THE 1898 BASE-BALL FE-AS-KO
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It seems that the FDR writer is back wanting more Fe-As-Ko stories from cowpoke Royal Leckner. This time it’s 1897, Royal and E.M. have been married about four years. And so have Leviticus and Lou(ella) Perrault, owners of the Four Arrows ranch. Royal is still foreman of the ranch and caretaker of its owner. As he reminds us, Leviticus and Lou(ella) Perrault are “short a hat size,” but “nice and honest, which is better than smart and fox-like any day.” It’s time to take the cattle to Portland for the annual sale, and Royal is bringing Leviticus along to teach him how “to sign on the dotted line.” E.M. foresees trouble in Portland and decides she’d better go along as well. So the cattle gets loaded and all are headed for the city. Except, Leviticus who has managed to walk onto the train, down the aisle and right back off – something has caught his eye. It shouldn’t be a surprise that a long-time rock thrower like Leviticus would get fascinated by a baseball. Once they get Levi back on the train, Lou(ella) says they are going to get themselves a base-ball in Portland. As it turns out (and things do turn out in Royal’s life), the buyer isn’t available when they go to sell the cattle, so it’s declared a day off. E.M’s off to buy hats and Royal goes shopping with Levi and Lou(ella) for a base-ball. Innocently enough, Royal accepts baseball tickets for an exhibition game from one of the local storekeepers. This probably wasn’t the best place to take Leviticus for “he may only have a half mind, but the half he does have is damn hard to unset.” Worse, Royal runs into E.M.’s half sister and full-time trouble, Augusta, who is also the owner of the Bowery Bulldogs. E.M. shows up and immediately takes exception in finding Royal in the club house drinking champagne with Augusta. Knowing this isn’t going anywhere right, Royal decides to take his new fishing pole and get out of town, leaving E.M. to sell the cattle. Days later, E.M. shows up with a wagon overloaded with men passing the bottle, whooping, hollering and falling out. These are not men Royal recognizes. Like Jack sent to town to sell a cow, but coming back with magical beans, it seems that Leviticus traded the herd of 1200 cattle for his very own baseball team, just as Lou(ella) promised –and we thought she meant just the ball! Smart and fox-like, Augusta had Levi “sign on the dotted line” when E.M. wasn’t looking. And now it is up to the Leckner’s to look for the giant beanstalk, despite winter coming, no cash, and ten extra mouths to feed. But Royal and E.M. are not without resources; she has her father who is sitting in jail, the “seven vestal Burnbaums” daughters of Idlehour’s late banker and Lou(ella)’s savant talent with numbers.