Cows, Bulls, and Cats

It was about two months after Five Card Cud and the Masked Bull had teamed up to steal all the money from the citizens who gambled with it at the new gambling hall inside the Tumbleweed Saloon. Though the Masked Bull was still at large, it was still true that no one but the town alarmist, Puma, knew that Sheriff Terrorbull was really the Masked Bull. No one believed Puma because he was such an alarmist (and because he couldn't see past his nose).

Lily Bovine had told the newspapers, "It does help bring it more business. I just wish people would be more careful with their money. They work hard to earn it and then they throw it all away. It doesn't make any sense."

Lady Luck was on Marshal Moo Montana's side, however; whenever he played poker (at least against Five Card Cud), he won. The Dakota Dude found his best luck when playing the game of craps, and the Cowlorado Kid specialized in roulette. This accounts for 0.14% of their lives, however; most of their time was spent keeping law and order or herding cattle in on a cattle drive. (By this point, Cowlorado had been on several cattle drives that actually involved cattle, as opposed to that at-first embarrassing drive with the sheep, Ewe Baby, and Sally Sue Holsteen had more reasons than ever to dream of him.)

One day, while the C.O.W.-Boys were out herding cattle, they noticed some other cowboys approaching. "Wonder who that could be?" Cowlorado spoke up.

Moo took a look through his binoculars. "Boys, do you recall ever seeing any cats in this town?" he asked.

"Nope," said Dakota.

"Well, we're about to get some," Moo announced. "I do recognize them from the time we traveled to Texas for a while when the Masked Bull was causing havoc down there." Moo wasn't fooling around. There were cats coming. To be exact, they were Cody Belachman, the die-hard Texan lynx, and his three pals, Benjamin Travis (the bobcat with a slight Cuban accent), John Thane, the Masked Ranger (a wildcat also from Texas who suffered a fate similar to the Lone Ranger), and "Bandit Bryce" Burton (a tiger whose amnesia temporarily made him a criminal). Riding alongside them was David Blaze (the lion rambler who left home so that his family could get out of debt).

"It's the Fabulous 5, as Texans call them, or the Fab 5 for short," Moo continued the thought. "They're the ones who were going after the Masked Bull and Five Card Cud, but proclaimed they couldn't do it without our help. Maybe they're coming to pay us back. Like it says in the Code, 'When friends help friends, there is incentive to pay them back in any way possible that does not involve money.'"

"Yup," Dakota agreed. "Just wish these cattle would stop being so cocky. Come back here, you varmint!" His last remark was directed towards one particular bull who broke loose from the herd. Moo and Cowlorado finished up the rest of the herd and closed it off. Cowlorado then grabbed his lariat and proceeded to assist Dakota. "Yah!" he shouted in delight. "Go, Dakota! Get him, dude!"

Dakota managed to grab the bull before it came within 500 feet of Cody and his comrades. "Well, I'll be," Cody exclaimed mildly, surprised at Dakota's strength. "He's stronger than a whole pack of wolves trampling down a jaguar!"

Cowlorado lassoed the bull into the pen. "Yee-haw!" he shouted.

"Nice work, boys," Moo congratulated. "Now let's go say hello to our friends from Texas." The trio made their way over to the quintet of cats. "Howdy, Moo," they greeted.

"Howdy there, Cody," Moo replied. "What brings y'all back up to Cowtown?"

"Never did get a chance to thank y'all for y'all's help back down in Texas," Cody explained. "Y'all remember Benjamin, Bryce, and John, don't you?"

"We do," said Dakota, "but not the lion."

"He's the most recent addition to my squad," said Cody. "Why don't y'all tell them cowboys about yourself?"

"Be my pleasure," said David. "My name is David Blaze. I've been a rambler since I was 13 years old. It was all to help my family stay out of debt."

"For some reason, that story was recently in the paper," said Cowlorado. "Perhaps Cowtown is touched by your bravery."

"Could be."

"Well, pleasure to meet you anyway," Moo replied. "Wish we could talk to you more, but we've been busy being on patrol. Five Card Cud is probably cheatin' folks out of their right hard-earned money as we speak."

"Five Card Cud?" John exclaimed. "Is he that varmint we were chasing when y'all came down to Texas?"

"Yup," said Dakota.

"Boy, I'm glad you brought him up."

"Why is that?"

"Seems he's been plottin' revenge on us," Bryce continued the thought. "I overheard someone scream for help on the way over. When I asked what was wrong, the citizen replied, 'That crazy gamblin' idiot Five Card Cud is plotting revenge on the Fab 5.' And by the Fab 5, he means us. Perhaps it was the bank robbery we stopped before it started. Don't know. Those people were ever so grateful."

"I'm glad y'all appreciate the appreciation, boys, but like it says in the Code of the West, 'If you get a big a head helping people, your hat won't fit.' I like that idea."

Just then, alarms went off. "Speaking of bank robbery…," Bryce added to his commentary.

"Come on, boys! Let's rodeo!" Moo called. "Fab 5, y'all comin'?"

"Don't mind if we do!" Cody called back. "Fab 5 away!" The elite group of eight rode off towards where the alarms were sounding, only to find that it was Five Card Cud. "Give me all your money!" he had been screaming. "I have poker games to win!"

"What does he mean by that?" Benjamin inquired.

"He likes to bet double or nothing when playing poker, and he always cheats to win," Moo explained. "Let's nab him!" The group preceded to do that.

"Ah, come to me, my little gold pieces!" Five Card Cud had been saying. He looked up to receive the shock of his life. "Not again!" he shouted.

"Ack!" screamed Saddlesore and Boot Hill Buzzard, the Masked Bull's two henchmen who had been assigned to assist Five Card Cud. "It's Moo Montana with those other goony cats!"

"Right again," Moo smiled. A shooting match emerged, just like any Wild West scene you would expect from an old movie. Contrary to what the people expected, the battle ended with a roping routine from Cowlorado instead of a gunshot from Moo. All the gunfire came from Cody and John, whose bullets of steel served as symbols of authority from the two Texans.

Crowd cheers perked up in the distance. "Hooray for the Marshal! Hooray for the Fab 5!" they sang.

Miss Lily emerged from the crowd and said to Moo, "You know, these folks have been anticipating the Fab 5's arrival into Cowtown."

"Well, here they are," said Moo, gesturing towards the Fab 5, who all tipped their hits as if to say hello. "Howdy do, y'all," Cody continued the thought. "Thought we'd drop in and say 'howdy' as sort of payback for when y'all's cowboys helped us."

"Glad to be of service," said Cowlorado.

"Yup," added Dakota.

"Like it says in the Code," Moo finished, "when you want to return the favor, what better way to do it than do it on your friends' home turf?"


Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa © Ryan Brown

The Fab 5 © me