image from my archives.
“Good news, the treatment for my new screenplay, RIDE
VALIANT, is completed, as now I blue-pencil it & type it
up. Meanwhile, we’ll continue with the review of my first
Twenty-Six: Ambuscado--Cheewa growled, & Buck dove out of
the barber chair, while Barnes just stood there, staring sadly.
Horsemen rode by, & there were three shotgun blasts--the front
plate glass window exploded. Buck: Did you get elected?
Barnes: No, but I got nominated real good. He was gut shot.
Buck rushed outside, Thunderer in one hand, & sawed off shotgun
in the other. The street was empty, but Cheewa noted dust in the
adjacent alley. As Buck checked out the now vacant alley, someone
behind him got the drop on him. It was the town sheriff. Buck is not
pleased being disarmed.
Twenty-Seven: Detainment--The sheriff was Joe Hop, his deputy was
Marcus. Buck, of course, extolls his innocence. Hop checked out the
Colt .41--This weapon has been fired recently. Buck admits to a
“little scuffle” over at the China Doll; Fellow named Ramos gave me
no choice in the matter. There were a dozen witnesses. Hop asked
straight up: Did you shoot our barber? Buck replied: I had no call to
do that. Buck introduces himself, but is still angry & sarcastic. Things
are interrupted by the storekeeper, Henry Wallace: He’s innocent, Joe,
so back off. I wasn’t the only person who saw that bunch gallop by &
blast out Barnes’ window. Hop tries to keep things calm. Wallace
demands to know where Hop was earlier that day when the ruckus
broke out in the China Doll. Irritated, Hop explained that he had been
out of town, journeying to the county seat to see a judge, & had just
returned. Wallace gave his eye witness account. He had been loading
provisions on Buck’s horse when things lit up. He then hears that the
stranger is named Rod Buck.
Twenty-Eight: Release--Wallace asks if the stranger is any relation to
Bill buck--I’m his son. Hop asks who Bill Buck was. Several of the
townspeople gathered around explained, old Bill had been the town
“character”, & that he used to own that sweet ranch up in the foothills
near Bronson’s place. Hop decides to let Buck go for the moment, but
warned him not to leave town. Hop vows to look into the incident in
the saloon as well. Buck: I never go looking for trouble, but it seems
to jump in front of me whenever it pleases. Hop returns Buck’s
weapons, as the stranger & Wallace walk back across the street
over to the General Store.
Twenty-Nine: Aftermath--Buck was charged four dollars for his
groceries. Buck: What’s happened to this town? Wallace: Cash
Bronson. Wallace flashed on the last time he saw Bill Buck. Old
Bill had stood right there in the store, years before. Wallace tried
to get him to eat some breakfast. Bill: Eating is overrated; it gets
in the way of my drinking. Wallace gives him some money, &
instructs him to go to the cafe for a meal. 3 hours later, Wallace
was told that Buck had gotten drunk again, & was on his way
back to the store, when he passed out in the street, right under
the wheels of a moving stagecoach. Wallace then looked at
young Rod Buck, in front of him. He offered Buck a sip of some
“tanglefoot”. They drank together but Wallace’s eye reflected
the old sadness.
Thirty: Whiskey Words--Buck gulped at the home-distilled shine,
& remarked at its mule kick. Buck: Damn your eyes, this juice
could kill ticks. They discussed the shooting at the barber shop.
Wallace figured it was Bronson’s men trying to silence Barnes.
Buck disagreed: Pretty sure they were gunning for me. I had
quite a row with his little brother, Paully, over at the pig wallow.
Wallace considered this, but contended “Shit like that happens
over there way too often. Young man, you’ve only been back in
town for a couple of hours, & already got scorpions in your boots”.
Wallace assumes this all means the stranger will “ride on”.
Buck assures him: No, I think I’ll be sticking around for a piece.
Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub OLN