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In The Town Of Hope Folks Remember The Shoot0ut At The Drink By The Number Saloon
"Streets Of Laredo"
As I walked out on the streets of Laredo.
As I walked out on Laredo one day,
I spied a poor cowboy wrapped in white linen,
Wrapped in white linen as cold as the clay
--An American Folk Ballad
Hope was nearly gone in the small western town of Hope. Day after day it evaporated the way moisture disappears from the soils of the dessert. Abuse of power, favoritism, wastefulness by the government had left a majority of the town out of work, deep in debt and despair.
It was at this low ebb of the tide of fortune that a fair-faced stranger rode alone into town on a goat. He was long legged and his toes drug in the dust. But the stranger didn't wear boots, he wore fancy black slippers with a laces in the front. Black seemed to be his trademark color. He wore black trousers, a long black jacket with tails. His shirt was also distinctive; it was blood red with ruffles.
The men gathered outside the Drink By The Number Saloon began to laugh at the newly arrived stranger.. The closer the stranger came, the harder they all laughed. Guffaws at first and.then belly laughs. One heavyset fellow rolled in the dust while he hugged himself in hysteria.
The stranger stopped his goat in front of the saloon and dismounted by simplu standing up. The goat ran over, hiked up his leg and peed on the laughing cowboy. The cowboy came up furious, pulled out his sidearm and shot the goat six times. He then pointed his pistol at the stranger.Just then the door of the saloon swung open and a man dressed in a white shirt and black bowtie shouted at the top of his lungs.
“Drink’s up! Number Sixteen!” The he saw the stranger and stared in disbelief. Finally he found his voice.
“By gawwd! Ain’t you Whynot Burp, fastest killer in the west?” The men suddenly quit laughing. They had all heard the stories of Whynot Burp.
The man who threatened the stranger suddenly thrust his six-gun in the holster.
“I’m number sixteen,” he said and turned and walked through the swinging doors.
The stranger nodded his head in confirmation to the bartender.
“What you doing in these parts?” the bartender asked.
“I was sent here by the World Court to clean up Kiwi Junction.”
“Where’s that?” the barkeep asked as a look of puzzlement crossed his face.
The stranger reached inside his jacket and produced a paper.
“Here,” he said handing the bartender the paper. “The WC has decided there will be no more Hope. Your to town is now named Kiwi Junction.”
Don't worry," said Burp. "Soon there will be full employment. You'll have all the help you need. The only way there can be full employment is if some people work for free. The world government always provides. By the way there will be a man here next month to take control of your bar. WC will need the revenue stream to fund the jobs program.. You will continue to work for free, but we will provide room and board. And your hours will be much shorter. Twenty hours is now considered full time."
The Deal Is Done!
Well who the hell are they and“can they do that?” asked an onlooker in mountain man attire.
“Already have,” Whynot Burp said. The WC is a world wide organization, dedicated to policing corrupt governments. One World has changed the name of this corrupt and declared Kiwi Junction a violence free community. More about that later. Right now I need a stiff drink.
The bartender produced a card and heavy lead pencil from his pocket and scribbled the number 37 on the card. “Twenty ahead of you when Jake is done.”
“You sell drinks one at a time?” Burp said raising his eyebrows.
“Had to,” the barkeep replied. “Bastards kept getting drunk and shooting up the place. I told them to quit or we would all be drinking out of the same glass. They didn’t and I did.”
“I like the way you think,” Burp said. “Very effective violence control.” He slapped the man on the shoulder.
“Practical too,” the bartender said with a smile. “I fired the dishwasher. Saved me six bits a week."
"Don't worry," said Burp. "Soon there will be full employment. You'll have all the help you need. The only way there can be full employment is if some people work for free. The world government always provides. By the way there will be a man here next month to take control of your bar. WC will need the revenue stream to fund the jobs program.. You will continue to work for free, but we will provide room and board. And your hours will be much shorter. Twenty hours is now considered full time."
Those who were outside the bar followed the bartender and the apparently famous Whynot Burp inside , though some had never heard of him, and watched Jake nurse his tall glass of whiskey. At Jake’s side was an attractive lady with her hair in a bun and wearing a faded can-can dress which reeked of smoke.
Whynot nodded politely.
“Ma'am,” he said.
“I’m Porcupine Kate,” she said. “Jake here is telling me you’ve changed the name of our little town. I’m not sot sure I like that. Sounds down right un-American to me. Nobody can just snap their fingers and take away our town’s name. And I ain’t never heard of no World Wide Council. Who’s the leader of that pack of wolves?”
The men inside murmured their agreement with baritone echoes:
“No it don’t.” said one.
“Damned sure don’t,” agreed another.
“Next thing you know they’ll change the name of Burying Hill Cemetery,” said a third.
The stranger looked at her sternly.” Now I understand your name Misss. Obviously you have a very sharp tongue.”
The Deal Is Done
Jake, nearing the bottom of the glass, looked up with a smile.
“You got that wrong as well, stranger. That ain’t where the name comes from.”
“Shut your damned mouth Jake!” the woman snapped. “Explain my name and the next time you make love it will be to a cow or a cactus.” The bartender snapped away the glass and dumped it into a bucket. He quickly poured another. “Number seventeen’s up,” he said.
Jake stepped away from the bar, reassumed his threatening stance from the street.
“I’m calling you out Mister!” he snarled. “Your goat peed on me. And I don’t like your attitude, your opinion or any World Council that may or may not be real."
“I’m unarmed,” Whynot said. And I don’t like your attitude.”Surely you wouldn’t shoot an armed man.”
“You’ve got a flyswatter stuck in your belt. Reach if you don't want to die empty handed."
Quicker than the eye could see. Whynot let out a long belch which filled the room with a paralyzing fumigant. Everyone in the room froze momentarily and when they came to minutes later, the stranger had all their guns in a carpet bag tote.
“The World Court also said you can’t have guns,” Whynot said. “That was my real mission here today. Not only has your town name changed, but you can no longer have firearms. Kiwi Junction will go forth as a nonviolent community.”
Just then a loud but feminine scream was heard in the streets. The men inside the bar rushed outside to see what the matter was. They found the prim and proper school marm standing in the middle of the street.
“Look,” she said with a point of her dainty hand. “The schoolhouse , the church and the newspaper are all on fire.”
Just then Whynot Burp belched again and they were all struck motionless.
When they came to the once shot dead goat was again alive and again peeing on Jake’s trousers
“If I had a gun, I’d kill you stranger,” Jake said. “I’d shoot you deader than a rock.”
“I know,” Whynot Burp reached into his carpet bag, pulled out a six-gun, pulled back the hammer and squeezed the trigger. There was a loud retort of the gun and Jake clutched his chest.
“I’m bad shot,” Jake gasped and dropped into the dust of what was once a town called Hope.
The school teacher screamed again. "You shot him down in cold blood. Why did you do that?"
"I now have all the guns," said Burp. "Therefore I decide who lives and who dies. I decide what is written, published and read. I decide whether or not people attend church and decide what, if anything, is taught in the schools. All personal individual rights are null and void as of now."
“You folks need to get it through your thick heads that this town, this state and this country have been fundamentally changed. Now only the World Council has power. We are the shooters and you do everything we say. You do not pray, write, speak or defend yourselves without our permission. There is no longer a place called Hope. Forget about it. Next week you will have a new sheriff in this town and only he will be armed. Get used to it. It’s the way it will be in all towns from now on. The World Council has so decided.”
Then Whynot Burp reined his goat westward towards the next town.