Western Fiction posted October 23, 2008

This work has reached the exceptional level
Ranger Billy Joe Brown faces Dead-Eye Jack.

Show Down At High Noon (Rewrite)

by c_lucas

Read only for the contents.
(Repetitions are intentional. Please read the entire story before casting judgment.)
Texas Ranger Billy Joe Brown astride his favorite horse, Pard, rode toward the small Texas town of Dry Gulch. He received a wire telling him Dead-Eye Jack would be waiting in Dry Gulch's Last Chance Saloon.
Texas Ranger Billy Joe Brown thought about the gang of rustlers he had captured single-handed last week. Before their hanging, four of the six identified Dead-Eye Jack as their leader. Now Dead-Eye Jack, the meanest, evilest, slimiest, low down cowardly snake was about to meet his end by the steady hand of Texas Ranger Billy Joe Brown.
Ask any Texan to name the fastest gun in Texas, and the answer would always be the same: Texas Ranger Billy Joe Brown. His fame covered the entire Lone Star State and he struck fear in the hearts of  the evil-doers. Most give themselves up when Texas Ranger Billy Joe Brown takes to their trail. Few made the mistake of trying to beat Texas Ranger Billy Joe Brown to the draw.

Dead-Eye Jack came from Arizona, where he held the honor of being the fastest and deadliest with either of his two Colt Forty-Fives. He had no fear of Texas Ranger Billy Joe Brown. The two would meet at high noon in the middle of Dry Gulch’s only street. Only one would walk away. Both confident he would be the one walking.
Right before high noon on the tenth of July, Texas Ranger Billy Joe Brown rode into Dry Gulch. Citizens recognized the most famous Texas Ranger of all and got off the streets.
Word spread quickly to Dead-Eye Jack, who waited in the Last Chance Saloon. Dead-Eye Jack knew Texas Ranger Billy Joe Brown would be coming because he had sent the wire. Dead-Eye Jack finished his drink and headed for the door, making sure his guns were loose in their holsters. Everyone in the saloon dived behind the bar because bullets would soon be flying.
Texas Ranger Billy Joe Brown rode into the livery stables and put his trusty steed in a cool stall. He wiped the sweat from his face with his bandana and cared for his horse. Before he left the stables, Texas Ranger Billy Joe Brown kissed his horse. “Be seeing you, Ole Pard.”
After checking his forty-five, Texas Ranger Billy Joe Brown walked into the sweltering dusty street. The hot Texas sun showed no mercy. Dust devils danced across the plains. Rattlesnakes and sidewinders sought shade wherever they could find it and didn’t want to share.
It was so hot a lone coyote walked after a jackrabbit who barely hopped away. The rabbit stopped at a watering hole and took a healthy drink. The coyote stopped within a few feet of his prey and drank slow and easy. When the jackrabbit started off, the coyote took up his slow chase. Vultures circled, looking for their noontime meal. Death was in the air, and they waited patiently for the deadly results of the gunfight between Texas Ranger Billy Joe Brown and Dead-Eye Jack.

Texas Ranger Billy Joe Brown took off his ten gallon hat and wiped the sweat away from his eyes with the back of his shirt sleeve. He placed his hat on his head and adjusted it, while keeping his eyes on the swinging doors of the Last Chance Saloon.
Small clouds of dust stirred under Texas Ranger Billy Joe Brown’s feet as he walked toward the saloon. He was the only one on the dusty street of Dry Gulch. 
Doors slammed shut and locks quickly turned. Frightened citizens peeped from behind closed curtains. The hot wind blew tumbleweeds in Texas Ranger Billy Joe Brown’s path. Distant storm clouds built as jagged lightning danced across the dark skies, followed by rumbling thunder.

Lucy Mae Blaine, young and pretty, stepped out of the general store and stopped. The saloon doors banged open and Dead-Eye Jack stepped into the dusty street, adjusting his guns while giving her an evil grin.
“Soon you will be mine,” Dead-Eye Jack sneered.
The young school teacher blushed, dropped her packages and looked worriedly at Texas Ranger Billy Joe, the love of her life.

Texas Ranger Billy Joe Brown stopped. He glanced briefly at Lucy Mae Blaine to make sure she was out of the line of fire. He touched the Texas Ranger Badge on his chest and knew he had to do his duty. He checked his trusty gun one last time.  The two men started walking toward each other, each vowing the other’s death.

The thought of losing the gun fight never entered Texas Ranger Billy Joe Brown's mind. He admitted to himself he'd never faced anybody as fast as Dead-Eye Jack, but that didn't matter. Texas Ranger Billy Joe Brown had Justice and the Law on his side. He couldn't lose. Being duty bound by the Code of the Texas Rangers, he would give the murdering skunk a chance to give up. He hoped the outlaw would refuse.

The two enemies narrowed the gap between them. The hot sun, surrounded by big dark clouds, didn’t play favorites; both men felt its merciless heat. The sounds of jingling spurs and distant thunder set the stage; neither gunman would back down.

Lucy Mae Blaine placed her hand over her mouth to stifle a scream when the two gunmen stopped in the middle of the street.  She worried about Texas Ranger Billy Joe, but felt proud of him.

"Dead-Eye Jack, you're under arrest. Drop your guns and come peacefully." Texas Ranger Billy Joe Brown spoke in a cool, firm voice. His hand hovered over his trusty forty-five.

"I can't do that, Texas Ranger Billy Joe. I ain't hankering to be the guest at your neck-tie party." Dead-Eye Jack’s hands flashed toward his guns.

Texas Ranger Billy Joe Brown's gun barely cleared leather when Dead-Eye Jack's two guns spit fire and lead.

Texas Ranger Billy Joe Brown ducked; the bullets missed him, going through his hat instead. Before Texas Ranger Billy Joe Brown could return fire, Dead-Eye Jack's guns spoke again.  A piercing scream split the air.

"BILLY JOE-E-E, LUNCH-H-H!!!" Mrs. Brown, Billy Joe's mother, yelled out the back door.

First grader Billy Joe Brown hopped on his stick horse and raced for home. His mother's alphabet soup was cooling and his friend, Lucy Mae Blaine, would join him. The Showdown with Dead-Eye Jack would have to wait another day.


Thank you Deloralock for the use of your image, "Old West Ghost Town."

This is just a fun write. I will accept corrections and suggestions except for reducing the adjectives, or the number of times the characters names appear.

The story is told through the imagnative eyes of a first grader, but it is not written for young readers.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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