Daily Archives: February 1, 2016

How the West Was ZOMBED – Chapter 13

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Gunther was about to head inside when two more new arrivals paid him a visit. Joe and Miles Freeman, fully clothed and well rested. They’d slept outdoors plenty of times before, and in worse places than underneath a water tower.

“Hello sir,” Joe said.

“Howdy,” Gunther said. “What can I do you for?”

The old man knew he phrased that question wrong, but he thought it was funny.

“I heard talk about town that you caught some criminals,” Joe said.

“You heard right,” Gunther replied. “The Buchanan Boys. Worst piles of pig shit the devil ever created. They make them James-Younger peckerwoods look like a bunch of pissants.”

Joe was not scared off by that statement. “And I heard you were looking for help watching them.”

Gunther studied the father and son. They seemed respectable enough but an idea popped into the old man’s mind.

“Actually,” Gunther said. “What if I were to tell you that can wait and I need a man to help me stand up to another gang of miscreants headed this way?”

No hesitation from Joe. “Just point me in the right direction.”

“Just a test,” Gunther said.

“Huh?” Joe asked.

“Nevermind,” Gunther said as shook Joe’s hand. “You’re hired.”

The Knoxes were more than enough to keep the Buchanan Boys in line, but Gunther had a hunch his new acquaintances were in need of a good deed and if he could charge it off to the Marshal’s Service, all the better.

“Joe Freeman,” Joe said.

“Gunther Beauregard,” the Deputy replied. “This your son?”

“Miles,” Joe said. “Yes. Oh, but don’t worry. He won’t cause any trouble.”

Gunther squinted at the youngster.

“You ever kill a man?” Gunther asked.

“No,” Miles answered.

“Been in a fistfight?”

“No.”

“Been shot?”

“No.”

“Fought in a duel?”

“No.”

Joe laughed as he realized what Gunther was up to.

“Are you married?”

“No.”

“Christ, son,” Gunther said. “You ‘aint lived much of a life, have you?”

“I’m only fifteen.”

“Well, that’s no excuse.”

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How the West Was ZOMBED – Chapter 12

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The new arrival tied a bonnet under her chin then studied a wrinkly map. She was rail thin yet conveniently curvy in just the right places, though it was hard to tell as her dress went down all the way past the ankle.

She was paler than a glass of milk but attractive just the same. A few freckles. Red lips. A pretty face, though it looked very frustrated. She tucked the map into her bible and decided to see if there was a stranger willing to give her directions.

“Excuse me…excuse me…sir!”

Her voice was very soft. So soft that passers by kept passing on by, no interest in helping her out whatsoever.

Gunther looked at Slade.

“A damsel in distress.”

Slade kept watching. He took another elbow from Gunther.

“Go get her, boy!”

Slade didn’t budge. Gunther sighed.

“Shit,” the old man said. “Look at her. She is a damsel. She is in distress. Marshals are supposed to help people, ‘aint they? You’d be doing your duty if you went over to see how she’s doing, wouldn’t you? And then maybe by the grace of God if by some miracle she found you interesting, that would be nice, wouldn’t it?”

Slade puffed on his cigar.

Gunther stood up. “Son of a bitch. I have to do everything around here. PARDON ME, MA’AM?!”

The young woman turned around as the old man approached.

“Howdy ma’am. Deputy Marshal Gunther Beauregard at your service. I couldn’t help but notice you seem to require some assistance.”

“Oh, thank goodness!” the young woman said as she shook Gunther’s hand. “A pleasure to meet you, sir. Sarah Farquhar.”

“What seems to be the hullabaloo, Miss Farquhar?” Gunther asked.

“I’m looking for the Olmsted property,” Sarah said.
“Oh,” Gunther said. “You don’t mean Frederick Olmsted do you? Are you his relation? Because I’m sorry to say he went belly up a few months ago.”

“No relation,” Sarah said as she pulled a deed out of her bible. “I purchased the property from the bank and the coachman said it is nearby but that can’t possibly be…”

“No ma’am,” Gunther said. “It’s about two miles west of town. Your coachman sounds like a lazy shit heel if you ask me.”

“Oh dear,” Sarah said. “Sometimes I think that if it weren’t for bad luck I wouldn’t have any luck at all.”

“Now don’t talk like that,” Gunther said as he put an arm around the young lady and headed toward Slade. “Surely your husband will arrive soon and set this all right.”

Sarah frowned. “Oh. No. I’m afraid he’s gone.”

“Run off?” Gunther asked.

“Deceased,” Sarah answered. “I thought I’d make a new life out west but it hasn’t been going very well.”

Gunther looked at Slade and silently mouthed the words, “Dead husband!

Slade shot his deputy a look of disapproval.

“Well, ma’am,” Gunther said. “Your luck is about to change. Allow me to introduce U.S. Marshal Rainier Slade, the finest law man this side of the Mississippi.”

Upset as he was at his sidekick, Slade didn’t mind the opportunity to feel Sarah’s soft hand inside his own.

“Hello,” Sarah said.

A politer than usual grunt was Slade’s response.

“The Marshal here was about to come to your aid,” Gunther said as he pointed to the church. “But he was too busy standing watch over the thirty scoundrels inside. We’re holding onto to them until their trial, you see.”

“Oh my,” Sarah said.

“The Marshal caught ‘em all single handed,” Gunther said. “They got one look at him and threw down their guns, knowing they wouldn’t stand a chance against this deadeye gunslinger.”

“Is that right?” Sarah asked.

“Marshal,” Gunther said. “This is the Widow Farquhar, the new owner of the Olmsted property and in need of assistance in locating her claim.”

Gunther stepped up to the porch and motioned for Slade to follow. “One moment, ma’am. Official Marshal business.”

The lawmen stood inside the doorway, just out of Sarah’s earshot.

Gunther grabbed Slade’s shoulders and looked his boss in the eye.

“She’s pretty, she’s loaded and she’s desperate. Do not f%^k this up!”

Inside Slade’s heart brewed a storm of emotion. He longed for Miss Bonnie and couldn’t help but wonder if maybe one day his love might change her mind. Then again, Sarah was right there.

When it comes to romance, never underestimate the power of a person who is “right there.”

Slade stepped down to the ground. Gunther followed.

“Miss Farquhar,” Gunther said. “This country is filled with all kinds of dangers. Injuns. Thieves. Killers. Mormons and such. I tell you I’d feel a lot safer if the Marshal here would show you the way to your new home. Oh and don’t worry Marshal. The men and I will do our best to carry on in the absence of your astute leadership.”

This was a rare moment where Slade didn’t look at Gunther as a nuisance. The Marshal untied his horse. Chance was the name of the Slade’s noble steed. He was a big bronco, mostly broken in though there was some pep left in him. His previous owner was about to shoot him, finding him too difficult to train, but he took a liking to Slade and got a “second chance.”

Slade climbed on up then reached his hand down to Sarah, who clearly had never rode a horse before. She fumbled as she put her foot into the stirrup then clumsily pulled herself up behind the Marshal. Slade reached back, took Sarah’s right hand, and placed it around his waist.

Sarah pulled it back.

“Oh Marshal! I don’t know if that’s proper. We just met.”

Slade shrugged his shoulders. He kicked his feet against Chance’s sides and his old friend took off, so fast that Sarah quickly changed her mind and wrapped her arms tightly around Slade’s waist for dear life.

Mr. Tough Guy didn’t mind that at all.

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How the West Was ZOMBED – Chapter 11

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Dawn came and Slade sat on the steps of the church’s front porch, staring at his mother’s ring and torturing himself with that age old question everyone in love faces whenever romance doesn’t go their way.

“What could I have done differently?”

Gunther interrupted the pontification session by loudly chomping on an apple and dropping a telegram on the Marshal’s lap.

“Straight off the telegraph,” the Deputy said. “What do you make of it?”

Slade took a look:

United Exchange Telegraph Service

FROM: Josiah Uxley, U.S. Marshall

Denver, Colorado

TO: All U.S. Marshals in Good Standing
Warning <STOP> Infestation of monsters in Colorado <STOP> All is lost <STOP> Monsters are being hauled East <STOP> Abandon posts and save yourselves <STOP>

Slade crumpled up the telegram and made a pantomime gesture as if he were taking a big drink.

“Them Colorado boys dipped into the moonshine and had themselves a good time?” Gunther asked.

The boss nodded.

Gunther winced under the rising sun. “That’s what I thought too. Then again, I wonder if it’s some kind of test. Trick us into leaving and then we get the axe. Either way, I sent a message back asking what the hell this is all about.”

Slade grunted his assent.

The old timer parked himself next to Slade and produced from a sheath he wore on his belt a foot long knife. Crossbar handle. Curved end. Anyone introduced to it would not have walked away.

Gunther went to work, whittling a block of wood.

“Is it me or is your face longer than usual?” Gunther asked.

Grunt.

Slade realized he was still holding the ring. It was too late to avoid detection by putting  it away.

“What’s that?” Gunther asked.

Grunt.

“Oh slap me in the ass and call me Sally!” Gunther said. “You proposed to that redheaded spitfire!”

Cigar chomp.

Gunther nudged Slade with his elbow. “Didn’t you? Come on now…”

Silence.

“Huh,” Gunther said as his wood shavings hit the ground. “And since you’re here with a puss on your face and the ring’s in your hand instead of on Miss Bonnie’s finger…”

“Yup,” Slade said.

“Oh boy.”

A minute or two passed. Gunther kept whittling. Slade kept sulking.

“You want to tell me the details?” the old man asked.

Exasperated, Slade tucked the ring into his pocket.

“Well how am I supposed to help you if you won’t tell me what happened?” Gunther asked.

Slade just stared blankly at his boots.

“What exactly did you say to her?” Gunther asked.

Slade didn’t respond to that inquiry, nor did he respond to:

Did you get down on one knee?

Were you all fancy about it or did you just throw the ring at her?

Did she look happy?

Did she laugh at you?

Was she at least nice about it?

Did she let you down easy?

The Marshal held up under interrogation for a half-hour until finally his Deputy cracked the case.

“You didn’t really ask her did you?”

Slade shifted and looked the other way.

“Ah,” Gunther said. “That’s it. You were chicken.”

Few things got the Marshal talking like an accusation of cowardice, but even then, the response was sparse.

“Was not.”

“So,” Gunther said, “Since you’re being stubborn I’ll have to deduce that you didn’t ask her outright but some state of affairs transpired that led you to believe that Miss Bonnie wouldn’t be interested in being locked in the bonds of holy matrimony with you forever and ever.”

The two just sat there.

“Why I don’t know because you’re such a gifted conversationalist,” Gunther said. “It’s Miss Bonnie’s loss for sure.”

Slade shook his head. Gunther rolled his eyes.

“Goddamnit, son. Out with it! Did you ask her or not?”

Through gritted teeth, the Marshal’s reply was as raspy as ever. “I asked enough…and she answered enough.”

“Oh,” Gunther said as he turned back to his whittling. “Well why didn’t you say so?”

Slade felt relief, believing the interrogation was over until the old man started up again.

“You know, Rain,” Gunther said. “Women say a lot of things. They hem and they haw and they say they’ll never do this or they’ll never do that but give ‘em an actual honest to God decision to make and they might just surprise you.”

A confused look took over Slade’s face.

“Get your ass back there, get down on one knee and ask her proper,” Gunther said. “She says yes, good. She says no, well, at least you know.”

Slade struck a match, held it to his cigar until it was lit, then puffed.

“No.”

Gunther nodded. “Well, you were there. I wasn’t. If you think she’s a lost cause then so be it. No use grousing over it though. There’s plenty of fish in the sea.”

A stage coach rolled up the road and came to a stop at Anderson’s General Store. The coach man got down, opened the door and a delicate hand took his. Out stepped a raven haired beauty, dressed all in black.

Dumbstruck, Slade’s mouth gaped open just wide enough for his cigar to fall out.

Gunther sheathed his blade.

“Speaking of…”

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Discussion – How Can I Get More Than 3.5 Readers?

I asked the cast of characters known to come in and out of BQB HQ and here’s what they said:

VIDEO GAME RACK FIGHTER – “Not now. I’m running over prostitutes on Car Thief Mayhem.”

THE YETI – GRRR!  YOUR WEBSITE SUCKS!

UNCLE HARDASS – Will you quit that writing nonsense and get a job at the salt mines already?

ALIEN JONES – Stop procrastinating and publish a book, dumb ass.  All hail the mighty potentate.

BQB’s THOUGHTS

Well, as usual, Alien Jones proves to be my worthy advisor.  But until I get a book published, what advice do you have, 3.5 readers?

One day I hope to have as many as 300.5 readers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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