The Last Cowboy by Sheila Jecks
The old cowboy sat in his chair on the porch of the new cabin. He watched the rim of the desert. How many more days would there be? He knew this was his last hurrah.
The hired hand didn't understand, but it didn't matter anymore. It was almost over.
Today...thought the old man, it has to be today, I feel it in my bones.
He sat on the porch and looked at the sky: the hired hand told him there would be no ride today, bad weather coming.
As he watched, the clouds were bizarre, all piled up, shouldering one another for the best place, the big ones black and lowering. The pink air thick but so clear, you could almost see tomorrow.
"My gawd!" the old man cried as he gazed at the sky, "it's the end of the world!"
He wanted to sit on the porch and watch but the hired hand hustled him inside the cabin. The rain turned to hail the size of golf balls. So big they could kill a new born calf.
The storm finally passed and the sun came out. The old man, the hired hand and the Indian housekeeper went out and sat on the porch and looked at the fresh new world.
The edge of the desert grew hazy; the cloud of dust on the horizon grew bigger. "There they are," shouted the old cowboy, "here they come!"
The water crazed herd of range cattle drove for the bloated arroyo, the smell of water making them mad. The bawling cattle elbowing and pushing their way passed the porch. They stamped and bellowed and the dust filled the old man's nostrils and he thought it the sweetest smell.
Life coursed through his old bones and he stood and swung his old Stetson in the air and whooped and swore, pleasure flowed through him, and he was young again.
But soon they were gone.
The old man sat down heavily, age settled back on his shoulders, "I'll finish tomorrow, Ramona," he said to the old Indian housekeeper, "it'll be O.K.".
The hired hand watched with foreboding, what will be finished tomorrow?