Get Rich Quick? In 60,000 Years!
Oscar Bulloney, the Mayor of Cowtown, was desperate. For almost 10+ years, all of his get-rich-quick schemes had been foiled by either Sheriff Terrorbull's corrupt henchman, Saddlesore and Boot Hill Buzzard, or, of course, by the Marshal of Moo Mesa, Moo Montana. Just last week, the mayor had lost $200,000 worth of gold after Moo proved him responsible for the hold-up that prevented the latest wagon train from going to Miller Glen (Moo's hometown) all the way from Elbow's Bend. He considered it a robbery, because he was also the bank president. That is, he was the bank president. He chose to resign from the job to devote more time to his evil schemes, with the Sheriff's help. At Moo's suggestion, Jules Bovine (Lily's older brother by five months) became the new bank president.
"What can I do to get myself more cash?" he said to himself one day. "I make quite a bit playing poker, but that's not good enough. If there was only something I could do to get rid of that do-gooder Marshal. But there isn't. Nothing I try works. Why do I even bother?"
"Maybe it's the way you are dressed," Saddlesore spoke up, trying to give a reason why the mayor's schemes always fail. Sheriff Terrorbull slammed him into the prison cell in anger and locked the cell. "Thought that was the reason," he said.
"Maybe it's your voice," Boot Hill added to the mix, getting the same result from the Sheriff.
"Good one, Buzzard," said the mayor sarcastically. "Sheriff, you have a guess?"
"No. I want to remain unbiased. The fact you lost $200,000 worth of gold last week had nothing to do with your plot; that loudmouth brat named Cody spilled the beans."
"Cody, eh? And I was so sure it was that other Cody."
"You mean the die-hard Texan lynx that frequently passes through here with those other four posse of his?"
"Yes." The mayor perked up all of a sudden. "Hold on! That gives me an idea! Those five cats are bounty hunters, aren't they?"
"If we can place a warrant on them with a big reward, all I have to do is be the one to get the reward."
"Didn't you already try that?"
"I did, but I'm going to take a more direct approach this time and raise the reward: $500,000."
"$500,000? You could retire with money like that! Come to think of it, those five bounty hunters have that much money in the bank."
"I don't wish to rob the bank because I used to the president of one."
"Yep." Sheriff Terrorbull walked out the door and headed for home to rest.
And so the stage was set. The next day, signs were placed all over Moo Mesa, stating "WANTED: The Fab 5, the most dangerous gunfighters in the West. REWARD: $500,000."
Cody Calf was the first to notice this. He took a poster and showed it to the cowboys and to Miss Lily. "I thought you'd want to see this," he said. "Those cats that frequently pass by here are now considered outlaws, and the reward is huge: $500,000!"
"$500,000?" Miss Lily exclaimed. "That's enough to last someone the rest of their life! But why the Fab 5? They're good-natured folks, aren't they?"
"Yes, they are, Miss Lily," said Moo. "Frankly, I expect something like this to happen, and if my instincts are correct, someone's going to try to turn them in unless we get there first."
"But who would do such a thing?" asked Cowlorado. After a pause, everyone exclaimed in revelation, "Mayor Bulloney!"
"Yup," said Dakota.
"I knew it!" Cowlamity Kate added. "That varmint's done gone and wanted to get rich quick again!"
"We gotta warn them, but how do we do it?" Miss Lily inquired.
"Don't you worry, Miss Lily," Moo assured her. "Like it says in the Code of the West, 'Real cowboys will do anything for their friends, even if they have to go to extreme measures.'"
"You saying we should turn them in and collect the bounty?" Cowlorado exclaimed. "The mayor will surely steal it after that."
"That wasn't what I had in mind, Cowlorado," Moo replied, shaking his head. "We've got to reverse the warrant. And most of the jobs I've done in reversing the warrants involve going straight to the source: the Fab 5 themselves. First thing you do on a job like this is alert the outlaws they ain't really outlaws and that they are wanted." With that thought in mind, the cowboys and Cody were off to do just that. They stopped by J.R.'s home to ask him for some advice, since he had his share of experience. Cody carried the poster with him. Meanwhile, the mayor's high taxes brought him his share of revenue the next day.
When the cowboys got to Texas the next day, the Fab 5 were off on another cattle drive. Cowlorado was the first to notice. "Yippie-eye-oh-ky-ay! They're off on another cattle drive!" he smiled.
"Yup," Dakota agreed. "Been a while since I've seen them on a drive."
"Guess we're going to join their party," said Moo. "It's the best way to tell them they're wanted." The trio rode off towards where Cody Belachman and his posse were located. (In case you forgot, the Fab 5 consist of Cody Belachman, the Texas lynx; Benjamin Travis, the bobcat with a Cuban accent even though he talks like a cowboy should; John Thane, a wildcat known as the Masked Ranger, also from Texas; "Bandit Bryce" Burton, a tiger originally from Arizona who was once an outlaw thanks to amnesia, and David Blaze, a lion from Kansas who became a rambler at age 13 just so his family could get out of debt. Life turned out to be better for David as a result of that choice.)
It was Benjamin who caught sight of Moo, Dakota, Cowlorado, and Cody. "Hey, Cody!" he called. "Y'all didn't invite them cowboys from Cowtown down here, did y'all?"
"Nope, but I'm always glad to see them cowboys comin' all the way down here," Cody replied. "Looks like they all's in a hurry. Good thing we just finished herding the last of them cattle into that there pen."
"Let's check it out," said Bryce. "They don't look too happy." The Fab 5 rode in the opposite direction and met the cowboys of Cowtown (and Cody Calf) in front of the general store. "Howdy, Moo," Cody called. "Y'all look a little depressed."
"Oh, there's nothing to be sad about, Cody, but we are a bit worried," Moo replied. "We came down here because there's trouble in Cowtown. You see, the mayor—and I'm talking about Mayor Bulloney, you understand—is trying another of his 'get-rich-quick with a false warrant' schemes, and y'all are the wanted outlaws."
"Us?" David exclaimed. "We never did a single darn crime in our life!"
"I know that," said Moo. "But look at the reward the one will get if they at least bring in the ringleader, meaning you, Cody: $500,000!"
"Half a million smackers, eh?" said John. "For that much money, I might think of turning myself in!"
"What do you suppose we should do?" asked Cody Calf.
"Don't know just yet, calf-pint," Moo replied. "But like it says in the Code of the West, 'Justice must be served with a side order of integrity."
"Y'all sure y'all ain't just making up that there code?" asked Benjamin.
"Nope," Moo shook his head. "I've memorized the whole thing."
"I always thought he was making it up," Dakota whispered to Cowlorado.
"I did, too, but he isn't," Cowlorado whispered back. "There's just so many things in it, you don't know what he's going to say next."
"Who's this little guy over here?" asked David, pointing at Cody Calf. "I don't recall ever seeing him."
"Oh, y'all haven't met calf-pint yet, have you?" Moo replied in surprise. "I forgot about that. Well, calf-pint, meet the Fab 5 if you haven't already."
"I've never talked to you, but I've seen you in action." Cody Calf shook his hands with Cody and the gang.
"Pleasure," said Cody, tipping his hat. "Y'all look like y'all got potential to become one of us, but I won't force y'all to join."
"I didn't plan on it, but I happened to come across the poster that says you are wanted criminals. I was just worried it would be the end. But if it is not, it is not."
"Bryce, what do y'all say y'all demonstrate some of y'all's fancy shootin' for these here cowboys? I got an idea," Cody called to Bryce, motioning towards a buffalo that was about to attack J.R.'s horse.
"You got it, Cody," Bryce replied, drawing his two pistols, twirling them for a while, then shooting bullets in rapid succession that immediately killed the buffalo. "Apologies for the startling there, J.R.," Bryce said, "but that there buffalo was gonna kill your horse."
"I appreciate that, Bryce," J.R. replied in gratitude.
"So what's the plan?" Moo asked Cody.
"Now y'all listen up." Cody snapped his fingers. "Here's what we're all going to do." Everyone gathered in close to listen to Cody's plan.
"If the mayor really wants $500,000, he's gonna get $500,000, but not from the bounty. Y'all see this here pile of counterfeit cash here? It's counterfeit, but it looks exactly like the real thing. If y'all are gonna act like y'all are turning me in and giving him the credit for it, it'll distract him for a while."
"That's an idea," said Cowlorado. "But let me tell you this: the mayor doesn't want any bank robbery involved because he used to be the president of the 1st National Bank of Cowtown. He gave up that job to concentrate on being the mayor, and most importantly, to become greedy."
"Thank y'all for the tip," Cody smiled. "It's time for Operation Cash-In!" The eight cowboys rode on back to Cowtown, where Miss Lily was waiting. "Thank goodness y'all came back safe," she exclaimed. "I'm just happy to see the Masked Bull wasn't involved in your journey. With all the gunfire going on lately, I was starting to panic."
"Well, you don't need to panic," Dakota replied. "Cody—I mean Mr. Cody Belachman here—has an idea."
"Miss Lily," Cody greeted, tipping his hat again and getting off his horse. "Y'all take a look here at this here pile of counterfeit money."
"Looks like the real thing."
"Yep. It does. But the mayor don't know it. He'll get his money, and y'all's tax money that ain't rightfully to be paid is a-comin' on back!" Moo showed Cody where the jail/mayor's office was located.
"Well, well, well," the mayor exclaimed. "If it ain't Cody Belachman, the ringleader."
"Yep," said Cody. "Y'all win. I can see when I ain't respected. Here's y'all's bounty for capturing me."
"But you turned yourself in," Sheriff Terrorbull argued.
"I know, but back home, when an outlaw gives up and turns himself in, it's the mayor who gets the credit. Congratulations; you just won $500,000!"
"What do you know? It worked! It worked!" the mayor exclaimed in delight. Of course, he was being tricked according to Cody's plan. Cody walked into one of the cells and let the Sheriff lock it. "You probably know you have the right to remain silent, Mr. Belachman. Is that right?"
"Yes it is, Sheriff. Bad conscience got me at last. I'm sick of discouraging the West."
"I'm sure you are. Your official sentence is going to be given at a later trial." Sheriff Terrorbull turned to the mayor. "Be right back."
"Where are you going?" asked Mayor Bulloney.
"I'm going to go look for the rest of the gang," said the Sheriff. "Don't want them comin' in here and blasting out their leader."
"Good show, Sheriff, but let me tell you something first," said the mayor. After the mayor told the Sheriff what he wanted the Sheriff walked outside, changed into his Masked Bull costume (according to the mayor's instructions), and headed out towards Moo Mesa to look for the rest of the Fab 5. Unfortunately for him, Cody saw him change his costume. "So that there alarmist Puma was right," Cody exclaimed to himself. "Sheriff Terrorbull is the Masked Bull, and when he ain't, his brother, Horrorbull, is. Don't want to spring the news on my comrades just yet. I'd better wait for the right moment." He sat quietly and waited patiently for phase 2 of his plan to commence.
"Now where can the rest of the gang be?" the Masked Bull asked himself. He rode on and on, but couldn't find the rest of the Fab 5. This was because they were helping Moo, Cowlorado, Dakota, Cody Calf, and Miss Lily return a portion of the real money stolen (according to the mayor's tax rates) and give it back to the good folk of Cowtown. They did this out of sight.
That night, Moo walked into the mayor's office, to find no one there but Cody. Moo wrote a note as another method of deceiving the mayor that stated Cody was mistaken for someone else and had been freed on a technicality, but the mayor got to keep his money. The mayor was content with the deal.
The next day, the cowboys, J.R., Miss Lily, Cody Calf, and J.R.'s niece Tanya all traveled down to Hicksburg, Texas (Cody's hometown) for the day as the Fab 5's way of saying, "Thanks for your help." They got acquainted with the townspeople and the Sheriff of Hicksburg, Dusty Clark (a husky), who actually did his job out of integrity, as did the mayor, Harry Stevens (a human being, Cody lives in a place where humans and animals cooperate with each other).
"I see you have some guests with you," said Dusty, indicating he had never seen the cowboys before.
"Sheriff, and Mayor, meet the C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa and their Indian companion, J.R., and some others as well," Cody announced. Moo, Dakota, and Cowlorado all shook hands with Dusty and Harry. "So glad you came down to see us just to relax today," said Harry.
"Much obliged, mayor," Moo smiled. "Like it says in the Code of the West, 'The more friends you can accumulate out of integrity, the better.'"
Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa © Ryan Brown
The Fab 5 © me