February, 2024

Home | About | Brags | Submissions | Books | Writing Tips | Donate | Links

Issue #173

Welcome, Western Fans!

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!

The Shadow of a Star
by Dick Derham
As the calendar advances toward a new century, lawlessness dominates the Arizona Mesquite. How could twenty-six men with badges hope to make a difference?

* * *

Rogue Scout and a Sacred Bundle
by James Ott
Where should loyalty lie—to his father's Pawnee family or to his new community of cavalry troopers? Scout Half Yellow Face answers the question, but will his fellow Pawnee scouts obey orders to capture Pawnee renegades? The test comes during a dangerous mission to the Texas Panhandle.

* * *

The Jug at Chaco Canyon
by Tom Sheehan
For much of his life, 48-year-old Bart Tarpin had heard of the music of the spheres. A gift it was—the most memorable of all gifts,—humming with heaven itself. Did the jug he found at Chaco Canyon contain it?

* * *

The Outcome of a Fortunate Encounter
by Robert H. Boder
Cavalry helps Sioux tribe protect its buffalo herd from hunters with a classic gun fight, unique trial and romance plus a bit of humor. See if you remember Western movie stars' first names! It's different from most stories and a memory test for fans.

* * *

The Koitsenko Soldier's Fourth Son
by Robert Temple
Twelve-year-old Keah-tigh of the Kiowa is full of doubts about his path in life, but learns he must accompany his father, Two Coups, in a war party. Will Keah-tigh find the courage of a warrior within himself?

* * *

Whose-Is Idea it Being?
by Jon Gluckman
Our protagonist and narrator reveals in her diary entries the lessons she learns about herself while in compromising positions with her aggressive pursuers. She's not going to take it anymore . . . or is she?

* * *

Want all of this month's Western stories at once? Click here –

All the Tales

Whose-Is Idea it Being?
by Jon Gluckman

"The unexamined life is not worth living." – Socrates

September 11, 18__

Dear Diary,

Whose-is idea it being for us womens to wear all them frills and bangles? Well, I don't know whom that idjit was, nor whom it were intended for, 'cause let me tell you all, no man wants to put more clothes and items to unhook on a womens. They's would have it to put on less, or perhaps maybe, none at all.

Not sure, I am, why womens even wear clothes at all when it comes down to a man's desires. Why, we should all just walk around naked as an unsheathed bodkin, it being up to them. I can't count up the times I get myself all frilled and bangled up to come into town, already imagine-in in my minds the type of night I'm be wanting for myself: such as a dance or two in the dance hall and then a fine dinner with linen and candles and silver platters with domes on top and steam that seeps up the outsides like ghosts' fingers clutching at you through the walls or floors-is (to be more directionally correct) of some old house, only to be taken on back of the livery and then thrown down into the hay to have their way taken upon me, huffin' and blowin' like a hog rolling in mud. It's like them ghostly steam hands were a-dragging you down to Hell when you considered it all in the end, with the way it always turned out.

Well, I never! Except it happens all the time. Don't know why I bother to imagine any different. I guess that's not what The Lord Almighty had me intended to be. I guess I'm was made to be thrown down and used like some type of rut to fill a plow blade to, or something of that nature. At least that's the way my thinking went until Sam Buckley the Third, with the tall silken hat and tails, and that silver wolf's head walking stick, not just on the top, but silver to the floor in a straight line, well, until he helped me off the wagon, our two right hands making a chain in an "S" formation if-in an "S" was laying itself sideways somewhat, like this: "S", only further over (I was never so good at the sketching as my sister Penelope she being; I was always the natural one with the craft of wordsmanship's where my talents lay) as he let me down off the running board and into the dust of Main Street, there in front of the saloon.

Then he says, "Why ain't you the prettiest thing given to God's green Earth," as he smiled at me with all those white-as-bone teeth.

I like a man with good teeth. They can be hard to find around here, what with all them chewing tobacco, and having their faces caved in by some raging antagonist wielding a whole wagon tongue, or maybe just the kingbolt across their faces, as it were. Thems there teeth of his-in, I could nearly see myself in, I'd bet, but I didn't look that long to find out, turning all red like I do through my cheeks, and then having to cast my glance down, when embarrassment swaddles me like in a blanket that don't gives a body any warmth.

Mr. Sam Buckley, he's the discerning type, 'cause he recognized the distress I felt, and as soon as he did, which was mere seconds off the clock after I felt it, he says, as if he spoke to some third party that wasn't there, and not to me at all, like the speakings is over my head, "It'd be an honor and privilege for me to take the likes of a woman like yourself, this vision of loveliness, this creature poured from the cauldrons of heaven above, to have a dance and a dinner with the lowly likes of someone such as myself." And he doffs his hat and extends his arm like one of them proper English solicitrixes, just like that in his "howdy-ya-doo."

I says, "Well, Mr. . . . err . . . Mr. . . . "

"Bradley. But you call me Sam."

"Well, Mr. Bradley, I think you needn't look much beyond where you're looking right nows-is in front of you to have such desires fulfilled."

After I said that, I felt I should curl up like one a them John Campbell newspapers they have out there in Boston, that I'd heard about, in a conflagration, and wished to blow away like its ashes when the fire had had its way with me. I'd not been, ever before, so forward as to have such a thing by me said, as I said.

Some mens are mens of action and some mens just let life happens to them and make no effort at all to become the agent of their longings, or their sufferings for that matter. Mr. Bradley is the former type, the type that takes the actions that need taking to become the commander and chief of the life granted unto himself.

So, without another one of his "howdy-ya-doos," he takes me by the elbow, links it with his-in, and off we go to the dance hall, practically skipping by them tumbleweeds as it were, and have ourselves just the time of our fool-hearted lives, dancing jigs to the jamboree, and promenading ourselves all over the dance floor. Why I never danced so much in my life. I panted like a whip-driven mule tethered to a grind wheel by the time Mr. Bradley called it all quits there and suggested we'd worked up enough of an appetite now that dinner should be the next item on the menu; "No pun intended," he said and snorted, but I likes myself a man with a sense of humor. Even a bad one. So's, I didn't mind his pun none.

Never had me a dinner like the one we had, I'll tell you. There were them potatoes all brown and crisp on top like a layer of brown slate got itself laid across them, all soaked in the drippings of the prime rib that looked like it attempted to make a break for itself over the plate's edges. And them cheese-is and the cherries all on fire after that, well, I'd never seen such food in all my days up to 22, as I am. I could barely fit it all in. But I did after I came back from the powder room where I struggled some, but managed to loosen my corset with help from a nice lady in there with me who said she worked for the establishment, upstairs. She gave me some fresh Eau de toilette, too.

"I'm just having the best time, ever," I told Mr. Bradley. And he said he was glad. Glad for me. And then suggested we walk off all we ate down by the river. Under the moon. Only when we got down there, there was no moon. In fact, it was so dark it appeared that God had never a moon invented by His-selfs. Even though it weren't cold, I shivered, and Mr. Bradley, he takes off his jacket like a real gentlemans and puts it over my shoulders in a cape-like fashion. I thanked him kindly, and he says, "Not at all."

That's when he shoves me between the shoulder blades-is, and I stumble into the brush besides the trail there, where he then falls on top of me after he turns me up to face his face, which was all full of thems teeth.

I asks "Why?" as I always do, when these mens insist on themselves to do this, this way, and not in some way proper where I don't have to be crying all like I do, with my chest heaving, my muscles knotting, my veins all constricting and have my underthings all ripped-up underneath, and bloods running down my thighs-is after its all over and done with, and they are to be catching their breaths.

And, so's this time, I'd had enough of this. I decided right then and there, I wasn't letting this to have happen to me again, with nothing to say about it. So, when Mr. Bradley, he finally stands up with his pants all down by his ankles in circular ripples like water draining down a cesspool, I fumble for the walking stick he'd let fall beside us, and swing it so hard it leaves a wolf's face impression imprinted from his left cheekbone to his jaw, as his teeth spray out like chaff from one of them new threshing machines. And now, he warn't that attractive anymore, this Mr. Bradley in his silken hat and tails, 'cause he had no teeth, now, that were whole teeths, and I couldn't see myself in them anymore, as I had imagined I could have, before all this happened. And you know how I feel about teeth, 'cause I told about that before.

It is a truth; I count myself with the most unluckiest of people, as is made obvious by these entries in my diary that I keeps under lock and key so's nobody can stick their nose into my life and being, although, as I suppose I've illustrated with all I've been telling, that my life is nothing special.

I am told this sort of carrying-on happens all the time, that it happened even back into days before clocks or towns or dance halls. Thems were some dark days back then, I'd bet yous. As dark as that walk, there, by that river without no moon.

Seems like for as much time moves forward, it stays right where it is as if it hadn't moved forward at all. It's like you're standing in that river, in the same spot with yourself all the time and the river moves herself along without paying you no neverminds. I'm just like that, I come to realize: changing yet staying the same. That's why I like to write these here entries. I learn things about my lifes as I examines it here. Things I'd never learn if I didn't write them down. And that, I'm told, would have made some feller some time ago, happy, and I'm all about makes-in them fellers happy, as it turns out.

The End

Retired, veteran English teacher, Jon Gluckman, writes in a small southern New Jersey town, right outside Philadelphia, PA with his beautiful and brilliant curator wife, and a rascally rescue puppy. He has published work in Micro-Fiction Monday Magazine, 101 Words Weekly, Mystery Magazine, Grim & Gilded, and Mobius Boulevard.

Back to Top
Back to Home