Christine K. Trease
Childrens Book-Trouble In Tombstone - Poem by Christine K. Trease
Deep in the draw where pond scum grow
Live Sneaky Pete and Slimy Joe;
Two slippery snakes in black leather vests
Who hold no honor towards the code of the west!
The stench of the pond musta’ clouded their brains
With the dealins from which good men would refrain,
For these two outlaws started fixin’ a plan
That woulda been shied by an honorable man.
These sneaky, slimy, stinky bounders
Who got on this far by bein’ rounders
Cooked up an evil thevin’ plot
To rob the stagecoach of all it’s got!
Tombstone was a quite Town
Where cowpokes lived the whole year round.
In peace they dwelled until the day
The snakes tried to steal their money away!
Smack on time, as right as rain,
In a cloud of dust, the stagecoach came
Carryin’ one of its largest amounts
To place in the townsfolk’s bank accounts.
Sneaky Pete and Slimy Joe,
Whoopin’ and hollerin’, away they go,
Bustin leather alongside the coach,
As they made a gangster’s robbery approach.
Sneaky Pete grabbed the caballo’s mane,
Swung onto its back and took the rein.
He slowed the stage to a dusty stop,
Then Slimy Joe slithered on top
Took holt of the chest, which he slung to the ground,
Not even carin’ to look around.
That slimy snake, he felt no fear,
Nothin’ did those snake hold dear!
He grabbed the money with disregard
And drug it to their hideout’s yard.
They popped the lid, feasted greedy eyes
Upon their ill-got thevin’ prize.
Shuckin’ and grinnin’ in ecstasy,
As proud as sneaky snakes could be,
Pete and Joe admired their riches,
Feelin’ pretty big in their britches.
Because they were whoopin’ they did not hear
The sound of justice ringing clear.
Twas Sheriff B. Good and Deputy Lynn
Comin’ to bring those slimy snakes in!
Distracted by riches and glitterin’ gold,
That Tombstone, against their wishes bankrolled,
These slimy bounders didn’t see
The sheriff and his deputy.
Sheriff B. Good and Lynn, now reformed
Took the slimy snakes by storm.
Each tied one with his trusty dally,
These two lawmen from Pleasant Valley!
Each draggin’ a snake behind their horse,
Steadfast and true on a justice course.
They tossed the snakes in the Tombstone jail,
You should have heard those bounders wail!
For many a year, they refused to reform,
Cussin’ the law who took them by storm,
A hatin’ in their evil hearts
For the kind town folk who live in these parts.
At breakfast time they ate their words, not a filling meal,
They complained that life had dealt them nothing but a rotten deal.
Each day at noon they dined again, eatin’ humble pie.
Those two outlaws, they had no choice, it was reform or die!
At supper time the sheriff came, makin’ them eat crow.
Those slimy snakes could take no more; they must reform and go!
They begged forgiveness, changed their tunes, turned a new leaf over,
Vowed to serve their fellow man, from Tombstone clean to Dover
The Town Folk deemed they’d learnt their lesson,
They turned them loose with a reformed blessin’.
They’d paid the fiddler’s debt for years.
Sneaky Pete shed joyful tears.
Slimy Joe, that bad old snake, had planned an evil roust,
Pretendin’ to be sorry just to make a slick jail bust.
Sneaky Pete, who’d learnt his lesson, walked the straight and narrow.
Slimy Joe turned back to bad, sportin’ his black bolero.
He grew himself a cookie duster,
Caroused and drank, that cattle rustler.
Chuck plum full of stout benzene
He sunk as low as a snake could be.
Sneaky Pete, ‘twixt a rock and a boulder,
Shrugged his sorrowful, snaky shoulders.
He knew he couldn’t make Joe see
That he’d end up in misery.
Sometimes you just can’t change the course,
Your friends choose to ride on a loco horse.
It’s better to tend to yourself and believe
An honest life’s best for a cowpoke to lead.
Sneaky Pete married and settled down,
Makin’ his mark on Tombstone Town.
Joe kept on thevin’, that durned old crazy.
Where is he now? He’s pushin’ up daisies!
Draw - a long shaller low place twingst two ridges, or, what a feller does with his pistol when he's afixin' to shoot someone.
Code of the West - Gentleman's agreement to certain rules of conduct for survival
Outlaw - a western bandit or a bad, contrary horse
Shied - to develop or show a dislike or distaste; to start suddenly aside through fright or alarm
Bounder - a man of objectionable social behavior
Rounder – a man lacking self-control; marked by indulgence in things such as drinking too much
Stagecoach - a horse-drawn passenger and mail coach running on a regular schedule between established stops
Cowpoke - word used for a cowboy. Thought to have originated from the early railroad days when long poles would be used to prod cattle through the loading chutes and onto cattle cards
As right as rain – Sure ‘nuff the actual way it happened!
Bustin’ leather – Ridin’ a horse hard.
Caballo (ca-va-yo) - Spanish term for horse, with common usage by Texas cowboys
Stage - Same as stagecoach - a horse-drawn passenger and mail coach running on a regular schedule between established stops
Hold dear – Something that is to be respected
Hideout - a place of refuge, retreat, or concealment; typically a place where outlaws gather to hide from the law
Ill-got - acquired by illicit or improper means
Shuckin’ and grinnin’ – Happy and laughing about it.
Big in their britches – Feelin’ full of yourself, like you done something wonderful
Sound of justice ringing clear – The sound of the lawman’s horses hooves on the ground, signifying their arrival
Bring those slimy snakes in – When a sheriff or deputy captures an outlaw (or sneaky snake in this case) and takes them to jail
Bankrolled - to supply the money for a project (or robbery)
Took the slimy snakes by storm – To storm the place, take someone unaware
Dally - Wrap taken around the saddle horn with the tail end of a lariat rope
Lawmen - a law-enforcement officer such as a sheriff, deputy or marshal
Cussin’ – Swearing or talking nasty
Ate their words – When you swear to something that you have to rethink. Kind of like setting stakes that you must pull with your teeth
Humble pie - a figurative serving of humiliation usually in the form of a forced apology, or retraction - often used in the phrase eat humble pie
Eat crow - to accept what one has fought against
Turned a new leaf over – Changed your ways from bad to good
Learnt their lesson – Learned from something you did that was wrong or bad
Paid the fiddler – To be said that if you dance, you must pay the fiddler for providing the music, thus, if you do wrong, then you must suffer the consequences.
Roust - to drive out (as from bed) roughly or unceremoniously
Straight and narrow – Make choices to do right, or walk the right path
Bolero - a loose waist-length jacket open at the front
Cookie duster - what a cowboy grows dreckly under his nose. Sometimes called a moustache.
Caroused - to drink liquor deeply or freely
Cattle rustler - a low-down varmint that steals cattle
Benzene - Cheap whiskey was sometimes called benzene. A benzinery is a low-grade drinking place.
Twixt a rock and a boulder – Between a rock and a hard place, either way you choose is not a good way to go.
Loco horse – a horse that is frenzied or crazy
Settled down – get yourself hitched, or married and settled down, made a calm life for yourself
Makin’ his mark – Do something that you are noted for, usually something good, something to be proud of
Durned - Durn - similar to dang, but used before shore.
Pushin’ up daisies - you are dead and buried
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