Topicus Rearranges the SouthWest
They were taking ten and Topicus was setting on a rock with chin in hands, pondering. The scraggily crew plodding along behind her was growing. They were already four and now Bigcus Tomicus was limping along and about to catch up and join them. Remember Bigcus was laid up for a day or two after having been kicked in the back by his donkey. They had grown beyond the fire team of four. Now they were five. Two to one odds were even but now they were increasing in numbers. It had been reported they were seeking counsel from Mac O’Mighty himself. The same Mac O’Mighty who dwelled beside the cold and big dirty lakes to the north. Remember, Mac O’Mighty has the power to appear about anywhere. In addition to wise counsel he scares the hell of the troops, but threatened destruction is usually enough. In view of all this Topicus had summoned other distaff warriors about the broad land. Tiny Bufficus responded promptly, having been to the hot springs and now fully recuperated. She was at this very minute coming through the brush. Topicus had spoken to Caticus about the diminutive warrior and the Cat had questioned the wisdom of the decision; “but many believe that she doth not exist, that she is a mere wish of smoke, an aberration...no one has actually seen her and besides what can she do at 97.2 pounds?” Topicus said, “Be not a sower of the seed of doubt! Thy talketh of 97.2 pounds...well she be 97.2 pounds of dynamite ( or will be when the Chinese finally start making gunpowder).”
Bufficus still packed dual rapiers that looked speciously like oversized knitting needle. But with an edge that she demonstrated by taking the legs off a frog. So for now Caticus was a believer. And the weaponry and bodies has now increased for the unit. The mighty Louisville Slugger, Caticus, with speed so fast of foot that she could become a blur when the action required. And don’t forget the culinary skills and how men can be beguiled with food. Feed ‘em a bunch, get ‘em to sleep then......whack!!
They were well down into the Land of Dust when a strange entourage crossed their path. It was a huge and strange family having many brothers, wives, cousins, and children of ever size and shape. They were in a conveyance so dilapidated that it looked as though it would collapse with each revolution of the old wooden wheels. They had kids of every size and description filling the floor of the huge cart and hanging from the sides. “Hark”, Topicus shouted, “What strange group be you and where dost thou journey?” A man stepped forward and said that he was the leader, “Name’s Joadicus”, he said, “this be my family, along with some cousins, and we are going to the land of sunshine and plump grapes, ain’t no work in this dusty land”. Caticus said, “The grapes are plentiful but watch thy step in that fairy land, because sometimes the grapes can be full of ‘wrath’!” (“Hee, Hee”, she laughed to herself, “sometimes I am too clever!”) Topicus had met some of these pilgrims before and found they were so agreeable to whatever was given them that all they said was okay, which came out from their mouths as “Okie”, so from then on they were called Okies! They were going thru the land of the Okies.
Well, they dwelled not on the Joadicus’. Nor did they seem too concerned with the growing mob behind them since the numbers had evened back to slightly better than 2 to 1. They soon came to a village whose chief was a moderately old warrior who had an unorganized following of warriors of varying age and description. He sat high atop some old Indian mounds and dispensed goods of ever description. There was one strange habit. He constantly had a bowl of sustenance that was pure white and ground from grain that in other lands were fed to their swine. The taste was not over powering so he added much butter, salt and pepper to bring out what little flavor the mush provided. Facing what looked like a male in a dominant poise Topicus had to hold her people back from attacking. “ I see something about this M.O Warrior that makest me to think he will not do us harm. He identified himself as Donicus and explained how he dispensed all manner of old warrior stuff along with current insignia. Then Topicus spake to the merchant, “It takes a lot of determination to run this and to maintain order among thy gaggle of followers, takes of lot of grit, real True Grit. And thy will be so called. Grit”. And he saw that it was good and began dispensing even more goods and services. He even began to get the works of scribes who set down records with quill and parchment. Of course inscriptions were not easily comprehended by the warriors (with the exception of those who referred to themselves as Airdales, who everyone knows have huge foreheads because of the 10 pounds of brains packed into the 5 pound skulls, and would try to leave a perfectly good earth and go flying about the blue if there was ever something invented to get them up in the air besides fermented cactus juice). He also had those who could use the colors to make pictures set on parchment and stone. These pictures would make things more clear and easier to explain to the Grunts. Topicus bid him farewell. She was warned as she headed further south. Donicus spake, “ There be wild and woolly people that dwell in the land below. Oh no, it is not Hell, but might be likened unto Hell’s doorstep! We met recently and engaged some of our young warriors with theirs. Handed them their ass and the last we saw of them they were running for the far border yelling for help from some dude they called Santa Anna. But they are still a wily and dangerous bunch. So be ware!”
She and her small bunch were well down into the new land of stones, prickly bushes long rattlesnakes and dry riverbeds, when they came upon a strange sight. Men riding around on large animals, wrangling rattlesnakes. Evidence was all about that they did this to slaughter them for the hides and meat. They did have some difficulties in corralling the slithering little devils, though.
At dusk Caticus was chosen to reconnoiter, being fleet of foot and able to scale the high bluffs that over looked their activity. Topicus gave Caticus orders, “Just observe and listen...DON’T talk to them! They are said to be deadly!”
They we gathered ‘round a campfire having their evening chow of bar-b-q rattlesnake. They were dipping this meat into a red liquid substance that produced tears from their eyes, smoke from their ears and caused there to be much cussing and complaining, even as each stuffed more of the same into their mouths. All round about them were big ugly, skinny four legged animals with horns that were as wide as their body was long. Spent all their time eating the sparse grass all about the country side. And the wranglers were constantly bumping into them. They were such a nuisance. What earthly thing would these critters ever be good for?
They called the leader of this bunch Billicus. Wild Billicus was the sire of a long line of gunslingers that started by his nature the headman. The last of this line a few centuries later did not like any word with more than one syllable and shortened his name to Bill or Billy. One was later called Billy the Kid, who was a porous little devil at his death. Then there was a Wild Bill something along the line.
His crew was a young lot and he be the ‘salt’ and boss of this bunch meant they had to sat around the campfire and listen to his stories. He began, “Well buckaroos, this ‘minds me of the time that a whole passel of savages...” And there was much groaning among the men, “Here we go again”... “hope he don’t tell about that trip to T-town again”.....”don’t nobody ask any questions”....and other remarks under their breath and out of earshot of Billicus..
Then in the middle of the story he ask the boys, “ Well, you boys been fed and yew are lak this story so good, I reckon that I will share some of my ‘backer. Chewin’ is manly! Well, what will it be boys? I got Beechnut for the tender of foot (or we might say for those light on their feet. HeeHee), and we got Redman for the middlin’ tough and for the real men we got Brown Mule! Now what’ll it be, men or girls?” So they all took a big chew of the foulest tasting concoction then known to mankind, Brown Mule. Most began turning green within seconds. So now Billicus began his story joke telling. About Wimmin! Dirty, vile stories and jokes about Wimmin!
The crudeness took away Caticus’ breath. The men were laughing and hooting and the vile stories spewed forth. ALL the men got caught up in it. They all had a turn and seemed to try to out do each other with the most sordid tail (I meant TALE). This was all that Caticus needed! Topicus must hear this NOW! She fairly flew back to the camp in the few little blackjack oaks that was in this barren land. Down in that deep dark thicket of blackjack oak a sudden blood curdling screech was head, “HE SAID WHAT!! THEY LAUGHED? THE WHOLE DANGED BUNCH? DEAD MEN LAUGHING!” They came crashing out of the thicket.
TO BE CONTINUED (And how Topicus left her flanks exposed!)