Maybe I should've stayed but I did what I did and what's done is done. I rode with a crew leading a bunch of steers on a cattle drive across the plains of Arizona. People think Arizona's nothing but desert land but if you get close to the New Mexico border you'll find some fine plains territory. Anyway, we pushed those damn steers for hours, at least twelve under the hot heat and I was plumb tired, hot and exhausted.
Sure we took a couple of breaks but my hindquarters was aching like a newly branded calf's. It was too much work for one man to endure so I dropped out real slow and quiet like so no one would notice. I just kept falling back until they didn't even miss me or notice much.
Me and the horse hung back and hid behind a skinny rock formation, not quite a mesa but something smaller. The horse looked tired, but not as tired as I was.
"I might not be smart and I might be stupid but as sure as my name is Crash Walker I'll be damned if I herd any more cattle in this damn heat, that's for sure", I muttered to my horse while wiping the sweat from my brow.
I watched the cattle drive drift further and further on down the plain until they all looked like a speck of nothing. For a brief glimmer I actually felt hurt that nobody made a fuss out of my disappearing. Were they fed up with me or were they just too tuckered out to even care? Lord only knows.
Seeing as how the coast was clear I trotted the horse away from the rock formation, but it felt more like he was riding me than I was riding him.
"Where are we goin' Clyde?" Clyde's the name of my horse.
Clyde trotted over to a tiny weeded slope that had a small watering hole at the very bottom.
"Well now, that's what I call one resourceful horse", I said to no one in particular. Why not? There was no one else there.
Clyde dipped his head down and drank deeply from the small pool of water. I jumped off my saddle and partook of the fine water myself. Once I had my fill I took off my hat and dunked my head in to cool down and wetted my bandana and wrung it around my neck. Shitfire!
I sniffed a strong smell and couldn't tell who smelled worse, Clyde or his friend Crash, so I got a great idea. I took off my boots and I pulled off my chaps and I took off my pants, threw of my shirt and slid out of my Union suit and in my man nakedness ride the horse into the water and give us both a bath at the same time.
I climbed the saddle in my bare feet, not so easy and hit the saddle with my balls burning on the hard leather saddle, but not for very long. I kicked my friend Clyde pulled the reins towards the pool, making him jump in as deep as we could get cold and wet.
Clyde didn't seem to mind much for a sweaty spotted Palomino so we both swam around the pool. We were both naked and not ashamed, just like it says in The Bible.
While we were both enjoying our cool and refreshing break I heard a few horses galloping towards the watering hole.
"Horses just don't run around by themselves around these parts", I told Clyde. "There's bound to be a few fellers sitting behind those nags, I'm just willing to bet".
Before I could get a chance to get out of the water and grab my clothes the small gang arrived. There were five fellows siting on their horses at the top of the slope looking down at me. They looked dark and dirty like they should have been bathing in this pool instead of me. The troubling part of it all was that some of them were smiling at me. The way a dude smiles at a pretty little thing at a dance.
"Well, how do you like that, Rance?" the fat smelly one asked the tall dirty one. "I don't reckon I ever seen a boy in the altogether this pretty. He hardly even has any hair on his body, like a pretty girl".
Rance glared at the fat smelly guy and then looked down at me. "What are you doing swimming around in our water? Who gave you permission to sit in my lake?"
I straightened my back. "This ain't no lake, sir, and what ranch are you fellas representing?"
"We're from the Hiss Ranch and we don't take to strangers jumping around in our water, see?"
A guy in a black hat with a real long nose and an even longer chin piped in.
"I don't know, Rance, that's a right pretty looking dude right there. I'd like to ride him hard and put him up wet".
"Yeah, Rance", the fat smelly guy chimed in. "Pretty boy I'd sure like to chaw on that tight round little thing of yours".
"And what would that be?"
"He's talking about your ass, Rubberneck", Rance said. "Yeah, that's not such a bad idea. Before we shoot you I'll let the boys ride you around a little bit".
Well, when I was a tadpole I heard in Sunday school about men who favored other menfolk and ended up dying in a hail of fire and brimstone only I doubted the good Lord was going to rain any brimstone today. I knew it and shivered a little. Even the horse looked a little scared for me. That's not good.
The five smelly outlaws had their guns all drawn on me and damn, I had my rifle lying in the scrub with my clothes.
"Okay, let's get this business over and done with", Rance announced to the other four men. "Who wants to go first?"
"Shucks!" the fat smelly guy jumped off his horse and started undoing his belt buckle. "I reckon he's all sweet and tender after that little bath and ready for me!"
"I'll hold him down", the hombre with the big nose jumped off his horse. "He might kick like a chestnut mare with those strong legs of his".
Well, before either of those two manhood bandits could grab me and take my virtue I heard a loud explosion. The fat smelly guy stopped dead in his tracks and topple over with a big hole in his stomach with blood gushing out.
The big nosed guy got it next, his black hat flipping off his head and his ear spinning in the air from getting blown off clear from his head. He dropped down the hill and rolled towards the water.
The other three hombres all spun around to where the gunfire erupted from, me too. There was this funny looking thing with a thick handlebar mustache and a huge floppy hat firing two six-guns at the gang.
The gang pulled their guns out, but their eyeballs and faces were shot clean off'n their faces! Before I could count to three the men were shot clear off their horses, even the trouble-making hoss of the bunch, Rance. Dead. All dead.
Their horses screamed and freaked out by all the gun play, they all ran off with their owners lying dead in their blood. I held on to Clyde just to make sure he didn't run off with the rest of them.
The funny looking hombre with the gun went into everyone's pockets and pulled out all their money, grabbing it all and stuffing it into his pockets.
"Don't forget the guns and bullets, too, partner", I helpfully advised.
The funny guy in the floppy clothes walked down the hill with his gun pointing at me. He looked real young, too young to be looking so funny but what the hell. He picked up my clothes lying all over the tall weeds and threw them at me. I quickly put them on. The weird guy then did what I told him to do, grabbing all their guns and stripping them of their bullets and belts.
"I want to thank you for saving my life and y'know, everything that goes with it", I said, most of my clothes now on.
"Knnfnryutguijjuhsuihmlk", he buzzed.
"Say what, partner?"
I pulled Clyde out of the water and leapt onto my saddle, almost slipping straight off from the wet leather.
"Well! At any rate, my name is Crash Walker and I sure want to thank you for killing those Sodomites. What they were about to do was an abomination in the eyes of The Lord".
I rode up the hill towards him, now on his horse. He pointed at me and then pointed towards the horizon, now reaching sunset and impending darkness.
"Y'know, you've got a different way of talking. I reckon I'll call you Mumblin' Pete".
"Mndfgsfstdxfcfcfrgmvgcsgmftft", he smiled and nodded his head.
We both rode a few miles and I noticed a little town coming nearer and nearer in the darkness.
"Pttrsbhshfjscvgcvvbb", he buzzed.
"Jonestown, huh? Don't recall ever laying down my shoes in any Jonestown", I mused.
We both rode into town and I noticed Clyde was well relaxed from his bath and watching all those sidewinders getting killed.
"I just thought of something, Mumblin' Pete. We didn't bury any of those gents, someone's liable to get suspicious".
"Oh, ghfgfsgfttgcvgb!" he buzzed.
"Well, I guess that's okay, then".
We tied our horses up in front of the nearest saloon with the funniest name: SAILOR JERRY'S DANCEHALL SCHOONER.
We both walked in and sidled up to the bar. The place wasn't very crowded and everything looked like it belonged on a ship somewheres on the Pacific Ocean or at least the Gulf of Mexico.
The bartender could have been colored or might not have been colored, who knows? He was a very dark gent, stocky like a bull but dressed very fancy, brass buttons and a purple velvet vest. I couldn't stop looking at his missing hand. He had a hook instead of a left hand but it didn't bother me none.
"How y'all doing? I'm Sailor Jerry and this is my establishment. What's your pleasure, men?"
"I'll have a shot of Kentucky Shitfire and my colleague here'll have a beer", I clanked some coins on the bar top.
"Aye aye", Jerry trotted off to get our drinks.
"Sailor Jerry's got a hook, did you see that? That must get in the way of his chug-a-luggin'".
Mumblin' Pete pushed my hand away with the coins.
"No! Yttfsdxferv vffsc lmlklm", he protested.
"Well, alright, I guess the drinks are on those Sodomites. Sure was nice of them to donate all that money for our entertainment".
"Bgftsr hjhjbns rtvcgh!"
Jerry came back with the drinks and Mumblin' Pete paid him with a few coins. "Fgrrtddxdd!"
"What did he say?"
"He said keep 'em comin', Skipper!"
Mumblin' Pete and I clinked glasses in a toast to our dearly departed assaulters.
"That was some pretty good shootin', Pete. Where'd you learn to shoot like that?"
"Your daddy? Well I'll be dipped in pee".
After a few drinks we bought some for Sailor Jerry, too. I turned to Mumblin' Pete and smiled.
"You know what you are, Mumblin' Pete? You're a spotted zebra, that's what. You're kinda like everybody else only you're a little bit different".
"What? What's a zebra? Why, it's like a mule with black prison stripes, and, uh -"
"Bghgd iotyyu srtsfrcf!"
"Yeah! Drink up, partner".
A cute little gal with long blonde hair came right up to us and sat next to me.
"Good evening, boys".
"Hey! Howdy doody. Any place a man can rest around these parts?"
"Why sure, I can show you. And I can show your friend too. My name's Miss Willa".
"Lead on. My name's Crash and my friend's falling asleep".
"Fgvbvbsdutytcs ghghbnbn xnmxnkoiowip".
The three of us walked out of the saloon into the darkness. Sailor Jerry rang the ship's bell.
Be sure to get a copy of the complete novel "Wranglers' Canyon" in eBook form to be released in July 2015 by Book Baby. Don't miss it!