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“What do you think that is?” one of the ranch hands asked another hand standing near the office door.
“You don’t think the boss would hire something like that, do you?” the second one asked.
“Hey boy,” the first hand asked. “Whatcha doin’ here, anyway?”
Eddie walked over to them, sized up the situation and decided to not try and bluff these two the way he had bluffed the bums in the railroad car.
“I’m just looking to pick up a few bucks so I can go on,” Eddie said, looking up at the first one. “I was told to show up this morning and I might be able to get some work. You know, washing dishes, taking out the trash, nothing important.”
The two hands looked at each other and grinned.
“Just stay out of our way, boy,” the first hand said.
“Yeah, you might get stomped by a calf!” and the second one laughed.
The two decided Eddie not only posed no threat, but with his lisp, wasn’t worth their time - especially if he planned to leave in a few days. He was obviously a sissy and they didn’t want to be seen with him.
Eddie was assigned to help with the kitchen chores, which suited him fine.
One day, he left the bunkhouse before dawn to help the cook prepare breakfast. He didn’t make it to the kitchen.
In the dark, he was overpowered by two beings. Struggle as he might, they were too much for him.
He felt a cold, metallic item placed to his neck, felt a quiver through his body, accompanied by a bright flash that seemed to come from within. Then he went out.