The Cup is Half Full

Miss Lily's Tumbleweed Saloon was a popular place for the folks of Moo Mesa to socialize and share the news or the latest gossip. It was also the place to get a taste of her famous homemade sarsaparilla. Perhaps it was also becoming a popular attraction for tourists and outsiders, as both the Fab 5 and the Nickelbacks were frequent customers whenever they stopped by Cowtown, whether it be just for pleasure or pursuing an outlaw. Since Moo and his posse had experience helping these two groups battle their enemies, it was only natural the two groups experience what it was like to fight the Masked Bull, Five Card Cud, and the other regular outlaws Moo Mesa knew about.

In this particular case, it was the saloon that was the primary target for troublemaking. It wasn't the first time Miss Lily experienced barroom brawls, but she wouldn't tolerate bad behavior. "Now wait a little minute!" she shouted as she kicked a customer out, implying he was never to return. "Just because I said your horse had better manners than you doesn't mean he gets to eat here neither! And don't you never come around here again!"

Since the Nickelbacks were in town, Nathan observed the scene and was impressed. "She's sure one heck of a tough gal, ain't she?" he said to his friends.

"Yup," said Luke. "Kickin' customers out ain't easy, but if she can do it, anybody can."

"It's gettin' hot; might as well mozy on in and buy ourselves lunch," Tom suggested.

"Good idea," Nathan replied, and the group walked in.

Moo and his posse had already ordered their drinks and meals, although not long before the Nickelbacks came in. Miss Lily was the first to notice, however. "Well, well, well! Look who's here!" she smiled. "Well, howdy, Nathan. What brings y'all up here?"

"It's been a long mornin', but we's all done up and finished our latest cattle drive," Nathan replied. "I can't believe we began in Glenn View Spring, Arizona—that's my hometown, y'all understand—and ended here in Cowtown. It has to be a world record."

"That's longer than any cattle drive I've ever been on," Moo commented. "You have my congratulations."

"Same here," Cowlorado added.

"Yup," said Dakota.

"Thank y'all kindly," Nathan replied.

"I'll never forget my first cattle drive," Moo continued his thought. "You know about how the comet shard hit this place?"

"Yes," said Colton.

"Well, what you may not be aware of is the fact it caused the river to change directions. I ended up helping over 10,000 cattle find a greener pasture after that. It was grueling. Dusty. Made a bull out of you!"

"I'll bet," David replied. "Most cattle drives I've been on aren't very far. This one was especially crazy. It was like the ultimate challenge. "If this don't get us into the history books, nothing will."

"Well, you keep your town safe from Bully Dawggerson, don't you?"

"Used to. He and Nick Nicholson—y'all remember Nick? Yes? Okay. They lost their evil touch. Bully is still serving his time, but Nick's recuperated now."

At that point, Cody Calf entered the saloon. "Moo!" he called.

"What's going on, calf-pint?" Moo replied, all business as usual.

"I can't tell who it is, but it's not the Masked Bull, and it's not Five Card Cud. Whoever it is, he's gunning for you, and he's headed here. Glad I got here just in time."

"Well, of course, you did, calf-pint," Dakota replied as the mystery outlaw entered the saloon. Since the only customers in the saloon were Moo, his posse, and the Nickelbacks (and now Cody Calf), there was no reason to panic, although Miss Lily ducked behind her bar. It was obvious, however, that the mystery outlaw used to work for Bully Dawggerson (although he wasn't Butch or Spike, two of the gang that never really were evil but played along with the scenarios so they wouldn't die; they were later let off the hook).

"All right! This is a stick-up!" the outlaw began. "Show me the money in your cash register, or else!"

"Or else what?" Cowlorado shot back.

"Or else I'll take it from you by force!" the outlaw continued. Everyone ducked for cover as he drew his pistols and fired them in rapid succession, continuing to do so until all of Miss Lily's glasses broke into a million pieces. Miss Lily was fortunate enough not to have any glass scratch her skin.

"I'm not taking no prisoners!" the outlaw shouted as he fired his guns again. This time, the cash register drawer popped out, although it wasn't as much as he was opting for. "You mean this is all?" he snorted. "It's getting so a dog can't earn a dishonest living no more!"

"Serves you right," said Miss Lily. "I empty my register nightly and put it in the bank the next day, at least when the bank's open. In other words, the cup is half full. Now what have y'all got to say for yourself?"

"I blew it!" the outlaw replied. "I'm not giving up. If your money won't pay for this, your life will!"

"No, it won't!" Moo argued, firing stars out of his guns. "I ain't letting you hurt Miss Lily!" The shooting battle continued until it became evident extra gunfire came out of nowhere. When the smoke cleared, in walked Butch and Spike!

"Butch! Spike! Ain't we glad to see you!" Colton exclaimed.

"Ain't you the two gangsters that never went rouge?" Cowlorado asked.

"Yes, that's us." Butch nodded his head. "Today, we are our own bounty hunting duo."

"Our hometown is the same as Nathan's, and we were sent to bring back this do-badder since Nathan was out on that cattle drive. How'd that go, by the way?" Spike turned to Nathan.

"It was exhaustin', but we did it," Nathan replied. "Glad to see y'all both came to our rescue. I almost forgot for a moment y'all weren't never real evil doers."

"Sometimes, so do we," said Spike.

"Be right back," Moo announced. "I'm escortin' him to jail, so y'all can relax again." Moo proceeded to do just that while business resumed. Since nobody really got their lunch yet (due to Miss Lily's employees taking cover), everything resumed as if it never happened, although it did, evident by the cash register.

When Moo returned, Butch and Spike were explaining to Miss Lily their role in the end of their boss and the clearing of Nick Nicholson's name. "I never thought that would end, but it did," Butch concluded. "He ain't our boss no more."

"He won't be trying any more stunts either, but we still have to deal with Old Randy Raccoon trying to dynamite the oil well," Spike added. "He's been scheming to do that since I was a puppy."

"If he ever comes here, I'll be sure to give you and the Nickelbacks a call," Miss Lily promised.

"And we'll be here faster than a speedin' bullet from a six-shooter," Nathan promised in return. "It feels good helpin' y'all out in y'all's home turf."

"Like it says in the Code," Moo replied, "when you give assistance on turf other than your own, it ensures more folks can trust you."


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

The Fab 5, Butch, Spike, and the Nickelbacks © me