Pinned The Bargirl and the Cowboy

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    There are 32 replies in this Thread. The last Post () by tonymus.

    • The Bargirl and the Cowboy

      Hi

      Rather than tie up the Definitive books of John Wayne I have decided to start a new thread and will serialize The Bargirl & the Cowboy.

      When I wrote it and sent it off for inclusion in Tim Lilley's Trail Beyond Tim enlarged it with pictures and also apart from generally editing it, he also tidied up the three picture segments that run through the story.

      In between the story reaching Tim and being published I also made one amendment which is included here but not in the published article.

      As i haven't a clue hoe to transpose the story from my computer to the site I will copy a section each day.

      I hope you think it is worth it.

      Regards

      Arthur
      Walk Tall - Talk Low
    • Re: The bargirl and the cowboy

      Here goes

      THE BARGIRL & the COWBOY
      (A Christmas Tale by Arthur Arnell)

      The weak desert sun struggled to overcome the dust as it swirled relentlessly around the desert chased by the unremitting wind. increasing in it's intesity with the passing of every minute. Hitched loosly to a tree, a lone horse stood patiently watching as a huddled mass lying on the ground and hidden by a blanket began to stir. Slowly the cowboy sheltering under the blanket, opened his eyes. Sitting up he put his hands to his eyes to shelter them from the dust and in doing so he noticed a small lizard scampering past his feet desperately trying to seek shelter from the unforgiving dust and raw wind. Standing up the cowboy stretched and kicked the long dead embers of his camp fire. Rubbing the stubble around his chin and looking around, he took stock of his surroundings and reflected on his life to date. it had been three days since he had eaten his last meal, his clothes were old, dirty and dust covered. His boots old and worn down at the heels. Feeling in his pocket he brought out a coin - ten cents - the sum total of his worldly goods. He knew that if things didn't change it would be his destiny to roam aimlessly from town to town, jobless and friendless until someone took pity on him and ended his life. Buckling on his gun belt he took a long look at the solitary cartridge sitting in his belt and ruminated that perhaps it might better be sooner than later to use his last bullet and end his torment. Shrugging aside the thought, he picked up his saddle and blanket, saddled his horse, then mounting he pulled his hat low to cover his eyes and tying his neckerchief around his mouth, headed into the wind.
      It was Christmas Eve.
      Walk Tall - Talk Low
    • Re: The bargirl and the cowboy

      I'm ready to keep reading you drew my interest, I'm curious and must know what happens to the cowboy!! Son you do good work.
      Mister you better find yourself another line of work, cause this one sure DON"T fit your PISTOL!
    • Re: The bargirl and the cowboy

      As the cowboy rode he felt the wind easing and with it the swirling dust. Taking advantage of the brief lull, he reached for his water canteen and unscrewing the cap he took a long pull. The water was warm and foul and after swallowing some he spat the rest out. he noticed that the afternoon was beginning to dim and looking ahead through the dust and gloom, in the distance he could just make out the vague shape of a building, setting his horse in motion he moved slowly towards it.
      As he got nearer he saw that the building was the first of a series of buildings, all ramshackle with missing doors, window shutters hanging haphazardly from empty window frames. On the side of the first building that he approached the cowboy could see the remains of a sign, originally painted in red, but now faded with the paint peeling badly it said
      'Welcome to Red Gulch'.
      The cowboy sat momentarily looking at the sign, digging deeply into his memory he struggled to recall where he had heard the name before. Suddenly it came to him, Red Gulch like many other old western towns, had at one time or another, been a prosperous community but like many of its counterparts it had fallen on hard times and had subsequently been abandoned by its inhabitants and left to the mercy of the wind and the desert.
      As he sat lost in the memory the cowboy became aware of a sound stirring faintly above the noise of the wind and recognised the chords of a piano. In the distance through the increasingly gathering gloom he also thought he saw a faint flickering light coming from one of the ramshackle buildings. With little warning as the weak sun gave way to the winter night, darkness fell and as it did so the wind began to increase in strength blowing clumps of sagebrush through the narrow streets.
      The cowboy resolved to quickly seek shelter from the wind and cold for both himself and his horse. His second objective was quickly accomplished, finding an old ruined barn the cowboy dismounted and dragging open the creaking door led his horse into a stall. Finding some bracken hay, he made his mount, a blaze-faced sorrel with three white stockings, as comfortable as possible. He now had to think for himself and despite the intensity of the storm, the cowboy made for the building where he had imagined the light had come from.
      Walking down the main street he discovered that both the light and sound had not been a figment of his imagination as he could plainly hear the sound of piano music and could equally see the flickering light shining through the dirty dust covered windows of the saloon. As he drew near to the saloon listening to the echoing tones of the piano, another memory flashed briefly before his eyes when he recalled another piano in another saloon, in another town and time. Reaching the building the cowboy mounted the sidewalk and pushing open the twin swinging doors entered the saloon.
      Walk Tall - Talk Low
    • Re: The bargirl and the cowboy

      The interior of the saloon was brightly lit by a large chandlier hanging from the rafters. In one corner of the room a man dressed entirely in black sat and played solitaire at his table. At the piano across the room an old man who had swivelled on his stool to reach for a beer as the cowboy came through the doors. He peered at the newcomer over his spectacles, raised a crooked index figure, and spun around to the piano to play a couple of measures of 'Silent Night'.
      To the cowboys right, the bar stretched almost the entire length of the room. Behind it a bartender was standing cleaning a glass. In front and leaning on the bar stood a woman dressed in a faded low cut dress trimmed with a yellowish lace that might have once been white. She wore ankle length boots and was heavily made up with face paint and bright red lipstick, her auburn hair, which might have once been radiant, was dull and lacklustre.
      The cowboy chose a table by the door. He pulled off his heavy coat and wearily sat down. Within seconds the girl who was no longer a girl, left the bar and sidled over to where he was sitting.
      "Buy a girl a drink cowboy"?
      The cowboy smiled a rueful smile, putting his hand in his pocket he took out the coin.
      "Sure if this buys anything".
      The girl stood up and walked to the bar, speaking quietly to the bartender who handed her a bottle and two glasses. Returning with the bottle and glasses to where the cowboy sat she said.
      "It's alright mister. Your credits good here".
      Pouring two drinks the girl said,
      "Alright if I sit down?"
      The cowboy waved his hand airily.
      "Do what you want".
      Sitting the girl picked up her drink.
      "What do they call you?" She asked.
      The cowboy thought for a brief moment before replying
      "I'm known by many names in many states", he hesitated for a second before continuing.
      "But most people call me Duke".
      The girl smiled.
      "Nice to meet you Duke. My name is Maureen but most folks call me Mo."
      Duke grunted.
      Mo looked at Duke's gaunt appearance.
      "When was the last time you ate cowboy?"
      "Three days ago".
      Mo stood up and returned to the bar and spoke to the bartender who left the room, only to return within a few moments with a large plate of rib-eye steak and potatoes which he put down in front of Duke.
      Mo reassured him.
      "Eat your fill Duke, it's on me".
      Duke didn't need to be told twice and soon made short work of the meal. Later with his stomach full and after two or three whiskeys, he began to open up to Mo telling her that his life consisted of drifting aimlessly around the west achieving and doing nothing. Finally he turned to Mo and said.
      "Throughout my life I've done nothing worth while. I'm a failure and it might have been better if I'd spared my mother the pain that bore me."
      Mo looked at Duke intently.
      "Are you saying that you wished you'd never been born?"
      Duke's anwer came back almost instantly.
      "That's exactly what I'm saying. if I hadn't been born nobody would give a damn or even know the difference.
      For a brief moment Mo's eyes flashed in anger, and she showed her annoyance with her reply.
      "Just listen to me cowboy, everyone makes a difference even you, and tonight I am going to show you just how important you are".
      Duke looked at Mo.
      "That'll be the day".
      Walk Tall - Talk Low
    • Re: The bargirl and the cowboy

      Mo stood up and held out her hand.
      Take hold of my hand Duke and close your eyes.
      Duke stood up and did as he was told, within a short moment he was told to open his eyes and when he did the first thing that he saw in front of him was Mo, only now she was Maureen, a vision of loveliness resplendant in a bright green dress lined with brilliant white silk lace, her earlier faded green and yellowish lace dress a bad memory. Her face had also lost the heavy make up and garish red lipstick, her auburn hair so dull before, now shone brightly. Almost lost for words Duke could only say.
      "But .. you're beautiful.
      Maureen smiled, then said
      "Do you know where you are?"
      Duke looked around him, he was back in the desert, but it was not the desert he had recently rode through, this was a long remembered desert. In the foreground he could see a lone wagon around a ruined waterhole. Duke turned to Maureen.
      "I've been here before".
      "A long time ago Duke".
      Walk Tall - Talk Low
    • Re: The bargirl and the cowboy

      In the distance three men approached. Holding his Stetson to shield his eyes from the suns glare, Duke suddenly recognised the men.
      "Why " Duke hesitated unable to believe his eyes.
      "That's the Abilene kid and Pete"
      Duke hesitated before continuing, he turned to Maureen and said
      "And that's me".
      "If you remember you had just robbed the Welcome bank and were trying to get away from the posse. You and your companions came upon this wagon and found a dying woman. You promised her that you would take her baby to safety".
      Duke looked at the scene quietly remembering the incident.
      "It was her dying wish", he said.
      "What else could we do?"
      "That baby was adopted by Marshal Sweet, he grew up to be a fine young man who took on his fathers profession. He became a town marshal and made the town a better place to live in".
      Maureen turned to Duke.
      "If you and your friends hadn't been at that place and that time that baby would have died".
      Taking Duke's hand she said
      "Let's return to the present".
      Back in the saloon Duke found that Maureen had returned to Mo and had taken on her former dowdy appearance. Turning to Duke Mo said,
      "Do you now accept that your being there made a difference?"
      Duke scowled.
      "All right, just this once I might have helped, but for all my good deeds I still ended up in Yuma prison".
      "Because you robbed the Welcome bank, not because you saved the life of a new born baby".
      Duke shuffled uncomfortably in his seat. Mo stood directly in front of him.
      "You're still not convinced yet are you?"
      Duke remained quiet for a few moments before replying.
      "No".
      Mo reached out and taking Duke's hand said quietly
      "Close your eyes".
      Duke did as he was bid, when he opened them again he found himself standing in the street. Looking at Mo he noticed that she had again become the beautiful woman of his last vision. Duke looked down the street.
      "Where are we? This isn't Red Gulch".
      Maureen shook her head.
      "No this is Shinbone".
      Walk Tall - Talk Low
    • Re: The Bargirl and the Cowboy

      Duke was about to comment when a noise stopped him. Out of the saloon staggered a drunken cowboy. He held a six gun in his right hand, a short whip in the other. He leaned against a wooden post. Staring down the street he laughed and shouted a command.
      "Get out of that shadow Dude!"
      Duke froze.
      "It's Liberty Valence" he said quietly.
      Maureen motioned him to be quiet.
      "Just watch", Maureen said as she raised a finger to her lips.
      Duke stood transfixed as a young man wearing an apron and carrying a small revolver walked resolutely from the dark. Like a cat playing with a mouse, the drunken lout fired shots in the direction of his adversary. One shot struck the young man's right arm, and the revolver dropped into the street. Liberty laughed again.
      "You got two hands Hashslinger. Pick it up".
      The man in the apron retrieved the gun with his left hand and moved a step closer.
      "All right Dude", Valance announced.
      "This time right between the eyes".
      Both guns fired at the same time, but Liberty's shot was dead on. His challenger crumpled in the street. Immediately a young women let out a piercing screen and rushed to the figure now lying pone in the street.
      Duke turned to Maureen.
      "But that didn't happen".
      Maureen turned to him.
      "You have just watched it happen".
      Duke blustered.
      "But it didn't! Sure the pilgrim went out to face Valence but before Liberty could fire a fatal shot I plugged him from the alley. I'm the man who shot Liberty Valance. The pilgrim is Rance Stoddard. He went on to sit in the State Legislature and then the senate, he made this territory a state. He he married Hallie ...."
      His voice caught in his throat as the memories flooded over him.
      Maureen turned to Duke.
      "But you told me you wished that you had never been born".
      Seeing the bemused look in the cowboys eyes, Maureen continued.
      "Don't you see. You couldn't have shot Liberty Valance and saved Rance Stoddard if you hadn't been born".
      She paused before continuing.
      "Rance was no match for Valance with a gun. In your absence Ranom Stoddard was killed that night. He never went on to sit in the legislature, he never became a Congressman. The cowmen made sure that the territory never became a state and Shinbone went on to become a haven for outlaws like Liberty Valance".
      Duke looked a the woman now weeping in the street over the dead man.
      "And Hallie. What happened to her?"
      "She never got over the death of Rance, she never married and when the Petersons died she took over their place. She died a bitter twisted woman grown old before her time".
      Slowly a look of realization flickered in Duke'e eyes. The street had become eerily quiet.
      Maureen turned once more to Duke.
      "You have a brother" she asked.
      Walk Tall - Talk Low
    • Re: The Bargirl and the Cowboy

      Hi

      Thanks for the information Bill.

      To continue

      "I had a brother Aaron. He was killed in a Comanche raid just after the war".
      "And your niece?"
      Duke thought for a moment, a fond realisation coming to him"
      "Debbie".
      "Yes Debbie their daughter who was carried off by the Indian chief Scar".
      Maureen looked at Duke.
      "What happend to her?"
      Duke thought before replying.
      "Me and Martin Pawley went to find her and bring her back".
      "You searched for five years, travelling all over the west and enduring many hardships before you found your niece and returned her to her people."
      Duke turned to Maureen and said quietly.
      "It was worth it".
      Maureen smiled.
      "Whatever became of Debbie?"
      Duke shook his head.
      "Thats when I began drifting around, I kinda lost touch, never did find out what happened to her".
      Maureen again reached for Duke's hand. Speaking softly she said,
      "Close your eyes Duke, we have one last visit to make before this night is through.
      Walk Tall - Talk Low