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[In the late 1800s, cowboys, real cowboys of the ol' West, were a dieing breed, 'til there was only one left.]
                                                          [He had to be shot.]


"Well, shoot, damn you! My piles is killin' me, an' my coffee's cold! Take much longer . . . I don't care how
dead your aim is . . . I'm gonna come over an' beat what li'l lead you got outta your pencil! Hear me? Go on,
shoot!"
"Now that I found you, I'm in no rush. I've been looking for you a long, long, time."
"You ain't been lookin' for me."
"Sure I have."
"No. You just been lookin' to shoot a cowboy...any cowboy!"
"You're wrong there. I traveled far to find you. A new century...a new era beckons. You're the last of a dieing
breed, Pecos. I see the old West written all over you. I'm going to make you a legend."
"This ain't got nothin' to do with me. I could be any saddle tramp 'tween here an' the Rio. This here's all
'bout you an' business. We both know it."
"And while I'm at it, I'm going to make your horse, that gnarly tree, this very spot, legendary, too."
"An' my name ain't Pecos!"
"Oh. Duke?"
"It's Lester!"
"Lester? You can't put a name like Lester on a cowboy's tombstone. Duke? Yes, I rather like that. I'm going
with Duke."
"You prissy back East boys ain't good for much of nothin'...'cept makin' my nipples hard!"
"So, tell me, Duke---"
"Pantywaist!"
"Tell me something about yourself. I'm no good at shooting people I don't know...complete strangers.      Tell
me your story."
"You enjoy this, don'tcha?"
"Well, as a matter of fact---"
"Do it! C'mon! Ya got me where ya want me! Whattsa matter? You ain't got the goods, do you? Do you?"
"If you insist. I can live with it. Ready to be famous? Smile...Duke."
                                                                                ~~~
They say a man's life flashes afore his eyes, if he has a second to realize, before he dies. I'm amazed at what
I'd forgot, waitin' for the flash to come.
I lost a wife early on. Well, I didn't lose her, I know where she went, where she is, what she's doin'...she's just
doin' it somewhere else with somebody else. 'At's the way it goes sometimes.
I know what's good for me. Own only as much as your horse can carry, an' if ya take a wife...make sure she'll
go back to him. Other than that, keep your socks dry, coffee beans drier. 'Bout it. Simple...simple
philosophies.
I look the part, but I'm not much of a cowboy. One time I was drivin' five hunerd head, Wyoming to Texas; I
drove 'em alright...drove 'em right over a ledge...a cliff! Poor bastids never saw it comin'. Clearly, I never did,
too! Damndest sight you ever wanna see! Closest I ever came to see cows jumpin' over the moon! Did put on
the biggest BBQ ever seen in those parts. Up 'til right this minute, 'at's about all I'm known for. Lester
Ledger! '
Ey, there's worse things a man can be labeled. Can't spin a rope. Ain't got the heart for brandin'. Swear I
seen long faces 'n tears rollin' down the coupla times I tried. Well, they was horses...course they had long
faces, but...ah, hell, y'all know what I mean. Too sad.
Tried my hand at bein' a trail cook...poisoned all fourteen of 'at crew! They starts to droppin' like flies, I
pours rot gut moonshine down their gullets! Doc thought 'shine were the poison! T'weren't! Uh-uh...was the
beans! Well, no 'at's not quite...beans were fine...was the saddle soap I put in when the boys started in
bitchin' 'bout the beans bein' hard to swallow! Slid on down a might too easy, might too fast, afore they ever
even thought to chew 'em...taste 'em! Ain't none of my fault boys had no table manners!
So, 'at's pretty much my story. Been a screw-up, seems like, since the day I stepped outta my momma's
womb 'n hit the ground runnin'. Even she says the smartest thing I ever did was to keep on runnin'! I can
agree to 'at. Been runnin' since 'bout 1841. Gettin' tired.
Well, been nice chewin' the fat with y'all. Don't get much visitin' with no address. Take care of
yourselves...I'll try an do the same.
Guess times come to deal with...hmm, I reckon it's good to know the name of the person who's 'bout to shoot
you, don't you?                                                                                ~~~
"What's your name, anyway?"
"Mine?"
"No, the guy behind you! Yes . . . you!"
"George."
"George! . . . hahaha!"
"Lester! . . . hahaha!"
"Alright, George. If I had my gun at hand, this'd be a dead issue . . . an' you'd be the issue. Understand me?"
"It's late, Duke. Sun's going down. I don't know the land, and I still have to find an Indian to shoot to make
this trip complete. What's your point?"
"Ten gold pieces. You want me...that's what it's going to cost you."
"What're you talking about? See me? I see you...square in my sights."
"Yeah, I know 'at. I also know you can't do it unless there's finality to it."
"I shoot, Duke. It's final."
"True, but you still have to live with it. Ten gold pieces an' I'm all yours."
"What do you need that much money for ? You've never even seen that much money in your life."
"Ain't for me, George. There's a young dentist lives in New York City."
"You want me to pay your dental bill?"
"No, he's also a writer. Damn good one. Name's Zane Grey. Writes stories 'bout the West. I found a pile of his
stuff he left behind in the desert a while back. Musta lost 'em while travelin' through. Word is he's havin'
trouble gettin' them back East yahoos to publish his writin'. I want you to deliver the money to him."
"He know you?"
"No."
"What makes you think I'll follow up?"
"You're a businessman, George. Your conscience 'll keep you right if there's a dollar on the line."
"Alright. Ten gold pieces. I'll find this Zane Grey. Tell him it's a gift from Duke. How's that?"
"You're a good man, George."
"Alright, Duke. Let's get this over with. Ready?"
"Ready as I'll ever be."
"Think I'm gonna give you a big toothy smile? You're outta your...hey?"
"What?"
"You Eastern boys...you mostly go with a full moniker. What's yours?"
"If I tell you, will you sit still long enough so I can get this shot off?"
"You got it. George . . .?"
"Eastman...say cheese."
"Cheese."
Click!
"Kodak. Now, which way to Geronimo?"

                                                     ©
2015 Frank W. Bosworth [All Rights Reserved]
REVIEW STORE:  Did you enjoy Frank's short story? Please tell him so. We know he will appreciate your
feedback   
CLICK HERE  to write a review of "Cowboys and Indians".

NEW REVIEWS: This is great! Boy, I'd ride a hunerd miles to read a good western story. Go even fudder
to see a good Western. The surprise ending was worth reading to. The conversational style flows and apes
the best western drawls. I just enjoyed it from beginning to end. But what's a back East yahoo? Good job,
pardner! *****__Captain Apple Jack

I like western stories. They represent a time in American history similar to that of the War Lords in China
and the Samurai in Japan. A time when these countries used and needed violence in order to be able to
move forward. Frank's story did not disappoint along those lines in conversational style and the surprise
ending was an extra treat. Oh, and by the way, I use Netflix, Captain. It's quicker. Good job Mr. Bosworth.
****__Su Chang Wu.

Boy, I like a good Western too. Especially those with stars like Clint Eastwood, Kevin Costner, Gene
Hackman and Kevin Kline. This made good reading because of the realistic dialect and conversational tone.
And the surprise ending did not let the basic story down. A recommended read. ****__Alan V. Galloway.

Every story, every hero reaches their end, and the tale of cowboys and Indians has to come to a close as
well.  In this humorous, dramatic piece, we say good-bye to the last man standing, but his story will be
known as legend, written in books that we will savor later to remind us of a world lost and tales untold.
*****__Melissa R. Mendelson.

This reads just like a movie script. Right up until the surprise ending. Mr. Bosworth has captured in short
story form what makes for exciting feature films. His experiences in the theater and film have paid real
dividends here. A fun read. ****__J. M. Humperjohn.
Cowboys, Indians, Zane Grey & George
                                 By Frank W. Bosworth
                                                                         May 20, 2015
                                                                 Rated G by the Author
                                      The last man standing is always at the mercy of the shooter