When my alarm goes off I slowly open my eyes and sit up in bed. I take some time to stretch when I swing my legs over the side hitting the alarm to shut up. I steadily stand up to my feet making my way to the bathroom to relieve myself and quickly shower. My head is pounding from the whiskey last night, and I already know it’s going to be a shitty day. Life doesn’t stop on a farm from a hangover, and today is no exception. I have a few ranch hands that help work the farm with me. No more birthday parties for me!
There is Danny who is my best friend from high school. Carter who was here already while I was growing up, and Rhonda. Rhonda is a great worker don’t get me wrong, but she isn’t my type. She instantly thought that the moment she started working I’d fall for her ect. Nope, not even remotely the case. Doesn’t mean she still doesn’t try. If any girl looks at me she takes it personally. I even caught wind last night that she told some people in town that she was my girlfriend. So I drank trying to figure out how to approach this today. I need more help on the farm but she really stepped over the boundary this time so if I let her go I will then need even more help.
I quickly shower throwing some jeans and shirt on when I head downstairs to get coffee. I live in a two story house on the ranch that was my family home. I’m twenty-six years old and it’s coming up on the eight year anniversary of my parents death. They both died when I was eighteen which was devastating, but if you look around I have a few pics but that’s it. I remind myself of how I cannot end up like. I cannot end up like my dad. For years I watched him beat on my mom, but more of that later. I gotta get the finances done, and get started working early.
I grab my coffee letting out my two heelers Tango and Ranger sitting down and soon balancing books when I see the first light of the day come over the horizon. The moment it starts to light up the valley I see the guys already getting their work started when Rhonda comes walking out. I figure now is the perfect time to deal with this shit.
I throw on my boots and jacket and head out calling Danny and Carter to come over for a minute. I see Rhonda smiling at me and I just keep a level head even though I’m wanting to scream and yell. Once the guys come over I look at Rhonda and keep my cool.
“So I hear that you told some people in town you’re now my girlfriend? Let’s get this straight right now. You are a ranch hand nothing more nothing less. Know your role and shut your hole! I will not stand for you making up lies. One more issue and you’re gone!”
She goes to open her mouth when I put my hand in the air and stop her instantly.
“Do not say anything back! It doesn’t require an answer.”
She just nods and goes about her way while I make mine back to the house. I have a feeling I’m going to need a lot more help so I call Angie at the local feed store. I explain that if anyone comes in looking for work to contact me. I don’t care who it is at this point just as long as they keep their mouth shut and do the fucking work. I just need to get out of here for a bit. I walk back out to the garden and grab some flowers, and start walking to the big oak tree behind the house. It’s about half a mile away, but while I walk I just think.
When I finally made it I set the flowers on my mom’s grave and sat on the bench. I sneer at my fathers grave that I left unmarked for a reason. He doesn’t deserve to be acknowledged. See growing up we always walked on eggshells. Never wanting to set off my dad. He had major anger issues, and would always take it out on my mom. When I was little I couldn’t do much but when I got older I would try to protect her until the day I had a gun pointed at my head.
I was eighteen years old and the moment it happened I just froze. My mother told me to run and not to look back. So I ran out to the pasture across the field as fast as I could until I heard a gunshot ring out. Then a second one rings out. My heart sank and ran back towards the house. When it came into view I saw Carter and Danny standing there shaking their heads. I couldn’t figure out what they meant so I ran inside the house and that’s when I saw them lying there. That rat bastard shot my mom then himself.
I just fell to my knees in shock when Danny walked in grabbing me and pulling me out. I fought him but thankful that he did now looking back. When we exited the local sheriff’s showed up, and was as shocked as I was. I walked away thinking of what this meant. What do I do now? Everything is now dumped on my shoulders and these two are counting on me to keep them employed. Once the coroner came and removed them I just sat in a chair on the porch as cleaning crews came in. Carter came over and sat down next to me just looked out over the farm also.
“Look Travis I don’t know much but I know you will be an amazing boss. Just believe in yourself. Danny and I will get everything done today, just take some time to absorb everything and grieve.”
“Carter I will grieve for my mom but I will never shed a tear for my dad. I will help get stuff done. I just need some time.”
“Well, take as much as you need. We can get this done.”
They sure enough got stuff done. Not only did they keep the farm going but made the arrangements and we had a small ceremony. Some local people showed up but that was it. My dad wasn’t the most likable guy around. So he didn’t have any friends. I think the people showed up out of pity for me. An eighteen year old boy who just lost his parents and thrust into running a farm. I have to give all the credit to Mr. Richards. He took me under his arm and showed me the ropes with finances and everything on how to run a farm.
He passed a few years ago, but I could never thank him enough. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be who I am today. I get pulled from my thoughts when Danny comes and sits next to me. He has been my right hand man all this time. Whenever I felt like I couldn’t keep going he would be the one to snap me out of it.
“You ok boss? You have been out here for hours.”
“Danny, please out here you can use my name. Hell, we have been best friends for years!”
“I know, but it feels weird now after all this time.”
“You say that every time! Now come on, let’s get work done!”
We start walking back and as we approach the house I see the garden my mom would spend every moment in. It’s not the healthiest right now, but it tends to get neglected with everything else that has to be done. Wonder if we can find someone to just tend to the garden. Who would want that job? I focus on what needs to get done and set out the chores for the afternoon. Hopefully I can at least get something done!