Bad Boy’s lesson

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Westerns  |  House: Booksie Classic

Bad Boy’s lesson


Rufis was the man everyone in Blue River would call gentle.


He always had a smile on his face as he walked around town. A warm greeting could always be expected when you met him on the boardwalks in town. Blue River wanted to elect him mayor, but he was the parson, Rufis was the man who preached on Sunday and worked for Fred in the general store during the week.


Kind words were spoken as Rufis added up the prices of the supplies as he carefully placed them in the customer’s bag or box. He often carried the purchases out to the wagon parked in front a few steps from the store door. Good Morning Sarah, Good Afternoon Bill, See Y'all next time was said with a smile and a wave.


Well one Friday Arnold James, who was called Bad Boy James, rode into town. When Bad Boy James walked down the street of a town, any town in the county, people would walk across the street to avoid his stare. One would think Bad Boy James never went to school from the string of grumbles and words no one would ever speak in the church. Arnold went to school for a year, but when he took on the name Bad Boy, the son of the James family ran away and fell in with bad company.


As expected Bad Boy James needed supplies. He rode up in front of Fred’s general store. The boardwalk was not the place to be, so everyone near the store suddenly turned around and cleared the way for Bad Boy to walk into the store. As he walked through the door Rufis greeted him. Good Morning Arnold, was the friendly greeting. Bad Boy hated the name Arnold, he was proud of being called Bad Boy. Grumble, grumble, don’t you ever call me @#*+# Arnold again. Rufis never wanting to start a fight said, Good Morning Bad Boy James.


Rufis heard grumble, grumble, murmur, mumble supplies. What was that you said, Bad Boy, what is it you need? Rufis was doing his best to help the man standing in front of him. Mumble, mumble, cigar, mumbel, jerky, is what the mild mannered store clerk heard, he asks nicely if the order could be repeated. Why you @#*+# clerk, I can’t stand here all say, just get the stuff I told you and be quick about it.  Rufis gathered some jerky and wrapped it in a paper. He put a cigar along side the jerky. Rufis then asked politely, what else Sir? The other stuff in told ya, and be @#*+# quick about it.


About this time Rufis put on his best preaching face and again asked Bad Boy what was the rest of what he wanted. Bully Bad Boy was getting hot under the collar, he was not getting what he wanted. The dumb clerk needed to be taught a lesson. Bad Boy James was going to be the teacher.


Bad Boy pounded his fist on the counter, get the @#*+# things I said! Rufis looked at Bad Boy with a smile on his face and tried again to understand what supplies his unruly customer wanted. What were the other things you need?, Rufis calmly asked. @#*+#, @#*+#, grumble, why you @#*+# clerk. A few seconds of silence then separated the two men. Bad Boy reached over the counter and grabbed the front of Rufis’s shirt with his left hand. He right hand was balled up into a fist which was drawn back ready to strike.


Rufis just stood there with a smile on his face. This infuriated Bad Boy all the more. He jerked back his left hand pulling Rufis tight against the counter, his right fist threatening all the more. Bad Boy’s face was getting redder, like a bad sunburn. He had to make good his threats. Bad Boy’s fist flew in the direction of Rufis’s jaw. His hand hit something solid. It was the open palm of Rufis which felt like he punched an adobe hut. His grip on the shirt loosened and Rufis stood back up straight.


The smile was fading quickly. The face in front of Mrs. James son Arnold was now hard. The eyes Bad Boy looked into should have been filled with fear, not the stern determined look he saw. Once more Bad boy shouted why you @#*+# clerk inches from Rufis’s face. The hard face did not turn to fear like he expected. In fact, it looked even harder.


Rufis asked again what else was needed, the jerky and cigar came to sixty seven cents. That was it. Bad Boy James had all he could take. He jumped over the counter and found that Rufis only stepped to the side. Bad Boy again grabbed the shirt, and swung his fist like a freight train going downhill. Rufis ducked and Bad Boy’s momentum brought him forward. He was stopped by something hard. When Bad Boy stood back up he saw what he hit as he fell forward. It was the balled up fist on the end of the preacher’s arm.


Bad boy reached in his pocket and took out the sixty seven cents for the jerky and cigar, and turned to leave. Good bye Arnold James, Rufis said as the bully slumped out the open door. Bad Boy James rode into Blue River, Arnold James rode out.

Submitted: June 07, 2023

© Copyright 2023 Tom Rosenbeck. All rights reserved.

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