Draw, Pilgrim!

Back in Cowtown, it was peaceful, but down in Hicksburg, Texas, it was getting out of control. No self-respecting citizens of any town wanted to be involved in a gunfight, but there was more gun action happening down there. Just when the public thought it was safe to come out, another gun wave began. Sheriff Dusty Clark and Mayor Harry Stevens were grateful to be alive. In the Sheriff's opinion, the multiple gun waves all had to come from the same source, explaining, among other deaths, the death of his deputy (who sacrificed himself to save the mayor's life from harm, and the funeral had taken place in between gun waves).

"This is not good P.R. for our town, Dusty," the mayor said to his trusty Sheriff one day. "If this keeps up, no one will want to live here anymore."

"I thought about that, Mayor," Dusty replied. "The one silver lining in this is that the Fab 5 is still alive, and they've done a great job keeping the majority of us safe, but some deaths couldn't be avoided. I can't believe my deputy gave his life to safe yours. My thoughts were that if the Fab 5 can't do it alone, then we had better call Marshal Moo Montana and his cowboys to investigate this, provided they are not occupied with something else."

"I believe that is an excellent idea," Harry nodded. "I'll go down to the telegram's office and send one right now." He did so, and by the time Moo got the message, the Masked Bull had added another failure to his list (in trying to dynamite the First National Bank of Cowtown, in which Mayor Bulloney once had a nest egg in that bank but had since withdrew it when Moo blew a hole in his alibi, the Masked Bull had ended up dynamiting himself; Cowlorado had messed with the wiring to the box the dynamite was hooked up to).

"Boys, there's a gun wave happening down in Hicksburg," Moo reported to his posse as soon as he got the message that night. "First thing tomorrow morning, we're heading down there and investigate."

"At least it doesn't take that long to get there," Cowlorado replied. "Only thing is, if the Fab 5 end up dying in the gun wave, those folks will be calling on us all the time."

"Yup," said Dakota.

"I don't know, Cowlorado. Like it says in the Code of the West, 'Calling on foreigners for help is no different than living like a helpless slave.' I reckon the Fab 5 are used to gunfights. Cody says he's had at least 200 gunfights and he ain't never got hit once."

"Quite a record if you ask me," said Dakota. "Calf-pint a 'comin'?"

"I don't know, but he certainly proved he can take care of himself." Moo and his posse headed out the office and home to rest.

(To remind those of you who don't know or forgot, the Fab 5 consists of cowboys Cody Belachman, the leading lynx proud of his home state and not afraid to show it, plus Benjamin Travis, the bobcat with a slight Cuban accent but still talking cowboy talk; David Blaze, the lion who once ran away from home and rambled as a homeless lion just so his family could escape debt; John Thane, Cody's fellow Texan wildcat who was known to many as "The Masked Ranger" because he suffered a fate similar to the Lone Ranger, and "Bandit Bryce" Burton, the tiger who once was an outlaw due to amnesia which happened when a safe dropped on his head. When he was hit in the head again, he regained his normal state.)

The next day, Moo and his posse made the journey to Texas, although without the aid of Cody Calf (he was helping Miss Lily run her first charity auction, held at the Tumbleweed Saloon). When the terrific trio made it to Texas, sighs of relief and gratitude were breathed as the townspeople emerged from hiding. The Fab 5 were talking with the mayor and Dusty when the cowboys arrived.

"Moo!" Cody exclaimed, being the first to notice as he always did. "Ain't we glad to see you! Some crazy varmint and his gang done gone gun crazy and they's been shootin' at innocent folks for nothing."

"He probably lost his sanity and is doing it," David added.

"When does he usually strike?" Moo asked.

"Don't know." John shook his head. "He always strikes when you least expect it. He mostly stops by the saloon and empties the cash in the register. He's a sure shot, that's for sure."

"Y'all's help is greatly appreciated in solvin' this here case," Cody spoke up. "I'm getting sick of it myself and I'm the top gunfighter in this town! Bryce here deserves to be second, though."

"Oh, thanks," Bryce replied. "You probably use them more than me, though. I don't believe in killing anybody to serve up justice, just stopping them."

"I don't blame you," said Moo. "Thing is, my guns don't shoot bullets. They shoot gold stars, because I don't believe in anyone getting hurt either. The worst that can happen is that they ricochet around and knock you down unconscious."

"Keep an eye out," the mayor spoke up. "They could be here any minute."

By the time the mystery outlaw came back and started another gun wave, the citizens were at least prepared for it, as they hid in the bank and their homes. The outlaw always went for the saloon. "It has nothing to do with the bartender," Dusty told Moo. "That's our only clue we can give." The group ran inside Callahan's Last Chance Saloon and watched the outlaw.

"Let me have my special!" the outlaw yelled at the bartender. The bartender, not wanting to get pistols aimed at him, gave him his special. It was a bizarre mix of beer, gin, and nitroglycerine. As a result, when the outlaw finished his drink, explosion poured out of his ears, and he started spinning around, out of control, firing his guns in the process. Every last glass in the bar broke into a million pieces and the register came flying out. But unlike the last time this happened, the register was empty!

"What in tarnation?!" the outlaw exclaimed. "There ain't no dough in here!"

"I haven't had any customers since the last time you came in here!" said the bartender nervously, now facing the outlaw's pistols and reaching for the sky.

"Don't move, varmint! We got you surrounded!" Moo suddenly shouted as he, his posse, the Fab 5, and Dusty moved in closer. All who held possession of one or two firearms were now pointing it at the outlaw.

"So you have, pilgrim!" said the outlaw. "Whichever one of you is the fastest draw in these here parts, it's you I'm getting first! I'm gonna be rich, and there ain't nobody stopping me from being rich!"

"Well, just call me nobody!" Moo taunted as he fired stars from his two guns. Just as he explained to Dusty, the stars ricocheted off the walls and knocked the outlaw unconscious. As soon as he was lying on the floor, Bryce took off the mask he was wearing, and there laid the body of the very coyote that Moo and his posse had brought to justice in Cowtown earlier in the year! It didn't surprise Cody, however, because his gut instincts now proved to be correct.

"Well, if it ain't old slippery Dead Hand Dan himself!" Cody exclaimed. "I had a hunch it was him the whole time. Y'all remember the guy who got killed because them cards in that there poker hand of his had two aces and two eights? Dead Hand Dan here did the same thing to a rival gangster, and them gangsters are all in prison now."

"Better lock him up before he causes any more trouble," Moo suggested. "If he's got any gang members, we'll help you search."

"Nope, just him," Benjamin replied. "He's a lone wolf all the way."

Cody fired several shots into the air, then announced to the public, "Y'all can come out now! Moo Montana done did it again!" The public came out rejoicing (naturally), and Moo and his posse took the compliments. Celebrations and hoedowns took place at the saloon that night to celebrate, and the next day, the terrific trio couldn't resist helping the Fab 5 go on their latest cattle drive.

THE END

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

The Fab 5 © me