Author Topic: Ballad of California Creek  (Read 4331 times)

Offline Willie Dixon

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Ballad of California Creek
« on: January 03, 2009, 06:51:08 AM »

It is cold here, that is about all I can reckon, but it is a peaceful cold.  Snow falling down, cascading the mountainside in a beautiful white crystal with the pines poking out here and there.  The trail seems to be well traveled, that is nice for a change.  It is strange how the canter of a horse is similar to the rise and fall aboard a ship like the Lane.  She was a good gal, and so is this horse, also named Harriet, in honor of that proud cutter.  She's fast like her too, but only when needed, and always able to be counted on.

It is funny how a man like me can find peace, finally, here in these mountains and valleys.  Prescott is where I'm headed, and my name, well, most people just call me Creek or California Creek.  Funny though, leaving California and heading back east.  Only a little bit though, through the canyon passes, the high desert, and across the mighty Colorado.  That's how I got up here into these mountains, first up high at the small station in Flagstaff, now here, off of a bluff, my new home.  Hopefully people do not know me here, but then again, maybe only someone like my friends from Colton could understand the constant banter and popularity, two things I don't like.

Maybe it's the tell-tale navy frock coat, or the cutlass sheathed right next to me on my right side, closer than my Spencer carbine.  Or maybe it's the hat, the bone colored hat, stained with hard earned sweat, in stark contrast to my deep blue coat and vest.  Or maybe my "old" weapons.  I guess anyone now wandering around without a cartridge belt is said to be weird.  I call it traditional.  I like my cap and ball, it's simple, and it won't accidentally blow up on me when I try to reload it.  I don't smoke, except maybe a pipe or cigar every now and then, and then, my powder is somewhere put away, close by, but away, nice and safe.  Easy that way.

I should be able to see the capital soon, supposedly right over this ridge.  I knew learning the art of navigation was a good idea, just as reliable out here as it is on the rolling waves of the rebel coastline.  That way I don't have to travel on the normal roads, the well beaten trails.  I do that for two reasons I guess, one, my way is different and the would-be bandits don't plan out attacks in areas except the easy trails, and, well, I like being different. 
At 25, you need to follow dreams or you'll regret it later. 

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes

Offline Willie Dixon

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Re: Ballad of California Creek
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2009, 04:51:58 AM »
~Chapter 1~
It's warmer down here than up at the train station.  That was a whole new kind of cold for me.  The ocean had always made almost any temperature I had ever been in at least moderate.  That and being off of Texas and Lousiana definitely had some advantages as far as weather.

I always wanted to live up in the mountains, be in the snow. Have the changing seasons that wasn't just the rain and sunny.  There is a small tavern up ahead, my kind of place, I can hear the harpsichord playing already.  I can't help but grin at the sound, the player is good, and he's playing Chopan, not something modern.  People are starting to notice me, some with quick glances, some with blatant stares, but no glares.  That's good.

"Good mornin' stranger, I'm Sheriff Walton.  What's your name and how may I be of service?"  Asks a man with a badge walking up to me. He has a sharp creased face, pointed nose and the gun placed on his belt easily visible to passersby but not easy for him to grab.

"Not much Sheriff, I just am a bit thirsty."  I reply, smirking at the corner of my face, at his apparent distaste in my manners, I have no reason why.  As far as I remember, it's a good thing for the law not to know your name.

"Well that's fine stranger, but I wouldn't recommend that establishment.  It's a little to 'fancy' for one of your stature."  He replies, apparently I'm not good enough for him.

"Whatever do you mean, Sheriff?"  I ask, innocently.

"Well, you see, maybe if you got a place to stay and take a shower, maybe a shave, and got some respectable clothes, they might let you in."  He answered, "I also happen to run the town's lot commission, I have a nice place coming up for rent, are you interested?"

Great, a salesman with a badge, I'm sure he has delusions of grandeur thinking he'll make Gov'nor someday.  "Well that's fine Sheriff, but I enjoy the outdoors too much to be cramped up.  Any chance at a shower though would be most appreciated and kindly of you." 

Let him swallow that fine vernacular, yes I'm educated, I just don't brag about it.  That's also why I took the stripes off my coat.  They can't tell I've been to Annapolis, unless they really take notice.  Up here in a mountain, I highly doubt that.

"I see, well, if you want a warm shower, you need to rent out the room the shower is sitting in."  The Sheriff answered, starting to look a little perturbed.   

What'd I do?

"That, and it'd be awfully nice of you to dismount from your horse, creaking my neck looking up at you.  There's a stable around back."

"I see, sorry about that." As I dismount my horse, a funny idea pops in my head, one I shouldn't bring to fruition... "You own the stable too?" 

Oops.  I just did.  Now he's really upset.

"No, no, my brother happens to own it.  Nice place for your... mare?  A mare?  Really, you funny or something?"  He asks as he inspects my horse. 

I admit, she's not in her best look, but she's at her happiest: barbs in her hair, mud on her hoofs and looking alive from the trail.

"Funny?  No, she's just a good horse is all."  I reply as I start walking Harriet over to a post to tie her up, a post that holds up the balcony to the tavern I've been trying to get into. 

"Now just wait a minute!  I'll have you under arrest for disturbing the peace if you just want to go ignoring my friendly hospitality and advice!"  He says as he grabs my shoulder.

I just stare at him, dark and cold.  "What's the charge?  You are kidding right?"

"Walton!!  What in tarnation do you think you're up to?  IF he were disturbing, and since that's in town, that would fall under my jurisdiction would it not?"  Says another man.  Tall, lean, and also having a star on his vest under his sack coat. 

I think I'll like him, he reminds me of, well, me.  He's not for show, his cross draw and shoulder rig look ready for action, same with the Henry he has slung over his shoulder.

"Now Marshall Hitch, this doesn't concern you!"  The "Sheriff" answers, looking fearful.

"He's in city limits ain't he?"  Marshall Hitch asks.

"Well, yes, but he's in my county territory first."  The "Sheriff" says as the Town Marshall walks right past him and up next to me.

"Look, go ahead and tie up, there's a hotel above the tavern.  Ignore 'Mr. Politician' over there."  Marshall Hitch then walks right on past me and into the tavern.

There is a slight commotion coming from the tavern, nothing to take note of, just the typical sounds of an establishment that specializes in all of man's vices.


Oh crap, that's a gunshot.  As I think that and instinctively draw my 1858 Remingtons a man comes out of the bar with a blood coming out of his throat. 

"You sunnabitch, yer gunna git it now!"  A man calls out from behind the shot man, taking a double barrel shotgun and pointing it right at him.

"Enough!"  That's Marshall Hitch's voice as he kicks the assailant out into the street.  Now this is getting intersting, there seems to be a crowd developing as well.  Most of them are miners or just citizens, but yeap, gotta feelin' that some of them are friends with one of the two drunk skunks.

"Marshall, it was a fair fight, he called me a liar!"  The man in the blue shirt with the shotgun calls out.

In the glint of the morning sunrise I see nickel plating out of the corner of my eye, a gun!  Instinctively I draw a bead on the assailant and cock my revolver.

"I don't think so, let it be."  I say as I come up to the "shiny boy."  Yep, he never noticed me.

"This don't concern you stranger."  He answers as he begins to draw another gun.  I shoot him clean through.  Oops.

"Hey!! He just shot Ned!! That does it, they all have it in fer us!"  Calls out another of the ranching group.  All of them now have guns out.  I decide it might not be a bad idea to meander over to the Marshall.  He's still trying to subdue the original assailant.

"C'mon Marhsall!  Why you trying to cuff me!?"  The man says, clearly high on opiates.  "Uggnh!"  I hit him clean on the back of the head with the butt of my Remington.

"Nice."  The Marshall replies to me, then to the angry mob, "Go on now, go home!  He's going to jail, you know the law!  Get!" 

"We ain't gettin' 'til you turn him loose!"  Calls out one of the newcomers, he was right next to that Ned fella I shot.  "We'll tear you apart-"

"Look, you aren't going anywhere near the Marshall, got it?"  I say as I place my Remington under foolish man's jaw.  He also notices I have another one, hidden between the two of us, already drawn and cocked.  "They may get us, but not before I take a few with me, starting with you, got it?"

The man finally realises how serious I am and decides to walk slowly backward toward his friends. 
"You're dead now, stranger."  He answers as they all start to disperse.

"You know, you're under arrest too, stranger."  The Marshall says as he cuffs me.  What, no thanks?

"Law and order, every time, that's me."  I reply as I let him cuff me.
At 25, you need to follow dreams or you'll regret it later. 

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes


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