I spent the last few years writing books about songwriting and as well as a fantasy series for middle graders (The Misadventures of Hobart Hucklebuck), but when I decided to try something new, well it led to Forever Zombie a collection of short stories.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Reality Check

March 9th – 7:06 a.m.
Last Chance City Jail

Marshall Tucker made sure his revolver was fully loaded and grabbed the Spencer carbine from the corner gun rack.

“You coming, Mo?”

Mo shook his head.

“Not with that lunatic Rango running around town. Jeez, the way he just took a bite out of Dodger’s arm. I mean, if I’d known he was that hungry, I would have offered to buy him breakfast.”

“The only breakfast you ever see comes in a bottle, Mo.”

Mo had no reply.

“Ah, good,” the marshal said as he picked up his tin coffee cup to take one last drink. “Here comes Elvis. Guess he had to go home and change his underwear. I swear, if he wasn’t my nephew...”

Elvis Parsley walked up the boardwalk and after glancing in both directions, he entered the jailhouse. He quickly closed the door behind him.

“Okay, Elvis. What the fuck is going on out there? Mo here told me that Rango Starr is running around sinking his teeth into folks. Of course, we both know Rango is dead, so what’s really happening?”

Elvis swallowed so hard his Adam’s apple bobbed up and down several times.

“I can’t explain it, marshal. But it’s the gol’ darn truth.”

“You’re both fuckin’ lunatics,” the marshal swore.

“Uh, marshal,” Mo said softly from where he stood by the front window. “You might want to take a look at this. And after you do, you might be wantin’ a liquid breakfast yerself.”

Marshal Tucker sighed and stepped over to the window.

The tin cup slipped from his grip and clanged to the wooden floor, splashing coffee and grounds all over his boots.

He barely noticed.

“What the...”

Dodger McGuinn was walking up the street.

Well, he wasn’t exactly walking. He was more or less staggering.

Tucker was beginning to think the entire town of Last Chance had been drinking their breakfast this Tuesday morning.

A mother with a young son and daughter in tow noticed Dodger lurching toward them. Dodger’s white linen shirt was soaked with blood from a gash in his arm and a gaping wound in his neck. The woman screamed and instinctively grabbed her children and held them close.

Dodger seemed excited by the scream and his lop-sided grin looked out of place.

The marshal opened the front door of the jailhouse.

“Dodger!” he yelled.

He wasn’t sure whether Dodger re-acted to the sound of his name or simply the shout, but the shop clerk froze in his tracks and glanced in their direction. His head lolled off to the side, as if he couldn’t quite hold it upright.

“Geez,” Elvis whispered. “He sure looks dead to me. Except for the fact that he’s standin’ there in the middle of the street, of course...”

Marshal Tucker jacked a cartridge into the Spencer and took aim.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hasta la vista, baby

March 9th – 7:00 a.m.
Last Chance City Jail

The front door of the jail slammed open and Marshal Tucker turned, one hand resting on the butt of his revolver.

Colt pushed to the far side of his cell to get a better look through the doorway.

Morris Diddley had slammed the door behind him.

“Geez, Mo,” the marshal complained. “Quit slamming the door! It’s too early for that shit. I ain’t even had my first cup of coffee.”

“The general store,” Mo gasped. “It’s... there’s...”

“Come on, Mo,” the marshal said. “Spit it out.”

“Mr. McGuinn is dead!”

“What? Dodger is dead?”

Colt rattled the iron door of his cell.

“Come on, marshal!” he yelled. “Let me out! I’m missing all of the excitement.”

But Marshal Tucker ignored him.

“What happened?” the marshal asked Mo.

“I saw the whole thing,” he replied. “It was Rango Starr!”

The marshal laughed.

“Okay, Mo,” he said in a comforting tone. “Have you been dipping into the moonshine again this morning? Rango Starr is dead.”

Mo Diddley looked confused.

“But I just saw him. Your deputy was draggin’ him up the street. I thought he was drunk or something. Rango started moaning and Elvis dropped his legs. Figured he was comin’ round considering all the draggin’ through the dirt and everything. The next thing I knew Rango had gotten to his feet and you could tell he was still drunk ‘cause he wasn’t too steady. And Elvis, well, his eyes got big and he just took off runnin’. Like maybe he had bad eggs for breakfast and was headin’ for the nearest outhouse.”

The marshal grabbed him by the arm.

“That ain’t possible,” Tucker said. “Rango Starr is dead. I saw him.”

“You must have been mistaken,” Mo said with a shake of his head. “He sort of lurched across the street and saw Dodger sweeping the boardwalk in front of the store. The next part is weird. He staggered over and took a bite out of Dodger’s arm. Just like that. Blood was spurtin’ everywhere and Dodger was screamin’ like a cow at breedin’ time. Next thing you know Dodger is lying on the walk and Rango is clawing at his chest. That’s when I figured I’d better get over here and let you know.”

“You sure you haven’t been drinking?” the marshal asked.

“I swear on my mother’s grave, marshal,” Mo replied.

“Your mother isn’t dead, Mo,” the marshal said.

“Oh, yeah,” Mo replied. “But I swear I haven’t been drinkin’. You want to smell my breath?”

“That won’t be necessary,” the marshal informed him. “Let me grab my hat and we’ll go check this out.”

Colt pounded on his cell door again.

“Marshal! Don’t forget about me!”

“You’re the least of my worries, Colt,” he replied. “I’ve already had two deaths in Last Chance this morning. Well, I think I’ve had two deaths. Hold your water. I’ll be back.”

Colt sighed.

“Right. Hasta la vista, baby,” he whispered.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

All Shook Up

March 9th - 6:58 a.m.
Last Chance City Jail

The marshal had been gone ten minutes already and Colt was not happy.

How had he gotten in here? Again...

He vaguely remembered a fight at the Last Chance Saloon a few hours earlier, but he couldn’t recall if he had won or lost or even who he had fought.

And now he was going to be late for work.

He hoped Carrie Ann would be on his side when old man Floyd tried to fire him again.

But she was not overly fond of his drinking and fighting as it was.

He sighed.

“Marshal?” he yelled. “Where the heck are you? You’re about as slow as a one-legged rooster in a chicken coop.”

He tried to catch a glimpse of the marshal through the open door.

Marshal Tucker stuck his head in.

“Hold your horses, cowpoke,” he spat. “My deputy just walked in. Apparently Rango Starr is dead.”

“Rango Starr?” Colt repeated.

“Yep,” the marshal replied. “The same Rango Starr you were in a fight with last night. Good thing you were locked up. Otherwise you’d be... well, locked up...”

“What happened?” Colt asked as he grasped the bars.

“Elvis just told me someone tore half his throat out,” the marshal replied.

Elvis Parsley was the sheriff’s deputy. He was at least two bullets shy of a fully-loaded six gun. Maybe more. Half the time he was definitely hitting on an empty chamber.


“Are you hard of hearing son?” the marshal asked. “Someone or something took a huge chunk out of Rango Starr's neck. He didn't make it. Elvis just left to take the body over to the ice house so he don’t start stinkin’ up the town.”

Monday, March 9, 2009

Kill Me A Roster

March 9th - 6:48 a.m.
Last Chance City Jail

A rooster crowed somewhere off behind the Last Chance City Jailhouse.

If Colt McCoy would have had his revolvers at hand, someone would have been feasting on fried chicken that night.

He tried to pull the lumpy jailhouse pillow over his head to shut out the sound of the rooster, but he nearly gagged on the smell. It smelled like piss, shit, vomit and a hint of... roses. The scent of rose was the worst as it was simply out of place. Sort of like a fine French Bordeaux poured into a jug of moonshine. He tossed the pillow across the room. Hard to say how many ugly cowpokes and gunslingers had rested their heads on the filthy thing.

“Hey, Marshal!” McCoy yelled hoping he would be heard beyond the wooden door blocking the cell area from the main office.

A moment later the door opened.

“Shit, McCoy,” Marshal Tucker grumbled. “Don’t you know what time it is?”

“Time to be dreamin’ of some sweet little cowgirl instead of listening to that Gol’ Darn rooster. Can’t you shoot it or something?”

The marshal scratched his belly (which hung over and covered most of his gun belt) and belched.

“Shoot. Old Ma Kettle would beat me over the head with a fryin’ pan if I did anything to that chicken.”

“She wouldn’t have to know,” McCoy replied.

“Oh, she’d know all right, Colt,” he said in a very subdued voice. “She’d know...”

“Well, then, how about just letting me out of here?”

The marshal scratched his stubbled chin.

“You sure you don’t want breakfast first?”

“Only if you’re gonna feather that fuckin’ bird and fry it up for me,” McCoy replied. “I’ll go have breakfast down the street.”

“By down the street I hope you don’t mean the saloon,” the marshal said. “That’s what got you in here last night.”

“I don’t recall,” McCoy said.

“Yep,” the marshal replied. “And that’s exactly what got you into trouble.”

“Just go get the fuckin’ keys, okay?”

“You didn’t say please,” the marshal replied.

“Keys, please. Geez...”

The marshal smiled.

“Be right back,” he said.

But he wasn’t... well, sort of, but... well, the day started off fucked and it was gonna end that way too...

Monday, March 2, 2009

And Now It Begins

Over the next few months we invite you to take a ride along with Colt McCoy and his zombie hunting gang consisting of an eclectic group of lawmen, gunslingers, honkytonk women and more.

Life is taking a drastic turn in Last Chance. Shopkeepers aren't settling in after work for a cozy, home-cooked meal. Mothers aren't tucking their children in bed with visions of sugarplums and candy.

Death is on the loose in Last Chance and it seems that only Colt McCoy has what it takes to combat the undead creatures they face.Throw in a zombie sheriff, a hell-spouting preacher, a miner as old as the hills themselves, and deputy sheriff who can't add two and two, and, of course, the farmer's daughter, and we have quite a cast of characters.

Unfortunately, not all of them survive in this new apocalyptic world. The wild, wild west has never been wilder... stranger... or more frightening.

But we can still laugh a bit, can't we? Well, we'll see, my friends. We'll see...