The Mary Spence Story

Chapter 3.

Flint searched the horizon for the herd of cattle they always took with them. The cattle provided the travelers not only fresh beef, but also some extra earnings in the sale yards at the end of their destinations. The herd also consisted of stock belonging to the settlers on the train. For many of them the small herds they were able to take along with them supplied a good start to either ranches or farmsteads. Many of the families took their turns at driving or minding the herds. Like most young boys the Spence boys took their rostered turn.

Flint handed the reins to Mrs. Spence. "Can you handle the team until I can send Hank back?"

"Sure, and thanks Flint," smiled Mary. Taking the reins she slowed the team enough so Flint could dismount, untie his horse and the Spence's spare pony, then ride off towards the herd.

When Flint rode up on the herd, he noticed that it was strangely absent of boys. As he rode on passed the herd, there was a small group of trees. As he neared the trees, he heard the unmistakable sound of boys harassing and picking on someone.

"Petey, Petey, Petey the weeny!"

"Boys, that will be enough," said Flint. The boys ignored the scout, continuing to taunt and push the younger boy around. Flint's anger escalated. "BOYS' I SAID STOP IT!"

All eyes turned to stare at the angry man.

"What's going on here?" asked Flint.

"Nothing Mr, nothing." All three Spence boys declared in unison, while young Peter Taylor hung his head embarrassed.

"Then I suggest all of you get back to work, Matt, Mark, and Luke I want to talk to you, the rest of you scat," Flint growled. "Peter Taylor, you head back to your wagon. Yer Pa's say's its time fer you ta take over the reins."

"Sure Mr. Flint," smiled Peter. He knew his father said no such thing. He was too small to handle the heavy team, but the boy appreciated Flint McCulloch making him seem a little more important in the Spence Bullies eyes.

As soon as Peter was out of sight, Flint turned his attention to the other boys, "Mark and Luke, right after we circle up, you two go straight to your wagon. Major Adams wants to talk to you. Now get on back to the herd."

The two younger boys grabbed their sticks and took off to the back of the herd, ready to tap the rump of any straying cattle. Flint thought of grabbing the sticks and giving both little bullies a good whack with it across their legs, but he'd let the major deal with those two later. Once they were out of ear shot he turned to Matt with a very determined expression on his face. "Matt, you and I are going to take a ride. Here, I brought you a horse"

"Why? I don't want to go for a ride. Just leave me alone," snapped Matt.

"Matthew, your mom asked me, she feels you might need someone to talk too. Let's go see if we can find some game for the supper pots, and talk for a bit."

"WHY SHOULD I, I DON'T NEED YOU OR ANYONE," screamed Matt?

Flint drew a deep breath as he fought to control his rising temper. He stepped down from his horse and walked to within inches of the boy, then in a voice that was deadly calm he began, "It wasn't a request, young man, so Matthew, you are coming with me if I have to hog tie you and throw you across the saddle. Now get on the horse."

"Everybody thinks they can boss me, well they're wrong," Matthew mumbled.

"Son, would you care to repeat that loud enough for me to hear?"

"It's none of your business, and I'm not your son," Matt shouted as he mounted the horse.

Flint drew a breadth, before deciding to let the attitude slide for now as he was too angry to deal with it the over emotional young man and at least the lad had got on the horse; that was a start.

As they rode, Flint shot a couple rabbits. He had tried to get Matthew to take the gun to shoot, but each time Matt had rudely said, "Leave me alone!" Flint decided that since the boy was not going to try to meet him half way he might as well get to the reason as to why they were on this trip. Coming upon a small stream, Flint slowed his horse. "We have some talking to do, let's give the horses a rest and sit over here" said Flint as he dismounted and led his horse to the stream to drink.

"I don't want to sit and talk, just leave me alone!" Bit back Matt, petulantly.

Flint's eyes narrowed and he stomped over to where Matt still sat on the horse and in a quick yank dragged the boy from his saddle. He shook the boy and pulled him up close to his face and hissed "I've had all of the back talk and disrespect that I am going to take, you are going to sit down and listen to what I have to say, because that's the way your Ma wants it and I happen to agree."

Flint deposited the boy none too gently on a large rock, before leading Matt's mount over to the water's edge, then stooped to get himself a drink. When he finished, he returned to the rocks and sat across from the boy. "I talked to your Ma this morning. She tells me you seem to think that you can do as you wish and treat others any way you like. She told me that you were rude and disrespectful when she confronted you this morning, and then, as if that isn't bad enough, you pushed her down. What have you got to say about all this?" Flint finished rubbing his forehead.

"What's it to you, you're not my family, and I'm not your problem?" the boy answered defiantly.

Flint's anger began to boil; he paced in order to calm some before he tried again. "Young man your mother, cried this morning. She told me that she was so ashamed of herself because, she had wished your father were still here only so he could blister your backside. Matthew, you're mother has nothing to be ashamed of, but you do! She gave me her permission to treat you just as you Pa would have. I think you know what that means." Flint stopped and looked into the boy's eyes, wondering if he was getting through.

Matthew understood exactly what the tracker was referring to. His eyes grew wide and his anger boiled to the surface once more. "You can't do that you're not my Pa! Only my Pa could whip me."

Flint, removed his hat and wiped the sweat from his brow. He walked to the water's edge, turning his back on Matthew, while he washed his face and calmed his temper.

Matthew decided to take advantage of the small reprieve. He jumped onto the back of the nearest horse and galloped off. There was however one flaw in the boys plan; he was on Flint's horse. So with two sharp whistle blasts, from a very annoyed Flint McCulloch, his horse pulled up, pivoted and headed back at a full gallop to its master, depositing Matthew unceremoniously, as it pulled up sharp, then pig rooted, at Flint's feet.

That was the final straw for Flint McCulloch and he hoisted the boy up off the ground and over to the rock they had been sitting on. Flint threw Matthew easily over his bent knees and began to bring his hand down repeatedly on Mathew dusty britches.

At first Matthew kicked and screamed about how unjust this all was, and how he was too old, and that Flint wasn't his Pa.

Flint however, had already heard all this hogwash as far as he was concerned, and he was not going to let up on Matthew. Not when he had a nice steady pace going. He continued to lay down hard stinging swats to the boy's backside.

Matthew then tried to make Flint think that the spanking was not hurting and was doing no good. He stopped reacting and tried to feign annoyance with smug comments such as "You ain't hurtin, me mister, so why don't ya jist give up."

Flint may have not been an expert as far as administering spankings go, but he knew each of his swats was effective, because his own hand was beginning to sting. He only hoped Mathew would give up the fight soon. Though, he could give the kid credit, he sure was tough, but tough with anger and too pigheaded to listen to those who cared. Well if getting through that pig headed skull of his meant starting with a message sent from the other end, then so be it. Flint only hoped he'd give it up soon. He'd hate to have to take of his belt at this stage just to get his message across.

Finally, Matt began to cry and sob. His whole body shook as he lay across the scout's knee. It was at this point that Flint knew the boy had enough. As Matt lay crying over his lap, Flint thought to himself; Good…maybe now he will listen.