A Sneak Peek at Chapter 3 of Hank #71!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018 | By Maverick Books

Hank 71 chapter 3 for blog b



Howdy Hank-fans!

We hope you enjoy this little snippet from Hank's latest adventure... 

And, if you want to find out if Slim takes Woodrow's advice, be sure to check out the rest of The Case of the Monster Fire!






Slim was coming down the hall, tucking in his shirttail. Good. He could take the lead on this deal and I would provide backup. I dived under the…that is, I found myself beneath the coffee table and started pumping out some cover fire. Awesome barks.

He went to the door and yanked it open. There stood…hmmm, it wasn’t a robot, as you might have thought. It was an old guy: white hair, bushy eyebrows, smoky gray eyes, and red suspenders holding up khaki pants that bagged in the seat. I sent this info to Data Control and got an ID: Woodrow, Viola’s daddy.

See? What did I tell you? We’ve never had a robot show up at Slim’s place and probably never will. I’ve tried to drill this into the troops: stick with the facts and don’t let your imagination run wild. Drover is the very worst about making a mountain out of a mohair.

Anyway, there stood Viola’s daddy. Slim said, “Why…Woodrow. What a nice surprise.”

“Did I get you out of bed?”

“Heck no, been up for hours. I was updating my tally book.”

“We need to talk.”

“Well sure, come on in. You want some coffee?”

“No, I’ve coffeed. Been up since five.”

Slim brought a chair from the kitchen. When Woodrow sat down, it collapsed, I mean sank into a heap of rubble. Slim had to pull him out. “Sorry, Woodrow. I’ve been meaning to fix that thing.” He brought another chair from the kitchen.

Woodrow tested it. “Is this one safe?”

“Here, you take the easy chair and I’ll…” Woodrow waved him off and sat in the kitchen chair. It held.

Slim flopped down in his big easy chair. “Well, what can I do for you?”

“Are you going to marry my daughter or not?”

Wow, that killed every fly in the room. Slim’s adam’s apple jumped and he blinked his eyes.


“Are you going to marry my daughter or not?”

“Well, Woodrow, yes, but I need to save up some money.”

“She’s been wearing that ring for six months and I ain’t seen any signs of progress.”

“Saving money is kind of slow on cowboy wages.”

“I told you that from the beginning. You can’t afford a parakeet, much less a wife. If y’all wait till you can afford to get hitched, she’ll be eighty years old. Maybe you ought to start robbing banks.”

“Well, I hadn’t thought of that.”

“Or get some heifers, calve ‘em out, and start building your own cow herd. I’ll give you the pasture for free.”

“Woodrow, if I wrote a check for heifers, they’d send me to the pen. My checking account’s in pretty sad shape.”

Woodrow’s eyes were crackling and he leaned forward. “I’ll give you the danged heifers!”

Now a little fire came into Slim’s eyes. “That’s nice, but I don’t want free heifers from you or anyone else. I can take care of my own business.”

“Then do it! Go talk to a banker.”

“I don’t have one. I like bankers even less than doctors.”

“Well, I’ve got one and I’ve used him plenty. He loans money to people who want to make something of themselves.”

Slim took a deep breath. “Woodrow, if your banker looked at my financial statement, he wouldn’t quit laughing for a week.”

“I’ll co-sign the note.”

Slim’s eyes bugged out. “You ain’t going to co-sign my note! I ain’t going to borrow money to buy cows I can’t afford!”

There was a moment of deadly silence, then the old man’s lips twitched into a wicked little smile. “That’s just what I thought you’d say.” He pushed himself out of the chair and headed for the door.

“Sorry, Woodrow. I appreciate the offer.”

“That’s all right. Viola didn’t figure you’d go for it, so she’ll talk to the banker herself. See you around.”

He went out the door. Slim sat there for a moment, then flew out of his chair. It kind of caught me by surprise and, well, I fired off three barks. He sailed out the door, I followed, and we caught up with Woodrow as he was about to get into his pickup.

“Hey, did you say she’s going to sign a note to buy some heifers?”

“That’s right, ten head of bred heifers. She’ll meet with the banker. You don’t have to do a thing but stay out here and preach thrift to that dog.” He glared down at me through shaggy brows. “You’d better preach good, ‘cause he don’t look too smart.”

What? Who?

He climbed into the cab and started the motor. Slim banged on the window. Woodrow rolled it down. “What?”

Slim dug his hands into his pockets and took a big breath. “Okay, I’ll talk to the frazzling banker.”

“You sure?”

“I’m sure I got ambushed. When does this take place?”

“We’ll pick you up in an hour. Take a bath and do something with that hair. Do you own any decent clothes? Wear ‘em. Just because you’re a pauper don’t mean you have to look like one.”

He drove off, didn’t roll up his window or say goodbye, and left us in a cloud of dust. Slim fanned the air in front of his face and muttered, “Thanks, Woodrow, for putting me on the road to the Poor House.”

He trudged back to the porch, walking like a sad old man, all bent over and frowning. I must admit that I didn’t understand any of that conversation, except the part about taking a bath. Maybe that was it. He had to take a bath and it wasn’t even Saturday. That can put a guy into a dark mood, I guess.

It really didn’t matter if I understood or not. Dogs don’t understand half of what goes on with our people, but that’s just part of the job. What matters is that we’re there to walk beside them. We’re there when they need us.

I would walk with Slim all the way to the bathtub and give him comfort in his time of need. I might even drag his jeans into another room and fling them around in my jaws. I kind of enjoy doing that.

When he reached the front door, he speared me with his eyes and said, “No.”

No what? I hadn’t done anything.

“You stay outside. Stubtail will be right out.”

Well, gee, that seemed kind of harsh. How could he take a bath without…he went inside. A few minutes later, the door opened and Stubtail came flying out and landed on the porch.

He seemed on the virgil of tears. “He yelled at me and threw me out of the house!”

I marched over to him. “Good. Now we can get started on your court martial. Sit down and show some respect. This court finds you guilty of all charges.”

He blinked. “What charges?”

“The charges of which you’ve been charged of which, mainly being a little chicken.”

His head sank. “Oh, that. I was hoping you didn’t notice.”

“Of course I noticed! Every member of this jury saw you run from the field of battle.”

“Oh rats.”

“Do you admit the charge of the charges?”

“Might as well, if everybody saw it.” He started sniffling. “But you didn’t see the worst part.”

“You mean…there was more?”

“Yeah, but I don’t want to talk about it. I’m so ashamed!”

I began pacing in front of the witness, I mean, this sounded bad. “Okay, let’s get this over with. Tell this court exactly what happened, and don’t forget that you’re under oath.”

“You mean like oathmeal?”

“Exactly. Oathmeal is the most honest of all cereals, and that’s what we expect from your testimony. No whoppers, in other words.”

“Oh drat.”

“Please don’t use naughty language. Go on.”

He hung his head and wiped a tear out of his eye. “I wet under Slim’s bed.”

Those words hit me like a wooden nickel falling from the sky. I stopped pacing and stared at him. “You wet…Drover, how could you do such a thing?”

“It was easy. You told me there was a robot on the porch and it scared me so bad, I couldn’t hold it.”

“Why would you want to hold a robot?”

“No, the water.”

“Oh. Well, you wasted your water. There wasn’t a robot on the porch.”

“That makes it even worse.”

I paced around him and pondered all the evidence. I found it hard to keep from laughing. “This is ha ha shameful. Your honor, we the jury have come to a verdict.”

“Are you talking to me?”

“No, just listen and keep your trap shut. Your honor, we find the defendant guilty of being a little chicken and wetting under Slim’s bed.”

“Oh no!”

“But it’s so funny, we recommend no punishment.”

His jaw dropped. “No fooling? I don’t have to stand with my nose in the corner?”

“Drover, this is hilarious. Did Slim find the puddle?”

“Not yet.”

“Then you’re home free. Congratulations, son, you’ve beat the system by being a complete goose. This court is adjourned!”


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