Hey howdy hey. It’s time for another rootin’ tootin’ good time story from the people who brought you such rootin’ tootin’ good times as “Billy the Kid Meets Malcolm McDowall (story #22, 28 Nov 1994) and… Well, actually I think that’s it for rootin’ tootin’ stories. But ain’t it nifty what a long memory we have here at the club? Which brings me to the point that we are eventually going to archive the 94-95 seasons of the SotWC here so you can read such finely aged bits of joy as the aforementioned story, we just haven’t gotten around to it. But now that we have told you, our faithful, rabid, and world-wide fan-base about it, we are forced into having accountability for it. Why do we do this to ourselves?
So, as you may have guessed, today’s story is going to be a rootin’ tootin’ tale of the old west, that time and place in American history where legends were born easily (because somebody usually made a bunch of crap up) and died young (because everybody shot each other back then). Why have we decided on a western this week? Well, because we said “rootin’ tootin'” at the beginning of the introduction, and it made us want to write a western story. Also, we’re listening to a song from the movie “City of Angels,” so we’ve just decided to include an angel or two in the story. Let’s find out what happens.
THE ROOTIN’ TOOTIN’ STORY OF ARCHIBALD AND STEBBINS
One day in the old west, an old prospector named Archibald was wandering in the desert with a divining rod looking for water. He had been searching for hours and was beginning to despair of ever finding anything. “Please, Lord,” he said, gazing up at the scorching, infinite sky, “please help me find some water. I don’t need much, Lord, but anything you could do would sure be nice.”
Just then, Archibald’s divining rod pointed straight down at the ground. With a sudden strength born of unchecked hope, he drove the stick down into the dirt. Water began to bubble up out of the ground. This surprised Archibald quite a bit, because he didn’t actually believe that divining rods worked. I mean, come on, it’s just a stick for crying out loud. Licking his lips hungrily, Archibald bent down to take a drink.
Just then, an evil cow-poke named Blastry shot Archibald right in the head, killing him instantly. Laughing like the dirty bastard he was, Blastry turned his ugly gray horse east and headed towards town. Which was only about five hundred feet away, by the way. If only Archibald had turned around and looked behind him he would have seen it and saved himself a lot of trouble. And death. Silly prospector.
Anyway, at that moment up in Heaven, God was looking down on the desert and shaking his head. “Well, poop,” he said.
One of the nearby angels looked up and said, “why for didst thou cry ‘poop’, O Lord?”
“You know, Stebbins,” God replied, “sometimes I wonder about this whole ‘free will’ thing I gave them. Did you see what Blastry just did to poor Archibald right after I granted his prayer?”
“Sorry, Lord,” Stebbins replied, “I was too busy reprimanding Nikcage over here for wanting to become human and thinking that fallible human love could be more pleasurable than living in the eternal presence of the divine. I mean, honestly, it’s not like you gave US free will, is it?”
“Heck, no,” God said. “That sounds like a goofy movie plot. Tell Nikcage to quit pouting and get his angelic butt over here.”
And so it came to pass that Stebbins and Nikcage were given an assignment by the Almighty to go down and return Archibald’s soul to his body and give him one chance to prove that free will was a good idea.
Down on earth, Archibald awoke next to a bubbling pool of water. “What the heck happened?” he said feeling the scar on his forehead where, mere moments before, a fatal wound had been sunk. “I could swear that bank-robbing fiend Blastry had done shot me in my brainpan.”
“And so he did,” said a voice from behind him.
At the sound of the voice Archibald spun around and immediately went, “what the hay? Town was right there the whole time? Boy, do I feel stupid.”
“Yeah, that was pretty dumb of you,” said Nikcage, who was standing next to Stebbins, who had spoken in the first place.
“You think that was dumb,” Stebbins said calmly, “did you actually watch Ghost Rider?” In response, Nikcage said something real soft that ended with an outburst and a lot of hand waving, but no one was paying attention.
“What are you guys doing here, and why are you dressed so funny?” Archibald asked.
“What do you mean, dressed funny?” Stebbins asked. “We’re wearing dusters and cowboy hats to fit in here in the old west.”
“Well, the wings and sandals are an interesting touch,” Archibald replied.
“Yeah, well,” said Stebbins.
“Yeah, well,” Nikcage said, getting agitated, “yeah well, yeah well, maybe we should just GET GOING to that TOWN over there, A-HOLES!”
“Calm down,” Stebbins said.
“He’s kinda high strung, ain’t he?” Archibald asked.
“You have no idea,” Stebbins sighed. “The Rock won’t even get made for another hundred and thirty years. Anyway, look; we came here from Heaven above to bring you back your soul and give you a chance to prove to God that free will wasn’t such a bad idea after all. What do you say?”
“Well, that’s a heap of ‘sponsibility fer one man to carry on his shoulders,” Archibald lamented. “What if’n I ain’t up to the task?”
“Then we have to take back your soul and God’s gonna wipe out humanity,” Stebbins said. “No pressure or anything.”
“We’re set to pop, here, honey,” Nikcage said softly.
“Holy crap,” said Archibald, “I hope I do the right thing, here.”
And, as Nikcage traded faces with another angel and changed his name, Archibald strolled into town and did… something. Don’t ask me what that was. I have no idea, but since we’re all still here, it must have been the right thing. Oh, sweet mystery. I can tell you that Blastry wasn’t killed that day, he was killed three days later when Sasquatch came to town dressed as Billy the Kid and shot him dead. So, in that way, justice was served and we also got to tie this story into another one that most of you have never read. But Archibald killing him would have been wrong, so that’s not what happened.
When he was done doing the right thing, Archibald walked back out to Stebbins and Castertroy and said, “hey, that felt pretty good.”
“What’s that?” Stebbins asked.
“You know,” said Archibald, “doing the right thing.”
“Yeah, well,” Stebbins said, “we were rootin’ for you.”
Just then, Archibald cut a mean fart. “Oops,” he said. “I tooted.”
And there you have it. Our first western story in 15 years. We don’t think it would make a very good movie, though, so Natty-Mac will have to come up with something else for a screenplay idea. Just sayin’.
See you in seven,