Western Fiction posted August 31, 2017

This work has reached the exceptional level
Tumbleweed make enemies.

Community Dance - Part Three

by c_lucas

Tumbleweed wisely left the bucket out of danger while Paint worked out his kinks. Then he used a pigging strip and tied the bucket's handle to his saddle horn. He rode into the nearby hills to fulfill his quest. In less than an hour, he headed back to the hotel.

A group of young riders overtook Tumbleweed when he was about a mile from the hotel. Once they passed him, they reined their horses in and formed a half circle in front of their victim.

"Get off your horse!"

The young man spotted movement behind the half circle of riders, but kept from smiling. "If it's wildflowers you want. You'll have to pick your own. These are spoken for."

"It's not wildflowers, we are after. We're going to kick your ass and show you not to mess with another man's girl." The leader spoke with the inexperience of authority.

"Mighty big talk. Is that your 'girl' next to you? Sorry, he's not my type. You can have her." Tumbleweed noticed more movement; This time he saw the new rider pull his Winchester from its scabbard.

"Yank him from his horse and drag him!" The leader's voice was drowned out from the fire of a rifle and a handgun. Everyone stopped and looked behind them.
Dooley had the leader covered.
"Tumbleweed, have you offended anyone?" Texas holstered his gun and rode through the crowd of young horsemen and stopped in front of the young man he addressed.

"Not that I know of," Tumbleweed said. The young man pointed at the leader. "He said I was messing with his girl. I pointed at the rider next to him and told him he could have him. That's when he decided he was gonna drag me."

A rope sailed out and landed around the leader's chest and yanked him off his horse.

Dooley tightened his rope. "I got mine."

In the confusion, Texas roped two of the young men, with a single loop,  and pulled them from their horses. The surprised youngsters hit the hard ground. "Okay we are ready to join the fun. Who's going to rope Tumbleweed?"

The other horsemen didn't move.

The leader tried to stand.

Dooley flipped his rope around the braggart's legs and pulled him down. "I'm ready, Texas. Should we start the show without Tumbleweed?" He backed his horse, pulling the leader along.

"I think they got the message, Texas. Let them up. I want to add my own comments." Tumbleweed dropped his reins, ground hitching Paint and dismounted.

"There are three of them," Dooley commented.

"I know it's unfair. Why don't you and Texas choose one apiece? That'll even the odds."

"Aren't you being a mite foolish?" Texas asked.

"Did you ever follow bare-knuckle fighting when you were younger?" Tumbleweed asked, adding, "The first will have a broken nose; the second a broken jaw; while the other three will sing Soprano for a while." Tumbleweed smiled and rolled up his sleeves.

"You're kidding? That would be ...." Dooley interrupted Texas.

"Let the fools learn their lesson. I haven't seen a good fight in ages," Dooley said to Texas.

Tumbleweed looked at the leader. "What's your name?"
"It's only fair I know whose nose I break. I want to apologize to you, later."
The boy next to the leader answered,  "It's Jason Benson. You'll be lucky to remember your own name when he's finished with you."

Jason raised his hands, removed the rope, and ran toward Tumbleweed, who jumped high, and smashed his adversary's nose with the heel of his boot. Without stopping he turned on his left foot and pulled his blow when he kicked the second one on the jaw. He kicked the last two in the groin and sent them rolling on the ground, holding their bruised balls. The fifth opponent ran to his horse, jumped on and fled.

"The rest of you, get out of here and take your trash with you," Texas growled. He studied Tumbleweed. "I see you had other training," He commented dryly.

"One carnival had a fellow from the Far East who swallowed swords. He was with us for two years and taught me a style of fighting he called Jiu Jitsu. One of the roustabouts used to watch us. One day he asked me to spar with him. I jumped and kicked with all my might. He pushed my feet aside and slapped my face. My ears rang for the rest of the day."

"Was that when you met 'Knuckles' O'Brien?" Texas asked.

Tumbleweed nodded. "They made a mutual agreement; each taught me their fighting skills."

"Who was the better fighter?" Dooley asked

"That's a toss up. The owner arranged fake fights on a weekly basis. The two fighters took turns winning. There was a twenty-five cents admission charge and betting was allowed."

"Who held the money?" Texas asked.

"The owner and he split equally with the two fighters." Tumbleweed mounted Paint. "Thanks for the help." He waved and rode away.

Jerry tended to Paint, then carried the flowers to his room, sprinkled water over them, and covered them with wax paper. He smiled when he entered the dining room. Lynda and her father were there. Consuela and Miguel were with them. Jerry walked to their table and sat next to Lynda.

"Mr. Pearson, the matter we discussed has been taken care of." He studied the portable slate board. A middle-aged woman wearing a white apron, and a pencil in her hair, approached him.

"Order up, Jerry. Your meal is paid for," Mr. Pearson said.

Jerry was the last one to be served. It didn't escape his attention, Lynda nibbled at her food and never took her eyes off of him. Consuela frowned, but Miguel smiled and winked at his boss.

Mr. Pearson wore a poker face as he watched the two youngsters.

Sheriff Duncan entered the Dining Room and made a bee line toward Jerry. "Boy when you want to cause trouble, you don't cut me any slack. Stand up. Hand over your gun."


Thank you, cleo85, for the use of your image, "The Flight of the Bumblebee."

Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by cleo85 at FanArtReview.com

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