The New Wild West

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

I was going to check myself, but then he said this man was floating. Now, you just don’t waste a cowboy’s time with such tomfoolery.

Now, once we finally hit the next desert town, we didn’t waste any time or risk it at the saloons. This was a town of around 30 folks, and I went door to door with half of that, Tex hit the other half. Or he tried to. During one of his first sales attempts, he referred to me as La Espatula. The woman he was trying to sell some animals to when he blurted that out came out to me and planted a big kiss on me. I told her, “Lady, that was appreciated after a month of...all of this, but I don’t know who you are. I’m just a cowhand trying to sell my herd.” She then tried to remind me who she was. To keep up with the no real name tradition, I thought of her just as “the blonde”. “Sorry, but I just don’t know who you are. Normally, all these days out there get to you, people and memories start to fade away. But a face like too beautiful to fade away.”

I still got the mojo. That got her blushing so hard I could feel it. But she was still convinced I was this La Espatula, The Spatula. She grabbed my hand and pulled me back towards the part of town she came from. “You are him, I know it.” I tried to tell her I wasn’t, but she was stubborn. “Ok then, what’s your name?” Everything froze, all eyes were on me, probably even mine.

“I have no name,” I said after trying to figure out the best possible response.

“Exactly,” she said. “You are La Espatula. And we need you.” She took me inside the local store. The old man took one look at me and his jaw dropped. He let her into the back room, where I saw a safe. She opened it in an instant and inside, there it was. The golden spatula. She stuck it in my face, and I must admit, it was quite intimidating for a spatula. “Certainly now you must remember who you are! You can leave your spatula behind, but you can never leave your legacy behind! Take it. We need you and you will need this.” I went with it and put the spatula in the spatula holster I saw in there. I cleared out that safe and got ready for action. “La Espatula,” the blonde whispered in awe after I strapped everything on. “Now, our little town has been overrun by bandits and thieves, men who think they can do anything they want. You know what to do.”

I did, but I couldn’t help but think, “isn’t there anyone better to do this?” Before taking action into my own hands, I asked, “Where is the sheriff?”

“Right here.” She handed me the sheriff’s badge. “The sheriff ran out of town when the bandits became too much to handle and gave all responsibility to the first person he saw. I was the first person he saw. That strategy doesn’t always work out right, you know.”

“We didn’t see many bandits,” Tex said as he finally caught up with us, drinking a carton of milk he got from the store. “When do they usually show up around here?”

“Three even. So that would be in three minutes. That’s the magic number, I guess.”

We headed out of the store, waiting for these bandits. I tipped my hat to get all the sun out of my face. I told the blonde to get back into the store where it was safe, she did. “Hey, you want me to give you a hand with this?”

“No.” I took the turkey baster out and pointed it back towards the store. “You too.” I put the thing back and scanned the area.

There they were, trotting out into the middle of the road cockily. There were 14 of them, almost all younger men. There was an older man, he must have been in his 50’s. He laughed and spoke up. “You the new sheriff around here?”

“You could say that.” I wiggled my fingers, got them warmed up.

“Well then this should be more fun than it used to be. That blonde they used to have was easy on the eyes, but let me tell you, it was just too easy. It just got boring.”

“Trust me,” I said, squinting hard. “This won’t be as boring.” I took out a few packets of ketchup and pounded one in my palm. I hit one of the bandits so hard in the head it knocked him down. Without blinking, I threw the next one in my palm, and pounded, direct hit on another bandit. I got half a dozen of them right there, but once I went for more ketchup, they returned fire. But they had to go with the typical route and use their guns. I knocked a water trough over and took cover.

I ran towards the saloon, hiding from the gunfire behind that. I took out two bottles of Windex clipped to the back of my belt. I leapt out from the side of the saloon and squirted at the bandits as they were putting some more bullets into their guns. One or two of them screamed, just because they were surprised, as I hit their hands. Then as I got back up, they just started laughing. I’ve never seen a bad guy laughing so hard. They wiped their eyes once they got over the giggles and it worked perfectly. They forgot the Windex and were down on the ground screaming, rubbing even harder with their Windexed hands.

So here it was. The showdown. Some of these bandits went down with the Windex and after being the first to feel the ketchup, the others didn’t dare to get up. It was me and this head bandit. “So, this is how it has to end now?”

“I suppose so.”

“I really hoped I could just loot like a normal bandit,” he said, pacing himself in circles, as I did the same just to make it seem like a cooler showdown. “But no, I have to do all the work, again. I really hate to shoot the sheriff without even knowing who he is. But either I do that now or you say your last words here.” He took out his gun. “So, Mr. Sheriff. Your name?”

“My name is,” I said slowly. I unsheathed my spatula quickly and knocked that pistol right out of his hands. “La Espatula.” I whacked him in the back of the knees with it and took him to the ground with a smack to the face. I held the spatula between his eyes. “Any last words, Mr...I didn’t get your name.” I saw the top of the saloon being reflected in the face of my golden spatula. I turned around, took two egg beaters out of my hip holster and threw them at a man aiming at me from the roof. He was knocked down and I whacked the head bandit in the head again. He was done.

I was relieved to be done with all of this and threw my spatula onto the ground. The blonde ran out and hugged me. “You did it!” She was reasonably excited, but I knew that she couldn’t be bothered with a man like La Espatula much longer.

“I did it. But I would have done it for anyone. It was only the right thing. I can’t stay here much longer. It’s time for me to head off again.”

“But will I ever see you again? Will this town ever see you again? Will anyone ever see La Espatula again?

I looked at my golden spatula. “No.” And with that, I left that quirky town and its downed bandits. Tex and I jumped on our bookas and returned for home. It was easier than I thought to go back since all our buffalo and monkeys were missing. I later heard of an underground buffalo community, but I heard the same of the monkeys, so it must be easy to get those figured out. I reckon we were due to leave anyways. Once we reached the highway on our bookas, Tex jumped off, fell to his knees and screamed out, “It was earth all along!”

A month in the desert can remind you who you are. Or it can just really mess with your head and confuse you. Call it what you want, but maybe there’s a reason the cowfolk don’t roam the country no more. Nah, there can’t be a reason, but there’s a reason I’m not one of them. It’s just too much work, not enough reward for me. Besides, everyone wants you policing their towns. So my cowboy days are over. I never saw Tex again, we went our separate ways once we found the highway. Once I got back Onett, I went over to the drug store and bought myself a spatula. Just since I didn’t get anything else to remember this by. That’s enough action for a while. Although, my mailbox was hit by a few ninja stars as I was typing this up.

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