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After a long day ridin’, ropin’, and sometimes rustlin’, cowpokes love to stop by a local saloon to wet their whistles. Card playing, loose talking, and fighting always ensued, some in good fun and others deadly serious. In this collection of stories, author Tom Sheehan rides and relaxes with them all. You’re in the right place for rollickingly good western yarns.
Seventeen western short stories by Tom Sheehan.
Western short stories Bio. of Tom Sheehan
Sheehan (31st Infantry, Korea 1951-52; Boston College 1952-1956) has multiple works in Rosebud, Linnet’s Wings, Serving House Journal, Literally Stories, Copperfield Review, Literary Orphans, Indiana Voices Journal, Frontier Tales, Western Online, Faith-Hope and Fiction, Eastlit, Rope & Wire Magazine, The Literary Yard, Green Silk Journal, Fiction on the Web, The Path, etc. He has 33 Pushcart nominations, 5 Best of the Net nominations (one winner).
Later book publications include The Cowboys, Beside the Broken Trail, In the Garden of Long Shadows, Between Mountain and River, and, shortly, Catch a Wagon to a Star, by Pocol Press, and Jehrico by Danse Macabre. Back Home in Saugus (a collection) is being considered, as are Small Victories for the Soul VII, Korean Echoes, Jock Poems for Proper Bostonians, The One Way to Get Home, and Alone with the Good Graces. He was Danse Macabre’s 2016 Writer-in-Residence in Las Vegas.
Slow Finger on the Trigger, or Sure-shot Sue
Sue Yarbo picked up her first rifle when she was 12 years old and somebody was shooting her father’s cows every once in a while. Those deeds rankled her seriously as she saw daily the full work effort he put forth to make their place a most comfortable place in the old West and that part of Texas where she lived after her mother had died so young. When she herself died 78 years later, her brother’s folks buried the rifle with her, on that little hill sitting outside Pottsville, Texas and not too far from the Long Haul Saloon where some stories indeed make the long haul on their own, as many of us have come to know. Read the full story HERE>>
How to Lose a Badge
The shot came out of the distance and Sheriff Wes Parker, of Plain Top, Texas, knew his horse was dead before crumpling to the ground, the sudden jolt under him loaded with the future on foot, and all its associated possibilities lining up in a hurry. He’d flung his rifle free of the coming pile, but couldn’t get to the canteen, crushed by weight of his favored mount out on every search or posse since he’d been sworn in. Read the full story HERE>>
The Other Side of the Tracks
The black horse of an engine from Great Western RR sat on the edge of Crispin Village in Nevada, the engineer, Paul Bryant, wondering how much longer this stop would be available, so much going on in the area, in the town. And much of it was illegal, entirely beyond the law as word came to him through his own crew and their contacts and from a few regular passengers who talked openly. Read the full story HERE>>
The Scot’s Bonnie Bonnet
The man was puzzled. He knew it was concern, worry, a problem rearing its hind legs. He’d meet it head on, he was sure, as trouble had followed the muscular gent in his Scottish past in the braes or lowland hills of Scotland. Read the full story HERE>>
He came up out of Mexico, mostly on foot, not really slithering around but always looking for a horse loose from its rider or a mountable wild horse, both with diversions working on them. All the time he was also mumbling new phrases of the new language area he was walking into. Read the full story HERE>>
Shag Monroe, Crevice Hunter, Newly Appointed
When the mayor of Colbert Falls swore Shag Monroe in as new sheriff, and pinned the badge on his chest, Shag spun on his boot heels, jammed his pistol into the gut of the man beside him, Task Shiner, and said “I arrest you for the murder of Clint Osterfeld.”
It was the quickest, cleanest act of justice ever seen in Colbert Falls... Read the full story HERE>>
Matt Nightcloth, Man of the Hills
He had come out of eastern Tennessee, by himself, with a trusted horse leading a pack horse, a sharpshooter’s rifle, a long-handled and keen-edged ax and a plan to build a mountain home in the new west. With his family gone in a hurry from a rock-fall, he had set out alone for the new territory, the new start on life. Read the full story HERE>>
The Lady’s Man
Sheriff Corv Magnus broke up the lynching with three shots over the heads of the mob, each man of the mob knowing that Magnus could hit any target that he aimed for; he was a deadly shooter, and now was no time for testing him. Read the full story HERE>>
Nothing but Star-dust in the Making
When young Peter Prentice looked down from the cliff-top above the winding road to Hawthorne, Nevada, he saw the stagecoach at a standstill, the driver and his up-top companion with their hands raised in abject surrender to three rifle-bearing, masked-men on horseback, one of the robbers wearing a vest he was sure he’d seen before. Read the full story HERE>>
The Sudden Riches of the Misbegotten Sheriff
The supposed mayor of Calvern Hill, Texas, one Roger Lees Butterfield, owner of the lone bank, pinned the sheriff’s badge on the newly-appointed sheriff, Clark Rockwell and handed him a five-dollar bill. “This is your pay for this day and you will get $150 a month as long as you’re sheriff of this town.”
The man’s smile was too big for his face. Read the full story HERE>>
Christian Tanger was born with the squeakiest of voices, and which his hearty father tried to hide from any listeners by saying, “He doesn’t have much to say, my Chris, not like some other blockheads I know around here.”
The father was big enough to say those words aloud, a walking load of deference, and so unlike his son who was called, behind his back, “Squeaky,” in the softest of voices lest that voice be recognized by Squeaky’s father. Read the full story HERE>>
Okred Wrawpick, in the year 1870, was the heaviest man I ever saw sit a horse and I’ve seen a few big men in my day. It isn’t just the physical description that gets justified here but the whole story, all the way back to Eastern Europe, which I will try to tell from sources every which way arriving at my doorstep, for my pen. Read the full story HERE>>
Horse Killer’s Injun
My horse was down, with a broken leg and a neck gash.
My left leg was under him.
He wasn’t going to move, and I couldn’t but he’d been good to me, that fine animal.
I put a round in his head, thankful he was out of his misery. Some people will know my misery in a flash, a ton of it on the soul.
The shot also brought company, a young Indian standing still with a rough iron knife in his hand, a strange weapon for him to wield. I was willing to bet he’d honed it every day of its creation from who-knows-what-piece-of-junk he had found on the trail to somewhere, Oregon most likely.
Execution at Skeetersville
We’re all readers in our family and, to boot, all “story tellers,” of one sort or another. That includes liars of the first order, embellishers of the same dim characteristic, false witnesses at the Commonwealth’s highest courts, bologna tossers without a split of bread, fabrication specialists in group therapy and other heady interventions and exercises, fairy tale spinners extraordinary or fabulists per se, and fibbers of the lowest level. But Uncle Amos Bohaddly (none of us believed that was his real name because we’ve never seen it in print or posted anywhere else, or heard it spoken publicly or privately, except by him) takes the cake on all of it every time out.
Jake Craddock used his mouth to chew, drink and curse; those were the only efforts he employed, be damned any other exercises come to mind. Yet his horse had more care than a child; “Derby,” he called him.