Daily Archives: February 24, 2016

How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 49

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“What is the meaning of this?!” the Reverend asked.

Jack walked right up to the couple. Slade burned with rage. Sarah held a hand over her nose and mouth to hold back the stench.

“I object on account of this no-good chicken shit yella’ belly has the NERVE to show his face around town and not think I’d have something to say about it.”

The vein in Slade’s forehead looked like it was going to pop any second and spew blood all over.

“Boys,” Gunther said. “You’re in a house of God on a wedding day. This is bad form if you ask me.”

“NOBODY ASKED YOU YA OLD BASTARD!!!” Jack said. “This here is between me and this pussy.”

Sarah trembled. “Rain, what’s going on?”

“Oh, I’ll tell you what’s going on, girly,” Jack said. “You’re about to marry a lily livered son of a bitch that lets Injuns do his fighting for him!”

Slade’s gut instinct told him to gun down Jack and his boys right there. But as Gunther said, he was in a church…on his wedding day.

“Leave,” Slade said with the highest amount of rasp he’d ever produced.

“I’m callin’ you out, Slade!” Jack said.

“Not interested,” Slade replied.

“Oh,” Jack said. “I see how it is. When there isn’t an Injun to hide behind you aren’t so tough. When there’s a fancy lawyer to hide behind you feel free to sucker punch a man and knock his teeth out. Did it make you feel like a real big man when you put my brother-uncle Dave on the end of a rope?”

Slade lost it. “I did and I enjoyed every bit of it,” Slade said. “The way his eyes bugged out of his head while he gasped for air and choked to death, calling out for your slut of a mother while he shit his pants. Funniest thing I ever saw.”

With those words, Sarah saw a new side to Slade, one that startled her.

“MY MA WAS A SAINT!”

Jack hauled his arm back, ready to punch Slade but his boys caught him and held him back.

“Come on,” Rufus said. “Not in here.”

“OUTSIDE!” Jack yelled as he struggled free of his brother-cousins’ grasp. “YOU AND ME! WE’RE GONNA SETTLE THIS SHIT ONCE AND FOR ALL!”

“Can’t wait,” Slade said.

The Buchanan Boys made their exit, slamming the doors behind them. Slade walked down the aisle. Sarah, now openly weeping, grabbed him.

“Rain!” she said. “No!”

Slade hugged his bride close to his chest. He kissed the top of her head then looked in her eyes.

“Listen to me,” Slade said.

“No!” Sarah repeated. “You’re not going out there!”

“Listen,” Slade said. “I’m going to be right back.”

Slade turned and walked out the door. Seeing that the bride was shaking all over, Gunther offered her his arm and helped her to a seat.

“Sorry, Miss Sarah,” Gunther said. “Dueling is unfortunately one of our worst traditions out this way and why, once a situation like this gets uncorked its impossible to put it back in the bottle.”

“But he’s going to die!!!” Sarah said.

“Oh no,” Gunther said. “No, not at all. Your man is the best shot in the West and Smelly Jack couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn even if he launched his bullet with a catapult.

“Really?” Sarah asked.

“Absolutely!” Gunther said. “Now don’t you fret none. I swear to you, your groom is not going to die.”

Ophelia took a seat next to Sarah and offered the bride a shoulder to cry on.

“Now if you’ll excuse me, ladies,” Gunther said. “I’d best go offer my moral support.”

Gunther walked out of the church. Outside, Jack was delivering an insulting speech about Slade to a gathering crowd.

The old man grabbed Slade just before he stepped off the porch.

“Son, you are going to die!”

“Get off me,” Slade said, pushing Gunther’s hand away.

“You are playing right into Jack’s hands,” Gunther said. “Even an inbred piece of shit like Jack Buchanan knows he’ll go down in history as the worst scum of the earth if he guns down a man in a church at his own wedding. So he’s goading you to come outside and throw down and you’re taking the bait like a fat fish.”

“What do you know?” Slade asked. “You always want to run away from everything, you damn coward.”

Ouch. Gunther felt that one. But he didn’t let it stop him. “It’s not cowardly to refuse to die for no good reason! It’s using the brains that the good Lord saw fit to give you!”

Slade walked off. Gunther grabbed him again. “Why do you think Jack brought three of his kinfolk with him? You know those boys don’t play fair. The second you lay Jack out they’ll come at you. Maybe you can get one. Maybe two. But three? Use your head.”

The groom checked out the extraneous Buchanans as they worked the crowd, drumming up cheers for Jack.  All three of them were armed.

“Do you even see this is your chance, boy?” Gunther asked.

“What?” Slade asked.

“Run,” Gunther said. “Get on your horse and get the hell out of here. Shit, grab Miss Bonnie on the way out of town. Go somewhere, anywhere and start a new life with the woman you’re obviously pining for and then after a month, write a letter to Miss Sarah and tell her you’re sorry but you were scared and you couldn’t bare to saddle her with the burden of being the wife of a man who runs away from a fight.”

“I’m not scared,” Slade said.

“You should be,” Gunther said.

“I’d never tell anyone if I was,” Slade said.

“It’s just words,” Gunther said. “They don’t mean anything.”

Slade gritted his teeth. “They…mean…everything.”
“God damn it, boy,” Gunther said. “The only person a man ever needs to seek approval from is the one staring back at him in the mirror. Who gives a shit what anyone else has to say?”

“I DO!” Slade shouted. It was the first time Gunther had ever heard his ex-boss raise his voice.

“I do,” Slade repeated.

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 48

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With Reverend Cavanaugh between them, Slade and Sarah faced one another. Sarah gazed longingly at her man. Slade did his best to appear interested but in his mind he was mapping out the best possible escape route as if he were about to rob a bank and make a run for it.

“Dearly beloved,” the Reverend said. “We gather today to join this man, Rainier Slade and this woman, Sarah Farquhar in the bonds of holy matrimony.”

The Reverend opened up his bible, peeped at a card with some notes scribbled on it, then carried on. “For as Enoch said unto Elijah on the road to Damascus, ‘There is surely no act more pleasing to our righteous God than for a man to lie with the same woman day after day, month after month, year after year, decade after decade, until the end of time comes and the glorious rapture returns all who are pure to their much deserved glory.”

In the pews, Doc swilled back his medicine.

“Gimmie some of that,” Annabelle whispered. “I didn’t know this was going to be so preachy.”  She took a big gulp then handed the bottle back to Doc.

“And ye, it must be known to all,” the Reverend said. “That marriage is truly the noblest of institutions…”

“My Mavis used to say anyone who wants to get married should be in an institution,” Gunther whispered to Ophelia. She frowned and shook her head disapprovingly.

“In fact, it was Aaron who said unto Jeremiah who in turn, spread the message to the Sumerians, ‘When a man lies with a woman not his wife, or a woman lies with a man not her husband it is considered an egregious sin in the eyes of our Lord and don’t even get me started on when two men or two women lie with one another…”

Blake and Townsend sat in the back, mostly to trade snide comments about Slade but also in the hopes of free eats.

“You told me there would be sandwiches,” Blake said.

“I don’t know,” Townsend said. “Every wedding I been to they usually put out a little something. Usually not until after the ceremony though.”

“Shit,” Blake said. “I bet Slade’s too cheap to shell out for sandwiches.”

Townsend started a thought. “Well if he’s half a good a host as he was a marshal…”

Blake finished it for him. “…I’ll starve to death.”

The Reverend kept preaching away. “I’ve had the good fortune to perform many wedding ceremonies in my day and the one piece of advice I never fail to offer to a couple is this. ‘Be true to one another.’”

Slade audibly gulped.

“Yes, ” the Reverend said. “Husbands and wives must be honest with one another at all times for a marriage built upon a foundation of lies will never provide a happy home but rather, serve as a sanctuary for the devil.”

Slade’s heart beat faster.

“No matter how painful it may be for a couple to share their deepest, darkest secrets with each other, they MUST do so, for even the smallest, most seemingly insignificant fib is still a falsehood with the potential to boil over into tremendous sorrow.”

Shit,” Slade thought. “If this is going to piss off God maybe I HAVE to say something.”

“Ladies and gentlemen,” the Reverend said. “It is my understanding that the couple has written some vows that they wish to share with each other.”

We have?” Rain thought.

“Sarah,” the Reverend said.

Sarah took Slade’s hands into hers. “Rain, all my life my choices have been made for me. First by my father, then by Josiah. In effect, I’ve never had a choice about anything at all until today. I choose you because I love you. When you hold me I feel safe. All my cares wash away and it is as if you and I are the only two people left in the world…”

No one told me I was suppose to say anything,” Slade thought.

“…and should I die tomorrow,” Sarah continued. “My life will be complete, for having known the joy of being your wife. I vow to spend all my days thinking of new ways to make you as happy as you have made me.”

Annabelle was so touched she cried. Doc took another swig of his Cure-All then handed it to his new love interest.

“It will calm your menstruations, my dear,” he whispered.

Slade may have been madly in love with Miss Bonnie, but as far as he was concerned, what Sarah had just said was the nicest thing anyone had ever said to him. God would have to be disappointed with his lack of honesty.

Sarah looked at her groom with big brown eyes.

Shit,” Slade said. “When she was babbling away on the ride in. That’s probably when she said to have something to say.  Damn it.

The guests grew silent. Slade coughed.

“You’re special,” Slade said.

Slade looked around. Everyone waited for more.

“And pretty,” Slade said.

People were still waiting. What did they want?

“And I promise to be a good husband and wipe the shit off my boots before I come in the house.”

Silence. Sarah cried tears of joy. Even Gunther had a little moisture in his good eye.

“That was beautiful,” the old man said.

“Such lovely words,” the Reverend said. “Before we carry on, I ask now, if any one should object to this union, I bid you to speak now or forever hold your peace.”

The church doors swung open, a gust of wind blew in and the whole room got a whole lot…smellier.

Smelly Jack stomped down the aisle with his brother-cousins behind him.

“I OBJECT!!!”

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