Our challenge this week is to do a 1000-word story (beginning, middle and end) that is all action! “Standard action movie fare” was how it was described. I decided this was a job for our less-than-superhero, Sir Woebegone, who we first discovered being totally inept in The Empress and the Peanut. This is probably a little heavy on the build up and light on the action, but it’s one word short, too. 🙂
A Piece of the Action
Sir Woebegone squeaked down the dusty street between weatherboard buildings. His empty scabbard flapped at his side, making him even more self-conscious as he registered the stares of the leather-clad men and their horses and the bulky weapons holstered at nearly every man’s hip.
A place with tin baths and other utensils stacked outside it, and a sign saying “General Store” over the doorway led him inside in search of some lubricant.
“Well, ole Sherm over the creek say so, an’ I ain’t gonna argue with ’im,” said a rough-looking fellow to the man behind the counter.
“I’ll jus’ keep my head down as usual, then. Thanks for the warning, though, Al.”
Al turned on his heels and left, sidestepping Sir Woebegone, but throwing a sidelong glance at his appearance.
Sir Woebegone approached the counter.
“H-hmm,” he cleared the dust from his throat. “I wonder if it would be possible to purchase a small amount of lubrication for my armour.”
The storeowner stared at him.
“Just a few spots,” Woebegone added. “Here, here, and er, here.” He pointed to various joints on his armour that he suspected were the root of his problem.
“Er, what kinda loo-brick-ation did you have in mind, stranger?”
“Well, anything of a suitable consistency. Sheep’s grease, lard, nut butter, anything like that.”
The storeowner shook his head and, muttering loo-brick-ation under his breath, reached for a can of oil. He brought it round the other side of the counter.
“If you want to take it with you, it’ll cost you a dollar five. If you just want a spot on those places you mentioned, I’ll sort you out in no time and you can be on your way.”
“Oh, would you? That would be very kind of you. I don’t believe I have a dollar five. I could possibly find something useful to barter, though.”
The storeowner fixed Woebegone’s squeaks and sent him on his way. There was trouble brewing and he wanted to get the store closed and boarded before it hit.
Woebegone got to the end of the block before galloping hooves signalled the start of it. He was thrust sideways by the combination of air, dust and three bullets pinging into his armour as the Clancy Brothers rode in, skidding to a halt in front of the saloon.
“Doc Wyatt!” one of them yelled. “We know you’re in there. Come on out and we’ll be easy on you.”
Woebegone rolled onto his back and struggled upright, ready to do battle. Once a knight, always a knight, however strange the country.
A hail of bullets from an upstairs window answered the rider’s request. They all missed. Just warnings, thought Woebegone, edging closer.
“Well, if you wan’ it that way, we’ll see you down at the corral.” The riders pulled away from the saloon and galloped down to the livestock pen at the far end of town.
A black-coated man emerged from the saloon and watched them go. “Hey, Billy!” he called into the saloon. “You gonna let them geddaway with that? Call Al and Parker and follow me down!”
He leapt down the steps and collided with Woebegone. His gun was in his hand and pointing straight in Woebegone’s face before the knight could blink.
“Er, pardon me, sir,” Woebegone said, trying not to stutter. “I wondered if I might offer my services, as these men seem to have offered you a challenge.”
“Services? Challenge? Well, if you’re a fighting man, just follow us down.” He strode off, slipping into the sheriff’s office to retrieve a second gun belt and plenty of ammunition.
Doc Wyatt and his friends walked in a V formation down the deserted Main Street towards the corral. It was a strange bunch: the Doc, all in black; Billy, chequered shirt, cowboy boots and a shock of red hair; Al, a cowboy who’d been out on the range for too long; Parker, a small, round guy with round spectacles and a little brush moustache, and a tin man, since that’s how anyone unused to knights would describe Woebegone.
Five Clancy brothers awaited them, silent and menacing. The sixth was hidden up in the barn, with a shotgun ready just to make sure.
“Well, we’re here,” Doc Wyatt spat on the ground. “You surrendering?”
The five Clancys dropped to their knees, dodging sideways and whipping out their pistols. The response from the Wyatt party was equal and opposite, Al and Parker sprang sideways, pistols in hand, shooting as others moved. Wyatt took bullet after bullet in the chest, enough to fell an elephant, but he kept moving forward, bearing down on Jed Clancy, the leader and spokesman. Billy leapt over the heads of those Clancys on the ground and swirled round to meet them as two followed his action. Shots rang out again and again, kicking up dust as they went wide of the mark.
One was down, Art Clancy, the second youngest, hit in the arm by a lucky deflection from Wyatt’s waistcoat. A roar from the barn showed Matt Clancy’s rage as he jumped from the first floor down onto a handy pile of hay and rolled into the fray, wielding his shotgun like a shillelagh. He downed Parker with one swipe, and went to get Al on the rebound but Woebegone stepped in and took the full force of the barrel on his greave. Woebegone staggered against the force, but pushed himself on, using his metal clad arms as weapons against the brutality of these upstarts.
Suddenly, it all went quiet. Woebegone stood, panting, looking at the carnage surrounding him. Ten bodies were strewn on the ground, bleeding profusely. One groaned and another writhed in agony.
“Cut” came a voice from a barn.
A man in navy pants and white shirt came blinking into the sunlight and accosted Sir Woebegone. “Who the hell hired you?” he asked. “You’re awesome! Hey, Scrubby,” he cried to a man in the shadows, “let’s retitle this one: The XTinerator’s Revenge!”
(c) J M Pett 2014