This was what I was given: Randy (aka: Mentor), Butch (aka: Gus), and Paul (aka: Lucky) – 10 words: trout, deer, bear, tent, fire, cold, snow, boat, cigars, beer. Setting: Convict Lake
And this is the story I made from it:
(Today’s accent is going to be, “old west cowboy.” Again, trust me, reading it in this accent will make it more fun! Enjoy!)
image courtesy of: scenicusa.net
“Well ain’t this a happy heap ‘a horse shit you got us in to, Lucky.”
A shot rang out in the clear California morning and the bullet richoceted off rock, sending a resounding echo bouncing off the nearby mountains. Snow had been falling for nearly two days and a thick layer covered the ground where three men crouched behind a cluster of fallen aspen trees.
“We got enough on our plate without having to listen to yer bitchin’, Gus.”
“Ignorin’ me is what got us here in the first place. We were supposed to be fishin’, that was the plan. Drink some beers and catch some fish. Then you two jackasses decided it would be a good idea to chase after ’em convicts made a run for it outta Carson. Now I find myself knee deep if slush, freezing my balls off and likely about to get my fuzzy ass shot in the bargain.”
Lucky turned toward Gus with a laugh on his lips.
“Two of us came out here to catch fish, that’s for sure,” he said in an harsh whisper. “One of us came out here to bait the hooks and run his mouth. You wanna take a guess as to which one that is, pretty boy? Now, you don’t shut yer trap you ain’t gonna have to worry about them convicts blowing your ass off, ‘cus I’ma do it for ‘em.”
The Mentor turned back to his two friends with a slow, steady glare.
“I don’t suppose it would be too much to ask of you boys to focus on the problem at hand. We got six men out there looking to put us in the dirt and, contrary to the plans a’ you two princesses, I don’t intend on cashin’ in today.”
More shots rang out and the bullets were getting closer to the target. A deer bolted from the brush and rushed out into the clearing between the convicts and the three lawmen. The convicts saw only movement and a chance to empty their cannons into a moving target but it proved to be the perfect distraction.
Three of the convicts erupted from behind cover and the mentor twisted around the fallen trees and laid to. He pulled the colt from his hip and fired six shots fast, fanning the hammer with his free hand.
Lucky spun around and placed his rifle across the barrier of trees, zeroed in on the nearest target and fired off three rounds. He worked the lever action with quick jerks and fired with tried percision. This was a man who knew how to kill when it was called for.
Gus turned the opposite way, bringing his scattergun to bear. The blast boomed in that wide open space and birds peeled off into the grey sky. A rabbit broke from cover and the other critters followed their lead, fleeing their homes to escape the sudden invasion of violence.
The three convicts who had presented targets all fell, bullets tearing them to shreds and painting the snow with their life’s blood. The mentor had placed all six shots into his man’s chest, caving it in and throwing the man back into the tree behind him. Lucky set his shots a mass, putting two in his target’s chest and the last right between his eyes. Gus hit his man first, but it took his the longest to die. The buckshot tore his chest to shreds and several pellets riddled his face as well. An ear was torn off and the man was lying face down in the snow screaming as the three lawmen ducked back down.
“Three down, three to go,” Lucky said.
“Don’t reckon those other three‘ll surrender peaceful like,” Gus added, sounding resigned.
“You could always go on out and ask,” the mentor said, grinning at his brother.
“I’ll pass. I got me a date with a nice fat trout in that there lake and I wouldn’t want the fate of the triple crown left in the hands of you two amateurs.”
“Mentor, please let me shoot him. I promise we can find you a suitable replacement.”
“Ain’t no use, Lucky. You shoot him he’ll only get more irritatin’.”
“Don’t see how that’s possible.”
“Shows how little you understand. I been acosted by his stupidity since my first breath and I guarantee I got more sufferin’ commin to me.” The mentor turned toward Gus and was greeted with a shit eating grin. “God don’t let trials like him end easy.”
“Yeah, old Job ain’t got a thing on you, that’s for damn sure. How you put up with his mouth for this long I’ll never understand.”
“It’s a’cuz I’m so damned pretty,” Gus added.
All three men had a good laugh at that and the firing began again. The lawmen ducked down instinctively and the mentor began reloading his Colt. Lucky checked his rifle and Gus gripped the boom stick close to his chest as they waited for the firing to cease.
“You all gonna die, law dogs! Come on out ‘ere and get your desserts, damn you!”
That was Greer, the worst of the bunch.
“Way I see it, we just cut your number in half, Greer. Why not come on out yerself and we’ll introduce you to a nice California collar? Least that way you can go God with a clear conciense,” Lucky replied.
This was answered with more bullets. These men wanted to go out guns blazing. They had escaped prison and made it this far, the last thing they wanted was to surrender to three over-the-hill lawmen.
“We ain’t gonna see no end to this but by blood my friends. What say we get it over with?” Lucky said without the slightest hint of fear. This was a man who had stared death in the face more than once and he was not going to blink now.
Gus and Mentor both nodded their heads. It was time to take the fight to the devil.
Mentor bolted from cover, fanning his Colt and making for a small spread of trees off to his left while Lucky vaulted straight over the cover they had been crouched behind, firing his rifle as he went. Gus followed behind, his shotgun barraging the surrounding trees with pellets and sending wood chips flying.
The three men raced forward through the snow, guns blasting apart the trees and sending a roaring thunder of noise rebounding off the mountainside. Canfield broke from cover first and Mentor venilated him before he could bring his iron around. Maxwell followed and Lucky near took his head off at the neck with a shot that struck him just below the chin. Greer was all alone and he decided to make a run for it. He panicked and turned the wrong way, only to come face to face with Gus and his shotgun.
“Guess you shoulda’ surrendered after all, asshole.”
Gus put a hole in Greer’s chest the size of a man’s closed fist. Greer dropped to his knees in the snow and then fell down, face first.
Gus rested the barrel of the shotgun on his shoulder and turned toward the other two men.
“Well, now that I got you two jackasses outta’ this mess, what say we find that boat and get to fishin’?”
“It’s nearly sundown, we can’t fish in this. So what say you set up the tent, your highness, seein’ as how you ain’t never caught anything out here but a cold?
Mentor laughed and holstered his Colt. “I’ll see to the fire, gentlemen, and I’ll leave you two to figure out who puts up the tent.”
After some fuss the men had their camp set and a fire going. Lucky passed cigars out to his two friends and the three men sat before the fire arguing over who killed who first, who killed the most, and which one killed the biggest man. Little did they know that the lake they sat before would forever be named for this very shootout: Convict Lake. That was not important to them then though, what was important was they would live to see another day, which meant one more chance to fish together — and argue like old women.
This is the meaning of friends. It’s the ones who go to war with you. They walk in knowing what’s on the line and they never blink.
Friendship is also about history. The longer you live the more you will experience those moments that only your true friends understand. Words are exchanged and simple phrases that mean nothing to anyone else, but everything to you. In those moments your true friends are revealed and it creates a bond that stands the test of time.
Here’s to true friends and the dangers we face in their name. Here, too, is to simple pleasures like fishing, beer, and cigars with your brothers.
Just beware the bears.
If you would like your own story, please feel free to contact me with 10 words, a theme (it can be a genre, favourite movie or book) and a song and I will write you a story as well. They are posted every Sunday.
Next Sunday (23 January) will be Rachel’s Story. It is a very special edition of Stories from 10 words as the Rachel I will be writing the story for is the namesake and inspiration for the main character of my action fantasy novel, Sisters of Fury. Look forward to it please!
This is the first of your ten word stories I have read, and I can’t rave about it enough! The descriptions were so vivid that I felt like I was sitting there in the California wilderness with these endearingly crotchety men and the escaped convicts. I also had to look up Convict Lake afterwards, which I hadn’t heard of. What a cool place and story apparently in real life, but I like your ten word story about it better! 🙂
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Thank you! I’ll give you the inside scoop: Lucky is my father, the two brothers are his long time friends from high school and that lake (along with the many others in the Sierra Nevada range) is a place they actually do go fishing once a year. And, as a side note, they talk to each other exactly like that. It’s like listening to the characters from Grumpy Old Men.
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That’s fantastic! Oh, and I meant to put in my original comment, I did as you suggested and read the entire thing in a western cowboy accent. Out loud. By myself at home. It was even better that way!
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HA! That sounds like fun! Everyone needs a good cowboy romp every now and then, am I right?
Very good effort. grade A. Excitement, suspense, adventure, comradeship, all in one story. Looking forward to the next one!
PS – how do you have time to do all this writing!
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It’s my second job, so I make the time. If I want to have a future in it I have to really push, so the stakes are higher for me,
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My favorite part is where you sum up friendship. i know it wasn’t the point of your post, but that is so very clear and pithy. Thank you.
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I try to find a theme behind each submissions ten words to serve as the summary. It may not have been totally evident, but the relationship between the three men is what makes the story stick… so it works in its own way.
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