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Short Story Collection

  Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse and Sgt. Preston of the Yukon Palaver


A few days after the battle at the Little Big Horn, Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull and some of the boys were sitting around the tepee smoking loco weed and swapping lies. Crazy Horse needed some fresh air and a minute away from Sitting Bull. Sitting Bull hadn’t bathed since the last rain. Crazy Horse hadn’t either but they say you can’t smell your own stink.

As Crazy Horse was standing in the opening, swaying to whatever music he was hearing, or thought he was hearing, he spotted someone riding towards the camp. By squinting he could see it was a Mountie. One. He thought, “They call me crazy?."

“Uh, oh”, he said. He told the boys about the Mountie.

Sitting Bull heard it. He thought it was nothing. Crazy Horse was called Crazy Horse for a reason. If Crazy Horse thought Sitting Bull was going over there and look he was really crazy. Sitting Bull was called Sitting Bull for a reason too.

“Redcoat coming”, Crazy horse said. “You think he heard about Custer?”

“Hmm, news travels fast with the white eyes. Maybe. Okay, here’s what we do. We speak with forked tongues and sign language. Hey, no whipping him the finger, hear me?”, Sitting Bull said.

The Mountie dismounted and handed the reins to a brave standing there. The brave couldn’t believe his luck! Easiest steal he’d ever had.

After entering the teepee, the Mountie spoke. “I’m Sgt. Preston of the Yukon. I was on my way back from leave when I smelled the smoke. You boys smoking anything funny?”

The Indians gave him their most innocent look. It was exactly the same as the look they gave Custer. They only had one look for a white eye.

“It was a misunderstanding down on the -”, Sitting Bull started to say.

“Hold it! I have to read your rights to you first,” Sgt. Preston of the Yukon told them. He then read them their rights. The various Commanches, Sioux, Cheyennes and others didn’t know rights from buffalo dung. You catch someone, you kill him. The man had a right to remain silent but he wasn’t going to. He was going to be screaming, especially those soft white eyes. They didn’t know what an attorney was. If they had, they would have had more sympathy for white eyes. They would have found Jesus.

“Now, we have rules here in Canada. This isn’t like the US. You leave it like you found it. No trash, no bottles and, say, is that an open fire? That’s a big no-no”, Preston told them.

Sitting Bull gave Preston a line of bull in Sioux. Crazy Horse thought about roasting Preston over the fire. Preston was wondering if his horse was alright.

Sitting Bull indicated that the fire was inside the teepee. Preston agreed that would be okay. Sitting Bull agreed not to leave any bones, human or animal, behind when they left. Preston agreed that the horse manure would be environmentally helpful. He questioned them about latrines. Sitting Bull slid past that one by telling Preston there wouldn’t be any wild parties.

Preston left the camp satisfied that he’d done a good job with the tribes gathered here. He’d had no experience with these kind. Teepees instead of igloos. Wait until the Eskimos hear about this.

  The Millionaire


“Mr. Clemons, I’m somewhat disappointed. I ask you to give away one million dollars each month to some deserving soul. That way I can be a do-gooder without being some bleeding heart liberal. I thought there would be a nice, good, heartwarming story each time. I’m disappointed.”

Mr. Clemons understood that. He hadn’t done too well to fulfill the millionaire’s wishes. Last week he thought he’d done well. He found a woman living in a rusty, broken down old trailer with eight kids. This should have been perfect.

“Good morning, madam I-”

“I ain’t no madam. I keep believin’ them when they say let’s live together a while and then get married. Then they get me pregnant and up and disappear. I ain’t no madam. Who are you to be comin’ round here talking trash to me.”

“No, no, maam. I am going to give you a million dollars. No strings attached. This is a cashier’s check.”

“For me? I’m rich! Wanna get married? Wow!”

Mr. Clemons had images of a new house, a car, a good education for the kids. That’s all it turned out to be- an image. Reality was a whole lot different. The heartwarming part never happened. She put her kids at her mother’s and went to Vegas. Lost the whole million dollars in two nights. She’s back to living in an old trailer with the kids. It’s not as nice as the first one.

Time before that he gave the million to a couple who were known to love children but couldn’t have any and couldn’t afford to adopt. This would be great. Didn’t turn out that well. “Gee, sweetcakes, now we can adopt a son”, the man told his wife.

“A little girl. That’s what I dream of.”

“A son to carry on the family name”, he insisted.

“What? Smith?”

The husband used his half to hire a hit-man to kill his wife; she did the same. Turned out they both hired the same hit-man. Turned out he was an undercover FBI agent. They both got twenty years. The government got the money. Clemons got a summons to testify.

The millionaire commented to Clemons that he needed to, “ obtain better quality. Hire a private detective to do a background check. That’s what I did when I hired you.”


The sign said Crane and Williams, Private Investigators. There was no Williams, never had been. Two names looked more impressive than one. The secretary looked pretty impressive herself. She asked if Mr. Clemons had an appointment then laughed.

“Oh, go on in. No one ever makes appointments with him. Most of his clients won’t even come here. They don’t want to be seen with him.”

“Yet, you’re here.”

“I’m his sister. Can’t hide from it so-”

“Mr. Crane?”, Mr. Clemons asked.

“Call me Bob, everyone does. No, not that one. He’s dead. What do you need.”

“I’d like you to do some background checks for me.”

“Is that what you call it. OK, who’s the guy you think is creeping around your wife?”

“I’m not married. I-”

“OK, your girlfriend.”

“No, no, -”

“Oh, man, I hate hanging around gay bars. If I had a nickel for every time I get hit on in a gay bar I wouldn’t be doing this for a living.”

“No, it’s nothing like that.”

“I should have stayed a cop. Would have too if that uptight Captain hadn’t a turned me in. At least I got to resign. No charges. Can’t be a P.I. with a conviction.”

“Uh, maybe I should go someplace else, Mr. Crane. I think-”

“You got a name?”

“Yes, of course. I’m Clemons, -”

“Oh, I did a backgrounder on you for some guy.”


  Panic Times


“Don’t panic!”. There are times that panic is what you should do. In fact, panic is proof you’re not insane. When Tommy Smith drove his truck off the road and off the cliff, he panicked. That’s the story. How true it is is anyone’s guess. Tommy was considered crazy anyway so he may not have panicked. He may have enjoyed the fall.

“Well”, said Tommy’s younger brother, Timmy, “of course he panicked. What else was he supposed to do? Accept his fate? Thank God that he was headed to the bottom of the mountain with no road under him?”.

“Now, Timmy, don’t bring God into this. God never panics. He didn’t panic when Satan rebelled. He kept a cool head about him and carefully considered his position and options. He also didn’t drink and drive”, Reverend Carl said.

“Huh? what are you talking about, Rev? Of course God didn’t panic. He was like Superman, Batman, and Spider Man all rolled into one. He couldn’t lose. What would he have had to panic about? Wonder what he’d do, falling off a mountain?”

Panic is one of those undefinable words. Panic for one person isn’t the same as panic for someone else. Judy panicked when she broke a nail.

“Oh, no! What am I going to do? The party starts in an hour and I break a nail! Ralph, call the Wilson’s and tell them we can’t make it. Tell them, I don’t know, tell my mother died. No, I used that one last time. Tell them something! Don’t just stand there!”.

Mike panics when the weatherman says it’s going to below zero tonight.

“Below zero! I have to protect the pipes! No, check the antifreeze! No, check the furnace! Wait-!”.

“Mike, he’s talking about Pittsburgh. We live in Key West. It’ll be 70 degrees here tonight”, his wife tells him.

“Yea, but what if the air pressure turns south!? Then what!?”.

Panic is your brain’s way of saying there’s no way out. Why go silently into the night when you can go into it screaming and cursing?


copyright© Don Roble 1999-2015

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