fiction / flash fiction / Uncategorized

On the Western Front

Seamus Blackmore fastened his gun holster to his waist and took a deep breath. He was ready. In a few minutes, he would face that yella belly Erath. He reckoned he would win cause he was right. They wasn’t fightin’ over fences or cattle or women. No. The most important thing a man could hang on to was honor. Nobody could take that.

When Erath started blowin’ off his mouth bout how big his biceps were, how he ruled this town, Seamus had to take action. Nobody had bigger ceps than he did. He sculpted himself endlessly, lifting hay bales, throwin’ down fence. There was room in this town for only one cut cowboy, and it was him.

Outside the wind blew slightly, just enough to launch a small tumbleweed into roly poly flight. It was still a warm autumn day, but the skyline offered a hint of winter’s sour breath signaling a near time when Seamus could stand outside and see Russia from his house. People slowly came out into the street. Doors swung open from the saloon, the barber shop, Good Eats, and the nutrition shop too. Ashen faced folks comin’ to the execution.

Seamus squinted through the dust. Up ahead, the image of a lone cowboy dressed in black. The sheriff sauntered out through the doors of the Rib Crib. He walked to the center of the street as the gunslingers approached.

“You boys got anything to say before we start this here duel?”

“Give me per diem to git back to Hollywood or give me death,” said the cowboy dressed in black.

“Ain’t nobody better ‘en me or more buff ‘en me neither,” said Seamus.

“Alright, let’s walk it off and begin!” shouted the sheriff.

Seamus stared at Erath, eyes locked, fingers twitchin’. The gunshot rang clear through the dusty, little town. Cowboy dressed in black was down in the road, bullet through his heart.

“That’s right!” screamed Seamus over the pale, mousy faces of the townspeople.

“Ain’t nobody gonna win ‘ginst me. Ever!” he said.

The people sighed and nodded in mute agreement because bad boys seem to win, time and time again. Cause that’s what’s expected.


30 thoughts on “On the Western Front

  1. Sigh. A sad story, Lana. The good guys will have to come back and fix it again. Then the bad guys complain that they didn’t fix it fast enough or good enough and they’ll wreck it again. Then the good guys will fix it again…. and on and on it goes.

  2. Beautifully written as ever, LT. Any story with roly poly in it usually does it for me. 🙂
    I was hoping for a dead heat but I’m glad you’ve left it open for Seamus to get bitten on a bicep by a rattle snake or some other venomous critter. 🙂

  3. It’s such a good story – a modern fable! There are so many great lines in here – but this one is my favourite: “Give me per diem to git back to Hollywood or give me death,” said the cowboy dressed in black. 🙂

  4. I was right there with those ashen-faced spectators, Lana (though I must confess I hadn’t pegged the victor!). Part of me was hoping this was a scene somebody was shooting for the movies, not an actual duel and death, ha!

  5. The bad boys always do seem to win, don’t they? Loved the names of the town’s businesses and also this line: “to launch a small tumbleweed into roly poly flight” which is one of the most apt descriptions of a moving tumbleweed I’ve ever heard. 🙂

  6. Pingback: On the Western Front — L.T. Garvin | Arrowhead Freelance and Publishing

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