Noah the No-Good

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told. Some will be fun, some will not. Some will be great, some will be less so. Some stories are true, some are merely possible. This is one of them.

Noah the No-Good

You go for a man hard enough and fast enough, he don’t have time to think about how many’s with him; he thinks about himself, and how he might get clear of that wrath that’s about to set down on him.” –True Grit

Noah the No-Good was the cruelest outlaw to ever roam the country.  People from all across the prairie would cower at the mere mention of his name.  It was said that the troublemaking hombre once let an entire herd of cattle out of their field just so that he could watch them trip over each other and fall flat on their brown chins.  Noah the No-Good had that sick kind of humor.

This time, the desperado had picked a fight with the wrong lawman.  Marshall Henry Stronglad was tired of No-Good’s shenanigans.  The man with the silver-star pinned to his vest pulled his hat brim closer to his brows.  His gray eyes glared across the dusty town.  Noah the No-Good was without his posse.  He had never needed a group of nefarious tagalongs before now.  No-Good had just thought that they would get in the way.  Now, he realized some other fellas could have distracted the Marshall and his six deputies.  However, as with many realizations, it came too late.

Noah the No-Good felt the Swingin’ Saloon behind him and yearned for a happier ending.  He imagined all the wild times he had gone in there and downed a cool drink; usually milk.  The bandit thought of all the games he wouldn’t be able to play around a table lit only by squeaking lanterns.  No-Good wanted to hear his spurs clink on the wood as he stomped his feet and flakes of mud fell off when other men accused him of cheating.  It didn’t matter to No-Good that he was a cheat.  Truth be told, the fugitive cheated more times than he played fair.  His mama had always told him that it would get him in trouble.

The crook thought back to his mother.  She wasn’t any kind of perfect, but she was a right better companion than most cowboys that Noah the No-Good had ridden with in the past.  The only real complaint the young rogue had with the woman was her strict ways.  She was always telling him that he shouldn’t go out riding too long.  He was warned to watch his manners when in the presence of ladies.  And for some strange reason, she kept hounding the lad about how much candy he ate.

Noah hadn’t been able to stomach such fierce adherence to morality.  He was made to live by his rules, not others’.  He dismissed the Stenger surname and replaced it with No-Good.  With a pack on his back and his best horse, the maverick had sauntered away to find his own path.  Noah the No-Good didn’t cotton to any fancy book-learnin’.  He wasn’t about to take off his cowboy hat just because some smelly girl walked by him.  Noah was trouble and he didn’t need to wash up for supper.  Noah was a maverick.  Noah was too much to be controlled by anybody, even his mother.

Apparently Marshall Stronglad was in agreement with No-Good’s opinion.  From the moment that No-Good had come into town and started leaving flaming bags of cattle poo on establishments’ entry way, Stronglad had been No-Good’s fierce enemy.  “I’ll not have you causin’ a ruckus amongst the good folk here”, Stronglad had declared.  The man with the badge and the lad with a temper had stared each other down many times on the street.  Normally, No-Good would have skipped town after a week or two.  No single place could contain this legend on his way to becoming a mythical renegade.  But Stronglad’s threats had only tempted No-Good to stick around longer.  Noah the No-Good was going to show Marshall Stronglad who really ran this town.

The stick of dynamite on Marshall Stronglad’s saddle hadn’t scared the man off.  The nasty note calling Stronglad a “mean ol’ cuss who’s so stupid that he doesn’t know how stupid of a stupidhead he really is” failed to yield results.  And finally, in some strange twist of fates Marshall Stronglad and Noah No-Good had found themselves sitting across the other at a poker table.

As soon as the lawman had sat down in that chair, everyone else at the table had scattered.  They knew some harsh words were bound to be had between the bitter fellas.  Stronglad kept muttering that No-Good was rude and selfish, while the outlaw kept trying to kick Stronglad from underneath table, only to find that his legs were too short.

Then the trouble had really happened.  The Marshall played a full house.  He had two queens and three sevens.  No-Good had played a straight flush.  The only problem was that both hands had the queen of hearts.

Chairs flew back as both men jumped up and starting yelling at the other.  One called the other a cheater.  The other responded by doing the same.  Snarls were uttered.  Growls were heard.  Sides were soon chosen.  The town-folk, the deputies, and the keepers of the Swingin’ Saloon all joined their resident representative of order and justice.  Noah the No-Good stood alone.  He tugged at the red bandana around his neck and felt the room growing fierce.   Marshall Stronglad pushed No-Good outside and shouted that his reign of cruelty ended now.

Marshall Stronglad snatched a rope from a nearby wooden fence post.  He started twirling it expertly in the air.  His deputies pulled out their pistols.  A vengeful look took over the lawman’s face.  “You better run, boy”.

Noah the No-Good did exactly that.  He tore off as fast as he could.  He ran with his gun-belt slapping his leg with every stride that he took.  He reached up to his hat and pulled it down onto his head, determined not to lose his favorite accessory after his reputation had betrayed him.  He ran as quickly as he could, but it wasn’t fast enough.  Noah felt something wrap around his torso.  The more he pulled, the tighter the restraining force dug in.  He felt his legacy of terror slowly coming to an end.  A strange voice lectured him.  “You should have listened to your mom.”  Noah knew the end was here.  He could feel the scene growing darker as the pulling force continued to subdue him.

With that, Noah woke up.  From his cowboy nightlight, he could just barely make out his bedroom.  The rope that had been pulling on him was actually his sheets.  In his dreaming, he had twisted and turned so much that his own bed had turned against him.  He looked to his toy horse in the corner and wondered why it hadn’t helped him out in his dream.  Some noble steed you are, Noah thought to himself.

Maybe his mom had been right.  Maybe eating all that candy before bed had been a bad idea.  Noah began to consider the idea.  What if he had been wrong all this time?  What if his parents really did want the best for him?

Nah.  Noah laughed at the silly idea and settled back into bed.  Soon enough, he was back asleep.  Only a tiny glimmer of the idea remained that his parents might know a thing or two that he didn’t.

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About anecdotaltales
He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.

2 Responses to Noah the No-Good

  1. s1ngal says:

    i almost left the story halfway. long ago, i knew a lovely boy named Noah and couldn’t imagine a sad ending for the namesake. but i knew you’d never disappoint me
    😀 quirky and cool eheheheh

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