<br><h3> Chapter One </h3> I was sitting outside the Commodore’s mansion, waiting <br> for my brother Charlie to come out with news of the job. It was <br> threatening to snow and I was cold and for want of something <br> to do I studied Charlie’s new horse, Nimble. My new horse was <br> called Tub. We did not believe in naming horses but they were <br> given to us as partial payment for the last job with the names <br> intact, so that was that. Our unnamed previous horses had been <br> immolated, so it was not as though we did not need these new <br> ones but I felt we should have been given money to purchase <br> horses of our own choosing, horses without histories and habits <br> and names they expected to be addressed by. I was very fond <br> of my previous horse and lately had been experiencing visions <br> while I slept of his death, his kicking, burning legs, his hot- <br> popping eyeballs. He could cover sixty miles in a day like a gust <br> of wind and I never laid a hand on him except to stroke him or <br> clean him, and I tried not to think of him burning up in that <br> barn but if the vision arrived uninvited how was I to guard <br> against it? Tub was a healthy enough animal but would have <br> been better suited to some other, less ambitious owner. He was <br> portly and low-backed and could not travel more than fifty miles <br> in a day. I was often forced to whip him, which some men do <br> not mind doing and which in fact some enjoy doing, but which I <br> did not like to do; and afterward he, Tub, believed me cruel and <br> thought to himself, Sad life, sad life.<br> I felt a weight of eyes on me and looked away from Nimble. <br> Charlie was gazing down from the upper-story window, holding <br> up five fingers. I did not respond and he distorted his face to <br> make me smile; when I did not smile his expression fell slack <br> and he moved backward, out of view. He had seen me watching<br> his horse, I knew. The morning before I had suggested we <br> sell Tub and go halves on a new horse and he had agreed this <br> was fair but then later, over lunch, he had said we should put it <br> off until the new job was completed, which did not make sense <br> because the problem with Tub was that he would impede the <br> job, so would it not be best to replace him prior to? Charlie had a <br> slick of food grease in his mustache and he said, ‘After the job is <br> best, Eli.’ He had no complaints with Nimble, who was as good <br> or better than his previous horse, unnamed, but then he had had <br> first pick of the two while I lay in bed recovering from a leg <br> wound received on the job. I did not like Tub but my brother was <br> satisfied with Nimble. This was the trouble with the horses. <p> <i>(Continues...)</i> <p> <!-- copyright notice --> <br></pre> <blockquote><hr noshade size='1'><font size='-2'> Excerpted from <b>The Sisters Brothers</b> by <b>Patrick DeWitt</b> Copyright © 2011 by Patrick DeWitt. Excerpted by permission of Ecco. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.<br>Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.