Cold bit his hand when he gripped the rail as he exited the train. James had been right; this was a wholly different cold than Tennessee. The snow had seemed the same out the window during the trip, though the land was flat and featureless. The cabin was cold during the trip, cold enough to see his breath, but not cold enough to reach his bones. He had wrongly assumed it would be the same outside. The clear sky had only a few traces of clouds and a bright sun, which had lent its warmth to the window in the cabin.
As he stepped down onto the crunching frozen snow of Cheyenne, the sun might as well have been a ball of bright ice. The wind ripped at his face with cold that burned and it tore through his clothes like they were tattered curtains. James had said to be prepared, and Hollis had thought he was but now he knew it was impossible to prepare for this. The lining of his nostrils froze and his scalp felt like it was being pierced with a thousand little needles. The air in his lungs was so cold that he began to cough like a backroom painted woman after too many years in the sheets.
Gaining composure as he moved off the platform, following the sign for the coach, Hollis was shocked by the size of the crowds. He had heard that Wyoming was the great unpopulated west, but here in front of him was a crowd the size of a Saturday in downtown Nashville. He looked around for a person to inquire about the crowd when a crudely written note tacked to a guidepost caught his eye.
“God luves sheep, Wyoming dunnit”
More than ten years had passed since the so-called Johnson County War and the tensions still ran high. James had warned him to tread carefully on the issue, especially when asked about it.
Seeing a man who had an air of authority about him, Hollis decided he would be the best choice for information. As he approached his view changed a little and the man seemed of a much rougher cut than he initially expected. Hollis almost turned back, almost, but he had already caught the man's eye. Decorum dictated he acknowledge the man, who for lack of a better word seemed churlish.
“Sir, may I inquire as to what has brought about such a large crowd?”
The man skewed up his mouth in what Hollis thought was a sneer, until a long vile stream of black sludge shot from between his lips to the side. Aghast, Hollis stepped back. Then he knew for sure that the expression was a sneer.
“Theey ‘angin ‘orn today,” the churlish man said with a heavy French accent. “You no from ere, no?”
“I just arrived on the eight-fifteen from Kansas City a moment ago. What type of horn are they hanging that would draw such a crowd?” Hollis asked, marveling at the idea of such a crowd gathered for a simple horn hanging. Maybe it was some left over pagan ritual that the natives had passed down. James had said he would have his work cut out for him, but the idea of pagan rituals sickened his stomach.
The man cackled, that is really the only word for the twisted sound that came from his chest, “Thee murderin’ kind” and with that he spat the vile stream once again and moved off.
Hollis, taken back by the behavior stood stunned for a moment until he realized that he had lost a day on the trip somehow. It was not the 19th of November in the Lord's year 1903, it was in fact the 20th. The very day that had been chosen to end the life of the notorious murdering former Pinkerton detective, Tom Horn. Hollis had read about the case in Kansas City on a telegraph signboard while waiting for the train. Today he was going to die and the people all wanted to be a part of it. True enough, as Hollis rounded the corner of the train station building, the crowds were gathered around what Hollis assumed to be the jail, with forty armed men out front. A smaller group was off to the side interested in the outlaw lawman's coffin.
Hollis felt sick again, he didn't know what was worse, pagan rituals or people fascinated and excited by the misery of others. Back east they had claimed civility; they had spoken of barbarism in the states as being dead. Indeed, at Bethany College Hollis had learned to enunciate his dictation and to view all peoples as equal. He had put off his bent ways that had befallen him growing up in the back hills and hollers of the Upper Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee. He had learned to speak with dignity, treat people with dignity, and therefore would be treated with dignity. Hollis was not delusional thinking that all American citizens would behave the way he did, especially since his own family still lived in that primitive way. He was, however, shocked to find that Wyoming had not yet elevated itself to the sophistication expected of a great nation. At Bethany he had learned to respect and value women as the treasure from God they were, a view held by the founder of the college but not many others in the denominational world.
Wyoming, he thought, would be the same considering they were the equality state, the state that first gave women a right to vote. Hollis believed this to be thinking of disciplined minds and holy hearts, but the crowd before him spoke of a different matter. The crowd before him harkened back to the Wild West, the west that he had been told had been tamed. Hollis was realizing that he should go over again all the advice James had given to him seeing now that this was another thing James had been right about. James had warned him that Wyoming was still the frontier, still very much untamed and wild. It was dangerous too, James had said, with Wyoming being more like a wounded, cornered wild animal than a majestic elk that Hollis had seen photographs of.
Hollis hesitated before stepping into the street, almost turning around to catch a train back home. He was not ready for this type of world, he had thought he was strong, thought he was tough, but now knew he was in fact soft. Hollis saw the hands of the people around him, hands that were weathered, hands that were calloused, hands that were strong, hands that all too often hovered just above and behind burled walnut gun stocks in low slung hip holsters. Hollis looked at his own hands, white and fleshy with patches of raw red skin already developing from the cold wind. He saw his clean trimmed nails and knew he was in the wrong place. This was not a world where he fit in; this was not a place he belonged.
Shifting his weight to his left leg he prepared to step, forward or backwards was the choice. Every muscle in his leg, every fear-soaked nerve screamed for a back step. Yet there in his mind was a voice, strong and old, weathered by the wind and years, urging forward. It was James in his memory, racked by sickness and desperate with concern.
“Wyoming needs you, the people need you, and they are balanced on the edge. Satan is strong there, he has many agents working to destroy the hearts of people and they need you to fight for them. I would’ve stayed, I would’ve fought, but my time is short, God is calling me home. I came for you. I came for you because you have love in your heart for the lost. Your father did too, your father knew the stakes for which we fight and would have urged you forward to the west. Hollis, I’m begging you, fight for them. Fight for their good hearts, fight for their valuable souls, and it will be a fight because their weak bodies are in control now. Please take my place.”
So it was in that moment, a moment of great importance only seen by the one soft out of place preacher, that a decision was made. A move of the leg said it all, as his right leg swung forward into the dusty unpaved road. Through the crowds waiting to deliciously observe the death of a man doomed for hell, Hollis strode with his head high. He would fight for Wyoming; he would fulfill his promise to his beloved uncle, to the man that raised his father. Tomorrow he would board the coach headed north, past the famous Portuguese Houses, past Fort Caspar now Casper City, past the famous T.A. Ranch and on to the great vast high plains of Gillette. There in a small crudely-built rock building Hollis would preach, he would counsel, and he would strive to bring God to this wild land.
Hollis entered the hotel, or what passed for a hotel here in Wyoming, and acquired a single night’s room. He had to board with two other men who were in town to sell paper and ink to the capitol building. Hollis thanked the clerk and made arrangements for a hopper to pick up his trunk and transport it from the train station to the hotel and back again in the morning. After checking in Hollis spent the time before dinner touring the capital city. He strolled down to Fifteenth and Ferguson where earlier in the year the newspapers had shown President Roosevelt giving a speech.
Back in April when James had first asked Hollis to come to Wyoming it had been Roosevelt’s description of the Wild West that had pushed him over the edge. Teddy was the epitome of a man and Hollis often daydreamed of being larger than life like the Rough Rider president. He would lead a band of legendary soldiers around the country solving problems and fighting crime. Never in his life had he imagined that he would be so lonely and cold when he got here.
On the corner there was a small restaurant where Hollis sat to eat lunch. It was sparse in both decorations and patrons but the food was hot and cheap. Hollis took the time to peruse the newspaper he had bought, learning what he could about local events. It was strange to read about broken fences and stray cattle causing damage. Back in West Virginia the papers discussed local politics, financial interests, and art.
“Where you from sir?” Hollis looked up from the paper to see a young man sitting at the table next to his.
“I asked where you from?”
“Oh, sorry, I’m out of sorts today. I’m from Bethany West Virginia. I just arrived today.”
“Wonderful, another easterner. Do you find Wyoming to your liking so far?”
“I know what you mean. I moved out here from Boston four years ago and I thought I had fallen off the face of the earth.”
“It’s so cold here.”
“The worst part is you never get used to it, it always eats away at you.”
“Thank you for the encouragement,” Hollis said as his mouth turned down at the edges.
“Oh I don’t mean to put you in a sour mood. It was hard at first, living out here, but in time you will see the benefit. We have power, indoor plumbing, and I just saw my first automobile not two days ago.”
“Really? Here in Cheyenne?”
“Yes, belonged to Senator Warren’s family, though I don’t think he was in the car at the time.”
Hollis nodded his head along with the man’s words. Maybe this land wasn’t so different from his home after all.
“Say…” the young man said, standing up and walking over to Hollis’s table, “Where are you staying?”
“At the Stag and Pine.”
“Oh, good place, good place. The lady there is a right fine cook. She’s second cousin, once removed to the Iliff grandfather.”
“Yeah, cattle money and all that. But all of them took a loss back five, six years ago when the beef pound price dropped. I remember the panic when that happened.”
“Wait I thought you sai—,”
“Anyway,” the man said cutting Hollis off, “that is all an aside. What I really want to get at is where you are going to stay from now on. The S and P is a good place but it ain’t a home. We need to get you into a home.” He held up his hand to forestall Hollis.
“I know you probably got someone out there lookin’ out for you, but let me tell you, they ain’t as good as me. I want to find you the best home a man can have under this bright blue sky. A place you can call your own and live your days out in peace. What do you say, will you let me make your dreams come true?”
“Well sir,” Hollis said with a hint of indignation, “I am only passing through. I am on my way to Gillette where I already have a home to live in.” It was a room off the church building but it was still home.
As soon as Hollis mentioned Gillette the smile fell away from the man’s face like dirt washed away by the rain. His easy stance left and his demeanor seemed colder in a single second. Standing up from the seat Hollis hadn’t been aware he had taken, he walked back to his own table and sat down. He looked over at Hollis, scanning him from head to toe.
“Gillette is going to skin you alive.” That was it, no explanation, no sympathy, just a proclamation of doom.
The man finished his meal quickly and rose to leave, his money left lying on the table. He looked at Hollis again and shook his head. There was no mirth, no pity, no disgust, only apathy as he walked away. Hollis sat reading his paper and did his best to not dwell on the encounter. The man was a snake, a liar, a con man and that meant Hollis couldn’t trust his words or actions.
After lunch Hollis wandered around the shopping district and browsed the various wares. He found another little restaurant where he sat avoiding the crowds. As he wasn’t hungry after the large lunch he ordered only a cup of tea which he sipped with pleasure. It was not a quality brand but it was warm and the cream helped with some of the bitter taste. After he paid for his time he braced himself for the cold outside and was still hit hard by it as he opened the door. From there he drifted down to Sixteenth Street where he shopped along the avenue. The stone buildings and full-sized windows reminded him of trips into Pittsburgh and set off a yearning for home in his heart. But as he came down to the end of the block he saw a group of men gathered in the second story room across the street. The lettering on the window read U.S. Marshall and Hollis remembered the hanging that gathered such a crowd back near the train station.
Head hung low, Hollis made his way back to the hotel, only getting lost once on the way. In the main room of the hotel there were several tables set up in front of the massive fireplace. A giant fire was roaring, chasing the cold out of the room and giving him some relief. Hollis took a seat at one of the back tables and a man brought out a bowl of soup, a steak, and a large loaf of bread. Hollis studied the stuffed wildlife spaced around the room and was astounded at the variety and majesty of the animals of the west. Over his table there was the brown head of an antlered elk which was larger than a horse’s.
With his stomach full he paid his bill and walked up the stairs. There were three rooms on each floor and his was the last room on the second floor. He entered his room, pulled the curtain around his bed, and held his head in his hands. He drifted in and out of sleep and with a heavy heart he drifted in and out of prayer.
He woke with the first rays of the sun piercing through his windows and the snores of his boarding mates. The pungent odor of sour mash whiskey tainted the room and hung on Hollis’s clothes that he had hung up the night before. It was a smell he was familiar with but had wished to never smell again. It was freezing in the room, the wood stove having gone out sometime during the night. Hollis’s nightwear was not up to the task of keeping him warm as he swung his legs out of the bed. At least his slippers kept his feet from direct contact with the wood floor but he could still feel the chill radiating off of it through the soles.
He moved to wash his face in the basin but found the water in the pitcher had frozen solid as it sat against the window. He walked to the stove and started the fire back up with the few remaining logs they had left and put the pitcher on top to thaw out. Moving back to the stand that held the washbasin and sat under a small mirror on the wall Hollis looked at himself. He had only been in Wyoming for a day, no, less than a day, and already there were bags under his eyes and his white skin had taken on a gray pallor. As he wondered for the tenth time since stepping foot off that train if he should head back to West Virginia, a putrid smell worked its way into his nostrils.
In the basin at his waist was not only the vomit required of a sour mash bender but the waste of the human bowels. Hollis had to rush away to prevent himself from adding to the concoction. He took the pitcher off the stove and put it to the side deciding to let the fine gentlemen sleeping off their excesses deal with the washbasin. He dressed with vigor, heading for the door before his coat was even buttoned. As he was walking out the door he saw that the drop plate was covering the top of the stove preventing most of the heat from escaping into the room.
One of the drunken men must have put it down when they came in, their liquor soaked bodies tricking them into thinking they were warm. It would serve them right to leave it on and let them wake up to the same frigid room they had left for him. He wanted ever so badly to close the door but could he really let his first chance for a good deed in Wyoming pass him by because of petty anger? Well, second chance because there was no way he was cleaning that washbasin. Hollis lifted the plate into its slot allowing the heat to fill the small room.
Once down in the lobby Hollis found the lady of the manor hard at work preparing the day’s breakfast. It consisted of eggs, bacon, ham, steak, potatoes, and a dried meat called summer sausage. Hollis was used to a meal of toasted yeast muffins, jelly, and possibly eggs on occasion. There was more meat here than he was used to seeing in five meals.
The lady of the manor, Miss Eileen, waved him down to a seat and brought him a large plate with all of the meats and eggs and a tall glass of ice cold whole milk. He began to eat and found the food satisfying, fresh and well prepared. The milk was his favorite having learned it had just been milked this morning and then chilled in the snowbanks outside. Hollis ate so much that he thought he was going to burst. The summer sausage, a traditional Indian recipe, was his least favorite. It was heavily flavored and contained several spices that made his eyes water.
After breakfast he still had three hours until his train would arrive at eleven so Hollis took up a seat by the large fire in the stone chimney and began to read his Bible. It was a worn leather book that had been given to him by his father and Hollis treasured it almost as much as the words inside. Any Bible was as good as the next, well any real translation as some heretics had begun to produce Bibles that were specifically altered to support their perversions of God’s truth. But no, it wasn’t the quality of ink used, the strength of the paper, or the cost of the leather cover that made a Bible valuable, it was the Word of God contained within.
But Hollis’s Bible did hold value that did not pertain to the Word of God, it held the thoughts and notes of a man that Hollis had not known but strived every day to emulate. Hollis’s father had gone to his journey’s end when Hollis had been two years old. That is how he had come to be raised by his mother’s father, Ennis. Hollis would never do the honor of calling him kin, he was a cruel drunk that beat and enslaved his daughter. Hollis hadn’t known any better, he had thought that was the way of the world until James had shown up one summer with this Bible and declared his intention to take Hollis to school.
By that time, nearly ten years ago, James had already been preaching in the west for twenty years, the previous ten in and around the territories of Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado. A family friend had written him and told him of the deplorable conditions that Hollis had been living under and James had come to rescue him. James had offered to take his mother too, to rescue her as well, but she had refused. James was a man of God and Ennis would never have dared to defy him. She could have been free, she could have been happy again but she chose the life of evil and that still haunted Hollis a decade later.
He hadn’t seen his mother since that day he had walked away from the farm, holding his father’s Bible, and wondered how she was getting along. He thought of sending her a letter from time to time but the chances that Ennis would get it first and use it as a way to torture her had kept him from doing so. But now as he sat in front of that great roaring fire on the frontier of civilization he had to admit to himself that he didn’t write because he didn’t want to know. She had chosen an abusive father over her loving son and he didn’t want to know how she was doing.
Hollis began to feel the old anger boiling up and as he always did he turned to the Word for strength. He began to read from Isaiah chapter forty and read about God’s plans to save mankind, about the strength He would lend them to endure until that time, and the punishments He would deliver to those who would defy Him. And as he always did when Hollis read the parts about the punishments that were to come he began to feel guilty. Those who had angered him would receive just punishment enough from God, what right did Hollis, who was as guilty of sin as they were, have in adding to their punishment?
Hollis skimmed through several other books and chapters flipping to random spots to start his new reading. Hollis liked to read the Bible in a strange order; it reinforced the truth that it was one big single book with one single theme. It was no coincidence that more often than not Hollis could find a connection between the random passages, with a little creative thinking.
But thinking had always been Hollis’s favorite pastime. That is why the private school that James had put him in after taking him from home had always felt like a treasure. He had attended the little schoolhouse down the way from Ennis’s farm but it was more like torture than learning. The teacher, a bitter old woman, was barely educated herself. She was horrible at managing the learning schedule and often the older kids would be assigned to help the younger children.
But the private school in West Virginia, run by former professors from the Harvard School of Divinity strove for excellence in each of their students. It was a small school being a single building with only three rooms, one of which was a gymnasium that had been converted from a barn. The students were housed in a stately old manor which sat on the front of the property which was a thirty minute walk away from the school. It was a civil paradise next to the squalor and ignorance of Ennis’s life.
Hollis had felt out of place at first as he was behind other children his age in every subject save for reading. But soon, his love of study and learning helped him to close the gap. He stayed up late in the library reading every work he could get his hands on, filling his mind with the tools to stay out of Ennis’s control. It was a real fear for him; one that he worried about every day for that first year, that Ennis would come for him. So he studied and studied to be prepared to run from Ennis if it came to that and to be able to find work somewhere.
But Ennis never came and then it was winter break. The school closed down for two months since the schoolhouse was too difficult to heat during the heart of winter. When Hollis first learned of the break his heart skipped a beat but the kindly old school directors told him of the arrangements that James had made allowing Hollis to stay at the school year round. He would have to do some cleaning and other work during the summer but the school was now his home.
Hollis used the break to catch up on all the subjects he had been behind in, having one-on -one time with the professors. Mathematics had been troublesome to him as he had missed many of the foundational principles in his early education. Hollis mused over this as he sat in front of the fire remembering what had brought him to this place in life. Mathematics bore several similarities to God; if you missed some of the early foundational principles the rest of the study was going to be hard. Hard, but not impossible.
Hollis heard the train whistle in the distance and put away his father’s Bible and began to make his way to the door. He noticed that his two boarding mates were still absent and he began to feel guilty about not cleaning out the basin. Not on their behalf, they should have to deal with the outcome of their dalliances with the devil. No, Hollis felt guilty for the worker who would have to clean it out after they left.
Hollis walked over to the desk where a hard, flat-faced girl of about fifteen manned the desk while the lady of the manor was preparing for lunch. Hollis meant to walk up to the young woman and just put down a few coins to be given to the room cleaner for her troubles and leave. But once again, he felt awkward, unable to just do the good deed and leave. He opened his mouth to explain the situation but what came out was,
“I am just checking to make sure my trunk has been ferried to the train station.” An idiot question since he had watched as his trunk had been rolled across the street and around the corner to the station not a half an hour ago.
The girl, whose face was as hard and unforgiving as the land of Wyoming itself, just gave him a look of disgust.
That was all. One syllable imbued with all the vitriol she could manage. Hollis couldn’t blame her; he might as well have asked if the sun had come out today. He pushed on, even more self-conscious now.
“Right, good then. Good job. Right. The thing is, you see, the matter is…” He could feel the heat rising in his cheeks. “The, thing, is,” He took breath between each word forcing deliberation. “The thing is, the gentlemen with which I shared a room have imbibed in excess and have left quite the mess in the washbasin. It is foul and disgusting and I do not believe I have the stomach and now the time to remedy the situation. So instead I would like to offer recompense to the worker who will be fated to deal with the, the, the foulness.” With that Hollis slapped down two dollars, almost as much as the room had cost, and began to turn away.”
“What did ya say?” the girl screeched. For a moment Hollis thought she was mocking his refined speech, which he had struggled to cultivate. Then he saw that she bore the marks of confusion in earnest.
“The room is dirty. The money is for the cleaner.” Hollis just turned and left after that; it had been a disaster. This was why he hated doing good things for people; they couldn’t ever make it easy. Well, no. That wasn’t true. He loved doing good things for people he just wished he didn’t have to deal with people to help people. In college he had read of monks in the thirteenth century that had eschewed all contact with other humans but had been convinced they were helping to save the world. They believed their lifestyles lent power to their prayers and they were changing the path of the world by those prayers. How many times had Hollis wished it was that way in truth?
But he knew better and the truth was God demanded for His children to love the lost and seek them out wherever they were. Hollis specifically felt the power of the Word inside of him, not some mystical or miraculous force, but the burden of a truth that could save lives if they only submitted to it. So Hollis struggled through helping people, through his awkwardness in speaking to them.
Hollis arrived at the station as the train was pulling in, the steam billowing around shrouding the other passengers from his sight. It felt ominous to have the crowd concealed but he knew that it was just his sour mood from this morning. Ha, sour mood, he stood chuckling to himself, thankful that the steam was obscuring him from sight. He didn’t need to start any rumors that he was insane before he started his work.
As the train came to a full stop Hollis had expected passengers to start filing off, eager to get to their business in the capital city. Yet he only saw a handful step down from the large metal boxes. Most of them were dressed in the smart suits of back east rather than the rougher wool cut coats that he had seen around here.
He stopped one gentleman that passed him, the irony of his ability to speak to total strangers about random nonsense not lost on him.
“Sir, might I inquire as to why there are so few passengers?” There were only two passenger trains a day into Cheyenne and with the large crowds that he had seen here there should be more people coming and going.
The gentleman looked taken aback by his sudden question but he recovered quickly enough. He spoke with a polished southern accent, something out of the Carolinas possibly. His tone was courteous and he didn’t seem at all perturbed that Hollis had interrupted his journey.
“Well that would be there for two reasons son. The first being that most people around these parts still prefer horses to trains, they don’t trust ’em you see. They been riding horses so long anything else seems strange. Second, well, you see this train isn’t like the other trains. It is…well I’m going to let you figure that one out yourself.”
With a tip of his fur lined top hat he was off down the track. Hollis stared after him wondering what he could have possibly meant by that remark. If the train truly was dangerous surely he would have warned him. He had grown up reading about Jesse James and Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch in dime novels. It had been awhile since anyone had heard from Cassidy but this was his home territory. If the train was at threat of being robbed, surely a gentleman of a civilized nature would have spoken up and warned him.
Once again he thought of returning to West Virginia and the home that he had come to love. The threat of death was nearly enough to overcome even James’s voice in his head. But the sight of his large blue trunk being loaded aboard the cargo car put the question to rest. His whole life was in there, including the three hundred and fifty dollars that had been given to him upon his uncle’s death.
There was more money coming once the full estate was settled but a large portion of it would be given to Hanin Preparatory Academy to help off-set the cost of his room, board, and education for all those years. He had received a college education through funds provided by a patron from a local congregation but his schooling had been a favor to James. Or at least Hollis had always thought it was a favor until it had been announced by the lawyer reading James’s will that the balance due would be settled out of the selling of the estate.
He wasn’t angry about the selling of the family farm; it was in Putnam County, just one county over from his mother’s family. He had no desire to live there or ever go back there again. His only sadness was that James had to give up so much for him and Hollis had never known. He was robbed of the chance to express his love and gratitude to a man who had no obligations to help him let alone sacrifice for him.
Hollis thought of the parallels to Jesus. God in the flesh, who would have been justified in letting Hollis rot and die in his sins, instead sacrificed everything for Hollis’s sake. James was his own personal representation of Jesus.
His first reaction to the train car was shock, the second revulsion. It was nothing like the car he had traveled on since Kansas City. That car had velvet covered padded seats with footstools for added comfort. This had roughhewn pine benches barely wide enough for an adult hind. That car had been lined in elegant green wallpaper with rich cherry floors. This car had the metal sides exposed with unfinished pinewood floors. That car had a small oil heater at the front that had chased off some of the cold. This car had gaps in the floor where you could see down to the tracks below.
And the smell. It was revolting in the truest definition of the word as Hollis’s stomach tried to revolt. There was another patron trying to board behind Hollis so he had nowhere to go but forward. He took out his kerchief and covered his mouth and nose and slid onto the first bench at the back. It was a little wider than the rest and there was a large gap on the back wall that might provide some fresh air once the train was moving. Hollis looked around for the source of the smell and could not locate one. His eyes were beginning to water when he heard the other patron speaking to him.
“They use it as a stock car most of the time. That ain’t dirt in them cracks there. Here, put a little bit of this in yer nose and the smell will lessen.” The woman, a hard faced dour looking sort held a silver flask out to him with a gloved hand.
“No thank you, I do not imbibe…” Hollis swallowed the vomit back down, “in the Devil’s drink.” Hollis had smelled enough whiskey this morning to last him a lifetime and that was on top of the whiskey he had smelled every day growing up at Ennis’s farm.