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On “Red Rum”

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Finished my outline for my next short “Red Rum” yesterday, and today I’m about 1000 words into it so far. I’m having a load of fun with the main character, Red. He’s an alcoholic cowboy who’s only friend is a Mohawk Indian that he calls ‘Hawk’. I guess you could say I’m trying my hand at a ‘buddy’ story. It’s fairly cliche, I know, to have the Cowboy and Indian tale. But I guess it is just one of those iconic things that just really resonates with me.  I’ll go ahead and post the first scene here, let me know how you guys think it is coming along.

The devil of a sun baked the Nevada earth. The blue cloudless sky looked like a lake of cool water that mocked the two men bellow. A dark shadow circled over Red as he took another swig from his tin flask. Pushing back his brown sweat stained Stetson; he peered up at the bird.

“I don’t like the way that he’s eyein’ me,” Red spoke.

As he walked across the plain, his dark boots kicked up a cloud of dust that stacked onto his leather duster. His jeans were once blue, but now had the look of sun bleached bone. He had the look of a worn down man — cooked by the sun, and seasoned by the earth.

He took another swig from his flask.

“Friend, he is circling you because you are a man about to die.” Red looked up to the Iroquois riding a sleek white and brown Pinto next to him. He had adopted the dress of the white man. A boss of the plains hat covered his black hair, which hung in a thick braid down his back. His own duster flapped to the cadence of the horse. He sat straight in his saddle — body in perfect rhythm with the graceful trot of the horse.

“That’s encouragin’. Thank you for that, Hawk.” Red spat at the ground then lifted his red handkerchief that hung around his neck and dabbed at the sweat forming along his lip.

“I am not the one drinking spirits. Here, water,” Hawk reached into the saddle bag back behind him, careful not to bump his rifle and withdrew a water-skin.

“Rum is water,” Red shook his flask in the air, “It’s sweet, fills my belly, and helps a man forget he’s walkin’.”

Hawk let out a chuckle, “You should learn not to trust prostitutes with a neck as thick as your own.”

Red’s tanned skin grew flushed as he drew out another slug of rum and slammed the flask back in his coat pocket. Hawk roared with laughter at his friend’s silence. “Let me ride, you bastard!” Red stumbled toward the Pinto, his arms flailing to catch the side of the saddle and pull himself up. With a graceful prance the horse sidestepped before Red could get a grasp. Unable to catch the horse in time, he tripped over his own feet and fell onto the hard packed earth, kicking up a cloud of dust.

Seeing Red on the ground, the Iroquois doubled over his pommel, holding his stomach. His face red with laughter, Hawk worked to gain his breath through the bought of guffaws. With some effort he gained his composure, “She is… hahah… a fickle one, Red. Hahaha… I am sorry.”

Red spun onto his back and glared up at his friend. The sun pierced his eyes and he could feel the sweat on his face begin to roll down his cheeks. The cowboy drew his Dragoon revolver and aimed it up at Hawk. Reigning his horse, Hawk reached for his rifle, the mirth falling off his face. Red gave his counterpart a hard look, and let out a bark from his gun.

The black buzzard above them reeled from the impact of the bullet; its cry filling the sky. It pumped its wing to try to fly away from the pain. The wound proved to be too much for it. It beat its wings one last time before dropping like a brick — crashing to the earth behind a long rock a few yards ahead. Red stood up, snatched his hat from the ground and used it to dust himself off as he walked over to the carcass.

Hawk burst into raucous laughter.

Coming around the rock, Red found the buzzard laying across a wooden sign. In white wash letters it read, Beatty 19 miles, with a white arrow pointing off to the west. Red groaned, wiped the sweat from his brow, and turned to the west.


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