Miss Prinsella Primm of Culdesac County, California, will be guest-blogging for Miss Tanya Hanson for the foreseeable future. As a lifestyle editor for the Culdesac County Current, (how she does love the alliteration!), Miss Primm will be presenting charming interviews of heroes and heroines, lawmen and outlaws, ranchers and horsemen, cowpokes and country girls.
Her first subject is outlaw Jack Ransom. (hubba hubba)
September 16, 1880
Miss Primm, primly: Mr. Ransom, although I do detect a glint of naughtiness in your eyes, I also sense a good heart beneath the bulging muscles of your chest. So how is it you sank so low as to become a notorious outlaw?
Jack, fingering his pocket for his flask: How is it, Miss Primm, you rose up to become a newspaperwoman?
Miss Primm, more primly: My dear Mr. Ransom, journalism is not naughty word. It is a most honorable profession. Unlike yours. And this interview is about you, not me. So for our readers’ sake, how did your career path as an outlaw come about?
Jack, eyes downcast: When my gram-maw died, I lost my direction. She raised me up, and with her gone, I discovered I was good at something bad: stealing horses.
Miss Primm, shuddering: Goodness gracious, I believe your grandmother must be looking down in horror at your disgraceful behavior.
Jack, cheeks that bear three days-stubble turning red: I reckon you’re correct, ma’am. I loved her so. That’s why I decided to mend my evil ways and honor one of her deathbed requests. Jacky, learn to read.
Miss Primm, holding up two fingers. Would you mind sharing the other?
Jack, forehead wrinkling like a piece of paper: Share what, ma’am? A book? I got either the Good Book or some Walt Whitman. I find I admire poetry.
Miss Primm, lips pursed: No. Not books. The other request.
Jack, redder yet: Oh, that. To live a righteous life. As you see, that trail never got blazed.
Miss Primm, glaring with disapproval: Who coached you in this dreadful life-altering decision?
Jack, with a wicked yet disarming grin: That would be Ahab Perkins, leader of the pack. We met up at approximately age thirteen. No folks, no home. No nothing. So we picked up a few more hooligans along the way. Truth is, our gang got along so good for a time we might have been a Boy Scout troop.
Miss Primm, peering over her spectacles: Try again, Mr. Ransom. Boy Scouting won’t originate for twenty years. Besides, horse stealing would be anathema to the Scout slogan Do a Good Turn Daily.
Jack, his whiskey-colored eyes widening: Mighty big word there, ma’am.
Miss Primm, wearing a schoolmarm frown: Why, I thought you had honored that deathbed vow and learned to read.
Jack, eyelids lowering like they might do when he slept: Did so. Hiring a tutor is how I met my Eliza. She’s the schoolteacher in Pleasure Stakes, Texas.
Miss Primm, somewhat jealous: Your Eliza?
Jack, proud as punch: Yep. My lady love, Y’all will be reading her interview next month. She’s quite a gal, my Eliza. You see, she had no notion whatsoever it was me who thieved her granny’s horses last Thanksgiving night... For that matter, neither did I.
Miss Primm, profoundly jealous, disheartened and ready to close out the interview: Well, I hope you did all your homework for your schoolmarm.
Jack, triumphant: That I did, ma’am. Eliza and me, we’ll have a good life with me gone all reformed. Miss Primm, I surely do thank you for your time today.
He leans across her battered desk and kisses her soft spinster cheek. Her face flames in pure delight as he saunters out of the Current office, his backside swaying over his boot heels in just the right way.
|Available November 26, 2012, The Wild Rose Press|