January, 2019

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Issue #112

Happy New Year!

Looking for free, tantalizing Tales of the Old West?
You're at the right place.


Read this month's Tales and vote for your favorite.
They'll appear in upcoming print volumes of The Best of Frontier Tales Anthologies!

Nothing to Lose
by Jesse J Elliot
Cousin Bobby, a larger-than-life cowboy, comes to town slightly subdued. But when Dirty Dave Rudabaugh and Little Allen Lleyalen arrive with designs to blow up the bank, Bobby abandons all regard for safety and steps up to help his cousin, Sheriff Iragene Jones, protect the town.

* * *

Day of Reckoning
by Jack Hill
Juez trails four men who are wanted for the senseless murder of a family with young ones and a baby. He confronts them in a shootout at a town saloon—but then this oft-told storyline of good versus evil takes a supernatural twist.

* * *

Laughing Babies
by Benson Parker
When Apaches killed Tom Gore's only son, he and his hired hand Rodrigo got six men from Tucson to join them. Tom said, "Eight of us against sixteen of them, that sounds about right." But what about the papooses?

* * *

Rusty Kobbs
by Grant Guy
When a crafty lawman sets out to capture an equally crafty outlaw, who can guess the result?

* * *

Unread Mail
by Al Nash
The army is in pursuit of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce. Alone but for an Indian scout, Henry Norman ventures into the Bear Paw Mountains to deliver a message to the captain commanding a troop of cavalry far forward of the rest of the army.

* * *

Things Got Bad in Potter
by Ben Fine
Jimmy McClaren grew up fast and mean. When the big war ended, he partnered with outlaw Roddie Grant. They were doing okay, riding with the McGlinn brothers and terrorizing the Kansas back country, but when Roddie got killed and things went bad in the town of Potter, Jimmy had to choose.

* * *

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All the Tales

Rusty Kobbs
by Grant Guy

Special Marshal Rusty Kobbs was a fixture around Tombstone and Cochise County after its glory days had fallen into the ruins of myth. And he was the only lawman who had a foot in the past and present. So it was when Arizona Kid held up the Pima County Bank in Cochise County and killed Mrs. Furrows during his getaway. The bank robbery may have been overlooked if money were all that was stolen, but it was the murder of the 80 year-old Mrs. Furrows that called out for quick vengeance. But Law and Order were in disarray following the gunfight between the Clantons and the Earps. Rusty Kobbs was the man Senator Howell reluctantly turned to as the man to hunt down the cold-blooded killer. Kobbs was a good lawman but quirky. It was the quirkiness that gave birth to the senator's reluctance.

And when Kobbs set off in the direction of Yuma the senator's apprehension was as alert as a coyote. The senator poured his third whiskey.

The shortest route to Mexico was due south. But Kobbs knew the Kid: that he was not an orthodox thinker. Crooked thinking always outsmarted straight thinking, opined Kobbs. And more than any other outlaw, the Kid knew lawmen thought as straight as a flagpole.

Kobbs could have no other conclusion but Yuma was where the Arizona Kid would head out to, and Yuma was where Rosy Crampton waited to embrace him into her body. Kobbs and the Kid shared Rosy in 1881.

Yet, as clever as the Kid, who had a hard ass, harder than George Custer, for long distant riding, he still needed to rest and water his horse. Kobbs was well acquainted with the Apache trails that led to Yuma and on into Mexico, and knew every waterhole between Tombstone and Yuma. Kobbs once scouted Arizona during the campaign against the Apache.

Kobbs calculated the route to cut the Kid off at a waterhole where he would be his final rest before reaching Yuma. When Cody Brown joined Kobbs, the Kid's fate would be definitely sealed.

Cody Brown, Pinkerton man from Prescott, was to link up with Kobbs, but Brown was arrested for the murder of two Pinkerton colleagues. An unpaid gambling debt and the affections of a woman were the motives, mostly the gambling debt.

Without Brown, Kobbs was confident the Kid was his.

Kobbs waited and waited at the waterhole, but no Kid. He believed he understood the unorthodox mind of the Kid better than any man alive, better than he knew himself. The Kid would show up soon, Kobbs stroked his moustache.

As he waited behind a rock, under the burning rays of the Arizona sun, daydreams bounced around inside his Kobbs's head. To take the Kid alive would elevate his esteem with the citizens of Tombstone, hell, all of Cochise County— maybe even all of Arizona. Major government appointments would come his way. The Governor's mansion was not out of the question. He thought how proud his father would be.

The men in Kobbs's family had always been lawmen. Kobbs were sheriffs in several shires in England from the eleventh century to the eighteenth until his family emigrated to the New World in 1752. Rumors had it that the Kobbs were Vicomte Sheriffs of William the Conqueror. There was something almost atavistic about Kobbs being a lawman. Those were the daydreams that danced around in Kobbs's lawman brain.

Kobbs stroked his moustache.

Kobbs waited all day, and well into the next when deputy Mulejack Peters rode up. Rusty's heart jumped like a jitter cat, thinking the Kid had snuck up on him. When Kobbs saw who it was he relaxed the grip on his Colt.

When Mukejack dismounted his horse, he kicked at the ground with hesitation. He knew Kobbs would not want to hear what he had to say. Looking like a rag flapping in the wind on a barbwire fence, Kobbs knew he did not want to hear what Mulejack had to say. He felt it in his gut. Mulejack removed his hat and wiped the sweat off his brow. The last strands of hair were pasted on his balding head. Kobbs approached his deputy. He was steeled.

"What's up?" he asked with horrid anticipation.

"Uh, uh," hemmed Mulejack.

"What is it, man?"

"Jack Slaughter spotted the Arizona Kid crossing into Mexico due south of Tombstone."

"I'm a steer's castrated balls."

Straight thinking became the unorthodox thinking, outwitting Kobbs's rigid heretic logic.

Upon returning to Tombstone Senator Howell telegraphed the Governor to terminate Kobbs's appointment as Special Marshal, and replace him as quickly as possible, and, until then, Mulejack Peters would be the interim Special Marshal.

Kobbs packed up little that he had owned and rode west to California. His whereabouts after that are not known.

The Arizona Kid pulled off several cross border robberies before retiring from outlawing, and bought a ranch near Parral. He married Teresa García Ramírez. Died at the age of 84.

The End

Grant Guy is a Winnipeg, Canada, poet, writer and playwright. Former artistic director of Adhere + Deny. His poems, short stories, essays and art criticism have been published in Canada, the United States, Nigeria, Wales, India and England. He has three books published: Open Fragments (Lives of Dogs), Blues for a Mustang, The Life and Lies of Calamity Jane, On the Bright Side of Down and Bus Stop Bus Stop (Red Dashboard). His plays include A.J. Loves B.B., Song for Simone and an adaptation of Paradise Lost and the Grand Inquisitor. He was the 2004 recipient of the MAC's 2004 Award of Distinction and the 2017 recipient of the WAC's Making A Difference Award.

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