Tuesday, July 5, 2011


"Well, I reckon we'd be in the calaboose if we hadn't skedaddled outta town." The big man, known only as Ain't Francis, tended the slumgullion stew, while his partner, London Jim, played mumbletypeg by the campfire. "Lord, what a ruckus. The whole dern saloon was cattywampus when the dust settled."

The Englishman nodded glumly, taking a drink from his hip flask. "It was a right kerfuffle, at that. Things went higgledy-piggledy." Frowning at his torn suit, he said "My finest haberdashery, as well. Now it's rubbish".

"Well, you're too dang persnickety anyway," Ain't Francis snorted. "You gamblers are a bunch of fussbudgets. Why, you didn't land a haymaker in that whole rumpus!"

London Jim looked affronted. "Poppycock! Would you have me risk these nimble fingers by engaging in fisticuffs? Games of chance cannot simply be left to… to chance, old boy! My skills lie in artful prestidigitation and legerdemain. I leave the roughhousing for rapscallions such as yourself."

Ain't Francis narrowed his eyes. "You act highfalutin', but you're a scalawag just the same. And you ain't as slick as you think. The plan was for you to keep them clodhoppers occupied playing cards, while I slipped in the back and busted into the strongbox. Then we coulda hightailed it with all that gold they keep in there."

"Codswallop." London Jim muttered, clearly flummoxed.

"That floozy you was canoodlin' with….Molly Coddles…what kinda moniker is that, anyway? She had you discombobulated. She acted like a flibbertigibbet, saying how your fancy duds made her 'all twitterpated', but she was a sly one. She had you showboatin', winning too many simoleons off that pair of sheepherders. Soon's as I busted into that safe, that's when she allowed how you wasn't just fleecin' em, you was plumb skinnin' em. That's when they decided to give you a wallopin'. And they would have too, if I hadn't put up my dukes and come in swinging."

"Balderdash," said Jim primly. "The barman had already pulled out that bloody great blunderbuss and blasted a hole in the ceiling. The altercation was just subsiding when Molly flounced over, batted her eyes, and asked that you rush to my aid. While you created a proper state of pandemonium, she absconded with the contents of the safe." Jim sighed, with clear admiration, and said "I believe you were as gobsmacked by her as I was, old boy."

Ain't Francis spat thoughtfully. "Yessir, I reckon she had us both hornswoggled. She used them feminine wiles, sure enough, and that's how she absquatulated with all our loot. Well, at least we ain't in the hoosegow. Pass me that firewater, would you, Jim?"

(Some silliness I wrote back in library school, during a fit of procrastination. To the best of my knowledge, it has no basis in fact.)

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