Here is 16th Contest entry #5:
"Git up, Buck," D.B. nudged Bucky's bed with his boot, "we gotta hit Tyler."
"What's goin' on?" Bucky dragged the covers off and checked his watch, "Right now? It ain't five thirty."
"Ginny called. Din't'cha hear the office come git me?"
"I was sleepin' like a log."
"Tracy's gone," D.B. pulled his jacket on, "she run off with some dope-smokin' piece'a trash out'a hell."
"Run off? She ain't but twelve or so. Why don't the law round her up?"
"Twelve," D.B. looked at Bucky with genuine surprise, "you gonna sit there and tell me a girl with a chest like that's only twelve year old?"
"Chest? I din't look at yer baby niece's chest, Mr. Dennis Butthead Coop," Bucky snapped as he dressed, "I seen her baby freckled face and her baby girl curly hair and that was all. What in hell kind'a man you think I am?"
"Good," D.B. nodded and pointed at Bucky, "that's good. I knew you was a good man right off when I met you at the Calgary Stampede."
"So, what'r we doin'," Bucky pulled his shirt on while D.B. gathered up the rest of his things, "how old is Tracy?"
"Sixteen," D.B. shrugged, "I gotta get there an' do somethin'. There's a flight to Dallas at six fifty. I'll git to Tyler from there. Y'all git the tack and saddles and load the horses. I'll see ya at Silver Belle soon's you git there. That fit yer thinkin'?"
"Just like Mom an' Dad," Bucky nodded.
* * *
Eleven A.M. found D.B. rapping on the door of a ramshackle trailer on the outskirts of Tyler, Texas. He frowned to think Tracy left the beautiful Silver Belle Ranch his brother David had left her and her Mom to live in this dump.
"Who's there?" D.B. recognized Tracy's voice.
"Uncle Dennis. Open up."
D.B. heard a man's voice mumbling within.
"Go away," Tracy replied firmly, "tell my mother I'm staying here and leave me alone. I'm a grown woman. I can do what I want."
"Tracy?" D.B. spoke gently and calmly.
"You open this damn door right now or I'll tear it off."
"Get out of my way!" A man's voice came from within. Tracy screamed and crashed to the floor as the door flew open.
D.B. stepped back and was confronted by a burly man twice Tracy's age. Without warning, D.B. smashed him on the nose and knocked him unconscious. The man hit the ground like a bag of wet laundry.
"No!" Tracy jumped to her feet and rushed forward but D.B. stopped her with a pointing hand.
"Y'all git yer gear right now, Tracy. I ain't playin'," he spoke quietly, but firmly.
A Police car pulled into the lot and a tall officer stepped out. Tracy disappeared as the cop approached.
"What'choo doin', cowboy," the cop grinned and nodded to the prone man on the ground, "fixin' to make you a punk skin rug?"
"Howdy, Jess," D.B. grinned and offered his hand.
"Any particular reason Chad Turnbow here found his way to the knobby side'a yer fist?"
Tracy suddenly stood in the trailer door holding her bag. Jess looked at her, then back to D.B.
"Tracy," D.B. shrugged and nodded.
"Tracy?" Jess studied her and recognition lit his face. "Tracy Coop? Dave and Ginny's child?"
Jess glanced from Tracy to D.B. to Chad and back to Tracy.
"You got no business bein' here, Miss Tracy," he stepped forward and offered his hand to her
He glanced inside and pulled Tracy up short.
"Turn around, Miss," Jess pointed to a joint on the table, "is that marijuana?"
Tracy suddenly became frightened.
"It's not mine. I don't smoke anything."
Jess looked hard at her and then at D.B.
"That your rental, D.B.?" Jess nodded toward a rented car on the street.
"You go git in that car and I'm gonna fergit I seen you here. This fool Chad's about to enter a world'a hurt and you don't wanna be nowhere's near it."
"Yes, sir," Tracy hurried off and Jess grinned at D.B.
"That'll get her home," he said, "but it won't keep her there." He shrugged and glanced back at the trailer. "Din't really wanna kick this bust off yet, but once I seen the joint I gotta follow through."
* * *
"I hate you!" Tracy screeched at the top of her lungs. "You never visit unless you're passing by! You never remember my birthday or Christmas and as soon as I have something good, you bust in and ruin it! You're a fucking asshole and I hate you!"
She ran upstairs and slammed a door.
D.B. stood dumbfounded and looked at Ginny, who couldn't help but chuckle.
"It's just a phase, Denny," she soothed, "it'll pass."
"It is one damned horrifyin' phase," D.B.'s voice quivered, "I cain't hardly believe the mouth on that girl."
He paused for a moment and frowned.
"I cain't blame er," he shrugged, "I reckon I should'a been here more since Dave passed."
"Don't you start that," Ginny shook her head, "she's tryin' to get into her own power and she'll throw things around without thinkin' who it hurts. When you ain't here, she's all braggin' about what a big hero you are and how she loves you. She's just crossed up about not gettin' her way. It'll pass, believe me."
"I sure hope so," D.B. returned to his coffee at the table, "Bucky should be here tomorrow. I think maybe I got one more card to play."
"You don't know how much I appreciate you comin', Denny," Ginny said, "yesterday I was a wreck. Today, I got my feet back under me and it's down to you, pure and simple."
"Jess Timpson over in Tyler helped out," D.B. nodded, uncomfortable with the praise.
* * *
The next day at breakfast Tracy spoke to D.B. as though nothing had happened.
"How long are you going to stay, Uncle Denny," she gathered cereal, milk and a bowl and seated herself, "where is your truck?"
"I'm stayin' til the Mesquite Rodeo," D.B. started, "ya'll wanna go over there with me? Bucky's bringin' the rig now. He ought'a be here by an' by today. He's bringin' something for you."
"Do you mean Bucky Bill Buxton? The bull riding champ last year? Is that the guy who came by with you last August?"
"That'd be him."
"He's totally cute," Tracy giggled and leapt up, "I have to make some calls, Momma. I'll be upstairs."
"Be ready for a gaggle of gigglin' teenage girls," Ginny grinned.
"Anythin's better'n yesterday," D.B. shook his head.
* * *
Early in the afternoon Bucky pulled the pickup and trailer around back toward the barn. The truck was still moving when Tracy and two girlfriends stepped off the porch and walked slowly toward it with their hands in the hip pockets of too-tight jeans, wearing Stetsons and polished boots.
D.B. and Ginny walked behind them and overheard Tracy relating the events in Tyler.
".... and then D.B. socked him so hard you could hear Chad's nose break and he hit the deck like he was dead. I thought he was until Jess .... you know Jess Timpson? ...."
"You girls don't swamp Bucky with giggling and autograph houndin'," Ginny cautioned quietly.
"Momma!" Tracy turned and gently hushed her, embarrassed at being scolded in front of her friends, "we just gotta do what we gotta do."
Bucky stepped out of the truck and smiled warmly at them.
"Good afternoon, Miss Tracy and friends," Bucky tipped his hat, "it sure is good to see real Texas ladies again after all them Plain Jane northern gals." He tipped his again to Ginny. "Afternoon Miss Ginny."
"Hello again, Bucky," Ginny offered her hand, "you look good for a man I saw get stove up in Las Vegas."
"Ain't no more'n a scratch," Bucky grinned.
"Torn rotator cuff and three cracked ribs," D.B. smiled, "he'll be ridin' couch for another six weeks."
The girls giggled and offered Bucky autograph books with pens.
"If you don't mind ..." Tracy apologized.
"Mind?! I'm tickled pink," Bucky started signing the books, "I should come here more often."
"Or," one of Tracy's friends smiled and blushed, "you could just stay longer when you do come."
"I might just do that," Bucky smiled as he handed the book back, "it's all a matter of what happens next." He turned to D.B. "What happens next, D.B."
"You been snorin', Buck."
"Uh huh, an' I cain't git a wink'a sleep," D.B. shook his head sorrowfully.
"Well, I apologize," Bucky grinned, "I couldn't tell on account'a how you sound like a diesel truck all night."
Now, I know yer only sayin' that cause it's true, but that bein' neither here nor there, I reckoned out a fix so's I could git some rest and maybe end up with a championship this year."
"Do tell," Bucky crossed his arms over his chest and followed D.B. to the rear of the trailer.
"I reckon if I was to give this filly to Tracy and you was to stay here and teach her and the horse to barrel race, I could get rest and you could heal up all surrounded by luxury."
The girls squealed and charged the trailer, hanging on the back and looking inside. Tracy turned and tugged Bucky's arm.
"Say yes'! Say yes'!"
Bucky slowly smiled, then laughed, shaking his head, then nodding it.
"We could do that," he replied, "sure, we could do that."
"Yay!" Tracy immediately opened the trailer. "Can we take her for a walk? What's her name?"
Bucky stepped backwards and stopped beside Ginny.
"Her name is Princess Di," D.B. helped get the filly out of the trailer.
"Does this come as a surprise to you?" Ginny whispered to Bucky.
"Knock me over with a feather," Bucky replied, "he just paid twelve grand for this horse. We was gonna start a string."
"Tracy," Ginny spoke up, "you know D.B.'s got sire choice and foals. That's a real special filly."
"Okay, Mom," Tracy stroked the filly's neck and faced her friends, "isn't she beautiful?"
The three girls walked the horse toward the open pasture behind the barn and D.B. joined Ginny and Bucky. He met Bucky's steady gaze and shrugged.
"We don't have to actually own the horse to start a line," he said, "long's we have enough control to sire and foal. Once we got a start, it won't matter."
"You ain't heard me say nothin'," Bucky grinned and held up his hands, "I'm just along for the ride. Goin' with the flow."
"I can git another horse," D.B. smiled slightly, "we cain't git another Tracy."
"All righty, then. There ya go. Good," Bucky grinned and pointed at D.B., "that's good. I knew right off you was a good man when I met you at Calgary Stampede."
"He broke his nose at Calgary," Ginny chuckled.
"An' he looked good doin' it," Bucky laughed.
They all turned and watched the girls lead Princess Di into the pasture, talking excitedly amongst themselves.
"Let's hope this keeps her home long enough to grow up," Ginny sighed.
"Uh huh," D.B. nodded, "let's hope."