Blog Battle Tuesday! This week's Word: FALLOW. My Genre: WESTERN as we continue with A Horse Called Shenanigans. To read previous installments click Part 1, Part 2 or Part 3. To read other stories written by other Blog Battlers, click HERE and take your journey to Rachael Ritchey's Blog!
All Washed Up: Part 4 of A Horse Called SHENANIGANS
Eldy slide the large buckle belt around her tiny waist before jabbing a stiff finger into the Sheriff’s chest. She’d had enough of all their idiotic words and sorry attempts of pacifying a “female.” Truth be told she was tempted to put a bit of metal in each of their hides for the debacle that had landed her in her knickers and gagged with silks.
No, the only thing to make her happy was a tin badge and some walking papers. Eldy “Elderberry” Milcratt had had enough! Baring her teeth she said, “If another one of you buffoons tries to tell me I ain’t man enough to handle these here fire arms I’ll be liable to show you, draw style.”
The Sheriff’s brow descended in a huff. “Now, Ms. Milcratt there is no need for you to be contemplating violence with men of the law! All we’ve tried to do, all we’ve done-”
She cute him off. “All you’ve done is let a new Bandit ride off with the town’s earnings, my earnings, and then walked Side Nose Willy right out the front door with a wink and a smile!” She fumed. “And now ya’ll have put me in a position whereas I have no choice but to defend my honor!”
Sheriff threw up his arms and turned. “I ain’t got time for this! I have a bandit to catch. No, two!”
“As if ya’ll could. The only reason you got hold of Side Nose in the first place was a’cause of Smokey Patches, well his horse anyway. You lot couldn’t catch a cold not even on the worst day of winter belly sliding in your undergarments.”
That got Sheriff’s attention. “Now you’ve gone and said enough Ms. Milcratt! I swear if you weren’t a skirt I would take you out back and teach you a lesson!”
Eldy flicked his tin star badge. “Tell you what Sheriff. You get your best shooter and meet me in the square in half hour. We’ll do a dual of targets. You win, I’ll hang up my shooters. But if I win,” She raised her chin and stared him in the eye. “Then I’ll be having a badge, a horse and enough rations to go and round me up a pair of bandits, all legal style.”
Sheriff smiled. “Little missy, the world is going to be a safer place with you back in the kitchen with those guns out of your reach. Well, safer with the guns gone from ya at least. You have a deal!”
~ ~ ~
Dalton felt absolutely scandalous sitting in the deep water of the soaking tub. Wasn’t that he was shy of his own skin, he just hadn’t thought that a soiled dove would try to help him bathe. His skin was more red from embarrassment than the heat of the water. He had managed to convince the lady he wasn’t in need of her “care” or her company but she didn’t budge from the room, which only meant Dalton had to keep his eyes way up or way down.
The dove’s corset was so tight that if the poor thing sneezed her goodness and mercy would be exposed on both ends!
“Is there anything I can get ya, sweetheart?” Her long clumpy lashes batted atop her painted face.
“No ma’am. I’m doing just fine so if you’d like to run along…” He saw her blonde curls sway from side to side. She wasn’t going to budge. Dalton swallowed. He couldn’t sit in the water forever, he would catch consumption, and she was sitting on the towel. Didn’t help at all that Shenanigans was making that sound again. The one that said she was restless. That only meant trouble and no matter how many bank notes Dalton had in his possession, he certainly couldn’t afford much more of that.
Dalton snapped his fingers. “You know what, Miss, if you wouldn’t mind grabbing me a paper that would be quite nice.” He offered a smile, hoping that would get her to exit the premises. Instead she gave a saucy smile of her own, pulling a folded paper from beneath her thigh.
“I’ve got one right here. Let me read it to you.” The dove started with the weather moved on to politics and then with a sense of excitement read the part about the new bandit in the territory. A fella called Smokey Patches and his horse Thunder, the pair who’d robbed Side Nose Willy.
With each word Dalton felt the water grow colder and his stomach knot. Shenanigans gave a loud bray. He sank deeper into the water.
~ ~ ~
“Yes sir, the back 40 has lay fallow since that boy and his mare rode off not too long ago. See since his Pa died, things just ain’t been the same. Dalton has had a rough go of it. Life ain’t never been easy on him.” Cleophas blew into a hanky and bowed his head with enough solemnity that anyone passing by would have thought he was witnessing a funeral.
The reporter wrote down all his words. “So you think harsh living pushed him to a life of crime? Turned him to the bad?”
Cleophas’ chest puffed out as if to fight. “Now I ain’t say the boy was a crook or bad! Hell, his the finest kid I done ever met! And if you question it again, you may find yourself answering at the end of Ole Hoot.” He tapped the double barrel shotgun he’d been leaning on as if a cane.
The reporter went pale. “B-but you said he was the bandit!”
“I said no such thing!” Cleophas argued. “I said he was the one in them drawings. But I never said my nephew was a crook. Dalton is a God fearing Christian man. Loves the Lord. This mess about Smokey Patches is all a misunderstanding that I aim to clear up by washing his name of falsehood.” He jutted his chin.
The reporter appraised him. “You do know it was you who sent us the telegraph. No one knew who Smokey Patches was til you said so.”
Cleophas hadn’t thought of that. All he’d thought about was the money he was getting paid for the interview. And with the amount of trouble he had just put on Dalton’s head by the time the paper was printed, he was going to need it to give the boy a decent burial.
Cleophas gulped. He was no better than that old raggedy mare, Shenanigans.
TO BE CONTINUED…
I went 80 words over, but I guess that is alright. I hope you liked this installment. Shenanigans is prepping for curtain call! See you next week!