In between working on North Coast Video, I've been writing a lot of short stories lately. I've discovered that, generally, all writing is good writing, even if it's bad writing. Most of these stories, if not all of them, will never see the light of day, but some of the scenes and details might make their way into North Coast Video. I've also discovered, the more I listen to other people tell stories, the more likely I am to incorporate something they said into the book.
It's all connected somehow! Without any more chatter, please enjoy one of the short pieces of flash fiction I wrote just for fun. It's a Western called Silky and Bonnie and it made me laugh.
Silky and Bonnie
Up the mountainside the horse ran until she faltered. Bonnie broke her leg, but I didn’t have the heart to put her down. I drank what was left of my whiskey instead and woke up underneath a blanket of stars, a dull axe pain in my head, my boots covered with tarantulas. I was alone. Bonnie must’ve wandered off in the night. I rolled over in the dirt and the spiders scattered.
“Holy hell, what the fuck,” I groaned. “Water.”
Like a lost bear cub I crawled through the darkness, wary of sticking my hand into the slicing brush or under the slabs of rocks I slithered over. I heard bubbling water nearby and thanked God when I found it. I dunked my head in the stream and opened my mouth wide like a trout. A full minute later, my belly bloated with crisp, cold water, I came up for air.
“What the fuck,” I said as I flopped myself onto the soft bank of sand.
I must’ve fallen asleep soon after. The heat of the sun woke me and I discovered my legs, hands and neck were covered in tiny leeches. Two men on horseback were standing over me, rifles out.
“Top of the mornin’ Silky,” one of the men said to me.
I went about picking the leeches off me.
From the ground I said, “And to you sir. Do I know you?”
“Nope. But we know you.”
He tossed a pair of iron leggings at my feet.
“Let’s go you dirty son of a dog.”
Through the slats in the coach, I watched the crowd lined up along the route. A pretty redhead in a green dress waved at us as we rolled past. The chains around my hands rattled when I blew her a kiss.
“A dog to the very end, eh Silky,” croaked the man sitting across from me with the shotgun in his lap.
“A man can’t deny his true nature. Take you for instance, what does it feel like to live the life of a neutered polecat?”
He lifted the shotgun to hit me, but lowered it after a feigned bluff. He laughed in my face instead.
“Tell it to the hangman lover boy.”
I stood on top of the platform with the rope around my neck and looked out over the crowd. Some were fanning themselves with their Bibles. A man was selling shaved ice and pinwheels, but I saw no redhead in a green dress.
“Any last words,” the man with the black mask over his face asked me.
“Not to you,” I said.
A fly buzzed around us and landed in his eye.
“You got a fly in your eye hangman.”
He swatted at it and cursed. He put his hand on the lever and pulled, but there I stood, upright and alive. He pulled harder, but the lever didn’t budge. I knew she’d come. My sweet girl, loyal to the end. Bonnie stood underneath the platform, the rope in between her teeth. The crowd erupted in laughter, surged forward and shouted for mercy.
“Not today hangman,” I said as he took off his black mask.