In the previous episode, Max got very upset with the his father after seeing he and Tala getting awfully close to one another. In his rage, he went to his mothers grave and his punishment for running off was not being allowed to see the symphonies for 2 months. Still mad about his dad and Tala, readers voted for Max to do the only logical thing when faced with a challenge with another cowboy; becoming a cowboy himself.
Tala noticed Max’s backpack was bulging but she didn’t ask what he was carrying. She dropped him off at school, he hustled to his locker. It was a normal day for Max, nothing unusual… until final period. Now, he would unload the backpack, and put his plan into action.
Butch and his buds where riding, roping, preparing for the upcoming event at the high school rodeo arena. Coach Duffy was putting them through the paces, when he stopped and said, “What in tar nation?”
It was Max, in full cowboy garb. He was wearing his father’s Western, snap button shirts, his boots, and one of his old straw Stetson hats. This is what he’d been lugging in the pack.
The clothes were a little too big for him, but so what? Max had finally decided, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. It was a long shot, but if Tala was attracted to these man-boys, then he would become one… or at least dress like them.
“What are you doing here, Max?” Coach Duffy asked.
“I want to join the team.”
“That a fact? You ever rode a horse before?”
“Nope!” said Max without hesitation. “But this is school. I’m here to learn. I mean, let’s face it, I never did math before either, but that didn’t stop Mrs. Pauline from making me doing it, right?”
Coach Duffy was sizing Max up as Butch and his boys laughed in the background.
“Look, anyone can try-out. That’s the law. You’re not gonna make me call my lawyer are you?”
“Does your dad know about this?” Coach Duffy asked.
“Sure! Who do you think signed the parental consent forms?” Max said, whipping out the signed form. Coach Duffy reluctantly took the form, and then started walking.
“Follow me.” And Max did.
Later, Max sat in Coach Duffy’s office alone. After a moment, the Coach and Zane enter.
“What’s going on?” Zane asked, more than a little miffed.
“He wants to come out for the squad,” Duffy replied. “He’s a cowboy now.”
“What? What are you talking about?” Zane asked.
“He wants to ride bronc or be our clown.”
“Clown? Son, that’s the most dangerous job there is.”
“Good,” said Max. “I want danger.”
“I figured you knew all about it,” said Duffy, slyly, “since you signed the consent form.”
“What?” Zane sees the form with his signature forged.
“Max, this is over. Get back to your regular class.” Zane said dismissively.
“You don’t back-talk me, boy,” Zane growled. But Max didn’t move. He was looking at his father with a steely cold, wolf-like stare. Zane wasn’t afraid but he was a bit rattled by his son’s new attitude.
“Could we have the room, Coach?”
With that, Duffy was gone. Zane calmed and sat next to Max.
“Son, I’m gonna take a wild stab here, and say — your sudden interest in rodeo has something to do with Tala. You think becoming a cowboy will make her like you? I know you’re fond of her…”
“You’re the one who’s fond of her,” Max blurted out.
“Max, you can’t just start riding bronc. You never even rode a horse before.”
“Whose fault is that?” Max interjected. “I wanted to, but you never let me.”
“You’re gonna get yourself killed.”
“I don’t care. Don’t you see that? I don’t care,” Max wailed, tears welling in his eyes.
“Max. She’s too old for you…”
“You’re too old for her!” Max said. “You’re a cowboy, a real cowboy. You could have any woman you want. Why her? Why does it have to be her?”
“We just like each other. We’d been drinking and… we kissed. These things happen.”
“You kissed her?” Max said. Zane was caught. He thought Max already knew. He regretted saying anything, even regretted kissing the young woman. But what was done was done.
“She’s not my mother,” Max said softly. “Or… did you forget about her?”
That was low-blow. And it prompted Zane to do something he never thought he’d ever do. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.