Out take from Silver Bullet Ranch Side

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Out take from Silver Bullet Ranch Side

Post by Ranger52899 on Sun Mar 13, 2016 10:52 am

A lot of bits of this one got used later but this was an original version:







From: LameduckRus@Mountaineagles.com

To: AdenD@Horizon.net





I wish I had half your guts and I know never will have. You see this stuff in yourself and you get off your duff and do something about it. I see this stuff in myself and I have done all my life, and I piss off up mountains and snarl at Jake. I didn’t show your mail to him, and that’s another hard admission. Not that he wouldn’t want to see it, he loves news of any of you. But there’s way too much in your mail that could be me and I can’t face talking about with him because he would get it. Properly, about you but still worse about me. At least if I don’t show him something in writing I can go on pretending that he probably doesn’t know. 


I bought him a medal thing once. A Saint George medal, little silver medallion in a market in Peru. He never takes it off. I told him it was  the patron saint of boy scouts, the usual kind of flip and sarcastic comment I make, and he laughed. I’ve never told him it’s actually the patron saint of heroes. Look. Snarks. I didn’t know much about them apart from the basic reference, Jake did. There’s a fair bit of Snark hunting going on up here too, but Snarks are a just a variant and a very simplified one of the root myth and I think the original would make a hell of a lot of sense to you now. Ask Paul about the Fisher King.


Nos morituri te salutamus







Dale read and re read the short, terse mail several times before he realised how tightly his fingers were clenched over the mouse. There was real pain in those lines, and it was not pleasant to know he’d been the one to inflict it, particularly to a man under pressure on another continent.


It was hard to know what to do. To send another mail would not mitigate the damage, and might well increase it; at least until he had time to seriously consider how best to respond with tact and forethought rather than impulse. It might well be at this stage that Jake would prefer him not to communicate further; it was probably a sign of considerable forbearance on his part that there was not a sharp mail in the box from him with a request to stop adding to  his partner’s not already inconsiderable burden. Paul had given him only ten minutes to check his mail. On autopilot, Dale shut the machine down. The logical thing to do was explain the whole mess to Flynn and to ask his advice, since the protocols for one brat bollixing up another man’s brat were beyond his field of knowledge. Although admitting he’d been this much of a fool was not an easy prospect.


Idiot. Lecturing Mason like you actually know anything, how arrogant was that? You be in any position to help people? You have any kind of emotional literacy? Yeah, great start.


Eight minutes twelve seconds. He was in danger of being late if he stalled any further.


Yes, can’t possibly risk being less than perfect about that, can we?


Shut up.






Flynn came out of the bathroom, wet haired and shouldering into a shirt, and leaned on the table beside Paul, taking a leaf of lettuce from the board where Paul was chopping.


“How did Gerry do with the lines?”


“Pretty well, he got them done. The historians from the Shoshone reservation that Dale and Jas know visited this morning.”

“Did they?” Flynn’s eyebrows rose. “That’s quite a way to come.”

“They wanted to see Mustang Hill.” Paul went on shredding lettuce, cutting off a healthy chunk and handing it to Flynn before any more got swiped. “Dale and Jasper took them up there, and they came and had tea with the rest of us before they left. They were lovely, I’ll gladly make dinner for those two any time, but Jas fished for two hours after they left. He took Dale and Mason with him, I don’t know if he thought Dale needed it or whether he did; they all came back looking chilled out, but I didn’t get much more from him than he and Dale would tell us about it later-” Paul broke off as Dale came in to the kitchen. “Nothing interesting in the box?”

“A short mail from Tom.” Dale went to wash his hands. Flynn watched him do it, as he’d seen him do before when he’d checked the email. As if the office were dusty, or more likely as if having touched the computer he needed to physically detach its memory from his hands. Flynn kept his voice casual.


“Anything from ANZ?”


“No sir.”

“Because if there is, you do realise at the moment it’s going to be over my dead body?” Paul said conversationally. Dale gave him a brief smile, shaking off his hands before he dried them.


“Yes. I put an auto reply out of office mail on their addresses before we went out on the hike and it’s still there.”


“You want to try looking at me and not my eyebrows while you say that?” Paul was watching him closely, and he laid the knife down and held a hand out to him. “Come over here.”


Dale looked down at the towel he was drying his hands with, stomach clenching.


You make the choice. Every time, you have to make the choice.


“Tom’s email.” he said too fast to be able to change his mind.  “I poured a whole lot of rubbish out at him about the hike, things I had no business inflicting on him and it’s clearly upset him,”

“Ok, whoa. Slow down.” Flynn took a seat at the table and pulled a second one out beside him, between him and Paul.

It was too late now to have any choice about following it through. Dale took the indicated seat, not quite able to meet his eyes or Paul’s.


“I suspect you’re going to hear from Jake. God knows they don’t need any more stress up there, I wish I’d had the sense to keep my mouth shut.”


“Tom told you off?” Paul asked. Aware of their slight dialectic difference in comprehension of the phrase ‘told off’, Dale shook his head.


“No, not at all, he was very kind.”

“Ok,”  Flynn said bluntly. “So let’s get this straight. You confided in Tom, you’re concerned he couldn’t handle it, and now you’re blaming yourself for not having protected him. Where does that come from? Why do you have serious problems with people getting upset when you confide in them?”


........ oh.


It was an odd sensation. Like abruptly being able to step aside from all the mess and realise, it was actually something separate from him. Startled, Dale swallowed.


“Ok, I didn’t make that connection.”

“Sweetie, any time you’re this upset, in my mind it pretty much always goes back to that time and place.” Paul said gently. “If something triggers you, in your mind you go right back to being a very small boy in that house. Where everything was your responsibility and you had to somehow take care of your mom and if you got it wrong it was all your fault.
You want to look at me yet?”

“Not really, no.” Dale said it a little unsteadily, mostly because that was far too damn acute to listen to with any kind of equanimity, and it took the lid very accurately off way too many emotions he’d been swallowing on since he first read Tom’s mail upstairs. Paul put a hand out to his face, cupping his cheek.


“Try anyway.”


It was familiar to find his eyes now, very soft, a deep navy blue that held enough warmth and a little of his teasing that always made his sympathy bearable. It brought more words bubbling to the surface, the key worst thought.


“I wish I hadn’t upset him. That really wasn’t my intention, I should have thought harder before I sent it.”

“You trusted him like you would us.” Paul said mildly. “Yes, I know hon, I don’t think that’s a bad thing and I don’t think you’ve done anything wrong.”


Flynn, who did far less niceties on his way to his point, hooked an arm around his waist pulling Dale off his chair and into his lap. His hug was hard, orientingly hard, deep and physical comfort that went right into his bones, and Dale twisted around without being able to help it, wrapping his arms around Flynn’s neck.

“The hard part,” Flynn said against his shoulder, “Is objectively separating out what Tom’s mail says and how you feel about it from triggered emotion that’s nothing to do with Tom at all. You’ve got a few key beliefs still stuck from that time and you know they’re not reliable. Which ones are underneath this? Untangle your mother from Tom.”


“Oh God, I don’t even want them in the same country.” Dale said reflexively. Flynn patted his hip, a distinctly ‘are you listening to me’ tap, and Dale resisted the urge to groan or to cringe, neither of which would discourage Flynn from making him say it out loud, fully, without short cuts. And it was easier because the words were already out there, the words Paul had just said straight out for him without hesitation, no matter how revolting the terms were.


“Ok, ok. Distorted belief one: showing any kind of need in front of people I love hurts them and they can’t handle it. Hurting them makes me a terrible person, and it’s dangerous. Distorted belief number two: I have to worry about the safety of everyone any time I see a threat. Largely by taking over the world. I know.”


“Yeah, not happening.” Flynn nudged his head up and kissed him, extremely firmly. “After we’ve eaten, go print the email out and bring it down to me and we’ll figure out what it really says. I’ll mail Jake if we need to, don’t worry about it.”

He made it that simple. That simple.


And I do get completely lost in a whole load of mess that’s nothing to do with the situation at hand. It’s nothing to do with the here and now at all, but it feels as if it is and I just react to it.


“You are not evil. I’m going to be surprised if Tom can be rocked that easily, hon.” Paul ran a hand over Dale’s hair as he got up. “I’ve always thought that was one strong guy. And I suspect from what I know of him, if he was hurt or upset he’d disappear, not tell you about it.”


“Flynn?” Riley leaned on the kitchen doorpost, pushing his Stetson back off his forehead. “Pocket and Mia are both showing ready. Cricket’s showing nothing obvious but she still looks to me like she’s thinking about it so I brought her down too. If you think I’m jumping the gun, I’ll take her back up in the morning, but this might be a hat trick night.”

“So we’ll have Bandit kicking the barn at five am. Wonderful.” Paul said resignedly.


Riley grinned, catching Dale’s eye. “No, because I tell him what I’m doing. You only have to explain it nicely. I’m going to put them in the big paddock. Come and see.”


“In a second, I’ve got chicken to put in the oven.” Paul promised. “You’ll have to get out a new box of salt licks if you want one for them Ri, I gave the corral gang the last one from the stable box last night.”


“Will do.”


Flynn got up, keeping firm hold of Dale’s hand. “Come with me and look at the mares.”


Mason was sitting on the porch in one of the basket chairs working on his notebook, and Gerry was sitting astride the porch rail, his arms hung around Ash’s shoulders who was leaning against the rail in front of him, all of them surveying the three mares tethered to the paddock rail. Dale stopped at the porch rail to watch since crowds around foaling mares was not helpful, and Flynn went to join Riley and Luath with the three mares tethered to the paddock rail.


Luath was running an experienced hand over Mia’s flank and talking to her while Jasper filled the feed bins and the water troughs in the big paddock. Pocket, the herd’s pathfinder mare, who was on her fifth foal and generally calm about most things, was standing placidly and grazing at what grass she could reach under the fence. She lifted her head to snuffle welcome at Flynn as he passed her, and Flynn rubbed her nose. Mia was fidgeting with her hind leg as if she wanted to kick her belly and Dale recognised the signs that Flynn was taking in, which he’d read everything he could about from the books in the house and learned from Flynn and Riley. Clearly uncomfortable. Sides flat, belly long and fully dropped on both her and on Pocket, and dripping milk was already coating the inside of Pocket’s leg. Foals in position and probably only a few hours away.


“Mia’s got gobs of wax,” Riley said to Flynn. “She was biting her sides on the way down.”

“Yeah, but you know what maiden mares are like, she still might keep us standing around for several days yet.” Flynn ran a hand gently over Cricket’s belly, assessing. “I think you’re right, she’s more or less ready.”

“I just wish Mia wasn’t so small boned. It looks like a big foal.”

“But she’s got good bones for all she’s delicate, I can see the stamina.” Luath said with appreciation. “I can see why you fell for her Ri, I would have done too. And she came from a wild herd, didn’t she? Natural selection, so she’ll be the daughter of a good foaler with good genes. She’ll be fine. You said there weren’t any scans you were concerned about this year?”


“The measurements were all fine when Clara did them.” Flynn opened the gate and untied Cricket’s tether, taking her into the paddock and turning her loose.


Pocket was one of the mares who always attached herself closely to her friends in the herd when she was close to foaling, clinging to company where some of the other mares like Belle wanted as far away from anyone else as possible, and she started to call to Cricket and look anxious as soon as her herd mate was led away from her. Flynn went back to her, taking off her head collar, and she ambled straight past him into the pasture after Cricket, who wasn’t really bothered either way and already had her nose in the newly filled feed bin.


“Anything else you need?” Luath asked, stretching out his back. Flynn collected the head collars, hooking them over his shoulder.


“I think we’re all set. Want to grab the shower?”


“I can do that.”


Flynn followed Riley to help with Snickers, who was waiting patiently in his tack at the tethering ring on the barn. Dale watched Luath mount the porch steps and catch his eye with a friendly smile of hello.


“Hey. I heard a rumour you had the Shoshone historian drop by today while we were slaving away? I’m sorry I missed him, he sounds like an interesting guy.”

“Now he was gorgeous. In a very Top-type way, I most definitely got Looked at for interrupting him.” Gerry twisted on the porch rail, hanging on to Ash to avoid falling off. “It was just like Philip used to do; the everyone stop and listen thing, one person speaking at a time until they were done, I suppose David taught him, I know David knew the Shoshone locally and he would have known all this stuff.”

“Even if he didn’t waste it on us that often.” Luath said dryly. “David’s manners were appalling when he was in the wrong mood.”


“He was never that bad.” Gerry protested, and Luath laughed.

“Yes he was. What about that poor cartographer he left up on the tops in the snow?”

“Oh come on, that was completely understandable.” Gerry protested. “I met the man and he was beyond boring. Anyway, Caleb was completely sweet and he and Jas got along like a house on fire.”


Dale straightened abruptly off the rail he had been leaning on.


“Ash, did you ever hear any more from the colleague of yours that was planning to sell out?”


“Yes, he’s still in the thinking stages, but looking to go around January time. He’s made it clear he’ll do a direct sell to us if we’ll look at keeping on his staff, and that looks like one of the major strengths to me.” Ash leaned against Gerry’s knees, apparently quite comfortable with his partner draped around his neck. “His own staff are likely to retain their own customers, we shouldn’t lose many at all, so the biggest risk is bringing the new company into the culture we’ve established.”

“Mix the managers.” Mason dropped the exercise book at his feet and the pen on top of it. “Theirs into yours, yours into theirs, that’s what I’ve always done.”

“The trouble with that is that you risk diluting the culture in both establishments and losing what’s good about both if you’re not very careful.” Luath said regretfully. “And it takes the viewpoint that the culture of the new business is intrinsically inferior and needs changing to match the other which alienates everyone working in it. Most companies make the merger far too complicated and try to do too much in one go, I’ve seen it go wrong time and time again.”


“Severe marital trauma, yeah.” Mason agreed. “And messy divorces, usually because the guy at the top didn’t have enough of a grip on the next layers of management or enough drive to get done what he wanted done. But then most of the mergers I’ve seen are takeovers where the bottom line is the company staff didn’t want to be taken over and there was a whole lot of bitching and resistance getting in the way.”


“I don’t think that’s going to be an issue here, the guy’s retiring and the employees are keen to have jobs through the handover process.” Ash told him. “It’s a company like mine, one guy who built up slowly over time, local and small. But yes, I know about post merger drift, and I guess it’s bound to happen.”

“Doesn’t have to; new game, new goals.” Dale said matter of factly. “You’ll have figured out how those two companies complement each other before you start, it’s down to the parent company to plan for organisational dissonance before the merger process even starts.”


“Now who was it wrote the article about that in the Wall Street Journal in December?” Luath said with interest, “I heard the guy lecture once and he said some interesting things-”

"Yes, Elmer Fudd, wasn't it?" Gerry said cheerfully, looking directly at Dale. It produced a shock of ice in Dale’s stomach that redoubled as he read Gerry’s expression. It was one that had never been levelled at him in any meeting in his life and had no place in this safe conversation. It was friendly and it was kind but it saw straight through him and it said very definitely indeed,


Yeah, I know exactly what you’re doing. Now do you want to tell them or shall I?


Mason laughed, and Luath gave Gerry a rather askance look. "Are we boring you Ger? No it was...."


"It was Pritchett." Dale slipped in mechanically. "In March."


Mention the date, the issue number and the page number, and he really would give himself away. He had no real idea at all why he was doing what he was doing, but his heart was starting to thud extremely hard and avoiding Gerry’s eye was doing nothing at all to distract Gerry from continuing to look at him.


"Scheduled tactics and strategies for dissonance on all levels tends to stop the automatic productivity drop of the secondary company-"


Gerry shook his head with real amusement in his voice, interrupting him without compunction.


“Oh darling, that’s a ten. The ice man cometh. But you see your problem is I can do that too, I have that t shirt, so I know exactly what you’re doing. If there’s wool to pull then believe me, I have pulled it and made a complete fool of myself every time. So how about you knock it off and tell us what you’re stressing about? Because the first point is you don’t like me talking about Caleb.”


There was a rather abrupt silence on the porch. Looking directly at Ash or Luath would have been far too hard, and from Gerry’s expression he knew exactly how this felt.


“A long day and just one whole lot of too much, isn’t it hon?” Paul sounded comfortable about it, and he walked through them and took a seat on the swing where he was directly in front of Dale. “Did we pass that test?”


What test?


He could say it while pretending freezing disdain, bewilderment, outrage – whichever one would have much the same effect. Paul would calmly press through it because they both knew it was an out and out lie, which sooner or later he’d have to admit to. And he knew well how that ended. Paul leaned back into the swing, giving him a cheerful look.


“Did we?”


Aware that he sounded grudging and horrendously less mature than he liked, Dale managed something in the vicinity of, “...Yes.”


“Feel better now?”


That was an even nastier question, with an even nastier answer.




Adding damnit to the end of the sentence was not going to help.


“Good.” Paul patted the swing next to him. “So stop using your powers for evil please, and sit with me.”


Shaken, extremely embarrassed and yet in a very peculiar way hugely calmer – quite ridiculously calmer - Dale took the seat on the swing beside Paul, despite a face he suspected was flaming a light puce. He was under the eye of all of them, and every last one of them knew what he’d just done; saying anything at all wasn’t easy, but he owed it to them and he made himself answer Gerry, clearly and articulately.


“It wasn’t Caleb.”


At least not wholly, and it was going to be impossible to explain the sensitivity of all kinds of thoughts around Caleb and Jasper right now.


“I had a bit of an email misunderstanding with Tom and I blame myself.”

“Online rows?” Gerry raised his eyes skywards with sympathy. “Oh dear. Do not get me started on how much those suck.”

“Yes, Wade told me you two still aren’t allowed to talk by email.” Riley put in, coming up the porch steps. Gerry laughed, quite without rancour, twisting to see Ash’s face.


“I think Charlie more or less put it in his will, didn’t he? He was quite right, you can shout so much better by phone.”


Riley looked tired and hot and he dropped on the arm of the swing beside Dale, leaning back against the wooden slats. “You ok? Is Tom?”


It was an uncritical and sincere inquiry and Dale met his eye with appreciation for it. “Yes. Nothing serious, and he didn’t say anything about their plans. Flynn said he’d have a look after dinner and sort out anything that needed sorting out.”


“How are the girls, Ri?” Paul draped an arm casually along the back of the swing, which rested against Dale’s shoulders and helped as much as the pressure of Riley against his other side. “Are you going to be up all night watching them?”


Riley shrugged, not looking as if that was a prospect he minded at all. “Mia and Pocket look good to go tonight. Are we near to eating? I’m starved.”

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Re: Out take from Silver Bullet Ranch Side

Post by Trisha Louise on Sun Mar 13, 2016 11:10 am

Ranger and Rolf, how much movement is there with content? Have there been many instances where a piece finds a home elsewhere? Any that you would move significantly if you were to revise the stories thus far?

Your stories have kept me company this past week and transported me to the most challenging of places with Tom, Jake, Dorje and the team, and challenged me to be honest with myself in some hard (yet I think rewarding?) ways. Thank you for that and for them.

Trisha Louise
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Re: Out take from Silver Bullet Ranch Side

Post by Ranger52899 on Sun Mar 13, 2016 11:46 am

Ooh I need Rolf to be able to answer that one properly.... there is at times quite a lot of movement with content. At times we write the same section over and over multiple different ways until we find the right way, that has happened at some point with most of the books. And yes, often sections we take out provide dialogue or ideas that then get recycled somewhere that fits them better. Currently I can't think off hand of any parts I would want to move if we revised the stories - once we've posted them we are usually fairly happy with them. If I were to have the time to go through Silver Bullet right now as I would like to, it would mostly be with a red pen to yank out sections to speed it up and improve the flow.

It's lovely to hear the stories are supporting you at the moment, and that you're enjoying Silver Bullet Everest. :sadhugs:
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Re: Out take from Silver Bullet Ranch Side

Post by Blue Stocking on Sun Mar 13, 2016 12:04 pm

This is the bit that inspired me to ask. Thank you so much for all of these!
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Re: Out take from Silver Bullet Ranch Side

Post by simba5waldo5 on Thu Mar 17, 2016 2:52 am

Thank you for adding these out takes. I am really enjoying them.



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Re: Out take from Silver Bullet Ranch Side

Post by Chris Dangerfield on Fri Mar 08, 2019 10:00 pm

Amazing... I hadn't caught this one. It's exactly that. The Red Pen. I feel like I read this, but of course it wasn't in the final. Just the exact right bits were in.


x, C
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Re: Out take from Silver Bullet Ranch Side

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