Home > Happy Holidays Fun, The Monday Musings Column > Holiday Humour as TCB has a Western Encounter

Holiday Humour as TCB has a Western Encounter

ThatConsultantBloke hadn’t done the Florida theme parks for some years so a day around one of the old favourites with the Berkshire Belle seemed like a good idea and they had been on a few rides and had a good lunch when, with feet tiring, they found themselves by the Wild West Show. It was not one of their favourites, but the queue was short and the chance to sit down for half an hour appealed so they went on in.

In the pre-show warm up the usual appeal went out for a few members of the audience to take a part in the action and, also as usual, TCB kept his hand and his head down, but the crew were looking for someone older and he found himself being pulled out of his seat to join in the action. Taken behind the scenes he was kitted out with a couple of garments to blend him in with the western cast including a Colt Peacemaker and he was briefed on his cue for firing it at one of the cast.

He was then taken through to the stage coach in which he would be making his entrance to the carefully managed mayhem of the Dodge City set. It was dark where they waited in the depths of the set, but he could hear some of the action dimly and then a voice called “go” and the stage pulled away. TCB experienced a strange sensation as they rattled through the gloom and out into the bright light. They raced around the corner and pulled up in front of the saloon.

The stage coach door was opened as he was expecting and he stepped out onto the boardwalk, turning to face the adversary that he had been briefed to expect. The challenge rang out and something from childhood practice of fast drawing with a toy gun came back to him. He had been told to aim roughly in the direction of the man and pull the trigger: His gun was loaded with blanks and his target was wired with a blood sack that would make it look as though he had been hit.

He drew his gun and pulled the trigger and the other gunman went sprawling. That, he thought, was it as far as his participation was concerned, but another challenge rang out; “US Marshall! Drop the gun and get your hands up!” The speaker stood before him, a tin star on his chest and a gun in his hand. TCB, assuming a change of plan, complied and the Marshall spoke again; “Get his gun Chester and let’s get him to the jail”.

Another man, who dragged on foot as he walked, picked up TCB’s Colt and he was led along the street to the jailhouse and Marshall’s office where he was patted down. “Who are you stranger?” the Marshall asked. “I’m one of the audience” he replied, “They picked me out to ride into the set on the stage, to get out, shoot the man who challenged me and then to go into the saloon and stay out of the way until the fun was over”.

“What are you talking about?” asked the Marshall, “This is Dodge City and you just rode in off the Wichita stage and shot one of the Brandon gang.” Another man entered. “How is he Doc?” asked the man with the limp. “Dead” said the newcomer. “I’ll ask you one more time; who and what are you?” said the Marshall. As the three men looked at TCB he thought to himself that he was on the set of Gunsmoke. He’d been in some strange encounters over the years and felt that he had no option but to just play along. On the principle of always trying to use the client’s language as an aid to effective communication he told them his name and that people hired him to fix business problems.

“In these parts we call that being a hired gun, so who hired you to take out Brandon?” asked the Marshall. TCB told him “No-one. I’m just on a trip for pleasure”. “Well I don’t believe you and we don’t like your sort in Dodge, but Brandon did draw first and you got him.” He took something from his desk, wrote on it and passed it to his Deputy; “Chester, take that to the bank and cash it, then on your way back tell the stage driver to wait; this feller’s going straight back where he came from”.

They sat in silence for a few minutes until Chester returned and handed over a wad of notes to the Marshall. He counted them and then took another book from his desk and wrote an entry before passing it over to TCB; “Sign here” he said and tossed the bundle of notes over. The book entry was a receipt for $5000. “The reward” he said, adding “I don’t know if you’re getting a fee for this from someone else, but a reward is a reward. Now get back on that stage and get out of town!”

TCB stuffed the wad of notes into the pocket of the shorts that he still wore beneath the long western coat that he had been dressed in. They put him back onto the stage coach and, after a short wait, it pulled out again. Everything went dark shortly afterwards and then a lady with a clipboard opened the door and he stepped out. She took his coat, gun belt and gun from him and escorted him back out into the sunshine where an enthusiastic audience was still applauding. “I shouldn’t have had that beer with lunch in this heat” he thought to himself.

Re-joining the Berkshire Belle she asked where he had been in it all as she hadn’t seen him. ”Don’t ask; it’s a long story“, he told her and they joined the throng heading for the exit. Later that evening they sat in a local restaurant finishing off their drinks. The server brought their bill and TCB reached into his pocket for his wallet, but found instead the wad of notes that the Marshall had given him. He took one on the $100 notes and was looking at it when the server passed by the table. “Wow” said the lady, “I don’t think that we can change one of those. How long have you had that under the mattress?”

In the tradition of a little public holiday humour in my Musing in mu story today and with affectionate thanks to the creators and cast of Gunsmoke who provided me with so many childhood memories.



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