The Case of the Bronze Bullets

It was a hot day in Cowtown, just like any other blazing summer day. Cody Calf had awoken to the shrill sounds of roosters singing, "Cock-a-doodle-doo!" He felt great. He did not know why he felt so great, but he had a feeling something fantastic was going to happen that morning.

Cody roped up his hat, outfit, and boots, promptly put them on, and walked downstairs towards the kitchen table, where Miss Lily was cooking breakfast. "You're up mighty early for a Saturday, Cody," she exclaimed mildly. "But breakfast is almost ready, and it's your favorite."

"Yes, it is," Cody replied. "And I feel something great is bound to happen today."

"Why is that?"

"I don't know. I just have that feeling."

"Oh. I just wish I wasn't so paranoid over you all the time. I mean, sometimes I do worry over all those times when you go out on those adventures you like to do with the Marshal, but then again, that's just me."

"I don't mean to scare you, Miss Lily, but how else am I going to become a great hero like Marshal Moo if I don't act now?"

"Wonder if that star has gone to his head?" Miss Lily thought as she served some of the pancakes she was cooking.

Tejua woke up about the same time Cody did, and was actually on her way with her uncle, J.R. (the invention wizard who was and still is friends with Moo and his posse), over to the Marshal's office, where Moo was repainting some of the pillars outside the front door. Tejua held in her hand a bronze replica of a pistol that actually shot out bronze-colored bullets. What she had wondered was why it did so, and who was responsible if it wasn't the Masked Bull.

After finishing breakfast, washing up, and doing his daily chores, Cody noticed Tejua and J.R. on their way over to Moo's office. "Wonder what she's got in her hand?" Cody thought to himself. "Only one way to find out." He walked over to the horse he rode that was just his size, saddled up, and caught up with Tejua and J.R. "Oh, hi, Cody," Tejua greeted, though softly. "Didn't see you."

"What have you got in your hand?" Cody asked.

"This is a bronze pistol that wasn't supposed to shoot bronze bullets, but it did," Tejua explained. "Whoever owns or stole this tried to frame Uncle J.R. by leaving the pistol in his teepee overnight. But Cowtown knows better, I hope."

"Either that or the heat will distract them from remembering about it," J.R. put in. "It did make headline news. Here. Read this." He handed Cody the newspaper that was delivered to his teepee every morning, since it was not far from Cowtown's borders. Cody took a good look at the headline, which read, "HAS INDIAN GONE MAD?" And in smaller letters, it read, "Mesa-renowned inventor shown to possess bronze-colored pistol."

"What a bunch of hogwash!" Cody exclaimed in shock. "Everybody knows you are innocent."

"But there's no way to prove it," Tejua objected.

"Don't bet on that," Cody objected back. "Like Marshal Moo always says, 'When you get in a jam, make a jelly sandwich.'"

At the office, Moo had just put down his paintbrush. "I think that should do it," he announced to his posse. "And just in time, too; here comes J.R."

"Yup," said Dakota.

"Wonder why he's looking so depressed?" Cowlorado spoke up. "Wonder if that headline in the paper has something to do with it?"

"Yeah, but calf-pint sure is in a good mood today," said Moo. "Guess he wants more experience. He surely will be the best to fulfill my role when I'm long gone."

"Yup," said Dakota softly. "No doubt about that."

J.R., Tejua, and Cody stopped by the office. "Howdy, J.R.," Moo greeted. "Saw your story in the paper. I went ahead and told all the townsfolk to stay out of it because we all know you are innocent no matter what charges by chance Mayor Bulloney might bring on you."

"Appreciate that, Moo," J.R. replied, "but what can you do the evidence points in your favor? Show him, Tejua."

"Sure, Uncle J.R.," said Tejua as she revealed the bronze pistol. "There aren't any bullets in here now, but last night, someone was firing them. While they were intended for us, they missed by a long shot. The paper stated that there can't really be a trial until we find the bullets."

"That is exactly what I intend to do," Moo replied. "Mayor Bulloney can press all the charges he wants, but to no avail, at least since I unmasked the Masked Bull and revealed that Mayor Bulloney was helping him in his plots to kill me and put the blame on whoever was available."

"Nope," said Dakota.

"Well, you certainly are in a good mood today, calf-pint," Cowlorado smiled as Cody stopped by the pillar he was standing by.

"Yes, and I don't know why," said Cody. "But what I'm really wanting to focus on is helping J.R. solve this bronze bullet mystery. I don't know who to blame if it is not the Masked Bull."

"I don't think it's the Masked Bull. His guns aren't bronze; they are some other color."

All at once, Dakota's ears began to perk up. "You hear that stampede? Or is that thunder?" he asked. "Why is someone trying to scare us? It ain't even Halloween!"

Moo listened intently. "That's not a stampede, Dakota; that ain't thunder neither," he replied. "That's a really heavy wagon approaching."

"Duck and cover!" J.R. shouted as bullets made their way towards the Marshal's office. When the dust settled, everyone emerged uninjured. Cowlorado bent down to take a look at the bullets. "These are bronze!" he exclaimed. "Whoever that crazy coyote is has multiple bronze pistols. A whole bunch of people could've been framed for crimes they had nothing to do with!"

"Yup," said Dakota. "I hate it when that happens!"

"Follow that wagon!" Cody shouted as he commanded his horse to giddyup and get going.

"Come on, boys!" Moo called. "Let's rodeo!" Dakota and Cowlorado ran to their horses, saddled up, and rode off towards the hostile wagon that was making its way towards Cowtown.

Watching from his office, Mayor Bulloney started intently at the wagon. "If this plan works to perfection, this will be the end of Marshal Moo Montana," he said to himself. "But I can't bet on that happening, simply because my cover's been compromised. Mayday! Mayday! Red alert! Red alert!"

Hearing the remark, Moo called, "We hear you, Mayor! We saw it plenty before you did!"

"Allow me to inform you this is the fifth time this wagon has passed through town!" Mayor Bulloney called as Moo and the gang rode on. "They were probably looking for you and couldn't find you! And don't worry; I cleared J.R.'s name this morning."

"There you go, J.R.," said Dakota. "You're in the clear."

"For now," said J.R., turning his attention back to the wagon. "Hmmm. Looks like it's heading for the blacksmith shop. Buffalo won't like that."

"Hey, he's the top bounty hunter in all of Moo Mesa," Cowlorado replied. "He'll be just fine." (Buffalo Bull was indeed the top blacksmith and bounty hunter in Moo Mesa. Most of the time when he marched into battle, he was armed with a shotgun.)

While Cowlorado tried roping up the wagon, Moo fired gold stars at the base. The rope wasn't a success, but the stars were, as they caused a break-up in one of the wheels, dragging the wagon to a stop. J.R. watched as the doors opened and a whole load of bronze bullets dropped to the ground, along with an Ace of Spades.

Buffalo, who had taken the precautions necessary to protect his shop, even standing in the way with his shotgun, watched as the Ace of Spades dropped on top of the bullets. Moo rode over to him. "Everything all right here?" he asked.

"It is, and I'm glad it was stopped in the nick of time," said Buffalo, "but what a card to drop out. The Ace of Spades is the death card, you know."

"Nah, I don't believe in superstitions," Moo replied. "One thing's for sure: only one varmint in this town cheats with playing cards."

"Oh, great!" Cody exclaimed sarcastically. "We should've known Five Card Cud was behind this!"

"Yes, but why are Boot Hill and Saddlesore with him?" asked Tejua.

"Probably because the Masked Bull don't trust them no more," said Dakota. "I don't blame him for not doing so."

Moo rode back over to the wagon, and Buffalo marched right behind him, carrying his shotgun on his shoulder like a soldier headed for enemy territory. "What have you got to say for yourselves?" the stern Marshal asked Boot Hill Buzzard.

"We hate you?" Boot Hill Buzzard replied quizzically.

"You dag-blasted idiot, you!" Saddlesore scolded. "That's not the right response! Besides, you know that the Masked Bull fired us for your incompetence?"

"But you're no better."

"So what? You just have to learn to keep your mouth shut!"

Dakota took care of arresting the two henchmen (again) while Cowlorado roped up Five Card Cud (with Cody's help) and dragged him towards the jail/sheriff's office, where Sheriff J. Paul Bull Dog (Sheriff Terrorbull's replacement and Cowtown's first non-cattle law enforcement officer) was waiting. It took the whole group's help (minus Tejua, who still held the pistol and a few bronze bullets) to get the outlaw in prison since Five Card Cud had been knocked unconscious by the wreck.

"Lock them up, Dakota," Moo ordered as he put away his guns. As he expected, cheering crowds emerged from hiding to applaud him and his posse. "Thank you for that, Marshal!" they sang in chorus. "Hip-hip-hurrah! Hip-hip-hurrah!"

"Yee-haw!" Cody shouted gleefully. "Another crisis averted!"

"And just in time," said Miss Lily. "It's getting hotter by the minute and you boys look like you could use yourself a sarsaparilla." (The word "sarsaparilla" refers to her famous homemade beverage she served at her saloon.)

"Much obliged, Miss Lily," Moo replied, pausing to wipe the sweat off his brow.

"Yup," said Dakota.

"Thank you kindly," Cowlorado added. "J.R., you want one?"

"Might as well," said J.R. "I was getting thirsty anyway."

The group walked in to receive their drinks and eat lunch. They informed Miss Lily as to what was happening and Cody suddenly realized why he was feeling so good. "Because today was the day that bullet mystery would be put to rest," he concluded as he spoke to Moo.

"Like the Code of the West says," Moo replied, "when your intuition is positive, never doubt it for a second."


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