Roughstock bullfighter Coke is training new alternate Sterling, and he thinks the kid is good at his job. Dillon thinks Sterling is far too interested in Coke, and not in a boss and employee sort of way. Can Coke convince Dillon that a clown is all he needs.
Coke looked at the baby bullfighter who was jogging the arena. Had he ever been that young? He didn't think so.
Sterling Matthews was hungry, young, eager, and, unlike that Mike guy, willing to take directions. Which was why Sterling was in the ring as the second alternate and not that smart-assed little fuck.
"Mr. Pharris?" Sterling called. "What time do you want us back here? I need to grab some grub."
"Event starts at seven. You be back by five thirty."
"Four-thirty if I bring barbecue?"
Coke chuckled. "Bring lots. The smell will travel."
"Yessir." The kid grinned like to split his face and headed out.
His back-up bullfighter Nattie looked over at him, chuckled. "Hoss, was we ever that young?"
"No, sir. Not you and me. Coop, neither. Fred? Fuck, yeah." He stretched, thinking how the Aussie bullfighter Fred was still that young. "You want to go play some cards in the back?"
Dillon was doing some charity, hand-shaking, butt-shaking thing and had his truck.
"Hell, yeah. 'Specially since the kid is bringing food."
"Cool." They headed to the dressing room. Jerome was sleeping in Nattie's go-bag, Pansy was gnawing on a chew, her tail wagging.
"That's unnatural, Hoss. What does he have against my unders?" Nattie asked, eyeing Jerome's long basset hound body.
"He loves you. Blame Dillon. He named the pup."
"Uh-huh." Nate folded his lanky frame down on a camp chair and cracked open a bottle of water. "What do you think of the new kid? Aside from he's young." Coke dug out a deck of cards. "He's hungry for it. I like that."
"I just hope it don't make him take on too much. He's got to let the other guys on the team take some of them. We'll see."
He tugged over a chair to deal on. "That's how it is, at the beginning, at least until his first bad wreck."
They all handled that different.
"Then you see how they come back out and work the next one."
"You know it." Coke grinned at Nate. "What are we playing, Nattie?"
"Gin? We ain't got enough folks for poker."
"Deal me in if it's poker." Dillon came bebpopping in, reaching down to scratch basset ears.
"Poker it is." He grinned at his cowboy. "How'd your... thing go?"
Dillon struck a pose. "You mean my meet and greet with my adoring fans? Good. There was only one chicken incident.