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Pinky (Short Story No. 20)
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.
"Gunfighters should wear dresses." --- quote by Allan Pinkerton June 11, 1865
Robert Barnes, editor of the Helena Herald, returned to the Last Chance Saloon after about an hour. He wanted some input on the rough draft of his newspaper article about the town’s new hero.
“That sounds good,” Shorty complimented, “but our hero needs a nickname. You know, like Wild Bill or Deadeye.”
“That should be heroine rather than hero,” Helen corrected. “Just because you are wearing a pair of long pants, you think you know everything.”
“How about a name like Bitch James or Ten Gallon Twat?” Bob Wells smugly suggested.
“I think not,” Helen snarled.
Anne Hope, the circus bearded lady, took Helen by the arm and led her to her hotel room across the street. “I have an idea,” she murmured as she left. “I have a circus costume that is just taking up space in my trunk that is befitting of a gun moll and heroine.”
Jaws dropped when the ladies returned a half hour later and they saw Helen in the stunning pink outfit. Shorty lifted up the front of the skirt, peeked underneath, and pulled on the first thing he could grab ahold of. “Yup,” he said, “a hero.”
“Say what?” Anne blurted.
Shorty then pulled on her beard.
“Ouch!” Anne complained.
Shorty explained, “I just wanted to see if you had one of those fake beards like the members of the Slim Porter gang.”
Reverend Nelson had showed up a few minutes earlier and after opening his King James he repeated Deuteronomy 22:5: “A woman is not to wear that which pertaineth unto a man.” I counsel you to remove that gun belt or you may soon be facing the lake of fire and brimstone,” he said to Helen.
“You may praise the Lord that she is packing guns when the Porter gang shows up here,” Bob Wells warned knowingly.
Helen stormed off with the explanation that she was going off to the abandoned corral at the edge of town for some target practice.
Shorty jumped up and said, “Pinky, I’ll go with you in case you git horny.”
“Be careful, Shorty,” Wells advised, “remember what happened to Percy Van Martre.
“What happened to him,” Robert Barnes inquired.
Wells replied, “Percy got distracted and he got bit in the ass by a big grizzly bear. You see, Percy had his pecker in Delilah’s mouth when it happened.”
Shorty added, “She’s the whore who has her own pecker, like somebody else we know.”
“Not for long,” Doc Eberlin advised. He had just joined the group. “Helen is corresponding with a friend of mine in Europe regarding possible experimental surgery. My friend’s name is Dr. Frank N. Stein.”
Dr. Frank N. Stein
When Helen returned there was a commotion right outside the saloon. Three strangers had been parading around town looking for trouble. Now they were tormenting several Mexicans by shooting at their feet and making them dance. Helen pulled her pistol in a quick draw maneuver and scared them off.
Shorty began bragging on her as soon as they walked back in the saloon. “Pinky sure made them three dirt bags turn tail and run,” he reported. “One of them wet his pants.”
“I hate rude behavior in a man,” Helen stated matter-of-factly.
“Put all that in your story,” Shorty suggested to Robert Barnes. “And Pinky here must be the first female Pinkerton agent.”
“Nope,” Bob Wells contradicted. “There have been a couple others.
Wells elaborated about Kate Warne, who was the first. She had helped foil an assassination attempt on President Lincoln that became known as the Baltimore Plot. She had apprehended a criminal named Alexander Drysdale who had robbed a bank and killed a teller George Gordon, with a hammer. It reminded him of Angus the Scottish Sasquatch braining bank cashier T. H. Kleinschmidt with a war club. “Incidentally,” Wells added, “Kate Warne was Allan Pinkerton’s mistress. She travelled the country with him on undercover spy missions.”
Helen interjected, “I think this Captain Taz fella who robbed the bank here has a mistress here, Kleinschmidt’s wife. I do believe she has been feeding him information. That’s how he stays one step ahead of us. Kleinschmidt himself was the source before her.”
“Yup, but now Mr. Kleinschmidt is takin’ a dirt nap,” Shorty offered. “We should feed the wife some false information to pass on to Taz.”
“Can you do that, Shorty?” Helen asked.
“We should leave that up to Wells,” Shorty responded, “he’s the Casanova.”
Lucy, the attractive redheaded telegraph operator who had developed a crush on Bob Wells, gave him a look to kill.
Marshal Neil Howie entered the saloon, stood on a table, and announced: “I have sent a telegram to Sheriff Hiram Brown in Virginia City. He, his deputies, and the members of the posse who went out after the Virginia City bank robberies are coming here. We can use all the help we can get in dealing with this Slim Porter gang.
Helen snorted and spat, “Sheriff Brown is about as useless as a bull with tits. He couldn’t catch a cold. He couldn’t catch the perpetrator who cut his own deputy’s throat.” Helen still harbored resentment that Brown had forced her to kneel and perform oral sex on him, in exchange for being permitted to go with the posse.
“You know who cut Russ Lane’s throat?” Marshal Howie questioned.
“Sure I do,” Helen snapped, “I’m a detective, but I’m not telling. She’s a confidential source and a friend of mine. I might need her to cut somebody else’s throat in the future. She’s quite handy with that knife of hers.” Helen glared at Wells.
“I’m open to any suggestions regarding what kind of ambush we can set up for the Porter gang,” Marshal Howie said. “Let’s kill them before they kill us.”
“Everybody loves a circus!” Shorty exclaimed. “We hide among the clowns, acrobats, bearded ladies, horses, trapeze artists, and three rings adored with colorful designs on the sides. And then, when the members of the Porter gang get close, we shoot to kill.”
“That’s too much like murder,” Helen protested.
“But you’re Pinky the gunfighter and stone cold killer,” Shorty said sarcastically. “That’s what the newspaper article and dime novels are going to say. Right, Barnes?” Robert Barnes, editor of the paper, nodded enthusiastically.
Helen responded, “Let’s try to capture the outlaws. Dead men don’t talk. Captain Taz might be among them. I still need to find out what happened to the gold on the steamboat Victoria and the paleontologist Hannah Monroe and the Arapaho princess Sweet Water. Let’s get a rope around these outlaws’ necks and see how loose their tongues get.”
“Hey, by the way,” Shorty interrupted, “I heard that Black Wolf the Arapaho chief is offering a reward for the return of his daughter.”
“What’s the reward?” Robert Barnes asked.
“A get out of a scalping free card,” Shorty jested, feeling the hair on the top of his head and recalling the joke played on him when they pretended to scalp him.
Bob Wells said, “I’ll go get Mrs Kleinschmidt to get word to Captain Taz that there will be a circus performance here and a big snake and snake lady will be one of the acts. That will get him to show up.”
“Who will be the snake lady?” Shorty asked.
“Lucy,” Wells replied. “She’s good at performing with a big snake.” He winked at her. “Slurp, slurp. But you wouldn’t know about that, Shorty.”
“I’ll be the circus lady sharpshooter,” Helen stated matter-of-factly. “You can bill me as Pinky and I’ll ride a camel.”
“The camel toes should attract crowds like flies on bullshit,” Shorty predicted.