Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the tag “rattler”

Me and Pecos Bill

There are tall tales about Pecos Bill, a famous Texan, like my own trophy wife, Miss Sugar.  This here is a true tale about what I done, just like old Bill.  I done it at the urging of Miss Sugar.  I’d do anything for that gal.

The reason I am writing this now is that a good friend of mine called me to say he enjoyed reading Sharpshooter, which is a true story as well.  His only question was why I used any tool to kill that rattler I wrote about.  He asked that because, growing up with me and all, he is very aware of how quick I am.  So is Miss Sugar.  That got me thinking about what I done a few years back without no shovel, nor gun either.

If y’all have read some of my previous posts, you know that Miss Sugar and I live in a log cabin in Colorado.  Miss Sugar loves birds.  She feeds ’em and takes pictures of ’em.  Well, one time some birds built a nest on a light fixture above our front door.  It was pretty smart of them bird brains cuz that light is beneath our porch roof out of the rain.  Miss Sugar occasionally checked on the eggs in the nest and, after they hatched, she would hold a mirror above the nest so she could look at the baby birds per the photo above.

Well, one fine day as she checked on the bird nest, she saw something that bothered her a mite.  What she seen was a mean old snake climbing on the logs aiming toward them baby birds.  So, since I’m her hero and all, as reported in previous posts, she decided to casually mention to me that it appeared a snake was fixin to bother her favorite birds.

I caught her subtle drift.  As always, I come a runnin’.  What she had carefully described in colorful language was indeed true.  A damned snake was slithering up the house to the nest.  I did not have time to get a gun or tool.  My favorite gal was upset.  So I did what any fearless hero would do.  I grabbed that snake by the tail, swung it around and around with centrifugal force so it  could not bend back and bite me.  I knew what to do because I had read about Pecos Bill doing the same thing.

After a few swings around my head, Miss Sugar suggested that I quit showing off and let go.  Which I done.  I let go with an appropriate wrist motion, sending that snake off the porch a ways, where it landed on the ground.  I went down the porch steps to finish the job.  Miss Sugar confidently assured me that it was a bullsnake, not a rattlesnake.  They have similar patterns.  She called her brother Mike because he knows about stuff like that.  He agreed that it was surely a bullsnake.

Now there is a difference or two.  One is that bullsnakes do not have rattles.  Another is that they are not poisonous.

So I went over to the bullsnake.  Apparently, it held a grudge.  It coiled up, imitating a rattler.  It was so good at imitating that I imagined I could hear rattles.   It opened its mouth and flicked out its forked tongue in a threatening manner, revealing its fangs that Mike and Sugar knew were not poisonous.  Silly me.  I felt like a big old chicken.

If I was as brave as Pecos Bill, I’d of picked it up again, just for fun.  But since I already had saved the birds, I kilt it with that sharpshooter shovel I wrote about in my blog called Sharpshooter.

I cut the rattles off the bullsnake because everyone knows bullsnakes don’t have rattles.   This one had not gotten the memo.  At least it wasn’t poisonous.  That could have been dangerous.

What Pecos Bill did was very dangerous.  What I done was similar, but, like Mike told Sugar, was perfectly safe.   Those rattles almost fooled me.

Sharpshooter

My trophy wife, Sugar, was outside with the dogs while I watched Chisum.  As it turned out, viewing the John Wayne movie was a good way to prepare for my imminent deadly showdown.

I heard my wife’s alarming scream.  Then she called out to me, “Al, come out here.  Hurry!”  I moseyed up from the couch, ever obedient, ever vigilent.

I still did not know what she was frightened about.  (Girls can be overly dramatic and mysterious).  I empathetically inquired about what was troubling her.  Her response was not responsive to my question.  She uncalmly commanded, “Get a gun.”  Well, that was the main idea.  She was much more eloquent.

As an aside, in order to give some background to the scenario, I want you, gentle readers, to be informed that Sugar grew up in Texas.  Also, she is of Italian extraction.  You may combine your prejudiced stereotypes as you imagine  her emotional communication.

Further, Sugar’s desire that I bring a gun was not unrealistic.  I possess several firearms, including a pair of Colt .45s in a quickdraw holster, various rifles, and a couple shotguns.  They are part of the decor of our mountain cabin and readily available.  The NRA sends emails to me daily concerning unconstitutional threats to gun ownership.  I also am a member of the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS) which sponsors cowboy shooting competitions.  My SASS alias is Big Bronc.  Her’s is Miss Sugar.  Clearly, it was not unreasonable for her to ask me to get a gun.

So I emerged from the front door unarmed.  Sometimes I opt for hand-to-hand combat.  I wanted to assess the enemy’s strength before selecting a weapon.  I try to make it a fair fight.  No sense wasting ammo.

“Who needs killin’?  It don’t make me no nevermind.”   I stated the obvious.  “Womenfolk got nothin’ to fear when Big Bronc is around.  I will fight to the death anyone that threatens you and them yeller dogs.”   This little gal surely knew she could count on me.

“Oh, Big Bronc, there is an evil rattlesnake down there.  Please protect me and our precious pets.  You are so brave and strong and handsome.”  Those were not her exact words, but I knew that was what she desired to tell me.

“Get the shotgun with the snakeshot shells!,” Miss Sugar daintily suggested.  “Shoot it from up here on the porch so you don’t git yerself kilt.  I ain’t in the mood to call no hearst.”  She doesn’t talk like that either, but it would sound more like an authenic western story if she would have.

So I went to the toolshed and got a shovel.  I know she wanted me to use a gun, but this particular shovel is a narrow type of spade known in these here parts as a “sharpshooter.”   It is a weapon with which I have beheaded unfortunate snakes in the past.  Yes, this was fixin’ to be a fight to the death.

Miss Texas noticed what I had selected.  “You dang fool!  That rattler is going to bite you.  They can strike further than that little shovel.”  I wish she didn’t talk like that.

So I walked over to the snake, carrying only the sharpshooter shovel.

It was coiled and shaking its rattles.  It was a mean one, poised to strike.

Women are no help at a time like this.  I didn’t need some girly girl weeping about me.  I can take care of myself.  Still, through it all, I could hear Sugar’s sweet voice.  “Watch out, you idiot.  He is going to strike.”  I supposed that she was addressing the snake, giving him one last chance to retreat.  That is certainly how I took it.

Members of the general public are not usually quick enough or coordinated enough or brave enough to attempt what I was about to do.  That mean old snake probably did not recognize who he was facing.  He probably thought I was a member of the general public.

Instead, he was dealin’ with Big Bronc, the toughest hombre north of the Pecos, or at least the North Poudre Irrigation Canal.

I met his steely glare.  He didn’t show any fear as he hissed and rattled, but I had a feelin’ that, deep inside his cold heart and reptile brain, he knew this showdown would be his last.

My calloused hand was ready for action.

“Say when.”  I confidently offered him that advantage as I smirked.  (I have found that smirking intimidates.)

The tension grew.  Then Old Snake Eye made his move.  It was the moment of truth.   Or consequences.  One of us would soon be dead as a doornail.  He had my vote.

A blood-curdling scream broke the tense silence.  (Sometimes smirking alone is not intimidating enough.  One has to be adaptable when engaged in a fight to the death.)  I should not have called it a scream.  It was more like a war-cry.  A manly war-cry.

Well, I’m here to tell you that with one lightning fast blow, I pinned that coiled snake to the ground.  The blade of the sharpshooter got it right behind its open-mouthed head.  I did not let up until I cut its head clean off. Sugar warned that the venom is still dangerous, even after it was beheaded.  Like I don’t know that.

I scooped the detached head into the shovel and proudly showed her the proof of my victory, waiting for her to praise my skill and courage.  She did not express her admiration in words, but I could see it in her eyes.

“Shucks, M’aam.  It weren’t nothing any old hero wouldn’t do.”

I could tell she longed to reward me with a kiss.  There was things I had to take care of first.  After disposing of my vanquished foe, I put my trusty sharpshooter back in the shed and quietly rode off into the sunset.

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