, what are you doing out here, working on a case?  Who's your friend?  Oh I get it, never mind, getting a little on the side, huh partner?"

Walker grabs his wallet back, "You've done your job---now back off!”

The officer is still trying to put his light on Alex and Walker is turning sideways to prevent him doing so "If you don't get that damn light out of here in exactly 5 seconds, I'm breaking it, now move on!”

The officer steps back, "O.k., o.k., I'm just doing my job, I need your license too, ma'am.

"You do not need to see her license, now move on officer, you are interfering with a case,  who is your C.O.?  Do you want me to report this to him?”

The officer puts his hands up and backs away "No way, we'll do it your way, Ranger Walker.  Have a nice night, you too, ma'am.”

They wait till the officer is in his patrol car and pulling away, Alex lets out a loud exhale of relief, "Oh my God, I don't believe this night!”

They look at each other and then they both start laughing, Alex says slowly, "I think you better take me home.  I don't think I can take anymore excitement tonight.”

Walker grins, "Well, at least you're a mystery woman, I protected your identity."

"What about you, that officer knew you?”

"I'm counting on it!” Replies Walker.

"Ahhh yes, and the way that the other officers revere you, you're not worried that the officer will be talking about this, or have you had these kind of romantic liaisons before?”

Walker winks at her, "Want me to call that officer back and give him your license?”

"No, " she hits him playfully, "I'm content in being just a enigma, for now!”

Walker nods, and points his truck south. Alex snuggles up to his arm, "One thing about it, Counselor, this evening hasn't been boring---not in the least!”


                          **************************************************************

 

Dublin, Ireland 1992

 

Young Peter is staring at the headlines of the newspaper. He groans and turns to his young wife.

"Dr. Smith is dead, they found him in his office, his neck was broken,  there was a riot and several others were killed also!”

His wife starts crossing herself, "And, Cormac?”

"He has escaped.   Me warned the doctor not to trust him to keep him under strict surveillance, he would not listen."

"Ye tried Peter, what more could ye have done?  Do they know where Cormac might be?”

Peter shakes his head, "He can't stay in Ireland, they will find him more than likely he has fled to France again, he has friends there.”

"Good, maybe he will stay there!”

Peter keeps shaking his head, "Maybe me should try to locate Cordell and warn him?”

"Ye can't warn him, to do so would be having to tell him what happened to his Mother, ye promised Father Tralee on his deathbed that ye would keep the secret.”

"Aye, me knows what me promised, we just have to pray that Cormac's tumor will kill him for us!”  Peter crosses himself and whispers "Forgive me Lord for saying these words, ye know me is only thinking of Cordell, forgive me.”

 "Peter, what about the journal, should ye destroy it now?”

"Me does not know what to do, if Cormac ever finds himself back here, this will be the first place he comes to.  We are the last of the clan that knew Elizabeth, all of the brothers are dead now. And, he would not stop till he got all the information about her, maybe it is best to destroy the journal as ye say!”

"Did Father Tralee ever find out if Elizabeth had a journal too?”

"He said he wasn't sure, but he did know that she had a diary, and there was something written about the birds."

"Birds? Husband, what are ye talking about?”

Peter runs to his old desk and starts pulling the back off, he pulls out the old and torn journal, he reads through it quickly.

"Here!!!  In one of Elizabeth's last letters, she mentioned the swans being killed and she put it in a diary, nothing is said about a journal. But, if she wrote about something like that then surely she wrote about other things too..”

"Then, Cordell probably already knows what happened many years ago?”

Peter nods his head slowly,” Maybe, but me doesn't think so. The last time me talked to Cordell was shortly after his Uncle Kordell died, me only got to talk to him for a short time, he was going back to that place again, Viet Nam.  Nay, he was asking about if his Uncle's attackers were ever caught, me tells him 'no'.  Cordell said nothing about the mention of Cormac, if he had read the diary and seen anything about that, he would be here, looking for vengeance for his Mother!  Nay, my wife, me doubts that Cordell knows about any such information.”

"What do we do?”

Me has to think, me will go to the church and ask for guidance.  God will show us the way.”

 

                                       ***********************************************

 

Springtown, 1993

 

Ray has been watching his nephew closely for several days, he knows that the dreams have returned and Walker is having flashbacks of being held a prisoner.

Walker is irritable, and walks around like he's off in a dream. Sometimes the Ranger just sits down right  where he is, and crosses his legs, mumbling to himself,  rocking back and forth.

"I'll get out of here, my men will come back for me.  I see the water and I smell the wind.  White Eagle, talk to me.  I am so lost!”

Ray is beside himself and he too is in pain for his nephew.  "Talk to me, nephew, the doctors said to talk about it, get it all out.  I'm here nephew, I want to help you.”

Walker's eyes are tired from lack of sleep, "You can't help me, Uncle Ray the dreams are back.  I see my buddies being blown apart, their heads whacked off, they are coming for me.  I am next.”

"No, "Washo" you are safe, you are here with me.  Don't let the demons overtake you again, the spirits will help you to fight them, but you got to help yourself.  Come, let's go to see White Eagle!”

Walker and his Uncle Ray spend several days in the badlands with White Eagle, they take nothing to eat or drink and at night White Eagle does a ceremonial dance around the campfire, forcing Walker to clear his mind, finally they return home.

Alex has brought them homemade soup, cornbread, and iced tea, from C.D.'s.

Walker has finally fell asleep as Alex and Ray are watching him from the doorway.

"I feel so useless, Uncle Ray I want to help him, but I don't know how," she starts to sob.

"You are helping by being here, Alex. His eyes lit up when we pulled into the driveway and he saw your car, he's just caught between reality and that horrible place over there.”

"Will it be alright if I spent the night, Uncle Ray, I don't want him to be alone?”

"Of course you can stay, you don't have to ask.  You are the only one outside of family that my nephew trusts.  And thank you for forgiving him that little incident with that woman, what's her name, Mary Ann?”

Alex's face grows taunt, she bites her lips, "Marilee, that's still a sore subject, Uncle Ray.”

"She meant nothing to him, he was just caught up in protecting her, he acted on a urge.  He used poor judgment, we're all guilty of that.”

"I know, and I got no room to judge him, he's apologized for it and we've tried to go on but it still hurt, Uncle Ray.”

"One of these days, Alex you and "Washo' will stop playing this silly game of just being friends.  It's plain to see that you both have feelings for each other and not just as friends!  Why do you continue to pretend?  Neither of you is getting any younger and I'm certainly not getting any younger.  I want some grandkids and soon!”

Alex laughs and hugs the old Indian, "Maybe one of these days that will happen,  but C.D. says to take it slow.”

"That old coot doesn't know what he is talking about!” scoffs Ray, "The spirits are restless, time is too precious to squander.  But, I have said too much, I will turn your bed down in the next room-.  Alex, if the nightmares start again stay away from him. He's not going to know who you are, and he could hurt you.”

"They've gotten that bad?”

"Afraid so, I will be right down the hall, let's just hope he gets through the night.”

Alex does not heed Ray's warning about not going near Walker, she moves her pillow and blanket into his room and curls up in the old chair beside his bed.  The dreams do return to Walker, but they are not of the prison camp, he sees himself as a small boy, walking in a park.

He sees a red haired woman crying, and flashes of a big white bird, flapping on the ground, blood coming from a arrow.  He's running to the woman and holding out a yellow scarf in one hand and leather chaps in the other.  The big wheel is turning around and around, and he hears the men's voices, laughing.  Then he sees the knives and he watches as both of his parents fall down on the ground, clutching their stomachs.  He's trying to scream, but the words won't come out and the big white birds are running away, other boys are chasing them.   The visions are clashing together, nothing is making any sense as he is now grabbing his pillow and shredding it.  He forces himself awake and looks around the room, he sees the blonde headed woman sitting in the chair, all curled up.

He rises from his bed and walks over to the chair, picking her up gently and laying her down on his bed. He lays down beside her, his arms going around her protectively, his beard nestling against her blond hair, he smells the lilacs from her shampoo.  He inhales their fragrance and then he sleeps soundly.

Ray wakes in the early morning and looks in on his nephew, Walker has his arms around Alex, sound asleep, but she is looking back at Ray and smiling. Ray nods his head and walks out, closing the bedroom door. 


                                **************************************************


Springtown----the next morning.

 

Alex has returned back to Dallas and Walker is trying to continue getting things back to normal, concerning the dreams.  He is standing in one of the guests rooms, staring back at the box that holds his Mother's possessions.  He holds her yellow scarf, caressing it gently, his memories going back to the day she and his Father were murdered.

Ray walks slowly up behind him and lays his hand on his nephew's shoulder, "Got breakfast ready, you need to eat, nephew.”

Walker nods his head and reaches down to pick up the box, he sees the diary and the old brown leather journal.

"I will eat soon, Uncle Ray, I just want to go through these things again.”

"Washo', all you do is look at those things, aren't you ever going to read them?”

"I can't, Uncle Ray.  I've started to read them and then I feel like I'm invading my Mother's most precious thoughts.  I remember her telling me when I was a small boy that diaries were personal and I'm afraid that the memories will start in again of that day at the carnival.”

"I understand, "Washo", but I remember you saying that she wrote about many things something about the swans?”

Walker picks up a small folder that has a blue ribbon around it, "Yeah, she wrote about the swans and how they died  She read some of it to me, it was very sad.  I think she was trying to put the words to a poem.  She just barely finished writing it then the next day they were all gone.”

"It's been years since they have crossed the river, nephew, maybe some of your Mother's writings could bring you some kind of closure?”

Walker shakes his head, "Maybe someday I will be able to read everything she has written, but right now the pain is still too much.  I was having dreams about their murder, Uncle Ray and that damn ferris wheel!”

"I meant to ask you about that, 'Washo' when we were at that carnival last summer for the children's orphanage from the reservation, you kept staring at that thing like it was holding some kind of trance over you!  Are you afraid of it?”

"I don't know how to explain it's hold on me in my dreams I'm riding it but as I got older and was going to the carnivals with my friends it's the one ride that I refused.  Even now, I refuse to ride it but it keeps drawing me to it.”

"Maybe as a child, you loved it why else would you have dreams of it when you think of your parents' last day?”

"Maybe I should talk to someone about it but right now I want to seal everything in plastic and put them away somewhere.  My Mother's scarf will be put away too, I've carried it with me every time I have ridden, and it's getting a little worn!”

Ray smiles, "And, the chaps too?

"No, I will continue to wear them they keep my Father's memory close to me and since he never got to wear them, this is my tribute to him.  Thank you, Uncle Ray for keeping them oiled for me the whole time I was in that hellhole!”

Ray helps his nephew to get the boxes put away and then they sit down for breakfast.


                                    *******************************************

 

Kilkee, Ireland---1995

 

The news is not good for young Peter, his wife has cancer and her time is limited. The news about Cormac is equally bitter as Peter has learned that Cormac has tried several times to get to America, and each time he has escaped back into hiding.

"Peter, my husband me knows ye are worried about me but there is nothing ye can do the cancer is moving fast, the doctors are saying it could be a matter of months till we have to bid each other farewell.”

"Colleen, ye have been the love of me life, me heart is heavy and sad me wishes that we could have had children then maybe the pain would not be so hard to bear.”

Collen takes her husband's hand and kisses it, "That has been me biggest regret that me has not given ye a son to carry on your name.  Me has thought about this for a long time and ye has to keep trying to find Cordell and warn him.”

"Me has tried for over a year to locate him.   There is no telephone listing for a Cordell Firewalker.  Me has tried to find him through his military records, they have no records on him!”

"How can that be, my husband, did he leave a address on that last letter that he mailed you right before he went back to Viet Nam?”

"Me has lost the envelope, Colleen and the letter said very little.  He only mentioned a Uncle Ray on his Father's side so his name would be Firewalker also.”

Colleen starts to cough as she squeezes her husband's hand tighter, "Ye must keep trying, Peter Cordell is the closest that we will ever have for a family .  Me took a shinning to him in just the short time he was here with us.  Please don't ever stop looking for him, if Cormac ever gets to America he won't stop till he does his revenge!”

"But, Cormac will be looking for Elizabeth's husband, John Firewalker and he's dead.  Cormac will have a more difficult time in trying to find a dead man than one that is alive that he knows nothing about?”

Colleen shakes her head, "Me still finds it so confusing that a man's mind can stop, but yet his body continues on!  After all of these years Cormac thinks he's still trying to find Elizabeth and that she still carries his child.  If he knew that Elizabeth was dead and that she and her husband had a child, there is no telling what he would try to do to Cordell.”

Peter nods, "Aye, but Cordell is a man now, a  ex-Marine.  They know how to take care of themselves, he was a solider fighting in that terrible war!  Colleen, we're not even sure he made it back to the states!!

He could be a MIA, a POW, or worse he could have been killed over there!”

Colleen is coughing harder "Nay, do not say such terrible things Peter ye have to try the military again, we both know he was in the US Marines.  They have to have some kind of record on him.”

"If he was in any kind of special services, then the records will be even harder to find, the military can't and won't give out that kind of information!"

"What about passports?  He and Elizabeth had to have had one when they were here.  Check with the immigration and customs surely someone can find him!”

Colleen is coughing harder, Peter encourages her to lay back and take things easy.

"Me will never stop trying to find him, me promises ye, Colleen.  Me thinks that if Father Tralee were alive, he would want me to find him, to tell him the truth.  Cordell is a fighter, he will know what to do and how to face this devil that calls himself a man!”


                                      ***************************************************


Tarrant County Courthouse: 1997

 

Alex is feverishly clearing her calendar as Ranger Trivette walks in.

"Hey, counselor checked out that info you wanted. It's 4A, tops in it's field.”

"Thank you so much Jimmy, is Walker still at his ranch?”

"Yep, and giving 'Big Dog' fits!  When I talked to Walker earlier he said he was getting cabin fever!”

Alex looks at the brochure that Trivette has given her, and she grins mischievously " cabin fever, huh?  Well, we'll just see about that. I got to confirm something and then I will be going to Walker's ranch, thanks again, Jimmy.”

 

Walker Ranch:

 

C.D. is trying to prepare supper as he steps into the living room and sees Walker doing pushups by keeping his feet elevated on a stool.

"Cordell, get up off that floor.  Do you want to tear those stitches loose again?”

Walker collapses on the floor and looks back at his dear friend, "My side is just fine, C.D., would you stop 'mothering me?  What are you cooking now?”

"Soup, can't you smell it?  Maybe I didn't put enough cayenne  pepper in it.  Hi Alex!”

Alex is fanning the air as she looks to Walker who is still sitting in the floor, she makes a face at the smell of C.D.'s soup.

"C.D., I want some real food.  I'm tired of soup, I want a big steak!”

"Oh, you're going to like this soup, Cordell it's from an old family recipe and speaking of food, I got to get back into the kitchen!”

Walker takes a deep sigh as Alex reaches out to help him up, still fanning the air. "I heard you needed a break, let's get out of here!”

Walker's brow arches, "Where we going?”  He asks as she is gently pulling him to the front door.

Alex looks back at him and smiles, "Can't tell you.”

"Come on Alex, I got no time for this."

"It's a secret and I can't tell you, 'cause if I told you, I would have to kill you!”  She giggles.

"Oh good grief" he mutters as she continues to pull him outside and to her little convertible.

She goes to the drivers' side, "Get in Cowboy, sit back and relax, you're in good hands!”

Alex is true to her words in many ways than one. She has "shanghaied" him into riding the rapids, and aside from a run in with another bad guy called Briscoe, the trip is the turning point for Alex and Walker.

The first night is spent away from the other campers and for the first time, they both let their guards down about their true feelings for each other.  The night is spent in each others' arms as the many years of 'pent up' frustration is released, and no longer does Walker want to keep Alex at arm's length.  They give themselves to each other repeatedly, knowing their lives will never be the same.

The year passes as Walker and Alex face more tests for their relationship. Walker is sometimes distant, going off to himself and not telling Alex where he goes. They argue as Alex is trying very hard to understand Walker's moods, and then another devastating tragedy turns his world upside down again.

She will never forget the look on his face as C.D. and Sam Coyote arrived at her apartment in search for Walker. She watched as Walker's face drained and his shoulders began to heave.  He never spoke a word, just retrieved his gun belt and hat and walked out the door.  She started to go after him, but C.D. pulled her back.

"Let him have time to himself, Alex Uncle Ray's death has hit him like a ton of bricks!”

The following months are very tense between Walker and Alex and she can see him withdrawing away from her.

They are at the ranch and Walker is staring at the mound of dirt and the simple little cross that Alex had placed there earlier.  They had given Ray the typical Cherokee burial ceremony at the reservation, but Walker insisted on bringing Ray's body back to the ranch to be buried next to his wife, Ruth and the twin sons they had lost.

Walker has said very little to anyone, including Alex, she takes a deep breath and walks up beside him, laying her hand on his shoulder.

"Honey, we need to talk and you have to listen to what I'm saying, because I don't think I can repeat this a second time.”

Walker barely acknowledges her as she pulls him over to a tree stump and they both sat down.

"Walker, I have tried to be here for you but you just keep pushing me away and I can't take it anymore.  I thought our relationship was to be shared through the bad times as well as the good but every time something bad happens you push me aside.  I know you are hurting over Uncle Ray's death, I'm hurting too.  I loved that man, and I want to share your grief and your tears but you won't let me.  You can't even shed the tears for him, and I know that it's tearing you up inside."

Alex's tears are starting to fall as she studies her lover's face, "Walker, I'm going away.  I can't take the coldness from you another day.  I have feelings too and I'm dying inside."  She continues to stare at him, looking for some kind of sign that he is listening, his eyes are blank as he stares ahead.

She sighs softly and then reaches inside her jacket and takes out a note, placing it in his hands. She nods slowly.

"I didn't want to do it this way but you're not hearing what I'm saying because again, you have shut me out.   Goodbye Walker, I love you.”

He doesn't know how long he has sat there, as the rain begins to fall.  He feels the rain hitting his face and the memories are racing through his head, going back to when he first arrived at the reservation.  He can see himself riding bareback, chasing his friends across the badlands.  The memories of how Uncle Ray taught him to fish and make his first arrows, his first kill and the look of pride upon his Uncle's face.

He continues to sit there, the rain is falling harder as he half sees the piece of paper in his hand.  He opens it up and reads it, then he walks slowly over to the grave and kneels beside it.

"She's gone, Uncle Ray I drove her away and I can't blame her for going.  It's best this way I don't deserve her I've treated her so cold at times.  She deserve a better life than I could ever give her it's best this way!”


                                    ******************************************************

 

Dallas:

 

It's been almost two weeks since Alex said her goodbyes to Walker, she hasn't heard from him and no one knows where he's at.  His Captain has given him another assignment, and says that Walker is deep in Mexico territory.

C.D. has come to help Alex get her things packed, they are waiting for the taxi to come.

"Alex, I can take you to the airport, honey.”

"No, C.D. it's hard enough saying goodbye to you here."  She kisses the old man's cheek and lets her hand caress his face.  "You are like a second Father to me I will never forget you.”

C.D. is crying as he hugs Alex tightly, "You've always been more like a daughter to me than my own flesh and blood, Alex are you sure about this?”

"Yes, C.D. I haven't heard one word from Walker, he's had plenty of time to contact me if he wanted to talk.  C.D. I can't live like this I don't know that any woman could!!!"

A faint knock is heard at Alex's door, "That must be the taxi C.D., will you help me to take some of this stuff down?”

The old man grabs the two biggest pieces of luggage and starts dragging them to the door, he opens the door and sees Walker standing there.

"Cordell!" He turns to Alex quickly Cordell, where have you been, son?”

Walker looks to Alex timidly and then to C.D., "Would you give us time alone, C.D?” 

C.D. looks to Alex, her face is expressionless, the old man scurries out the door, pulling it to behind him.

Alex glances at her watch, and says slowly, "My plane leaves in exactly one hour, I have to. . ."

"Don't go Alex, please don't go!" Walker's voice is breaking.

"I think it's better this way you've had plenty of time to ask me to stay and now you choose the very last minute to speak up."

Walker shakes his head back and forth, "I know you're angry and I know you're hurt.  I'm sorry Alex for pushing you away.”

 

Part 14

 

Alex shakes her head, "And, how long will this apology last until something else happens and you push me away again?  I'm not going to live like this, Walker.  I loved you and you treated our relationship like it was a roller coaster up and down!  You can't treat our relationship like a water faucet that you can turn on and off when the urge hits you!  I have feelings too, I'm not going to be treated like the rest of your past loves, and if you think I am then you got another think coming, Cowboy!”

The Ranger is saying nothing as he nervously twirls his hat in his hands, and keeps his head down.

"Well?  Are you going to say something?” Alex's voice is getting angrier.

"No" he answers quietly, "because everything you're saying is true. I have treated you cold at times, I never meant to and I'm sorry for that.  I have always had trouble in expressing my feelings for you, and because of that I thought you would be safe and I wouldn't lose you, but I'm losing you anyways.  I love you, Alex please don't go!”

Alex is taken back by Walker's admission that he loves her, it's the first time he's spoken the words. She takes a deep breath.

"You can't just say the words now and think that everything is going to change back to the way it was!  Anyone can say the words, Walker you have to mean what you're saying because I will not stand here and just listen to feeble . . "

She doesn't finish her words as Walker grabs her and kisses her hard, "I'm not just saying the words, Alex I mean them I love you and I don't want you walking out of my life because without you there is no life!”

Alex swallows hard as she is trying to speak and her words are not coming out, her eyes search his and she knows that what he is saying, he means it.  She falls into his arms, and then she pulls back and hits him in the chest.

"Damn you, Walker why do I have to drag the words out of you, why can't you be like most men about their feelings?  And, oh damn I don't know what I'm saying!  That's the reason I fell in love with you, was because you are not like any other man I've known, damn it you have me so confused!”

He holds her face in his hands as he reaches down and kisses her long and tender,  "I meant it, Alex I love you and I don't want you to leave.  I will try to do better can I have another chance to prove it?”

"Only if you promise that you won't push me aside when things are bad and hurting for you.  Walker, that's what true love is, sharing with the person that you love -all of the good and the bad. I hate it when you just go away to be by yourself.  I know that everyone has to have some time to themselves, but please share these things with me and don't you ever push me away again!  Is that understood?”

The Ranger is nodding his head and Alex can see the tears swelling, she touches his beard and strokes it lightly, "You still haven't cried for your Uncle Ray have you?”

He shakes his head and then he pulls her close, she can feel his body shaking and softly his tears will fall.

 

                               ******************************************************

1998: Dublin, Ireland.

 

Peter has received good news, Cordell's military records have been located. He is staring back at the Colonel.

"Are ye sure this time, have ye found him?”

"I'm 99% sure.  We have the records on a Captain Cordell Walker, hometown Springtown, Texas.”

Peter is confused, "Nay, his name  is Firewalker.”

"That's where we were having all the dead ends, there was a listing for a Cordell Firewalker, when he first enlisted into the Marine Corp, but his last name was shortened to just Walker for what reason we're not sure of.  But, then we found the military records of Ray 'Red Crow" Firewalker, a full blooded Cherokee from the Lawton, Oklahoma Indian Affairs, and I remembered some friends of mine saying that sometimes that military will shorten native Indian names, for different reasons.”

"Do ye have a picture of Cordell in those files?”

The Colonel smiles, "I'm not suppose to let anyone look at these files, Captain Walker was in special services and a lot of his records are still kept confidential because there is still unrest in parts of Viet Nam and he still has enemies there, but I can let you look at the picture, just the picture.”

Peter takes the files and stares into the face of a stranger. The Colonel is staring back at him.

"Well?  Is this your friend?”

"Me can't be sure.  Cordell was just a small lad when me wife and me took him to the airport but there is something about the eyes.  Me thinks he has Elizabeth's eyes.”

The Colonel nods, "The records show his Mother's name to be Elizabeth, Elizabeth Kathleen Tralee his Father's name is John "Stone Eagle" Firewalker'.

Peter starts to choke up, "Aye, it is him after all of these years, me has found him!”  Peter crosses himself and looks up to the ceiling, "Did ye hear that, Collen, me has found Cordell!”

The Colonel takes the files back, "Now that you have found your friend, what do you plan to do?”

Peter is clearing his throat, "Me plans to call him as soon as possible and to tell him that his life could be in grave danger, and any family that he may have.  Is he married, does he have a family, do ye know?”

"I'm sorry, but we don't have any of that information on him, but I can  tell you this, he is a law man in Texas he's a Texas Ranger!”

"A Texas Ranger?  Me has heard of them, they still have law officers that chase the bad guys on horseback like they do in the movies?”

The Colonel laughs, "No, not exactly I suppose in some parts of Texas, they still ride horses but for the most part they have automobiles.  But, I'm sure about one thing, I'm from New York and we've heard of the reputations of these law officers!  They are the elite, they don't take any guff from the bad guys and from what I read on this friend of yours and his military training in special services, and speaking from my own experiences as one he doesn't take any crap either!!!"

Peter is all smiles as he shakes the Colonel's hand, "Aye, and from what me remember about young Cordell, he must have inherited his Mother's and his Uncle Kordell's tempers and me hears that the Native Indian had tempers too, me hears they scalped people in the old days?”

"I wouldn't know about the 'scalping' part, my history on them is not too good!  Good luck to you, Peter Daniels, I hope you reach your friend real soon.”

The drive back to Kilkee is a happy one as the first place that Peter heads to is his wife's grave.

"Me found out where Cordell lives, Colleen me will start making the calls to America tonight wish me luck, my love!”


                                    ***************************************************

 

Walker's ranch, Spring of 1998

 

Walker and Alex are doing some minor repair work on Uncle Ray's cabin.  Walker has prepared a small cemetery near the river and he and Alex have erected four small crosses.  Alex is watching the look on Walker's face as she is beginning to read his very thoughts more and more.

"Honey, I know you've been thinking of moving your parents'  burial plots here, what have you decided?”

The Ranger shakes his head, "I don't know what to do, Alex I want my parents here with me but it's wrong to disturb their gravesites, am I being selfish in wanting them re-buried here?”

She smiles back at him softly, "Only you can make that decision, honey and I'm sure that your parents will understand whatever you decide to do.”

"Yeah" he answers slowly as he pulls her close to him, I will make the decision soon but I do know one thing I don't want to be buried anywhere else.  Hon, you got to promise me that when I'm gone you'll bury me here near the river, in my own 'special' resting place near my Uncle Ray, Aunt Ruth, and the twins.”

"I promise" she kisses him softly "but I'm praying that is a long time away.”

He smiles back at her and looks back to the cabin, and whispers "Do you

remember the first time we came here?”

            "Of course I remember, how could I forget anything that important.  We came here after we got back from riding the rapids it was pouring down rain, the roof leaked but we didn't care we made love all night long.”

"Hmmm''' He winks at her teasingly, "I know it's the middle of the day and the sun is shining, maybe we could do some 'catching up' it's been awhile."

Alex laughs, "At least six hours, how did we ever let so much time escape?”

He laughs, scooping her up in his arms and heading for the door, "Beats me, it won't happen again!”


                                     **************************************************

 

Kilkee, Ireland 1998 (summer)

 

It's been a frustrating time for Peter and his quest to get a hold of Cordell.  The operators keep telling him that Walker's address and phone number is unlisted and they will not release any information on him. Finally he calls the Colonel again at the embassy.

"I'm sorry but Colonel Braddock has been sent to Paris, he won't be back for several months", the secretary tells him.

Peter explains his situation to the secretary and in return he is put on hold to another officer.

"The only thing I can tell you is to notify his superior officer, contact the Ranger Headquarters in Dallas, they can help you to get in touch with him."

Again, Peter is calling stateside, he finally gets through to the Ranger Headquarters.  And, again, a brick wall comes before him.

The static on the line is so bad, the secretary is having trouble hearing Peter.  "I'm sorry, but I can't release Ranger Walker's home number, it's against our policy and Ranger Walker is out of town on a case.  Hold on, I will have you talk to his partner.”

Finally the secretary comes back on the line, the communication is getting worse as the secretary again apologizes. "I'm sorry, but Ranger Trivette is on a case too.  I'm going to transfer you to the Assistant District Attorney's office, maybe she can help you.”

Peter is totally confused as a woman gets on line, identifying herself as Alex.

Alex is straining to hear the voice at the other end of the line, "You will have to speak up, I can barely hear you, you say you are trying to locate a Cordell Walker?  Yes, I know him.  Who did you say you were?  And you're calling from Ireland--what?  The static is so bad, maybe if you hang up and try to call back.  What did you say your name was--Peter?"

The line goes dead and Alex is trying to call the phone company to run a trace, her secretary pokes her head in the door, "Miss Cahill, you are needed in Judge Terrell's office now!”

"Oh no, I forgot about the meeting that he called.  Marta would you please get a hold of the phone company and try to get a trace on the call that just came through to me from Ireland?”

An ocean away, Peter has made a decision.

"Me has decided to go to America, Collen me knows that there is not much time left and ye are right we owe it to Father Tralee and Elizabeth to warn Cordell about Cormac in any way we can.  Me will make the arrangements to fly there do not worry, my wife, me will find him.  It will be good to see him after all these years it has been so long."


                                  *****************************************************

Houston, Texas--Early autumn 1998

 

Walker has called home again, just as Alex is walking through the door, carrying packages and a garment bag.  She tells him quickly about the call from Ireland.

"Peter?  After all of these years, did he say what he wanted?”

"No, and the only number Marta could get from the phone company was a pay phone.   How's the trial coming, when are you coming home?”

Walker sighs, "Soon, I hope I never dreamed this trial would go as long as it has, I'll be testifying again tomorrow and then I hope to be on my way home!”

"Good, I've missed you your bed always seems so big when you're not here" she purrs.

Walker smiles, visualizing Alex on his bed beside him, "That's because we always sleep on one side but I'm not complaining you understand!”

"You better not be, hey I tried calling you last night there was no answer in your hotel room.”

The Ranger stammers, "Uhhh, I must have stepped out to get something to eat I never got any messages that you called.”

"I didn't leave one.  I was exhausted so I went on to bed.”

"Alex, why are you so tired?”

Alex takes a deep breath, "Honey, have you forgotten, we have Kim and Phil's wedding coming up next week?  I've been helping her with all the wedding plans, that takes a lot of work!”

"Oh yeah"  Walker can't help but to tease Alex more, "You mean Phil hasn't backed out yet?  I'm going to have to talk to that man again and try to talk some sense into him, that's what a best man does, you know?”

Alex starts shaking her head, "Walker, you are suppose to be supporting him not trying to change his mind about getting married!”

"No, hon it's my duty as best man to point out all of the things that he will be giving up once he places that ring on Kim's finger."

"Walker"

"I have to remind him that he's giving up all of his freedom.  That last long walk ,  never being able to make his own decisions.  I can't believe Phil is going through with this!”

Alex is smiling as she grabs the phone cord and twists it "Honey, I am hanging up before I climb through the telephone wires and strangle you."

The Ranger laughs as he checks his watch, "O.k. hon, I'll call you tomorrow, love ya!”

Walker is still smiling as he hangs up the phone and dials another number, a sultry voice answers at the other end.

"Hi baby, you're running late."

"Yeah, I know.  I'll meet you at the same place in about half an hour yeah, I know I'm anxious too, bye.”

 

                              ****************************************************

 

Bari, Italy

 

As Peter is making plans to fly to America, someone else is making plans of their own, off the coast of the Adriatic sea.

His plans have failed him again as he argues with the captain of the sailing vessel.

The man is angry as his face is turning as red as his beard, "Ye have lied to me for the last time.  Do me sail to America tonight or is this a trick for more money?”

The Captain is talking through an interpreter, who in return translates to the other man.

"The Captain says that his vessel is too small to sail all the way to America, he is only going as far as Barcelona, he told you that!”

"He lies, he took me money saying he would take me to America."

The man shakes is head and walks back to the Captain, they talk angrily and then the Captain nods his head.  The man walks back to the red-haired man.

"The Captain has agreed to sail you to Porta, that's on the other side of Portugal.  From there he will make the arrangements to get you to America!  But, it will cost you, my friend.  Is this trip to America worth it?”

The man grabs his friend and hisses, "Ye do not worry about if it is worth it.  Me will have the money by the time we get to this new port."  The man turns and hisses at the Captain, "And, ye better not be lying to me again or me will slit both your throats, is that clear?”

Both of the men shake their heads as the red haired man walks away, cursing. The Captain turns to his translator, "You better be right about your friends meeting with us in Porta, I don't fancy sailing with that maniac any longer than is necessary.”

The man stands up straight, "Don't worry, once we have Cormac's money we start sailing in the opposite direction of America and he won't know the difference!  The man is 'brain dead' he can't tell the difference between left and right.  He won't know that we are sailing to the island of Crete, where fates of many sailors have been lost forever!”


                                         *************************************************

 

Houston: 10pm

 

Walker is staring back into the eyes of the beautiful redhead and the nearly nude attire that she is wearing.  The negligee leaves little to the imagination as the black material is slit all the way up the sides, and only a thong covers her mid section.  The woman looks back at him with full pouting lips, her bosom completely bare.

"Hey baby, see anything you like?”  The sultry voice asks.

Walker sighs and turns to the woman, "Celeste, I wanted a blonde not a redhead!”

The woman snuggles up closer to the Ranger, "Hey baby, I'm doing the best I can with such short notice.”

Walker looks to the red head and back to Celeste, "O.k., I'm sorry but could I please see a blonde too?”

Celeste frowns,  "You are so impatient Darci, bring out the blonde too.”

Another woman walks in front of the Ranger and she's dressed in the same attire, but red.  Walker smiles, "Yeah, that's more like it!”

Celeste shakes her head, "So, which one are you going to choose?  Tough decision huh?”

Walker looks back to the redhead and then back to the blonde "You're right about that a tough decision so I'll take both!”

Celeste rubs up against the Ranger more, he pulls away from her, "Celeste, behave yourself."

She purrs back at him, "Now, Walker you can't blame a girl for trying and I've been trying to get you between the sheets for a loooooong time.”

"Celeste"

She hits him playfully, and then waves the girls away. "Wrap them up girls, he wants both!”

Walker is rocking back and forth on the heels of his boots, tapping his hat while Celeste is studying his body. He turns to her.

"How long is this going to take? And, the other is it ready?”

"Baby, would you relax are you this impatient with your girlfriend?  I pity her!”  Celeste giggles, "On the other hand, I wouldn't care how I got you 'cause baby you wouldn't be any hurry after I got through with you.”

"Celeste, I don't have time for this, is the man here yet?”

The woman sighs, "Yes, he's here Walker.  I wouldn't do this for any other man, but I owe you.  I would rather be paying you back 'under the covers'."

Walker's eyes bore into the woman and she motions for a man to come forward with a blue velvet box, he's followed by two security guards.  He holds it out and Walker stares back at Celeste.

"This better not be anything flashy or gawdy.  Alex appreciates fine jewelry and I don't want her having anything less!”

The man holding the box frowns back at the Ranger, "I assure you sir, that only the finest of diamonds come from Cartiers, they are neither cheap or 'gawdy''' as you put it!”

"I'll be the judge of that" Walker snaps back at him. "I'm not a complete dunce when it comes to jewelry and I know what Alex likes and doesn't, so can I see the merchandise?”

Celeste and the other women stare back at the diamond case and the 'oohs and ahs' begin.  Walker stares back at each diamond ring, Celeste points to the largest one.

Walker shakes his head, "No, too flashy besides it looks fake!”

The jeweler’s mouth drops open, "Fake? Did he say 'fake?”

Celeste is trying to calm the man, "Careful  Walker, you don't want to make this man angry after all he did come 'after hours and on his own time" to show you his jewelry.”

"Yeah, I'm sorry no disrespect but I just don't want anything that looks like costume jewelry."

The man's eyes grow wide and Celeste again pulls Walker aside. "Walker, you are not making any points here.  Now, just tell the man what you want and let him do the rest!”

The Ranger walks back to the man and again apologizes, "Look, I want something nice, not cheap, but I don't want anything that is flashy.  My girlfriend is not like that.  She likes and appreciates fine jewelry but there that's the one, that's Alex that's the one I want!”

Celeste is all smiles as Walker picks up the set of rings, they sparkle as the light hits the stones. The other women 'oooh and ah’.

The jeweler frowns, "That's the one you pick for your girlfriend, how "gawdy"  can you get?”

Walker glares back at the man and Celeste is trying to calm him, "O.k. Marion---the man has made his choice, how much?”

Marion makes a distasteful smirk and mutters, "I'm not sure, probably somewhere in the neighborhood of around $4,000 or so!”

Walker does a double take, "$4,000?  Are you sure?”

The man's eyes narrow and a smirk goes across his face, "Give or take a couple hundred!!  My good man, I thought you knew jewelry and their value.  You know nothing about fine diamonds!”

Walker takes a deep breath, "Well, suppose you tell me all about these fine diamonds and you can start with the carats!”

Marion exhales, "Oh, very well the one you picked is a solitaire, three carats,  including the begets around the larger stone.  The band is solid gold with diamond channels.  There is a matching band for the groom if you're interested?”

Walker looks at the rings again, "No, I don't want any stones.  I would prefer just a solid look but"  the Ranger turns to Celeste, his brow arches, "shouldn't Alex be the one to pick mine?”

"Don't ask me, I've never been down this road before."

The jeweler clears his throat, "Excuse me my time is through and just for your information if your girlfriend should decide that she wants the matching band for you, it can be ordered to match at any Cartier franchise!”

Walker nods his head, "O.k. that's the way we'll play it.  I'll come by the jewelry store tomorrow and give you a check, the rings better be ready for the price I'm paying or I will take my business elsewhere!”

Marion makes a scoffing sound and walks off, the security guards follows him.   Celeste smiles and slips her arm through Walker's.

"This 'Alex' is one lucky lady, how long have you known her?”

Walker smiles, "For several years, our relationship has been like a love/hate thing for the first few years all we did was argue.”

"Well, somewhere along the line, you must have stopped arguing if you're going to put a diamond on her finger!”

The Ranger becomes silent, "Yeah, for a long time I thought I would never get over Ellen and then Alex came into my life and everything changed.  I guess sort of the way you felt about  Frank.”

The two walk slowly to the front door and the packages are handed to Walker. Celeste sighs, "Yeah, sort of the way I felt about Frank no man has ever made me feel good about myself the way Frank did except for maybe ‘you’.  But, I never stood a chance with you, did I, Walker?  Aside from being a good friend, you never looked at me twice and now this "Alex" is in the picture and I still don't stand a chance!”

Walker smiles back at her, "Don't ever give up on finding another love, Celeste.  They will come into your life when you least expect it and you deserve to be happy.”

He reaches down and kisses her cheek, she rubs her cheek gently and then shouts out to the Ranger as he's walking away clutching the packages "Hey, do I get an invitation to the wedding?”

Walker shouts back to her---"You can count on it!”

 

                                *********************************************

September---1998

 

The wedding of Kim and Phil Holland was marred by the terrorists that tried to take the bride out and other guest members. It was a shoot out between them and the numerous law officers that were in the wedding party.

Walker's world was sent into a nosedive as he saw Alex laying on the ground, felled by a sniper's bullet.  At first he couldn't move towards her as days of 'deja vu' raced through his mind of the day that Ellen had been murdered, just moments after he had proposed to her.

For the next few weeks, Alex remained in critical condition, the bullet lodged near her spine and she's in a coma. Walker is torn between being at the hospital with Alex and finding the ones that are responsible.  C.D. knows the scene all too well and he too remembers the day that Ellen was killed, he orders Walker to find the shooters and he will stay by Alex's side.

 Walker stays beside her bed as much as possible, whispering to her "Don't leave me.”

 C.D. forces the Ranger to go home and get some sleep, his nightmares come swirling back to him, he sees Ellen falling to the ground and then he sees Alex's face and hears the words, "What were you going to ask me after the wedding?”

The Ranger paces his bedroom floor, the little black box held tightly in his hand, and he remembers how beautiful Alex looked as the maid of honor at Kim's wedding.

He had watched her get dressed the morning before as he lay in bed.

She looked back at him and smiled, "Honey, you better get dressed the wedding is less than three hours away.”

He pats the bed beside him, "We got plenty of time, come here Counselor, and let me examine your dress.”

"Oh no" she shakes her finger at him, "I'm not coming anywhere near that bed or we will never make it to the wedding on time, I'm not putting my dress on till I get to the estate.”

 Walker exhales, "I guess my talk with Phil didn't do any good.  I guess he still plans to throw his life away, give up his freedom!”

 

 

Part 15

 

Alex is trying to keep a straight face as she checks her makeup and her hairdo one more time.

"What on earth did you say to Phil?  Kim said he was bundle of nerves at the rehearsal dinner last night."

"I was just doing my duty as a best man, trying to point out to him the errors of his way and telling him that it wasn't too late to jump ship!”

"Walker, you didn't!" And Alex throws a house shoe into the Ranger's direction.

Walker is laughing as he rolls out of bed and grabs his jeans, "It's my duty as a best man, Alex to point these things out and after all I take my job as best man very seriously.”

"Well sweetheart, unless Phil changes his mind in the next 2 hours and 38 minutes and if he does, I will personally help Kim to castrate you!  I have got to get out of here.  I hope the traffic is not too heavy.”

"Wait a minute" Walker grabs her hand and softly caresses it, "I just want to say that after seeing you, Kim might not even show up because no bride likes to be 'out shown' and you, Alexandra are going to be giving the bride a run for her money!”

Alex starts to choke up, "Well, thank you, sweetheart that's one of the nicest things you've ever said you can be soooooo romantic and at the most un-opportune times."

"What about last night after we got back from the rehearsal dinner, was I un- opportune then?”

She smiles back at him and remembers the gift he gave her the red negligee. "Oooooh noo, Cowboy last night was just perfect and the candles were a nice touch,   and the music the rose petals."

He starts pulling her close, but she puts her hand up, "Honey, I have to go.  I'll make this up to you tonight, I promise!”

Walker grins as he remembers the black negligee that he plans to present her  with next and the contents inside the little black velvet box.  He smiles teasingly.

"Just don't make any plans for the rest of the weekend, you're going to be busy, I plan to keep you in bed all weekend!”

She kisses him softly, "I'm looking forward to it, Cowboy.”

He waits till she's almost out the door and then he says, "I think I'll swing by Phil's place and try one more time to talk him out of this insanity."

The Ranger has to duck as Alex pretends to throw a vase at him.  He winks at her as she continues down the stairs.

He then whispers to himself, " Damn, that woman loves to throw things!  Maybe I should take my own advice about popping the question?  Nope, can't do that already bought the rings.”

The memories continue to flash in front of the Ranger, her smile, her laugh.  The next few weeks are a painful time as Alex has come out of her coma and the doctors are saying she will make a full recovery.  Walker says a silent prayer to the man 'upstairs'.

"Thank you Lord for not taking her, I have plans to spend the rest of my life with that woman, if she will have me!”

 He walks into the hospital room slowly behind Trivette, C.D. is already there and has brought her a nicer hospital gown than the typical hospital issue.   C.D. has asked someone to fix her hair and apply a light layer of makeup, because in the back of his  mind, he knows that there is something 'special' about this day.  He looks up to see the two Rangers walking in.

"Here she is, Cordell don't she look as pretty as a peach?”

Walker says nothing as he walks slowly up to Alex's bed, C.D. is hustling Trivette out the door.  Alex smiles  back at Walker and says softly, "Hi.”

He takes her hand and caresses it, "Hi yourself" and then he sits down beside her on her bed. "Alex, do you remember the wedding?”

She nods her head slowly, "Yes, I remember the wedding.”

"Do you remember me saying there was something I wanted to ask you, after the wedding?”

Alex can feel herself choking up, "Yes, I remember."

Walker has slipped the engagement ring out and placing it on her finger, "Alex-, will you marry me?”

Her eyes are all teary as she looks at the ring and then back to her man, she can hardly speak, it's the words she has wanted to hear for a long time. She laughs softly, nodding her head through joyful tears "Yes, yes I will marry you.”

The next few months are a  tiring and painful time for Alex as she is going through physical therapy to strengthen her back.  Walker is at the rehabilitation hospital everyday for her 2 hour session, then he takes her back to the ranch, and continues in his own way to help her.  He has redone the guestroom at the bottom of the stairs so that she won't have to climb them till the doctors say she is stronger.  When Walker can't be with her, C.D. comes out to take care of her, along with a nurse.

At night Walker has her on the floor, doing gentle leg bends and sit-ups.

"O.k. hon, that's enough for tonight.  I will help you to get into the shower now."

"Oh, Walker I can do more, I'm not tired!”  She argues.

"You know what the doctors said don't rush it, your back muscles are getting stronger but, you still have to take caution.”

She pouts, sticking out her bottom lip "O.k., but I don't want a shower, I want a bubbly!”

The Ranger laughs, "O.k. hon, whatever you say.  I'll get your bath oils ready."

She pulls back on his hand and looks up at him with those eyes, "I want some company too."

The Ranger hesitates, "Alex, you know what is going to happen if I get in that tub with you.  It's all I can do to keep my hands to myself now.  I'm taking cold showers after you fall asleep!”

"Then stop taking those cold showers, honey I feel fine and it's been months!”

"Alex, you don't have to remind me how long it's been, it's been 3 months, 21 days and some nine hours and now 15, no make that 16 seconds and still counting!”

She laughs softly and continues to pull him towards the bathroom, "Honey, the counting stops tonight.  Do you realize that this is the longest that we've ever gone?”

Walker is getting warmer,” If you only knew how many times that I have wanted to reach over and take you but the doctors."

"I don't care what the doctors are saying.  I know my own body better than them and besides I like your physical therapy better than theirs, especially the massages and that little thing you do with the toes!”

"You like that, huh?”

"Oh yes" she purrs, "I never knew I could get so turned on by my toes.”

"Well" now he's pulling her to the bathroom "you just remember that it's a two way street."

"You can bet on it, Cowboy is there any whipped cream in the fridge?”

"Alex, behave yourself remember you can't go getting 'kinky' on me.  We have to use self control."

Alex tilts her head, "Oh yeah, like either of us know the meaning of that word.”

"No more talk, Alexandra I'm already growing a third leg.”

They both laugh as the bathroom door closes behind them.


                                            ***********************************************

 

Dallas, Texas (spring of 99)

 

Walker has signed the papers for the deed to the H.O.P.E. house and Alex has opened up it up for unwed and abused Mothers, along with a day care.

Their schedules continue to be swamped as each of them tries to make time for the other, grabbing each opportunity to be with each other as much as possible.

They are laying in bed, Alex has her left arm across the Ranger's chest, she sighs.

"Hey gorgeous, I got to get going.  I promised Trivette to meet him at the crime scene over on LBJ freeway.”

She pouts and pulls him closer, "Just five more minutes, honey it's such a beautiful day tell Jimmy to handle it and let's go on a picnic!”

The Ranger laughs, "I can't do that Counselor.  Trivette is due to go vacation at the end of the week, we want to try and get this case wrapped up.”

"A vacation?  How does he rate another vacation so soon, he just got back from Jamaica!”

"Alex, that was 6 months ago and he has more vacation time piled up.  This time I think he's going to the Cayman Islands, he met a airline hostess while he was in Jamaica.”

Alex draws back, I thought he was in Jamaica with a girl called Mandy, what happened to her?”

"I guess she's around somewhere, Trivette said he met the stewardess on the return flight, made a date with her and now they're going on vacation together.”

Alex sighs, "That man's life is like a soap opera where does he find the time and the energy?”

Walker reaches down and pinches Alex's thigh, "Beats me, I have enough trouble just keeping up with you.  I think I need some vitamins!”

They both laugh and Alex sits up in bed, "Speaking of vitamins, I talked to the doctor today and he said they have decided not to try and remove the bullet from my back.  So in other words, we have the green light for getting pregnant.”

"Really?” Walker smiles and pulls her back down to him, "And, just when are you going to stop taking the pill?”

She kisses him long and tender, "If I could get pregnant tonight I would stop taking them but honey, I want to get all of my cases over with besides shouldn't we start making wedding plans first?”

Walker nods, "You're right, but there is something I want to take care of first.  I want to get all of that south land sold, so we can put the money back and start our wedding off with no bills!”

"Walker, I have told you that I am putting money back too, I've opened up a special savings for the wedding."

"No, Alex we're not taking your money."

"My money?  Honey it's our money.  I am trying to help, this is my wedding too, you know!

"It's the man's place to take care of the expenses and I plan to do just that, besides I'm trying to decide where to take you on a honeymoon.  Where would you like to go?”

Alex begins to smile, "A honeymoon, oooooh I like the sound of that.  I don't care where we go honey as long as it's warm and romantic, maybe the Fiji Islands?”

The Ranger starts to grin, "Ahhhh yes, the Fiji Islands where the women run naked on the beaches."

"Oh, they do not" Alex hits him playfully in the chest, "do they?”

"Well, they did when I was there."

“When were you ever on the Fiji Islands?”

Walker sighs, "Alex. I was there on R&R after my first tour of Nam and believe me, there were a lot of naked women running around!”

"The Fiji Islands are definitely out!”  Replies Alex, "Let's discuss some other place where the women are clothed and…"

Alex does not finish her sentence as Walker's phone starts ringing, the Ranger shakes his head, "Probably Trivette wanting to know when I'm coming, hello, yeah this is Walker.”

Walker hangs up the phone and looks back to Alex, "That was a strange call!”

"What do you mean 'strange', honey?”

"It was from the embassy in Dublin, Ireland, saying that a Colonel James Braddock was wanting to talk to me about Peter.”

Alex is reaching for her robe, "Your friend, Peter?”

"Yeah, what does the embassy in Dublin want to talk to me about concerning Peter?”

"So?---What does this Colonel Braddock say?”

"Guess I'll know tonight when the Colonel calls me back, that was his aide--wanting to know when the right time would be to talk!”

Alex is puzzled as she keeps looking up at the ceiling, "There's that darn noise again!  Honey, did you set the rat poison out?”

Walker shakes his head, "I don't believe it's rats, hon I never saw any droppings.  I think we have a raccoon up there or maybe some squirrels!”

Alex shivers, "Whichever it is, Walker please get rid of them!  I heard the scratching all night long!”

"O.k. hon, I'll take care of it.  Are you coming back to the ranch tonight or, are you staying at your place since you have to be in court all day tomorrow?”

"I better stay at my place so I don't have to fight that early traffic driving in.  Will you call me after you have talked to that Colonel Braddock?”

"Yeah, I will.  I just wish I knew what this was all about and how it concerns Peter.  I haven't heard from Peter since I went back off my first leave and to have the Dublin embassy trying to contact me doesn't make any sense!”


                                             *****************************************

 

Dublin, Ireland  - Colonel Braddock's office:

 

The old sergeant is staring back at his commander, "Come on Colonel, you been staring at those files for hours now what gives?

The Colonel shakes his head, "These are the files that you found in Peter Daniel's home, are you sure there wasn't more of them, something seems to be missing?”

"Look, Jim we have remained friends for over 40 years and you have never questioned my ability or my word before, why now?  What is so damn important about those files?”

The Colonel walks to the coffee machine, shaking his head "I wish I knew, I have gone over all of the files that we had on Peter Daniels and his quest to find 'this' Cordell Walker.  Why would this man waste some forty years of his life trying to locate this Walker?   What was he trying to warn him about and 'who'?”

The sergeant exhales, "Colonel, sir, why are you so interested in this case?  This Daniels guy came to you and asked your help in finding a fellow Marine, you located him for the guy!  He didn't tell you why he wanted to locate this Walker, were they related?”

"I told you everything I know, Sarge the man has no relation to this Walker.  Peter Daniels befriended Walker as a small boy when he came to Ireland with his Mother. Daniels was a child hood friend of the Tralees and this Father Tralee that died several years back.  Peter Daniels mentioned someone by the name of CORMAC that was responsible for the priest's death.”

"We ran a check on the autopsy, Father Tralee died of heart failure how can this Cormac be responsible for that?”

"You talked to the villagers of Tralee, you said so yourself that they were hiding something.  That some of them were scared to death at the mention of Cormac's name!”

The sergeant nods his head, "Yep, they were definitely afraid of something and from the reports we have gotten on Cormac, he leaves a trail of bodies everywhere he goes and there is a suspicion that he killed that American doctor at the last asylum that this luniac was committed to!”

The Colonel sips his coffee, "Yes, but what is the connection between Cormac and this Cordell Walker?  He was just a boy when he was here with his Mother.”

"There's also something else that the villagers of Tralee mentioned something  about a curse?”

"A curse? On who, the boy?”

"Maybe" the sergeant answers "stranger things are happening in this case.  What about the files from the asylum from that Dr. Smith, was there anything in them to shed any light on this?”

"That's the strange part because just like the files that you found in Peter Daniels' home, some of the papers were missing and why would Peter Daniels decide to travel to America and leave those files behind?  Peter was too excited about finding this Walker.  He would not have left any part of those files behind!”

The Sergeant becomes quiet as he studies the Colonel's face, "You don't believe that this Daniels is still alive, do you, sir?”

"No, I do not, my friend.  We have not been able to locate any flights with his name, he wouldn't sail.  The man was in poor health and it would take weeks to reach the USA.  No one in his village has seen him in months and the villagers are not giving out anymore information than we already know.”

"Which isn't much, is it sir?  Do you think this Cormac is behind Daniel's disappearance?"

"He has to be involved in some way or another.  The last news we heard on Cormac was that he was last seen in a fishing village near Palermo, Italy.”

The Sergeant continues to wrestle with his curiosity, "Colonel, as friends we go way back and I've seen you in the worst of times and we've saved eachs buttes many times.  I know the war changes men, our way of thinking, our morals, and what have you but through all those times I've never seen you get so involved in a case.  Hell, you took this job in this fancy office  to get away from the horrors of war and now you're letting yourself get all worked up about a civilian case why?”

"Cordell Walker was a fellow Marine.  Have you forgotten that he was in special services just like you and me?”

"I know that sir, I've seen his records, the medals he's won, and he was a MIA just like you and I, but Colonel sir so were a lot of our friends and they didn't come back! This Cordell Walker is alive and living in Texas.  He's probably got a wife and six kids so what?  At least he's alive."

The Colonel stares back at his friend, "I can't believe you said that 'at least he's alive' have you forgotten being in those bamboo prisons and the torture we received?  We left a part of us over there, and only our shells of our bodies remain here.  We are alive but only to a point.   We are 'half dead' Sergeant, we will never be able to forget that place no matter how many brothers we try to make up for."

“So, that's it, just what I figured you are still living those three days at Hamburger Hill and the lives.."

"Say it Virgil----say it!---the lives I was responsible for say it!”!

"It wasn't all your fault Jim – Colonel, sir you tried to disobey an order.  You were outranked at the time you did what you were ordered to do. You can't go back Jim, those men are dead."

"Yes" the Colonel replies slowly, " and so is  Mikey, your little brother!”

The Sergeant has tears in his eyes, "I never blamed you Jim, you know I didn't. There was nothing you or anyone else could do.  We were overrun "Charlie" had us outnumbered 50 –1, it was a massacre.  The ones that were not killed were put in prisons and tortured.  I'm glad Mikey was killed outright cause my little brother could not have survived in that hell hole.”

The men stare at each other and then the Colonel reaches for something stronger than coffee, he pours them both a tall drink.

"I never got over the blame for that day, Virgil -and I guess that's why I take it so personally when a fellow solider is in danger, that's why I feel like it's my duty to warn this Walker.”

"Warn him about what, Jim?  What could a 10 year old boy be warned about, do you believe this Cormac wants to harm him, why?”

The Colonel takes another long drink, "I don't know, Sarge we need to go back over all of the files again and compare them there has got to be a common link.  Peter said that Cormac would hurt a lot of innocent people if the truth was known.  We got to find that truth.”

"What about the call to this Walker, do you still plan to call him again?”

"Yes, I will tell him what I know and for him to be cautious.  In the meantime we keep tabs on this Cormac and if he ever reaches America then Captain Cordell Walker can take care of him!”


                                             *******************************************

 

Alex has been trying to call Walker for over two hours, the phone keeps ringing, the machine is not picking up.  She goes to take her shower, taking her phone with her.

Walker has been sitting in his attic looking through what is left of his Mother's journal most of it has been torn to shreds compliments of the rodents.

"Damn it, I should never have moved my Mother's personal things up here and why didn't I set those traps out earlier when Alex first asked me to?”  He stares back at the shredded book and tries to piece it together. He picks up what is left of his Mother's diary and stares at it for a long time.

He runs his fingers over the little brown case, memories of his Mother sitting at the kitchen table, scribbling away.  He takes a deep breath and opens the diary and starts to read.  He has heard the phone ringing downstairs, but he continues to let it ring.

He has read the diary all the way through, "There is nothing mentioned about anyone called Cormac.  Most of this is just personal things that have been said between my parents, personal things that I had no right to read!”

The Ranger is trying again to piece the journal together, it's no use as he throws the shredded paper down "Damn it!  I should have kept her things downstairs, tucked away in that old foot locker.  The damn rats couldn't have gotten to them there.  And, look at my Aunt Ruth's things.  Those things can never be replaced forgive me, Uncle Ray for being so damn stupid!”

Walker cleans up the attic and takes what is left of the journal downstairs along with the diary. He calls Alex and tells her what the Colonel has told him.

"And, this Colonel thinks that this Cormac is out to hurt you, why?”

"I have no idea, hon I've never heard of the man. The Colonel mentioned that Peter had kept a journal that belonged to my Uncle Kordell and the Colonel seemed to think that maybe my Mother kept one similar to it.  Anyways, Peter gave a American doctor a copy of the journal but when it was released after the doctor's death, there were some pages missing also, in the same journal that was found in Peter's home. No one has seen or heard from Peter in months they think he's dead!”

"Oooo no, honey maybe that was the reason that he was trying to call you that day."

"Yeah, I tried getting a call back to him, but I don't guess he ever got a phone the number I had belonged to an old neighbor but it had been disconnected.”

"And, the number he called at my office was from a payphone.  Walker, the man was obviously trying to warn you.”

"Yeah, I should have tried harder to get a hold of Peter.  I remember he and his wife were very kind to me, and he tried to keep in touch with me after my Uncle's death, but somehow we lost touch.”

"Walker, I know you are feeling bad right now, do you want me to come out there?  I can leave right now."

"No hon, you get some sleep you're going to be wrapped up in court all day besides, there's nothing either of us can do right now.  That Colonel said that he would keep in touch and he would let me know if and when they find Peter.”           


                                         ***********************************************

 

The months pass and Walker and Alex are knee deep in cases, Walker is trying to get the south section of his land sold, Alex keeps telling him not to sell it.

"Honey, please don't sell it.  You're going to regret it, if you do.  We don't need the money, I have been saving too.  We will have a clean slate to start out on that is, when you decide to set the date!”

"It will be soon, hon I promise you.  Have you decided where you want to take your honeymoon?”

"Honey, how can I decide where that I want to go, when I don't even know what time of year it will be?”

He pulls her close and kisses her, "Maybe we won't go anywhere at all, maybe I'll just keep you here at the ranch.”

She returns his kiss, "Oh no you don't Cowboy, you promised me a honeymoon and since it will be the only one I will ever get out of you, you better make it special!”

He sighs, "It's starting already."

"What?”

"You bossing me around, that's what!”

She goes back into his arms, "I apologize, I certainly never meant that as a threat just 'hoping'?”

"Alex, I promise you a honeymoon that you won't forget.  I'm just still trying to decide on that special place, can't you give me a clue where you would like to go?”

"Well, since the Fiji Islands are out, I was thinking of 'no' you would never go for it, forget it.”

"IT? Alex, just tell me where you want to go.”

"It should be obvious, honey the honeymoon capitol of the world?”

Walker's brow arches, "Niagara Falls?  You want to go to Niagara Falls?”

She hits him in the chest  "No, I do not want to go Niagara Falls.  I'm talking about Paris!”

"Paris?” Walker is now teasing her, "That will be o.k. Paris, Texas is just down the highway we can drive it in less…."

"Walker, stop teasing you know that I'm referring to Paris, France!”

Walker ponders the thought, "Ummmm''', Paris?  You know, they have some nude beaches there too.  Not to mention the can-can girls, and from what I hear they do-do-----"

"Walker, if you don't get serious, I'm getting out of this bed and you can continue sleeping alone!”

"Come on hon, you know I'm just teasing.  What's wrong?”

She smiles weakly, "I don't know, guess I'm just tired, this last case I was on really took a lot out of me.”

"Yeah, me too.  Why don't we take some time and drive down to the coast for a few days?”

"Oh honey, are you serious?  Could we really?”

He starts to answer when his phone starts to ring, Alex rolls away in anger, "Never fails" she replies angrily.

She rolls out of bed and heads to the shower as she is hearing Walker answer quietly to the person on the other end.

She finds him downstairs, just staring at a cup of coffee, she walks over to him slowly, ”What’s wrong, honey what was that call about?”

"That was Colonel Braddock, they've ID’d Peter's body.  He was murdered!”

"Oh no, are they sure it was murder?”

 

 

Part 16

 

Walker sips his coffee, "Yeah, his throat was slit, they found him in one of the moors, near the valley.”

"I'm so sorry, honey he was the last of your Mother's family that ever paid any attention to you.  I'm sorry for your grief"

"I feel so rotten for not trying harder to get in touch with him.  I had to know the urgency of his call, why didn't I try harder?”

"Walker, it's not like you haven't had a million other things on your mind.  We have been up to our eyeballs in cases.  We hardly have any time to ourselves, you couldn't have known!”

"Well, there's something else that Colonel Braddock has laid on me.  He thinks that this Cormac is behind Peter's murder, but not directly.  Cormac was seen off the coast of Italy, just a few days ago, so there is no way he could have killed Peter, he's got accomplices!”

"That's what I don't understand, if Braddock and the Irish police believe that this Cormac is responsible for so many deaths, why can't they arrest him?”

Walker slams his coffee cup down, "Because he always ends up fleeing to parts unknown!  For someone that is suppose to be dying of brain tumors, the man is pretty smart to out maneuver the law!”

Alex grabs a dish towel and begins cleaning up the spilled coffee, "Brain tumors?  Is there proof that he is really suffering from them or is that a charade?”

Walker is now helping Alex to clean up the mess, "It was in one of the medical reports of that Dr. Smith from one of the asylums that Cormac was in.”

"Medical reports can be doctored, you know that honey.  I still find it strange that only a part of those medical reports were found, and a small part at that.  There was nothing said about you in any of those files, and every time your Mother's name was mentioned, the other pages were ripped out!   Don't you find that strange, honey?”

"More than strange.  It's like dangling a piece of cheese in front of a rat then when the rat starts to grab it, it's yanked away!  Just giving the poor soul enough information to be curious and then it's all gone!”

Alex nods her head slowly, "And, the same thing happened in Peter's home.  Someone had to know that sooner or later the word would get out to you about Peter and the suspicions in those reports.  Someone is trying to lure you back to Ireland.”

Walker's brow arches, "Back to Ireland?  I haven't had any desire to go back there, Alex.  I don't have any reason to want to go back except to find out who murdered my Uncle and now Peter.”

Alex takes a deep breath, "I can read you like a book, Walker ever since this Colonel Braddock called you and started telling you about Cormac and the people that he's been accused of killing, you are wanting to go back aren't you?”

Walker sighs and heads for his coffee pot again, "You're right, I can't shake this feeling that my Uncle was murdered, even though the medical reports said he died of a heart attack and now I believe that this Cormac was responsible for the attack on my Uncle that left him with his ear whacked off!”

Alex shakes her head, "Then 'go' Walker I know you and I know you will not be satisfied until you have personally investigated the case.”

Walker looks back to her timidly, "What about our trip to the coast, we can still go, o.k.?”

"No, because you would be thinking about this case and I would not have your undivided attention!  Go to Ireland, do your investigating and please, just get this out of your system so we can think of other things?”

He walks slowly up to her and puts his arms around her, "I have a better idea, come with me.”

Alex stares back at him, "I can't go off to Ireland right now Walker, I have cases coming up.”

"You can let someone else handle them, come on hon, go with me.”

Alex starts to stammer and then she smiles, "You know what?  I'm going to do just that I'm long overdue for some vacation time, let's go!”


                                   ******************************************************

 

Dublin, Ireland (Fall of 99)

 

It has been a disappointing trip for Alex, she has come down with the flu and has spent the whole week in bed.  Walker and the Colonel have had most of their discussions at the hotel in which Walker and Alex are staying.

Walker has been trying to get Alex to finish her soup, "Hon, are you sure you're o.k. with my going down to the valley with Colonel Braddock tomorrow?”

She sniffles, then blows her nose again, "Yes, sweetheart 'go', I just wish I didn't feel so bad.  I wanted to see your Mother's birthplace!”

"I wanted you to see it too, it's breathtaking.  Maybe after a couple more days of rest, I can take you there.”

Walker and the Colonel have spent the whole day talking to the villagers, no one is saying anything about Cormac.

"You're right, Colonel they are definitely afraid to say anything, they're scared to death!”

"Yeah, and if Cormac has accomplices hanging around that's going to make them even more scared!”

Walker hesitates, "Do you think it would be possible for me to visit my Uncle's grave and Peter's?”

"There are no graves, Walker they were both cremated.  Your Uncle's ashes were strewn over the  grounds of the church.  Peter's?  Well, there wasn't much left to even cremate the local  funeral director did the best he could.”

Walker becomes sad, "Why is it that we lose the people we love the most first?  It seems everyone that has come into my life dies too soon!”

"Is that why you try to stay close to the hotel and your fiancιe?”

"Maybe it was a mistake in asking her to come with me.  I've been worried sick about her the whole time we've been here, but I would be equally worried if she was back home and me not there to protect her!”

The Colonel nods his head, "Yeah, and it's a good thing that you registered under another name and I know how hard it's been for you not to get to question some of these people, but for safety's sake I think it's best you remain silent!”

Walker shakes his head, "Silence is not my strong point and neither is patience!”

The Colonel laughs, "Listen, if Alex is feeling up to it, why don't the two of you come over to my home, I would like you to meet my wife.”

"Your wife, you never said you were married?”

"I keep my personal life private, very few people know about Ming Li and that's the way I prefer it.  My life is still very much in peril and so are the ones close to me, so how about it?”

Walker and Alex have accepted the Colonel's invitation and Alex has taken a instant liking to the tiny Ming Li.  As Ming Li is showing off their home, Walker and the Colonel retire to the man's den for brandy and cigars.

As Braddock is pouring the wine, Walker is looking at all of the pictures that don the wall, most of which are of him and other G.I.'s.  There's a picture of Braddock with several different presidents and heads of states from different countries.  But, most of the pictures are of Braddock with soldiers.

Walker stares back at the Colonel, "I've noticed that with the soldiers, there is a faint smile, but with the others you look as though you could kill them!”

The Colonel grunts as he snips the end off two cigars and hands one to Walker, "That’s because I would have like to have killed them for getting us into that stupid war and then the way they forgot about us when we became MIA's and POW’s.  You've been there Walker, you know the animosity we've all felt!”

Walker takes the cigar and lights it, then sips his brandy, "Yeah, but I've tried to move on."

"You're not fooling anyone, Walker if you hadn't taken a civilian job and thinking of getting married, you would be right back over there trying to find the rest of those prisoners!  I read about your missions into Cambodia.”

"My missions don't hold a candle to yours and all the decorations you've been awarded.  When I was over there, your name was a legend, and how you not only fought the Viet Cong, but the delegates at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon.  You weren’t afraid of any man no matter how high the rank!”

"Those idiots didn't know a damn thing about what was going on over there, we tried to tell them but they were too concerned in not offending North Viet Nam.  Getting those prisoners out was pure crap for the newspapers to lap up, and furthering their damn political careers!”

Walker puts his hand up in defense, "You don't have to convince me, remember I was there?”

Braddock stares back at Walker, "You don't like to talk about that place, do you?  How long were you kept captive?"

"The longest time was about six months, near Lampang, not far from the Mekong Delta.  Luckily, the guards there weren't as cruel as the ones I faced later in Cambodia. The guards at Lampang fed us and then forced us to upchuck and eat it again.  Where in the bamboo prisons of Phnum Penh, we weren't fed at all, and nothing to drink but our own, you got the picture etched in your brain by now!”

Braddock takes a deep breath, "All too clear, Walker some of the men that we took out of those prisons were begging to be killed, they were in so much pain and didn't want to be an embarrassment to their families.  Can you grasp that shit, an embarrassment?”

Walker continues to sip his brandy and draws gently on the cigar, "Why are you still involved with what is going on over there?  You've done your time."

"I will never stop till all of the MIA's and POW’s are accounted for, our government says they have been accounted for but that's horse crap and you know it, Captain!”

"I'm not a Captain anymore, Colonel I lost the right to be called that when I left Nam for the last time as a civilian!”

"No, you're wrong, Walker once a Marine-always a Marine.  It's in your blood and when you die people will remember that you were a U.S. Marine first, and then a man!”

Walker continues to study Braddock, "So, how long are you going to keep this up working both sides?”

Braddock smiles, "How long have you known?”

"From the first time I talked to you, when your aide called from the Embassy in Dublin.  I knew that this wasn't just a casual interest in a civilian case.  You're still working as a double agent for the embassy, but you are on to something else, does Cormac have anything to do with your new interest?”

"At first we thought he did, and in his younger years he may have been involved  in running arms to the north, what time he wasn't dodging the Irish liberation.  He was playing all the sides, whoever had the most to offer, that's what he took.”

"And now?”

"There's a big puzzle missing and the missing pieces are in those files that have disappeared.  Are you sure your Mother or your Uncle never mentioned Cormac?”

"I never heard of the man until you called me and told me I was in danger from him.  I still don't understand your interest in this case, but I'm grateful for the warning.  I also can't see where someone would be carrying a grudge for some 40 years.  I don't know what I've done to piss this man off!”

"Neither do I, you were only a boy when your Mother brought you here.  I've thought that maybe there was a family dispute between Cormac and your grandparents.  What do you think?”

"My grandparents never wanted anything to do with me, especially my grandfather!  My grandmother had second thoughts because she knew she was dying and maybe it was her way of making things right with the 'man upstairs', none of my Uncles ever cared to see me, except for my Uncle Kordell.  So, therefore I know nothing about a family dispute, I just know that my Mother was treated unkind because she married out of her race, and the same for my Father's people, but eventually they accepted me especially my Uncle Ray.”

"I know about prejudice, Walker that's one of the reasons I keep my private life personal because of Ming Li.  Aside from the point that she's Vietnamese, she's also the daughter of one of the worst butchers that ever came out of North Vietnam.  Perhaps you've heard of him, Colonel Tu?”

"Yeah, I've heard of him, what G.I. hasn't?  His name was synonymous with  torture and death!”

Walker and the Colonel stare at each other and Walker shakes his head, "Now, I get it, you've taken a interest in Cormac because it gives you more leverage in actually looking for Colonel Tu.  You're pretending to look for Cormac, when you're actually tracking down war criminals.  What's the matter, doesn't the military government give you anymore green lights to track these murdering animals down?  Or, is it because you are longer getting paid to find them?”

The Colonel shakes his head, "I will find those murdering sons of bitches---no matter what I have to do and who I have to use.  Damn it Walker, you're an ex-POW, have you forgotten the torture you endured ?”

"No, I haven't forgotten.  I still have the nightmares and I remember the stories on how Tu tortured those soldiers at Cam Ru Bay!  What is his connection with Cormac or is there any?”

"When I find Tu, I will ask him what his connection is with Cormac.  That is after I give him the same kind of treatment that our fellow comrades suffered under him.  And, I get my revenge.”

Walker sets his brandy down and puts out his cigar, "In other words you are now a mercenary, another word for 'bounty hunter' and you are using your job at the embassy to cover the legal part of it.  But, in reality you are looking for Colonel Tu and probably Cormac for the money that is being offered for them.  I'm sure Tu has an incredible bounty out for his life but Cormac is small fish.  I haven't heard of any reward out for him.”

"There are a lot of people out there that would like to see Cormac dead, he's made enemies, and they want him dead!”

"Like who?”

"I can't tell you that Walker, unless you're willing to join the hunt for him.  How about it, want to be my right hand man?  I can make you verrrry rich!”

Walker shakes his head, "Nope, not interested.  I have my life straightened out and I'm happy with it and my job as a law officer.”

"How much do you pull down a year, Walker "$30,000 or around that?  You can make that much bringing in one war criminal, and there is no limit to how many you can track down."

Walker looks around the huge den and has recalled the way the rest of Braddock's estate looks like. "Is that how you paid for this place, the bounties?”

"Don't judge me, Walker--you don't have the right!”

"I'm not judging you, I admire you for what you are doing, just not the monetary value of it!  When you were bringing out the POW’s back in Nam, were you doing it for the money then?”

"No, back then I was a stupid son of a bitch that was doing it for the glory of Uncle Sam, America, and all of that crap that was shoved down our throats by the military.  But, after I saw and heard how our government was dragging their feet about getting our boys out of there my views changed!  Tell me Walker, what was the real reason you got out of the military?   And, don't try and tell me that you were just ready for civilian life!!   You were angry at the way our prisoners were being treated and our government not doing enough!  Admit it!”!!!

Walker hesitates as he sees Alex and Ming Li walking towards them. "Like I said, Colonel, I'm not judging you.  You do what you have to do.  I know you have a personal vendetta against Tu and I won't ask what that is, just don't try and change my views about the war!  But, I will say this for every MIA and POW out there that has heard of you, they will not forget what you have done to try and get them home, myself included, I salute you!”

Alex and Ming Li stare back at the men as Walker puts his hand up to his  forehead and makes a gesture of respect. The Colonel stares at him for the longest and then returns it.

"I never meant for this conversation to get so deep.  My apologies Captain.  I mean, Walker"

"Apology accepted, Colonel sir!!  And, just for the record, you had every intention of where this conversation was going to go.  Good luck on your hunt for Colonel Tu but as for Cormac, if he ever gets to Texas I'll take care of him!”

Walker and Alex have been asked to spend the night, but Walker refuses, and they head back to their hotel.

The Ranger has been quiet and Alex is giving him his space.  Finally she walks up behind him and slips her arms around his waist.

"What ya' thinking so hard about?”

"Everything" sighs the Ranger.  "I've had mixed feelings about being here.”

"Are you referring to seeing your Mother's birthplace again or is it that Colonel Braddock?  Honey, I get the feeling you don't trust him.”

"Both, and 'no' I don't trust Braddock in everything that he is doing.  But, Alex the man is a legend.  He went  on missions that no one else would dare to take on, he's responsible for bringing out hundreds of MIA's and POW's.  I heard stories about him when I was in Saigon, he didn't let any of the brass talk him down.”

Alex smiles and pulls Walker closer to her, laying her head on the back of his shoulder, "Honey, you brought out prisoners too.  Uncle Ray said you were in some very hot spots right in the middle of the heavy fighting."

"My missions were nothing, compared to his!  But now he's a time bomb and he's using Cormac as a way of getting to Colonel Tu.  Did Ming Li tell you anything about him, you know the man is her Father?”

"Only by blood, according to her, he was raping her from the time she was just four years old and he killed her Mother right in front of her!”

Walker turns and looks back to Alex, "So, I take it there is no love lost between them?”

"She said she would put a gun to his head and blow it off if she ever got the chance the same way he killed her Mother.  Ming Li also said that she had two older sisters that he passed around to his other officers.  They too were killed after they were raped and tortured!”

"Nothing that man did could surprise me.  The mention of his name would send chills through any captive G.I. and there were very few that lived to talked about it!  But enough war talk, how you feeling??

"I feel great, are you still going to take me to the valley tomorrow?  I want to see your Mother's birthplace.”

"If you're sure you feel like taking the trip.  I wish I could take you by horse and buggy, because that's how I saw it for the first time.  The hills were so green and they seemed to roll on forever."

"Then why can't we rent a carriage?  I've seen some in the villages as we were coming in.”

"So be it----we'll get an early start in the morning.”


                                        ****************************************************
          

Walker and Alex do not get to take the trip to Tralee Valley, they get an urgent phone call saying that Alex's Dad has had a heart attack and they head back to America.

After Alex's return from Boston and knowing that her Dad is o.k., they are both back into their cases again.  It's been non-stop for both of them and the interest in Cormac is fading, as Walker seems to have other things on his mind.

 

2000 C.D.'s Bar 'n' Grill

 

He's just returned from undercover work in a Alabama prison and both he and Trivette are exhausted.  They all meet at C.D.'s for lunch and Trivette, Gage, and Sydney make themselves scarce so Walker and Alex can have lunch to themselves.

Alex keeps looking at Walker and seeing the evasiveness in the ranger's eyes.  At times he's fighting a smile and then his face gets serious, Alex shakes her head.

"O.k.,  I can see that something is obviously bothering you---what's up?”

He hesitates, "What is your favorite month?”

"My favorite month, why?”

"Just answer my question and then I'll answer yours, what's your favorite month?”

Alex has a puzzled look, "My favorite month is May, why?”

"Well, will May be o.k.?”

"Will May be o.k. for what?”

"For our wedding, that is if you still want to marry me?”

Alex's mouth drops open, she has waited so long for Walker to set the date.  "Our wedding?  Are you serious, what year?”

He stands up from the table and grabs her, "This year, this May!”

"Yes!!!!!  Yes, this May will be perfect, YES" and she kisses him hard.

The news of the wedding date has been spread and their friends congratulate them.  Their joy is soon marred as Walker is temporarily blinded by a bomb.  The next few weeks are crucial as Walker fights to regain his sight.

The following months will find them making wedding plans and the thoughts of Cormac are fading even more.  Walker has not heard anything more from Braddock and the ranger is having mixed emotions about that.  He decides to push Cormac out of his thoughts, believing that no man could carry a grudge for so many years and not even know what the grudge was really about.  Deep down he knows that the man is responsible for Peter's death and probably his Uncle's, but he refuses to let it  interfere with his and Alex's life.

 

March of 2000 

Walker and Trivette are returning from Huntsville:

 

“So, you're just to forget about this guy, huh?”

"I got no choice, Trivette the man is probably dead by now from those brain tumors he had, and besides there hasn't been any word on him in months.  If he was coming to America to settle a grudge with me, for whatever reason that might be, he would have been here by now!”

"Doesn't make any sense, big guy what possible grudge could a grown man have against a 10 year old boy.  You've never even met the man!”

"I'm just trying to put him out of my mind, and chalk it up to some land dispute that he had with my grandparents for which I have no interest in!”

"It's a shame that your Mother's journal was destroyed maybe there might have been something mentioned about Cormac in it and then all of this wouldn't be a mystery and you would know what you've done to piss the guy off for some 40 years!”

"Yeah, replies Walker slowly "but I'm not going to let this guy monopolize my thoughts or my life any longer.  Alex and I have had enough to deal with right here in own backyard.  Ireland can take care of Cormac. As soon as we left the airport in Dublin, I made up my mind that I would never go back there and the Curse of Cormac  can die there for all I care!”

"Hey Walker, you mentioned something about a land dispute, didn't you say that your great, great, grandparents had settled in that valley?  Maybe it is a land dispute and since you're the last living relative maybe this guy is out to stop you from claiming your share?”

"Alex and I discussed that I don't know that I  am the last relative, surely there are some cousins over there from my other Uncles and since my grandparents never acknowledged me, I'm sure I'm not mentioned in any will or whatever!”

"But, it's something to think about, right?”

"Trivette, I don't care about claiming any land.  The cousins can fight it out, besides my Mother never mentioned anything about having land owed her.  We lived a very simple life when I was growing up and I know how hard it was on us at times when my Father was fighting for his land rights.  I'm sure my Mother would have mentioned it, if she was due any land.  Besides, I would never live there, too many painful memories of how my Mother was treated.  I just want to get on with my life, and I don't want to think of Cormac he's history as far as I'm concerned!”

"Don't blame you, big guy hey, what's on the agenda tonight want to take in a Maverick's' game?”

"Yeah, that will be fine, Alex is going to her 'surprise wedding shower' down at her office.”

"Surprise wedding shower?  I'm not even going to ask what that is all about?”

"Good, because I wouldn't know how to answer it.  Nobody can surprise that woman, especially not me!  She's always one step ahead of me.”


                                              **********************************************

 

New York City ( May of 2000)

 

As Walker and Alex exchanged vows in front of their family and friends, another chapter in their life was unfolding as Alex was again on a hit list.

It's been a hairy experience for the Walkers as they land in New York City, getting ready to take another flight to Paris, France.

Alex is still shaking from the incident of Walker having to land the plane that was being taken over by the man that was out to revenge his girlfriends' death by the hands of Walker.  The man had observed the newly weds and when Walker went to the cockpit to take a call from Trivette, the man made his move on Alex.

He threatened to take the whole plane down, himself included but with the help of one of the dying pilots, Walker was able to subdue the killer and he took over the cockpit.  With help from the instructors at the airport in Atlanta, Georgia, Walker was talked through the landing and everyone was safe.

Now they are waiting to taking another flight to their 'long awaited' honeymoon in Paris, France.

Walker has gotten Alex a diet drink, "Here you go hon, still got the shakes?”

Alex stares back at him, he's as calm as a cucumber. "How do you do it, how do you stay so calm?”

Walker kisses her softly, "Must be in the genes and speaking of genes what was that little comment you made on the plane earlier about wanting twins?”

Now Alex is starting to smile, "I was saying that twins run in my family and I would love to have twins, a boy and a girl!”

"Alex, after all of the years I have known you, and ever since we started talking about starting a family, you never mentioned anything about twins running in your family!”

She smiles back at him and puts her arms through his, "I'm not crazy honey, I just didn't want to scare you off!”

"Why would having twins scare me?”

Alex clears her throat and then she giggles, "I forgot, you're not like any normal man and nothing scares you, you just proved that by landing a jet!!!  I just imagine that we could have quadruplets right off the bat and it wouldn't scare you!”

 

 

Part 17

 

       Walker grins and reaches down and swats Alex on the derriere lightly.

"Just don't go popping them all on me at the same time.  I would prefer having one at time, it's more fun that way, more practice!”

She kisses him softly, then purrs, "Honey, you have never needed any practice in that department, trust me!  And, you're so right, it's more fun, one at a time!”

Their flight has been called and they start to the loading ramp, Alex takes a deep sigh and tugs on Walker's arm.

"Honey, I can't help but still be nervous, please do not get out of my sight, even for a second!”

Walker smiles and whispers, "What if I have to go the restroom?”

She tightens her grasp on his arm, "Then I'm going with you!”

His brow arches, "Ooooooh, are we going to make it in The Mile High Club?”

She smiles back at him, "Why not?  We've done it everywhere else, why should having sex at 2,000 feet stop us?”

He pulls her closer, "Oooooohhhhh, Mrs. Walker I love it when you're 'kinky'!

The Walkers are boarding their flight, while at the same time, The Coral Sea" is docking in the New York Harbor.  The passengers are being directed to customs and the long wait for their passports to be examined.

The red-haired man is tired and hungry, but at the sight of the Statue of Liberty looming in the foreground of the huge cement jungle, brings a faint smile to his lips.  It has been a long journey for the man,  as his quest has taken him criss-cross the continent, and not all has been by choice.

He has seen many countries and some of them were very enticing, as he worked for passage aboard the huge boats that would take him closer to America.  At times in some of the places that they docked, the man would be tempted to stay, but always at the back of his mind was her, Elizabeth!  He made few friends and confided very little to the ones he did befriend.  Many times he would spend time locked up for all the fights that he would be involved in, and most of those fights were caused by his uncontrollable temper and the pain from the tumors.

The only friend that he has on this voyage is an old sea captain that speaks very little English.  He turns to the him and says gruffly.

"Are we there yet, is this Texas?”

The old man shakes his head, "No, you idiot, this is New York!”

The man glares back at him, his face getting red from anger, "How much further is Texas, how do me get there?”

The old sea captain laughs and starts swearing in a foreign language, then he speaks in English.

"We have to get through customs first, and that could take days.  These Americans are very picky at checking the passports and making sure we are in good health you know, not bringing any sickness in!”

The red haired man is getting impatient, "Me does not have time to waste.  Me goes to Texas tonight!”

He starts pushing himself ahead of the other passengers, they push back and soon a fight has started.  The shore patrol is trying to break up the fight and several are arrested, including the red-haired man!   For the next  year, the boys in blue of The Big Apple will have a guest, Cormac"O'Hare!

 Cormac is in and out of jails all over the state of New York, they are now wanting to deport him back to the country where he gained his passport France! 

As the paperwork to get him deported is being filed, Cormac has escaped the jail outside of Queens, and again he is on the run and not knowing where he's going or the least idea on how to get there.  He keeps asking directions to Texas, everyone points south and the man starts traveling.

 

                                     **********************************************

Walker Ranch: July of 2001

 

The Walkers have become parents and their bundle of joy is celebrating her first 4th of July.  Family and friends have arrived at the Walker ranch for a huge celebration.

Trivette and Erica are celebrating their first 4th together as husband and wife and Gage and Sydney have just had a huge separation. They have both come with other dates.

Gage is holding the newest addition to the Walker family Angela Elizabeth, and she has just spit all over him!  Walker and Trivette are laughing as Alex runs to get a wet towel.

Sydney is standing off to the side as she smirks, "That's one female that you don't have wrapped around your finger!”

"Come on Syd, don't start.  I apologized for that 'misunderstanding' with, with, 'what's her name?”

Trivette is mouthing the words "what's her name how could he forget hot lips Lucy?”

Erica hits her husband in the chest, "You, for one remember you're a married man now and a 'soon to be daddy!”

Alex is wiping the spittle off Gage's shirt, "I'm sorry Gage, Angela has had just a touch of a upset stomach.  I think my milk is not up to par yet!”

"It's o.k. Alex, I'm not upset with my little goddaughter, how could I be?  Look at her, she's so beautiful no man will ever get upset with her!”

Walker does a double take, "Wait  a minute!   What's all this talk about no man being able to be upset with my daughter?”

"Honey, calm down.  Gage didn't mean anything by that!”

Gage is becoming nervous, "Of course not.  I didn’t mean anything. “

Syd is still smirking as she has her arms folded across her chest, "Way to go Gage, you're batting a 1,000!”

Alex hands Angela to Walker and then she tugs on Syd's arm, "Come on girls, let's go get the potato salad ready.  Are you making the sweet potato pie, Erica?”

As the women walk off Gage tries again to smooth things over with Walker, Walker sighs, "It's o.k. Gage, I'm sorry I snapped at you.  I don't know what gets into me lately, but everyday I'm getting more protective of my daughter and more testy!”

Trivette becomes silent as the three men look at each other, finally he says softly "I guess it could have something to do with losing C.D.  We all feel his loss Walker, his death was so sudden!”

Walker is cooing back at Angela, "Yeah that could be a big part of my being irritable.  I wish he could have lived long enough to see his granddaughter.  He and Uncle Ray were mine and Alex's biggest supporters in getting married and wanting us to have kids and neither one of them got to see us get married or the joy of Angela coming into the world!”

Trivette looks up to see more cars coming down the long gravel road, "Yeah I know how you feel, big guy.  C.D. got really excited when you and Alex told him you had finally set a wedding date and then he gets stuck in Hong Kong and can't get back for the wedding.  He was really upset about that and then he started in on you about when was you and Alex going to have a baby!  Do you think maybe "big dog'' knew that his time was near?”

Walker holds his daughter closer to him and kisses her head, "I don't know, Trivette I just know that there is a big hole in mine and Alex's hearts but I do know one thing Angela will hear the stories about her grandpa C.D., Great Uncle Ray, and her grandparents Elizabeth and John Firewalker.  Their memories will not be forgotten.”

Gage smiles and reaches out to touch Angela's little hand, "She carries your Mother's name, she won't forget.”

Walker smiles, "Her grandmother Elizabeth is smiling down on her as her other grandmother is also, Alex's Mom!   Uncle Ray is probably doing a war dance and C.D. is right beside him.  My Father is looking at all of them as he stands tall, his massive chest sticking out, and then in a soft voice he would say “Walk with the wind, and hold your head high, -you soar with the eagles, as homeward you fly.”


                                      ****************************************

 

Summer passes and in October the Trivettes welcome a son, James Walker Trivette, and now the Walkers have a godson.  Gage and Sydney continue to have their ups and downs in their relationship.

Walker is becoming more of a doting Daddy as Angela has him completely wrapped around her finger.  Alex is starting to feel some jealousy and she is fighting her emotions, wanting more time alone with her husband.

Walker takes his daughter everywhere that he goes, pushing her little stroller out to the barn while he feeds "Amigo" and his other animals, talking to his daughter and explaining his every move.  Alex has been watching them from the door of the barn, she shakes her head.

"Honey, I wish you wouldn't bring her out here to the barn.  There is so much dust and pollen in the air!”

"She's fine, Alex she loves it out here don't you, my angel?”

Angela is laughing and flailing her little arms, as she hears her Daddy's voice. "Amigo" has been let out of his stall and he walks slowly up to the little person inside the stroller.  He starts sniffing her and Angela reaches out and hits him on the nose with her pacifier.  The horse backs into his stall and looks back at the small person---confused.

Walker is laughing as he pets Amigo "It's o.k. boy, she was just wanting to share her pacifier with you!”

Alex shakes her head and takes the pacifier away from Angela and throws it in the trash, Angela starts to cry.

"Hon, what did you do that for?”

"I am not letting her put that thing back in her mouth after Amigo touched it!”

"Angela just touched his nose with it Amigo didn't really touch it" Walker stammers.

Alex sighs, "Walker, Angela has plenty of other pacifiers she is not going to miss this one and it's unsanitary that her pacifiers or her bottles be around any of the animals!”

Angela is becoming fussy as Walker reaches down into the stroller and picks her up, "It's o.k. my baby, Daddy will make everything right.”

"Walker, it's getting late you should be getting dressed.”

"Dressed for what?”

Alex shakes her head, "You've forgotten again!  We are suppose to meet the  Browns for dinner, we're suppose to meet them at the restaurant in just a little over an hour!”

"Oh that!” Sighs the Ranger, "Alex, do we have to go?”

"Walker, we have cancelled out on them twice already this month.  We're going to hurt their feelings if we keep canceling!”

Walker is still stammering, "I really don't care about going out tonight, hon could we just stay home and spend time with our daughter?”

Alex can feel her anger and disappointment rising, "Walker, we are home with Angela almost every night.  We have had very little time to just have a night out together.  I was looking forward to an evening of dancing and a nice dinner, with our friends!”

"I just don't like leaving Angela with a babysitter she should be with us, and we shouldn't be running all over town without her!  Things have changed, Alex, it's not just 'us' anymore, we have a daughter to consider!”

"Oh, you have made that perfectly clear, Cowboy, you don't show me any attention anymore, once you come home it's all Angela, it's like I don't even exist anymore!”

"Oh come on, Alex stop over reacting I took you out to dinner just last week!”

Alex does a double take, "At Dominga's, Walker, we had pizza and you 'wolfed' yours down so fast and was rushing me so, that I didn't enjoy mine.  You kept saying we had to get to the daycare to pick up Angela!  You call that taking me to dinner?”

Angela is feeling the tenseness in her parents' voices, she's now starting to whimper and Walker is pacing with her, "Now, Angela is all upset, see what you've done!”

Alex's temper is boiling as she reaches out and wrestles Angela out of her Daddy's arms, "I'm taking my daughter and I'm going to feed her and then I'm putting her down for the night and then I am joining the Browns for dinner, alone!”

Walker takes a deep breath as he watches Alex stomp off towards the house, "Amigo" is staring back at his master.

"I just can't win, can I boy?  If I don't pay enough attention to our daughter, Alex gets mad.  If I pay too much attention then Alex says I'm neglecting her.  I just can't win!”

An hour later finds Walker slowly walking into the nursery, Alex has dressed up in her evening clothes, but she's still holding Angela and rocking her.  Walker sighs.

"Is it too late to get a sitter?” He asks timidly.

"You know it is!” She hisses back at him.

The Ranger is still hesitating as he walks slowly up to the rocker, "I'll take her now if you want to finish getting dressed."

She slaps his hand away, "I will get our daughter to bed.  I don't need your help!”

"Are you still going out?”

"How dare you believe that I would go out alone at this hour of the night and leave Angela?  I've already called Bill and Sandi and made another excuse as to why we couldn't join them.  It wouldn't surprise me if we lost two of our very good friends because of your refusals to leave Angela with a baby sitter!”

"O.k. Alex call the Browns and tell them that it's all my fault for not wanting to leave our daughter with a sitter but, that's what I thought 'good parenting' was all about not passing your kids off to someone else to watch!”

"Walker, I am very upset with you and just damn right 'hurt' that you don't want to spend any time alone with just me.  I am watching my words for what I want to say to you but I swear if you don't get out of this nursery in exactly three seconds I'm not going to care what I say have you got that?”

The Ranger backs up, putting his hands up in the air "I'm going, Alex anything you say, Alex whatever you say, Alex, oh hell I'm out of here!”

The next morning Walker has already left for his office before Alex is awake. He changed Angela and gave her a bottle, then took her to Alex and laid her down beside her Mother, then leaves.

Now he's standing in Dr. Bates' office, after telling her about the way Alex has been behaving. The doctor stares back at him with a blank look.

"Walker, what you are describing is very common.  A lot of new Mothers go through these symptoms, it's called 'post partem depression!”

"What can I do, doctor?  When we first brought Angela home, Alex was accusing me of not spending enough time with the baby, then I started helping her more, taking more time off to help with Angela and then she's telling me to go back to work and get out of her hair!  I'm trying to spend as much time with Angela as possible and Alex is still complaining!”

"Walker, you are not listening.  I didn't mean that you were neglecting Angela, it's Alex that you're neglecting.  Walker, Alex is feeling like she doesn't matter to you anymore, now that there is a baby in the house."

"That' s ridiculous, I love Alex how can she think she doesn't matter anymore?”

Dr. Bates is a small woman in stature, fairly young and the Mother of three. She smiles back at the Ranger.

"When was the last time you told Alex that you loved her?”

"This morning.  I tell her I love her every morning."

"I don't mean just idle conversation and a casual "love ya'.  I mean when was the last time you spoke those words and really meant them?”

Walker is stammering, "I guess it's been awhile, but Dr. Bates I do love my wife we have a little girl to think about now she's our main concern!”

The doctor shakes her head, "Yes, Angela is your main concern but what about Alex?  She deserves some concern too and if you don't wake up and start acknowledging it things could get worse.  Just because the two of you have a child together does not give either one of you the right to neglect the other.  Remember, it took both of you to make that child!”

Walker looks back to the doctor, "It sounds like that Alex has been talking to you too.”

"Yes" Dr. Bates nods, "she's talked to me about the very same things that you have mentioned but with her she's showing signs of jealousy which is very common between new parents but usually it's the Father that is feeling the jealousy of a baby.  The neglect in the sex department?”

Walker can feel his face flushing, "Alex and I have never had a problem in that department.  We've always been more than compatible in that department.  Why?  Did Alex say something about our sex, that I'm neglecting her?”

The doctor lowers her eyes, "Well, are you?”

"Dr. Bates, are you forgetting that Alex had a difficult time in delivering Angela because of that son-of-a bitch L’avacot?  The man was responsible for her almost losing Angela and when Alex was told that it would be an extra month before we could be intimate I respected that I've never tried to rush anything!”

"Walker, maybe that's the problem that you were so acceptable in this lack of intimacy that Alex has taken it that you don't desire her anymore?”

"And, nothing could be further from the truth.  I miss being with Alex, I just never wanted her to rush the waiting period and..''

"You are putting everything on your wants, Walker did you ever ask Alex if she felt like being intimate.  I mean straight out and ask her?”

The Ranger shakes his head, "No, I guess I didn't, I just assumed."

"Walker, this is one of the main reasons that couples stop loving each other, lack of communication and 'assumptions’.  I've seen the way you and Alex are together and the love between you both but just because you are new parents does not give either of you the right to take the other for granted.”

"You’re right, doctor that's one of the things that Alex and I made promises about not taking the other for granted!  And, I know that from past experiences she has given in to my stubbornness, my being distant -and wanting my space and through it all she's always been right there beside me.  She's my rock.  I couldn't stand it if I ever lost her!”

"Then do something about it!  Take Alex out to a nice romantic dinner, by candlelight, go dancing but mainly just the two of you and you have got to get over the fear of leaving Angela with a sitter.”

"I'll do that as soon as my partner and I get back from Brownsville.  I got to go doctor, I'm late now.”

"I wouldn't wait too long, Walker Alex is feeling very hurt and lonely right now" the doctor answers slowly.


                                               ***************************************

The drive back from Brownsville is very tense as Walker is still remembering what the doctor said about 'Alex being hurt and lonely'.

"Hey Walker, let's stop and get something to eat, I'm starving!”

"O.k., but let's get it to go, I want to get home."

"No, Walker not again!  I want to sit down and enjoy my meal.  Ever since we've been on this case we've been eating standing up, or stuck inside this damn Ram.  I want to feel my food going all the way down, not taking a U-turn halfway!”

"O.k., o.k. we'll stop at that diner about 10 miles down the road.  You would think that after being on this damn case for the past 6 days that you would be in a hurry to get home to your wife and son!”

Trivette stares out the window, "I am anxious to see my son but I'm not anxious to go another round with Erica!”

Walker exhales, "Great, I'm glad I'm not the only one having problems with their wives!”

"Well, you know what, Walker I would gladly trade the problem with Erica for what you are having with Alex, at least Alex is wanting to spend time with you.  Where as with Erica, I'm not sure she even wants me to come home!!!

"Is it that bad?”

Trivette smirks, "Pretty bad she's always coming up with excuses for us not having sex!”

Walker's brow arches, "Why you're past the waiting period, J.W. is what almost two months now?”

"Yeah, but every time I try to get a little romantic with my wife she comes up with excuses. Walker, how long did you and Alex wait after Angela was born?”

"Our situation was different, Trivette Alex went  through a painful time leading up to Angela's birth and the doctors advised her, I mean us to give extra time for Alex to heal properly.”

"But, Angela is about six months now you mean you two haven’t done anything?”

"Trivette, we've had sex since Angela's birth but not as often and Dr. Bates says that's one of our problems.”

"But, Dr. Bates is not a sex therapist, she was Alex's OB/Gyn, she delivered Angela.  Why are you talking to her about sex?”

"I didn't say I was talking to a sex therapist.  I was talking to Dr. Bates because of the way that Alex has been behaving lately.  Dr. Bates is not only a doctor, but she and Alex have known each other for a long time, and Dr. Bates has always said that I could come to her if I ever needed to talk about anything!”

"Ohh, o.k." Answers Trivette "So, what's wrong, are you and Alex having problems?  Is it the hormone thing again, I thought she was over that!”

Walker shakes his head, "I thought so too but now Dr. Bates said that Alex is suffering from 'neglect’ that I'm not spending enough time with just her!”

Trivette swears under his breath and motions that the diner is coming up, "Wish I had that problem with me and Erica it's just the opposite!  I try to spend time with J.W., but Erica wants to dominate him all the time, and then when I want time with her at night forget the middle of the day  she says she's not in the mood, it’s too soon, it's painful and so forth!”

They have arrived at the diner and Walker turns to his friend, "I didn't know that things were so tense between you two, Erica did have a early delivery, J.W. was a "preemie" maybe that has something to do with her moods!”

Trivette slams the Ram's door and Walker shoots him a angry look, "All I know is, big guy it's not natural for a man to go this long without sex and Erica better start shaping up or else I'm going to be looking in another direction!”

The two Rangers sit down as the shapely waitress comes to take their order, she keeps looking at Walker and then she smiles.

"Heyyy, welcome back, Cowboy it's been awhile.”

Trivette stares at the waitress and then sees the uneasiness in his partner, "Aren't you going to introduce us, Cowboy?”  Trivette asks mockingly.

Walker sighs, "Hi Fran yeah, it's been awhile.”

Fran takes their orders and all the while Trivette is studying her body, as she walks away he turns back to his partner and grins.

"What's going on, Walker who is she?”

Walker is deep in thought as Trivette reaches out and nudges him, "Hey Walkman to earth who's the babe?”

Walker shakes his head, "What? Oh, that's Fran I knew her several years ago.”

Trivette is grinning even more as he turns to look at Fran, she winks back at them.  "Come on Walkman let's hear the rest, an old girlfriend?”

Walker sips his coffee slowly as he looks back to Fran, "Yeah, we dated several years ago but don't go reading anything in to this that was a long time ago!”

"Ah, come on Walker stop being so defensive, nothing wrong with getting some on the side and she's obviously still got the 'hots' for you!”

 Walker sits his coffee cup down and studies Trivette, "Look, partner what you do with your personal life is just that your business and I don't care if you are playing around on Erica it's none of my business!  But, let's get one thing straight I have never cheated on Alex, and I don't intend to start is that clear?”

Trivette nods his head, "Yeah, I'm sorry for any insinuation that you would.  I'm just feeling angry right now.  I didn't mean anything by it, I'm sorry, Walker!”

Fran is walking back to their table, she sits their order down and smiles back at the bearded Ranger.

"So, how is married life, Walker?  I hear you and your wife had a little girl?”

Walker smiles, "Yep, we have a daughter, her name is Angela.  Let me show you her picture " and the Ranger starts pulling his wallet out.

Fran smiles as she hands the wallet back to the Ranger, "Yeah old Ben Masters drives his rig through here every now and then and keeps me up on all the latest congratulations!”

"Thanks, and you, are you still with "Red?”

Fran smirks" Are you kidding?  I put him 6 feet under a long time ago and now I'm on husband #5, got tired of waiting on you, Walker.  A girl has to keep busy, keep her mind and 'her body' occupied!”

The waitress walks off and Trivette shakes his head "Husband #5?  Gees, I say if you can't get it right the first time stop trying!”

 Walker is cutting into his steak, he stops and motions for Trivette to hand him his phone, and then he walks outside. Trivette is watching him as the Ranger is pacing back and forth, finally Walker comes back in.

"Trivette, I need to ask a big favor of you.”

Trivette takes a deep sigh and starts reaching for his wallet, O.k., how much do you need?  You are always broke, Walker!”

"I don't want your money, I just need for you to do something for me, when we get to Corpus Christi.”

"Corpus Christi?  Why are we going there, it's out of the way!”

"Not this time!” Walker goes back to his steak, and a small grin comes across his face.

 

 

Part 18

 

Corpus Christi, Texas

 

The shrimp boats are coming in as the workers are busy loading and unloading the  day's catch.

It's been a long haul for the red haired man, as his travels have gone back and forth up the East coast. In each port he keeps asking about Texas and the men all laugh at his ability not to remember anything.

The headaches have gotten worse as the man has increased his drinking, resulting in his losing his temper, losing jobs, and spending more time in jail.  It's in jail that he meets a man called Dawson.

"What's so special about Texas that you were so anxious to get here?”

The red haired man has been  in a drunken stupor since arriving  in port. He squints his eyes looking back  in the direction of the voice, "How much further am I from this place, Texas?”

Dawson frowns "You're here, you stupid fool this is Texas don't you know where you're at?”

The man hisses back, "Watch ye mouth, me friend me ain't too drunk that me can break ye head open with me bare hands!”

"Yeah, sure where you from old man?  You got some kind of accent, are you Scottish or one of those English fellows?”

The man reaches out and slams his fist into the man's face "Don't ye dare insult me by calling me a damn scot.  I'm from Ireland, you idiot!”

Dawson is scooting away from the red haired man “O.k., o.k. I didn't mean nothing, I was just asking.  What part of Texas are you wanting to go to?”

"Do ye know this Texas, do ye know a place called the uhhhh what was the name, my head hurts so me can't remember the name!”

Dawson is checking his jaw to see if it's fractured, "Just take it easy the name will come to you.  Texas is a big place maybe you need to check a map or something?”

The man nods his head "Will ye help me to find the place, me don't read too good?”

Dawson nods his head slowly "Just don't hit me anymore, my name is  Dawson Fields who are you?”

"Me name is Cormac is all ye need to know for now."

"Yeah, o.k. we get out of here tomorrow and I have a promise of a job down at the ship yards.  Interested in working when we get out?”

Cormac nods his head, "Doing what?”

"Whatever is available, doesn't matter to me as long as I make enough for a bottle and a nice body to curl up to.  Texas has some pretty hot numbers here."

"Numbers?  What ye mean, numbers?”

Dawson shakes his head in disbelief "I mean 'bodies, women's bodies' and they're hot to trot.  Surely you got hookers and strippers in that place called Ireland, don't you?”

"Aye, we have the women that are not particular about who they spread their legs for, they are sluts, whores."

"Yeah, I get the message my friend.  Well, you just stick with me and I'll have you 'laid' before the weekend is upon us, maybe several times.”

The two men lay back on their bunks and Cormac is trying hard to remember the name of the place that was in the background of the picture he saw of Elizabeth and the man that was called Firewalker.  He mumbles to himself.

"Why can't me remember, me remembers some things like her beauty and the way she looked that last day me saw her.  Why was she there at the doctor's, me don't remember her being sick.  She was so beautiful, her face glowed and then she was angry with me, who?  Me can't remember the pain began why won't this pain go away?”

Dawson is laying on his bunk listening to Cormac arguing with himself.  He shakes his head and mumbles, "What have I got myself into making friends with the likes of him.  He's a real psycho.  Doesn't even know where he is or where he wants to go.  Uuuumph, sounds like my x-old lady, hope she's happy where she is now at the bottom of Lake Erie!”


                         ************************************************************

 

Tarrant County Courthouse:  

 

Alex has just returned from court and she's exhausted.

"Mrs. Walker, your husband is on line 3"  Marta pokes her head into Alex's office.

Alex takes a deep breath as she looks at her watch, it's 1pm and Walker had suggested maybe having dinner when he got back into town, so as to patch up their little argument.

"Oh great, I know just exactly what he's going to say, he can't make it back in time.”

Her secretary stares back at her, "Did you say something, Mrs. Walker?”

"No Marta, I'm just talking to myself" Alex waits till the woman has exited and then picks up the phone, answering slowly.

"Hi, where are you?”

There's hesitation on the end of the line and then she hears her husband's voice "We're about an hour outside of Corpus.”

"Corpus Christ?” Alex's voice is angry, "Walker, what are you doing in Corpus, it's way out of the way.  You're never going to make it home in time to have dinner out or is that why you're calling to say you won't be home?”

"Actually, Alex that is why I'm calling."

"I knew it!” Alex's voice is getting angrier, "Walker, why did you even bother to call to tell me you weren’t coming home tonight, I would have figured it out!”

Trivette can hear Alex's angry voice as he tries to pretend to look out the window of the Ram, and Walker's trying to get a word in.

"Alex, will you just listen to me for a second?  I'm not coming home because I want you to meet me in Corpus for the weekend!”

Alex's mouth drops open, "Walker, are you crazy?  I can't just leave, I have a  case I'm working on, I would have to swing by and pick up Angela  and pack some things."

"Hon, you don't have to pick up Angela, I've already made plans for Josie to keep her this weekend.”

Alex takes the phone away from her ear and stares at it, she slowly puts the phone back to her ear, "You did what?”

Even Trivette does a double take at Walker's saying that he made arrangements for Josie to keep Angela, he knows only too well what Walker thinks of babysitters.

"Yes, Alex I called and talked to Josie at daycare and she said she would gladly take Angela home with her for the weekend!  All you have to do is make the next flight to Corpus.”

Alex's anger is rising, "Oh, that's all I have to do?  How dare you make arrangements to leave our daughter with a sitter and not consult me first?”

Trivette shakes his head as he watches the blood veins began to stick out on his partner's forehead.

"Alex, I am doing this for you for us.  You're the one that said I'm not spending enough time alone with you!  So how about it, will you fly down?”

Alex is gritting her teeth, "No, I am not coming down there!  Just because you have a 'spur of an idea' about spending time alone with me.  Do you think I'm just a pathetic little housewife that you have to force yourself to spend a little time with?  Forget it Cordell Walker and you can enjoy your stay in Corpus alone!”

Walker and Trivette both hear the loud click of the telephone being slammed down.  Walker hits the steering wheel with Trivette's phone and Trivette is grabbing it away from him.

"Heyyyyy take it easy on my phone, will you?”

Walker glares back at him, "That's payback for slamming my truck door earlier and I didn't hurt your damn phone it's still working!”

Trivette listens to the dial tone, "Just barely!   I think it's gone into cardiac arrest. Walker if you've broken my phone you're paying for it and another thing…"

Trivette's phone is ringing and the Ranger is still angry, "YEAH, What?  Oh hi Alex, just a minute, I don't think she's through tearing into you and I can't blame her!”

"Just give me the damn phone, Trivette.  What now, Alex?”

Alex is pacing the floor of her office, "Walker I'm sorry, yes I will fly down just give me time to go by the daycare for Angela and pack some things.”

"No, Alex I meant it.  Angela is staying with Josie.  I've already made the plans just get on the next flight and give me call when your flight is due in.”

"It's going to be awhile, I have to pack."

"No hon!" and then Walker lowers his voice, "You don't have to pack anything, just come like you are.”

Trivette's eyes are rolling around and he's looking back at his partner as if he's grown two heads.  He waits till Walker hands the phone back to him and then he grins "Just come as you are?  Walk-man I believe that's as close to phone sex that I've ever heard you talk!”

 Walker breathes a sigh of relief, "Well it worked, she's agreed to meet me in Corpus.  And, hey partner I'm grateful that you're flying back to Dallas I owe you!”

Trivette smirks, "Just don't be thanking me yet, 'cause now I have to call Erica and have her pick me up at the airport, she'll probably tell me to walk home”!

Walker laughs, "Take a taxi on me!”

Trivette's eyes widen, "Now I know the body snatchers have taken the real Walker, because the old one would have told me to 'hitch'!”

Walker is smiling, "You're not going to spoil my mood Trivette, I intend to make this a weekend that Alex won't forget.  If I have my way she's going to be comparing it to our honeymoon!”


                                     *******************************************

 

Walker has kept his word about romancing his wife as if it's their honeymoon all over again.  Their motel suite overlooks South Padre Island, and it's a beautiful fall morning as the Walkers awaken.

Alex is running to the picture window, the sheet wrapped around her.

"Oh, honey, it is soooo beautiful here.  The water is so crystal clear.  Do you think it will still be warm enough to go swimming?”

Walker is laying back on the pillows, with one over his abdomen and grinning. "I don't know, we can find out later come back to bed it's lonely over here!”

She walks slowly back to their bed, letting the sheet fall to the floor.  She smiles as she observes the pillow starting to rise "Ummmm,  is that pillow starting to mimic a tent, Cowboy or you just glad to see me?” she teases.

"Both!”  he rises up and pulls her down beside him, "we've got some making up to do!”

It's almost noon before the Walkers emerge out to the beach and Alex spots a small shopping mall.  She's dragging him in that direction.  The Ranger pretends to be 'miffed'.

"Well, it's your fault honey for not letting me pack anything!”

"You don't need any clothes hon.  We can stay in bed the whole time like we did in Paris?”

She purrs back at him, " But, at least I did have a change of clothes over there.  I took the first flight from DFW.  I didn't pack anything, not even a toothbrush!”

"O.k., o.k. here's my checkbook, you go do your shopping, I'm going to get some information on the USS Lexington.”

"A boat?”

"It's not a boat hon, it's a aircraft carrier!  I haven't got to see it since it was in the  China Seas.”

"Was that the boat I mean 'ship' that you were on?”

"Just for a short time,  my battalion spent some time aboard with the Navy, you know showing them how things are done.”

Alex giggles, "Yeah, sure honey you go get your information, I'll meet you back here in a couple of hours.”


                                        ******************************************

 

Cormac and Dawson have arrived at the shipyard and Dawson goes in search for the man that promised him some work.  Cormac has seen the huge ship and is walking towards it.

He stops and stares back at the huge ship and listens to the on-lookers as they are 'ooohing and ahing' at it's gigantic size.  He listens as the older men tell war stories to anyone that will listen, the old man rubs his scraggly beard and looks down at the change of clothes that the city of Corpus has given him, at least they're clean.

He begins walking with the rest of the crowd and a man in uniform stops him, wanting his ticket.

"Me doesn't have a ticket."

"Then you can't board the Lexington.  You have to buy a ticket like everyone else!”

Cormac swears and goes off to the side, the man is watching him.

Walker and Alex are slowly walking up to where the huge ship is docked, Walker takes off his sunglasses so he can see it better.

"Wow" he whispers", it brings back memories.”

Alex has her arm around Walker's waist, she looks at him cautiously, "I hope they're good memories, honey.”

Walker takes a deep breath, he knows that Alex is worried about the ship triggering a 'flashback'.  He smiles faintly, putting his glasses back on "Don't worry hon, although there were never any good memories during that time, being on the Lexington was about the closest to a good memory as I can remember.  I'm o.k.  I'll go buy the tickets.”

"O.k. honey, I've got to run to the little girls' room right over there, I'll be right back!”

Cormac and the policeman are having another confrontation and the young policeman has called for 'back up'.  They are pushing him back down the boarding plank, into the paying customers.  Walker is reaching for his wallet as Cormac plows into him.

The Ranger removes his glasses, apologizing.  He's now looking into the eyes of  Cormac!  The policemen are pushing the man away and telling him to leave or they will lock him up.  Walker looks back at them and then he turns around to buy his tickets.  A  strange feeling overcomes the Ranger as he looks out at the red haired man, the man turns to look back at him, their eyes meet.

"Honey, did you get the tickets, what's wrong?”  Alex is asking as she walks up beside her husband.

Walker shakes his head, "I just had the strangest feeling."

Alex looks back at Walker in a frightened way "What do you mean 'strange', honey are you alright?  Are you sure you want to go on this ship?”

Walker nods his head, "I'm fine, Alex it was just that man.  I thought I should know him from somewhere.”

"What man?”

"That man that was standing right over there, he's gone now.”

Alex pulls Walker over to the side, "Honey maybe you shouldn't go on this ship.  It might cause you to start having another flashback of Nam."

"Hon, I'm fine you know what it probably was?”

"What?”

"He probably looked like someone I knew from  my time in Nam that's all!  Come on honey I got the tickets bought.  I want to show you some of the sights.”

The Walkers board the ship for their tour and Dawson is looking for Cormac.  He finds the man walking around, rubbing his head and swearing.

"What's the matter with you, you look like you seen a ghost?”

Cormac is shaking his head,  "That man looked like someone me used to know.  Me thinks me knows him.”

"Never mind that!  We got to look elsewhere for work.  A friend of mine is heading for Houston, want to go?”

Cormac rubs his eyes, "Hou-ston, is that a part of Texas?”

Dawson shakes his head and starts to walk away, he turns back to Cormac "look I know you have trouble remembering things and you ain't too bright.  There's work in Houston you can go with me or you can stay here!”

"Will ye still help me to find that place me is looking for?”

Dawson is getting impatient, "Yeah, if you can ever remember what the place is called.  Look, let's get to Houston and we will find a Texas map and I will go over all of the cities with you.  Can't you even remember how the name sounded, is it a big city or a small one?”

"Wait, me remembers something!  The man me is looking for rode the bulls!”

"You mean in a rodeo?”

"What is -ro-d-o?”

Dawson throws his hands up in the air, "Rodeos are places where cowboys ride wild horses, and bulls.”

"That's it!  That's the place me is looking for!”

"Look, my friend rodeos are all over Texas.  That's one of the states' main  attractions them and the Dallas Cowboys

"Cowboys and Indians?  Real Indians?”

Dawson shakes his head back and forth, "look, my friend you’re in Cowboy country, don't be talking about the Washington Redskins here or these football fans will 'tar and feather' you!"

Cormac is even more confused, "Football, tar and feathers?"

 

                          ***********************************************

 

May 19th, 2003

 

It's Angela's second birthday and the Walkers are having a small party for her. Grandpa Gordon has flown in from Boston, bringing his only grandchild gobs of presents.

Gage and Sydney are now engaged and plan to be married the following spring. They have also announced that they will be leaving the Rangers and moving to a small town on the California border.  The Walkers are sad to hear the news.

The summer passes and Walker is back into riding the rodeo circuit again, and Alex is not too happy with his return to it.  He's in the barn, oiling his Father's riding chaps.  Angela is sitting on top of Amigo and riding him back and forth the distance of the barn, Walker is keeping a careful eye on his daughter.

Alex walks into the barn and calls out to her daughter to hold on extra tight.  She marvels at the way Angela has taken to riding, and now she's riding bareback.  Alex smiles back at her daughter, the little girl is talking up a storm now, and starting to repeat everything she hears, especially from Walker!

"She's growing up so fast Walker, I can still remember the day we brought her home from the hospital.”

Walker smiles, "Hon, that was only 18 months ago, you're making it sound like it's been centuries!”

"I know" she answers softly as she runs her hands over the back of her husband's shoulders,  "I just wish we could keep her a baby!  Ever since she learned to walk she's just growing too fast!”

"Alex, sooner or later they have to grow up hand me that oil rag, hon!”

Alex frowns as she hands him the rag, Walker always takes extra care in taking care of his Father's riding chaps.  She watches as he takes long even wipes with the oil, the leather still glistens.  The etching of the roadrunner down the side of the left leg is cracking some, and Walker curses every time he sees a new crack.

"Walker, watch your language!  Angela can hear you and you know she tries to repeat everything you say!”

"Sorry about that, I have been watching my words around Angela but she did say a word the other day that I wasn't too happy to hear!”

"What word?”

Walker hesitates as he looks over to his daughter, the little girl is giggling and talking a mile a minute to Amigo.

"Well, she said the word 'bastard', at least I think that's what she was trying to say along with another word in front of it!”

Alex's mouth drops open, "Where did she hear that?”

"Well, don't look at me I didn't say it!!  You know I've been cutting back on the curse words, especially when she's around.  Maybe she heard it at daycare?”

Alex's bottom lip is starting to quiver, "You could be right, there is a little 4 year old boy named Kevin that Josie has been getting onto for his swear words.  I think I'm going to have a talk with his Mother!”

"Careful Counselor, I don't have to remind you that you have to have proof first that it's coming from that kid!”

"Well, tonight I am going to ask our daughter what she said and  who did she hear it from?  In the meantime honey, I wish you would reconsider about riding the bulls again!”

"Alex, we've been over this I thought you were o.k. with it?”

"Walker, whether you want to admit it or not, you're not as young as you think you are and those bulls are young and mean.  Look what happened last week, you dislocated your shoulder again and Zeb had to help you pop it back it in.”

"How did you find out about that?”

"I have my ways of finding out things" she turns to the direction of their daughter, "and a very observant little girl?”

Walker sighs, "I didn't think she saw it, she was too busy devouring that hot dog that she was eating!”

"She saw it, and all the way home she was asking if you were hurt.”

"Poor baby, I certainly didn't want her to see anything like that but we can't protect her always, Alex she's gonna hear and do things that we're not going to like! And, I was fine for the second ride it hardly hurt at all!”

"Really?  So, I was just imagining that you were moaning in your sleep?”

Angela is motioning for her Daddy to come and get her as she is trying to get off of Amigo.   "O.k. so it did hurt, but my shoulder is just fine, hon stop worrying!”

"Did you see me ride, Daddy, did me do good?”

Walker picks up his daughter and swings her around, "You sure did do good, my baby a regular little Annie Oakley!”

"Who is that, daddy?”

 Walker is smiling and holding his daughter close to him, "She was a very popular lady back in the days of the wild west, she rode horses and did tricks on top of them in wild west shows!”

Alex shakes her head, "Honey please don't mention doing tricks.  You know how impressionable she is!   You're going to have her trying to do tricks on Amigo.  Honey, you have to watch what you say around her, she tries to do everything that you say!”

"O.k., o.k. I hear you, Alex and you my baby, you do not try to do any tricks do you hear me?”

Angela nods her head, her big blue eyes look back at Walker, and all he wants to do is melt.  He kisses the side of her head, "I love you, my baby I couldn’t stand you getting hurt so you listen to daddy, no tricks!”

"O.k., daddy I won't.  Can I watch you ride the big cows again?”

Walker looks quickly to his wife and she is looking back at him, her eyes wide.

"Walker, have you been taking Angela down to the rodeo arena again?”

The Ranger stammers, "Yeah, sort of, I pick her up from daycare and I've been stopping to watch the other guys ride and Angela watches.”

"Walker, you know I don't want her going down there without me.  She can be a handful and if you turn your back for just a second there's no telling what could happen!”

"Alex, I am watching her.  You know I'm not going to let her out of my sight and she loves going down there!  She stays right by my side don't you, baby?”

Angela nods her head slowly, "Yes Daddy, I watch you ride the big cows with horns!”

Alex is fighting her anger, "Honey you promised that you wouldn't ride but once in awhile, how often are you going down there?”

"Hon, there is no such thing as just 'once in awhile' bull riding takes practice!  It's not something like going fishin, or bowling.  I have to go often to get the practice!”

"And, who is watching our daughter while you are riding the bulls and getting your practice?”

"Zeb watches her and some of the other riders, they all keep an eye on her!  But, usually she's sitting right there beside Zeb and helping him control the mechanical bull.  Sometimes Trivette goes with me and honey you should see him on top of that mechanical bull you would laugh yourself…"

Walker stops talking as he sees his wife staring back at him, her bottom lip quivering.

"O.k. hon, I won't take her with me anymore.  I'll do my riding and then pick her up from daycare, o.k.?”

"Walker I just worry about you and this stupid sport.  I'm afraid you're going to get hurt!”

The Ranger walks slowly over to his wife and bends down to kiss her softly, "It's in my blood, hon I enjoy this 'stupid sport' as you refer to it!  I don't ask very many things of you, I don't go off for weeks at a time on fishing and hunting trips like other men.  I don't go carousing the strip joints.   I don't go out drinking with the guys!!  I enjoy the rodeo, it's my  forte, and whether you want to admit it or not Angela might want to take up this 'stupid sport' someday!”

"Over my dead body!” shouts Alex.  She stammers around and then she adds, "o.k. honey, I won't bash your sport anymore.  Just please promise me to be careful and please don't take Angela down there anymore without me.”

”O.k. hon, I promise to be careful and I'll try not to take Angela if I know I'll be practicing, how's that?”

"I guess that's about all I can hope for right now" whispers Alex, "when are you riding again?”

"This weekend" Walkers answers timidly "but I'm riding the broncs not the bulls" he adds quickly.

Alex shakes her head, "Like that will make me worry any less, the horses are just as dangerous!”

"Mommie, are we still going to J.W.'s house for supper tonight?”

 

 

Part 19

 

       "Yes, sweetheart we are still going to J.W.'s house for supper now run in the house and get a jacket it's starting to get cool.”

Angela is all squeals as she goes running to the house, and Walker is looking back at his wife.

"So, how do we approach her about trying to find out where she's been hearing the bad words?”

"Very cautiously, we have to be sure of what she really said, and then we'll take it from there.  Honey, you better go take a quick shower and I'll make sure Angela is dressed warm enough.”

They walk slowly up to the house and Alex starts rubbing her back "I sure hope that Erica has not planned on more collard greens.  I don't think my stomach could take them!”

Walker smirks, "I'm just hoping that the meat is seasoned I can't picture how anyone can eat steak, without seasoning it.”

Alex slips her arm around Walker's waist and he in return puts his arm around her, "Honey, you're the only one having steak.  You know Jimmy doesn't like red meat and Erica will probably just eat a salad.  I have no idea what she plans to feed the rest of us!”

Walker makes a distasteful sound with his mouth "well if it's anything like what she cooked the last time we ate over there whatever it was, it tasted like card board yuk!”

"Well----maybe we can stop on the way home and get pizza if we're still hungry?”

"Sounds good to me, I'm sure we'll be bringing our godson back with us to spend the night so that means extra pepperoni and no mushrooms!” replies Walker smiling.

"J.W. loves pizza, doesn't he?”

"Yeah, thank goodness he's not a vegetarian, like his father!”

"Do you realize that Christmas is right around the corner, we've got to start thinking about a shopping list?”

"I don't need to think about a shopping list got mine all figured out.  I know just exactly what I'm getting you and Angela for Christmas."

Angela comes running to the door, "Daddy,  man is on the phone, wanta to talk to you.”

As Walker takes the phone, Alex continues getting their daughter ready.  She watches as her husband hangs up the phone slowly.

"That was a Sergeant Davies from Dublin, he called to say that Colonel Braddock was killed last month along with his wife, Ming Li!”

"Oh no, what happened?”

"The Sergeant said that they are still investigating, but they're pretty sure that the Colonel and Ming Li were murdered.  He just thought I would like to know, since the Colonel had been investigating Peter's death.”

"Any news about that man Cormac?”

"No one has seen or heard about him in almost two years now, the Sergeant believes that the tumors have killed him.”

Alex takes a deep breath, "I guess no news is good news where that man is concerned.  I just can't believe that someone like him can evade all of the law officials that are looking for him!  He's been ahead of them for some 40 years, says a lot for their law enforcement, doesn't it?”

"I suppose" mutters Walker "I'm not going to worry about him, I put him out of my mind years ago, I'm going to take my shower now.”

Alex watches as her husband climbs the stairs she says to herself, "You're not fooling me, honey the man is not out of your mind you haven't forgotten what he's done, and you will not have him completely out of your mind until you know for sure that the man is dead.”


                                   **********************************************

 

 Galveston, Texas (Thanksgiving 2003)

 

Cormac and Dawson have been working in and around Houston for almost  a year now.  The headaches have subsided and Cormac's temper has also, he has started to socialize more and now they are enjoying the feast at the local shelter.

 Dawson is still trying to help Cormac remember the name of the town that Cormac insists on finding.

Dawson is shoving the turkey and dressing down with both hands, "The food is good for a change, huh my friend?”

"Aye, it is good, the Americans go all out for this Thanksgiving holiday, there is so much food!”

"Yeah, we can take some of it back to our hotel room with us and maybe pick up some dessert on the way, like those two beauties that are standing over there!”

Cormac looks to the women in question, he and Dawson have watched them since they first walked into the shelter.  They know they haven't been on the streets long, they are still wearing nice clothes and one of them is wearing a diamond ring.

Dawson swears under his breath, "That one is just looking to be robbed and maybe I can accommodate her.  What do you say, my friend are you feeling the 'urge'?”

Cormac sneers, "Aye, the women here are a little on the skinny side but they serve the purpose.”

Dawson drinks his coffee down fast as he looks back to his friend, "This time would you try not to be so rough with the  'tricks' we bring back to our room?  The super threatened to call the cops next time we can't afford anymore jail time!”

Cormac is eyeing the women as he wipes the spittle away from his beard, "Me likes it rough and so do they!  That's what a woman is for, for us to have our way with them and push them away when we're through!   You Americans treat your women too good they are sluts all of them!”

Dawson has to pick his wording carefully, "Apparently, they're not all sluts there is someone that you are thinking about you've called out her name in your sleep, Elizabeth?”

Cormac pushes his food away from him and glares back at Dawson "Elizabeth is different, she's not like the rest, she is sweet and so beautiful.”

 "Who is she?” Asks Dawson carefully.

Cormac's eyes get all glazed, "She is me wife she is waiting for me with our child!”

Dawson laughs, "You have a child?  You of all people?”

Cormac slams his fist into his friend's face and soon the fight is on and the other people are scrambling to get out of their way.  The two men are shoved outside and told to leave before the police are  called. Dawson doesn't have to be told  twice as he starts off running, Cormac follows slowly behind.  They get back to their hotel room and Dawson is packing his things.

"Where do you think ye are going?” Cormac yells at him.

"I'm tired of you using me for a punching bag.  I'm out of here going back East for awhile!”

"Ye can't leave me, ye promised ye would help me!”

Dawson's anger is rising as he screams back at his friend, "Help you to find a place that you can't remember?  I can't do miracles and that's what you need or someone that can climb deep inside that brain of yours to find out where in Texas that you want to go!”

"Me has tried to remember.  My head hurts so much, please do not leave me here, me does not understand this Texas!”

"I'm sure that Texas doesn't understand you either.  Maybe you should see a doctor, maybe they can give you something for your pain and help you to remember?”

"Nay! I have seen too many doctors they cannot help!”

Dawson has his bags packed, "Well, I'm not staying around here any longer I've read the map of the cities to you over and over and none of the names ring a bell.  There has got to be something that will make you remember!  How did you hear the name?”

Cormac grabs the whiskey bottle and drinks from it, "Me doesn't remember.  Me just remembers it's in Texas and the man rides the bulls.”

"That doesn't tell me a hell of a lot.   Can you remember the man's name and what does he have in common with this "Elizabeth" that you keep talking about?  And, that's another thing, you say you have a wife and kid, how old is your kid?”

 Cormac's eyes bore into Dawson, "He hasn't been born yet!”

"What?  What do you mean he hasn't been born yet, you said you had a kid?  Wait a minute, this is all getting crazy.  I've been traveling with you for over a year now and I've never seen you with a woman, except for the whores we pick up!  Who is this woman that is suppose to be carrying your child?”

"Me has told you her name it's Elizabeth!!  Do ye not listen?”

Dawson shakes his head back and forth and then he reaches for the whiskey bottle "now, I'm getting forgetful because I don't remember you telling me about any woman named Elizabeth and just how long has it been since you've seen her?”

"It seems like only yesterday that she was in me arms telling me she was 'with child'' but there seems to be so many years that have passed since then how long have you known me?”

Dawson is still drinking the whiskey, he starts to cough "I told you, for a little over a year if this woman was with your child then the child would have been born by now.”

The red haired  man falls down on the old cot, shaking his head "Nay, her belly still carries him she waits for me to come to them.”

"You're crazier than I thought you were, I'm beginning to think that you've made her up too, and just like this Texas town neither one of them exist!”

Cormac is mumbling, "Elizabeth is no dream she is beautiful, flaming red hair and eyes that will melt any man's heart.  He does not deserve her.  He is not of our people."

"Crazy old man," mumbles Dawson "I'm going to try and get some action and then I will decide where I am going in the morning!”

Dawson stomps out the door and Cormac is falling asleep.  The dreams keep coming to him, Elizabeth is running, her red hair flying in the wind, there is a figure looming in the background and just like in all of the other dreams, he can't make out the man's face.  His dreams are mingling with times when he was a small boy and how he used to pull the pig tails of the red headed girl, the other boys would laugh except for one.  This boy was strong and he would push Cormac down every time he would tease the red headed girl and they would fight.

In other dreams he could see himself fighting with other men firing guns, and he could see the big tanks.  She would come to him, smiling and then she would be angry and would scream at him.  He remembers yelling back at her and she is on the ground, kicking at him, and then the pain begins.  The faces are going through his mind so quickly, his head is spinning and he sees a man's face staring back at him, the man is laughing!  The man continues to laugh, and then slowly the man's face is getting clearer he sees the long, dark, hair pulled back over his shoulders.

Cormac is straining to see the man clearer, there is something behind the man a sign over his head, stretching from one side to the other.  The man continues to laugh and then Cormac hears a voice that sounds like it is far off and muffled. "She's mine, you will never have her.”

The voice continues to taunt Cormac and then the man disappears and Cormac can see the sign, it is slowly taking shape.  He sees an old dirt road, with old rustic buildings on both sides, the sign is like a huge banner that is stretched from one end of the street to the other. The words are saying "Welcome to the stockyards of Ft. Worth!”

Cormac is struggling to pronounce the words, "Stockyards? Stockyards of -- what does Ft. mean?”

 The man sits up on the old, dirty cot, rubbing his eyes and mumbling, "That's the same wording that me remembers seeing in that old photograph of Elizabeth and that man, the man she said she loved, what was his name, Fire?  What was the name she called him?”

Cormac continues to wrestle with his memory, "What happened to that picture me doesn't have it anymore?  Dawson?  Where is he, me has to find him.  Me has remembered some things, me has to go look for him.”


                                     *****************************************

 

Trivette's home (2003 Thanksgiving)

 

The Walkers have joined the Trivettes and some of his family for the holidays. Gage and Syd have driven back from Blythe and have told their friends of the new home they intend to buy.

Trivette's brother, Simon, and his new family have flown in from Baltimore and he and Walker have been discussing Simon's new job as a FBI agent.

"I sure was sorry to hear about C.D.'s death.  I only knew the man for a short time but he left an everlasting impression.”

Walker nods his head, "Yeah, that's how he was.  If you ever met the man you never forgot him!  Trivette and I will be heading down to the Stockyards to help feed the homeless in C.D.'s memory.  Care to join us?”

Simon nods his head, "I'll be glad to help, hey I noticed your wife wasn't feeling too good, is she o.k.?”

Walker smiles as he sees Alex coming out of the Trivette's bathroom again "Nothing the stork can't take care of, she's just having 'morning sickness!”

Simon grabs Walker's hand, "Congratulations, I saw your little girl earlier, she's a cutie!!  You're going to be beating the boys away with a stick!  But in your case you'll probably be 'karate chopping' them!”

The men laugh, and Walker is looking over at Angela as she is playing with the other kids.

"Yeah, Alex says I've got to stop spoiling her so much and now with a new baby on the way, I better start soon!”

Simon laughs, "Not so easy to do with a daughter.  My oldest daughter is in her teens back east, she's still "Daddy's little girl, I spoil her rotten!  Are you hoping for a boy this time?”

"A boy would be nice, every man wants a son, but my first concern is Alex, she didn't have a easy time with Angela. I hope this pregnancy will be easier for her!”

Trivette is raising his voice, "Hey everybody, it's time to head down to the Stockyards.  I'll bet we have a lot of hungry people down there!  Everybody ready?”

As everyone is grabbing their coats, Walker walks over to his wife, putting his arm around her waist "Hon, you don't have to go if you're not up to it.  I'll take Angela with me, why don't you go lay down in one of the guest rooms or I'll drive you home!”

Alex's face is pale, "If it's o.k. with you, honey I think I'll go home, my stomach is doing flip flops.”

Walker frowns, "You didn't eat any of Erica's collard greens again, did you?”

"No, I think that's the problem I haven't eaten anything!  Honey, you go on I can drive home alone, our house is just three miles down the road.”

As Walker helps Alex get her coat on, he takes a deep sigh, "I guess you heard that Erica is still harping on Trivette to move to the city?”

"Yes, she was talking about it in the bathroom.  I can't understand them wanting to move, they just got this house finished last year!”

"Well, at least they're not moving out of the state like Gage and Syd are doing.  I told Trivette that I would work with him and the realtor when he gets ready to sell.  I had hoped they would change their minds, this land was our wedding present to them!”

"Well, honey we can't force them to stay, if they don't want to.  I just don't understand why Erica wants to move, I thought she loved it here and we won't get to see J.W. as often when they do move!”

Walker takes Alex to the Ram and kisses her goodbye.  He and Angela get into Gage's car and they follow the little caravan to the Ft. Worth Stockyards.


                                           ***********************************

 

Early December (2003)

 

Dawson and Cormac are again going over the Texas map.

"I asked around and the people I've talked to say that there are stockyards all over the Ft. Worth area and in other parts of the state as well.  The stockyards is a not a city, it's a place where animals are kept until they can be shipped out or slaughtered. Maybe your friend worked there?”

Cormac is shaking his head, "He is not me friend, he took Elizabeth away from me, he is not me friend!”

"O.k., o.k. it was just a question.  O.k., you say this man rode the bulls, well Ft. Worth is well known for it's rodeos so do you want to go there?  Do you know the name of the man you're looking for?”

The red haired man is thinking hard, "All me remembers is the name of "Fire" me friends back in Ireland told me he was an Indian, a redskin?”

"Oh great, that narrows it down again!  Most everyone is Texas has Indian blood in them that doesn't help!”

Cormac is getting impatient, "Take me to this place, maybe we can go to this rodeo, maybe they will know him?”

Dawson is drinking the whiskey down "We need more to go on, maybe the name of "fire" was some kind of nickname, did your friends tell you anything else about him? What about this "Elizabeth" where is she living with him?”

Cormac is swearing under his breath, "Me wishes they hadn't killed Kordell, he could tell us.”

Dawson stares back at the red haired man, "Killed him, who killed who?  What the hell are you mixed up in, who is this Kordell?”

Cormac starts throwing his old suitcase together, "We have wasted enough time, we go to this Fort Worth, tonight and me will ask the questions!”

"And, just how are we suppose to get there?  It's too far to walk, we don't have any transportation and no money to ride the bus!”

Cormac grins and takes out a long knife, "The same way we got here by taking someone's car!”

Dawson is hesitating, he remembers how Cormac slashed the throat of that motorist on the outskirts of Corpus Christi and they took his car.

"Look, we got lucky once let's not push it.  There are plenty of autos out there in the parking lot.  Just give me some time to 'rig' the starter, we don't have to kill again.”

"What are ye waiting for, go do what ye have to do!  Me will get us some whiskey and we will be on our way, how far is it?”

"It's starting to snow a little bit and the highway patrol will be out, getting their early ticket 'quotas' for the holidays, it's normally about a 5 hr drive.”

Cormac smiles, "Five hours?  That's a long while!”

 "Look, my friend, they have speed limits in Texas and the highway patrol will be out thicker than flies, we have to take it slow.  We sure can't afford to get a speeding ticket."

An hour later finds Cormac and Dawson in a  '86 Pontiac Grand Prix heading north down I-45.  Cormac is staring out the passenger window and a familiar sign keeps popping up on the sides of the freeway.  He reads it slowly to himself and then he points to one and asks.

"What is the meaning of those signs "Don't Mess With Texas

Dawson laughs, "It means just what it says don't mess with these people.  Texans have a strange way of dealing out justice and their justice is quick.   Back in the old days their justice was at the end of a rope.  Did you know you could be hung just for stealing a man's horse?  Now days, you can kill your old lady, plead insanity, and be out in seven years or less but,  if you rape someone you're looking at 30-40 years.”

Cormac  swears, "Me doesn't believe this Texas, their laws are stupid!  This Texas will know the name of Cormac and they will not forget it!”


                                          *********************************************

 

Christmas at the Walkers has come and gone and they are now making plans to spend New Years with their friends.  Angela is watching Alex put her makeup on, she is holding her lips together and pretending that she's the one applying the lipstick.  Alex is smiling back at her and then she puts a light dab on Angela's lips and tells her to smack.

Angela makes a loud smacking noise and Walker is laughing at her. "You're getting the hang of it, baby.”

Now Angela has found her Mother's mascara and is trying to put it on, she gets it all over her face and Alex is running for a wash cloth.  Angela is squirming as Alex is wiping it off.

"Sweetheart, this is adult makeup.  It's not for little girls, you need to use the 'play' makeup that Daddy and I bought you for Christmas.”

"I don't like that kind, Mommie I can't see it!”

Walker is shaking his head, "That's the idea, young lady you listen to your Mother and play with your own makeup!”

Angela pouts, sticking her bottom lip out. "Can I have some of your perfume, Mommie?”

"Just a small dab right behind the ears, there you go now go to Daddy and let him smell!”

Angela runs to Walker, "Smell me, Daddy smell me" she holds her face up to him.

Walker takes a big whiff and then he smiles, "Oooooh that smells good, you smell like Mommie does lilacs!”

"Yes, I smell good Daddy, you want some to smell good too?”

Walker shakes his head, "Baby, I do smell good, don't I?"  He leans back down to her and she smells of him again.

"Yes Daddy you smell good, is that Mommie's perfume?”

Alex is laughing "no, sweetheart men don't wear perfumes they wear 'after shave' lotion, that's what you’re smelling.  It's called Paul Sebastian.”

Angela tries to repeat the name and then looks to her Daddy and motions for him to lean back down to her, she feels his beard and then looks back to her Mother.

"Daddy didn't shave, he's still got his beard!”

Walker is laughing as he calls Angela into the master bathroom and shows her his beard trimmer.

"This is what I use, Angela it doesn't shave my face hair off, it just keeps it trimmed so it looks neat and Mommie won't complain about the whiskers tickling her!”

Angela starts laughing, "Will it still tickle me and Mommie, Daddy?”

"You bet it will!”!  He reaches down and rubs his face lightly over Angela's skin and the little girl is giggling. She points to Alex.

"Tickle Mommie, Daddy make her laugh!”

 Walker makes a mad dash to Alex and gently swings her around, rubbing her face with his beard. And, then he whispers." Bu, this isn't where it tickles you is it?”

"Walker---be nice!”

There's a knock on the door and they hear Gordon asking, "Are you two ready yet?”

Angela goes running to the bedroom door and opens it, "You can come in now, Grandpa, Mommie and Daddy are dressed.”

Gordon is staring at Alex in her long silk evening gown, it's a pale blue causing her blue eyes to look even more blue. He sighs.

"Pumpkin, you're beautiful being pregnant agrees with you right, Walker?”

Walker smiles, "Alex looks beautiful at all times but being pregnant gives her that extra 'glow'.”

Alex smiles, "I thank both of you for your kind words, I do know one thing, this baby is sure moving around a lot!”

"Is that normal, hon you're just barely 3 months?”

"I'll find out on my next checkup and I'll ask for some extra vitamins, I'm always hungry and tired!”

Gordon smiles, "Well, the Ferguson’s are here to sit Angela and J.W.  Jimmy said they were on their way over so let's get going, I'm hungry!”!!!

 

                                 *******************************************

 

Ft. Worth New Years' Eve (Billy Bob's C&W Dance Hall):

 

Cormac and Dawson are sitting in a back booth, drinking the whiskey and watching the women in their tight fitting jeans.

Dawson is watching the look on Cormac's face as he's observing the way the women are dancing and rubbing up against their partners.  He fidgets in his seat and Dawson grins.

"Getting a little warm in here, huh friend your pants getting a little tight?”

Cormac sneers and drinks the whiskey down and orders more, "Where is this man that you want me to meet, does he have news?”

"Just don't get your shorts all bunched up the man rides the rodeos, he'll be here soon.  There he is now.”

The man in questions sits down in the booth and motions for the waitress to bring him a couple of beers.

Dawson asks, "Well, what did you find out, do you know a rider called "Fire" ?”

The man shakes his head, "I've been riding the circuit for over 40 years ain't never heard of anyone called that.  What's he look like?”

Cormac repeats the description of the man from his dreams, the man stares back at him, shaking his head.

"That description could fit just about anyone.  I've seen a lot of men come and go and some were of native Indian race but none were called "Fire", are you sure of the name?”

Dawson takes a deep breath, "We're not too sure about anything, my friend here has had a bout with amnesia and he can't remember some things!  All I know is we're looking for man of Indian blood he took off with my friend's wife and he's looking for her.”

 

 

Part 20

 

The man studies Cormac's face, he doesn't like the eerie feeling that he's getting. He turns back to Dawson.

"Sorry, can't help you, but if you hang around the 'yards and the rodeo grounds, you'll run into someone that knows something about the man you're looking for.  How old of a man is this "Fire?”

Cormac 's head is hurting worse as he keeps rubbing it, "About me age.”

Dawson stares back at Cormac and then back to his friend.

Cormac is getting impatient, he stands up abruptly and swears under his breath, "Me thought ye were going to help me, ye are no help at all!” Cormac storms out the door.

Dawson breathes a sigh of relief, "the man does have a temper, at least he didn't start swinging again!”

The friend looks back to Dawson, "what are you mixed up with Dawson, and what are you doing back in Texas? I thought you learned your lesson the last time you were here?”

"Well, I do have some old friends that still live here, but they don't seem to want to associate with me anymore" mutters Dawson.

"I wonder why, you were constantly beating your wife and by the way where is Maggie?”

"The less you know, the better off you will be.  Getting back to my friend and this man that he's looking for are you sure you haven't heard the name of ‘Fire’?”

The man shakes his head, "doesn't ring any kind of bell, where did you meet this 'weirdo', probably in jail right?”

Dawson tells of how he and Cormac hooked up and the man's ability not to remember a lot of things.

Dawson points to his own head, "he's 'whacko' I know that!  But, I sort of feel sorry for him.  He's got these tumors inside his head and they make him do crazy things!”

"Yeah, he's definitely got a 'crazed' look about him, you better be careful hanging around with him, no telling what he's mixed up in.”

"Yeah, I know and the longer I hang around him, the crazier I think I'm getting.  I could have swore that this "Fire" was a younger man that had taken off with his wife, but my friend just said that the man was about his age!  Now, I'm not very good at guessing ages, but I would say that my friend is in his late 60's and get this, the crazy old goat says his wife is pregnant with his child?”

"So, what's crazy about that?”

"Ben, he also says that the child is not born yet, that she still carries him!”

"You're losing me."

"I've been hooked up with that crazy old goat for over a year now, aside from whores, I haven't seen him with any other woman!  So, how could some woman be carrying his child? And, if some woman was with his child, the child would be born by now, right?”

"If he's telling the truth about there being another woman but I wouldn't believe anything that old man is telling you.  Walk away from him Dawson before you get into serious trouble!”

"I can't do that, I promised to help him.  He's got no friends here, he can't read too good, and he says that Texas is confusing to him!”

"Texas, confusing?  Imagine that, how could anyone say that about the Lone Star state where it's noted for some of the best bar-b-que in the states, friendliest people.  Hell, I lost one of my very best friends a couple of years back. He used to have that bar'n'grill across the road up there C.D. Parker!”

"Yeah, I've heard you talk about him when we were riding the rigs, what happened to him?”

"At first they thought he had a heart attack, but his friends found out different.  He was murdered by some son of a bitch by the name of L’avacot!”

"I remember the stories you told about him, he was a Texas Ranger?”

"Yep, ‘semi retired' he liked to call himself.  He was a damn good friend.  If he were alive today, I'll bet he could tell you what you wanted to know.  He knew all of the cowboys that came through here and he used to hang around down at the arena.  That old man had a memory like you wouldn't believe!!  If there was a rider called ‘Fire’, C.D. Parker would know him!”

"I just wish I had more to go on and this thing about the baby has really got me flustered, sometimes I think that my friend is living in the past and there is no baby and no Elizabeth!”

Ben stands up and lays a tip on the table, "I got to be going, got another run down to San Antonio.  I'll be back through here in about a month, if you're still around look me up.  I still go over to the bar'n'grill now and then, the food is good but it's just not the same without C.D. and the rest of the gang.”

"O.k. Ben thanks for the info.”

Ben starts to walk away, "Hey, I just thought of someone you could ask!  Walker!”

"Who?”

"Ranger Walker, he rides the rodeo now and then that is, when his wife lets him!  He's got a wife and kid now and they keep him limited to what he can do now!”

Dawson throws his hands up, "A Texas Ranger?  No way, I ain't going near no damn lawman.”

Ben eyes his friend suspiciously, "What are you hiding, Dawson?”

"Look, we both know that neither of us are 'squeaky clean' where johnny law is concerned.  I don't want no dealings with the law.”

"Well, suit yourself but Walker is a good man and if he could help you find this man he would.  I think, yeah, his old man used to ride the rodeo a lot, mainly the bulls.”

"Well, maybe I could talk to his old man, do you know where he is?”

Ben snickers, "Yeah, in the Greenlawn cemetery 6 feet under, he died over 30 years ago!”

Ben walks away and Dawson is even more confused about Cormac's story.

"Ben is right, Cormac is crazy and there's no telling what the man will get me involved in.  He's going to tell me the truth about everything, every detail or I'm walking away.  Listen to me, I'm already talking to myself now who's crazy?”


                                   ****************************************************

 

Mid January (2004)

 

Cormac and Dawson have hung around the Ft. Worth area, doing odd jobs and asking questions about the man called "Fire.”

Dawson is anxious to get on the road again, but Cormac isn't wanting to go.

"Look, my friend, there are no rodeos going on right now, it's too cold.  You heard what those guys down at the stockyards said the rodeos will start up around the last of March, maybe sooner depending on the weather.”

Cormac keeps staring at the banner that is stretched across the road, he mumbles, "nay, this is the place.  That is the sign me saw in the background of that picture, the one of him!”

Dawson is shivering, the lower south is getting a rare blast of artic air, and the man is reminded of the winters back east.  He looks over his shoulder to the old bar'n'grill and nudges his friend.

"Well, you can stand out here and freeze your nuts off, I'm going over there to get something to eat.”

Dawson heads for the old bar, it used to be called C.D.’s.  He finds a booth in the back and orders some ribs, the waitress stares back at him.

"We don't serve food in here, just drinks!”

"But, it's called a bar n' grill."

"I don't care what it's called, we just serve drinks!  Now what do you want?”

"I'll take a beer make that two I see my friend coming in.”

An old black man comes from the rear of the bar and approaches Dawson and Cormac "we don't sell food in here, but I do have some bar-be-que in the freezer, I can make you fellows some sandwiches, if you like?”

Dawson starts nodding his head, "yeah appreciate it we're starving" and Dawson throws some bills down on the table.

"That's all I got, haven't got my last paycheck yet" he lies.

The old man smiles, "You keep your money, there's no charge for the food.  C.D. would have me 'tar and feathered' if he knew I was taking money for food from poor souls that are down on their luck!”

The old man shuffles to the back and starts taking the meat out of the freezer. and throwing it in the microwave.  Cormac is staring back at him, he curses.

"What is this 'tar and feather'?  These people talk crazy here in Texas.”

"Never mind the crazy talk, we're getting some hot food and don't have to stand in a soup line to get it!  Come to think of it, isn't this where they were having all those autos lined up at Thanksgiving and the food was being carried in?  Man, that ham and turkey was sure good and those dumplings they were so light and tender.”

"Rubbish!!  Americans waste too much they was putting some of the food into plastic bags to throw away!”

The old black man has walked back up to their table with the sandwiches, he has heard Cormac's statement.

"That food wasn't being thrown away after everyone is fed, the discarded scraps are taken over to the animal shelters so they can be fed too!”

Cormac curses louder, "Ye feed your animals to fatten them up to eat?”

The old man laughs, "We don't eat dogs and cats here, mister and that's what's in the animal shelter.  They have to live there until someone adopts them in the meantime at Thanksgiving the animals get extra care.  That's what C.D. requested.”

Cormac stares back at the black man, "Who is he?”

The old man points to a picture over the long bar,  "The man in that picture is C.D. Parker.  He used to own this place, he was a good friend.  He never let anyone go out of here hungry.  Eat up, fellows if you want more, I'll wrestle you up some!”

Both Cormac and Dawson grab the sandwiches and wolf them down, Dawson has sauce dripping down his chin, "Told ya, Texas has the best bar-b-que!”

They finish their sandwiches and then Cormac starts walking around the bar and looking at all of the pictures, especially the ones of the rodeo riders.  He looks at their faces carefully, he shakes his head in disgust.

He turns to walk back to his table when a picture catches his eye, a picture of a man and woman dancing. The woman's face is partially blocked by the Stetson hat of the cowboy and Cormac takes a closer look at the man in the picture.  He keeps turning his head sideways and then he pulls the picture off the wall and puts it up to his face, straining to see the cowboy better.

"Hey, what the hell you doing?  Put that picture back!”  The waitress screams at Cormac.

Dawson jumps up from the booth and runs over to Cormac as the waitress is trying to take the picture away from him.

"Easy, my friend just put the picture back!”

The woman is still trying to take the picture away from Cormac "If you don't put that picture back, I'm calling the police!”

The old black man is watching the scene as he is sweeping up, he motions for the waitress to move away, that he will handle it.  He starts talking softly to Cormac and both he and Dawson persuade the red haired man to put it back on the wall.

"You best take your friend out of here.  I don't think you want any trouble with the law, now get!  I'll smooth things out with Miss Jane!”

The waitress is swearing underneath her breath, "Now, what the hell was that all about?  Trying to steal a picture of all things!”

The old man stares back at the couple in the picture, he rubs his face and mumbles, "Now, what was he wanting that picture of the Walkers for that old man acted like he knew them!”


                                        **************************************************

 

Walker ranch:
           

Walker and Angela are in the barn and Angela is helping her Father to brush "Amigo" down.

The Ranger beams proudly as he watches the small hands of his daughter gently pet the horse and talking to him.

Amigo sure likes you, my baby!  You know he doesn't take to just anybody.”

"I like him too Daddy, he's a good horse.  Will he like the new baby?”

Walker smiles and scratches the pinto's ears, "I'm sure he will, Angela.  After the baby is born, I'll bring 'him or her' out to the barn, just like I did ‘you’ after me and Mommie brought you home from the hospital.  And I will introduce Amigo to your new little brother or sister!”

Angela is giggling and slapping her little hands together, her blue eyes looking back at Walker from beneath the wool cap she's wearing.

"Is that where Mommie is at the hospital? Is she going to bring the baby home today?”

Walker laughs as he reaches down and picks his daughter up, kissing her rosy cheeks, "No, my angel it's not time for the baby to be born.  The baby won't be born till sometime in May close to your birthday!”

Angela holds up 3 fingers, "I'm this many, huh, Daddy?”

"Yep, you will be 3 years old.  What kind of cake do you want Mommie to buy you this year?”

"ocolate, Daddy."

"You mean chocolate?”

"Yes, a biiiiiiggggg  'ocolate cake Angela holds her hands out wide, "will the baby like 'ocolate, Daddy?”

"Well, my angel babies can't have chocolate.  The baby will have to just drink Mommie's milk until it gets bigger and then when the baby gets teeth, then I'll bet it will like chocolate!”

"Is the baby going to be a boy baby or a girl baby?”

Walker is still laughing, "Well, we don't know yet, Angela we have to wait till Mommie goes in for a ultra sound test.”

"What's that, Daddy?”

"Well, it's like a camera that the doctor puts over Mommie's tummy and it looks down inside and if the baby is laying in a certain way, then the doctors will tell us what the baby is going to be.”

Angela is all giggles, "Did you see me in Mommie's tummy, was I wearing a pretty dress?”

Walker is laughing harder, as he holds his daughter closer to his jacket, keeping her warm.  "No, Angela you weren’t wearing anything.  Babies don't have clothes on when they are in their Mommie's tummies.  But, as soon as you were born the nurses wrapped you in the beautiful blanket that Mommie had in her overnight bag.  You still have that blanket at the foot of your bed, remember?  The one with all the bunnies and chickens on it?”

Angela snuggles closer to her Father, "Yes, I like that blanket, will the new baby have a blanket?  It can use mine.”

"We'll see, hey, which do you want a baby sister or baby brother?”

"Baby sister, Daddy I want a baby sister!”

Walker shakes his head, "You don't want a baby brother, why?”

"Cause they're mean like J.W.!”

"Why is J.W. mean?”

"Cause, he don't like Miss Dolly and he throws my doll under the couch and under the bed and then I have to crawl under my bed to get it.  Daddy, will you make J.W. stop hurting Miss Dolly?”

"I sure will, my baby I will have a talk with him about that hey Mommie's home!”

Angela is scrambling out of her father's lap and running to her Mother, “hi Mommie did you bring me something?”

Alex is all smiles as she's walking back to the barn "I sure did, sweetheart and I have some verrrrry goood news for Daddy.”

Walker embraces her "what did the doctor say, you and the baby o.k.?”

Alex nods her head slowly "Ooohhh yes, we're fine, all of us are just fine.”

Walker's brow arches, "Are you o.k. hon, what's that silly little grin on your face?”

Alex takes a deep breath and then she says slowly, "Honey, we're having twins!”

Walker laughs, "Yeah, right Alex!  Now, what did the doctor say about all of that movement?"  He studies his wife's face "Alex, don't tease."

"I am not teasing, honey Dr. Bates found 2 heartbeats, we're having twins!”

Walker is just standing there, his mouth is moving but nothing is coming out. Angela is tugging on his jacket.

"Daddy, what's that mean, twins?”

Alex is waiting for her husband to say something, he just stares back at his wife and finally he asks.

"Are -- you ---sss---sure?  Alex, I know you've always said you wanted to have twins but are you sure?”

She walks slowly up to her husband and puts her arms around his neck, "Yes, Walker you and I are having twins, congratulations again Daddy.”

"Mommie what about me, don't I get gad -- gadations-- that big word?”

Alex is laughing as Walker reaches down and picks up his daughter and swings her around "yes, you get congratulations too because you might just get your wish and have not only a baby sister but a baby brother as well.  Mommie has two babies in her tummy!”

"Two babies, Mommie?”

Alex reaches up and kisses her daughter and then kisses her husband softly, "That's right, Angela two babies!   Our family is getting bigger and bigger.”


                                            ********************************************

 

Dawson and Cormac have headed back to their old motel room, Dawson has confronted Cormac about the picture.

"Come on, man don't be lying to me!  Did that picture look familiar to you?  Is he the man you're looking for the cowboy?”

"Me is not sure, something about him.  Me thinks me has seen him before.”

Dawson flops down on his bed, "O.k., that's it!  I'm tired of dancing with you.  I want you to tell me everything.  And, start with this Elizabeth how long has it been since you saw her last?”

Cormac starts telling his friend about the dreams that he is having more frequently, the memories of his childhood in Ireland.

"Some things me remembers but then the pain begins and everything gets blurred but me thinks that me has hurt Elizabeth, that is why she is angry with me.”

"But, it sounds like that you haven't seen Elizabeth in several years.  So if she was carrying your child, the baby would have been born.  Why do you keep insisting that she's with child your child?”

"Me remembers she was seeing the doctor and she was saying she loved another man.  She was coming back to America and then she said she 'was with child' and for me not to hurt her.  But me loved her, me asked her to marry me, she said 'no'!

"How long ago was this, was this in Ireland or here?”

Cormac closes his eyes, " Me remembers the blood, there was so much blood in me eyes and me head hurt like the devil.  She was hitting me over and over again!”

"This "Elizabeth" was hitting you, why?  What were you trying to do to her?”

Cormac's eyes are glazed as he rocks back and forth, "He don't deserve her.  She spread her legs for that filthy redskin.  Me wants her, it is my child she carries not his!”

Dawson is shaking his head back and forth, "wait a minute, now you're saying that this is the reason you want to find this ‘Fire’ because he knocked up your girlfriend, not your wife?  And that was in Ireland saying she was coming back to the states because she loved this ‘Fire’ fellow, whatever the hell his name is?”

"He's here, me know he is!”

"Something is not making any sense here.  How long have you been in the states and how long have you been looking for this man?”

"Me tells you, me doesn't remember!”

"No, I think you've been remembering a lot lately and just trying to keep me in the dark.  Like back there at the bar’n’grill, you recognized that man in the picture.  Who is he?  Is that the man you're looking for, he's much younger than you!”

"Something about the eyes and that man that me saw in that last town where the big ship was."

"You mean Corpus Christi down in the shipyards?”

"Aye, me saw him for only a second but the eyes they were like her's!”

"Now, I'm even more confused.  You told my friend, Ben Masters, that you were looking for a man in his late 60's or so but that man in the picture was in his 40's or so.  How old a man was the man in Corpus?”

"Me does not know about time and ages, it is not important!”

Dawson rubs his scraggly face and reaches for the last of the whiskey "it is important to know the time frame.  You could be looking for a man that is already dead or in a old folk's home!  Look, some time back you mentioned  a man's name that you wished "they" hadn't killed what was his name and who was he?”

Cormac grabs the bottle from Dawson, swigging it down "he was called Kordell, he was Elizabeth's brother.  He hated me, me had to teach him a lesson!”

"By killing him?”

"Me didn't kill him, me just cut his ear off and showed it to him!”

Dawson swallows hard, "Oh, that's comforting not that I'm not already familiar with your handy work with that knife!”

Cormac smiles, "And when I find this man that has taken my Elizabeth, me will cut both of his ears off and then me will start with the man's manhood!”

Dawson studies the look in Cormac's eyes, he's now convinced that Cormac has indeed been remembering more than he has revealed to him.  His friend, Ben, was right, he has to get away from Cormac.

He stands up slowly and reaches for his jacket, "Think I'll take a little walk, got to clear my head.”

Cormac watches him suspiciously, he decides to take a little trip himself, back to the bar'n'grill.


                                                   ***************************************

 

Two days later finds Walker and Trivette investigating the murders of two people down in the Ft. Worth Stockyards.

Trivette groans as he looks down at the body of the woman, "Hey Walker, isn't this Jane from the bar'n'grill?”

Walker nods his head, "Yeah, it's her.  Somebody did 'overkill' on her, her throat is cut from ear to ear.  I don't see any signs of rape, but she was beaten.”

"The lab boys will let us know, her body was found in the alley behind the bar. Ready to go inside now, partner?”

Walker sighs, "The only time I ever come here anymore is at Thanksgiving when we feed the homeless. I remember Jane was helping us that night her and old Gus!”

Trivette is looking around, "Haven't made any I.D. on the other body yet, but it's not Gus!”

The Rangers walk around the bar slowly, the memories come back to them of happier times.  Trivette is staring at the picture of C.D. that hangs over the bar "what happened "big dog", who could have possibly had such a grudge against a sweet lady, like Jane?”

Walker is going over every inch of the bar, he shakes his head.

"No struggle, so she must have been killed outside, no sign of robbery, doesn't make sense!”

Trivette is looking around at all of the pictures that were taken of him, Walker, Alex, and C.D.

"Hey Walker, did you take that picture of you and Alex dancing?”

"No, Alex made a copy of it we have one at home, why?”

"It's not here.  It was here on Thanksgiving eve, wasn't it?”

"Yeah, it was here I was showing all of the pictures to your brother.  It usually hung right here where C.D. put it.”

"That's odd, seems to be the only thing missing maybe Alex took it?”

Walker shakes his head, "She would have said something if she had, besides I told you we have a copy of it at home.”

"Well, somebody took it.  Don't tell me one of your 'long lost girlfriends' is still carrying a torch for you?”

Walker glares back at him, "It's probably been put somewhere else, it'll turn up. Come on, let's go see what we can find out about the other victim!”

The medical examiner is shaking his head and looking back at the Rangers, "I thought the other victim was 'overkill' but what the maniac done to this poor soul makes the other victim wane in comparison!”

Both of the Rangers do a double take as they look down on the man's body. Trivette walks off and then comes back.

"Why would anyone do such a thing?  I hope the man was dead before all of that was stuffed into his mouth!”

"You would be wrong, Ranger the man's genitals were whacked off first.  Shoved into the man's mouth.  The victim suffocated on his own blood.  As a afterthought his ears were cut off.  Sort of like the killer was trying to tell us something like hear no evil, speak no evil?”

"Time of death?” asks Walker.

"I would say somewhere between 8 and 10 hours for the male.  The woman was killed later, maybe within the next hour.”

"Any witnesses? Trivette is asking the patrolman on the scene.

"No witnesses, we're looking for a possible suspect, an old black man that worked inside the bar 'n' grill!”

Both Walker and Trivette stare back at the officer and Trivette shakes his head, "No way!!  Gus didn't do this, he wouldn't have the stomach to do such a thing.  Gus wouldn't hurt a fly!”

The officer shrugs, "we have a warrant out for him, to question him!”

Trivette is still angry, "Walker, Gus wouldn’t do this.  We both know him."

"He still has to be brought in for questioning, Trivette" he turns to the young officer, "but when you do find him, notify me or my partner, we want to question him!”

The Rangers are on their way back to headquarters, Trivette is still in a state of shock.

"He didn't do it Walker, Old Gus thought the world of Miss Jane and the way  she was killed, no way!”                 

 

Part 21

 

"I don't think he did it either, partner!  No, whoever did this has killed before and loves doing it. In the meantime we keep asking questions, someone had to have heard or seen something!”

The male victim has been identified as Dawson Fields, and the Rangers and local police are still investigating the crime. They have found the motel where Dawson was registered under the name John Smith. The motel clerk has identified Dawson's picture.

"Yeah, that's him rented a room.  Him and his friend used to take some hookers in there get pretty loud at times. I warned them I would call the cops if they didn't quieten down!”

"Who was his friend?

"Don't know, never heard his name.  He always kind of walked around with his head down, a real 'weirdo'!”

The Rangers continue to question the clerk, he can tell them nothing about the second man.


                                  *******************************************************

 

February (2004)

 

The murder in the stockyards continues to be a dead end for the Rangers.  Finally they get a break when Old Gus has been located in El Paso. The old man is escorted back and the Rangers are questioning him.

Gus is in shock, "Miss Jane? She's dead?”

The Rangers console the old man as he starts to cry, Trivette asks gently.

"What can you tell us, Gus?  When did you see Jane last?”

The old man is sniffling and Alex hands him tissue, and sits down beside him. "We know you didn't have anything to do with this, Gus but we have to know. Take your time and tell us everything.”

"I got a phone call from granddaughter in El Paso saying she needed my help in caring for my other grandkids while she goes into have her fourth one, damn boyfriend run out on her again!   So, I got in my car and I went down to help her.  Miss Jane said it would be alright for me to go.  I told her I wouldn't be gone long!”

Walker lays his hand on Gus's shoulder, "What time was this, Gus?  Can you remember?

"It was right at closing time, Miss Jane was tallying the books she told me to go right then and I did.  I just grabbed my old gym bag and I left.  It was about 10:30 or so.”

"Was there anyone hanging around, outside?  Had anyone given Jane any trouble?”

The old man shakes his head, "No, no one except those two guys that I gave the sandwiches to that one was trying to steal a picture!”

The Rangers exchange looks, and Walker asks, "What picture, Gus?”

Gus looks to Alex and then to Walker "The one of you and your missus, the picture of you two dancing!”

Alex is confused, "The man was taking our picture, why?”

"I don't know, Mrs. Walker but Miss Jane she tore into him.  You know how she likes to keep old C.D.'s place just the way he left it.  She started yelling at him to put the picture back, he had a real 'crazed' look in his eyes. His friend finally talked him into putting it back!”

Trivette shows Gus the mug shot of Dawson, "Is he one of the guys you saw?

The old man nods his head "Yeah, he was the nicer of the two the other one was kind of weird.”

"O.k. now we have a description of Dawson' roommate" comments Walker, "Gus-did you hear the man's name, can you describe him?

"No name, Ranger Walker he was stocky, and dirty looking like they hadn't eaten.  That's why I was giving them something to eat.  You know old C.D. would have my black hide if I let someone leave there hungry!”

Alex reaches out and touches the old man's hand, "Gus calm down, sweetheart C.D. is not angry with you no one is. Can you tell us anything else about the other man?”

"That's about all I can remember, Miss Alex those grandkids of mine just about drove me crazy while I was down there, but my granddaughter didn't have anyone else to help her.  I had to go down there!!  And, because I did, Miss Jane is dead"  the man starts to sob.

Gus has been released after he gives the police artist a sketch of the "second' man, then he heads back to C.D.'s place, and to the old cot that lays in back.


                                          **************************************

 

The weeks pass and the sketch that Gus has given the Rangers is no help at all. They have shown it to all everyone in the stockyards, the only thing they can all agree on is the man is a 'weirdo' with spooky look.

Meanwhile, Cormac has been keeping a low profile. He keeps asking at the rodeo grounds about the man called ‘Fire’, no one knows anything.

He keeps staring at the picture that he took from C.D.'s, his head continues to throb.  He now has a new drinking buddy, the man is even more dense than Cormac, and constantly drunk.  They have taken up residence near the train yards, and stealing or begging for food.  Cormac lets his new friend do all the talking, he stands in the shadows and watches.

He tries to remember the night that he followed Dawson back to the old bar 'n' grill, and he watched as Dawson followed the waitress out to the dumpster.  Dawson was trying to talk to the woman, and the woman got scared, she tried to run away and Dawson hit her.  Cormac walked up to them as Dawson had the woman on the ground and was making an attempt to take her clothes off.  The woman was fighting him, she kicked him in the groin and started to run away right into the arms of Cormac!

The men started to argue, and then the knife came out.  Cormac knocked Dawson to the ground and with one hard swipe, the man's genitals were cut off, the woman started to scream and Cormac back handed her.  To stop Dawson from screaming, Cormac then shoved the man's severed genitals into his mouth.  Dawson continues to try and scream, Cormac then cut his ears off.

He then took the keys from the waitress, went into the backdoor of C.D.'s and took the picture, he then went back into the alley and sat and watched as Dawson finally bled to death.  The waitress was finally coming around and Cormac was asking her who was the man in the picture.  She would not tell him.

"Tell me who the man is or ye die!”  Cormac hisses at her.

"I don't know who he is" Jane lies.

"Ye lie, bitch one more time, who is this man?  Is his name ‘Fire’?”

Jane stares back at the man, shaking her head, "I don't know what you are talking about.”

He slaps her, "Me does not have the time to waste with ye, woman one last time who is this man?”

Jane is struggling to get away, and Cormac hits her again "His name is Walker that's all I know!”

Cormac repeats the name to himself, his head is throbbing harder "Walker?  Is that a first name or last?

Jane is crying harder as she listen to the man talking to himself, "Please let me go I won't tell anyone.”

Cormac starts to hit her again, he hears voices coming down the alley as a couple of bums are coming down the alley, going through the dumpsters.  He turns back to the woman and then slashes her throat, from ear to ear.  The bums have heard nothing as they continue to look for food.  Cormac hurries away.

He is now sitting around  the campfire that he and his new friend are sharing with other rail-bums.  He has thrown the frame away, but he continues to stare at the picture.

"What ya' looking at?”

Cormac curses “Do ye know this man?”

The old bum shakes his head, "No, I ain't never seen him maybe one of them knows him"  he points to the other bums.

The old man takes the picture and points to the man in the picture, they all shake their heads and look away, except for one.

"I know him what you want with him?”

"My friend wants to know what's his name?

The bum laughs, "You don't want to mess with him he's not a man to be messed with!!  He's got the temper of the devil and fire in his blood!”

"Fire?”  Repeats Cormac, he grabs the bum and points at the picture ye called him ‘Fire’?

The old bum can hardly talk as Cormac is squeezing his neck with one hand.

"You’re a crazy man let me go!”

"Who is he?  Is his name ‘Fire’?”

"His name is Walker!”  The bum screams back at him.

Cormac lets the man go and the man runs away, followed by the others, including his new found friend.

"It has to be him Walker maybe the "Fire" is a nickname like Dawson said. Firewalker, that is the name that me heard was written in those journals that belonged to Elizabeth, and Kordell.  It has to be him the same man that me saw near the big ship.  The eyes?  But, why would he have Elizabeth's eyes?  Me head hurts so much."

Cormac continues to look at the picture and then he studies the woman in the picture, he can't see her face too clearly and then he whispers "Elizabeth?  Can this be ye?”

 He then spits at the picture, his spittle lands on the man's face "So, ye are Firewalker me has found ye after so many years. Ye will not take her from me again!"

Cormac is now going back to the rodeo grounds and he now has a name: ‘Firewalker’!”


                                           **********************************************

 

It's now early March and Walker and Trivette have still gotten no leads to the murders in the stockyards.  They are sitting in the Ram, taking a lunch break.

"Another dead end partner.  It's like this second man has dropped off the earth!”  comments Walker.

Trivette is not answering, he's in deep thought about something else, Walker nudges him.

"Hey Trivette, why don't you take some time off you need to have more time to get your things moved out!”

Trivette shrugs, "I just feel bad about moving back to the city, I feel I've let you and Alex down.  You gave us that land for a wedding present, we promised we would build a house and stay there and now Erica wants to move into Dallas!”

Walker takes a deep breath, "It's not your fault, Trivette people change their minds about things.  Alex and I understand.”

"Well, I don't understand it!  Erica has changed so much in the past year, it's like I don't even know the woman anymore.  When we first got married and we made plans to build us a home just down the road from you guys she was so excited about living in the country!  Then right after J.W. was born, she takes him back to Chicago to see some family and friends and when she comes back she's changed!”

Walker nods his head, "She has changed, Trivette Alex and I have both noticed it and so has Gage and Syd!”

"The truth is Walker I don't  want to move into Dallas, I like living in the country. I'm finally getting the hang of country living and you were going to help me get started on raising some cows and doing all of that 'cowboy' stuff.  And J.W., he doesn't want to move either!  I know he's just a baby but Walker he loves the country. He loves the pony that you and Alex bought him, the saddle the whole nine yards.”

The men remain silent for a few minutes. Walker shakes his head.

"Sometimes we have to make changes to make the other person happy."

"Changes?  What if Alex had told you that she changed her mind and wanted to live in Dallas, what would you do, Walker?”

"I'm not so sure what I would do, but if it meant a choice between the ranch and Alex, I would choose Alex hands down!”

"I think Erica is being very unreasonable, she's saying she wants to move to the city because it puts her closer to the University and her job and that the daycare is there, I'm fighting a losing battle, Walker!   She never complained before about fighting the early morning traffic, I don't understand!”

Well I know  when Alex started spending more time at the ranch before we got married, that was one of her complaints fighting the morning traffic!  So,  we compromised as much as possible.  I started staying in the city with her as much as possible and still try to be at the ranch to run things there.  It was not easy sometimes, but compromises have to made if you want your relationship to last!”

"I can't afford two living places, Walker.  So, I'm the one that has to give in is that what you're saying?”

"I can't tell you what to do, Trivette you have to make the decision but you don't have to make it anytime soon.  Why don't you go ahead and find a temporary place to live in Dallas.  In the meantime don't worry about your place in Springtown.  I will take care of the house note!”

"I can't ask you to do that, Walker!!  I've already asked you to take the land back.  I can't have you making the house payments too!”

"I'm not taking the land back, Trivette it was a gift to you and Erica and if you don't want it then it goes to J.W. or any other little Trivettes that you and Erica might have.  As for the house, I told you that if you do decide to sell, I would take it over, so your credit wouldn't be ruined.  Alex wants to expand the daycare and we've decided to make another daycare there in Springtown.  But, Alex and I both want you and Erica to stay on the land but you have to make the decision, Trivette. And, one more thing Alex and I both said that you better not move so far away that we can't see J.W. on a regular basis you got that?

Trivette smiles and answers slowly, "I got it and that's another thing to consider, J.W. is going miss you guys, especially Angela!”

"We'll miss him too just don't be taking him to Chicago or Baltimore!”

Trivette grins, "Who would have thought that some 10 years ago that when I first became your partner, 'against your wishes, I might add,'  that we would be such close friends today and raising our kids together?  And, now Alex is having twins geez we've come a long ways, huh partner?

"Yep we have!  You're my best friend, Trivette we've argued, we've laughed, we've shared the bad times and the good and we've shared the tears!”

Trivette nods, "C.D. (big dog), Uncle Ray, White Eagle, and countless brothers in blue we've always been there for each other.  That's why it makes me so angry that something as horrible as Jane's murder could happen at our friend's place.  Old C.D. will be turning in his grave if we don't find out who did this!”

"We will find out who did this, Trivette they always make mistakes, we'll get a break in this case and C.D. can rest peacefully.”

Trivette wipes a tear away, "But, there's something that doesn't make any sense, why take that picture?  Gus said the one man, the weirdo, seem possessed with that picture of you and Alex?”

"I've been racking my brain about that part of it unless it was someone that Alex and I have put away but nothing out of the ordinary has happened no threats, nothing!”

"How is Alex reacting to all of this?”

"So far she has hadn't much of a reaction, if she has she's keeping it to herself she's more concerned with this pregnancy.”

Trivette is now smiling "Twin boys? Walkman you old devil you hit the Mother lode.  You're getting two sons at the same time!”

"Yeah, and I'm a nervous wreck!"  Walker replies. "I was excited when the ultra sound showed one was definitely a boy but when the other one proved to be a boy too -I almost passed out right there in the doctor's office!”

Trivette slaps his knee, "Now, I would have paid money to see that, the great Cherokee warrior fainting!”

Walker is grinning, "I would give anything if my parents were alive to see their grandkids.  I've been thinking about them a lot lately.  Which reminds me next week is my Father's birthday.  I want to stop by the cemetery and take fresh flowers.”

"How long has it been now, Walker?

"In July it will be 29 yrs since they were murdered by those skinheads.   We took Angela to see their graves and to try and explain what happened.  Kids ask a lot of questions and we've tried to answer all of her's, but there's one question we'll never be able to answer and that's why?”


                                          ************************************************

 

Stockyards:

 

Zeb has been running the mechanical bull for some school kids that have got to take a 'field trip' to the stockyards. The last child has finished riding when one of Zeb's friends come walking up to him, and pointing back to the man in the ragged jeans and scraggy beard.

"Hey Zeb, that man is back again asking questions!”

Zeb looks over to the man and then back to his friend. "Who is he, what kind of questions is he asking this time?”

"The same one as the other times, wants to know about a bull rider, named Firewalker.  You gonna talk to him this time?”

"Yeah, bring him over!”  Zeb waves at the kids as they are loading back up on the bus and yells them to come back soon.

The man approaches Zeb slowly and Zeb looks him over.

"Hear you been asking questions about a man called Firewalker, what do you want with him?

"That's me business, do ye know him?”

"Look, mister don't come around here with that chip on your shoulder asking questions like that or someone just might knock it off!”

Cormac squints, "Do ye know a rider by the name of Firewalker?  He asks slowly.

"No, I don't know anybody by that name what's he look like?”

Cormac thinks hard about showing the man the picture and then he shoves it at Zeb "Here the man in the picture, do ye know him?

Zeb looks at the picture, he recognizes Walker and Alex immediately "Yeah, I know him that's Cordell Walker.”

Cormac's eyes grow wide, "Kordell?

"Yeah, that's Walker hardly anyone ever calls him by his first name where do you know him from?”