I've no claims on the Far Side, owned by Gary Larson. This fanfiction is a take-off on one of his inexplicable comic sketches, using the name he gave to the rabbit. Read and Review.
Go Ahead and Jump, Sid…
Chapter One: Waiting on My Ride
"Ladies and Gentleman, may I have your attention, please." It was the manager of the stagecoach station. He stepped onto the small stack of soapboxes he had erected on the platform. A dapper little man with a pot-belly, he held his cigar like a conductor's baton in one hand as he addressed the crowd of five…(or four and a half, however you wanted to count the small chubby boy clinging to his mother's skirt). An angry lot they were, too, and the little man in the silk vest took a moment to wipe the perspiration from his brow with a clean white handkerchief pulled from a breast pocket.
When all eyes in the tiny group of shapeless, overweight passengers had turned to him and the murmuring died down to an occasional angry whisper, the manager stood, tall as he could, and began explaining the reason for the tardiness of the next stagecoach. The weary travelers, already taxed to the limits of their patience listened with baited breath. By this time in the ordeal, none really cared for the "why" of their delay but yearned only to hear the "when" of the end of it!
"Ladies and Gentlemen, in behalf of Westerland Stage Lines, I want to first express our deepest apologies for your inconvenience in being kept longer than any of us anticipated." A collective murmur rumbled through the crowd. The manager again mopped his brow.
"I can assure you that this delay…er, while it may appear there is no end in sight to it…is…"
"Come-on!" said an angry, heavy-set man in a brown plaid suit, "This is the same speech you gave us two hours ago!"
Someone else shouted, "I've got to get to Carson City! If the stage can't get me to the railway depot in time to catch my train, I'll look for other means!" He was eyeing the striped Bedouin tent across the street, its sign marked "CAMEL RENTALS."
Amid the mounting uproar, the manager again regained the crowd's attention, this time waving both the cigar and his handkerchief. "Please, folks! Please!" he said, and seeing that they had turned to listen one more time he jumped down among them and spoke with a fervor unusual in a man of his position. But there was good reason.
It could be his last chance. There was more at stake than just this one group of travelers or a single tardy stagecoach. Rumors had been floating his way now for weeks…disapproval from his superiors. It was his job on the line, so this would have to be the sell of the century as far as he was concerned, and—the manager glanced around at the angry faces—with this crowd it was apt to require the very best salesmanship he could muster.
Faking an air of confidence he didn't feel, the manager boldly proclaimed, "As you know, Westerland Stage Lines has never failed yet in getting its cargo, its crew, and its passengers safely and timely to their destinations!" He took a moment for a breath, but did not allow himself to study the crowd's reaction. After all, he wasn't the only one in the room who could spot the statement for what it was, a bald-faced lie! He glanced sidelong at the station's telegraph operator who looked the other way, shaking his bespectacled head.
In the last month alone they had lost three stagecoaches—all to unexplained catastrophes. But, no time for soul searching now! The little man continued, blazing: "We have the very best and fastest horses, the most comfortable coaches! Why, you'll think you are floating on air when you're flying down the road in them." He hunched down and pretended to look off into the distance as he trailed his open hand, palm down in an even glide across the air. Smooth.
Now came the really big stretch, and he sucked another breath for the task. "We have the most courageous and skilled drivers that the entire West has to offer! Truly, there are no betters where our drivers are concerned. And…"
"Well!" shouted a person from the group, someone with a shred of common sense. "If they are so good…and that's a highly debatable point right about now…then, where are they?" The face behind the voice stopped and stared at the manager, hesitating just enough for effect but not long enough that anyone else could jump in and interrupt. The would-be passenger spat, "Pray Heaven…tell us! Where?"
It was the perfect dramatic pausing. And all eyes turned back to the little manager who stood, beet red and nibbling his cigar in front of them all, right there on their level. There has to be one in every crowd, he thought, It's a mathematical law or something. He longed to be back up on the soapboxes…or better yet, anywhere but here. He glanced nervously around, considering possible escape routes and was just about to begin sobbing when, suddenly, a cry rang out from further down the platform…