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The Yank In The Black Stetson Hat (standard:westerns, 3277 words)
Author: G.H. HaddenAdded: Nov 04 2007Views/Reads: 1951/1280Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A bold black headline reads "LOCAL HERO AVERTS BARROOM BLOODSHED". And he might have let bygones be bygones, if only the Little Crest Gazette hadn't insisted on calling him "The Yank In The Black Stetson Hat".
 



The Yank in the Black Stetson Hat: 

Pink Elephants of Pain 

By G.H. Hadden 

They called him "The Yank"...huh!  As if he were the one and only
American to ever pay a visit to their ugly little one-horse town of 
hayseed Saskatchewan farmers; marooned in their endless rolling sea of 
wild windswept prairie grassland.  To his face even, even after they 
knew his right and proper name. 

Sobering thought. 

He remembers little of that night when all this fuss and bother began,
but what little he remembers he remembers well.  He remembers a 
sniveling boy holding a gun on him.  HIS gun!  HIS!  Took it from him 
like candy from a baby no less.  And being hauled up to his feet off 
the floor of that stinking tavern with his arms cuffed behind his back 
after that funny-talking Scotsman lowered his odd Mauser '98 rifle and 
stood easy.  He remembers how tight those cuffs were—-bracelets of 
iron.  He felt shackled and humiliated like a condemned man being put 
on parade; stumbling along the empty street as if he were in leg irons 
too.  Hauled off after nightfall by the Mounties as 
His-Highness-of-The-Tavern raved and ranted on and on how they should 
throw the book at him and send him off to a place called Stony 
Mountain, which can only be a prison or stockade with such a name as 
that.  No gold to be found there he'll wager, but plenty of rocks to 
break. 

Even that late, with the lamps lit and the stores closed for the night,
faces popped out from front doors and lights came on in the bedrooms 
above.  Curious, befuddled faces, like simpletons in the crowd at a 
magic show.  Pert near the whole town saw, looking down on him as those 
two Mounties had practically dragged him along like a wild stallion to 
be corralled and broken for auction.  He put up a fair fight though.  
And oh yes, how nice it would be to be as slippery as Houdini, to 
escape those cuffs and beat those Mounties senseless before the very 
eyes of these simpleton farmer scarecrows!  He very clearly remembers 
that thought. That would be a neat trick.  But it was not to be.  He 
instead found himself face down in a bucket of his own vomit in that 
dark steel cage.  And then the coughing fits began—-these have been 
ever-present coughing spells ever since the fire.  Seared his lungs in 
the fire Doc had said, made worst with time and trail-dust and 
mine-damp.  The whisky burns on the way down, but it works wonders to 
break up the hard ashen phlegm.  Still bitter, after all these years. 

But he's dry and sober now, throat dry too, and his feet are itchy for
leaving after being held over in the drunk tank of the Little Crest 
Mounties' office for the better part of a week.  It was a cell fit for 
animals.  Eight feet by eight feet square, with a cot as hard and 
sheets as dirty and buggy as any jail cell he'd ever had the misfortune 
to visit. 

"It's a half day's ride to Estevan," that tough steely-eyed Mountie
Valentine had told him upon escorted release at the town limits, just a 
lick and a spit away from the Canadian Pacific main line to North 
Dakota.  He was served his legal papers with a stern tone of voice and 
a gaze of discordant villainy that did not at all agree with his 
uniform.  "I've already wired ahead," he said.  "You're to present 
yourself at the post there and turn in your gun for overnight 
detention.  In the morning, you will be escorted by rail back across 
the border at North Portal, at which time your firearm will be returned 
to you.  Do you understand this?" 

He'd nodded and said "Yesir." cordially enough, and took the papers into
his saddlebag without care of creasing them. 

And yes, he understands plenty good.  He understands the game that
crafty tavern keeper and this crafty mustachioed Sam Steele Mountie are 
playing with him.  Both hope he never makes it to the border.  If they 
really wanted him deported they'd have done it the right way—-the 
proper way...send him back by train all the way.  But no—-instead 
they'll use him as a pawn in their petty little chessboard game of 
little-town Tammany Hall politics.  They're willing to stake their 


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