Shootin' Flies

Contributor: John Laneri

- -
Sheriff Matt Carson was into page two of the Brazos River Weekly when his Deputy, Jasper Martin, a young man with light hair and a freckled face, returned to the jail house, his lanky body dropping casually into a chair.

“The main street looks quiet,” Jasper said, as he swatted at a fly. “Not much happening – just a couple of scrawny girls standing in front of the saloon.”

“Lets hope it stays quiet,” the Sheriff replied. “I’d like to enjoy the newspaper.”

Jasper watched the Sheriff turn a page. “What are you reading?”

The Sheriff glanced his way. “It's an editorial about the dangers of carrying hand guns. Makes some interesting points about irresponsible people.”

“Ain’t nobody gonna take my forty-five!” Jasper said quickly, his eyes bulging.

“Relax... nobody’s talking about taking away your hand gun. The writer is simply voicing an opinion about too many guns being in irresponsible hands. As bad as you shoot, folks needn’t be too worried.”

Jasper scrunched his face then reached for a fly swatter and swished it about.
”These flies are driving me nutty. I think we need more flypaper.”

The Sheriff looked up. “Tending to flypaper and sweeping cells is your job. As a matter of fact, this place is a mite dusty.”

“I’m serious, Sheriff. We need to do something about these flies.” He lifted the swatter and smacked at a couple of laggards. “Flies are everywhere. I even feel ‘em in my clothes.”

The Sheriff settled his other boot on the desk and glanced as Jasper. “If the flies are bothering you so much then try taking a bath once a week.”

“You’re funny, Sheriff… real funny.”

Laughing the Sheriff continued, “We’ll get some relief whenever that herd of cattle moves past. We always get flies when they drive cattle to market north of here.”

Jasper set the fly swatter aside and removed his forty-five from its holster. “Do you think we’ll get much trouble with the cowpunchers coming to town?” He spun the cylinder, listening to it click past the chambers.

Turning another page, the Sheriff looked up. “If we do, then we’ll jail ‘em overnight and charge a fine of two dollars for disturbing the peace.”

“One thing for sure, the girls at the saloon make a pile of money.”

The Sheriff glanced over his newspaper. “Cowboys do like girls, that’s a fact.”

Jasper jumped to his feet and slapped off a couple of draws. “I’m getting fast in front of a mirror.”

The Sheriff again lowered his newspaper. “Cowboys don’t gunfight. They’re into herding cattle and buying whores, so you’d best be leaving your six-shooting for varmints in your backyard. And, put that blasted gun away. We don’t need holes in the walls.”

“What ever you say, Sheriff. But, I’m still planning to practice my draw.”

Finally, the Sheriff set his newspaper aside and came to his feet. “Think I’ll head over to the cafe. I’ve been looking forward to fried steak for lunch. And while I’m gone, get over to the hardware store and round up more flypaper.”

“But Sheriff, hanging flypaper causes my shootin’ finger to get sticky.”

Squaring his hat, the Sheriff started for the door. “Just do what you’re told and quit playing with that gun. You might hurt somebody.”

The noise was as a deafening explosion, one that sent the sound of disaster reverberating throughout the room. As his hat went flying, the Sheriff dove to the side. Behind him, splinters flew from his desktop sending pieces of newspaper fluttering about the room.

The Sheriff sprang to his feet. “Are you okay boy? I told you not to be playing with that gun.”

“I’m fine, Sheriff,” Jasper mumbled, his eyes wide. “The thing just went off for no reason.”

The Sheriff grunted then took a step toward the desk.

“Hum…” he said, as his fingers probed along the edge of the hole. Reaching for his glasses, he looked closer, his eyes squinting.

“What do you see,” Jasper asked, as he stepped beside him.

“You ruined my desktop, but I think you got it – fairly clean shot too.”

“Got what,” Jasper asked, curiously.

“Got that fly. Now, get the hell out of here and get more flypaper like I told you. And, keep that gun holstered. Otherwise, you might shoot off something important.”

“Like what?” Jasper asked.

“Like something you’ll be needing when the girls stop looking scrawny.”

- - -
John is a native born Texan living near Houston. His writing focuses on short stories and flash. Publications to his credit can be found on the internet and in several print edition periodicals.
Read more »
These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

Help keep Linguistic Erosion alive! Visit our sponsors! :)- - -