I lifted my pistol hand and pointed my piece in Dr. Augustus Tarr's miserable face. "Fess up. Who the hell was that Rodeo Clown?"
Dr. Augustus Tarr stepped back a little scared like and his flunkies looked like they were ready to jump me. One of them might have even drawn out a piece of his own, but I couldn't tell because I had my bead on Tarr's stupid puss. The crowd shifted from cheering at me to booing Tarr. Tarr turned to face the crowd with a sheepish smile on his face.
Sheriff Frehley cautiously ran out towards the standoff, yelling, "EVERYBODY PUT DOWN YOUR GUNS - RIGHT NOW!!! I AM STILL THE LAW HERE, SWORN IN BY THE GOOD PEOPLE OF JONESTOWN!"
Hell no, I didn't put down my gun, and Tarr pointed angrily at me.
"Elroy, I want this madman arrested for the murder of my finest rodeo performer, the Armored Bullock of Festus County!"
"You talkin' about the bull?" Sheriff frowned.
"That was the best rodeo bull I ever had and this cold blooded murderer killed him! Arrest him right now!"
The crowd booed Tarr even more. Hot damn, they were all on my side. I put my gun down to get even more sympathy from the folks.
"Aw hell, Gus, I can't arrest a man for killing a beast. A whore, maybe, a church minister, hell yeah, but a damn bull, no soap!"
"I stand to lose a lot of capital profit on account of this rapscallion's unforgivable transgression!" he pointed again. I wanted to take his pointing finger and shove it so far up his ass he'd pick his nose every time he farted.
"Sheriff, I'm losing a lot of blood", I piped in. "I'm getting kind of dizzy. Are you gonna arrest me or aren't you?"
Sheriff Frehley looked around and spotted Mumblin' Pete standing by the cattle chute.
"HEY YOU! MUMBLES! TAKE YOUR COMPADRE HERE TO THE SAWBONES DOWN THE ROAD, PRONTO! YOU SAVVY?"
Mumblin' Pete ran out to me and put his arm around my shoulder and escorted me off the field. The audience cheered me like I was a hero.
Dr. Tarr cussed his ass off. "Well, now I've seen everything! You're gonna let that cold blooded killer go scot free like that?"
"Lookit, Gus, I'm not filing charges, and your boys need to carry that beast off the field lickety split. I suggest you burn the carcass just like the Almighty commanded Moses in the Good Book".
Tarr's face burned redder and redder and the last thing I heard him yell was that he was disowning Sheriff as his cousin. That's life! Well, not for the bull.
Pete hustled himself a wagon and carefully lay me on it.
"Jufg dbhi wex joiyu whsiojkt!" He ordered. Since I couldn't figure what the fuck he just said I reckoned I'd just face the music and behave like a slave.
Pete rode out of the town a ways and saw a little house with a sign out, "Hiram McSweeney, Licensed Physician".
Pulling the wagon over, Pete hopped off and knocked frantically at the front door. A little man opened it, and Pete got kinda caught up in the moment.
"GHKP GRET!!!! VCOPYI HRRDSD!!!"
"Vot? A man iz bleedink to death, you say? Nu, bring him in!"
Pete came back and pulled me off the wagon and dragged in. The little guy was bald, thin, had blue eyes and wore a white coat. He stared at me very intently.
"Put him on the table there!"
Pete put me on the doctor's table, all nice and papered. The doctor looked at my face and clothes all smeared in blood.
"What may I ask happened? Are you running from the law, Mister?"
"Walker's the name, Crash Walker. Sheriff Frehley sent me here. Just rode a bull at the rodeo and it got all hog wild on me".
The doc lit a couple of lanterns in his office and looked me over. He poked me here and there and asked me if this hurt or if that hurt. Mumblin' Pete just stood there holding his hat in his hand, pivoting one foot over the other like frog tryin' to decide if he wanted to jump off a lily pad or not. He was makin' me nervous.
Doctor McSweeney then applied a bunch of ointments and stuff over my scratches, bruises and gashes. He'd mumble a little weird talk every now and then.
"What are you sayin'?"
"A little German, Mr. Walker, it's nothing", he waved his hand away.
"German? I thought you were Irish", I winced at my bull gore ribs being fiddled with.
"Irish? No", he laughed, unrolling a bunch of bandages to put over my cuts. "I'm German. You don't mind, do you?"
I shook my head.
"No, medicine I couldn't practice in the smaller towns. Jews from Eastern Europe can't get work around here, so an Irishman I became. It's not killing anybody".
"So you're not really Hiram McSweeney?"
"To you cowboys, yes", he whispered. "To my closest friends, Chaim Moskowitz. I need the business, do you understand?"
"Sure, Doc! Gyuh!" I groaned as he tightened the gauze around my battered ribcage. I jumped off the exam table, my body sore as hell.
"Stay off your feet, buckaroo!" Now it was the Doc's turn pointing fingers and shit. "And no whiskey! A glass of tea, you hear?"
Mumblin' Pete laughed.
"Tea?" I moaned. "Shit!"
"Take him home", Dr. Moskowitz ordered Pete.
"Hik fgedi wetuidj jdjdobn, jegdghxh tyr ioppp?"
"Yeah, how much?" I asked.
"Nothing, go home, and remember. Hot tea!"
Pete chortled again as we moseyed out the door.
Anybody who says Sailor Jerry ain't a square fella never lived a day in their life. Why, Jerry brought some of his girls over top our hotel room to attend to my needs. They were a lot more fun nursing' me than that tired old Mumblin' Pete.
Each gal was more pretty than the last one. There was Miss Teresa, a tall blonde with a full figure. A full figure means the front filled out and the back side filled out and the hips held everything in place real nice.
There was Miss Charity, a brunette with golden eyes and she smelled like a field of flowers and laughed a lot. Holy cow! Then there was Miss Odessa, a flaming red head, she was kinda shy but she looked like a match about to start a fire. The best nurse was Miss Clara, a half-Chinese thing with big black hair and high heel boots who liked taking my sleep drawers off and rubbing lotion all over my body. I don't think Miss Willa fancied her too much.
"You got off easy compared to the other dudes who volunteered for Tarr's show. They usually get killed by that razor blade bull of his", Miss Charity said.
Miss Teresa picked it up. "Tarr's been through these parts plenty of times but this time you got the best of him. You killed that dad blamed bull of his. He's mighty steamed!"
"Yeah, well he picked the wrong pigeon to mess with, know what I mean?"
"You don't know the half of it. After the show they found the regular man who played The Rodeo Clown bound up in his own underwear under a wagon with his throat slashed", Miss Charity leered. "From ear to ear!"
"So that wasn't his Rodeo Clown. It was some damn fake", I added things up.
"Sheriff and Tarr and some of Tarr's boys are out in the fields looking for that Rodeo Clown. He's probably hiding out somewheres".
"Which way did you say they were headed?"
"They went towards the mountains".
"They reckon he's hiding out somewhere up there", Miss Teresa concluded. I quietly chuckled to myself.
The reason I chuckled to myself was because lawmen always pick the wrong time, the wrong approach and the wrong direction to get their man. It's like they went to some school house in Dumbass Land to learn how to do everything wrong. There was no way this crazy clown was hiding out in the mountains. They'll never find him but I know I can.
After the girls were gone tinkering with me and fondling my unawares, I had to refuse Miss Clara's advances to spending the night rubbing my wounds so I could hit the bloody trail searching for my would-be attacker.
It was a night made bright by moonlight, my going in the opposite direction of the search party. They were clearly wasting their time running towards the mountains. I went further down the road looking for more deserted parts.
The way I see it, this was the type of sidewinder who didn't get enough killing done. He had his fun with the rodeo hand in Tarr's show, but then he'd been denied by me, so he needed some more kills to satisfy his blood lust. Guaranteed.
I rode my horse slowly down the main path going by the clean, proper homes, voices and sounds getting quieter and quieter. Lights going dimmer and dimmer as I rode down the road. Finally all that was left was silence and the glowing light of the moon briefly illuminating trees and bushes and casting shadows over every little nothing.
Clyde loped slower and slower until he finally stopped right by a burned-up looking school house. The wooden slats were rotted out from the tinder being dry and charred to Jack Fuck.
"What's wrong, you dumb horse? Keep trottin'", I kicked his sides and pulled at his bridle.
Clyde trotted three steps more and the stopped again.
"What the heck, boy? Let's go!"
I kicked again. Clyde then began trotting around the school house. What the hell? As we trotted around the school house I peered through the window just for the hell of it.
I couldn't help noticing that there was a dim light coming out of the classroom, like the flicker of a candle.
"Alright, Clyde, have it your way". I tied the reins against a tree branch behind the place and crept quietly to the back of the school house.
I gently tried the door knob and lucky boy, it turned. I crept into the classroom and indeed, there was a candle burning. It flickered all around the room, casting shadows of everything against the beat wooden walls.
The room stank of some kind of loco weed being smoked, puffed heartily by a man with tufts of hair sticking up in spikes. His back was turned to me so he didn't catch me staring at him smoking and guzzling a bottle of whiskey.
His back still turned to me, he rasped loudly. "If you've come for me you should have brought help, Cowboy. You're too cut up to do any fighting".
He stood up and turned around to face me. He still had the pale white makeup on with that twisted smile on his face.
"But it doesn't matter anyway because I'm going to chop your head off".
He picked up something that looked like a wheat thresher and grinned madly.
"Bringing in the sheaves...."
I reached for my gun and got nothing. I must have left my holster behind at the hotel. How stupid can I be?
"Give yourself up. Everybody's out looking for you", I advanced slowly towards him. "They know what you did".
"Come...get....me!" he laughed, swinging the scythe around. You could hear it slicing the air.
I threw a canteen at him and he hit it hard, making it fly across the room.
Bored with the game, he advanced towards me with the scythe, swinging it wildly. I picked up a fistful of salt that was laying by some rotting meat and blew it right into his eyes.
"Auggh!" He reached for his eyes, blinking wildly, making the scythe clatter down on the floor.
I saw a buck knife laying right by the rotting, raw meat he was eating and picked it up. I saw a shadow of him jumping on top of me and wrestling my arm holding the knife.
He squeezed my wrist holding the blade and banged it hard over and over again on the floor.
"Give...up! You're going to die, anyway!"
I pulled my legs up and kicked him real hard in the bread basket, knocking all the air out of him.
"I'm taking you in on behalf of the fair people of Jonestown".
He pounced on me again and I tried swinging the knife at him but he threw a hard punch at me. I let go of the knife and it was lying loose on the floor, waiting for one of us to pick it up. The Rodeo Clown grabbed it and dove right at me, so I did an old circus trick. I picked up a chair and pushed him back with it like a lion tamer.
"You can't hold things off forever. You're....going...to die!"
I smashed the chair into his face, and then next thing I knew he was lying on the floor thrashing around with his arms reaching for the knife, which was now stuck through his throat. He was bleeding profusely from his Adam's Apple. The chair hammered the knife into him like nails into a wooden board.
I leaned over him and just to make sure he'd suffocate real good I sat on his chest. He choked real heard on the blood flooding his throat from all that.
"Hiss...Hiss....Hiss...will get you!" he rasped, his breath racking something awful.
"Kiss? What? Who's gonna get kissed?" I frowned sourly.
"The Hiss Ranch wants vindication. You will be first to die", The Rodeo Clown writhed in agony. He coughed up blood a few times and then finally expired.
I took a close look at the stiff and wondered what he looked like without all that fancy makeup, so I grabbed a kerchief and wiped the grease off his face. The face looked kinda familiar but I couldn't quite place it at first. I wiped a lot more, took off that crazy wig he wore and tried real hard to figure out who this dude was.
And then it dawned on me. It was that funny feller who danced with Miss Willa the other day and gave me and Pete those dirty looks and all. He disappeared at some point and I reckon that's when he killed the real rodeo clown and then tried to axe me, too. The son of a bitch.
Who was he, amd why did he take such a liking to killing people all over town? How much did Miss Willa really know about him?
Well, one thing's for sure. When I get back to that hotel I'm gonna ask Miss Willa a lot of questions about this guy. Between what she knows and what I don't know a whole lot of questions are going to be answered.
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!