THE LAST RIDE

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Westerns  |  House: Booksie Classic


Just a fun little blur

Submitted: March 02, 2018

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Submitted: March 02, 2018

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THE LAST RIDE

BY

DONALD HARRY ROBERTS

1

What is old do you think? Well let me tell you. Old is when you think you can’t still do the things you could do when you were young and believe, like splitting the fire wood for winter. Or chattin up the ladies at the saloon or slappin iron in a high noon gun fight, and winning. But let me tell you more. If you don’t think that way and you keep all your movin parts movin you won’t get old so fast.

I was sixty one years, four months and eighteen days of age when I read the wanted poster for a fella wanted dead or alive, just down the road in Watsitville Bridge.

2

His name was Jerry Grandplunker, a kid who’s Daddy drank away the farm and left he and his Ma scratchin dirty while he fooled about at the saloon with them fancy ladies that would, you know, for a couple of bucks. Jerry senior died while visiting one of them ladies and the bank foreclosed on the farm leavin Jerry junior and his Ma high and dry and broke, and it wasn’t long before Mrs. Grandplunker got laid out in a pine box and buried at the expense of the town.

Jerry took every last dime he had and bought himself a six shooter, one of them old navy revolver and a holster. He worked the stable at the livery in town to keep eating and to buy cap and ball so he could go out to the broken down remains of the farm and practice his quick draw.

3

Six months later Jerry Grandplunker robbed the Watsitville bank and gun down the sheriff in a fast draw as he was getting ready to ride out of town. He got away with five thousand dollars and the sheriff’s horse and saddle.

After that he became a legendary quick draw killer and gun for hire. Last count that was writ up in the Watsitville Gazette tallied an even two dozen.

, that’s not including the men that tried to gun him down for the reward that grew every time someone else got killed for their troubles. By the time he got to Santa Fe he was worth 3000 dollars and even Billy the Kid turned tail and run off.

4

Well now it turned out Jerry Mangler, they were calling him, came round in a great big circle and landed right back in Watsitville where he began terrorizing the good folks and forcing them to pay up for protection which was only good for protecting them from him. He lived free at the Saloon and had his way, free with any lady he wanted. If there ever was a bad man it was Jerry the Mangler Grandplunker. The only time anyone saw him soften, just a little bit was the day he went to his mother’s grave. He made everyone in town show up so they could listen to his speech about what turned him to the killer he turned out to be. And when he finished he shot the banker for foreclosing on the farm.

5

I woulda never gone after the lad except he did something that touched me deep. He killed one of them ladies who was servicing him free. And even then I wouldna done much, me being an old codger and all, but it turned out the lady was a lady, a young lady who got forced into the business because a year and a half later Jerry had killed her father, the sheriff, and her Ma died of a broken heart and that was the only way she could survive. And that folks really peeved me off. So I dug out my gun that I had put away a long time ago to become a peaceful quiet fella instead of a fast draw, sharp-shooting federal Marshall.

6

I took a few days to limber up and loosen the joints and get my sights squared away. I was surprised how easily it came back to me but I still had a wonder on whether or not I could beat the guy. I was about to head into town when my eyes happened on a plate of iron about a foot and a half square and curved a little. I was making me a new door for my potbelly stove.

It was a little heavy but I worked out some straps to tie it on my chest and belly. Most gunslingers aim for the biggest target on the body.

7

Finally I strapped on my six-shooter was about the same as Jerry’s, climbed up on my old mule and got into town. It was about mid morning when I got there and everything was quiet. Store keeps were just getting ready for the business day which was unusually late. I asked Pete Naffer at the general store why they was so late getting moving and said it was because Jerry made everybody stay up drinkin to the wee small hours, men women and kids all alike.

“He says he’s gonna kill us all eventually and no one can stop him, though a couple have tried and we even tried an ambush but he’s a clever devil that one.

 

 

8

I nodded and went on my way make straight for the saloon. I tied up old Alderberry my mule in front of Margies Rooming house so he wouldn’t get killed if I did. I told Old Margie that if I got killed she could have the mule. She thanked me kindly but didn’t try talkin me out of doin what I had come to town to do.

I stood out on the street. “Jerry Grandplunker. This is Marshall Tucker Briggsford; you get your sorry carcass out here and fight a real gunslinger.”

It took a few minutes but he showed his face, all dressed up in fine black duds. He looked at me and started to laugh. “Ok old man. Let’s slap iron. I ain’t killed no one before breakfast in a while.”

9

He moved out into the street and put his back to the sun. I tipped my hat down low to cause a shadow over my eyes. It actually caused me to have a nice dark silhouette target to shoot at.

He took his stance, turned slightly off center to make a smaller target, a tactic that I had used myself and knew how to compensate for.

“Any time Mr. Marshall man.” He teased.

I stood there waiting. Waiting makes thugs like Jerry the Mangler nervous. I wanted him to draw first. And he did, twice as fast as I could ever draw, even when I was young. But bullet met iron and barely knocked me back half a step.

10

I leveled my gun and fired, hitting Jerry Grandplunker in the left eye. He stood there for a second or two before toppling over, crashing face first into the dust and dirt.

I holstered my pistol and started back to my mule. A great harangue of cheering broke out and several people rushed to inspect the dead body. Someone yelled, “Where ya goin Tucker?”

I didn’t answer. I just kept riding out of town and back to my little spread. I didn’t have the heart to tell them good folks in Watsitville that I had just laid out my grand boy. His Ma being my daughter though even she didn’t know.

 


© Copyright 2020 Donald Harry Roberts. All rights reserved.

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