Principia Discordia

Principia Discordia => Apple Talk => Topic started by: Doktor Howl on March 17, 2015, 04:48:31 pm

Title: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl 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


Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl 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.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: LMNO on March 17, 2015, 05:14:29 pm
(https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/73988_1656951458647_3181359_n.jpg?oh=63e61e2d559c27f5a74a631ba116da7c&oe=55B9A5D7&__gda__=1437715944_2ce9c2e74db35c32d946e05875286014)
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl 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.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: LMNO on March 17, 2015, 05:27:21 pm
True, but that thing does still haunt me to this day...

(https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/77117_165233286842609_7698391_n.jpg?oh=026e3369cfb6335bd895cf9e8fb53735&oe=5576A16A&__gda__=1438293147_d30fb6a1d5652a41d5680b0376409abb)

(https://fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/155728_165233293509275_7558113_n.jpg?oh=e0bab530e99445388a3762fa3c7e166d&oe=55B85C2C&__gda__=1433645681_329a38ba2c9c67201c1cf3484695ce74)

(https://scontent-lga.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/150321_165233336842604_3601555_n.jpg?oh=14f83894b145229156b601966b005cfc&oe=55793977)





Ok, sorry for hijacking the thread.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 17, 2015, 05:38:41 pm
No worries.   :lol:
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Cain on March 17, 2015, 05:40:22 pm
Reading with interest.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl 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.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Cain on March 17, 2015, 06:17:15 pm
Awesome.  Well, I'll be around all evening, so looking forward to it.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: The Wizard Joseph on March 17, 2015, 08:20:00 pm
Man I really like your narrative style here. You got me hooked!
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 17, 2015, 11:44:51 pm
I'm a tad busy.  I will pick it up tomorrow.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Eater of Clowns 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.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel 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.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl 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.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl 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.

Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 18, 2015, 04:12:01 pm
There's more today.  I have to get a few things done.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: LMNO on March 18, 2015, 04:15:12 pm
I agree with the others.  I like the tone of this one.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 18, 2015, 04:16:22 pm
I agree with the others.  I like the tone of this one.

I had a dream that a few of us were alone in the world, playing cards in a ghost town.  That was the whole dream, but I figured, "Why not make it a nightmare?"
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 18, 2015, 04:40:19 pm
In town

The preacher walked into the saloon.  It was empty, save for the bartender himself...A lean man with an old scar crossing his left cheek.  The bartender stared at the preacher, seemingly not even noticing him, while the faint outlines of his ghost - whomever it had been - hovered beside him behind the bar.

"Whiskey," the preacher said.

The bartender put a shotglass and a bottle on the table, and smiled at the preacher.   It was a ghastly sort of smile, utterly devoid of humor or friendship.  "I heard a shot outside, stranger".

"Yes."

"Hit who you were aiming at?"

"Yes."

"Who was it?"

"Your pastor.  He drew on me first."

The lean man chuckled.  "I don't care if he did or not.  I am rid of that fat bastard's sanctimonious crap.  I should have shot him myself, years ago."

"Well then," the preacher said, "I guess I saved you the trouble."

The ghost next to the bartender drifted toward the paino at the end of the bar.  The preacher saw that it was a distinctly female ghost, as it sat at the piano.  The piano began to play, belting out an old song.  The preacher couldn't place it, though he almost-remembered it from his childhood.

"How long before the posse shows up?" The bartender spoke, with that horrible smile.

"What posse?"

"Come now, friend.  I know a man on the run when I see one.  There you sit, the hand of every honest man against you, and you ask me 'what posse'?"

"Your hand, too?"

"I am not an honest man.  I do not care who you are, or what you have done, so long as you can continue to pay for your drinks."

"Well, then, I suppose there's no harm in it.  They are probably less than a day behind me.  I was interested in buying a mule."

"I shall do you better than that, mister.  I have an old nag in the stable.  She's not what she used to be, but she's better than a mule.  If only that she's faster.  I shall give it to you for whatever is in your pockets."

"There isn't enough for a horse in my pockets", the preacher said, pouring himself a second drink. 

"I reckoned as much", the bartender said, "I'll do it anyway."

"Why would you do such a thing?"

"Because I shall simply tell the posse you stole it.  If they catch you, I have the horse and your money."

"But if I get away, you will only have a fraction of the horse's worth."

"That's okay, mister.  The money don't mean much.  See this town?  It's dead.  There ain't hardly anything to spend money on anyways."

"So why are you doing it?"

The ghastly smile got ghastlier.  "Mister, I just like to watch men run."



Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 18, 2015, 04:40:39 pm
There.  That's the second half of what I had wanted to get done today.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: LMNO on March 18, 2015, 04:44:05 pm
Great ending line on that one.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 18, 2015, 04:48:18 pm
Great ending line on that one.

Thanks.  I think I'm getting the mood I wanted.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Cain on March 18, 2015, 04:55:00 pm
"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."

Hell, I know that feeling every night I go to work.  As, I imagine, you do too.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 18, 2015, 05:17:27 pm
"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."

Hell, I know that feeling every night I go to work.  As, I imagine, you do too.

Oh, yes.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Reginald Ret on March 18, 2015, 07:11:08 pm
:) I like reading this.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: The Wizard Joseph on March 19, 2015, 12:59:31 am
 :aaa: <- not sure this has the jaw-drop meaning I intend.

You have built a marvelous vibe on narrative and character depiction alone. I know these are shorts, but for some reason the few scene detailing statements are all you need. This is not just good story telling man it's raw vision.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 19, 2015, 01:55:29 am
:aaa: <- not sure this has the jaw-drop meaning I intend.

You have built a marvelous vibe on narrative and character depiction alone. I know these are shorts, but for some reason the few scene detailing statements are all you need. This is not just good story telling man it's raw vision.

I haven't felt the need to write fiction in a long time.  Months, now.  So my batteries are fresh, and personal issues are driving the train.

Plus, as I said, this was born as a very vivid dream that works better as a nightmare.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: The Wizard Joseph on March 19, 2015, 03:26:03 pm
:aaa: <- not sure this has the jaw-drop meaning I intend.

You have built a marvelous vibe on narrative and character depiction alone. I know these are shorts, but for some reason the few scene detailing statements are all you need. This is not just good story telling man it's raw vision.

I haven't felt the need to write fiction in a long time.  Months, now.  So my batteries are fresh, and personal issues are driving the train.

Plus, as I said, this was born as a very vivid dream that works better as a nightmare.

Dreams are some of the best stuff to seed a story with. I suspect that the glimpse of the unconscious mind in a dream really is only the tip of a bigger iceberg than most would believe. I remember few sleep dreams, but I can walk and daydream at the same time, like all the time.

This is hollow and dry and amazing. I also like the absence of any direct PD reference, not that those are at all bad. It tells me you're digging a fresh vein for yourself.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 19, 2015, 07:41:53 pm
For reasons to ticklish to tell, there won't be a chapter today.  I mean, it's already written in my head, but I don't have time at the moment to type it out.

Will get back on it tomorrow, probably from my home system.

 :lulz:
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 20, 2015, 02:42:55 pm
Chapter 2

The Desert, South of Town

The Preacher inspected the nag's hoof.  Sure enough, it had an old crack in it.  He'd seen this game before...Hire out a crippled horse to a man in a hurry, then when it pulls up lame an hour later, the guy abandons it and it - being trained to do so - returns to the stable to wait for the next sucker.

Well, not today.  The preacher drew his pistol and shot the crippled horse between the eyes.  It dropped like it had been poleaxed.  The preacher grunted in satisfaction...The poor beast never felt a thing.

He started walking.


In Town

The bartender stood with is his derby in his hands, moving his fingers around the brim nervously.  "It's like I said, isn't it?  He shot Pastor Williams, then stole my horse and rode off."

The four horsemen stared at him.

"But the joke's on him, ha ha," the bartender babbled, "that horse is lame.  He can't have gone far."

"Why do you keep a lame horse, mister?"  The Kid said, leaning back in his saddle and stretching.

"Sentimentality, young sir," the bartender began, "I've had that horse for a long..."

"He 'sellls' it to travellers", Virgil said, "Then it wanders back to him when the rider quits it in disgust."

"Well, that hardly seems like fair dealing." The Kid responded, "You might even call it cheating.  Or even horse-thieving."

"Which is a hanging offense", Hank drawled.

"Now wait just a minute," the bartender said, "I got robbed.  He stole that horse.  You can check my cashbox...There ain't near enough money in it for me having sold a horse."

"Do it," said Hank.  The Kid hopped off of his horse and went inside the bar.  A moment later, he came out.  "He has ten dollars in his cashbox."

"Not enough for a horse, like I said", the bartender gasped.

"He coulda hid it somewhere else", The Kid opined.

"Gentlemen", Abner said in his thick accent, "This has nothing to do with the job.  We need to go."

"Count yourself lucky, thief", Virgil said, "But don't think we won't be keeping an eye on you."

The four horsemen wheeled their horses and rode South, in the direction the preacher had travelled.  The bartender sighed in relief, and went back into his bar.  Maybe it's time for a change, he thought, Someplace new, and far, far away.  Presently, he went to bed.

Later that night

The bartender woke from a terrible dream, wheezing as if he'd run a marathon.  The ghost of the piano player sat in the armchair across from the bed, as always...But tonight, there was something strange about her.  She seemed bulky.  She was wearing boots.  She wasn't his ghost, in fact, she was..."

"Remember me?" The preacher smiled unpleasantly.

"How'd you get here?"

"Oh, after I shot that swayback you sold me, I just doubled back.  They'd have caught me, otherwise."

"Listen, mister..."

"Nothing to listen to," the preacher said, drawing his pistol, "I ain't even mad at you for the trick you pulled.  I saw it coming, I was just hoping I was wrong."

"Listen, listen, I don't..."

"Shut up.  I AM mad at you for subjecting that poor animal to the rocky deserts on a bad hoof, everytime you felt like cheating someone."

"Where's my ghost.  Wait, where's my ghost?"

"You'll see her soon enough", the preacher said, and tossed a pair of coins in the air.

The bartender's looked up at the coins.  The preacher shot him in the throat, and caught the coins on the way down.  He walked over to the bed, and placed one coin on each of the bartender's staring eyes.

Musing on how hard it was to stay on the straight and narrow, the preacher walked out of the room and down the stairs.  The ghost of his faith followed him, snickering all the way.

To be continued.

Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 20, 2015, 02:49:31 pm
More shortly.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: The Wizard Joseph on March 20, 2015, 05:52:20 pm
  :mittens:
Intermission. Go get yourself a snack!
:popcorn:
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: LMNO on March 20, 2015, 08:24:09 pm
Damn.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 26, 2015, 03:02:35 pm
Out in the desert

"You know," Hank said, looking at the dead nag, "I'm beginning to have a bad feeling about this."

"Yeah?  It's not so hard," the Kid responded, "He doubled back to town.  He'd have to...Ain't no place to go out here without a horse."

"Yeah, well, last time a horse died under him, he killed that other preacher."

"Don't care much about that part.  Preacher's business is preacher's business.  Ain't no worry for us."

"Then why are we chasing this guy?"

"Because the Undertaker told us to.  Persuaded us for $500."

When they got back to town, nobody was surprised to see that the bartender was dead.  Nor were they surprised to see the bartender's proper horse missing, the tracks leading toward the border, on a slightly different heading that they had returned to.  Virgil grinned.

"We're heading East, boys."

"His tracks DO head South," Abner replied, "But I ain't here to argue.  This one's slipperier than an eel, and no mistake.  East where?  Any place in particular?"

"Faro."

All of them stopped, looked at Virgil, and grinned.

Miles away, just outside of Faro

"Babylon," the Preacher muttered, "Perfect."  And it was, really, if you were going to have a fight to the death against 4:1 odds.  Faro was named after a notoriously crooked card game, and the town was itself notorious for gambling, whoring, drinking, opium, and every other abuse you could imagine.  And then a few you couldn't imagine, but you had to know a guy who knows a guy.  It was said that, for the truly connected, anything could be purchased in Faro.  Everything, that is, except proper law enforcement, which was left to the bouncers of the various establishments.

He rode into town, and headed for the stables.  Once there, he sold the horse.  Had he felt the need to worry about tomorrow, he would have been angered by the selling price.  He had most definitely been blatantly ripped off...Attested to by the toothless grin of the fat stablemaster, "Smiles", during the exchange.  Still, he had enough money for his plan, and enough to live pretty high on the hog for a couple of weeks...Which was 10 days longer than he felt he needed.   On the off chance his plan worked and he lived, then he might see the stablemaster again.  And maybe teach him how to smile in a totally different way.

He walked over to the saloon, and glanced inside.  The bartender was a fat, mustachioed Mexican.  Sitting at one end of the bar was a collection of tired-looking working girls.  Perfect.

He walked in, and slapped a coin down on the bar.  "Whiskey, and."

The bartender brought up a bottle, poured a shot, and made the coin disappear.  "And...?"

"I'd like to put your whores on retainer."

"You're a preacher, right?  I'm not making a thing about it, but you are."

"I am."

"Pretty horny for a preacher, you want all them girls."

"Here's $100.  When I give you the say-so, I want all but 3 of them up in my room, in no more than 5 minutes.  There won't be any rough stuff or anything like that.  I just like lots of girls.  Loads of girls.  If they're there within 5 minutes, and stay, oh, let's say 3 hours, you get another hundred."

$200 for 7 girls, 3 hours.  Ought to be about $42, maybe $50 for the short notice.  What's your game?"

"My game is to give you money.  Do you want it or not?"

"You rough them girls up, it's gonna cost you extra."

"Like I said, no rough stuff.  This is in fact the easiest trick they'll ever turn...But..."

"I knew there was a catch."

"Well, I am a preacher.  I'd like you and the girls to forget about this."

"Aha.  Gotcha.  Deal, mister", the bartender said, thinking that he'd found the reason for the weird request and ridiculously high offer.

He was, of course, wrong.

to be continued.



 
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: LMNO on March 26, 2015, 05:03:56 pm
The tension builds...
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 26, 2015, 05:10:54 pm
The tension builds...
Violence ensues.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Eater of Clowns on March 26, 2015, 05:33:04 pm
Bracing for impact.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 26, 2015, 05:44:25 pm
Bracing for impact.

I might get a bit more done today, and I hope to finish the story tomorrow.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: The Wizard Joseph on March 26, 2015, 07:50:52 pm
This protagonist of yours has me rooting for him, but I'm not sure the part of me doing so is actually good.
It's all muddy waters and doubly damned choices.
Got me thinking, and I was already in the bad sort of thoughtful mood today.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 26, 2015, 08:54:09 pm
This protagonist of yours has me rooting for him, but I'm not sure the part of me doing so is actually good.
It's all muddy waters and doubly damned choices.
Got me thinking, and I was already in the bad sort of thoughtful mood today.

You're rooting for him because he's the main character, most likely.

That doesn't necessarily mean he's a good guy, except by comparison.  Take him out of the context of this story, and what is he?
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: The Wizard Joseph on March 26, 2015, 09:20:01 pm
This protagonist of yours has me rooting for him, but I'm not sure the part of me doing so is actually good.
It's all muddy waters and doubly damned choices.
Got me thinking, and I was already in the bad sort of thoughtful mood today.

You're rooting for him because he's the main character, most likely.

That doesn't necessarily mean he's a good guy, except by comparison.  Take him out of the context of this story, and what is he?

An angry, murdering sonofabitch without a rudder on his boat.

I see now that I pity him more than I sympathize. I DO sympathize though.
When I was much younger I was similar, though never in deed a killer.
I am very glad for the many factors that have brought me out from that time.

Just once more, this is great storytelling.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: LMNO on March 26, 2015, 10:17:57 pm
Yeah.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 27, 2015, 04:32:21 pm
Faro

The four horsemen dismounted and tied their horses to the rail in front of the saloon.  Brushing the dust off of themselves with their hats, they looked around at the empty streets.

"Funny," the Kid said.

"How's that?" Virgil asked, giving him a narrow look.

"How come we never see people when we come to town?"

"You're gonna see people, kid.  This saloon has the finest whores in the territory."

"Well, that's good.  I like that part a lot.  But how come we never see, you know, regular folks?  Shopkeepers, blacksmiths, that sort?"

"The territory ain't what it used to be.  Most of 'em moved on.  California. maybe."

"Then how do the people still here get by?"

"Stop worrying yourself over shit that don't matter, Kid.  We go in, we have a drink, we get our ashes hauled, then we get back on the job.  It wouldn't do to let the Undertaker down.  You just worry about that instead."

They walked into the saloon.  3 whores rested against the piano, and the bartender stood behind the bar, cleaning a glass.  He looked up a them.  "Howdy, gentlemen, what can I do for you today?"

"Several things," Hank said, "First, you see a preacher come through here in the last day or two?"

The bartender thought about it.  He didn't know the man upstairs, didn't know if he was a preacher or not.  He also thought "lawmen", and considered the other hundred he wouldn't get if the man was the preacher and was hauled off.

"Ain't seen any preacher, mister.  We don't get many of them in this particular bar."

"Okay," Hank continued, "You can also get us a bottle of whiskey and maybe the services of your young lady-friends."

"They're a friendly bunch.  Two dollars a throw.  Only there's only 3 at the moment.  The rest are off on a private party."

"Three will be fine," Abner said, nervously eyeing his ghost, "I will merely have a drink and perhaps play that piano of yours, if it's tuned."

"It's tuned.  Be glad to hear someone play it."

The other three men got acquainted with their new friends, and moved upstairs.  Abner sat down behind the piano and started playing old stuff, from before the bust.  The bartender stopped what he was doing, and just enjoyed the music.

Upstairs

The Preacher peeked out through the door again.  Three of his pursuers had gone into other rooms, leaving the florid Englishman downstairs.  He decided to give it another minute, let them get settled.  He glanced around the room he was in.  It was, of course, stuffed full with seven prostitutes and their ghosts.  The preacher winced.  One prositute's ghost appeared to be her mother.  The rest were infants, bearing marks of strangulation or drowning, and all floated silently, glaring at their murderous mothers.

When enough time had passed, he looked at the prostitutes and placed a finger to his lips.  He then drew his pistol and walked out the door onto the balcony above the tap room.  He looked down at the piano, and there the Englishman was, playing some pre-bust nostalgia piece.  The Preacher raised his pistol and shot the Englishman in the chest.  The man flopped backwards onto the ground, his ghostly maiden fading out of sight, visibly trying to scream.  The Preacher ran down the stairs, past the horrified bartender, and out to the stables.

On the floor, Abner tried to laugh, but didn't seem to have the strength.  At least I dodged the Undertaker's rope, was his last thought.

The Preacher ran across the stableyard.  He could already hear the shouts of concern from the other three men in the prostitutes' cribs.  He ran through the stable door, and saw that the inkeeper's horse was there, still saddled and ready to ride, as he had prepared it two hours eariler.  He jumped on, and galloped out of the stable and around the front of the saloon.  There he paused, and fired four more shots.  The four horsemen's horses all dropped dead at the rail.

The Preacher felt bad.  He always felt bad when he had to kill animals.

He spurred his new horse, and galloped out of town, his own ghost gleefully chuckling all the way.

To be continued.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: LMNO on March 27, 2015, 04:49:43 pm
Oh, it's on.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Eater of Clowns on March 27, 2015, 06:23:58 pm
The wiley bastard pulled it off, I see.   :lulz:
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 27, 2015, 07:17:03 pm
The wiley bastard pulled it off, I see.   :lulz:

Like I said on the phone, if there's 4 lawmen chasing you, make sure there's only 3 prostitutes.  Lets you pick one guy off.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: The Wizard Joseph on March 27, 2015, 07:42:03 pm
I'll bet the Undertaker just hates getting work without his "sport". Something tells me he'll be busy as hell by the end of this.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: N E T on March 28, 2015, 04:28:40 am
Excellent work. I'm looking forward to the next installment.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 28, 2015, 05:10:36 am
I'll bet the Undertaker just hates getting work without his "sport". Something tells me he'll be busy as hell by the end of this.

We are by no means done with the Undertaker.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 28, 2015, 05:10:57 am
Excellent work. I'm looking forward to the next installment.

Thanks.  I'll put work into it Monday.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Chelagoras The Boulder on March 28, 2015, 05:23:38 am
really enjoying this, especially the hints of Dark Tower i'm picking up. Delicious!
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 28, 2015, 05:30:55 am
really enjoying this, especially the hints of Dark Tower i'm picking up. Delicious!

I was deliberately trying to avoid that.  I'm gonna have to change a phrase or two, because I can see what you're talking about.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Chelagoras The Boulder on March 28, 2015, 10:37:43 pm
you don't like the Dark Tower? Or you just don't want to be derivative?
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 29, 2015, 07:17:41 am
you don't like the Dark Tower? Or you just don't want to be derivative?

I love the Dark Tower.  I'm just trying to tell my own story.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Chelagoras The Boulder on March 29, 2015, 08:55:31 pm
Ah, fair enough. Still a good story.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 30, 2015, 05:59:50 pm
I'm having trouble getting more than 5 uninterrupted minutes to myself, so this may not be a thing until tomorrow or Wednesday.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: The Wizard Joseph on March 30, 2015, 06:48:25 pm
you don't like the Dark Tower? Or you just don't want to be derivative?

I love the Dark Tower.  I'm just trying to tell my own story.

I've not read the whole DT series by far, but I remember the intro to The Gunslinger and was struck by a related vibe when I started reading this. I noted to myself that you had produced a haunting western feel with FAR less of the intricate description King used, as I recall it anyway.

In essence I think you've done much more storytelling with fewer words and have neatly succeeded in telling something very unique here.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on March 31, 2015, 04:36:58 am
All I can say is that this was worth coming home for. This is fucking good, Roger.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on March 31, 2015, 04:37:51 am
Your voice is really clear, here. IMO. Distilled.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 31, 2015, 02:47:08 pm
All I can say is that this was worth coming home for. This is fucking good, Roger.

Thanks.  More today.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 31, 2015, 02:59:18 pm
And now, a very important message from our sponsors


Scene:  Irish Spring commercial, circa 1980.  Early middle age man wearing golf togs and a flat cap is sitting on a rock in a meadow whittling while he smokes a pipe.  For no apparent reason, he pulls out a bar of soap.   

"Welcome to the auld sod, where we like things fresh and green."

He gets up and move stage right, where a man is standing, looking nervously around him.

"Green as the Irish countrysoid" The man says, and slices a bit of the soap off with his knife, showing you that the inside has the same marbled appearance as the outside, "Green as a fresh summer marnin'."

He stops and silently considers the nervous man.

"As green as this supergrass here, who sold Finn McCool to the English."

Without warning, he stabs the nervous man in the eye.  The man drops dead.   The handsome man turns to face the camera, his face speckled with blood.

"So buy Irish spring, ye cunts ye, or me and the boys will be around with the power tools.  Cunts."

Fade to a box of Irish Spring sitting on a bloodstained stump.



Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: LMNO on March 31, 2015, 03:07:33 pm
 :lulz:
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 31, 2015, 03:25:53 pm
Chapter 3

The desert

The Preacher was making his way back Northwest when he met up with a middle-aged man riding a horse.  The man was dressed in non-descript clothing, and had a massive Colt on his hip, and a Winchester sheathed on his saddle.  Behind him on his horse, the ghost of a native woman clung to him.  The man was polite, leaving his weapons where they were, giving the Preacher the advantage.  The Preacher nodded a greeting.

"How do, Preacher?"

"Passable.  What's your name, mister?"

"Wade, Wade Schmidt.  Say, how long before we get to water?  I'm new to these parts."  Now, that was interesting.

"Not far.  Three hours, perhaps.  Where are you from?"

"Dodge City of late.  Before that I hailed from Boston."

"A Yankee, then?  And how is Boston?"

"Boston is what every other Eastern city is.  A collection of dead men walking, if you care for my opinion.  The war knocked the spirit out of both sides, about the same.  It weren't just the war itself, neither.  The sack of Washington made the North look pathetic and the South look like barbarians.  Barbarian slavers, at that.  Between that and the martial law, you don't see so many immigrants as you might have when I was a kid.  A flood dried right to a trickle, and that trickle is an unsavory lot."

"How about the South?"

"It's as I said, 'every Eastern city'.  Richmond is a ghost town, damn near.  After the war, after the bust, it's like nobody could find a reason to go on building stuff.

"Yes, it's the same out here.  You should know that I'm a wanted man."

"Me too, Preacher.  What are they after you for?"

"I erred in theological beliefs."

"Ouch.  They ain't gonna quit coming after you."

"Nope.  You?"

"Poker game gone wrong.  There was gunplay.  Nancy got shot," he said, nodding over his shoulder at the ghost at his back, "And I guess I killed two men."

"So there's a rope waiting for both of us, then."

"That seems to be the right of it.  So where are we headed?"

The Preacher chuckled mirthlessly.  "Small town called Hattersfield.  Awful close to the county seat, but that's what I'm banking on.  That close, who'd look?"

"Risky."

"Well, I shot the horses out from under the posse, and killed on of them to boot.  They think I'm heading for Mexico."

"So now what?"

"So now, while they are away, I cleanse the temple."

"Huh?"

"I'm going to kill the hangman and anyone else who gets in my way."

"Well, I can't see much else worth doing.  May as well plug the man who'll string me up."

The two rode on, into the gathering dusk.

To be continued.








Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 31, 2015, 03:26:58 pm
About twice that much more later today.  I have stuff to manage.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Eater of Clowns on March 31, 2015, 03:35:35 pm
Nice. He's spun things into his favor very neatly.

Irish Spring.  :lulz:
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: LMNO on March 31, 2015, 03:36:25 pm
Looking forward to more of this.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Chelagoras The Boulder on April 02, 2015, 05:54:05 am
god, that commercial had me dying. Keep it up!
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on April 02, 2015, 03:11:23 pm
Looking forward to more of this.

Very busy, haven't forgotten.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: The Wizard Joseph on April 03, 2015, 04:22:48 pm
That Irish Spring commercial was the tits. Could not help but think about the soap residue probably still on the knife. It was kind of you as an ST not to have the poor bastard in shrieking agony as a background for the outro.

Also 2 on 3 is much better odds... the hook is set deep!
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on April 06, 2015, 10:28:24 am
I have the rest of the story completed in my head.  I haven't slept in 29 hours though, so it waits.  One more day.  Promise.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on April 06, 2015, 02:39:39 pm
I have the rest of the story completed in my head.  I haven't slept in 29 hours though, so it waits.  One more day.  Promise.

29 hours??? FFS, man!
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on April 06, 2015, 03:04:07 pm
I have the rest of the story completed in my head.  I haven't slept in 29 hours though, so it waits.  One more day.  Promise.

29 hours??? FFS, man!

I am like unto the cyborgs of old.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on April 07, 2015, 03:16:19 pm
Hattersfield

Wade sat in a chair, Winchester across his lap, staring out at the street below.  The Preacher lay on the bed, smoking a cigarette.  The Preacher felt that the posse had gone the other way, and that Wade was being paranoid.  That was fine with him...paranoia was just fine and dandy with him, when you got down to cases.

"Pssst!"  Wade was pointing out the window, never taking his eyes off of whatever it was he was looking at.

The Preacher walked to the window and peered out.  Below, the three remaining gunmen were riding into town on mules, of all things.

"Doesn't look very archetypical," The Preacher said.

"Huh?"

"Never mind.  Let's just shoot them."

Wade shrugged, lined up on Hank, and shot him dead.  The other two by instinct, attempted to spur their horses...But mules don't spur.  The kid's mule ignored him, but Virgil's dumped him on the ground.  Wade chambered a round, and shot the kid through the head.  Virgil rolled behind a stand of crates, then sprinted out from it, behind the general store.

"Damnation."

"No, don't worry.  One of them being alive suits me fine.  Oh, yes.  See?  He's stolen your horse, and he's heading out of town."

"He stole my horse?"

"Relax.  All shall be set right, and soon.  Now let's get some sleep.  Mornings come early, and there's work to be done.

(more in a second)
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: LMNO on April 07, 2015, 03:22:31 pm
Huh.  Didn't see that coming. 


Neither did they.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on April 07, 2015, 03:40:51 pm
The next morning

The Preacher woke to the sound of the rooster crowing.  He splashed water on his face, and belted on his gun.  Wade was still sleeping, and the Preacher didn't disturb him,  Instead, he went downstairs, and out the front door.  Walking down the street, he passed the Undertaker's shop.  An empty coffin stood on its end, with "The Heretic" carved on it.  Laughing, the preacher continued.

He walked into the courthouse.

Inside, it was dim, and somewhat cool.  Sitting at the bench was the Undertaker, smiling at him.

"Aren't you the clever one?" the Undertaker jibed.

"Clever enough to put paid to you."

"For certain," the Undertaker smiled, "But is that what you want?"

"Course."

"Tell me...Have you noticed the lack of people?"

"They all moved during the bust."

"What bust?"

"You know, the bust."

"Pretend I don't know, preacher man."

The Preacher through back.  Of course there had been a bust.  Everyone knew that.  The Preacher just couldn't put his finger on what it was or how it happened.

The Undertaker smile, showing more teeth than was polite.  "Now do you get it?  Now do you understand the ghosts?"

"Shut up."

"YOU'RE IN HELL, PREACHER!  We all are! HELL!"

The Preacher calmly drew his pistol and shot the undertaker in the eye.  The Undertaker fell without a sound, dead before he hit the ground.

He sat on the prosecutor's desk, lost in thought.  He did have ONE idea.

The Saloon

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:

There was the Commanche, another standard trope, and he was followed by the ghost of a scalped cavalry man.

There was the Black freedman, whose ghost was a whip, ready to deliver the beatings he'd fled from.

There was the Texan, whose ghost was that of a young Hispanic girl.

And then there was Wade.  Wade was from...Well, that was sort of unclear.  Wade had always been here.  It was he who welcomed the rest of this small group, Wade who showed them where the booze was, and explained the rules to them, in what seemed like the distant past.  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.

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 Commanche raked in the pile of matchsticks, there was a footstep on the boardwalk outside of the saloon.  The players looked up, somehow hoping not to see the only man that it could be.  And it was.  The Preacher stood in the door, holding a rolled up piece of paper...Their next job.

Wade walked up to the Preacher, and received the paper.

There was a picture in the center, and it said "Virgil Earp, Dead or Alive, $500.

There is, of course, a moral to all of this, but no time for that now.  There's a posse to form.

END
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: LMNO on April 07, 2015, 03:57:17 pm
Wow....




I need to read this over from the beginning.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Eater of Clowns on April 07, 2015, 04:02:01 pm
Hm.

No good men or bad, just circumstances and the changing of them.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on April 08, 2015, 05:58:12 pm
Whoa.

It's a never-ending cycle, isn't it?
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on April 08, 2015, 07:21:49 pm
Whoa.

It's a never-ending cycle, isn't it?

Well, sure.  As I said, it's a morality tale.  It's America.  You can even label the characters according to American tropes.

Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on April 08, 2015, 07:24:34 pm
The Preacher is the reformer.
The Undertaker is the corporate prison system, banks, etc.
The pastor is the megachurch minister in his finery.
The first bartender is the yahoo hooting over CNN war footage.
The second bartender is the man in the street.
The 4 horsemen are the various agencies that police us (which is which should be obvious).
And so on.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: The Wizard Joseph on July 11, 2015, 06:23:03 am
Bravo! I had no idea when I'd see the end of this when I found myself distracted from this place. There isn't one.
Hell is death, after death, after death with no real change.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on July 11, 2015, 06:35:17 am
Bravo! I had no idea when I'd see the end of this when I found myself distracted from this place. There isn't one.
Hell is death, after death, after death with no real change.

More like "meet the new boss, same as the old boss."
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: The Wizard Joseph on July 11, 2015, 06:53:43 am
Bravo! I had no idea when I'd see the end of this when I found myself distracted from this place. There isn't one.
Hell is death, after death, after death with no real change.

More like "meet the new boss, same as the old boss."
Right. One of the themes about "heaven & hell" as concepts that fascinates me is that they both are about who's your boss, and how your boss supposedly do. In this particular tale it seems to me you have a man struggling to effectively take over "hell" and getting what he worked for. From the impression left on me from before I ditched for a while this was the saddest outcome I'd considered. Not all good, and too few realistic, morality stories are happy ones.


Gonna work on some of my personal story and dump some few other things I've been working on  later.
Title: Re: The Weird West, or A Tale of Morality in an Immoral World
Post by: Doktor Howl on October 26, 2017, 05:16:24 am
Bump for use elsewhere.