Monday, October 1, 2012

Fire Rolls Down the Line

Dear Pardners,

Every cow puncher that rides through these parts has a yarn to tell. Now me, I like the man that keeps it neath his hat. I reckon them flannelmouths who play to the gallery will fetch themselves a punch in the nose every time.

But if you're fixing to rustle cattle in Culberson County, Son, maybe you'd better bend an elbow and pay mind to a ditty I've got for you. This here tune is about our ace high lawman, goes by the name of Oatmeal. Now there's a man you can ride the river with.

Oatmeal. Now, that's a powerful strange thing to call a man, you might say, and you'd be right. But should you ever cross trails with Oatmeal, why you'd best not speak those words to his face. Not lessin' you're hot to wind up on the business end of an Arkansas toothpick.

Oatmeal's brought in more desperadoes than a whorehouse on nickel night. The scuttlebutt is that he keeps his Black Eyed Susan with five beans in the wheel, so that he gets to kill one outlaw in six with his bare hands.

I saw him once with my own two eyebones, down at the Buckhorn Saloon. Some saddlebum by the name of Fess Dalton got roostered on the coffin varnish and started looking for a dog to kick. Oatmeal saunters up to him, slow and easy-like and says, "Fire rolls down the line, Son." That's all he ever says, I reckon, and no one really knows what it means. He just lowers his hat and utters, "Fire rolls down the line." Well, Fess and his four brothers come flying at Oatmeal all horns and rattles but faster than you can say 'cream gravy,' Oatmeal is unshucked and fires three times. Three shots, and all five boys bite the ground directly.

Now I swear that story is as true as the hawse between my knees. There may be some rubbings down and chippings off as might happen in the passing from mouth to mouth, but if you think that's all a bunch of burro's milk, you should try asking one of the other banditos or Bunko artists that Oatmeal put in the bone orchard...

Rusty Buck Judson, Beauregard Booker, Chick Shackleford, Duke "Curly Pete" Willbarger, Hiram "Burly Pete" Hayes, Jethro "Man Boobs" Haskell, Neck Oil Holbrook, Gunner Knox the Cow Chip Hustler, Maverick Ford and the three Jebs, Lyndon Montana "Black Biscuits" McGrady, Slapjack Hayes, Go Fish Jones, Amarillo Jed Crowley, Link "Sutton County Chili Cook-off Second Place" Waller, Fletcher Skunk Eggs Ketchum, Mose Bareback, Leaky Amos Franklin, Austin Hoopskirt Bridger, Crowbait McGinny, Chester Prairie Dew Pecos, Man-hug Crosby, Sonny Last-Nameless, Spur-Lickin' Buddy Williams, Doc Barbecue Calhoun, Rowdy "Holy Heck" Chavez, Loping Tom Kinney, Asswhip Laredo, Deadeye Wiley Graham, Pants-down Oakley, Boone Giant Belt Buckle Nolan, Too Fancy William Crane, Linus Bootsingravy Connors, Whistlin' Jethro Harrison, Dusty Clem Snakehide, Soapy Briscoe, Jasper Hogg, Stagecoach Jim, Appaloosa Jim, Jesus Christ Jim, Nine-toes and That's All on One Foot Jim, Much Too Tall Hank, Cactus Crash Hardy, Brown Gargle Van Zandt, Red "Bad Balls" Redmond, Jericho Bull Moose Durant, Decatur Quint Burgandy, Dreamy Cleve Jefferson, and Kid Slim Kit Doc Duke Tex Sly Jones.

No, Pard.  Getting away with rustling cattle in Culberson County is harder than catching a weasel asleep. Oatmeal is out there somewhere, biding his time for the big roundup, and he won't rest until he sees you and your kind hanging on the Texas Cakewalk.

Best turn your diggers, put on your best bib and tucker, and make for the sunset, Pardner. You might be fixing to say something you'll regret, so remember: The bigger the mouth, the better it looks when shut. All I want to know from you is one thing... What holds up a train?

Bad men.

Get it? Bad men. That there's a joke, Son, so you better start laughin' lest you want to get your plow cleaned directly.

With warmest regards,