Rigor Mortis had not yet set in, but the goldurn flies were all over the place.
"Yep." Said the Sheriff. "He's a daid alright."
"Mebbe we should poke him with a stick or something just to be sure," said the coroner.
"Yeah, poke him with a stick!" said a passing jackrabbit.
"Ooh, not there," said the deputy.
"Just giving him the old cowpoke," said the old cowpoke.
The Sheriff glanced at the old cowhand. "Funny," he thought. "I didn't think cows had hands."
On the other hand, they do have tails, and thereby hangs this one.
The collective ears of the crowd pricked up. "A hanging? When?" they asked earnestly, through a bit of collective drool.
"Not yet," said the Sheriff irritably. "Nobody's hanging this corpse until it's had a fair trial."
"He looks well hung to me," said the deputy.
"Get your mind out of the gutter!"
"Actually it looks more like a rut," said the deputy, and there was a quiet moist sound as the crowd rolled its eyes in unison.
"I get his boots" cried a member of the posse.
"I want that fancy hemp necklace" chimed in another.
"Aw! no fair!"
Suddenly, a stranger rode up. "Where's the sheriff?"
"The sheriff is a -" * DING * -- a nearby churchbell rang out, drowning out the rest of the statement.
"If we're doing * that * movie, I'm getting out of here before the baked beans scene," muttered the sheriff.
"Who wants to know?" asked the deputy.
"I do,” said the stranger's horse. "I'm taking a gallop poll."
"Be that as it may," said the stranger with dogged determination. "I'm looking for the man who shot my paw."
"If that's your paw he wasn't shot," said the sheriff, gesturing to the body.
"No," said the trailworn old coyote. "I mean my *paw*.” He held up his injured forelimb for examination.
"That's a nasty hand," said the deputy. "If I wuz you, I'd fold."
"Ain't a hand", said the coyote, "it's a paw."
"Poke it with a sharp stick!" said the jackrabbit.
"Is that a running gag?" asked the deputy.
"He wasn't gagged, he was hung!" replied the sheriff.
"I'll say he was hung!" said the deputy, ogling the ripening corpse.
"Jeez, you two wanna get a room or something?"
"Nah, there ain't enough rooms in this town for the both of us, what with that Shriners convention and all."
"That reminds me," said a member of the posse. "I gotta go back and get ready for the spaghetti dinner we're having for 'em."
"Oh no, this isn't that kind of western, is it?" said another.
A grizzled old prospector walked up and drove a stake into the body.
"What the Sam Hill are you doing, Clem? And how did you get all
grizzlied up like that?"
"There was this store with an old man in a robe," growled the prospector. "But that's a yarn for another day. Anyway, I figured I'd check the body for gold fillings."
"GOOOOOOLD!!!!", somebody yelled. "There's gold in that thar rut!" Instantly the posse swarmed into the rut, and began hammering stakes into the corpse.
"Well", said the sheriff as the town's vampire population quietly left, "now we all have a stake in this."
"Yes", the deputy nodded sadly. "Now he's really stuck in a rut."
The sheriff pulled out his pan and moved for the body.
"Hey, that's my claim!," yelled the jackrabbit, waving his pointy stick threateningly.
Suddenly, there was silence in the crowd. In the distance was heard raucous music from Miss Kitty's. The wind whistled across the desolate plain and dust devils danced between the legs of the bunny. Tumbleweeds silently rolled past as the eyes of the two antagonists locked. The sheriff spat into the dust and glared menacingly at the bunny.
"I think this deck's got five aces!," said the sheriff.
"I think you're a nutcase," replied the jackrabbit.
"Them's fightin' words, you long-eared galoot."
Time stretched out into eternity. The crowd looked from the angry face of the sheriff to that of the rabbit and then back again. The silence was unbearable, so the grizzlied prospector left.
"On the count of three," declared the rabbit. "One ... Three." The rabbit, with lightning lapine speed, dropped the pointed stick and blazed away with his trusty sixgun, killing the sheriff to kingdom come.
The sheriff, hit by a fusillade of rounds, collapsed, remembering as he fell that rabbits are notoriously poor counters, no matter how well they multiply.
The deputy nodded sadly, then pulled out his own hogleg, threw it away in disgust at the spoiled meat, then drew his gun, shooting the rabbit down where he stood.
The rabbit gasped in pain, "I shot the sheriff, but I forgot about the deputy."
The list of no-good low-down authorin' varmints who shall be blamed:
DEAD OR ALIVE
Phil "What's Up Doc" Geusz
Heather "Schoolmarm" Geusz
"Howlin' Wolf" Wanderer
Linnaeus "Twinkie the Kid" Lester
Sean "Mad Dawg" Morgan
Tin "Flyin' Elk" Bender
Readin' and Ritin' by:
Linnaeus "Mad Coon" Lester
"Texas Wolf" Wanderer
No animals were injured in the making of this story. However, several
did succeed in chewing off their own limbs in an attempt to escape.
Last Updated: Mon Jul 25 2005 07:54:06