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Andy, The Liar
by [?]

Andy Green licked a cigarette into shape the while he watched with unfriendly eyes the shambling departure of their guest. “I believe the darned old reprobate was lyin’ to us,” he remarked, when the horseman disappeared into a coulee.

“You sure ought to be qualified to recognize the symptoms,” grunted Cal Emmett, kicking his foot out of somebody’s carelessly coiled rope on the ground. “That your rope, Happy? No wonder you’re always on the bum for one. If you’d try tying it on your saddle–“

“Aw, g’wan. That there’s Andy’s rope–“

“If you look at my saddle, you’ll find my rope right where it belongs,” Andy retorted. “I ain’t sheepherder enough to leave it kicking around under foot. That rope belongs to his nibs that just rode off. When he caught up his horse again after dinner, he throwed his rope down while he saddled up, and then went off and forgot it. He wasn’t easy in his mind–that jasper wasn’t. I don’t go very high on that hard-luck tale he told. I know the boy he had wolfing with him last winter, and he wasn’t the kind to pull out with all the stuff he could get his hands on. He was an all-right fellow, and if there’s been any rusty work done down there in the breaks, this shifty-eyed mark done it. He was lying–“

Somebody laughed suddenly, and another chuckle helped to point the joke, until the whole outfit was in an uproar; for of all the men who had slept under Flying-U tents and eaten beside the mess-wagon, Andy Green was conceded to be the greatest, the most shameless and wholly incorrigible liar of the lot.

“Aw, yuh don’t want to get jealous of an old stiff like that,” Pink soothed musically. “There ain’t one of us but what knows you could lie faster and farther and more of it in a minute, with your tongue half-hitched around your palate and the deaf-and-dumb language barred, than any three men in Chouteau County. Don’t let it worry yuh, Andy.”

“I ain’t letting it worry me,” said Andy, getting a bit red with trying not to show that the shot hit him. “When my imagination gets to soaring, I’m willing to bet all I got that it can fly higher than the rest of you, that have got brains about on a par with a sage-hen, can follow. When I let my fancy soar, I take notice the rest of yuh like to set in the front row, all right–and yuh never, to my knowledge, called it a punk show when the curtain rung down; yuh always got the worth uh your money, and then some.

“But if yuh’d taken notice of the load that old freak was trying to throw into the bunch, you’d suspicion there was something scaley about it; there was, all right. I’d gamble on it.”

“From the symptoms,” spoke Weary mildly, rising to an elbow, “Andy’s about to erupt one of those wide, hot, rushing streams of melted imagination that bursts forth from his think-works ever so often. Don’t get us all worked up over it, Andy; what’s it going to be this time? A murder in the Bad-lands?”

Andy clicked his teeth together, thought better of his ill-humor and made reply, though he had intended to remain dignifiedly silent.

“Yuh rung the bell, m’son–but it ain’t any josh. By gracious, I mean it!” He glared at those who gurgled incredulously, and went on: “No, sir, you bet it ain’t any josh with me this time. That old gazabo had something heavy on his conscience–and knowing the fellow he had reference to, I sure believe he lied a whole lot when he said Dan pulled out with all the stuff they’d got together, and went down river. Maybe he went down river, all right–but if he did, it was most likely to be face-down. Dan was as honest a boy as there is in the country, and he had money on him that he got mining down in the little Rockies last summer. I know, because he showed me the stuff last fall when I met him in Benton, and he was fixing to winter with this fellow that just left.