City Tricks For A Ol’ Dog – Chapter 1

Story By: Odogoo

AU story of characters from the book / film “The Power of the Dog.”  Phil Burbank has to deal with a unwelcome guest, and the baggage that involves them.


Phil wasn’t pleased hearing some hot shot from the city would be visiting the ranch.  He hated new blood, especially city blood.  Why he always would avoid going to town, and let his brother handle such things.  He told his brother to deal with it, whatever IT was.

His brother George took to the most civilized life, as his brother would put it.  He liked to work with his hands, man ain’t nuttin’ if he doesn’t know how to work with both.  He planned to stay in the stables, hell sleep in them if he had to.  Whoever it was should be gone in a day or two.  He could sleep anywhere, although he wasn’t pleased he would probably not be sleepin in his comfortable bed.

He heard the commotion about a fancy car.  One you would see in New York City of something.  He wanted to vomit.  All that hootin, and hollering for what?  Few moving shiny bits of metal.  Such limited minds would find that so grand.  He went over to the memorium for his mentor Branco Henry, he was so fumin, he had to calm down, drown the commotion out.  He picked up the saddle, taking it, and doing what always seemed to calm him down.  Giving it a nice polish, after putting it under the memorial, and sitting on it, as he rolled himself a cigarette.

He closed his eyes as he took a long drag from it.  It sets his throat a light with a nice heat.  Focusing on it, trying to block out anything else.  “Damn it!” he said, throwing the barely smoked cigarette, jumping from the saddle.  He was in a fury, as he stormed out of the barn.  “Boys! It’s just a shiny bit of steel, and tin.  You halloring enough to wake the dead!”  Giving his men harsh looks, them quieting.  Him eyeing the car as it was pulling up.

His lip curled a bit as he saw it.  Dusty now from the drive on the dirt road, no clean smooth streets like they got in the city.  It looking like there was only one person in the car.  At least that was something.  The less the merrier.

His eyes followed as a tallish man got out of the car.  He was well dressed, obviously.  One wouldn’t look proper, and trim to the smallest detail, while driving a monstrosity like that.  He was clean shaven, tailcoat, vested, and good lord what kind of hat was he was wearin.  Looked like he ready for the circus or something.

The man looked around.  He saw the men, how could he not with the commotion they were making as he road up.  Him striding up to the men.  Him looking at them, all of them worn, and a bit muddy.  It appeared as if he was looking for something, or someone.  Looking completely out of place.  “Hello sir’s I am here to see the owners of this ranch.  Do any of you happen to know where Mr. Burbank is.”

They looked at each other, while they were about to answer, Phil beat them all to the punch.  “Well if it ain’t Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey coming to our ranch.”  Phil heavily stepping over, standing a bit straighter to try and intimate him.  The man remaining uhphased by it.

“Not sure what you are saying, but do you know where Mr. Burbank is, if not please be so kind to point me to where someone who would know is.”  The men looking at each other, and then back to the two men wondering what will happen next.

“Hmm, Mr. Burbank you lookin’ for?”  Phil rubbing his chin with the bank of his fingers as he talked to him.

“Yes, where is he.”

“What business you got with him.”  Slowly walking around him in a circle.

“Private matter, now please point me to where he is.”

“Alright, follow me.  Boys back to work.”  Phil said.  Him leading the man to a hand full of places.  Pretending that he was looking for him.  Him fake apologizing each time, “Hmm he ain’t here either.  Don’t worry sir, I am sure we will find him soon.”

The man was patient, Phil also patient, but getting rather annoyed when the man should have been blowing his lid.  “Don’t worry I am sure we will find him sooner or later.”  The man encouraged which made Phil all the more angry.

“What your deal anyway?”

“Matter for Mr. Burbank, like I said before.”  The man, adding.  “So if you would introduce yourself proper, then we can get underway.”

It felt like the wind was punched out of him, him turning looking at the man.  “You serious?”

“I should be asking you that, now introduce yourself, or bring me to your brother.”  Phil’s mouth hung open.  Him looking at the man, but then clearing his throat harshly.  Introducing himself properly, and apologizing.  “No worries, a bit of country fun, I think it’s called.”

Phil took a look at him.  “Yeah, bit.”  Phil took off his hat, offering his hand.  “Phillip Burbank, but call me Phillip and the only living things that will find you are the coyotes.”

The man giving him a wide smile, taking off his hat, “James Jackson, sir good to me you.”  Phil was surprised at how strong, and firm the man’s handshake was.  Most city folk giving nothing but a limp wristed wiggle.

“Got a bit of a grip on you son,” Phil said trying not to sound as impressed as he actually was to get a shake like that from some weak city slicker.

James smiled proud, “you can tell a man’s merit by his shake Mr. Burbank.”

Phil gave a firm nod in agreement.  At least he wasn’t completely lost.  Bronco always said try to find one good thing it will make your life easier when dealing with someone you don’t like to get it over with quicker. “Come on, let’s see if I can find my brother.”

“George, Georgy where are you!” Phil hollered in the main entry of the house.  One of the house workers came to the entry.

“Mr. Phil, sir, Mr. Phil.  Your brother is sleeping.”

He took a look of fake interest.  “Oh is he now.”

“Yes sir, want to make sure he nice and refreshed for our guest that is coming.”

Phil chuckled, “Tell me, you early or late.”  He said not even turning to look at the man.

“Early Mr. Burbank.  I was unsure how my tires would fair with the lack of roads here, so figured either be early, or have enough time to assure I am on time.”

“Daddy teach you that,” he said, finally turning.

But Phil got a disgusted look when James answered, “No my mother.”

“Yes well, you city folk, and your women…” he couldn’t even end his thought out loud, it for the best most likely.  Mary hated how he talked about women at times.  While he didn’t care what people thought of him, Mary was one of the few rare instances where a woman knew her place and stayed there.  “Stay here, I’ll go get my brother.”

James watched him stomp up the stairs, before looking at Mary, and smiling.  “Morning, ma’am.”

Mary looked at the young man and smiled, “Morning sir, can I offer you a drink or a slice of apple pie while you wait?”

“Oh that would be lovely Miss Marry,” James says following her to the kitchen.

Phil all but kicked the door in to the bedroom he shared with his brother shouting, ”Get up you fat, lazy, sack of manure!”

His brother George practically fell out of his bed had the loud sound, and yelling.  Him barely catching himself before he did.  “Phil, what the heck!”

“Get up fatso,” he said, giving the bedframe a kick.

“I am, dang it Phil I am.  What got you all fired up.”

“You gave your word, man ain’t nothing, if he don’t have a word,” Phil spit out in what could best be described as a growl.

George rubbed at his eyes as he got out of the bed.  “Word on what?”

“You said I ain’t have to deal with our visitor, yet for the best part of an hour, I have had to.”

“What, he’s here?”  George becoming more alert.

Phil’s eyes flashed, “Yes he’s here!”

“Dang it, he is early.”  George starting to rush around to straighten up, going into the bathroom to wash his face.

“Why you carin, so much?  Don’t tell me you dating him.”

George looked at him, “Are you stupid.”  George was usually the well tempered nice one.  Never to call names, and always ready to talk things out, and find common ground.  It takes Phil a bit back.  George adding, “You heard me, you stupid?”

“No, why you saying I am?”

George straightened up looking at him full height.  “What, in that head of yours, would lead you to believe I am like that.  Especially to someone I don’t know the first thing about besides the business you refuse to be a part of.”

“You know I work the boys, and animals, better then that paper stuff.”

“Oh don’t bull me Phil, we both know you are the smart one.  You just refuse to apply that brain to anything deeper than hand work.”  

“Fine, you get the details, come to the barn after, and we talk.”

George could see that this was his brother trying to work with him.  George had learned flexibility thanks to his brother’s harsh nature.  He could see that this was his brother being reasonable.  “Alright Phil, alright.  But then you listen, and we discuss this?  It’s important.”

“Fine, fine.  Just deal with him, and get him out of our hair so things can go back to normal.”

George put his hand on his brother’s shoulder.  “Will do brother, will do.”  George going downstairs.  Phil hears his steps getting further and further away.