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The Lonestar Adventure Association
vs. the Electro-Menace

by Patrick D. Downing

part 1 of 2

Todd Cleghorn gripped the hilt of the very large, very sharp Bowie knife and examined his reflection in the brilliant polish of the blade. Smiling, he nodded and held it in close to his mouth.

“Oooh,” he whispered, “I’m a-gonna cut y’all so sweet, so perfect, I’m a-gonna cut y’all so... mmm,” he moved it closer, coming in beneath his nostrils, smelling the beautiful scent of the huge, lethal razor. Closer still he brought it to the whiskers, slowly bringing the shimmering beast of a weapon in towards his thick, blonde moustache. Closer, closer, closer...

A crash erupted through the door behind him, wrenching him from the deep meditations of his shave, and nearly causing him to cut off his face. Brandishing the giant blade, he whipped around to face the intrusion.

The dark, hulking, handsome form of Keyshawn Delarouge poured through the door. He carried a massive, green, slimy bundle. “Yeehaw! Lonestar Adventure Association: one; reptilian menace: zero,” he cried, “Yee-freaking-haw!”

He came to a halt inside the door, holding his prize. The crisp, gaunt, mountain of a man that was Todd stood there looking livid. “I was a-shavin’,” he said icily, gripping the knife tightly.

“Tha’s alright, Toddy,” Keyshawn said, “Lookit, I got the creature.”

“Yer childlike outburst just about got Silk Lightning hurt.” His stare was hard, serious, and piercing.

Keyshawn froze and was instantly sobered. “I’m sorry, Todd, I... I didn’t realize...”

“No, you’s didn’t think,” his voice, a smouldering calm. “Now what you’s a-goin’ t’do?”

Keyshawn hung his head, “I’m a-sorry, Todd...”

“Not t’ me.,” he said, shaking his finger, “t’ Silk Lightning.”

Keyshawn nodded. He dropped the large, green, slimy creature to the floor and crossed the room to stand up close in front of Todd. Leaning in to Todd’s face he spoke directly into his grand, golden moustache. “I’m a-sorry, Silk Lightning, I hope y’all can fergive me as I didn’t mean nothing by my’s intrusion is all. I just got excited ‘bout closing this here latest file.” He looked sheepishly at Todd, who nodded approvingly.

“Well now,” Todd said, “How’s about y’all let me see what kind of job you’s did on this here latest case o’ ours.”

Keyshawn broke into a wide grin. “Oh, man alive this a-was a cool one, that’s fer certain. Cool an’ slippery.” He bounced across the room and picked up what he had dropped. It was a huge, green, slimy, monster of some sort of snake-like creature’s head. Its body, to which it was still attached, lay stretched out long through the door.

Todd smiled. “Oh my my oh my oh my, tha’ does a-look like a good one there, Keyshawn. Yes indeedy.” He joined Keyshawn at the creature and together they began hauling the giant carcass into the room.

As more and more of it emerged from outside, Todd noticed its entire massive length was covered in bullet holes, knife wounds, acid burns, shrapnel holes, arrows, bruises, and contusions of all manner. “Looks a-like it was one heck of a fightjob there, Shawny.”

“’Twas, ‘twas,” Keyshawn sighed, “I gots to say I am a mite fagged.”

“A mite sore-scented, too, if y’all don’t mind my sayin’,” said Todd, holding his nose.

“Yeah, yeah, I knows I need a bath, bigtime.”

“Not ‘fore I get in there first, suckers!” The voice came from the farthest corner of the room.

They turned in surprise, Todd wielding his huge knife as Keyshawn’s hand struck for the pistol at his hip. Standing there was a jet-black hulking creature smoking and reeking of quite possibly hellfire, or most possibly volcano residue.

The two men stared hard at the spectacle, then lowering their guards burst into bellowing laughter. The black creature joined in with deep, powerful guffaws. The room vibrated violently with hoops and hollers.

Todd regained his composure, “Wayne Gregory, you sure are a sight! Lookit you’s standing there like Vesuvius’ ghost, all soot and smoke covered like that.”

“What in hell’s halfmile y’all been into?” Keyshawn quipped, shaking his head in amazement.

“Well, I been up into the guts of ol’ Betsy-Lee,” said Wayne as he reached back to close the secret door to the hidden passage he had used to sneak into the room.

Todd nodded, throwing a handkerchief to Wayne. “Nice, an’ just how is that poor, sweet ol’ girl doin’?”

“I’ll tell y’all, the Perfessor sure can put together one cantankerours piece of super-chinkery, that’s a one fer sure, but I think’s I managed to put ‘er mostly to rights.” Todd said, wiping a layer of soot from his face, turning it from black to grey and the kerchief from white to black.

“Turns out that all that cannon fire we’s a-went and took in the last caper there busted open the thruster-tubes so the coal-fuel chamber valves was a-lettin’ too much heat-power into the energy-distributators. Tha’ was why we’s got all them explosions and whatnot when we really opened ‘er up fer speed in that last chase we’s had.”

“I told y’all,” Keyshawn said, looking confidently over at Todd. He nodded in agreement and flicked a silver dollar over to the tall, dark cowboy, who caught it with ease. He smiled broadly. Wayne noticed the creepy bundle at their feet.

“The reptilian menace, tha’s sweet!” He raised both his blackened thumbs to the two men.

“’T was all Keyshawn. He closed that there file on his lonesome,” Todd said.

“Yee-freaking-haw!” said Wayne.

“Yee-freaking-haw!” said Keyshawn.

“Yee-freaking-haw,” said Todd, “now both y’all most disrespectable of the most unrespectable gentlemen git yer dirty, stinkin’, smokin’, slime-covered hides in the wash afore I whip the smell and goo off ‘a y’all myself.” He raised his arms as if to grab the two men, who hurried themselves out of the room.

Once they were gone Todd shook his head and chuckled to himself, “what a crew.”

“What a crew indeed,” came the reply from behind him.

Todd was startled by the voice, he whipped around scanning the room. Nothing. He wondered aloud, “Who’s it?”

“Over here, Todd, at the sub-ultra-trans-broadcasting/receiving unit.”

Todd slapped his hand to his forehead, embarrassed. He walked over to a large, dial-laden gunmetal box with a parlophonesque cone protruding majestically from its top. “Ev’rytime, Perfessor, this here contrapulation buggers me ev’rytime.”

“Understandable, my good friend, most understandable,” came the tinny voice through the cone, “anyhow, how are things?”

Todd bowed to speak into the cone. “’S alright. Keyshawn took a-care of the creature in the village — closed that file a-nicely, and Wayne a-went and fixed ol’ Betsy-Lee up to fightin’ shape again. Though Silk Lightning needs a trim a-freaking hard-like, and I ain’t had no time to, and he won’t let me stop a-hearin’ those whiskers whispers of his about it non-stop in my brain like, y’hea’?”

Laughter clinked through the cone on the box. “Well, that’s all very good and my heartiest congratulations on everything and you must pass on my salutations to Keyshawn and Wayne, but I am sorry to say that your moustache shall have to wait. We have a shake.”

Todd turned instantly serious. “Is it serious?”

“Bigtime, this is a most serious situation,” came the reply, “how soon can you guys be ready?”

Todd consulted his pocket watch. “How long do we have?”

“Until Morning.”

“Done. What all we dealin’ with here?”

“It’s an off-worlder, semi-high-advanced, moving town-to-town razing, pillaging, sucking energy, resources, lifeforces — the usual. Think you can handle it?”

“’Course,” Todd said without hesitating, “what ‘bout y’all?”

“Unfortunately, I am out of the solar system for a few more days and will not be able to lend my assistance on this one. This fellow is, as you put it, a real baddie.”

Todd smiled, “The badder the sweeter, far as we’s all concerned. Where’s this off-world varmint holin’ hisself up? So me and my crew can go and take a-care o’ him.”

“You are in luck. He happens to be coming your way. He just burned Calderville into the sand and is heading right for Sweet City,” came the voice across the void, “and he’s moving fast.”

“Can we’s git to him out on the Dusty Plains?” Todd asked.

“I think so,” came the reply, “but it is hard to figure from my vantage point. You will have to be ready.”

“Roger,” said Todd, “anythang else?”

There was a pause in the transmission. “Just do your best. And I believe in you guys.”

“Howdy-do Perfessor, howdy-do.” The box went silent. Todd stood for a moment contemplating what he had just received. Reaching in his pocket he took out a small metal tin. Opening it, he rubbed his fingers around the inside daubing up the last remnants of the smooth, white cream contained in the tin. He applied it with loving care to his thick, sweet moustache, moulding it to even more glory than its glory had known the instance before.

He took a deep breath. Satisfied and calmed, he shifted to one of the many speaking tubes hanging beside the ultra-trans-broadcasting/receiving unit that ran into the ceiling of the room. “Keyshawn, Wayne, we’s got ourselves a shake, move yer butts.”

He moved to the speaking tube next to the one in which he last spoke. “Oh Corndog.” He waited with his ear to the tube.

“Yes boss,” Came the reply.

“Oh Corndog, y’all are goin’ to have to a-drop everything, y’hea’?”

“’S okay Boss, Lonestar has a mission or something?”

“Corndog, meself and the rest of the Adventure Association has gots ourselves a sorts of a most serious thang goin’ on,” he said into the tube.

“’S okay.”

“So we’re a-going t’need t’have y’all and L’il Fudge t’get up two hours prior to the dawn and a-have our steeds all a-freshed up an’ a-geared up an’ all a-ready there to be mounted and rid. Alrighty? Y’all git that?”

“’S okay.”

“And-a if y’all two could git our breakfast up an’ a-ready fer us all then just after that, ya know, prior to sun-up.”

Proceed to part 2...

Copyright © 2006 by Patrick D. Downing

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