🙂 Tuesday = #Blogbattle
OK, so here’s my attempt at a Western. I have no idea where this came from, maybe it was the pic of the cowboy and the lollipop, or maybe it’s the huge amounts of chocolate I have consumed after my daughter and I hit the 50% off Valentine’s Candy sales yesterday. Whether it’s any good, is neither here nor there, I had fun getting out of my comfort zone.
#BlogBattle is a weekly short story challenge using a single word for inspiration. Hosted by the talented Rachael Ritchey. Feel free to join in, or click here to read the current week’s stories and vote for your favorites.
This week’s word: Lollipops
Genre: Western (that was actually difficult to type, lol)
The Flavor of Truth
Now that ol’ Jeb is takin’ a long rest in the bone orchard, Bart decides to pay a little visit to the missus, on the matter of the debt Jeb still owes him. Standing in her back yard, he still towers over Annabell as she stands on the steps of her back porch.
“I would say that I’m sorry about Jeb, but can’t say that I ever really liked him much. But there is the matter of the money he still owes me, so how you reckon that thar will be taken care of little missy?”
“I just need some time Mr. Ferguson, Jeb was just laid to rest two days ago, God bless his soul, please just give me some time.” Annabel hates giving this man any respect, but she forces herself to play the hopeless widow, for now.
“Why not have that boy of yours come work for me, work off his ol’ man’s debt.”
Annabell struggles to contain her fury, there is no way she would let this man get near her son, he’s hurt this family enough. Through gritted teeth, she slowly yet confidently replies, “Mr. Ferguson, I asked for some time. My son will not be consorting with the likes of you in any way. I will get you your money.”
“The likes of me, huh? Make no mistake missy, I’ll get my money one way or another.” Bart sneered. As he walked away, he passes Jeb’s faithful stallion, Atlas. Bart smooths his fingers over his mane and pats his neck, then says, “Mighty fine animal you got thar, Good day to ya.” With a tilt of his hat, he is gone.
Annabel will not let that man ruin her day, but the evil she saw in his eyes still has her legs trembling. She whispers up a prayer, and goes on to tend to her chores.
• ♦ •
The next morning her neighbor Scarlett, bringing fresh eggs for her breakfast greets her. “Good Morning Annabell, your son take Atlas out for a morning ride?”
“No, why do you ask?”
“He wasn’t in his stall when I walked by.”
“Are you sure?” Annabell doesn’t wait for an answer, but runs out the door towards the barn with Scarlett right behind her.
“He’s gone, Scarlett, he’s gone!!”
“Who would have taken him? Everyone knows what that horse means to your family.”
“Oh no….oh no.” Annabell chants quietly as she begins to tremble.
“Annabell, who did this? You know something, tell me.”
“I can’t, Scarlett, I just can’t.” She buries her head in her hands and begins to weep.
Scarlet hugs her friend, as she comforts her. Her mind reeling, who could have done such a thing? Then she realizes. Only one person could make another this frightened without even speaking their name. She knew what she had to do.
The next day, Scarlett sets out to put her plan in motion. She contacts the Sheriff to explain what has happened, and how she is going to handle it. She asks if he would be at the Saloon at high noon. She also contacts the Maloney brothers. They will have no problem jumping in if someone decides to kick up a row.
She makes a batch of her Homespun Confections just like her grandmother taught her, using fresh berries. She puts a special finishing touch on one of them, just like her mother taught her, and places that one in her pocket, the others she stores in her apron.
When she arrives at the Saloon, Bart is already there. He’s there everyday at lunchtime to bend an elbow. She offers her sweet confections to the towns’ people who have gathered for lunch. Smiling and laughing as she makes her rounds, she is sure to make eye contact with Bart as much as she can. Everyone knows that Bart can’t pass up a beautiful redhead in an immodest blouse. As she approaches his table, he says, “Hey there little lady, what you selling.” Even though he tries to smile, and make his voice sound sweet, she can’t help but notice the cold steel in his eyes.
She focuses on his eyebrows, so it looks like she is looking into his eyes, “These are my very own Homespun Confections, one taste of my lollipops, and you’ll never be the same.”
“Is that right?” Ogling her as if she were the sweet treat. “Say, aren’t you Athena’s daughter? Talk is that you all are a bunch of witches. You tryin’ to put some kind of spell on me?”
Scarlett sits down next to him and rests her chin on her hand, and looks at him. “I would think an intelligent man like yourself would scoff at the notions of mere towns people.” She makes a show of pulling out the lollipop, and begins to wave it in front of him. “Besides, that’s my momma, and she’d rather you refer to her as an enchanter. As for me, I just like to make sweet treats for people to enjoy.” She hands him the lollipop. He opens it and begins to taste it. “Mmmm this is good, do I taste boysenberry, and blueberry?”
She nods her head with a smile, as she waits for the affects to kick in. She makes eye contact with the Sheriff, to signal him to get into place.
“You sure are a pretty little thing, I hope you didn’t take offense to the witch comment. It’s just that it was mighty convenient that all your husbands just happen to come up missin’.” Bart drawls on.
“Well, you know, sometimes things just come up missing.” Scarlett says with a shrug.
“You’re right about that.” Bart says with a laugh, as he looks down at the lollipop, and takes another lick.
“Sounds to me like you have some secrets cowboy.” She looks from side to side, then leans in closer to him and says quietly, “I’ll tell you my secrets if you tell me yours.” She knows that the berries have done their job, so she comes right out and asks, “What do you know about Annabell’s horse?”
Without hesitation he says, “Yup, that was me. I took her horse and sold it to a fella passing through town, got more than enough money to cover her good-for-nothin’ husband’s debt.” With a satisfied smirk, he pops the candy back into his mouth and crosses his arms across his chest.
A voice from behind him bellows, “The jig is up. Bart Ferguson, you’re under arrest.” The Sheriff grabs his wrists, as the Maloney brothers grab his arms and lift him out his chair.
Bart spits out the lollipop right at Scarlett, and seethes, “You. Little. Vixen.”
“Truth has rough flavors if we bite it through.” With that, Scarlett sticks a lollipop in her mouth, and savors the taste with a satisfied smile, as she waves to a defiant Bart being carted away.
© 2016 Carrie Ann
“Truth has rough flavors if we bite it through.” by George Eliot