Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tucker's Junction

Once they got the fire started the two cowboys pulled their saddles and their packs from the horses and set up a makeshift camp that they would abandon as soon as the dawn came. One was much older than the other and it showed in the deep shadowed crevices of his face by the meager light of the fire. They laid out their bedrolls close to the edge of it and the younger one began to make a pot of coffee. There were only a few rock hard biscuits for supper.

They were eating their biscuits and sipping the hot bitter coffee propped up on their weathered packs when the dude rode up out of the darkness. His horse was fine. She was outfitted with an expensive saddle, redolent in fancy straps and hooks and nickled ornament . He sat atop her in a long burgundy leather duster. His boots were of polished leather. His riding trousers were cut from quality material. The pearl handle of a shooter was nestled in an ornate holster at his waist and a tall fancy brand new cowboy hat crowned his rather pompous figure. He gave them a wave.

"Gentlemen." He said. The two cowboys looked at each other and then looked at the dude.

"Reckon." The younger one said.

"I am Richie Frockmor." The dude surveyed the campsite. He nodded approvingly at the fire.

There was a pause. The flames snapped and crackled and blew sparks up into the night air. A wolf howled some good distance off.

"Who said you weren't?"

The old cowboy said it and his partner snickered.


"I said pleasure to meet you." The two cowboys winked at each other.

The dude cleared his throat,"Yes, I'm sure it is."

The old cowboy pulled a cheroot from his pocket and stuck the nub in his mouth. They watched the dude climb down off of his horse. He became momentarily tangled and cursed beneath his breath. When he finally stood before them in front of the fire they saw that he was no more than five feet tall. The younger one elbowed his partner. Like most common rabble they were for some reason amused at the sight of dwarfs.

"You want some coffee, little feller?" The old cowboy said around his cheroot.

"MY NAME IS RICHIE FROCKMOR!" The dude shouted, "I am not your little feller!"His fine horse grumbled and stamped at the ground. A brittle tangle of nettles erupted in commotion at the center of the fire causing all three men to jump.

"Take it easy, half pint." There was a tinge of menace in the older man's words now and he shifted just ever so slightly on his pack gaining advantage to the six shooter that was slung in his holster.

"You blackguard." The dwarf spat, "Tell me which direction it is to Tucker's Junction and I shall leave you two to your butt fucking."

The young cowboy's jaw dropped open, even his seasoned companion sputtered at the dude's foul words. Before they knew what had happened the little fancy man had drawn his revolver and had gotten the jump on them. They meekly followed his orders and tossed their six shooters at his feet.

"Now," The dude said, taking murderous aim with his pistol at the old cowboy, "kindly tell me, you old queen, in which direction one might have the misfortune of finding Tucker's Junction?"

The old cowboy just sat silent and stared down the barrel of the dude's gun. He worked the damp ragged end of the cheroot from one side of his face to the other. He had been called many names in all the years he'd spent on this patch of earth but he'd never been called an old queen. A homicidal rage began to boil in his gut.

"Mister," The younger cowboy spoke softly, "There ain't no such place around here." The dude stamped his feet, "Fucking Liar." He said and turning towards the youngster he shot him twice in the face. The boy fell over. The explosions from the barrel of the revolver shattered the night calm. The old cowboy sat unfazed covered in bits of brain and quite a large amount of his partner's blood.

The two men looked at each other.

"He weren't lying." The old cowboy said. "Far as he know'd it. " The dude's little face had become a dark stormy menacing mask of anger and frustration. He pointed the shooter at the old cowboy's head.

The cowboy said, "There used to be a place called Tuckers Junction when I was a young one coming up. But it burned down forty years ago. Fire started in a whore house, spread through the whole town, ate everything up, people and all."

The dude gasped. His little hand went to the fancy embroidered kerchief at his throat.

"Nobody even remembers that place."

The old cowboy got up and spat the cheroot at the dude. He had pulled a knife from inside his boot and with it he lunged across the fire towards him. Without pausing to think, the little man fired off a volley of shots into his onrushing attacker's body. The cowboy fell on top of the fire with a groan and expired. The dude returned his pistol to its cradle and contemplated the body as the flames of the fire began to burn through the clothes and into the flesh. The empty quiet of the night returned, only the fire seemed to be talking to itself. It cackled. Once the skin and hair had burned off most of the foul aroma gave way to the smells of roasting meat. The dude crouched down next to the fire and pulled what looked like a rib chop from the smoldering dead man and with relish ripped into it with his teeth. He finished the coffee, too. The biscuits he deemed weren't worth the eating.

The wolves came later that night to feed on what remained of the two cowboys long after the fire had burned down and the figure of the little dude had slipped over the horizon. His search for Tucker's Junction would continue on into the next day and the day after that and it would criss cross back and forth across time and the badlands before a dawn came that would reveal to him his destination.


  1. wow, he doesnt look that brutal!! I cant wait next episode!!! yoshimi

  2. I'm not trying to make a snyde comment, Ted...I just think you and Forgetful Jones look a li'l alike. just sayin'...