Sunday, January 9, 2011

Now, Let's Try Out Those Instructions

We're going to compose a short story following the rules I set forth in my last post to demonstrate their wisdom and efficiency for writing westerns. Here goes.....

We woke up to a torrential downpour and had to wait it out in the gloomy, dampness of our small tent that was pitched on the side of a hill. My deputy looked at me in disgust.

 "How long ya think it'll last?"

I returned his gaze, taking in his sodden blue jacket, long brown hair under the black cowboy hat, his muddy boots, and answered with another question.

"Were the animals all right? Were they just standin' there, not movin' or shaking their tails?"

"Course they were. What are they supposed to do in this rain, run around and stand on their hind legs?"

I ignored his remark and asked him another question.

"What direction were they facing, or did you even notice?"

"Hell, you can't tell directions in this weather, but they was facin' downhill thataway," he raised an arm and pointed.

"The rain won't last long," I said.

He looked at me funny-like out of his brownish eyes, took off his hat, ran a forefinger across his upper lip smoothing down his black mustache.

"How far you think it is to Bert's Crossing?" he said. "We been on the trail for three days and all the tracks are going to be washed out in this rain. You said they'd be at Bert's Crossing. In fact, you said you'd stake your horse and boots on it "

"We should be comin' up on it any day now. It oughta be only a few miles north-by-northwest from here. They'll be there, Horse," I told him.

His name was Horace, but he didn't mind being called Horse. "It has a sound of power and speed, Wussy," he said.

"Yeah, my name is Wussy, all right. Wussy Warshaw. I liked it better than Winston," I told him back then. "Maybe, Horse, that's why we get along so good. Our names are contradictory to our reality. Just look at you, nothin' like a horse for Hell's sake. You're small and insignifcant and slow as the seven years' itch. And me, I'm tall, wide and handsome and strong as an ox, fast with my draw. Perfect opposites we are,"

"Mebbe so, mebbe so, but one of these days everybody'll know Horse as the brainiest lawman to ever come down the trail. Mark my words, Wussy."

He laid down on his bedding, yawned, and said, "Wake me up when the rain stops."

[You'll notice that we began the beginning at just about the right point and we're heading North-by-Northwest where we'll soon be on the outskirts of Bert's Crossing. And we also laid out a plot. Right on.]


  1. Now I want to know what will happen--will the rain stop, will they catch up?

  2. Old Guy, Who Knows?

    Ron and David, maybe.

  3. I'm taking notes, Oscar.