We rode into our campsite. Must have been around midday. The closest hole of water was about a mile away.

Cowboys love their mountain water, while they pay it never mind. But here the desert water is a gold mine of its kind.

We asked the Anhders brothers if they’d find a water source. They shoveled down a sandwich, then each climbed up on a horse.

“It’s water, boys, we’re needing. These old ponies wanna drink.” So, the Anhders boys set out but they returned in just a blink.

I heard one say, “There’s water just a hundred yards away. A water trough for cattle, this could be our lucky day.”

The horses tanked the water down. We didn’t stop to think. One cowboy said, “We’re stealin’. We could end up in the clink!”

We ain’t the brightest fellows. Would the rancher make a noise? Do cowboys have an honor code? We’ll blame the Anhders boys.

We eyed the youngest brother. Said, “You’re looking mighty pale. You really needn’t worry. We’ll come visit you in jail.”

The night air found us round the fire. A water truck drove in. The driver stepped on out and he was tall and lizard thin.

I’d seen his look a thousand times. Just itchin’ for a fight. So, we offered him some steak and spuds with hopes to make things right.

He gobbled down the taters, then his scowl turned to a smile. He said, “I’ll bring you water if you’ll feed me for the while.”

It sounded like a deal to me, sure got us off the hook. The Anhders boys were smiling. They all lost their panicked look.

And when I start to think about the doggone water trough. I reckon we were lucky, didn’t get our butts shot off.

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