Dreaming Big

Perhaps no other citizen dreamed as big as Cody Calf. It was his ambition to be a great law cow just like his hero, Marshal Moo Montana, and every night, he dreamed more and more about doing just that. Over a period of weeks, ever since Moo gave him that honorary deputy star, it was becoming clearer to everybody that Cody was the ideal choice to replace Moo when the Marshal's time on this planet was up.

When asked about it, J.R. agreed. "He has quite the potential any law enforcer should show," he told the press. "Sometimes he can be gung ho about it, so you'd better watch your backs."

The same scenario left a predicament for the Masked Bull, who had been sitting in prison, and by this point, was remaining as the Masked Bull, since Lonesome Gulch elected a new Sheriff, Jeff Cowbell. "At least those two bumbling idiots are gone," he said to himself, "but this leaves me no successor. I might not have one as it is, since I have never really gotten away with crime in the end. But I'm not giving up. Once that no-good Marshal and his posse are fried and sent to that cow's barn in the sky, everything's going to be A-OK from that point on. As for today, since I'm no longer Sheriff, let's see what Five Card Cud is up to."

The Masked Bull looked out of the window of his cell and saw Five Card Cud planting dynamite at a nearby cave. After the explosion, the outlaw walked inside and emerged with a supply of silver. "Silver? Why'd he want that?" the Masked Bull asked himself. "That ain't as valuable as gold, or even oil. There's no way I can fry the Marshal with silver anyway. I'll have to think of something else."

"It's mine! All mine!" Five Card Cud had shouted to no one in particular. "At least, the most expensive piece of heaven on earth is mine now! The famous Sunridge Mine No. 3's supply of silver! And it's mine!"

"Stop where you are!" came a voice from afar as gunshots rang out. "You ain't getting away with all that silver!"

"Drat!" the outlaw sneered. "It's them blasted Fab 5 again! You'll never catch me!"

Indeed. The Fab 5—Cody Belachman, Benjamin Travis, John Thane, David Blaze, "Bandit Bryce" Burton—had been chasing Five Card Cud for quite some time now. The gunslinging cats continued to blaze his trail as he tried to make his getaway. It seemed they were doing a lot of chasing and getting nowhere fast.

Back in Cowtown, their new Sheriff, J. Paul Bull Dog (the first non-cattle law enforcer in Moo Mesa, and an old friend of Cody's), had received word from a telegram (delivered by Jack) that Five Card Cud was getting away with the silver. The telegram also stated how that silver was to be stored in a separate unit and yet alongside the gold in Fort Knight, where Rooster Cogvell had previously robbed the gold and then used his Cowgoyle disguise to smuggle it across on a wagon train. But to no avail; Moo and his posse, with Cody Calf's help, foiled him in his tracks (and proved to Cowlorado he was the goldnapper that Cowlorado had been chasing all the time).

Cody Calf caught sight of Five Card Cud and decided to himself, "Marshal Moo must need my help. Like he always says, 'When you're stuck, always make sure you've got back-up.'" He mounted his horse and headed for the Marshal's office, but didn't stop to inform Moo (since he didn't see Moo inside). But Cowlorado and J.R. (who had been helping with remodeling) saw him.

"Lookie there!" Cowlorado spoke up as the group walked back outside. "Cody's moving faster than a coyote caught in a hen house!"

"That sure is one little calf in one big hurry," J.R. commented.

"I wonder where he's going?" Moo asked. "Hope he's not trying to deliver another letter."

Suddenly gunshots rang out. "Wonder if someone's chasing him?" Dakota suggested.

"I don't know, but we better find out what's happening. You coming, J.R.?"

"Might as well, Moo. As you always say, 'Let's rodeo!'"

The group saddled up and followed Cody Calf's trail. Along the way, the Fab 5 came into view, as did Five Card Cud, and the gunfire proved to be from their leaders' two death-delivering guns. "Well, I'll be," Moo exclaimed mildly. "What's the Fab 5 doing scaring us like that?"

"I ask, 'Why?'" Dakota spoke up. "Why are they trying to scare us? It ain't even Halloween!"

"Well, I reckon it has nothing to do with trick-or-treating, Dakota. At least it's clear to me now that they are in hot pursuit." By this time, both groups met one another, but there was still no sign of Cody Calf or Five Card Cud, as both seemingly disappeared.

"Oh, Moo; didn't see y'all come in," Benjamin spoke up when the two groups met. "Are y'all after Five Card Cud, too?"

"Well, not exactly," Moo replied. "Calf-pint took off like a rocket and he didn't tell me why. Sometimes I wish I never gave him that star. It's gone to his head. He just wasn't ready for the range when I gave to him."

"It ain't your fault, Moo," said Bryce. "Blame it on the fact he idolizes you. That's a bad thing in my book."

"It is in my book, too. Like it says in the code, "Idols are bound to go up in smoke if you keep on worshipping them. I'm not ready to go up in smoke just yet. At least not unless it's time."

"It ain't y'all's time to die yet," Cody protested. "Besides, we got that there outlaw to capture. So y'all are aware of it, he done blasted dynamite into one of them caves and made off with them supplies of silver that's supposed to be inside Fort Knight. We caught him in the act."

"So that's what all the fuss was about?"

"Exactly."

"Better pick up the pace then." The group continued to ride in the direction of Cody Calf and Five Card Cud. Along the way, Moo informed the Fab 5 how Cody Calf was continuing to dream big, and asked for their input. "Oh, no doubt about it," David put in. "He's got what it takes. If he keeps this up, people are going to be calling on him instead of you. We can't let that happen; not right now, anyways."

"Nah, you don't have to worry about that, David. Calf-pint knows better than to try and take my job away from me."

"I see."

About half an hour later, the cowboys had traveled to the deepest part of the mesa and wondered how they got there. "I don't remember ever being here," Cody spoke up. "Did I take a wrong turn?"

"No, but you ended up in the Valley of Darkness, where we put an end to that Cowgoyle mystery," Cowlorado replied. "And no one goes through here; at least, not at night."

Then a loud CRASH was heard from a short distance away. "What in darn blazes was that?" Dakota exclaimed.

"It came from over there." J.R. pointed in the direction of the sound.

"Let's have a look," Moo suggested. The group crept stealthfully across the valley until they came to the site of the crash. There, to everyone's surprise, was Cody Calf with Five Card Cud in his grasp!

"Whoa, Nellie! What the doggone heck happened here?" Bryce exclaimed.

"I got Five Card Cud trapped in the booth with the wrong number!" Cody Calf proudly announced, motioning towards an old telephone booth with a phone that didn't work anymore. He also held the very rock that fell from a nearby tree, crashed through the ceiling of the booth, and bonked Five Card Cud on the head, mangling with his memory, and making him think he was talking to an operator.

"Operator! Operator! Can you hear me? I told you to give me my dime back or I'm calling the Marshal about this!" he had been screaming. He turned to see the Marshal of Moo Mesa staring him in the face. "Never mind!" he said into the phone in a worried tone of voice.

Bryce fired his pistols towards another rock in the tree, which promptly dropped to the ground and bonked Five Card Cud again, putting him back to normal, but forcing him to surrender. Dakota and J.R. gathered up the silver, and J.R. promised to deliver the silver to Fort Knight where it belonged, along with a note from Moo about what happened.

The next day, the story was in the newspaper, celebrations ensured, and Cody Calf was hailed as a hero to all. Even Miss Lily was applauding. "Land sakes, Cody," she chuckled. "I still can't believe you went to all that trouble just to stop Five Card Cud. You even put yourself in the line of gunfire. Or did he?" She turned to Cody.

"No, he didn't, Miss Lily, ma'am," Cody replied. "I was firing my guns while chasing him long before he passed by. He didn't even see me; he just shot by like one of them military missiles being launched off its platform."

"I see. Why don't you boys come and have yourselves a nice, ice-cold sarsaparilla? Looks like y'all could use one."

"Appreciate that," Cody replied as Miss Lily prepared each of the Fab 5 one of her famous homemade sarsaparillas. "They don't make 'em back home like the way y'all make 'em."

THE END

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

The Fab 5 © me