Today I had to write a story about a big bad guy walking into a bar in the old west, only give it a happy ending. I had thought about trying to make it only a paragraph, but that wasn't exactly possible. At least not for me!
The Saloon doors slammed open, The Cowboy entered. Rumors held that he once killed a man just for givin' him the wrong kind of beer. The Cowboy rode his big bay stallion across the west, and never stayed in one place very long. No sheriff would arrest him, no posse hunt him down; any feller with any sense stays clear of this one-shot-dropper. Nobody even knew the man's name. He was just "The Cowboy", and ever'one understood.
I started to hyperventilate, The Cowboy sat down next to me! Beside me, a skinny 16 year old boy who wasn't even good with a gun, he seemed like a giant. However, one thing struck me as odd: when I let our eyes meet just for a minute, they looked just like mine. I thought I was looking into a mirror! Groaning under The Cowboy's massive frame, the bar stool he sat on sounded like a shrieking Indian as he turned to face me. My heart lept in my throat, I could already visualize him reachin' for a gun, maybe a knife, killin' me dead right there in my Ma's bar...
When my Ma was fresh married a year, just had me, we was both carried off by the Indians. She used to tell me how when I was a youngun that the Indians would dress me up in their garb and let me play with the wooden tom-a-hawks.
'Course, I don't 'member none o' this, but it's a funny tale anyway. Anyway, one day a band o' men came on horseback and freed all us white folks the Indians was keepin'. Ma figured Pa was dead, and hadn't seen him in years anyway, so she married one o' her rescuers. Jack was his name, he was a good man, but he died last year o' the brain fever. All that was left was the Saloon that Ma runs now.
Staring right into my soul, that's what it felt like when The Cowboy looked me in the eye. In a hoarse voice that was somehow gentle too, he asked "Lad, where's yer ma?". I was scared he wanted her for unholy reasons, so I dropped my gaze to the floor and lied "Don't know". Firmly, he grabbed my shoulder and told me "Boy, when I was yer age I lied the same way, you can't fool me. Now, where is yer ma?". All I could do was pray that Ma wouldn't come out from the kitchen and the The Cowboy would just leave and seek another lady. Just as those thoughts was going through my head, Ma, in her black dress o' mourning, stepped out with a fresh pie in her hands.
For a moment when their eyes met, time seemed to stand still. The black magic holding them still halted when Ma dropped her pie and the dish shattered on the floor. In response it seemed, The Cowboy lunged toward my Ma. Out o' fear for her wellbein' I tried to stop him, but it was too late. The Cowboy scooped my Ma up in his arms, and to my surprise, Ma started laughin' and kissin' the man! I hadn't heard he laugh since Jack died, and she never kissed him in such a vulgar way.
Shocked, the whole bar had fallen silent. Eventually, Ma unwrapped herself from The Cowboy's arms and walked up to me. Softly, like only a mother can do, she hugged me and whispered "Meet Tom, yer Pa". I was dumbfounded!
Ma closed the Saloon early, and "Tom", The Cowboy, started to tell us about his ventures in search of us. He had traveled all across the west, interrogatin' Indians, talkin' to sheriffs, and killin' anyone who got in the way of findin' his wife and son. Not all that shocking, all the killin' had scarred him, changed him. Now, though, all Tom wanted was to be with family, learn to love, work, and fear God again.
At first, I hated Tom. Now, five years have passed and I have my own wife. These days Tom and I git on good, Ma's never been happier, and the Saloon hasn't ever done so well, My wife is even expecting, and I'll git to try my own hand at bein' a father by the end of the month.
Not exactly short, or well written, but this was a ton of fun. Maybe I'll try short stories more often now!