Marrying A Cowboy(6)By: Tyra Brown
He took off his cowboy hat and nodded at a bleach blonde waitress in her early forties. She always looked forward to seeing the tall, lean, brooding cowboy. He sat in the same seat every day and ordered the same greasy cheeseburger with French fries and a Coca-Cola.
“Good afternoon, Dolores,” Mathew said.
The middle-aged woman smiled and batted her lashes. She had been holding out hope for years that this lonely cowboy would ask her out one day even though she knew that he was clearly out of her league. It was more of a fantasy than anything else. And as long as he continued coming into the diner and sitting in her section, she didn’t really care whether or not it came true. Most of her customers were overweight truckers who smelled like cigarettes or chewing tobacco. It was a real pleasure for her to deal with someone like Mathew.
He sat down in his usual booth and placed his cowboy hat down on the seat. He ran his fingers through his hair. He still had a full head of it and didn’t need to pluck out any gray hairs yet. He was thankful for his youth. But what was the point if he didn’t have a woman to share it with?
He heard a bit of commotion at the other end of the diner. It wasn’t unusual for the truckers to get a little bit rowdy around lunchtime, so he didn’t pay much attention to the extra noise. They had been on the road for God knows how many hours, and if they needed to let off a bit of steam by getting a little rowdy then so be it. But the noise didn’t die down like it should have. Instead the voices got louder.
“Sir, I don’t know where ya’ll from but we won’t have any drunkenness in here. Not at this time of the day.” That was the voice of the silver-haired manager, Bill Mckibbons. Bill had been working in the diner since Mathew was a child. It had been a long time since he’d heard him raise his voice.
“Shut up, old man! Go get us some more beer and stop standing there looking stupid!”
Mathew’s ears pricked up. That accent didn’t sound at all familiar. Suddenly he sensed that there might be trouble on the horizon. He wasn’t the type of man to sit around and let someone, especially an older man that he had known all his life, get pushed around. He put on his cowboy hat and stood up. Then he began walking towards the commotion. He felt someone pulling on his arm. He turned around. Dolores was looking up at him with frightened eyes.
“Now, don’t go starting any trouble now. They're just some out-of-towners. Think they’re from New York or something. They had a few too many drinks. But I don’t think they mean any real harm.”
When Mathew heard that they were from New York, his eyes lit up. He would love the opportunity to show some out-of-towners how hospitality worked out here in the west. He felt a rush of energy surging through his body.
As he got closer to the table, he made eye contact with Bill. The man tried to wave him off. But Mathew wasn’t going to sit idly by while these out-of-towners caused trouble.
He finally got right next to the table. He put his hands on his hips and looked down at the three men who seemed to be the cause of the problem. Mathew wasn’t all that impressed by them. They were all much smaller that he was and they had on a bunch of flashy jewelry. Definitely from out of town, he said to himself with a snicker. Nobody from around here would dare walk around with so much gaudy jewelry.
The three men were talking and joking loudly amongst themselves. It took them a few moments before they noticed the tall cowboy standing over them. When they finally caught sight of him, their eyes got wide with fear. That made Mathew smile. What a bunch of punks, he thought. I’ll show them a thing or two about how real men conduct themselves.
“What seems to be the problem, fellas?” Mathew said. The three guys looked at each other then at the manager who was now smiling at them triumphantly. He was more than willing to step back and let the younger man handle this rowdy bunch.
A pudgy man with diamond studs in his ears and gold chain around his neck was the first to speak up. “Who said there was a problem?” He kept his eyes locked on Mathew’s for a few moments but he couldn’t handle the intensity of the cowboy’s gaze and he soon lowered his eyes.