Sunday, May 21, 2006

An Outlaw Named Canebrake Divinity

Prologue:
The mysterious outlaw and pistoleer named Canebrake Divinity placed the barrel of his gun to his horse's eye.
"We came to the desert and tried to survive," Canebrake whispered. "But the desert refused to oblige."
Canebrake pulled the trigger. His horse took another two steps then collapsed and Canebrake was badly hurt in the fall.

Chapter One: Little Elly Alsworth
If the constant creak of canvas on wood doesn't drive you a bit insane then you've never ridden in a covered wagon--or you're deaf, or dead.

That's what thirteen-year-old Elly Alsworth decided on the first day of a three thousand mile journey conceived by her father apparently for the sole purpose of trading everything she loved about Boston for a wagon and a desert and the subtle stench of death.

The water skin dangled seductively from the cross spar and Elly glanced at it for the hundredth time that hour.
"It'll be sundown before you know it Elly." Her father stated at lunch when she begged for a second sip.
"Dinner time is two sips--lunch is only one. We're pioneers now and it's making us strong."
But Elly didn't feel strong. She felt thirsty and weak and in need of a bath. She thought about how nice it would be to slice that water skin open and roll around beneath the stream, laughing and weeping and carrying on in a most un-pioneer of ways.

She didn't do it though. Somewhere between Boston and the desert her father had found a backhand and didn't seem shy about using it.

Two miles down the trail Canebrake Divinity lay screaming and it wouldn't be long before the travelers heard.

Chapter Two: Blood-Lust Delirium
The wagon train made camp at the base of a mesa. They made their fires and cooked their meals and tried to ignore the screams coming from the nearby gully.

Elly didn't understand why they weren't helping the injured man.
"Because that's not just any man." The trail boss explained. "That's Canebrake Divinity, the mysterious outlaw and pistoleer, and he wants to rob our wagon train."

"Who?" Elly asked.

"Canebrake Divinity!" Canebrake Divinity bellowed, being close enough to participate in the conversation.

"Canebrake Divinity." The trail boss repeated to Elly. "He's an outlaw and pistoleer and he's very mysterious."

"Extremely mysterious." Canebrake pointed out from the bottom of the gully. "And I'm also the purest outlaw there ever was."

"Yeah, but he's hurt." Elly switched her stare from the trail boss to the gully. "You're hurt!"

"No I'm not." Canebrake replied. "Now stick 'em up!"

"Yes, you are." Elly informed the gully. "You've been down there for hours, making all of the sounds of agony."

"Not true, I'm fine." Canebrake huffed. "Must have been an egret you heard."

"Egrets don't live in the desert."

"I know; that's probably why she's so sad."

Elly's father grabbed her by the arm.
"No talking to outlaws."
He started dragging her to their wagon.

Elly tore free of her father's grasp.
"Father, that is an injured man down there and he's badly in need of our help."

The trail boss shook his head. "Wrong Elly, listen to your father and put Canebrake from your mind. He's an outlaw through and through, beyond and beneath our help--all he knows are tangled foes and blood-lust delirium."

Down in the gully Canebrake softly whistled his appreciation.
"Nice line for a trail boss." He murmured and tried to draw his knife. But his shoulder was badly dislocated and when it spasmed he stabbed himself in the thigh.

Epilogue:
The wagon train rolled on at dawn; Canebrake failed to stick it up--even the purest outlaws slip up from time to time. Two weeks later Elly caught fever and died. Her father called her a whiner right up until the end.

Canebrake Divinity had been following the wagon train, still determined to stick it up. He broke down when he reached Elly's grave, and tears on the cheeks of outlaws are the saddest tears of all. Canebrake stole the hand-carved plank, the only proof that Elly came west. The theft was reflexive and without intent. Canebrake kept it with him always and thought of Elly wherever he went.

The End




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7 Comments:

At 3:42 AM, Blogger Sharon said...

I think I was Elly Alsworth in another life.

Very finely done.

 
At 6:31 AM, Anonymous Nicolas Papaconstantinou said...

Canebrake Divinity is a hard sonovabitch, but ain't we all suckers for an "Elly"?

 
At 3:07 PM, Anonymous Old Horsetail Snake said...

You know, if you stuck some more ifs ands buts and howdy-dos in this piece, you could pret' near have a whole book. I know Canebrake would preciate it.

 
At 4:03 PM, Blogger Faceless Henchwoman said...

You've done it again, Latigo.

 
At 3:28 PM, Blogger Trevor Record said...

Obvioulsy some one made a mistake when they picked "lawyer from boston" instead of "doctor from new york".

 
At 12:45 AM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

Thank you Sharon. Wouldn't surprise me, wouldn't surprise me one bit.

Yes Nicolas Papaconstantinou, Canebrake Divinity is a hard sonovabitch--a very hard sonovabitch indeed.

Canebrake Divinity is dead Old Hoss, and has been for quite some time now.

And yet Faceless Henchwoman, I still fall asleep alone. Whatever I keep on doing sure don't seem to be much of a loneliness cure.

Well I don't know about that Trevor Record... The Two-Gun Kid was a lawyer from Boston and he had him a horse named Thunder.

 
At 10:21 AM, Blogger Ari said...

Wait.... I thought tech-guy tears were the saddest of all.

Personally, I think Latty tears disturbing clouds in his coffee are the saddest.

 

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