Friday, March 16, 2007

Said the German Barmaid after she refilled the Depression-Era Writer’s beer, “Here’s Your Stein Back.”

With the needed space bucks in hand, I purchased the power converter at the general store. I carried it back to my ship and the Emergency Repair Droid began work on installing it. I then made my way back to the ranch and an unfortunate surprise.

“Jon, over here!” Slim beckoned to me from the barn door. “Quick!”

I jogged across the dusty yard to the barn. My jaw dropped when I saw the twisted torso lying on the ground.

“Is that…?”

“Yep, that’s Curly’s wife alright,” Slim confirmed. “What do you think happened?”

“Somehow, I have no doubt that this is all Hudson’s doing,” I muttered. “Have you seen him around here?”

“No I haven’t,” the trail boss answered. “He may have ran off.”

“If he did, then I think I know where he is. Has anyone else seen this?” I indicated to the crumpled form on the floor.

“No,” he shook his head. “I just got here myself.”

“OK, OK,” I started to think of what I needed to do. “I have to find Hudson.”

“If Curly finds that guy, he’ll kill him for sure,” Slim said. “No man should be lynched like that.”

“I know.” I headed out the door. “Give me five minutes. I just need a head start to find Hudson.”

I bolted for the road to make my way back to our rendezvous point. Had I stayed a moment longer I would have heard a low, pained moan emanating from Curly’s wife.

“Ow, my head,” she groaned. Sliding away from her awkward position, she pulled up the snapped twig that she way lying on. “Ugh, no wonder my back’s killing me.”

“Let me help you up,” Slim carefully helped Curly’s wife to her feet. “Let’s get you to the doc.”

“No way, he attacked me.” She shrugged off his help after getting to her feet. “Do you see what that jerk did to my hair? I want that man’s head.”

“Hold on, hold on,” he tried to reason with her. “Just take a deep breath and calm down. We can go find him and sort this out.”

She looked at Slim for but a moment before storming out of the barn yelling for her husband.

As I ran towards the stream, I heard yelling and shouting calling up from back at the farm followed by a blast from a shotgun. Clearly, Curly now knows what happened and is rallying the rest of the farm hands against me and Hudson. Cursing under my breath, I picked up the pace of my run towards the stream.

I crashed through some bushes and made it to a small clearing just before the stream. Hudson was sitting at the small cliff looking out across the fields. It was late afternoon and the sun was making its way towards the horizon.

“I screwed up didn’t I, Jon?” Hudson wondered out loud without looking back at me.

“Yep,” I said flatly.

“You know I didn’t want to hurt her,” he insisted. “Her hair was just so soft. Smelled nice, too.”

“I know. Look, we can smooth this out maybe. Let’s go back and talk to them about it.”

“No way,” Hudson remained motionless. “They’ll string me up, man. Game over.”

I stepped towards him. Quietly, I unsnapped my pistol from its holster and checked its charge.

“You mad at me for hurting her?” Hudson asked.

“No,” I answered solemnly. “I just want this to end.”

“Yeah,” he agreed absently. “Tell me again where we’re going.”

“Sure.” I squatted down just behind him. “We’re headin’ to Throneworld for the biggest party you’ve ever been to.”

“Really? And are there gonna be bunnies there?”

“Oh yeah,” I said. “The prettiest.”

“And is there gonna be beans there?”

“Uh, sure.” I leveled the pistol at the back of his head. Right at the base where the head meets the neck.

“With ketchup?” he smiled stupidly out towards the orange skies. “I like beans and ketchup.”

“Whatever you want,” I answered. I clicked the weapon’s selector from safe to fire.


Kristi said...

You're killin me here Jon. :P

A Army Of (Cl)One said...

I know this is a stoic kind of moment, but if Hudson don't get shot by you, I will track down that pea-brain moron and shot hime my self.

Sorry Hudson, I had a bad day. what with ferrying Sea Czar and all.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

As sidekicks go, I woouldn't say Hudson was first choice.

Vince Briefs said...

Yay! No more Hudson!

cooltopten said...

I can feel a sidekick demise coming on..

Gyrobo said...

This is just like the Steinbeck novel, except it ended tragically!

Merlyn Gabriel said...

stein back ROTFL
sorry but as someone married to a german that's pretty funny.

*sigh* Hudson..... what can one say?

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