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Volume 5031

P. J. Monahan: Girl from Hollywood - FP same as DJAce edition: Boris Vallejo cover art: January 1976
 by Woodrow Edgar Nichols, Jr.
Part 11: Chapters 17 and 18
“Her mind is Tiffany twisted, she got the Mercedes bends
She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys she calls friends
How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat.
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget.”
– The Eagles, “Hotel California”

I must confess to a great error which I promise I can explain.  I stated that Nevada was a Spanish word for “high place,” and after I typed that, I thought to myself, check that out in the dictionary before you spell-check this article – I never use the automated one, but you’ve probably already noticed that – and, of course, by the time I finished the first draft, it had totally slipped my mind.  I finally remembered after it was submitted.  Nevada actually means “snowcapped,” as in: the Sierra Nevada, the “Snow-Capped Mountains”; I know, it sounds better in Spanish.  Sorry about that.

If you recall, we left Custer Pennington recovering from his burns and Shannon Burke gaining some kind of victory over her monkey, mainly through the power of love.  Hehehe.

Whenever I say or write that phrase I can’t help but hear Huey Lewis and the News belting out, “That’s the power of love!” from Back to the Future.  Sorry for the sidetrack.  Let’s get back to the story.


That night Shannon insisted upon taking her turn at Custer’s bedside, and she was so determined that they could not refuse her.  He was still suffering, but not so acutely.  The doctor had left morphine, with explicit directions for its administration should it be required.  The burns, while numerous, and reaching from his left ankle to his cheek, were superficial, and, though painful, not necessarily dangerous.

If you know about burns, then you will know that the ones that hurt the most are second degree burns.  Third degree burns sear out the nerves in the skin, so you don’t feel those at all, even though they’re the kind that kill you.

        He slept but little, and when he was awake he wanted to talk.  He told her about Grace.  It was his first confidence – a sweetly sad one – for he was a reticent man concerning those things that were nearest his heart and consequently the most sacred to him.  He had not heard from Grace for some time, and her mother had had but one letter – a letter that had not sounded like Grace at all.  They were anxious about her.
        “I wish she would come home!” he said wistfully.  “You would like her, Shannon.  We could have such bully times together!  I think I would be content here if Grace were back; but without her it seems very different, and very lonely. You know we have always been together, all of us, since we were children – Grace, Eva, Guy, and I; and now that you are here it would be better, for you are just like us.  You seem like us, at least – as if you had always lived here, too.”
        “It’s nice to have you say that; but I haven’t always been here, and, really, you know I don’t belong.”
        “But you do belong!”
        “And I’m going away again pretty soon.  I must go back to the city.”
        “Please don’t go back,” he begged.  “You don’t really have to, do you?”
        “I had intended on telling you all this morning; but after the spurs, I couldn’t.”
        “Do you really have to go?” Custer insisted.
        “I don’t have to, but I think I ought to.  Do you want me to stay – honestly?”
        “Honest Injun!” he said, smiling.
Boy, that’s one you don’t hear anymore.  It was really a common term when I was a kid, and, as I recall, you always held your hand up with a split-fingered peace sign when you said it.
        “Maybe I will.”
        He could have voiced no higher praise.
        He asked about the fire, and especially about the horses.  He was delighted when she told him that a man had just come down to say that the fire was practically out, and the Colonel was coming in shortly; and that the veterinary had been there and found the team not seriously injured.
        “I think that fire was incendiary,” he said; “but now that Slick Allen is in jail, I don’t know who would set it.”
        “Who is Slick Allen,” she asked, “and why should he want to set fire to
        He told her, and she was silent for a while, thinking about Allen and the last time she had seen him.  She wondered what he would do when he got out of jail.  She would hate to be in Wilson Crumb’s boots then, for she guessed that Allen was a hard character.
        While she was thinking of Allen, Custer mentioned Guy Evans.  Instantly there came to her mind, for the first time since that last evening at the Vista del Paso bungalow, Crumb’s conversation with Allen and the latter’s account of the disposition of the stolen whisky.  His very words returned to her.
        “Got a high-blood at the edge of the valley handling it – a fellow by the name of Evans.”
        She had not connected Allen or that conversation or the Evans he had mentioned with these people; but now she knew that is was Guy Evans who was disposing of the stolen liquor.  She wondered if Allen would return to this part of the country after he was released from jail.  If he did, and saw her, he would be sure to recognize her, for he must have had her features impressed upon his memory by the fact that she so resembled some one he had known.
        If he recognized her, would he expose her?  She did not doubt but that he would.  The chances were that he would attempt to blackmail her; but, worst of all, he might tell Crumb where she was.  That was the thing she dreaded most – seeing Wilson Crumb again, or having him discover her whereabouts; for she knew that he would leave no stone unturned and hesitate to stoop to no dishonorable act, to get her back again.  She shuddered when she thought of him – a man whose love, even, was a dishonorable and dishonoring thing.
        Then she turned her eyes to the face of the young man lying there on the bed beside which she sat.  He would never love her; but her love for him had already ennobled her.
        Custer moved restlessly.  Again he was giving evidence of suffering.  She laid a cool palm upon his forehead, and stroked it.  He opened his eyes and smiled up at her.
        “It’s bully of you to sit with me,” he said; “but you ought to be in bed.
        You’ve had a pretty hard day, and you’re not as used to it as we are.”
        “I am not tired,” she said, “and I should like to stay – if you would like to have me.”
        He took her hand from his forehead and kissed it.
        “Of course I like to have you here, Shannon – you’re just like a sister.  It’s funny, isn’t it, that we should all feel that way about you, when we’ve only known you a few weeks?  It must have been because of the way you fitted in.  You belonged right from the start – you were just like us.”
        She turned her head away suddenly, casting her eyes upon the floor and biting her lip to keep back the tears.
        “What’s the matter?” he asked.
        “I am not like you, Custer; but I have tried to be.” “Why aren’t you like us?” he demanded.
        “I – why, I – couldn’t ride a horse,” she explained lamely.
        “Don’t make me laugh, please; my face is burned,” he pleaded in mock irony.  “Do you think that’s all we know, or think of, or possess – our horsemanship?  We have hearts, and minds, such as they are – and souls, I hope. It was of these things I was thinking.  I was thinking too, that we Penningtons demand a higher standard in women than is customary nowadays.  We are a little old-fashioned, I guess.  We want the blood of our horses and the minds of our women pure.  Here is a case in point – I can tell you, because you don’t know the girl and never will.  She was the daughter of a friend of Cousin William – our New York cousin.  She was spending the winter in Pasadena, and we had her out here on Cousin William’s account.  She was a pippin of a looker, and I suppose she was all right morally; but she didn’t have a clean mind.  I discovered it about the first time I talked with her alone; and Eva asked me a question about something that she couldn’t have known about at all except through this girl.  I didn’t know what to do.  She was a girl and so I couldn’t talk about her to any one, not even my father or mother; but I didn’t want her around Eva.  I wondered if I was just a narrow prig, and if, after all, there was nothing that any one need take exception to in the girl.  I got analyzing the whole thing, and I came to the conclusion that I would be ashamed of mother and Eva if they talked or thought along such lines.  Consequently, it wasn’t right to expose Eva to that influence.
        That’s was what I decided, and I don’t just think I was right – I know I was.” “And what did you do?” Shannon asked in a very small voice.
        “I did what under any other circumstances would have been unpardonable. I went to the girl and asked her to make some excuse that would terminate her visit.  It was a very hard thing to do; but I would do more than that – I would sacrifice my most cherished friendship – for Eva.”
        “And the girl – did you tell her why you asked her to go?”
        “I didn’t want to, but she insisted, and I told her.”
        “Did she understand?”
        “She did not.”
In 1921, this was the common, although mostly hypocritical, attitude of men about women.  Every man wanted to marry a virgin and may have had fun with loose women, but he would never marry one.  At this time a person always thought about someone they liked, “Is this the kind of girl or boy I can bring home?”  Ahh, that ERB...what a tease.  I mean what was it about this girl that so freaked Custer when he contemplated the kind of influence she might have on his sister?  Was she a big city sophisticate with a dirty mouth and mind?  What was it about Eva’s conversation with this girl that made Eva come to Custer about a matter?  Does your instinct tell you that it was something sexual?  Mine does.

Of course, if it were me instead of Custer, I would have thought, man, this Custer dude has some pretty strong hang-ups, and since this girl was a “pippin of a looker,” I would have gone for it.  Why not?  She wasn’t related – she was the daughter of a friend of Cousin William. And the idea that society should protect the minds of its children went out with the trash during the Monica Lewinski scandal.  Because the Republicans tried to impeach the President for an alleged blow job in the Oval Office, every five-year old knew what a blow job was before the scandal wound down to its sordid ending.  As a result, there was a lot of experimentation beyond the typical childhood “playing doctor” kind.  I’ve never forgiven the Republicans for that.  I had young daughters at the time.

And what can Shannon be thinking, now that she has fallen in love with Custer? Wouldn’t he feel the same way toward her that he had felt toward the New York City girl if he knew her past?  ERB loved this kind of drama among his characters.  Who knows how much real life he was drawing upon?

        “Do you think I did wrong?” he asked.
        “No.  There is mental virtue as well as physical.  It is as much your duty to protect your sister’s mind as to protect her body.”
        “I knew you’d think as I do about it; but let me tell you it was an awful jolt to the cherished Pennington hospitality.  I hope I never have to do it again!”
        He commenced to show increasing signs of suffering, presently, and then he asked for morphine.
        “I don’t want to take it unless I have to,” he explained.
        “No,” she said, “do not take it unless you have to.”
        She prepared and administered it, but she felt no desire for it herself.  Then Eva came to relieve her, and she bade them good night and went up to bed.  She awoke about four o”clock in the morning, and immediately thought of the little black case; but she only smiled, turned over, and went back to sleep again.
      Being a good actress, I imagine Shannon acting like she was fixing the shot of morphine as if she were an amateur, hoping to arouse no suspicions.  As it is, things are looking up for Shannon – as long as she doesn’t blow it!

        It was several weeks before Custer could ride again, and in the meantime
        Shannon had gone down to her own place to live.  She came up every day on Baldy, who had been loaned to her until Custer should be able to select a horse for her.  She insisted that she would own nothing but a Morgan, and that she wanted one of the Apache’s brothers.
        “You’ll have to wait, then, until I can break one for you,” Custer told her. “There are a couple of four-year-olds that are saddle-broke and bridle-wise in a way; but I wouldn’t want you to ride either one of them until they’ve had the finishing touches.  I want to ride them enough to learn their faults, if they have any.  In the meantime you just keep Baldy down there and use him.  How’s ranching?  You look as if it agreed with you.  Nobody’d know you for the same girl.  You look just like an Indian, and how your cheeks have filled out!”
        The girl smiled happily.  Her cheeks were flushed, her eyes dancing.  She was a picture of life and health and happiness; and Custer’s eyes were sparkling, too.
        “Gee!” he exclaimed.  “You’re a regular Pennington!”
        “I wish I were!” the girl thought to herself.  “You honor me,” was what she said aloud.”
        Custer laughed.
        “That sounded rotten, didn’t it?  But you know what I meant – it’s nice to have people whom we like like the same things we do.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that we think our likes are the best in the world.  I didn’t mean to be egotistical.”
        Eva had just entered the patio.  She walked over and perched on his knees and kissed him.
        “Do you know, I think I’ll go on the stage or the screen – wouldn’t it be splishous, though? – Miss Eva Pennington is starring in the new and popular success based on the story by Guy Thackeray Evans, the eminent author!”
        “Oh, Eva!” cried Shannon, genuine concern in her tone.  “Surely you wouldn’t think of the screen, would you?  You’re not serious?”
        “Oh, yes,” said Custer.  “She’s serious – serious is her middle name.
        Tomorrow she will want to be a painter, and day after tomorrow the world’s most celebrated harpist.  Eva is nothing if not serious, while her tenacity of purpose is absolutely inspiring.  Why, once, for one whole day, she wanted to do the same thing.”
        Eva was laughing with her brother and Shannon.
        “If she were just like every one else, you wouldn’t love your sister any more,” she said, running her fingers through his hair.  “Honestly, ever since I met Wilson Crumb, I have thought I should like to be a movie star.”
Well, that was inevitable, wasn’t it?  Sooner or later ERB had to start mixing the themes together.  First Slick Allen and now Wilson Crumb.  What’s in store for our characters at this midpoint in our story?
        “Wilson Crumb!” exclaimed Shannon.  “What do you know of Wilson Crumb?”
        “Oh, I’ve met him,” said Eva airily.  “Don’t you envy me?”
    “What do you know about him, Shannon?” asked Custer.  “Your tone indicated that you may have heard something about him that wasn’t complimentary.”
        “No – I don’t know him.  It’s only what I’ve heard.  I don’t think you’d like him.”  Shannon almost shuddered at the thought of this dear child even so much as knowing Wilson Crumb.  “Oh, Eva!” she cried impulsively. “You mustn’t even think of going into pictures.  I lived in Los Angeles long enough to learn that the life is oftentimes a hard one, filled with disappointment, disillusionment, and regrets – principally regrets.”
        “And Grace is there now,” said Custer in a low voice, a worried look in his eyes.
        “Can’t you persuade her to return?” He shook his head.
        “It wouldn’t be fair,” he said.  “She is trying to succeed, and we ought to encourage her.  It is probably hard enough for her at best, without all of us suggesting antagonism to her ambition by constantly urging her to abandon it, so we try to keep our letters cheerful.”
        “Have you been to see her since she left?  No, I know you haven’t.  If I were you, I’d run down to L.A.  It might mean a lot to her, Custer; it might mean more than anything you can guess.”
        The girl spoke from a full measure of bitter experience.  She realized what it might have meant to her had there been some man like this to come to her when she had needed the strong arm of a clean love to drag her from the verge of the mire.  She would have gone away with such a man – gone back home, and thanked God for the opportunity.  If Grace loved Custer, and was encountering the malign forces that had arisen from their own corruption to claw at Shannon’s skirts, she would come back with him.
        “You really think I ought to go?” Custer asked.  “You know she has insisted that none of us should come.  She said she wanted to do it all on her own, without any help.  Grace is not only very ambitious, but very proud.  I’m afraid she might not like it.”
        “I wouldn’t care what she liked,” said Shannon.  “Either you or Guy should run down there and see her.  You are the two men most vitally interested in her.  No girl should be left alone long in Hollywood without some one to whom she can look for the right sort of guidance and – and – protection.”
        “I believe I’ll do it,” said Custer.  “I can’t get away right now; but I’ll run down there before I go on to Chicago with the show herds for the International.”
That answers a question I tried to google at the beginning: where was the International held?  I got many hits for Internationals in all different parts of the country, but in 1921 this must have been the big one.
        As a small boy, it had been Custer’s duty, as well as his pleasure, to “ride fence.”  During his enforced idleness, while recovering from his burns, the duty had devolved upon Jake.  On the first day that Custer took up the work again, Jake had called his attention to a matter that had long been a subject of discussion and conjecture on the part of the employees.
        “There’s something funny goin’ on back in them hills,” said Jake.  “I’ve seen fresh signs every week of horses and burros comin’ and goin’.  Sometimes they trail through El Camino Largo and again through Corto.  An’ they’ve even been down through the old goat corral once, plumb through the ranch, an’ out the west gate.  But what I can’t tell for sure is whether they come in an’ go out, or go out an’ come in.  Whoever does it is foxy.  Their two trails never cross, an’ they must be made within a few hours of each other, for I’m not Injun enough to tell which is freshest – the one comin’ to Ganada or the one goin’ out.  An’ then they muss it up by draggin’ brush, so it’s hard to tell how many they be of ‘em.  It’s got me.”
        “They head for Jackknife, don’t they?” asked Custer.
        “Sometimes, an’ sometimes they go straight up Sycamore, an’ again they head in or out of half a dozen different little barrancos comin’ down from the east; but sooner or later I lose ‘em – can’t never follow ‘em no place in particular.
        Looks like as if they split up.”
        “Maybe it’s only greasers from the valley coming up after firewood at night.”
It was acceptable in Fresno when I was growing up to call Mexicans “greasers” or “wetbacks” without anyone hurling accusations of racism against you.  I stopped calling them these terms as I grew older and realized that Mexicans were the future of California.  I recall going into the Fresno Community Hospital’s nursery the day my daughter, Hannah, was born – August 10, 1982 – and looking at all the newborn babies in the room.  Staring through the glass window I was astonished that over 80% of them were Hispanic.

I recall Caesar Chavez marching his workers into Selland Arena during a speech by Richard Nixon in the fall of 1968 – before the election – when he was running for President.  It was the beginning of the grape boycott, and if you will recall, there were iconic scenes shown on television of many Mexicans in the fields waving Mexican flags.  Years later I remember getting all kinds of sass in Berkeley for drinking Coors beer, since Adolf Coors opposed unionizing farm laborers.

And, last but not least, I also recall working for the 1980 Census in San Diego, under a Hispanic supervisor, a second generation Mexican, who wanted to work with La Raza when he finished law school.  I told him that the farm laborers should start waving American flags when they did their protests in the fields since most white people considered the Mexican flag to be the national flag of another country, another country that used to own California.  He thought it was a good idea and I noticed that years later this idea was eventually adopted.  I doubt whether I had any influence in this decision, but now Caesar Chavez is right up there with Martin Luther King when it comes to white respect.

The reader might want to take this into consideration when we are introduced the character, Bartolo, who is the epitome of the Mexican bandito.  You may recall this type of character in the movie, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, where the head bandito tells Humphrey Bogart, after he asks to see their badges: “Badges!  We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!”

The fact is that the concept of racism has evolved over the decades and what was once not considered racism is so considered today, as Donald Sterling, the owner of the L.A. Clippers basketball team discovered to his detriment.  It does not surprise me that for decades ERB was not taken seriously in American literature because of accusations of racism against him.  It just won’t go away, regardless of how many times one tries to defend him, pleading that of all the white men of his age, ERB was one of the least racist.

Personally, I love the privacy of my own living room where I can speak freely, unimpaired by any Goddamned sensitive ears.  It is impossible to tell me what I can or cannot say.  That, too, is called the American Spirit.  Sorry, I had to get that off my chest.

        “Mebbe,” said Jake; “but that don’t sound reasonable.
        “I know it doesn’t; but I can’t figure out what else it can be.  I found a trail up above Jackknife last spring, and maybe that had something to do with it.  I’ve sure got to follow that up.  The trouble has been that it doesn’t lead where the stock ever goes, and I haven’t had time to look into it.  Do you think they come up here regularly?”
        “We got it doped out that it’s always Friday nights.  I see the tracks Saturday mornings, and some of the boys say they’ve heard ‘em along around midnight a couple of times.”
        “What gates do they go out by?”
        “They use all four of ‘em at different times.”
        “H-m!  Padlock all the gates tomorrow.  This is Thursday.  Then we’ll see what happens.”
        They did see, for on the following Saturday, when Custer rode fence, he found it cut close by one of the padlocked gates – the gate that opened into the mouth of Horse Camp Canyon.  Shannon was with him, and she was much excited at this evidence of mystery so close to home.
        “What in the world do you suppose they can be doing?” she asked.
        “I don’t know; but it’s something they shouldn’t be doing, or they wouldn’t go to so much pains to cover their tracks.  They evidently passed in and out at this point, but they’ve brushed out their tracks on both sides, so that you can’t tell which way they went last.  Look here!  On both sides of the fence the trail splits.
        It’s hard to say which was made first, and where they passed through the fence.  One track must have been on top of the other, but they’ve brushed it out.”
        He had dismounted, and was on his knees, examining the spoor beyond the fence.
         “I believe,” he said presently, “that the fresher trail is the one going toward the hills, although the other one is heavier.  Here’s a rabbit track that lies on top of the track of a horse’s hoof pointed toward the valley, and over here a few yards the same rabbit track is obliterated by the track of horses and burros coming up from the valley.  The rabbit must have come across here after they went down, stepping on top of their tracks, and when they came up again they crossed on top of his.  That’s pretty plain, isn’t it?”
         “Yes; but the tracks going down are much plainer that those going up. Wouldn’t that indicate that they were fresher?”
         “That’s what I thought until I saw this evidence introduced by Brer Rabbit – and it’s conclusive, too.  Let’s look along here a little farther.  I have an idea that I have an idea.”  He bent close above first one trail and then another, following them down toward the valley.
        “I think I’ve got a line on it,” he said presently.  “Two men rode along here on horses.  One horse was shod, the other was not.  One rider went ahead, the other brought up the rear, and between them were several burros. Going down, the burros carried heavy loads; coming back, they carried nothing.”
ERB is clearly showing off his knowledge of reading trails, demonstrating how fascinating so much information can be gained by trained eyes.  I could almost smell the brush and dirt in this scene.  Remember that Jake had told Custer he wasn’t “Injun” enough to read the trail accurately.  Well, Custer is proving to Eva that he is “Injun” enough, especially after he compared her tanned skin to that of an American Indian.  ERB’s daughter, Joan, recalled her father teaching her how to read trails on the Rancho as one of her fondest memories.
            “How do you know all that?” she asked rather incredulously.
            “I don’t know it, but it seems the most logical deduction from these tracks. It is easy to tell the horse tracks from those of the burros, and to tell that there
were at least two horses, because it is plain that a shod horse and an unshod horse passed along here.  That one horse – the one with shoes – went first is evident from the fact that you always see the imprints of burro hoofs, or the hoofs of an unshod horse, or both superimposed on his.  That the other horse brought up the rear is equally plain from the fact that no other tracks lie on top of his.  Now, if you will look close, and compare several of these horse tracks, you will notice that there is little or no difference in the appearance of those leading into the valley and those leading out; but you can see that the burro tracks leading down are more deeply imprinted than those leading up.  To me that means that those burros carried heavy loads down and came back light.  How does it sound?”
            “It’s wonderful!” she exclaimed.  “It is all that I can do to see that anything has been along here.”
            “There is nothing very remarkable about it.  Just look at the Apache’s hoofprints, for instance.  See how the hind differ from the fore.”  Custer pointed to them as he spoke, calling attention to the fact that the Apache’s hind shoes were squared off at the toe.
            “And now compare them with Baldy’s,” he said.  “See how different the two hoofprints are.  Once you know them, you could never confuse one with the other.  But the part of the story that would interest me most I can’t read – who they are, what they were packing out of the hills on their burros, where they come from, and where they went.  Let’s follow down and see where they went in the valley.  The trail must pass right by the Evanses’ hay barn.”
            The Evanses’ hay barn!  A great light illuminated Shannon’s memory. Allen had said, that last night at the bungalow, that the contraband whisky was hauled away on a truck, that is was concealed beneath hay, and that a young man named Evans handled it.
            What was she to do?  She dared not reveal this knowledge to Custer, because she could not explain how she came into possession of it.  Nor, for the same reason, could she warn Guy Evans, had she thought that necessary – which she was sure it was not, since Custer would not expose him.  She concluded that all she could do was to let events take their own course.
            She followed Custer as he traced the partially obliterated tracks through a field of barley stubble.  A hundred yards west of the hay barn the trail entered a macadam road at right angles, and there it disappeared.  There was no telling whether the little caravan had turned east or west, for it left no spoor upon the hard surface of the paved road.
            “Well, Watson!” said Custer, turning to her with a grin.  “What do you make of this?”
            “Nothing?  Watson, I am surprised.  Neither do I.”  He turned his horse back toward the cut fence.  “There’s no use looking any farther in this direction.  I don’t know that it’s even worth while following the trail back into the hills, for the chances are that they have it well covered.  What I’ll do is to lay for them next Friday night.  Maybe they’re not up to any mischief, but it looks suspicious; and if they are, I’d rather catch them here with the goods than follow them up into the hills, where about all I’d accomplish would probably be to warn them that they were being watched.  I’m sorry now I had those gates locked, for it will have put them on their guard.  We’ll just fix up this fence, and then we’ll ride about and take all the locks off.”
                “You’ll not wait for them alone?” she asked, for she knew what he did not – that they were probably unscrupulous rascals who would not hesitate to commit any crime if they thought themselves in danger of discovery.
                “Why not?” he asked.  “I only want to ask them what they are doing on  Ganado, and why they cut our fence.”
                “Please don’t!” she begged.  “You don’t know who they are or what they have been doing.  They might be very desperate men, for all we know.”
                “All right,” he agreed.  “I’ll take Jake with me.”
                “Why don’t you get Guy to go along, too?” she suggested, for she knew that he would be safer if Guy knew of his intention, since then there would be little likelihood of his meeting the men.
                “No,” he replied.  “Guy would have to have a big camp fire, an easy chair, and a package of cigarettes if he was going to sit up that late out in the hills. Jake’s the best for that sort of work.”
                “Guy isn’t a bit like you, is he?” she asked.  “He’s lived right here and led the same sort of life, and yet he doesn’t seem to be a part of it, as you are.”
                “Guy’s a dreamer, and he likes to be comfortable all the time,” laughed Custer.
                “But perhaps Guy would like the adventure of it,” she insisted.  “It might give material for a story.  I’m going to ask him.”
                “You won’t mention it to him, please?” Custer insisted. “Not if you don’t wish it,” she said.

Shannon is finding it more difficult to keep her true identity a secret, and is discovering the hard way that one lie only leads to a worst one.  Where will it end?

            They were silent for a time, each absorbed in his or her own thoughts.  The girl was seeking to formulate some plan that would prevent a meeting between Custer and Allen’s confederates, who she was sure were the owners of the mysterious pack train; while the man indulged in the futile conjectures as to their identity and the purpose of their nocturnal expeditions.
            “That trail above Jackknife Canyon is the key to the whole business,” he declared presently.  “I’ll just lay low until after next Friday night, so as not to arouse their suspicions, and then, no matter what I find out, I’ll ride that trail to its finish, if it takes me clear to the ocean!”
That trail to the ocean would soon become some of the most expensive property in Southern California.  Will Shannon’s plan only make matters worse?  Stay tuned for the next installment.

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Read The Girl From Hollywood Text in ERBzine
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 by Woodrow Edgar Nichols, Jr.
Pt. I: Ch. 1 Pt. II: Ch. 2 Pt. III: Ch. 3/4 Pt. IV: Ch. 5 Pt. V: Ch. 6/7 Pt. VI: Ch. 8/9/10 Pt. VII: Ch. 11/12
Pt. VIII: Ch. 13/14 Pt. IX: Ch. 15 Pt. X: Ch. 16 Pt. XI: Ch. 17/18 Pt. XII: Ch. 19/20 Pt. XIII: Ch. 21 Pt. XIV: Ch. 22/23
Pt. XV: Ch. 24/25 Pt. XVI: Ch. 26/27/28 Pt. XVII: Ch. 29/30/31 Pt. XVIII: Ch. 32/33 Pt. XIX: Ch. 34 Pt. XX: Ch. 35 Pt. XXI: Ch. 36/37


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