- Text Size +
Author's Chapter Notes:
Certain now-pejorative terms, used herein, are meant only for historical authenticity.
* * * * *


"Many's the dime novel that's been writ about these two. But, I'm the only one who can tell like it was, on account of I was there at the beginnin'."

"First off? I was born Malachi Johnson-Smith. But, most folks call me 'Malarkey,' account of that's what they call my claim that I'm the great-great-great-great-grandson of Cap'n John Smith and Pocahontas (afore she up and left him for John Rolfe)!"

"It's Gospel truth, however, that the Brit whalin' ship, Henry VIII, dropped anchor off Galveston, Texas, in 1868. Seems that a sperm whale they'd been a-chasin' (near the San Blas Islands, on the Atlantic side of Panama) had rammed and capsized a Cuna Injun fishin' canoe! Drownin' the grown-up man inside it; and almost doin' the same to the ten year-old boy they presumed to be his son."

"The first mate, who was ramroddin' Whaleboat Number One, thought fast and saved the boy. And, when that young'un finally woke up, the ship was fifty miles south of Cuba. With her skipper in no mind to turn around and head back!"

"The ship's doc, who'd learned his craft at the Brit naval hospital in Gibraltar, tried askin' the boy's name in Spanish. But, everytime he did so, the boy just up and replied with one word, over and over. A word that sounded a lot like 'Dooley!' So, that's what they gave as his name when they dropped him off at a Catholic mission-orphanage in Galveston."

"He got the rest of his name from my good friends, the Reardons."

"Echota Reardon was a part-Cherokee Irishman who worked as a gunsmith, when he wasn't too busy bein' a sergeant in the Texas Rangers. While his wife, Yvette, had been born and raised in Beaumont, Texas. The daughter of a Louisiana Cajun who'd scouted for Uncle Sam's army durin' the Second Seminole War; and the maternal granddaughter of one of them Bonapartist Frenchies who'd founded Demopolis, Alabama!"

"The two of 'em had wanted children for a long time. But, a near-fatal miscarriage had left Yvette unable to risk havin' anymore, the old-fashioned way. And, that's where I come in. You see, I used to be a circuit-ridin' preacher afore the Civil War (in which I'd served as a Union Army chaplain). So, I was good friends with the tejano priest who ran the orphanage. And, when I told Echota and Yvette about Dooley, I'll be danged if them two didn't high-tail it to Galveston on the first train headed there!"

"Well, sir; the three of 'em took to each other, right off. Two weeks later, they returned to Tonkawa Springs. And, the day after that? The town newspaper advertised a hootenanny bein' held by the Reardons in honor of their new son's eleventh birthday. Their new son now bein' full-named...Brendan Dooley Reardon."

"In hindsight, maybe Echota and Yvette should've been a heap more careful in the wordin' of that invitation. Because, among the guests who showed up was none other than Ezekiel Cousins. The biggest and crookedest cattle rancher in them parts! Though no one could ever prove the second part."

"He also brung with him his three boys--Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (identical triplets)--and their younger sister, Rebecca. Becky was what you might call the 'white sheep' of the family. An angelic-lookin' moppet with curly red hair and jade-green eyes. And, I'll be danged if she and Dooley didn't take to each other, right off!"

"Most folks, nowadays, might call such a thing 'puppy love.' Then, again; that's what them Montagues and Capulets first thought about Romeo and Juliet. Now, ain't it?"

You must login (register) to review.