About a year and a half ago I was approached about writing a part for a western novel about five rough and tumble women of the old west. They are not a gentle bunch with proper manners and fancy clothes, they are gun-slinging bank robbing, get what you want with what you have women. I can’t share much detail about the story because it may have been, or may one day be, published. Life happened and I didn’t get to move forward with my part. But I did write a little bit.
All my life, even as far back as grade school I have wanted to be a writer. I always thought it would write a science fiction story or maybe a humorous story. Never once in all that time did I think I would be writing from the point of view of a woman of the old west….
My character’s name was Angel…….
Sade found me before dawn that summer morn. I was wrapped in a flour sack blanket and tucked into an old egg crate. I later learned she found a torn piece of newspaper inside the crate with a picture of an angel on it. Probably some article about a new church statue or somethin’. The town paper hadn’t come out yet, so one thing we knew for sure is I wasn’t local. Sade called me Angel from that day forward.
I never much cared for the name Angel, probably ‘cuz I never did anything angelic at all. I was always choosing to get down in the dirt with the boys. I liked ridin’ and shootin’ and general trouble makin’. My hair was always a tussled mess and I wore dirt like a second skin. Miss Sade was an elegant woman always dressed in finery and educated in one of those schools with the big rock walls. She taught me how to play the piano and sing. I sounded more like a cat trapped in a well than a songbird. But,I loved to sing, still do. She taught me how to sew, and even how to cook. She’d take me to the mercantile to order pretty dresses with eyelet petticoats, I’d always end up ruin’ the first day I stole my first pair of pants from that mercantile a few years later. She did her best with me, trying to keep my grammar proper, but I was stubborn as a mule and wanted to fit in with the fellas.. She taught me how to stand up for myself and how to be independent, she taught me good manners too. I don’t think much of that bein’ a lady stuff stuck though.
I lived a good life with Miss Sade, till she took ill one winter and passed in her sleep. I stayed there in her big ole house until the sheriff came and said I ain’t got nobody to care for me and I would be shipped off to the orphanage in the next county. I pleaded with him to let me stay in the house I had known as home. I was only 13, but I knew I would be fine on my own. He refused to let me stay and he took me to his house that night. He fed me and told me I could stay till the stage arrived on Sunday. After he had fallen asleep I crept out into the dark of night and went back to Sades’ place, the only home I’d ever known. I gathered what I could and stuffed it into a trunk from the cellar that smelt like wet wool. I clutched a framed photograph of me and Sadie to my chest, took the horse and buggy from the barn, and rode. I rode hard across the prairie for long nights and long days, eat’n dirt like it was breakfast lunch and supper, till the Sheriff was 5 days behind me.
I woke in the heat of the day with the sun beatin’ down on me, blood drippin’ down my face, and a pounding in my head like drums at the 4th of July parade. I reached up to feel a gash as big as a canyon just above my eyebrow. The horse was gone and there wasn’t Nuthin’ left but a steamer trunk caught underneath the overturned buggy. Everything was a bit fuzzy, but one thing I knew for sure, as I was in a heap of trouble. There weren’t nuthin’ but dirt and sage for as far as the eye could see. The buzzards were circling above, and my mouth felt like I drank dirt instead of whisky. I tore the sleeve off my bouse and wrapped it tightly around my throbbing head. The blood stopped drippin’ long enough for my eyes to focus on a cloud of dust in the distance. Damn those bastards are coming back for what’s left of me, I thought. Me with no gun and no place to hide, so I grabbed a rock and I hunkered down behind the buggy. Nobody’s taken’ me without a fight.
Doc Lawrence seemed like a good man to all who knew him. He was good at doctorin’ and fix’n gunshot wounds. He birthed plenty of babies and he was known to trade chickens for medicine. Yep, he was a fine upstanding citizen. But here in his cabin things were different….I was standing in front of the looking glass in my room, rubbing the scar above my eyebrow thinkin’ if he hadn’t found me behind that buggy I’d be buzzard food for sure.
I grabbed a flour sack and headed out the door. It was nightfall by the time I came back to Doc’s place. The sack was jerkin’ and shaken’ in my hand, I held tight to it. I knew Doc would have drunk himself to sleep by now so it would be easy to get back inside without him stirrin’. I slid his gun and holster off the bedpost and slung it over my shoulder, I untied the sack slowly and gave it a gentle shake. The rattlers slithered out and covered his bed in seconds. Then I turned and high-tailed it out of there closing the door behind me and holding tight to that empty burlap sack. I ran to the barn and grabbed the satchel I stashed under the hay bale the night before. I tossed the burlap sack into the pile in the corner opened all the stalls and let the horses run loose. I kept Giddy Up’s stall closed, slung my satchel over his saddle, lit a cigar, and tossed the match into the pile of sacks. As the barn started burning I could hear Doc’s screams as I rode into town. No man gets to beat on me and no man lays on top of me less I say so, even if he did save me from bein’ buzzard grub. I rode all night till old Giddy Up needed a rest. Seems I was always run’n.
Everybody for miles knew Doc. But not everybody knew me, so I took a room in the *tenderloin and slept for two days straight……………
Well, my bloggy friends, that’s a little bit, or maybe not a little bit, of what I had written. It was fun to share it with you. What do you think happens to Angel?