It's All Calf-Play to Me

Cody Calf had so many reasons to idolize Moo Montana and dream of being a great law cow just like him. For starters, Moo had been on the job for 10-12 years now and never had a crook get away yet. For other reasons, Moo knew everything there was to know about the Code of the West (which is what C.O.W. stood for) and was always quoting it. Bottom line: Cody wanted to be a hero even at his age. No more to be said.

On this particular day, J.R. and Tejua were at their tribal powwow, with J.R. playing the drums as part of the festivities. Most tribal drummers prefer simple rhythms of quarter notes to accompany their dancers and prayers to their gods, but J.R.'s tribal drummers, including J.R. himself, used more complex rhythms than that. Also, because of a recent wave of events by the Masked Bull, Moo and his posse, plus Cody, were attending the event. (J.R. had informed Moo about the Masked Bull's crime.)

"According to what I know," J.R. told Moo, "ever since the Masked Bull's failed team-up with Captain Longhorn Silver, he felt the easiest thing to do was blame it on me and my inventions. The other day, he stole one of my submarines and claimed it for his own, wrecking havoc on the nearby trains that were carrying mail to other places."

"Oh, no!" Cody exclaimed. "My letter! It's happening all over again. Remember the $25 I saved for my new pair of boots? This time, it's for a new hat. No one takes my $25 and gets away with it!"

"Now hold on there, calf-pint," Moo interjected. "This isn't calf's play, you know."

"I know that, but I still want to see justice is done," Cody replied. "I don't want to argue with you, Moo, but I can handle myself."

"I just wish Miss Lily wouldn't worry so much about you, Cody," Moo continued.

"Besides, all of your escape have been mighty narrow lately," Cowlorado added.

"Have they?" Cody exclaimed mildly. "Well, guess I have been too gung-ho lately. It all goes back to the star you gave me, Moo." He pointed to the honorary deputy star Moo gave him the night before Cowtown's annual Mesa Day Parade and the award for Law Cow of the Year going to Moo (for the eleventh time in a row). "Sorry."

"It's all right, Cody," Moo said apologetically. "Like it says in the Code of the West, 'Victories may look great in the history books, but they don't make the sagebrush grow."

"Right, Moo," Cody nodded.

Two days later, the train conductor arrived at Moo's office and reported what happened. "At least it wasn't that pirate again, but you know how much everybody hates the Masked Bull," said the conductor. "But why is he popping up less frequently than I'm used to?"

"I think it's because he moved his secret hideout from Cowtown to Lonesome Gulch," said Moo. "I'm sure that's what he's done. I could be wrong. Don't fret. Dakota, Cowlorado and I will get right to it." He ran outside to his horse, Cyclone, mounted it, and called to his posse, "Come on, boys! Let's rodeo!" The other two saddled up and followed Moo towards the area where the robbery had taken place.

When they got there, to no one's surprise, there was Cody! "Well, ain't you a sight for sore eyes!" Cowlorado exclaimed.

"Yup," said Dakota.

"What are you doing here, anyway?" asked Moo in confusion.

"I've got the Masked Bull and his henchman tied up in the baggage car with the wrong weapon!" Cody replied proudly. He motioned to the car. Moo and Cowlorado climbed inside to see that Cody was not lying. There was the Masked Bull, whose real identity—former Sheriff of Cowtown, the hated Terrorbull—tied up to the pole holding up the car, with Saddlesore and Boot Hill Buzzard tied up likewise. None of them dared to argue with Moo as he arrested all three and sent them off towards the nearest jail.

"Well, congratulations, calf-pint!" Dakota congratulated Cody. "You've done it again!"

"I think Moo had better think twice about you," Cowlorado added. "Your age doesn't stop you from showing adult maturity. One of these days, the town's gonna come callin' on you and not us!" He chuckled to himself.

"Glad I could help," said Cody with a smile on his face.

Three days later, inside Miss Lily's Tumbleweed Saloon, the cowboys were enjoying a sarsaparilla from her homemade recipe, and explaining Cody's win. "Cody sure is moving on up the ladder of life very rapidly," Moo commented. "And the town's holdin' a parade in his honor tomorrow morning, much to Mayor Bulloney's dismay."

"Land sakes," said Miss Lily. "I still can't believe he went to all that trouble for a new hat." Just then, Cody walked in, with his new Stetson hat. "What do you think, Moo?" he asked.

"Looks good on you, calf-pint," Moo replied. "But don't forget what the Code of the West says: 'If you get a big head helpin' people, your hat won't fit!' I like that!"


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