“I got a travel allowance. This is my home of record.”
“Well, that sort of explains what you’re doing here. Where’s Roland?”
Sandy sat in the car for a minute more taking in the scene of house and pasture. Then she opened the door and stepped carefully around the red mud. She wore new, white sneakers and seemed puzzled by our exchange.
“Roland went to town to pick up Trish from the Greyhound.”
“Who’s’ Trish?” Asked Mike.
“She’s his new squeeze.”
“What happened to Anna?”
Umm, they’re not divorced yet but she’s working on it.”
“And the kids?”
“They’re with her. Some friends are trying to get them to make up but she says he’s beat her and she’s had enough.”
Sandy wrinkled her nose and swallowed, looking across the yard at the trees and pasture.
“Too bad. I’ve heard that story before, said Halftrack.”
“Yeah, it’s sad. My last girl ditched me for similar reasons. I never beat her but she couldn’t handle the outbursts of rage. It happens, ya know. She got mad too sometimes. She called me a male chauvinist pig.”
Sandy picked up a stick and drew a smily face but with a frown in the dust, then edged away in the direction of the pasture to investigate the neighbor’s dappled grey mare peering over the split-rail fence. “What’s her name? Do you get to ride her?” Sandy asked.
“I could but I don’t have tack. Smokey’s her name.” I answered.
Smokey muttered with her lips at the sound of her name.
“I don’t know. I haven’t seen him ride but I don’t think so.”
“I used to ride. My sister has a saddle and bridle I could borrow.”
“There’s lots of trails through the woods and along the pipeline where people ride. You’ll have to take it up with Roland though when he gets back.”
“How long are you planning to stay?” I asked her.
Sandy shrugged then Halftrack answered, “I promised her a week in the country. And I’ve got some business to take up with Roland and maybe you.”
The radiator had finished draining and I closed the petcock on the engine block and started to refill the radiator.
“I’ve got to make a run to town for water this afternoon. You guys make your selves at home. Roland shouldn’t be gone too much longer.”