Road Rage (Short Story No. 8)
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.
This is a holdup!
Captain Taz and his two men had lain in wait for the stagecoach and opened fire when it was in the middle of the trap. The driver Boss Foss and the conductor Red were shot and toppled off the top of the stage. The bandits pulled the horses to a stop.
“Get out with your hands up!” Taz yelled at those in the stagecoach, and they quickly attempted to do so.
The snake oil salesman, Benjamin Burrows, exited first, followed by Ezekiel Evans and his wife, and then Anne and Helen.
Fatty Foster made no move to get out and Taz screamed, “Get your fat ass out of that stagecoach!”
“You’ll probably have to help him out,” Anne suggested. “He’s real fat.”
“Jumping Jehosaphat!” Buster, Taz’s right-hand man, blurted, “A lady with a beard! I wonder if her snatch has that much hair.”
“Let’s find out,” Taz said, “but first check the strongbox.”
Buster got up on the top of the stagecoach and threw the green Wells Fargo strongbox off the side. Taz blew off the lock with one shot and opened it. “Five bags of gold dust and a like number of gold bars. $1,000 in silver and $500 in gold coin. I’d say we got about $10,000. Let’s see what the passengers have of value. How about it, folks? What do you have that’s worth anything?”
Benjamin Burrows offered him some bottles of laudanum, which Taz took, but he also took Burrows gold watch. Fatty Foster had two hundred dollars and Mr. and Mrs. Evans had twice that, which they said was money they had saved for their daughter’s wedding. Anne and Helen shrugged and indicated they didn’t have much that was worth anything. Taz looked in all their bags and found Fatty’s rope and other equipment.
“You’re a hangman?” Taz demanded.
“No,” Fatty lied. “I’m a cowboy.”
“Yeah right,” Buster snapped. “You’d squash any horse you got up on.”
“You are the one they sent for who is going to hang our friend Seth,” Taz growled.
“No, no, not me,” Fatty whined.
“Okay, get your clothes off, all of you,” Taz demanded. Some looked reluctant. “Yes, you have to. Either that, or I’ll kill you. I don’t figure you’ll follow us if you are naked and afraid.”
“I’m not taking my clothes off,” Fatty insisted.
Taz shot him right between the eyes with his piston and said softly, “Now you don’t have to.” Then he screamed, “Anybody else!”
The rest of them hurriedly removed their clothes.
Buster looked at the elderly now naked Mrs. Evans and said, “Boss, I wish you wouldn’t have made them all take off their clothes.”
Taz yelled at Helen as she dallied, “Hurry up, lady! We ain’t got all day!”
Passengers are robbed of everything
She did and Buster was even more shocked.
“This is even worse, Boss,” he moaned. “I’m gonna be having nightmares about this, a lady with a pecker, a big one.”
“Oh well,” Taz sighed, “At least she’s got nice tits. So does the one with the beard. We got time for a little fun. I’d take the old lady, but I’m not too eager to commit adultery. God might strike me dead for sinnin’ with a married woman.” He took Helen by the hand and said to her, “You got nice lips.” Buster quickly grabbed Anne, which left the elderly Mrs. Evans for the third bandit, Rusty, who shot Ezekiel Evans dead when he protested the imminent sexual assault of his wife.
Two hours later Taz was ready to go. He ordered Buster to take the horses that had been pulling the stage.
“You are going to leave us here with no horses and no clothes?” Anne complained loudly.
“That’s about it,” Taz responded. “I suggest you cover your bodies with mud. Otherwise you are gonna get sunburned bad on the walk to Helena. Talk about hot asses.”
“You wouldn’t!” Anne exclaimed, which Helen seconded. “Let us have our clothes and the horses,” Anne begged. “We’ll do anything.”
“You just did anything,” Buster noted sarcastically. “What else is there?”
Taz contemplated the matter briefly before he said, “Well then, you with the beard, you are Seth’s woman. You could save me some trouble in springing Seth outta jail.” Taz fetched a spare pistol from his saddle bag. “Will you see to it that Seth gets this? For your clothes and horses?” Anne nodded agreement. “If I find out you reneged on our deal, I’ll hunt you down and kill you,” Taz said.
Helen now knew that this was the perpetrator she had been looking for, the one who orchestrated the sinking of the steamboat Victoria and carried off the safe with the gold. Colonel Sanders had told her that the leading suspect she sought wore a snakeskin vest, hat, and boots. This one did. The colonel also said the man was known to have some peculiar sexual preferences. She had just confirmed that personally. Not only had this man and his gang sunk the Victoria, he had been responsible for two bank robberies, and now a stagecoach robbery.
“I’m confiscating your camel,” Taz said to Helen. “I need another one. You can never have enough camels, ya know.” He untied Joe the camel who had been tied to the back of the stagecoach.
“Kind of like big snakes, ‘eh?” Helen said sarcastically. “You can never have enough.”
“Say what?” Taz questioned. “Anne, you go back to Helena now. Take Mrs. Evans and Burrows with you. I’m leaving that one here.” He pointed to Helen, who protested to which Taz countered, “If you don’t shut up, I’ll just kill you now. Burrows ain’t going either. I don’t like him either.”
Taz and his men gathered the dead bodies and burned them, in part so that Helen couldn’t take the clothes. The other reason being that Taz didn’t just like to do murders, he liked to burn the bodies. If he had the choice, he would rather burn them while still alive, and he recalled briefly the opportunities in the past he had done just that.