uld you mind if 1 took a look around on my own?" Kerney asked.
"Not at all," Joe said. He paused to watch as the
men cut a section of the wire fencing and began attaching
it with brads to the post-and-beam corral.
"Make yourself at home. Just remember to close the
pasture gates behind you."
After Joe and Bessie
left, the day hands took a
break, hunkering down to smoke cigarettes and
drink some water. The welcome coolness of the
cloudy morning had given way to a blistering sun,
which felt uncomfortable in the humid air left behind
by the rainsquall.
Kerney talked with the men fo
r a time, and once
they learned that he ranched on a small place up in
Santa Fe County and had known the Jordan family all his life, they loosened up noticeably
- . Mike and
Pruitt, the two cowboys who'd stopped on the highway
after the Border Patrol agent's body had been
dumped, wanted to talk about the incident. Kerney obliged but kept his narrative of the event short.
He learned that the two men bunked together in
a rented house in the town of Anitnas, and worked
as stock haulers and heavy equipment operators when they weren't hired out on the area ranches.
He asked Mike, a muscular six-footer in his thirties,
about the problem of illegal immigrants crossing
- the border.
"The government would have to post an army down here to stop them," he said. "We see the crap they leave behind everywhere. Backpacks, clothing,
water bottles-you name it."
Pruitt, who had t
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