Yellow Town

Submitted into Contest #135 in response to: Set your story in a town full of cowards.... view prompt

9 comments

Drama Fantasy Western

The town is named "Yellow Town" because there is not one single upstanding citizen within earshot. Dirt streets and tumbleweeds spin yarns of "would of" and "should have been" but never "proud of." Any shaky-kneed varmint that crosses the street will not face up to danger or principle. Courage and friendship are replaced by shaky knees and perspiration. A Sheriff's Star is a symbol of courage but the man behind the star is a paper hero. He looks like a sheriff, walks like a sheriff but when the going gets rough and tumble, you might as well give up and call yourself yellow because you can't make a hero out of a fool.


You look around Yellow town and see clearly that it could have been quite different. The Fourth of July Parade brings tears to the eyes of citizens. They reminisce about the brave souls that stood up for the honor of Yellow Town. Alas, only a bitter few stepped up and many lost in the shuffle of fear.


The old time Civil War Veterans march down the street to the beat of the volunteer band and they hold their heads up high and smile and wave at the crowd. The crowd cheers and jumps up and down in happiness until one lone shot sends the crowd in all directions.


The parade stops. Sheer pandemonium takes over. The band drops their instruments and scatter to their usual hiding places.


One shot and a line of five rogue cowboys. The Silver Gang is back.


Fear is so thick you can smell it.


If you can spell bravery, you don't belong here. This is Yellow Town.


Yellow town is yellower than a bucket of corn. A town of blithering cowards. Cowards that like to gossip and point fingers in shame.


Mrs. O'Brien is a dressmaker and she wears the finest clothing shipped all the way from Philadelphia. She wears fine silk dresses and only rides in the finest coaches. Her husband is the Hanging Judge O'Brien. He hasn't had a case in years. It has been so very long that even the Courtroom is a whirlwind of dust and bitter memories of better days gone by. The of bitter regret fills the air of the shameful courthouse. Hanging Judge O"Brian is a joke. He is fearful of hanging the outlaws. He often pardons them before the day of their sentencing. The townsfolk refuse to see anyone hurt because that would upset their peace and quiet. Any kind of hootin' and hollerin' is upsetting to yellow belly fools in this town. They only want quiet and hushed voices that say hello and have a nice day.


Casey Edwards is not what you would call a brave soul, but he does like Yellow Town. His Daddy and his Grand Daddy Edwards lived here and if it is good enough for them, it is good enough for old Casey. Not much for ambition, but a bucket full of pend up family pride.


Casey Edwards has a star on his chest that says "Sheriff", but he never stood up for anything but a whiskey at the local saloon.


"Sheriff" Casey Edwards could have been a hero. He spends hours telling anyone who will care to listen a very long-winded, tiresome yard about the Silver Gang.


In the summer of 1898, the Silver Gang rides into Yellow Town and wants to see what kind of trouble they could stir up. First, they "mosey" into the mercantile store and harass the storekeeper Mr. Riley. The Gang holds up the store and load up their wagons with goods. Mr. Riley shouts out for help but his voice is so soft, it comes out like a whisper. He kneels down and hides his face in shame. The wagon rides away with a huge haul of stolen goods. "What a Yellow Belly! Too easy! This town is a bore!"


The Silver gang laughs at Mr. Riley and celebrates at the Good Times Saloon. The good times are rolling because the Silver Gang comes in firing shots into the air and shouting, " Give us drinks!" Half of the regulars hide under the tables and the bar keep puts out a dozen bottles of whiskey and ale on the counter and hides underneath. The barkeep shivers and shakes. He wipes the cold sweat off his brow and hangs his head in shame. He is too yellow to save his saloon from the Silver Gang He stoops down and crawls on the dirt floor like a mouse. He just about reaches the swinging doors when one of the gang grabs him by his belt and throws him into the street.


This rouses the interest of the Sheriff, Casey Edwards. He puffs out his chest like an arrogant fool. The townsfolk stand behind him, shivering and shaking, for fear of what may come next. They do not want any trouble, only calm and liquor. Casey's boots jingle as he walks with trepidation toward the saloon. He timidly puts one hand on the swinging door and pushes forward, entering. He faces five guns with faces. Angry, daring, arrogant faces. The guns are cocked. The air is tense. Casey scratches his head. He forgot his gun! His knees start shaking, his brow starts sweating. He stares into the eyes of the guns and opens his arms, pleading . He runs left, then right. The Silver gang takes turns shooting around him and laughing at his cowardice. The sheriff is a yellow belly! The town is all Yellow! We might as well be the law because the law has no spine in Yellow town. The townsfolk are "fraidy" cats! They take a step toward the crowd of townspeople and they scatter about like fleas on a dog.


_____


Years later, Sheriff Casey spends his days regretting his shaky knees and loss of memory.


He sits in an old, beat up rocking chair on his front porch, gazing out at the horizon, playing the scene over and over inside his head.


"If I only remembered to bring a gun that day. I could have shot the fools that took over Yellow Town. If only I had a spine, Yellow Town could have lived in peace. Did I really love Yellow Town enough to defend her honor? I am ashamed that I turned yellow and allowed a the Silver Gang to take over our peace and tranquility!"


A town like Yellow Town can't have peace without strength. There is no tranquility without the ability to create boundaries for law and order. Yellow Town had cowards and no law and order. Just a lot of shaky knees, tears, bumbling fools and cowards that wear the badge of shame.

February 26, 2022 19:47

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9 comments

Kell Marie
01:11 Mar 18, 2022

clap clap clap this was great

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Chris Campbell
22:44 Mar 14, 2022

I liked "Yellow Town." I wanted to find out more about its characters. I also think there's a Country song ready to be written about it. I liked your line, "He never stood up for anything but a whiskey at the local saloon." Could be a whole series of stories around the townsfolk, like "Billy the Barber, whose hands shook so violently from fear, he was sentenced for the death of several customers - shaved five minutes longer than their 5 O'clock shadow. However, he was pardoned (for the fifth time)... Well done!

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02:51 Mar 15, 2022

Thank you! I am glad you liked my story. I wrote one about Josephine Bonaparte going into t time warp. It's silly but I must have read every book I can get my hands on about the Bonapartes. I think Josephine was treated so poorly.

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Sharon Hancock
02:34 Mar 09, 2022

Gotta love a good western 😻. The first thing I thought was that our town is yellow right now bc it’s covered in pollen 😂 This town needs a visit from Wyatt Earp! Thanks for sharing😻

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Michał Przywara
18:32 Mar 06, 2022

"We might as well be the law because the law has no spine in Yellow town." When I read that, I wondered how many people in Yellow Town thought the same way. That would be an interesting way to develop the story, where maybe people are so afraid that they seek help from the bandits, legitimizing them.

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20:00 Mar 06, 2022

Thanks for reading my story. Your insights are very interesting and I will surely keep them in mind when I write in the future.

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Colin Strivelli
15:25 Mar 05, 2022

Ah, well done. Nothing like a good ol' pulpy Western. The wat you interpretated the cowardice for the town was cool; not all of it being based strictly in fear but rather a desire to "not upset the peace" or cause a ruckus. I also loke to to think there can be a small interpretation of bravery found in the Sheiff's acts, he did move to initially face them afterall, even without a gun. And even that takes some courage

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Michele Duess
01:14 Feb 28, 2022

I think the idea is a good one and I like the idea of the sheriff being so scared he forgets his gun. You mentioned he tells the story. Perhaps put that dialogue into the story. How would he tell it? Would he try to justify his actions? Or be ashamed? Maybe he would tell it as how he wanted it to happen? Something to think about for next time. Also thanks for reading my story.

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15:03 Feb 28, 2022

Thank you for reading my story. Yes, that's a good idea! I just tried to add dialogue at the end. I hope it fits okay.

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