A Fistful of Dollies

Big Gun Barry was in love, his wild and roaming heart had been skilfully lassoed by the charms of Big Chief Howling Wolf’s twin daughters ( Big Gun Barry wasn’t fussed which sister he married to tell the whole truth y’all!)

After many a Pow Wow and quite a lot of liquid fire water persuasion followed by some serious sessions on the peace pipe, Big Gun Barry had agreed to become a Brave; the only way the Chief would let him marry his beloved daughter(s)

Once the initiation period was over the wedding ceremony would commence, in three moons time – on the condition of a large dowry payment of course; daughters were a precious commodity.

Big Gun Barry was, as usual, broke.

Pretty Pocaharder was eager for the sacred matrimonial ceremony, Pocalonger couldn’t wait for the nuptials.

Big Gun Barry was beside himself with frustration, he needed some mega bucks and fast.

Time to seek out his old partner.

The man with one name ~ BURT

The deadliest and quietest gunslinger in the West.

“Beautiful mornin’ Ladies.” Always the perfect gentleman, Burt doffed his hat to the respectable towns women of this busy trading outpost called Stiff Men’s Creek.

Half way between the plains and the Mountains and not too far from the desert, this far flung ramshackle town was always full of roaming settlers, prospectors and sometimes even outlaws!

Barry had to drop his rootin’ tooting’ cowboy name and take on a new tribal one (it was part of his initiation)

He wasn’t very happy to be re-Christened ‘Little Gecko,’ it just didn’t have the same connotations but it was the first animal to be seen at the naming ceremony, so be it.

“If that’s what you want?” Burt was a bit surprised at how far Barry would go to get a bride (or two).

“Yeah, but I still need to make some big dollars quick, any ideas Burt?”

“We’ll have to go back to Bounty hunting ‘cos I know you hate mining.”

The God fearing Church going ladies were chatting loudly about the gallery of villains on all the ‘Wanted’ posters, so very ugly, what awful crimes and how they should find redemption if they only saw the light and mended their thieving ways.

“Why, I do believe you’re not a real Injun?” One lady questioned Barry who was busy trying to find the bottom of the bottle.

He just growled his annoyance, he wasn’t a happy Barry!

‘What is the New World coming to?’ thought Burt, as he saw so many females on the posters, Pear Heart, Della Rose, he was sure he’d had a dalliance with at least one of these naughty ladies.

‘Belle Starr!’ Burt whistled at the $750 reward, she sure looked familiar!

“She’d sort our finances out a treat.” He quietly folded up her poster for later viewing.

In his despondent stupor Barry wasn’t convinced, he had a double dowry to find; Burt thought he was just being a little bit greedy.

“This is more like it, $100,000 for ‘The Butcher’, what a nasty piece of work, I’ve heard all the terrible tales about him.” Barry needed big funds and quickly.

He longingly thought of affording a third bride to rub his feet while the twins were tending his other areas.

Naughty Barry!

“Good afternoon Miss.” Greeted Burt as the very prim but very pretty School Teacher walked past; Barry was too lost in his own personal bourbon fuelled fantasy to notice.

The school house was right next to the Church, although mostly empty as this town had no children at present.

As he sat drinking coffee and studying the poster it suddenly clicked, Burt was sure he knew the teacher’s friend, she looked a little too familiar but he just couldn’t place where from.

He now recalled she used to have dark haired, although that was a very bad picture of her and it was a while ago back in Frisco.

Meanwhile in a secluded stable behind the school house, the stealthy figure of Murray Steel was silently saddling up a fresh steed.

( Tongue twister, the faster the better)

Murray was her willing slave, he adored his Mistress more than words could say, he would do anything she asked.

Love is the only motive.

Dressed in matching jeans and shirts, her real identity heavily shielded, this mysterious and deadly female was on a mission to rob the next stage coach before it even reached Stiff Men’s Creek.

Gold and plenty of it, the only real commodity way out in the wild West; you could buy a thousand acres, you could buy a whole town, no one messes with the highest payer.

“Be careful Belle.” Murray called as she galloped off through the sparse trees.

He would take the rap for her, thats how much he loved that wicked, wicked lady.

Burt turned a blind eye at the School house stables when a very fast horse and rider swiftly dismounted inside the gloom, he wasn’t a vindictive man and Belle had been mighty kind to him when they were ‘friends.’

A short while later that same day, two very respectable Church going Ladies walked along the empty one street town towards the deserted school house.

“Careful Belinda, I hear footsteps.” Alerted the School teacher to her companion.

They began loudly singing hymns to cover the chink chink of gold coins.

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me….”

“Good day to ya.” Greeted the rough handed cowboys.

“May the good Lord be with you boys.”

“I once was lost but now I’m found….”

“..was blind but now I see….”

And the school house door slammed shut.

….To be continued…..

©Juliette Dodd 2019

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