Monday, October 03, 2005

Riders of the Purple Prose



I've been viewing too many old episodes of The Rifleman and Wyatt Earp here at Bleak House, with the following, probably inevitable, result.

SCENE: Tall Stranger, dressed in ten gal 'n hat, rawhide, chapstick, galoshes, spurs, rides up on faithful Companion Animal to gate with large posted sign: CEMETERY: DODGE CITY. TS dismounts, discards rubbers. Walks to top of hill, where he finds gravestones, and Old Codger digging hole.

TS. Howdy there, old coot, sir.
OC. Howdy. This is private. Yer a stranger to these here parts, aintcher?
TS. Why, yes I am, sir.
OC. I could tell. That's a funny way ya got of wearin yer sidearm.
TS. That's not my sidearm.
OC. Oh, sorry.
TS. S'awright, sir. A lotta folks make that mistake.
OC. I can see why. Ya just passin through Dodge?
TS. Thought I'd stick fer awhile.
OC. Ya want my advice, ye'll get right in the saddle an' keep a-movin'.
TS. Been doin that all day. Takes a big man with a lotta moves to bring law 'n ordure here to the Early West.
OC. More the Southwest, really. Ain't all that Early, neither.
TS. Whatever, pardner.
OC. Say, you ain't the new lawman we heared tell about, is ya?
TS. Lawperson.
OC. What?
TS. We call it lawperson nowadays, old timer. Bluestaters back east passed a law.
OC. I'll be danged. What's yer name, tall stranger?
TS. My handle's Deere Crossin, sir.
OC. Not Wild Deere Croosin, outa Abilene an' Hayes Office City?
TS. The same. That the grave of the last John/Jane Law ya diggin there?
OC. Naw. This here's Dodge City. Useta be called Tax Dodge City afore they shortened it. I jes dig holes an' fill 'em in again, bill the gummint.
TS. Well, I'm here to clean up this town.
OC. Ya got yer work cut out fer ya. Town's a been a runnin wild what with yer big foundation spreads, yer class action lawyers, yer dubious charities, yer ACLU. They been runnin amok, I mean to tell you, drivin out hospitals, corporations, drug companies, an' other clean-livin' honest folk. Get so a feller can't walk down the street without getting slapped with legal papers. Women 'n children, hidin' in their homes, ain't no way ta live. An' widder-women a-forced out inta the streets by yer eminent DO-main.
TS. Well, I am ta change all that, old fart.
OC. Good luck ta you, fella. We had lotsa marshalls, they don't last long. ACLU's the rowdiest of the lot, they'll run a marshall outta town soon's a peace officer reads a fella his right not to have his rights read to him. They'll be a-layin' fer ya on Abbey Road, so's I'd take the back way, if I was you.
TS. Can't do it, gummy. That's the cowardly way. I cleaned up my share o' border towns, what with the reds and the blues still a-fightin' the last election.
OC. Leavin' behind a string o' lawsuits, I hear.
TS. Yeah, I like ta move on when they start a pushin' pansy paper work at me.
OC. Well, good luck ta ya.
TS. Thanks, geezer, sir.
OC. You drop on by an' visit me any time, Deere.
TS. Don't call me that.
OC. Must be the cause of a number of interpersonal social ambiguities, that name o' yers.
TS. Shore is.

Tall Stranger walks slowly down hill, mounts saddle, and begins moving fitfully.