eli figueroa

The noonday sun stood stark and still baking the land as two riders slowly entered the town of Stillwater.

The riders were old-timers but as different as night and day. The first rider was completely bald wearing a large brown Stetson. He also had the largest walrus mustache anyone had ever seen. Speckled gray the mustache gave away his age. He rode a Palomino mare.

His riding companion was stockier and heavy set with a cream-colored ten-gallon hat. He was clean-shaven except for a chin beard that was long and braided. The hair on his chin and the hair on his head were almost completely white. He rode a large gray stallion.

Silently they slowly passed thru this one horse town looking for the livery stable. It turned out to be at the other end of town right across from the stagecoach depot.

A crowd had gathered around the stagecoach. There was a lady lying in the middle of the street with a large man wearing a pin-stripped suit looming over her. His deputy badge gave him a sense of power. The lady wore a nice black dress with a navy-blue bonnet and carried a navy-blue purse – which she was holding at if she wanted to hit the deputy with it. She looked more angry than scared as the deputy berated her.

“GET UP!” he screamed.

Scowling the bearded old timer got off his horse.

“You figure on getting into trouble?” his mustached companion asked.

“Yep! It appears that way.”

“I’ll take care of your horse.”

The bearded old-timer got between the deputy and the lady.

“Back off boogooloo!” he told the deputy.

Surprised the deputy took a step back. The old-timer reached down to help the lady get back to her feet.

“Ma’am, it would be a pleasure to give you a hand.”

Fair-skinned and flaxen-haired the lady was pretty enough to make any man turn and look a second time.

“Mister,” the deputy warned, “This ain’t none of your business!”

The old timer gave the deputy a look that could melt steel.

“Ordinarily I’d say you were right. But I figure any hombre that manhandles a lady is tired of living. And I’d be more than happy to oblige ‘em!”

“Lady!” the deputy exclaimed, “This ain’t no lady. This here’s a whore!”

“Know that from personal experience, do ya?” the old timer asked.

Silently his mustached companion came up and stood beside him.

“Just who the hell do you think you are?” demanded the deputy.

“Leo Hiquesoa!” answered the old timer.

The color drained out of the deputy’s face. The crowd behind him began to murmur.

“Leo the Beard!” they said, “It’s Leo the Beard! It’s the Beard! Then that other fella must be Ruin Hanson – the Mustache. They’s always together.”

Eyes bulging in his head, his lower lip trembling, the deputy took a step back his hands out in front of him.

“I . . . I’m sorry . . . I . . . I didn’t know. I thought you was dead!”

“I am! This is my second life.”

Without another word the deputy turned on his heel and ran. The crowd laughed, except for two men – one tall and one short – who stared at the Mustache and the Beard with frosty eyes.

“Thank you gentlemen for helping out a lady in distress. My name is Lillian Ideal. I’m not actually a whore, I’m a writer. I write under the name ‘Lady Chic.’ Perhaps you’ve heard of me?”

“No.” they both said in unison.

Nonplussed she continued, “I was writing an article on whores . . . erm, prostitutes, and was working undercover when the sheriff – the married sheriff – propositioned me and that is how I wound up being forced to leave the town. Apparently I wasn’t moving fast enough to suit the deputy.”

It was at that point she got interrupted.

“You two turn around and face us!”

The two frosty-eyed men from the crowd stood poised for trouble. The taller man had carrot-colored hair. The shorter man had a full black beard. Both were so ugly not even their mothers could love them. They stood there striving to look mean and tough. The Mustache tried not to yawn.

“We figure you two old goats have been riding on your reputations long enough.”

“Did he just call us old goats?” Leo asked incredulously.

“That he did.” Answered Ruin.

“Do we kill them fast or slow?”

“Fast. It’s too hot for slow.” Ruin decided.   

“You’re too old to be much good anymore,” Carrot-top continued, “so we figure on getting ourselves a quick reputation.”

“Why does this keep happening wherever we go?” Leo wondered.

“You take the one on the left and I’ll take the one on the right.” Ruin decided.

“How come you get to choose?”

“Okay, you take the one on the right and I’ll take the left.”

“Than I’ll have to shoot across you.”

“Dammit!” exclaimed Ruin, “You are a pain in the ass!”

“That’s right. But I’m your pain in the ass so it don’t count.”

“Enough talk!” Carrot-top interrupted, “Get on with it!”

“Somebody’s in a hurry to die” Ruin remarked softly.

The two challengers were fast. They were fast enough to actually clear their holsters before a loud “BANG!” rang out. Actually it was two bangs but they happened simultaneously so it sounded like one loud gunshot.

A small red dot appeared on the shorter man’s chest right over where his heart should be and the impact flung his body back.

Another red dot appeared on carrot-top’s forehead. His head flew back taking his body with it.  

“Mine hit the ground first.” said Ruin.

“Your’s was shorter.” Leo replied.

It was at that moment they realized Lillian was still standing right behind them and had not gotten out of the line of fire.

She stood there wide-eyed and not blinking. Her fair skin had taken on a slightly greenish tinge. Her lips were moving but all that came out was a very soft, “Wow.”

A stiff whiskey later and she had composed herself well enough for the stagecoach to get ready to leave.

“Where’s the stagecoach headed?” enquired Leo.

“A town called Dollarhide.” The driver answered.

A knowing look passed between Ruin and Leo.

“You know, I’d much rather ride to Dollarhide on a stagecoach than on horseback.”

“You just want to spend more time with the lady.” Stated Ruin.

“Gawd! I loves it when you’re right!” exclaimed Leo.



  1. Funny story. It’s funnier to everyone who will understand the players. Lady Chic!?! LMFAO! (The F is for Flippin.) You’re really feeling your druthers. I’m glad you’re OK. I assume Tiger is well.


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