“Jake runs his trapline downriver. He won’t find the Ghost there,” Big Frank insisted with finality. Percy and the Captain nodded in agreement, but everyone’s mind was still on the Ghost Otter, and each secretly longed to be the one to capture it.

“When Jake gets here, you two make friendly with him up front,” Frank said. “Start by giving him condolences for his dead squaw—but don’t call her a squaw. And don’t make too big a fuss of it. Then I’ll spring the question on him and make it natural sounding, like we all didn’t just talk through it.”
“Whoooeee! Frank’s chicken, F-Frank’s a chicken!” declared Percy. He took to hopping and squawking about the cabin, flapping his arms like some kind of strange bird. The odd little man was still giddy over having drawn the long straw.”

“I’ll stuff you like a rooster if you don’t quit your yappin’ Percy,” Frank grumbled.

“Ease up Frank, he’s only jerkin’ your chain,” said Cappy. “We’ll break the ice for you, Frank. I’ll start in with, ‘Hey Jake, hope the filthy squaw didn’t stub her moccasined big-toe when she kicked the bucket,’ and Percy, you ask him what spooky sh-t she said right before she croaked, hee-hee-hee!’” Cappy hooted and hollered and thumped out a jig on his wooden leg, while Percy resumed his avian gallivants about the cabin.

The three of them piped down quick though when the horse outside gave a snort.

Cappy hobbled over to the frosted window and peered out at the approaching canoe. It was Jake alright. He knew by the bear skull mounted on the bow of the canoe, and the jaunty red hound peering out the front like the figurehead of an old pirate ship. The dog held the brown-haired legbone from some deceased wild ruminant in its jaws. Cappy nodded at the other two men, and good humor drained from the room like the last swallow from a bottle of bourbon.

Last edited by Johnny Skunk; 05/10/24 07:33 PM.