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Cowboys, Indians and Black Bart (standard:other, 2327 words)
Author: msterryAdded: Apr 25 2006Views/Reads: 1989/1169Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Coming of age story set in the 50's

Cowboys, Indians and Black Bart 

I spread the slick red branches of the manzanita bush wide, peering
across the clearing trying to find my enemy.  Bang!, I shot my trusty 
six shooter, bang!, bang!.  The rich sulfur smell of burst caps drifted 
through the fort stinging my eyes and burning my nose with the acrid 

It was late afternoon, the sunlight bounced off the plywood roof of our
home-made fort causing my eyes to water as I tried to catch a glimpse 
of Black Bart, one of California's most notorious bank robbers.  The 
canteen I'd placed on the roof let out a puff of steam as I opened it 
to take a swallow.  Inside the fort my friend Dave poked his BB gun 
between the cracks of layered board; Frank, my next door neighbor, was 
across the clearing.  I could see the tip of his black cowboy hat just 
above the tallest branch of the nearest manzanita bush. 

It was my first day of Kindergarten and Frank and I walked together to
school.  We were assigned to Mrs. Archer's class.  At recess time, 
Frank and I huddled together watching as some kids ran to the swing-set 
and other kids raced to the sandbox.  Frank and I headed toward a group 
of tricycles when a boy stopped in front of us.  He was slightly taller 
than I with grey-blue eyes.  His hair was so blonde it was nearly 

“Hi, my name is Dave, wanna play ‘Cowboys and Indians'?” he said. 
“There are some bushes over by the jungle gym that we could use as our 
forts.”  Both Frank and I immediately said yes and the three of us went 
off together.  Now six years later we're still playing “Cowboys and 
Indians” we just don't play near the jungle gym any more we've found a 
better place to play. 

We gathered the material together to erect a fort.  Dave had brought
some two by fours he'd found near his home; new houses were being built 
just across the canyon.  Frank rescued an old grey navy wool blanket 
that his mother was going to throw away.  When we unfolded it my nose 
began to twitch--causing me to sneeze--it reeked of dog but none of us 
cared it would cover the floor of our makeshift hut and the earthy 
smell of mildew and dirt would soon mask the smell.  My contribution 
was a couple of pieces of scrap plywood I'd found in the garage: one 
was two foot by three feet and the other slightly larger. The wood was 
warped and splintered.  I snuck them out the side gate one morning 
while Mom was in the kitchen washing the breakfast dishes.  I hid them 
on the side of the house until Frank could help me carry them to the 
canyon. With the aid of an overgrown manzanita bush we erected the best 
fort imaginable.  Our fort was at the base of ravine that led down 
toward the ocean.  Some days the breeze that came off the ocean made 
the leaves of the manzanita bushes rustle drowning out the sound of 
traffic nearby.  The fort was deep enough into the canyon to block the 
view of any houses, we were inside a totally new world, a world where 
Indians snuck up on the fort to massacre the white man or the Hole in 
the Wall gang would try to rob the local bank. 

“Rocky!” yelled a voice.  “Rocky, Mom says it's time to come home!”  I
could hear my sister calling from above.   “Rocky! Roxanne Marie 
Sullivan!  Mom said if you don't come home right now you'll be on 

Just when the action was getting good now I have to go home.  I was just
about to sneak around the back of the fort and kill Frank. 

“Hey guys, gotta go, my sister's calling me.” 

Frank poked his head up from behind a nearby creosote bush.  “Okay
Rocky, we'll finish this tomorrow.”  Frank had drawn a black handlebar 
mustache on his face, the ends curling up his cheek looking like a 
bull's-eye.  Today he was Black Bart, the toughest hombre in the west.  
I was Matt Dillon, Sheriff of Dodge City and Dave was Chester, my 
deputy.  I could see a bright spot of light on the side of the fort as 
the sun glinted off my shiny silver star.  My chaps scuffed the ground 
as I trudged up the path to my waiting sister.  I got the chaps, my cap 
pistol and my silver star for my birthday last month.  Dad knew that I 
wanted that cap pistol more than anything. 

“Rocky, what‘s the deal with you?” said Gwen. “Don't you know you're a

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