BQB’s Favorite YouTubers – Jenna Marbles

I’ll admit it, 3.5 readers.

I have a bias against good looking people.

What can I say? I am a proponent of #OscarsSoPretty after all.

Soooo…I realize that’s my bias.  And I’m working on it.

But in general, whenever I see a pretty woman, I assume she isn’t funny.

Humor comes from the dark recesses of the soul, pain turned into laughter and really, or to put it more succinctly, funny people develop their sense of humor to compensate for their lack of looks.

But my bias does not always ring true. Jenna Marbles, for example, is a hot YouTube chick who is also very funny.

As a male nerd, I can’t really relate to most of her problems – i.e. best ways to put on makeup and dating dudes and so on, but…

…I do think her “Bounce that Dick” rap video is pretty hilarious.

You can watch it here…but don’t watch it at work…or at church…or around mixed company…or anywhere not by yourself, unless you’re around people who find dick rap videos funny:

I get the joke.

So many rap videos feature a rapper who demands that women shake and/or bounce their asses.

Jenna turns the rap game on its ear by demanding that dudes shake their dicks.

Funny, in theory.

In reality, men and women are very different.

Ask a woman to shake her ass and she’ll slap you.

Ask a man to shake his dick and not only will he be very happy that you asked him but you literally won’t be able to stop him from shaking it ever again.

I don’t care who the man is.  Football player. Scientist.  Astronaut.  Whoever…once given the go ahead, that dude will shake it until the end of time.

At any rate, Jenna is a good example of someone who just started out with a YouTube channel and a low budget and ended up doing some great, funny things.

Thus, she is one of BQB’s Favorite YouTubers.

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Video Game Rack Fighter Cat Demands…

…that you tell him your favorite video games.

Video Game Rack Fighter Cat, not to be confused with his owner, Video Game Rack Fighter.


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Who is the best philosopher ever?


Hello 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

Who do you think is the greatest philosopher ever?

Is it Socrates? Plato? Aristotle?  Someone more modern?

Jot down your favorite philosopher in the comments and I’ll tell you who the best philosopher ever is sometime this weekend.

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BQB’s Writing Prompts #2 – Time Travel and Cat Telekinesis


In need of inspiration?

Rack your brains no longer with these fabulous writing prompts:

  • A gallon of milk in the back of your fridge becomes so rancid that it opens up a hole in the space-time continuum.  You walk through it, because let’s face it, you don’t have anything better to do and visit yourself in the past. Do you warn your past self of all the mistakes he or she will make?  Or, do you obey the supposed rules of time travel and not change anything?
  • Further, if you return to the future and learn that your advice to your past self turned your future life fabulous, but ruined the lives of everyone else in the world, would you go back in time and stop yourself from telling your past self about his/her mistakes?  Or, would you decide to screw over everyone else and enjoy your fabulous life?
  • An alien, not Alien Jones, lands in your backyard.  Will he teach you about the great wonders of the universe, or attempt to probe you in an undesirable manner?
  • Cats develop the power of telekinesis.  Good or bad?
  •  A ninja offers to train you to become a ninja.  Do you take the ninja up on his offer?
  • A wizard is willing to snap his fingers and give you 3.5 readers.  Do you accept the new 3.5 readers for your blog, or do you decline, fearful that you couldn’t handle the fame of being known by 3.5 people?

Go forth and write, 3.5 readers!


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Do People Read Anymore?

I’m worried people don’t read anymore.

I wish I had some stats on how often people read.

But I feel like with all the streaming media and tons and tons of TV shows that no one can keep up with, reading is going out of style.

Naturally, as an aspiring author this worries me.

What say you, 3.5 readers? Do people read anymore?

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Top Ten Moviegoers That I Can’t Stand


Probably not the best stock photo, given that these people all seem to be observing movie theater etiquette…although that guy in the grey shirt with the soda may very well be dating both of those chicks.

Hello 3.5 readers.

For me, the theater is a sacred place.

You plunk down your cash.  You cut yourself off from the world for two hours and you enjoy a director’s vision as it unfolds upon the big screen.

But there are some people who just don’t get it.

Thus, from BQB HQ in fabulous East Randomtown, it’s the Top Ten Moviegoers I Can’t Stand:

10.  The “What Have I Seen Him In?” Guy – This is the guy who demands that you tell him a) an actor’s name and b) a list of films the actor has been in.

Ignore this man at all costs as he’ll just insist on rehashing the actor’s entire resume while you’re missing out on what is happening on the screen.  Or better yet, tell him to go out in the hall and look that shit up on IMDB.  Either way, people are trying to watch a movie here.

9.  Asshat McGee Who Sits Right Next to or Right in Front of You When the Entire Theater is Nearly Empty – Look, I know I shouldn’t do it, but if the theater is close to being empty, I like to stretch out and put my fat smelly feet on the back of the seat in front of me. Can’t do it if someone’s dumb head is there and I can’t come out and ask that person to move so I can put my feet up so please, be courteous and don’t sit in front of a person if you don’t have to.

(Should there be a #9.5 Annoying Guy Who Puts His Feet Up on the Seat in Front of Him? Absolutely.)

Further, don’t sit next to a person if you don’t have to.  Keep at least one seat between you and another person if possible.  If the theater’s packed then it is a different story but if it is empty, don’t sit next to me, unless you’re a super hot chick, then sit next to me.

8.  Teenagers Who Have Conversations Throughout the Entire Movie – I get it. You all want to chat your dumb faces off and you want to be able to speak freely without being monitored by one of the parents of someone in your group, so instead of going to someone’s house, you go to the theater and then ignore the entire film and have a conversation right there in the theater.

Honest to God.  I’m trying to watch Fast and Furious Part 950: Dom’s Revenge and all I can hear is “OMG I can’t believe Becky is dating Brian AND Bobby, Hashtag Skank!”

Thought – go to a coffee shop instead and talk all night there. Its cheaper and hardworking, taxpaying Americans won’t be mad at you that you’ve ruined their moviegoing experience.

Yes, I know I’m starting to sound like Uncle Hardass.  This is inevitable.

The older we get, the more we all start sounding like critically acclaimed philosopher Uncle Hardass.

7.  Guy That Blames You For Picking the Movie if it Turns Out to Be Stupid – Up your nose with a rubber hose, turkey face.  Hollywood puts out like two damn movies every Friday. You’ve got a fifty/fifty shot that the movie you’re going to will either suck or blow.

In fact, you now have a one hundred percent chance that it will be a remake or a reboot of a movie that sucked and/or blowed in the past.

“I didn’t make the movie, ass face,” is a perfectly acceptable reply here, even if the person complaining is your husband, wife, child, second cousin twice removed, grandmother, or parish priest.

6.  Dummy Who Takes Too Long Deciding What They Want at the Concession Stand – Popcorn, candy and soda, jerkwad.  Literally the same shit for a hundred million years. That f%$king commercial where the popcorn, candy and soda dance the Charleston hasn’t changed since Eisenhower was president.  If it was good enough for the man who stormed Omaha Beach, then its good enough for you, clown.

5.  Jerkface Who Takes a Call During the Movie – Look, the point of going to the movies is to forget all your problems for two hours.  But I get it.  We all have lives. Keep your phone on vibrate just in case one of your loved ones gets in trouble.  If they text you for help,  you can text them back and write, “OK I will come rescue you after this movie is over.”

Really, its the only polite thing to do. If your spouse is hanging from one hand off a cliff, you’ve got to let them know that you need to find out whether or not the rebels will destroy the Death Star for the 10,000th time.

But, if you’re one of those do-gooders who thinks their friends and/or family is more important than a movie, then sure, by all means, get up, walk out of the theater, talk to this person on the phone in the hallway, then return to the theater when the conversation is done. Or even better, leave the theater entirely and come to the aid of your friend or family member.

And let’s be honest.  Those people who take calls and start chatting away while the film is rolling? None of them are having important conversations.  The people who do this are dopes who will sit there for two hours talking about nonsense while you’re trying to watch a movie.

4. The “What Did He Say?” Guy

Movies go by pretty fast.  Sometimes someone in your movie going party doesn’t catch what one of the characters said.

My general rule – if you whisper to me, “What did he say?” I will whisper what the person said back to you one time.

If you miss it, do not waste your energy whispering to me with a request to repeat what the character said a second, third, or fourth time.

I’m sorry but you’re screwed. You missed it.  Your movie going experience has been ruined. Don’t drag me down with you by making me tell you fifty times what a guy said twenty minutes ago, thus forcing me to miss twenty more minutes of screen time.

Really people, this is common sense.

3.  The “Its Just the Previews” Guy

Eff that noise.  Hollywood has carefully  crafted a series of trailers to educate me on the films that are coming soon to a theater near me.  Trailers are a time honored part of the movie going experience.  Your talking, farting, burping or what have you ruins it for me. Take it outside.

I run a blog for 3.5 readers.  Thus, I’m an important man who must budget his time wisely. Ergo, I must know what Hollywood has coming down the pike so I can relay that information to my beloved 3.5 readers.

I shouldn’t have to miss out on those previews just because you need to talk to your buddy on your cell phone about the tattoo you’re getting , or your comic book collection, or even when you need to tell your loved one to wait and be calm and you’ll be there to pull them out of the car wreck they just had as soon as possible. (Eh, I’m not a complete ogre, if you need to do that last one during the previews, I can let it slide, but really, only during the previews.)

2.  Commentary Guy

This guy takes a number of forms.  The person might start arguing with a character, or he might make sound effects.  “Boo yeah!  That guy got it!  And he had it coming!”  or “Damn girl, don’t go for that dude, you can do way better!”

If you want to commentate on movies, start your own blog and get your own 3.5 readers. Unless I’m one of your 3.5 readers, I don’t want to hear your commentary on movies while I am trying to watch one.

1.“Rude to the Minimum Wage Slaves” Guy

If you didn’t like the movie, or you had some kind of special request (i.e. the “I want three ice cubes in my soda and each cube must be carved to match the likeness of three U.S. presidents who held office during the 1800s”) give the staff a break.  They work for peanuts and they usually take these jobs because they like the movies and want to be around them as much as you do, you big dummy.


Dude Trying to Get to Second Base and Can’t Quite Make It – Sir, your incompetence with the fairer sex is ruining my cinematic experience.  Either be a dog and go in for that hooter or be a gentleman and keep your hand on your own knee.  Make a decision for crying out loud.

Either way, this constant hand flapping around in the breeze “should I or shouldn’t I?” thing that you’re doing is very annoying.  Really, this is a theater, not a bordello sir, so get a room and stop annoying people who have paid their hard earned cash to enjoy this Kevin Hart film.  We’re already suffering enough.

What things do people do at the movie theaters that you can’t stand, 3.5 readers? 

Discuss with BQB in the comments!

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BQB’s Quitting Soda Journal

I’ve got a problem, 3.5 readers.Gerald-G-Fast-Food-Drinks-FF-Menu-4

Some people toke the ganja.

Others pop the pills.

There are people who even fill their nostrils with Bolivian Nose Candy.

Me? I chase a fizzy, bubbly dragon known as diet soda.

Sure, the love affair started out simply enough.

So many years ago, I needed to stay awake longer so I could study harder.

I thought all the studying would lead me to become a great man.

Had I known the height of my achievement would be to become the proprietor of a blog with 3.5 readers my responses would have been “What’s a blog?” and “Oh, I guess I’ll study less and sleep more then.”

Anyway, as the years went on, I became thoroughly hooked on the fizz.

It’s a vicious cycle.  I feel like I need it to stay awake.  But then because I’m jacked up on the caffeine, I can’t sleep.  And then because I didn’t sleep enough, I’m tired during the day, so I reach for a soda.

Oh and the diet soda isn’t always enough.  Sometimes I go for the hard stuff. Full on calorie laden regular cola.

And you know, if it were just me, I’d give in to the fizzy dragon.  I’d let the aspartame and sodium and caffeine and god knows what else course through my veins until I keep over in a pool of carbonated brown sugar water.

But its not me anymore.  Its me and my 3.5 readers and damn it, my 3.5 readers need me.

Who will entertain my 3.5 readers but me?

Who will feed the minds of my 3.5 readers but me?

Who will make my 3.5 readers feel better about themselves because at least they have accomplished more than starting a blog with 3.5 readers but me?

My 3.5 readers need me and I must live a long, happy, healthy life in order to entertain them.

Thus, I’m doing this for you, 3.5 readers.

Today, I will suck down my last soda.

Tomorrow, I begin the long walk to soda fiend recovery.

That’s right.  No soda pills. No soda patches. No soda 12-step programs.  No soda rehab centers.

I’m going cold turkey baby.

And I’ll update you once in awhile on how the soda quitting efforts are going.

I hope this will inspire you to drop your bad habits, 3.5 readers.  Or if you don’t have any, to not develop any.

Thanks for reading, 3.5.  As usual, you’re a trio and a half of good eggs.


Eduardo Ricardo Papageorgio Von Finklestein (Better known to his 3.5 readers as Bookshelf Q. Battler or BQB)

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Undead Man’s Hand – Chapter 44


Charlie gently patted Jane’s back as she heaved, heaved and heaved some more.

“Jane,” Charlie said, attempting to get a word in edgewise between the hurls.


“I’m not a doctor…”

“Then shut the fuck uh…ughhhhh!”

“…but I’m pretty sure that when you throw up, its your body’s way of telling you that you’ve had enough liquor.”

“Oh, what do you know you uptight son of uh…uh….bleah!!!”

Perfect gentleman that he was, Charlie sat there, accepting Jane’s verbal abuse as she puked into the dirt.

Jane’s heavy breathing subsided. A cool sweat broke out all over her face. She sat back on the bench, sighing with relief.

“That all?” Charlie asked.

“I think so,” Jane replied. “Jesus H. Christ, a girl can’t get a little under the weather without getting a Sunday sermon around here.”

“This is more than just being a little under the weather and you know it,” Charlie scolded. “You need to drop the bottle and never pick it up again.”

Jane blew Charlie an impassioned raspberry. “Pbbbbhhht! Now you’re just talking crazy tah…ugh….ughhhhh!”

The cowgirl clutched her stomach and barfed all over the ground once again.

Charlie started rubbing Jane’s back again, only to have his hand slapped away.

“Hands off, pervert!” Jane cried.

Jane sat back and closed her eyes. “You love this, don’t you?”

“What are you on about?” Charlie asked.

“You love it when you can act all high and mighty,” Jane said.

Charlie rolled his eyes. “You know what? I’ll just leave then.”

“Oh shut the fuck up,” Jane said as she laid down on the bench. She let her hat hang down her back from the cord around her neck and crushed it with her back as she snuggled her head down on Charlie’s lap.

The businessman was pleasantly shocked.

“Don’t get any ideas,” Jane said.

“I won’t,” Charlie said. He stared down at Jane’s face. Her eyes were closed. She looked so peaceful until she spoiled it by talking.

“I mean it,” Jane said. “Keep your hands to yourself, Utter.”

“I will,” Charlie said.

“Just because in my temporarily ill state I require your doughy lap as a makeshift pillow does not mean that I am inviting you to have your way with me.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it,” Charlie said.

“Good,” Jane said. “Because I’m not some kind of shameless hussy. And besides, you’re a married man.”

“Apparently not anymore,” Charlie replied.

Jane opened one eye. “The fuck’s that supposed to mean?”

“Louise,” Charlie replied. “She’s filed for divorce.”

Jane laughed and laughed until she grabbed her stomach to hold off the pain.

Charlie was chagrined. “Fine friend you are.”

“Well I don’t know, Charlie,” Jane said. “Here you are, poking your nose around in my personal business when you can’t even keep your missus happy.”

“‘Poking around in your business?’” Charlie asked. “That’s what you think I’m doing?”

“I do,” Jane said as she closed her open eye.

“I’m trying to keep you from killing yourself,” Charlie said. “It’s a tiresome burden that I wouldn’t wish on a dog if we’re laying our cards out on the table.

Jane’s voice grew weaker as she grew sleepier. “Land sakes alive, Charlie, you worry more than a ninety year old grandmother. ‘Granny Utter’ I ought to call you.”

Torn between his desire to dispense advice and to not get rebuked, Charlie sat there quietly for a while, enjoying Jane’s head in his lap as much as he could, given the circumstances.

“Why do you smell like a French hooker?” Jane asked.

“I beg your pardon?”

“You smell like a cat house on payday,” Jane said.

“Its cologne,” Charlie said.

“Smells like perfume,” Jane replied. “Unmanly if you ask me.”

“I didn’t ask you,” Charlie said. “And its better than smelling like…”

The mixed aroma of Jane’s festering puke pile on the ground, combined with her stank breath wafted into Charlie’s nostrils, but he caught himself before he could say anything unkind.”

“…I just like the way it smells.”

“You would you dandy,” Jane said.

Slowly but surely, Charlie reached his trembling hand down until it landed on Jane’s head. Hearing no protest from a woman who was never shy about offering it, he began to stroke his hand through Jane’s hair.

“The fuck you doing?” Jane asked.

“Oh, sorry,” Charlie said as he pulled his hand away. “My mother used to do that for me when I was sick. I thought it would help.”

“I didn’t say stop, dumb ass,” Jane said.

A thoroughly enthused Charlie continued to stroke Jane’s hair.

“But don’t get any ideas,” Jane added.

“Of course not,” Charlie said.

After awhile, Charlie asked, “Why do you do this to yourself?”

“Shut up,” Jane said.

“You have a job that you do well,” Charlie said. “You’ve got your beauty. You’ve got business partners that care about you. You’ve got your health if you’ll vow to put the cork in the bottle once and for all.”

“And I’ve got assholes,” Jane said.

“What?” Charlie asked.

“Assholes,” Jane said. “The world is full of them and they all stink. No pun intended. Wherever I go, whatever I do, there’s never a shortage of assholes waiting to tell me what to do, how to act, what to think and how to live my life. I can’t even rest on a goddamn bench without an asshole giving me his unwanted opinion about my affairs.”

Charlie sat there for a minute then perked up. “Oh, wait a minute. So you’re saying I’m an…”

Jane finished Charlie’s sentence. “…asshole. Yes.”

“Some of these um…uh…”

“‘Asshole,’ Charlie,” Jane said. “Jesus, you wouldn’t say ‘shit’ if you had a mouth full of it, would you?”

“Probably not,” Charlie said. “But anyway, some of these folks offering you their advice may have the best of intentions.”

“And some of them are just pieces of shit trying to overcome for their flaws by pointing out mine,” Jane said.

“I just don’t want you to die, Jane,” Charlie blurted out.

Jane opened her eyes and stared up at Charlie’s face, which, from her vantage point, was staring down at her more lovingly that she was used to.

“Appreciated,” Jane said. “But unnecessary. I can handle my liquor.”

“Clearly,” Charlie said.

“Well, Mr. High Horse,” Jane said. “Tell you what. If you can rid the world of every asshole in existence, then I won’t have to drink in order to avoid thinking about them.”

“That’s a tall order,” Charlie said. “Can’t you just ignore them?”

“Would that I could, Charlie,” Jane replied. “Would that I…”

Jane fell fast asleep. Charlie closed his eyes for a spell, until he remembered Bill’s request.

He nudged his compatriot.

“Jane,” Charlie said.

“Huh?” the sleepy cowgirl asked.

“We need to get you a cup of coffee because Bill wants us to meet him,” Charlie said.

Jane’s head shot up. “Bill? Bill needs me?”

“Yeah,” Charlie said. “But maybe you ought to take it slowly and…”

Jane sprang to her feet, puked once more, then collapsed on the ground.

“Oh Lord,” Charlie said.

The businessman dropped to his knees, lightly slapping Jane’s cheek to see if she was alright. “Jane? Jane?”

“Ughhh,” Jane groaned.

“Come on,” Charlie said. “Let’s get you to bed.”

“But,” Jane protested. “Bill…Bill needs me…”

“He’ll get along without you just this once,” Charlie said.

The familiar voice of the Reverend Weston Smith pierced the air as he made his way down the street.

“Sinners! Repent! Repent lest ye be judged unworthy in the eyes of God!”

“Say Reverend…”

“End your sinful ways! Reject gambling, drinking, fornication, wine, women, and song!”

“Reverend!” Charlie shouted.

The Reverend turned and saw Charlie kneeling over Jane.

“Oh Heavens,” the Reverend said. “Is Miss Jane alright?”

“Well,” Charlie said. “That question has a long answer but for now, nothing that a good night’s sleep probably wouldn’t cure. Help me get her to her room?”

“Of course,” the Reverend said.

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Undead Man’s Hand – Chapter 43

Bill sat on a bench in front of the Grand Central Hotel, puffing away on a long pipe. He watched as the rings of smoke rose up into the night.

A friendly voice broke his concentration.

“Well, hello there,” Charlie said. “I’m sorry to stare. Can I pull up a chair?”

“Howdy Charlie,” Bill said. “Be my guest.”

“I’m glad you didn’t protest,” Charlie said as he took a spot on the bench next to his old friend.

Bill smiled. “Your mockery I detest.”

“I’m sorry,” Charlie said. “It was meant only in…”

The two compadres looked at one another then laughed. “In…in jest!”

Charlie slapped his knee and chuckled. Bill shook his head.

“Money is money, Charles,” Bill said. “There are worse ways to make it than by putting on a show.”

“Save more and you wouldn’t have to demean yourself,” Charlie said.

Bill pulled a small pouch out of his pocket. He took a few sprigs of tobacco out of the pouch, dumped them into his pipe, then struck a match to reinvigorate his smoke.

“Don’t start that, Charlie,” Bill said. “You’re not my mother.”

“I know, I know,” Charlie said. “Jane said the same thing to me this morning.”

The businessman pulled out a few bills and handed them over to Hickok.

“Speaking of, your pay for the latest ride, plus some extra because your name saved the day.”

“It did?” Bill asked as he took the money.

“Bandits,” Charlie said. “They tried to have their way with my brother and I…”

Bill raised an eyebrow. “Their way?”

Charlie nodded.

“Shit,” Bill said.

“Tell me about it,” Charlie said.

“Criminals just don’t have half the respect they used to,” Bill said.

“I blame the dime store novels,” Charlie said. “I really do. Filling their heads with all sorts of unsavory ideas.”

“I take it Jane saved you and Stephen from a terrible fate?” Bill asked.

“She did,” Charlie said. “That woman is worth her weight in gold.”

Charlie sat back and stared up at the stars.

“Something on your mind?” Bill asked.

“Huh?” Charlie replied. “No.”

“Cut the horse shit, Utter,” Bill said. “I’ve known you too long to not recognize when you’re worried about something.”

Charlie sighed. “Jane’s drinking. It’s getting worse. She’s going to kill herself if she’s not careful.”

Bill puffed on his pipe. “Then she kills herself.”

Charlie recoiled. “That’s it?”

“That’s it,” Bill replied.

“So you don’t care?”

“Of course I do,” Bill said. “But what am I supposed to do about it?”

“I don’t know,” Charlie said. “Talk to her. Make her stop!”

“I can’t make her stop drinking no more than I can make a wild mustang stop running across the plain,” Bill said. “She’s a grown woman. Smart. Resourceful. She knows what she’s doing. I dare say she even understands that for the sake of her health, she needs to stop. But she won’t until she wants to.”

“I don’t think she could if she wanted to,” Charlie said.

“Even so,” Bill said. “She’s such a free spirit that she’ll look at us as a couple of men trying to boss her around.”

“Not with you, Bill,” Charlie said. “She worships the ground you walk on. Me? She’d spit at me as soon as look at me.”

“I’m not so sure about that,” Bill said. “I doubt she’d of saved your hide as much as she has if she didn’t care about it, Charlie.”

Bill sat quietly for awhile and puffed. “Do I detect that you seem to be interested in Ms. Cannary’s well-being a bit more than usual as of late?”

Charlie blushed. “What? No.”

“Shit,” Bill said. “You’re smitten.”

“I am not.”

“Bury those feelings deep, Charlie,” Bill said. “You’re a married man.”

Charlie retrieved the divorce papers Louise had sent him from his pocket and handed them over to Bill, who perused them.

“Petition for divorce?” Bill asked.

“Yup,” Charlie said.

“What kind of an incompetent judge would go and let a woman do such a fool thing?” Bill asked.

“I’m telling you,” Charlie said. “It’s the dime store novels. They’re turning people crazy.”

“Its her loss,” Bill said as he handed the papers back to Charlie.

“No,” Charlie said. “Its mine.”

Charlie tucked the papers back into his pocket. “I don’t blame her. A husband should be there for his wife. I am not.”

“Because you’re earning a living,” Bill said.

“Because I like to pretend I’m a frontiersman while paying other people to do my dirty work,” Charlie said.

“Works for me,” Bill said as he held up the bills in his hand.

“Apparently not for Jane,” Charlie said. “She let me have it about that.”

“She doesn’t mean it,” Bill said. “She wouldn’t keep riding with you if she did.”

Charlie spent a few seconds admiring his finely manicured nails.

“We seem to be talking a lot about Jane,” Bill noted.

“Yes,” Charlie said. “Say, Bill…”

Charlie hesitated and scratched the back of his neck to buy himself some time.

“Spill it,” Bill said.

“Suppose I…that is to say…”

“You’ve got it bad for Jane,” Bill said. “And now that your wife has cast you aside like a pile of rancid garbage, you’d like to know if I’d have any qualms about you pursuing our dear colleague in arms?”

Charlie grinned. “Well…do you?”

Bill scoffed. “I’m a married man, Charles. Why would I?”

“I don’t know,” Charlie said. “I’ve always sensed that she’s sweet on you. You probably could have her if you wanted to.”

“‘Wanted’ being the operative word,” Bill said. “I don’t mix business with pleasure. If you want to, be my guest, though I doubt…”

“Oh,” Charlie interrupted. “She’d never go for me I suppose.”

“Don’t take it personally, Charlie,” Bill said. “Like I said, ‘Jane’s a mustang.’ I’m not sure any man could ever tame her, so to speak.”

“And if someone ever did tame her then she wouldn’t be her,” Charlie said.

“You got it,” Bill said.

Bill puffed for awhile longer. “Charlie, if you can win the heart of one Miss Jane Cannary, I’ll be the first to congratulate. Personally, while she’s a fine gunslinger and there’s no one I’d trust more to watch my back, she’s the last woman I’d ever want as a wife.”

Charlie nodded.

Bill checked his pocket watch, then stood up. “And now, my friend, the hour is late, there is money burning a hole in my pocket, and my poker game awaits.”

“Just can’t wait to lose it all, can you?” Charlie asked.

“You’ll never take my advice about women,” Bill said. “And I’ll never take your advice about money. How we’ve stayed friends all these years I’ll never know.”

“No one else will have us I suppose,” Charlie said as he stood up.

Bill put his hand on Charlie’s shoulder. The gunslinger’s face grew grim.

“Listen…Charles. Find Jane and meet me at Nuttall and Mann’s Saloon, will you?”

“Eh,” Charlie said. “I’ll tell Jane but you know I have no interest in poker, Bill.”

“This isn’t about poker,” Bill said. “I have very important business to discuss with both of you.”

“Business?” Charlie asked.

“A grave matter that I must share with the two of you,” Bill said. “And I need to bring Jack and Crick in on it. I need to discuss it with all of you at once.”

“Is everything ok, Bill?” Charlie asked.

“I’ll explain it all tonight,” Bill said. “One hour. Don’t be late.”

Bill left and Charlie spent some time sitting on the bench, his mind lost in his woes.

Soon enough, Charlie’s thoughts were interrupted by an obnoxious lady belch.

“Brap! Well, well, well,” Jane said as she stumbled her way toward the hotel. “If it isn’t good ole Charlie Utter, sitting around like a bump on a…

Before she could finish that thought, Jane doubled over and vomited profusely, emptying the contents of her stomach all over the ground.

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Undead Man’s Hand – Chapter 42


“Step right up,” Mortimer shouted. “Step right up and obtain an autograph from Mr. Wild Bill Hickok for the low, low price of twenty cents! All proceeds shall be split between the Vagabond Players and Mr. Hickok himself.”

A table had been brought outside and Bill wiled away an hour schmoozing with his fans, signing his John Hancock on pieces of paper.

Jack McCall tossed back his flask and sipped some scotch as he waited in line. He looked terrible. He smelled worse. There was a voice in his head telling him that he should just go home and go to bed in order to put the miserable day he’d experienced behind him.

But he wanted his hero to sign his book first. So he waited…and waited…and waited.

Texas Jack (not to be confused with Jack McCall) and Crick stood behind Bill, their arms folded, doing their best impressions of security agents.

Merrick plunked down his twenty cents and presented Bill with an old, yellowed copy of the Deadwood Dispatch. It featured the headline, “Wild Bill Hickok Captures the Kincaid Gang.”

“A real pleasure, Mr. Hickok” Merrick said as he outstretched his head.

Bill shook it, then scrawled his name across the newspaper page with a charcoal pencil. “Uh uh.”

People young and old took their turns, meeting Hickok and getting his signature. A few ladies even propositioned him but as he’d explained to Jack and Crick earlier, he just didn’t have the time for such distractions.

Jack McCall was next. He waited as the old lady in front of him droned on and on, boring Hickok about how they were both from Illinois, peppering him with dull questions. “Have you met so-and-so? Did you know this person or that person?”

As the old gal shuffled away, Texas Jack leaned into Bill’s ear.

“You know, if you don’t cut this off, they’ll just keep coming all night…”

“I don’t want to disappoint anyone,” Bill replied.

“Up to you,” Texas Jack said. “If you want to skip poker…”

Those words got Bill. He never skipped poker. He nodded at Texas Jack.

As Jack McCall slapped his copy of “The Life and Times of J.B. ‘Wild Bill’ Hickok down on the table, Texas Jack looked over to Mortimer.

“End it,” Texas Jack said.

Mortimer nodded. “Ladies and gentlemen, thank you, thank you! It has been a lovely evening, but as you all know, Mr. Hickok is a very busy man. If you did not get a chance to meet him, he shall return to the stage next month!”

Jack McCall felt a queasiness in his stomach as if he’d just been slugged.

Throughout the course of one day, Jack McCall had been belittled by his own father, beaten to the ground in a match that ended his boxing career, and been assured in no uncertain times by the girl he loved that she’d never have anything to do with him.

And now, after waiting an hour in line, his hero was about to take a walk without signing his book.

Bill stood up. As he was about to walk away, McCall tapped him on the shoulder.

“Bill!” McCall shouted, trying desperately to get Bill’s attention. “Hey, Bill!”

“Whoa, whoa!” Texas Jack said as he slapped McCall’s hand away. “Hands off.”

“Mr. Hickok’s done for the evening,” Crick added.

“Aw come on,” McCall said. “Bill!”

Bill turned around and looked at McCall. The gunslinger grinned, stretched out his hand and then…tussled McCall’s hair as if he were a boy.

“Nice to meet you, kid.”

“Kid.” The word tore its way into McCall’s soul. He was a man, damn it. A young man, but still a man.

Bill and his boys departed. The line of people behind McCall dispersed.

And McCall just stood there, struggling to hold back unmanly tears as he watched his hero, the man whose life’s story had filled him so often with much needed hope, walked away.

“Bullshit,” McCall said as he unscrewed the top of his flask and took another drink.

McCall yanked on the front and back covers of the book until it was split in two, the binding destroyed, pages soaring in the wind as he tossed his once prized possession into the dirt.

“You ‘aint shit, Bill Hickok,” McCall mumbled under his breath.

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