Western Fiction posted September 9, 2017 Chapters: 1 -2- 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Short novel/fiction/Top Ten showdown

A chapter in the book Showdown At West Old Town.

Good/ Bad/ Ugly (Day Two)

by BOO ghost

It's red dawn. Fanstory contenders mingle at the 'Board & Breakfast' coffee house. Any establishment beats the haunted hotel where the committee, Regulators and ghosts bunk. Tom Horn, the fan story range boss, finances the boarding fees and grub. Sixteen wooden chairs border the rectangular walnut table.Tom sits at the north bookend of the expansive table. Breakfast will be served at 8:00 AM sharp. It's considered taboo to fraternize with contenders on tournament day.  

Image result for The Good The Bad And The Ugly graveyard gif

Tom Horn bows his head in prayer.
"Ladies and Elders... the flock gathers here, today; we ask for a spiritual blessing of protection. We give thanks for the food on this table. Our beloved family fears the outcome of these tournaments. Thenceforth, these terrible gunfights represent dedication devoted to our craft and cause. Hencesake, this breakfast will be the last supper for a few writers amongst us. May the Holy Ghost protect and guide us from evil and sorcery. Save our soul from eternal damnation in Hades. May we join You in paradise, Jesus Christ. Ignorance begets blindness, some sinners refuse to bow their knee and repent. Hopefully, the sins of the father will be forgiven and whitewashed. No more family curses or shame. Let us acknowledge your existence, for You died on the cross for our sins on Calvery, only by You - can our soul be saved. Amen."

Sailing in the doldrums, a calmness fills the room like the eye of a hurricane. Those that believe can feel the Holy Ghost in their heart. From dust to dust is reincarnation. Solitude and grace overcome Tom. His heart has grown three sizes today. Free cent pumps, please. A rogue tear follows the frown lines of his face. The Tarot death card has many faces, it comes disguised as a wolf in sheepskin, a peasant, Padre, plague or undertaker.

Tom raises his head. The show must continue regardless of consequences. Deja Vu. In his dreams... he recants visions of names and dates on tombstones. The worst dream, Tom visualizes an old west graveyard; he looks down on a tombstone choked by vines, a crow rests on it. Tom Horn it reads. Only his birth date is visible.

Tom's face is pale as a ghost. It lacks blood and oxygen. Like clips of a movie film, he sees terrifying dreams. He runs a thousand miles to nowhere. Margaret Snowdown sits in her throne, at the south end of the table. Utterly, she can charm a King cobra with her charisma. Today she keeps her trickster pistols in her holsters. Many contenders come for her at the top of the pyramid. Her gun cylinders are loaded with wonderful words and lead. Her favorite six shooter, Lucy, holds a gold bullet. It's the equalizer and intimidator. This magic gold bullet can slay giants, ogre, demons, dragons, witches, and werewolves, but BOO is invincible. It can not harm ghosts.

Tom's droopy eyes disappear into wonderland... reminiscing of fantastic fantasy dreams caused by a demonic spell. The serpent queen sits on her make believe throne of Fan Story castle. Only the king or royal knight, known as the crimson crusader, can conquer her. He brandishes the Sword of Destiny which can vanquish Wiktionary words catapulted at him. His Coat of Arms is on his Scandinavian shield, his golden hair flows like the mane of a lion, his piercing blue eyes can shapeshift supernatural words into stone.

Screaming in the night, he seeks the princess of Fanstory castle. The Lion King has given many promises, some sealed with cent pumps and fake marriage certificates. Bowing before the queen, he displays chivalry and courage. Forbidden, he drank from the gold goblet stored in the treasure chest of Fanstory castle. The queen shunned him into the wilderness. His scruples and loyalty were questionable.

Screaming in the night, the Lion King searches for his fairy tale Cinderella. Blood hounds chase him into the dark Lost Forest. This is the domain of the spirit wolf, Fenrir, who will be slain by Odin's son, Víðarr. Another wolf terrorizes these woods; it walks upright during the full moon night, peasants, gypsies, hobbits, and wizards call him Scared Claw.

Tom's color returns. The contestants look queer. #9, davisr (Rhonda) and #10, Feral from Malanda, face one another across the walnut table. At the stroke of twelve, they will battle for the top ten novel categories. #9, Aiona and #10, Stevensandiego face one another across the table. Because of fecal committee rules, contenders are isolated.

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Rhonda was born in San Antonio, Texas. She remembers the Alamo. Her Interests are quilting, gardening, farming, teaching, and gunplay. She eyeballs Feral seated across the table. He is illiterate, couldn't read or write until he was nineteen. Lived in the Rain forest in tropical North Queensland. Instead of writing paperback novels, he scribbles words and pictures onto the Outback cave walls. The missing link has been discovered.

Update: Feral relocated to Cebu, the Philippines with his clan. Bounty hunters are on his trail for SPAG violations and fan site frolicking. This Aboriginal chows down on salt meat, bacon, scrambled eggs, mahogany grits, and blueberry flapjacks. Rhonda understands why he's called Feral. He eats like a hog, sweats like a Naples sailor on furlough, and smells like a pole cat.

He favors Davy Crockett, wears buckskins, raccoon cap, moccasins or boots. Has tribal tattoos on his wooly face and limbs; totes a Jim Bowie knife and Boomerang, has three gold teeth. The undertaker, Dean Spooky Cook, would love to collect them before grave robbers loot him.  

Rhonda stares at the swine eating. This is what she is up against.

"What the hell are you staring at, " mumbles Feral, munching on grub.

Rhonda's in the cone of silence. Grits and maple syrup ooze from the corners of his mouth.

What a repulsive, disgusting skunk, thinks Rhonda. She has lost her appetite.

Meanwhile, Aiona sizes up Stevensandiego across the table. Looks like the old goat has one foot in the grave. Teaser: Aiona lives in a sailor's heaven. She writes a script for a TV pilot called 'My Island Life.'

Act 1:  She lives on an island in Pacific Northwest. Native Polynesians live on this uncharted island.
Act II: Her mate gets captured by headhunters.
Act III: Natives shrink his head.
Act III - Scene II: She becomes the chief's slave and concubine.
Act IV: Aiona engages in a gunfight.

Teaser: Perhaps Stevensandiego will have a stroke before the showdown.
History: Steven rode with Sitting Bull, Buffalo Bill Cody, Wild Bill Hickock, Annie Oakley, and Calamity Jane in the Wild West Show. With eye spectacles on, he can hit a gnat, on a fence post, at one hundred yards.  

Aiona loads a silver spoon armed with grits and hot butter. Zing! The look on Sandiego's wrinkled face is priceless. It was a dead shot. Grits stick, butter drips from his eyeglass lenses. Tom looks bewildered by these extraordinary events. The motley crew drops their silverware as they stare.

"I ain't gotta take this abuse - tin horn!" states Steven. His eyeglasses smothered with grits and butter.

Stevensandiego scoops a spoon full of mahogany grits and melted butter. He catapults it across the bow. Feral exhibits a surprised look. His furry face is covered with grits. Hot butter sticks to his lice infected beard.

The dead silence is shattered by spontaneous laughter. Apparently, Sandiego's vision was hindered by the grits. Aiona heckles like a laughing Hyena. Feral licks the grits and butter off his scraggly beard. This act triggers another outburst from the crowd.

Michael Cahill finds this situation amusing.

"Food fight!" yells Mikey.

Within a New York minute's notice, the Top Ten contenders launch food omnidirectionally. Tom cracks a smile, that fades away after Thomas Bowling launches a flapjack with syrup onto Tom's face. This mishap triggers spontaneous laughter. At least it was not a bowl of stew. The queen grins, she's seated at the south bookend of the table. She chuckles like a Rhode Island Red hen.

Out of the blue, a flapjack projectile hits her flawless face. Her mood ring gemstone changes color from tangerine to black. The flapjack greased with syrup sticks to her face. Gingerly, she peels the pancake from her face.

"I saw you - Phyllis," says the queen. bitch!   

Tom has seen enough. He slams his iron fist on the hardwood table. Damn, that hurt. An awkward pause follows. The gunslinging gang looks like stone statues. They lay down their spoons, forks, and ammunition.

"Listen up, children, this revolution has gone on long enough. Wash up and meet the committee, Regulators and I - on the street, at a quarter 'till twelve," barks Tom Horn.

The Top Ten contenders vacate the premises and prepare for the showdown.

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11:45 AM. Albuquerque town citizens and fanstorians filter along the decrepit boardwalks anticipating gunplay. The ghost committee and Regulators are mustered and present.  

Jay Squires
Rama Devi

"Let the games begin," announces Tom Horn. He holds a megaphone/bullhorn with siren.       

Double time, Blue Jay Squires and Turtlestage5 lasso Feral. The funk is horrendous. They escort him to the middle of the street. Jay got his nickname, Blue Jay, because his poems make birdies sing. Rama Devi, nor84 and joelh605 escort davisr (Rhonda) to the middle of the sod street. The wind picks up in velocity, tumbleweeds roll, shutters squeak, warped doors slam, ghosts moan and groan. Zip it up, BOO! The buzzards glide the thermals searching for a free meal.

The tower clock shows 11:50 AM.

"Gunslingers, shake hands and make peace with the Lord Almighty," suggests Jay. Spokesman and moderator of this spectacle.

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Feral and Rhonda are nose to nose. Feral smells like a Skunk Ape. An invisible fog surrounds his mouth like a halo. Tobacco stains his whiskers and buckskins. He's outfitted with a Hawkins, six shooter, muzzleloader pistol. Hope the percussion caps are properly seated on the nipple, and his black powder is dry.

On his left hip is a Bowie knife. He has skinned many critters with this knife. The bucket list includes Dingos, crocodiles, and poachers. His boots are made of crocodile hides. He stores kangaroo and wallabies smoked jerky inside a venison satchel slung over his shoulder. Inside another satchel is a black powder kit which includes: Patches, mini-balls, black powder, and mini ram rod.

Feral extends his hairy hand. Rhonda is offended. She eyeballs him up, down, and sideways.

"Don't expect me to shake your filthy hand, Feral," Rhonda blurts.

She has a score to settle with this neanderthal, and she's in a bad mood.         

Instinctively, Feral spits a wad of Beechnut tobacco in her face. Her frozen face draws long, she swears like a sailor on liberty.

"You son of a cock-a-doodle bitch! I will skin your hide at high noon, you - you, slithering sidewinder," swears Rhonda.     
The crowd cheers and snickers. Chewing 'backe on Rhonda's porcelain face looks comical. Blue Jay and the Regulators intervene and separate Feral and Rhonda. It has come down to a fist fight. Rhonda knees Feral in his groin. He humps over, in agonizing pain, trying to catch his breath.   

"Gee - whiz, Joey. You kicked me in my jewels, you - saloon whore."

He spits a wad of tobacco on her fancy boots. She looks at her boots.

"You! Fracking mule skinner. I'm done with small talk. Let us settle this! Bucko," says Rhonda, twirling her ivory-handled pistol in her hand.

The undertaker, Dean Spooky Cook, watches from a safe distance in his mule-drawn buggy. It's an eerie sight like the Grim Reaper has arrived and ready to harvest souls.

"OK, gunslingers. Turn back to back. When I give the command, step ten paces and stop. See that thar' committee on the hotel terrace balcony, they will cut you down with them rifles if yaw decides to cheat," informs Blue Jay.

Blue Jay looks at the clock. It's two minutes to twelve.

"OK. Writer wannabees, take ten paces forward and stop. The committee and Regulators are monitoring this contest. When the clock strikes twelve, pull them pistols or whistle Dixie," states Jay Squires. Tom needs to pay me more fake money.

Image result for Clint eastwood. Pistols whistle dixie

Spurs turn up the sod like a plow. A dead silence follows, the static electricity lingers in the air and causes hair follicle vertigo. Every fanstorian eye is on this showdown. The gunslingers' steps play out in ultra slow motion. The contenders stop. Sixty feet separates life from death. The buzzards circle the ghost town from above, as the town folks hold their breath.

The final seconds' tick... perspiration evaporates from pores, desert dirt penetrates flared nostrils and gaped mouths. The New Mexico sun bakes them like a gecko.

The clock strikes twelve. Rhonda comes around like a carnival carousel. Feral is tardy. He pulls the hammer, as an incoming bullet creases his earlobe. He fires a wild shot, it hits the dirt in front of Rhonda. Help me, Rhonda. Apparently, his iron sights and nerves need adjusting. He cocks the hammer and fires a second and third shot, but not before Rhonda fires three more consecutive times. If that damn Dingo comes closer, gonna shoot that good 'fer nothin' bitch dog.

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A wild bullet ricochets off an anvil that fell off the blacksmith's wagon just moments ago. The Amish lad fled the scene after he saw the gunfight. Rhonda's bullet deflected off the anvil... hit the barber shop pole, then circled at her. It was a freak accident. Feral's bullets were high and low.

Rhonda lays motionless in the dirt street. Tom and the Regulators rush to the scene.

"Medic! Hurry, Tom," hollers Rama Devi.

Just another novel nemesis that bites the dust. Rhonda's best seller novel lays beside her. The bullet hole in it stopped on page 444. Good thing she writes long novels. Tom rolls her carcass over.

"Holy Toledo! It's a shot right between the eyes," exclaims nor 84.

Jay Squires rubs his chin. That bullet hole looks a lot smaller than a 45 caliber. Spooky Dean Kuch is right on time. He can smell death.

"OK. Boys, load her up. We got a schedule to keep. Reckon we could nominate her for Book Of The Month. An ALL Time Best," says Tom." She put some real greenbacks in my wallet.

The undertaker, mules, and buggy, disappear into the painted desert horizon. The buzzards follow.

"OK. Boys. Be back here at 1:00 PM. One birdie. Tell #9, Aiona and #10, Stevensandiego to meet me at the town square. Time for them script writers to pull them pistols or whistle Dixie!" says Tom Horn.   

Do you feel lucky, punk!     

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The contestants of each category:
(Top Ten Poets)
#1 Barb Hensongispsaca
#2 Dean Kuch
#3 Sandra du Plessis
#4 Meia (MESAYERS)
#5 robyn corum
#7 BeasPeas
#8 Irish Rain
#9 Sis Cat (DEAD)
#10 Mustangpatty1029 (ALIVE)

Top Ten Short Story
#1 Thomas Bowling
#2 Smurphgirlsasha
#3 Mustangpatty1029
#4 giraffmang
#5 humpwhistle
#6 emptypage
#7 doggymad
#8 hvysmker
#9 Teri7 (DEAD)
#10 prettybluebird (ALIVE)

Top Ten Novelists
#1 Margaret Snowdon
#2 Curly Girly
#3 barbara.wilkey
#4 mbroyles2
#5 Ulla
#6 Ideasaregems-Dawn
#7 Phyllis Stewart
#8 sandramitchell
#9 davisr (Rhonda) (DEAD)
#10 Feral from Malanda (ALIVE)

Top Ten Script Writers
#1 Thomas Bowling
#2 michaelcahill
#3 Mark Valentine
#4 MCLII1987
#5 Bill Schott
#6 LIJ Red
#7 HollyD
#8 Pearl Edwards
#9 Aiona (?) gunfight next chapter (to be decided)
#10 stevensandiego (?) gunfight next chapter (to be decided)
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