One of the most aggravating things about law enforcement isn't the part about catching your man or even killing him, but what comes after. Killing The Rodeo Clown was hard work, to be sure, but dragging his dead ass across town on the back of my horse and turning him over to Sheriff Frehley was even harder. I had to do it, otherwise no one would believe me about that guy.
I was just riding and praying old Clyde didn't get a hernia carrying me and that psycho bastard over his poor back, but fuck him, he's a horse. God made him that way. As we were riding through the woods in the pitch black darkness I have to confess to getting a touch of the heebie jeebies and turned around every so often to look at The Rodeo Clown, just to make sure he was really dead. I kept thinking he was going to come to and strangle me from behind, so sometimes I'd even stop riding and turn and smack his dumb ol' dead clown face.
"Hey! Stupid!" Naw, he's still dead. Stiff. Cold. Stiff, cold, dead clown in the dark. And then the thought of that shit creeped me out even more, so I kicked Clyde pretty hard with a stern, "GIDDYAP, BOY!"
I got to Sheriff Frehley's office after ignoring the townsfolk gaping at me like a bunch of loudmouth bass at the horror of a dead clown hanging from the back of my horse. Stare and stare again, folks. I'm doing all the work, not you.
After tying Clyde to the hitching post I had to lift this fat assed clown off the horse and carry him on in. There was a lot of heavy lifting going on and I was feeling mighty tired after that tussle with Chuckles, so after a few false starts I said FUCK IT and simply pushed him off the horse. He landed head first on the ground ass-over-elbows with Clyde shooting a jet of piss that luckily missed his sorry head. A dead head full of piss would be hard to explain to Sheriff.
I dragged Clowny up the wooden sidewalk and opened the front door taking him with me. Sheriff Frehley and Deputy Shugg both practically jumped out of their desks at the same time when they saw the stiff being dragged by his dead leg.
"Walker??" Frehley yelped. "What the hell?"
"Here's the jasper who killed the real rodeo clown in Tarr's show. See? He's for real. We had a tussle over yonder by the woods and I had to kill him, see? It was self defense, Sheriff. I'm no killer!"
Frehley and Shugg both walked over to inspect the dead clown from head to toe.
"Walker, give us a hand with this body", Frehley picked up the top side while Shugg grabbed the bottom.
"Get it yourself, I'm plum tired from all that killing". I sat down.
They picked him up and plopped him down on Shugg's desk, the clown's ass knocking over Shugg's coffee cup and tobacco fixings and shit.
Frehley asked me a lot of dumb fool questions while he was looking the stiff's body up and down.
"Any idea who this is?"
"Hell, no. I'm new here, remember?"
"Some of the paint on his face is all wiped off. Did you do that?"
"Yup. I was trying to figure out who he was, too".
"Could be. I saw him dancing with Miss Willa at that big to-do the other day. Didn't know who he was then and still don't know who he is now".
Since I wasn't any help at all the two lawmen do what lawmen do best: they ignored me like I wasn't in the room and started talking to each other, treating me like I was the fifth wall.
"Who do you reckon it is, Sheriff? Could it be Hogg Stinson?"
"Naw, Stinson's a lot bigger than this fella. And anyway, Stinson's ass is always falling out of his pants".
"Haven't seen Clem Sturgis in awhile. Kinda looks like him".
"Sturgis shot himself in the face cleaning his gun last year. Couldn't be him".
"No fooling? Hmm, his wife's kinda fine...wonder if she's fixin' to get married again".
"Aw hell, ferget it, Shugg. You gotta get past five squallin' brats to get to her cootch".
There was a lot of head scratching and just as much ass scratching to boot, but they weren't getting anywhere.
"I GOT IT!" Shugg stamped his boot down hard. "It's Jedidiah McGrew!"
Frehley frowned and pushed his hat back. "Nope, nope, nope. McGrew hasn't been seen around these parts in a coon's age. T'aint him!"
Frehley turned to me and wrinkled his face impatiently. "Did you get a chance to talk to him before you killed him? What did he sound like?"
"He talked real funny like he head a cold, y'know, like he had a sore throat".
"That don't ring a bell", Frehley mumbled to Shugg, shutting me out again. "That's no help at all".
"Okay", I was getting fed up with this treatment. "I need a drink. Sheriff, you gonna press charges?"
"Of course not! Get out of here, Walker, we have official business to take care of".
"Don't let me stop you".
I moseyed over to Sailor Jerry's feeling weary and all punched out. I took a quick stool and blasted back a few shots of redeye. Jerry was banging some crazy barrelhouse piano. Tapping my feet like crazy, I looked around the saloon and saw my girls Miss Teresa, Miss Charity and Miss Clara. I smiled at them and thought it was time for a song.
"There's a hoedown down by the ranch
Grab your little girl git ready to dance
Don't be shy, there's no time
When the night is right for frontier romance.....
I yodeled and yodeled and yodeled, my tongue all loose for yodeling and the gals all yelling and laughing. The men saw the gals liking it so they kinda cheered, too. Most of the men were married and kinda walked around all scared their wives might run in and pull them out of the saloon. Every dude knew the ladies of Jonestown hated the saloon gals.
Jerry took a liking to my yodeling and banged the 88 keys even harder whenever I'd do my hooting. It all sounded real nice. I even threw in a few whippoorwill bird noises, too. Damn straight.
The gals all swooned.
"Roping, riding, hankering and loving is all I ever do
Hold me tight like you're a gonna reach right through
Grab my heart and love me all night
Rope me in and tie me up, to boot...
I was really starting to enjoy myself like a crazy loon but I got real tired and just plain stopped. Jerry just kept tinkling away like a madman. Miss Teresa and Miss Charity both joined me for a drink.
"You're really putting it away, Cowboy! You feelin' alright?" Miss Charity laughed.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine. I have a few questions I have to ask Miss Willa. Where is she, anyway?"
"Why?" Miss Teresa's eyes narrowed and her high steppin' blonde breasts rose angrily. "We're not good enough for you anymore?"
"No, it's nothing like that. I saw her with this fella the other day and I'm trying to get a hold of him".
Charity and Teresa looked at each other real puzzled, almost as puzzled as those two backasswards lawmen back there.
"We haven't seen Willa for awhile", Charity frowned as she grabbed a shot of sarsaparilla.
Teresa jumped at me. "Sing us another one, Crash!"
I waved her off. "Okay, okay, let me wet my whistle before I start vocalizing again".
But that chance didn't get to happen. Our not so peace and quiet was interrupted by a louder eruption.
The sound of what must have been ten horses rumbled towards the saloon, almost shaking everything in sight, and loud? It was louder than Jerry's loud-ass piano playing.
The saloon doors swung open and in marched ten hombres, and I knew right away who they were. It was that mean looking bunch that rode by while Mumblin' Pete and I did our shooting a week ago. I remembered the older guy with the beady eyes and the long, thin, scaly face. He still looked ornery as hell, so bad that even Jerry quit playing.
"Howdy. Something I can do for you fellas?" Jerry asked politely, almost knowing damned well who these boys were.
A wide, real wide like a train car wide guy stepped up to Jerry. "Are you the proprietor of this saloon, boy?"
"I am, and as you are addressing a former officer of the United States Navy I'll have you not refer to me as 'boy'".
"Someone in this town, and I mean SOMEONE, had a major altercation with the men of The Hiss Ranch and massacred them in cold blood. We aim to come right in and raze this little town of yours until we find the murderer of our men. D'you understand, nigger?"
Sailor Jerry's back straightened up to him. "I thought I told you -"
The old dude dressed in black pushed his way past the wide guy and leered at everyone with his mean old rattler face.
"One of my boys is LYING DEAD in a watering hole and I DEMAND to know who did it. You have no idea what trouble you SMALL TOWN PEOPLE got yourselves into. I'll give you 48 hours to TURN THE KILLER IN or you will SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES. You have awakened... a SLEEPING GIANT".
I looked over at Mumblin' Pete across the room, who was trying to melt into the wall like he wasn't even there. The mean-ass dude leaned straight at me, shoving his ugly face right at me.
"Are you my boy's KILLER? You have something you want to say to me?" He rasped.
I tried my best to match his stare.
"Nope, not at all. My name's Walker, and to who am I addressing if I may ask?"
His little eyes got kinda big for a second.
"I'm the one and only Clinton Hiss, owner of The Hiss Ranch, and if you had ANYTHING to do with my son Rance's death it will give me GREAT PLEASURE to kill you personally!"
Rance. That was the name of that dang Sodomite back in the prairie who had that sick little gang trying to invade my virtue. Shit. We killed Snake Face's ugly little boy.
I smiled and said, "I had not a whit to do with it, Sir".
He threw a pointed finger in the air at everyone. "FORTY EIGHT HOURS! OR SUFFER AND DIE!!!!"
The gang turned around and stomped out. It was dead silent in the saloon like all the air just dried out.
The thundering of their horses resounded again and faded out into the distance.
"Hell's bells, I need a drink", Sailor Jerry ambled over behind the bar. Miss Clara sympathetically rubbed Jerry's arm to console him. "ROUNDS FOR EVERYONE!"
Shot glasses appeared all over the bar as Jerry ran down the bar filling them up from his bottle. Mumblin' Pete grew a pair and walked over to me, taking the stool next to me, too.
"Nice little town you have here", I said to Jerry.
"Isn't it? And Sheriff and his Deputy are nowhere to be found while all this is happening".
"Where's Mayor Randall?"
"Shit. Who knows?"
I threw back a shot and looked straight at Mumblin' Pete. I leaned in and mumbled into his ear.
"Might be a real good time for us both to scram before we turn to scrambled eggs".
"Mghst rklji ji ghgd kleb uib bg jjhugdhvdhh".
I started tossing and turning the idea about Mumblin' Pete and me packing our sleeping bags and rags and skedaddlin' out of this ratty burg. It wouldn't take long before we'd get found out for being the killers of Sonny Boy, especially since no one in this boring little shed of a town was smart enough to kill anyone.
Not only that, we were also the new fish in town and a little weird, at least Pete was, so it wouldn't take long for these cowardly folk to start accusing us of all this shit anyway.
I smiled a phony smile at Sailor Jerry and mumbled into Pete's ear. "Just about two more shots o' this piss and we'll head on out to the hotel and skip out with our things and we'll shake these cactus-head fuckers, y'know what I mean?"
"Ght erfgd jkjiu ink opsneghu!" Mumblin' Pete chuckled.
"Sure as shittin', Hoss".
After we tossed our two final shots, I bid adios to ol' Jerry and the gals and we galloped the hell out with our cheap $2 smiles. Just to make sure we didn't make our adios too obvious we snuck down the alley behind the Jonestown General Store, the Jonestown Bakery, the Jonestown Post Office, hell and high falutin'.
"When we git on our horses we gotta keep them nags quietest as quiet can be, and then -"
"Fgkltny!" Mumblin' Pete banged against something big hanging against a wall and almost stumbled over his big clodhoppers.
"Watch where you're going, Pete!"
"Gjkl rtnvf eg jio wemin iyrt!!!" He kicked at the dark lump by the wall. I didn't know what he stumbled over but this real rancid odor wafted from it.
"What is that? It smells like -"
Pete touched it and jumped back a few feet. "GH REEE HPIJK!!!"
I lit a match to get a better look at what made my pal jump like a nervous gopher. I brought the match closer to the hanging lump and we both gasped at what we saw.
It was the already rotting corpse of Miss Willa hanging against the wall with a rope tied around her neck. One of her eyes was completely ripped out of its eye socket. Her nose had been bashed in until it looked like a bent tin can. Her hair was all pulled out and sticking out all over the place like a rag doll left out in the rain. Her once pretty dress had been ripped out wide open with burn marks and bruises all over her once pliable titties. You couldn't see her stomach any more because it was torn wide open and her intestine-type guts were falling out. Whoever did this really went to town on my former bed hostess.
"Will you look at that? Whew!" I pulled out my bandana and wrapped it around my nose and mouth. "Now that's what I call a perfectly good waste of a woman. OWW!" The match burned down to my fingers. I lit another one but got some old newspaper to burn a tiny torch to keep the flame going.
"Now who do you reckon did that to Miss Willa? Could've been that damn Rodeo Clown. I'm pretty sure Willa knew him. She probably knew too much. What do you think, Pete?"
I turned to look at Mumblin' Pete and he burst out crying.
"BAWWWW HAW HAW HAW!!!!" Tears were flowing out his eyes until his face looked like a busted out levee. It was the first time he made a noise that sounded halfway human, I gotta admit.
"Aw, Pete, I'm sorry. I forgot you took a genu-wine liking to her. Ah, that's love fer ya".
"BAWWWAH HAAHAHAWWWW!" Pete cried some more.
"Shit, amigo, she sure was good in the feathers, too. Where did you reckon her other eye went?"
"BUUUHAWAWAW!" Pete's face was wetter than the Rio Grande by this point.
"Wait a doggone minute. What's this?" I spotted a note scrawled on a piece of paper pinned to her lacy dress and pulled it off. "The killer left a note, Pete".
Pete stopped squalling for a beat or two.
"'THIS PIG IS THE FIRST OF MANY WHO WILL BE GUTTED AND SLAUGHTERED IN JONESTOWN.
JONESTOWN WILL BURN AND EVERYONE WILL BE FORCED TO DIG THEIR OWN GRAVES BEFORE THEY ARE MURDERED. YOU WILL DROWN IN YOUR OWN BLOOD!!!!
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!'"
Pete bawled after I read that little missive.
"Whoever killed Miss Willa spells real nice, I'll tell you that for sure".
"Shhh, quiet, Rubberneck. Someone's gonna come runn-"
"HEY! WHAT'S GOING ON OVER THERE???" A figure in the darkness walked over, spotting us. I still had the torch lit and couldn't put it out in time.
"WHAT THE HELL???? PUT YOUR HANDS UP!!!" It was Deputy Shugg with both his guns drawn straight at us. He looked horrified at the mess of Miss Willa and then back at us.
"YOU'RE UNDER ARREST, BOTH OF YOU!" Shugg yelled. "KEEP YOUR HANDS UP AND FOLLOW ME. YOU'RE UNDER ARREST FOR THE MURDER OF MISS WILLA".
The jig was up. We weren't leaving town. We were innocent, but sneaking in a dark alley makes you look guilty as hell, don't it?
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!