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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.
The Outlaws’ Outlaw
Bailey Bastion, called different names at different times, had been addressed, or taunted, as Baby Bailey, Baby Bailey B, Baby B, Baby, and finally as Babs, the cruelest of all for the old west, or headed that way. This flight from the taunts and screams following him out of town after town, until he ended up, squirreled into the upper reaches of an old barn, still leaning with each wind, on the edge of a Montana town going by the odd name of One Capital, even then being spelled with two A’s or one A and one O, it not yet being decided firmly what it was. One Capital or One Capitol. Read the full story HERE>>
His name was Thurrel Chowder, vagrant of sorts, whose name to all came to be Chowda in a rapid hurry and who was hired by the previous sheriff of Cannon City to be chief cleaner-upper and major domo of the municipal jail and sheriff’s office. He was trusted by the other sheriff and the current one because each one thought Chowda was too dumb to do anything wrong, anything other than sweep, dust, dump trash, yell when a prisoner made too much noise, count the prisoners behind bars every night as darkness descended and made sure they were all there in the morning. Read the full story HERE>>
After two years in jail for a false charge before a crooked judge, Twist Cochran returned to Elgansor, Texas to get back his badge now on the chest of a man who couldn’t earn the right to wear it even if he died trying. Read the full story HERE>>
Highway to Heaven in the Foothills
Steve Bancroft wore his sheriff’s badge, with a deep sense of pride, against his chest, always feeling the weight of its demands working on his mind, body and soul. As a result, he and his horse made a difference in their small Texas world; the hills, and the mountains, farther out, enfolded with a now-and-then serenity, or else a heavy composition of greed, including death by varied causes, varied degrees.
He wanted to believe he could get the area closer to the likes of heaven or a heavenly dream. And be damned the usual struggles to make his area a worthier part of Texas. Read the full story HERE>>
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.
The Kid Witness
High in the saddle, stretching his gaze out on the wide grass, rancher Bill Curtis spotted a rider sitting a horse with one of its forelegs hoisted as if in pain. There was no movement to man or horse other than the occasional foreleg in its long-range message. Read the full story HERE>>
John Buck, ten years old if a day, was heading to the saloon in Colbert, Texas to ride home with his father on a Saturday afternoon. The ride back home would find a tasty favor from his father.
He was wondering what it would be this time, that special favor, when he spotted a pistol somehow lost in tall grass, only the splash of sunlight finding it before he did. Read the full story HERE>>
Lack of Evidence
“Oh, what the hell. Why not? There’s nobody around for miles and I need a horse and a pistol like I need a shave.” One hand swept across his chin, the way some measure abundance.
He put his eye down the barrel of the rifle, his one and only round in the chamber, drew aim without a second thought of life on the axis, squeezed the trigger, knocked the unknown man off the saddle, thence to fall as dead as a rock. Read the full story HERE>>
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>>