Periodically I make up stories to tell my children at bedtime. Here’s one I wrote down the next morning. It’s a fun story but I must warn you, the characters use bad grammar.
Texas Slim and the Apple Pie Caper
By Silas Champion
One morning, Texas Slim was out riding the range. Oh, you’ve never heard of Texas Slim? Well, Texas Slim is the toughest cowboy this side of the Rio Grande. He can ride any horse, rope any cow, and is not even afraid of a grizzly bear. He is quick with a gun, tough with his fists, and fond of tall tales.
As I said, one morning Texas Slim was out riding the range, looking for cows. It was fall, and a cool wind blew across the prairie. Texas Slim heard someone riding up behind him. He turned to see his best friend, Pecos Pete.
“Kind of chilly today, ain’t it?” Pecos Pete said.
“Yep, fall is coming on.” They rode on a bit in silence.
“I sure miss apple pie in the fall.” Pecos Pete scratched his chin. “My ma used to make apple pies all the time when I was a kid.”
“Well, there ain’t any apples out on the prairie.” Texas Slim shifted in his saddle.
“I know. I ain’t had apple pie in years.”
They rode on for hours and hours. At last, they came to the top of a steep hill. At the bottom of the hill grew an apple orchard. Red apples filled the trees.
“Well, lookie there,” Texas Slim said. “You may get your pie after all.” They rode down to the orchard. Pecos Pete picked an apple and bit into it. “These are good.”
“Hey, get away from my apples!” An old man came through the trees, waving a shotgun.
“Whoa, easy there, old-timer,” Pecos Pete said. “We just need some apples. We’ll pay ya!”
“No, you won’t neither. These apples ain’t for sale.” He waved his shotgun.
“Not even a few?” Texas Slim eyed the shotgun. “You got more apples than a hundred men could eat.”
“It ain’t none of your business how many apples I got. You get on back and tell Big Ed that he ain’t gonna run me out of here.” He stepped close to Texas Slim’s horse.
“We don’t know Big Ed, mister,” Pecos Pete said.
“Ha, likely story.” He slipped on a fallen apple and fired the shotgun straight up into the sky. The horses bucked and snorted, but as I told you before, Texas Slim and Pecos Pete were good cowboys. They got those horses settled down in no time.
“Gimme that before you hurt yourself.” Texas Slim jumped off his horse and grabbed the shotgun.
“You fellers can’t buffalo me!” the old man shouted. He did not get up.
“We ain’t trying to buffalo nobody. We just want some apples,” Texas Slim said. “We don’t know no Big Ed.”
“No you can’t buy my bed,” the old man shouted. “Who are you fellas, anyway?”
“Uh, I’m Texas Slim.”
The old man dug a finger in his ear. “You want to swim? What?”
Texas Slim shouted, “No, I’m Texas Slim!”
“Oh, hi there, Jim. That shotgun made me deaf for a minute. What you want?”
“We just want some apples. My friend is hankering for a pie.” Texas Slim pointed at Pecos Pete.
“He don’t need more pie. Anyway, I don’t sell my apples. Not to Big Ed or nobody.”
“What do you with them, then?” Pecos Pete got off his horse.
“I give ‘em away, of course.”
“Why didn’t you say so?” Pecos Pete said. “Can we have some?”
“No you can’t have them.” The old man stood up. “I don’t just give ‘em to anybody. They are for the orphans.”
“Orphans?” Texas Slim asked.
“Yes, here they come now.” He pointed to a group of children approaching the orchard. They clambered into the trees and put apples in small bags. A pretty young woman walked up to the three men.
“Hello Cletus.” She eyed the two cowboys. “Who are your friends?”
“They ain’t my friends. This is Jim and Sweet.”
“I’m Texas Slim and this is Pecos Pete.” Texas Slim took off his hat.
“You aren’t Big Ed’s men?”
“Who is this Big Ed? Pecos Pete said. “He’s been yammering about him since we got here.”
“He owns the biggest ranch around here, but he always wants more. He wants to run Cletus out of here.”
“Well, that ain’t neighborly.”
“Cletus owes a lot of money to the bank. Big Ed owns the bank too. If Cletus can’t pay, then he loses his farm.
“He’s got no way to pay?” Pecos Pete pointed at the trees. “Why don’t he just sell these apples?”
“He can, but I don’t think it be enough.” She pointed to the orphans. “He usually gives a lot to us and we sell them. I’m Amy, by the way.” The sound of horses interrupted them. A dusty group of riders slid to stop. The lead rider had a silver star on his vest. He looked carefully at Texas Slim.
“Who are you boys?” Texas Slim explained who they were.
“What are you doing all the way out here, Sheriff?” Cletus asked.
“We are after Deadeye Dave. He robbed the bank in town.”
“He ain’t been by here. Jim and Sweet are the only ones I saw today.” Texas Slim shook his head.
“If you see him there’s a reward, 5,000 dollars.”
“We’ll keep our eyes peeled,” Amy said. The sheriff and his men galloped away. Cletus rubbed his head.
“If I had that money I could pay off the bank. Maybe I should go after him.” He reached for his shotgun.
“Don’t be ridiculous.” Amy grabbed his arm. “Deadeye Dave is the most dangerous criminal in the state.” Texas Slim moved the shotgun away from the old man. He looked over at Pecos Pete. Pete nodded.
“Well we can round him up, I reckon.” Texas Slim handed the shotgun to Amy.
“What?” Her eyes got big.
“We will round him up and Cletus here can pay off the bank.”
“Why would you do that?” Cletus asked. “It will take all the reward money to pay off the bank. You won’t have nothing left.”
“You just make sure we have some apple pie when we get back,” Pecos Pete climbed on his horse. The two cowboys set out after the outlaw. It turned out that Deadeye Dave was as hard to catch, as he was dangerous. They chased him over mountains, and across the prairies. They only stopped when their horses got too tired. Cowboys don’t give up when things get hard, though, and Texas Slim had a plan.
“By golly, Pecos, if we can’t catch him we’ll get him to come to us.” They rode back to town. After hitching their horses, they sat on a bench in front of the local newspaper.
“Did you hear the news about the orphanage?” Texas Slim spoke in a loud voice.
“No I did not,” Pecos Pete almost shouted.
“They got a big donation of cash. Twenty thousand dollars.”
“Well, I’ll be. How did they get that?”
“I don’t know, but a rich man is bringing it in on the train in two days. He’s going to take it to the orphanage himself.” The two cowboys walked away.
“I hope your plan works,” Pecos Pete whispered.
“Oh, it will work. You’ll see.”
The evening newspaper carried the story of the mysterious donation on the front page. Everyone in town got excited. Texas Slim went to the orphanage. It smelled like apple pie.
“Good people, good people, I must get to the orphanage. He jumped on a waiting horse and galloped away.
“He sure can ride for a city man,” commented a bystander. The mysterious man galloped to the orphanage with his black suit coat flapping in the wind. As he dismounted just outside the door a man in a mask stepped from the bushes.
“I’ll take that money mister.” Two more outlaws stepped up beside him.
“No I don’t reckon you will.” Texas Slim appeared behind the outlaws. The outlaws started shooting and ran in all directions. The rider dove into the front door. Texas Slim ducked behind some bushes. He sprinted around behind one outlaw and whacked him on the head. The second one threw his hands up in the air.
The leader of the outlaws followed the rider through the door. “I’ve got you now.”
“No you don’t.” The rider swung his fist. The fighting men crashed into a table. Apple pies flew everywhere. They rolled over several times. Amy grabbed a rolling pin and smacked the outlaw on the head.
“Thanks for the help,” the rider said.
“Pecos Pete? What are you doing? I almost hit you on the head too.”
Pecos Pete licked some apple pie off his fingers. “It was Texas Slim’s idea. I put on this fancy city suit and pretended to bring the money here. We knew the outlaw would show up.”
“You ruined all the pie. Sorry.”
“I can probably salvage some of it.” He licked his finger again. “Why did you make so many?”
“I didn’t know how to make an apple pie. So I practiced.”
“Tastes like you got it right.” Pecos Pete grinned. “Anyway you know how to use a rolling pin.
“Did you get him?” Texas Slim stood in the doorway.
“Yep, I did get a little help from Amy though.” When the sheriff arrived, they had the three outlaws hog-tied.
“You boys caught Deadeye Dave. Good work.”
“Well Amy helped a bit.” Texas Slim said. Pecos Pete just ate more pie. They went to town and collected the reward. Cletus paid Big Ed. Texas Slim and Pecos Pete saddled their horses.
“Thanks for your help boys,” Cletus said.
“Come back and visit sometime.” Amy handed Pecos Pete another pie.
“You can count on it.” They rode off under the morning sun.
“Well that worked out well.” Texas Slim adjusted his hat.
“My stomach hurts.” Pecos Pete shifted in the saddle.
“You ate too much pie.
“Well it was good pie. Not as good as mama’s, but good.” Pecos Pete ate another bite.