The lieutenant’s horse swung in close to the Scout. He pulled up and stopped. Dust blew behind him. The Scout chewed on a blade of grass.
“Report Scout. What are we chasing?”
Scout twisted the grass in his mouth moving it from one side to the other. He paused and pointed.
“See that butte?”
The lieutenant covered his eyes from the sun.
“Yes. Is that the hideout?”
A silence hung between the men. Scout spit out the grass and rubbed his top lip with his bottom teeth.
“We’ve passed it already.”
Sand and dirt covered the lieutenant’s lips and he coughed a bit of dirt away from his face. He reached for the canteen strapped to his saddle. He took a drink. The horse smelled the water and reigned back a bit.
“Passed it huh?”
“How many times?”
“Three, maybe four times.”
“And you are just now telling me this?”
“You seemed so intent on the chase, I didn’t have the heart.”
The lieutenant closed the canteen and looked back at the line of troopers.
“So, we’ve been chasing our tails?”
Scout looked up at the sky and the sun.
“At least the horses got to run a bit.”
The lieutenant took off his hat and slapped dust off his leg.
“There’s nothing out here?”
“Just us, the horses, and a two-day ride to the barracks.”
“You’re not a very good scout, are you?”
“Never said I was the scout. I’m the cook.”
“Actually, a nice brisket and side of beans would be perfect about now.”
“I’ll let you get a head start on us so you can have that ready when we get back to camp.”
The cook, turned his horse, and headed down the line.
“Going to have a nice brisket waiting for you boys. Just you wait.”