Author Topic: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World  (Read 3861 times)

Doktor Howl

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The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
« on: March 17, 2015, 04:48:31 pm »
Somewhere, date unimportant

The saloon was hot; the desert sun beat down on it, and there was no breeze.

Inside, the place was empty, save for four haunted lawmen - gunslingers, reallly, who just happened to have taken straight jobs at some point recently - who sat around a table drinking whiskey and playing cards.  To say 'haunted' in this situation is not a metaphor, as we shall see shortly.  The room was silent, save for the flipping of cards and the creak of the floorboards as one of them would, from time to time, go to the bar to refill his glass.  The rules said that there were to be no bottles at the table, and these four were (at the moment) rule-abiding men...To whom I shall introduce you:

Hank was from out East, but nobody held it against him, for he was a good man in a tight spot.  Hank was haunted by the ghost of his mustache.  He had, once upon a time, a glorious handlebar mustache of the sort to make Wyatt Earp weep.  But it had been stolen many years ago, and all that was left was its unquiet shade. Hank said he deplored violence, but this was the only time in his life he had lied.

Abner was from across the sea.  He obstensibly spoke English, but he could not be understood most of the time.  He had brought his ghost with him from the old world, a weeping young lady who, when roused, became a holy terror, and struck men dead with her screams.  For the most part, she merely stood behind him as he played cards.  Ghosts have patience; they take the long view.  Abner had no livelihood after things went bust, and no remaining skills save that of the fist and the pistol.  So he became a lawman who was occasionally a bandit, and on rare occasions a train robber.

Virgil was from...Well, that was sort of unclear.  Virgil had always been here.  It was he who welcomed the rest of this small group, Virgil who showed them where the booze was, and explained the rules to them, in what seemed like the distant past.  Virgil was haunted by his left hand, which had been shot off back during the war.  The fact that he wore two guns when he had but one hand surprised many people, some terminally.  Nevertheless, the others agreed he was a good host - though he denied owning the place - and they decided that none of them needed to learn more about his admittedly bizarre arrangement.

And then, of course, there was the kid.  No story of this type is complete without him; he is a Western archetype. The kid was perhaps - being generous - Nineteen years old.  Blessedly, he had none of the rudeness and impetuous manners of youth; he in fact insisted on being polite on the few times he spoke, and woe to the man that was rude in his presence.  He had no courtly manners, but rather a rough sense of elan.  A tip of the hat to the ladies - should any ladies be encountered - a handshake and a look in the eye for the menfolk.  He, too, was haunted, his ghost being that of his younger brother, dead these 5 years.  His ghost was not present.  If the kid had to guess, Kyle (his brother) would be out by the stables, admiring the horses.

They were playing for matchsticks, the last payday they had being quite some time before.  As the other three threw down their hands in disgust, as The Kid raked in the pile of matchsticks, there was a footstep on the boardwalk outside of the salloon.  The players looked up, somehow hoping not to see the only man that it could be.  And it was.  The undertaker stood in the door, holding a rolled up piece of paper...Their next job.  It is worth noting that the town's undertaker was also its judge, and that he was not opposed in the least to allowing the right hand to wash the left.  Let us be frank:  The town had a gallows, but no jail.

The Kid, who had never been bothered by the undertaker's sallow smile or his reptillian eyes, walked up and took the paper from the undertaker.  He unrolled it, and read it carefully, his lips silently following along.  The looked up at the group.  "Five hundred dollars," he said, "Alive.  No reward dead."

The other three spat.  The undertaker would have his sport. 

One by one, they grabbed their pistol belts and hats, and headed for the door.  The undertaker was already gone.

 
Somewhere else


The preacher stood over his dead mount.  He was, in spite his calling, an Earthy man, and so he swore under his breath as he snagged up his canteens, placing them in his saddlebags, which he detached from the saddle proper.  He knew the law would be after him soon, and now he was on foot. Of course, being a preacher, he was required to go armed; they would not take him without a fight, and he would save the last bullet for himself.  He didn't want to die, but he was even more opposed to doing so at the end of a rope.  And, given the nature of his crimes, that was the only possible outcome of capture.  Clemency was a fool's dream, no governor had issued such in living memory.

Laughing at the very idea, the preacher hefted his saddlebags over his shoulder and walked West, into the dying sun, the ghost of his faith drifting along behind him.

To be continued



Doktor Howl

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Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2015, 04:50:05 pm »
This is being run as a nano-serial.  I am unsure how many chapters it will go.  The story is simple, but the delivery is not.

LMNO

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Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2015, 05:14:29 pm »

Doktor Howl

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Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2015, 05:15:31 pm »
:lol:

I HAD to use that, but you are definitely not Hank.  I would never call a friend Hank.

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Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2015, 05:27:21 pm »
True, but that thing does still haunt me to this day...











Ok, sorry for hijacking the thread.

Doktor Howl

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Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2015, 05:38:41 pm »
No worries.   :lol:

Cain

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Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2015, 05:40:22 pm »
Reading with interest.

Doktor Howl

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Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2015, 05:43:00 pm »
Reading with interest.
I may add a chapter tonight, and then one each day until it is completed.  Shouldn't be too long.

Cain

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Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2015, 06:17:15 pm »
Awesome.  Well, I'll be around all evening, so looking forward to it.

The Wizard Joseph

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Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2015, 08:20:00 pm »
Man I really like your narrative style here. You got me hooked!
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz:

Doktor Howl

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Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2015, 11:44:51 pm »
I'm a tad busy.  I will pick it up tomorrow.

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Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2015, 12:38:34 am »
You son of a bitch you set the hooks in so deep REEL ME IN YOU HORRIBLE BASTARD.
EoC, you are the bane of my existence.

EoC doesn't make creepy.

EoC makes creepy worse.

Quote
the afflicted persons get hold of and consume carrots even in socially quite unacceptable situations.

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2015, 03:17:09 am »
Oooh, this is good. It feels like a total departure from your usual style; it has a kind of... haunted voice.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


Doktor Howl

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Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2015, 03:48:05 pm »
Oooh, this is good. It feels like a total departure from your usual style; it has a kind of... haunted voice.

I wanted to do something different.

Anyway, daily bullshit under control.  Writing now.

Doktor Howl

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Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2015, 04:10:37 pm »
Some time later

The preacher fled across the desert, the four horsemen followed.

The Preacher was on his last canteen when he saw the town.  It was a boomtown past its prime; unpainted buildings decaying in the merciless sun.  He heaved a sigh of relief when he saw the church at the head of the town's one real road.  He could not impose on the pastor for sanctuary, but he might get directions and perhaps even a mule. The border was a long way to the South, and walking was bad.  Walking with no map would be worse.

As he walked into town, toward the end with the church, a few starveling children stared at him.  The town was absolutely silent; there was no sound even from the saloon.

As he neared the church, the pastor - a fat man in a town with starving children - stomped out onto the stoop.

"YOU!" He bellowed, "I KNOW YOU!  AND I KNOW OF YOUR CRIMES!"

"Fellow reverend, I simply need..."

"You will get nothing here, pervert!  Blasphemer!  HERETIC!"  The preacher saw that the fat pastor was actually foaming at the mouth.

"Very well, I shall move on."

"YOU WILL DIE, ACCURSED OF GOD!"

The pastor tugged at the butt of the pistol that was tangled in his robe.  The preacher drew his own pistol and shot the pastor, who grunted and fell in the dust.

"God curse you, you..."  The obese man said, then let out a gurgle and died.  The ghost of the preacher's faith let out a low snicker, which of course only the preacher could hear.  He turned around, and walked toward the saloon.

Some miles away.

The four horsemen rode slowly.  The desert sun will kill a horse ridden hard.  None of the lawmen were concerned, of course.  They had passed the preacher's dead horse some hours ago.  His capture was now inevitable.

"Ain't like a preacher to be that ignorant," Hank said, "Riding hard like he must have."

"Hear tell of it, he ain't much of a preacher no-now," The Kid said, "Things he did."

"Allegeldly did," Abner pointed out, "He stands accused."

"Same thing."  The Kid was not impressed by the finer points of law that hadn't applied in ages.

"Well," Abner began.

"He's going to hang anyway", Hank said, "So it don't matter."

Abner nodded.  He had only been arguing to pass the time, and everyone knew it.  He lit a cigar and puffed on it as they rode along.

"Them things are gonna kill you," Virgil said.

"Oh heavens," Abner said, "That might cost me my eventual, inevitable appointment with The Undertaker and his pet rope."

"Why?" The Kid asked.  "You done something?"

"Does it matter?"  Abner smiled, the smile not reaching his eyes, "Eventually, we will all hang on that rope, for reasons real or imagined, on accusation alone."

The kid just stared at him.

They rode on, following the preacher.

To be continued.

« Last Edit: March 18, 2015, 04:13:06 pm by Doktor Howl »