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Giving Head (Short Story No. 35)

Updated on August 31, 2017

Author's note

These short stories will be part of the sequel to my novel The Lady Who Loved Bones. Any suggestions for improvement or for future stories are welcome.

Dude, where's my head?

Paleontologist Hannah Monroe returned to camp to get help in recovering and transporting the latest fossil she had discovered. Shorty volunteered.

“Remember I helped you dig up that burial mound when we got surprised by Captain Taz,” Shorty said.

“Not a fond memory,” Hannah responded.

“Right,” Shorty agreed. “Taz tore open yer shirt and threatened to cut off yer nipple and et it for a snack. But instead he knocked you out with a punch to the head and sold you to the Cheyenne. Me too.”

Hannah said, “He was going to cut off your nipple too, but you told him that it was Sweet Water who cut off his snake’s head and put it in a bag. What was that snake’s name?”

“Roscoe,” Shorty answered smugly. “No wait, Roscoe was the name of the snake that et my pal and fellow circus clown, that dwarf Sammy Short. The name of that other snake was Fagin. I remember now.”

“Yes, that’s correct,” Hannah confirmed. “You are as smart as a rock after all. You can’t go with me to bring back the fossil. You are the sheriff and in charge of this posse,” she reminded him.

“I’d rather be in charge of the pussy rather than the posse,” Shorty advised.

Hannah slapped him and he started to cry.

Just then Sweet Water came riding in with the two young Chinese girls that had been kidnapped in tow. They both were severely bruised, which was obvious since they were naked. She had found them tied up that way and there was nothing readily available to clothe them. Sweet Water tossed the bag she carried at Shorty. He caught it and dumped out the contents on the ground. Yellow Bear’s head bounced a few times.

“She did it agin!” Shorty marveled. “Bagged another head.”

Sweet Water told the story of how Yellow Bear and his Cheyenne Dog Soldiers had ambushed her and how Shag and a mountain man named Thomas Tate Tobin had saved her. She omitted admitting that it was Tobin who had severed Yellow Bear’s head, although she did mention that Tobin had cut out and had feasted on the livers of the Cheyenne savages.


Beheading, in more ways than one.

“We met Tobin,” Robert Barnes, editor of the Helena Herald reported. He rode in here right after you left and told us he was a bounty hunter after Captain Taz and the $5,000 reward.”

“I hope he ketches Captain Taz and ets his liver,” Shorty said.

“I doubt he’ll eat his liver,” Pinkerton agent Helen James responded. “Taz must be returned alive to claim the reward you may recall. Apparently, the woman putting up the reward wants to castrate him or some such thing. He murdered her husband and sodomized her in front of him, before he died, and sodomized him in front of her, after he died.”

“There’s your chance,” Shorty blurted with a snort. “You kin git his package after they cut it off him and have a doc sew it onto yerself. How about it, Doc? Kin that be done?”

Doc Eberlin shrugged and responded, “There are doctors in Europe who are experimenting with that sort of surgery.”

Helen James interjected, “One day, that sort of surgery will be routine not experimental. As more and more individuals realize that they can not live with the gender identity on their birth record and attempt to change that gender identity. Doc, tell Mr. Barnes how that surgery might be accomplished, like you told me. He might want to put it in his dime novel.”

The doctor responded, “Yes, I don’t know that what you want, to replace your penis with a vagina, has ever been actually accomplished, but I have a good idea how it could be. We have discussed this before.”

The doctor explained. “No doubt it would require numerous surgeries. Remove the testicles, invert the foreskin and penis as a flap preserving blood and nerve supplies to form a vagina. Form a clitoris with nerve endings from part of the glans of the penis.

Helen began to get an erection as all this talk of her fondest dream stimulated her. “What’s up, Doc?” she asked, and she led him to a secluded spot and she showed him what she wanted operated on.

Afterwards, the doctor asked, “Are you sure you want to lose that thing? It seems to work pretty good.”

“Oh yes!” Helen replied. “Can you perform the surgeries?”

“Oh no,” he responded, “like I told you I have a friend who might give it a go. He’s been looking for volunteers to experiment on. He got his medical degree from the Medical College of South Carolina and then travelled to Europe to study medicine and surgery in Paris, London, and Berlin. Europe is where most of the experimental surgery is taking place, like I said.”


Heroines of the Badlands

Robert Barnes announced, “I’ve decided to make Sweet Water the hero, or heroine of my dime novel rather than you, Sheriff Shorty. An Arapaho princess who beheads outlaws, bad Indians, and giant snakes is much more compelling than a short sheriff who doubles as a circus clown and constantly spouts mindless drivel. I’ve written to my friend Gordon Bennett at the New York Herald about publishing my dime novel as a serial in his newspaper, the largest in the country. His motto, and that of his father who founded the paper is: ‘The function of a newspaper is not to instruct but to startle and amuse.’ That is the essence of the lovely Sweet Water and not you, Shorty.”

Sweet Water took the head of Yellow Bear, put it back in the bag, and gave it instead to Robert Barnes. She said sweetly, “I give you head. Take picture of it for your dime novel or newspaper. I can get you more heads if you like.”

“Great idea!” Barnes exclaimed excitedly.

Helen complained, “I thought you said you were going to write your dime novel about me!”

“That I did,” Barnes agreed. “And that I will. Actually, I think I’ll put several stories in the same book. One story about you, one about Sweet Water, and one about Lady Hannah Monroe. Gordon Bennett expressed an interest in publishing articles in his newspaper about her paleontological discoveries. He emphasized that physical evidence is desirable. Unfortunately, the evidence she accumulated in her expedition ended up at the bottom of the Missouri River, as a result of the sinking of the steamboat Victoria.”

“I’ll get more evidence,” Hannah promised. “Like this fossil I just found. Who is going to go with me to bring it back? What is the title of your dime novel going to be?” she asked Barnes.

“Well, I keep changing it, but Heroines of the Badlands seems like a winner at the moment. So Lady Monroe, let’s go get that new fossil of yours, shall we?”

Shorty had been leering at the two rescued girls and said to them, “How ‘bout you two young ladies givin’ me head? I’ll give you this gold nugget.” Shorty produced the nugget for everyone to see.

“That’s pyrite!” Helen snapped. “Fool’s gold.”

“You tried that trick before,” Hannah added.

May Ling, who had slashed the throats of several men who had wronged her, brandished her Bowie knife and began chasing a terrified Shorty. She said dejectedly, “I have a bag of fool’s gold that he gave me in exchange for head. I will trade it for his head.”


According to the blurb on the back of the book.



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