Short Stories

Dr. Hundley and Pecos Bill

Dr. Hundley picked up his pad of paper. With pen in hand, he began to speak. “So tell me, Mr. Pecos, when did you begin to believe that you could lasso a tornado?”

Pecos crossed his legs and fiddled with his cowboy hat that sat in his lap. “Well, sir, I don’t reckon I quite remember the exact date. It gets awful lonely out there on the plains. There ain’t much for a man except his cattle, coyotes, and occasionally a farmhand. Most days, I just sit on the horse, slowly pushing the herd across the prairie.”

“One day, I saw a small dust devil get stirred up in front of me. I reckon it was the boredom that got to me when I picked up my lasso. I swung the rope over my head a few times and tossed it towards the dust devil. The turbulence from my cattle rope must have caused that little dust devil to disappear. After that, every time I saw one, I tried to lasso it.”

Dr. Hundley stopped writing and looked over at Pecos, “Do you mean to tell me the legends of the tornado are nothing more than dust devils?”

Pecos shrugged, “I reckon so. It’s just that the last dust devil was so big that is sort of looked like a tornado. It rose way up in the sky, and all the debris there on the ground was just swirling around with it. It must’ve been more potent than it looked. ”

“I decided to throw my rope into it, and the next thing I know, it jerked the rope plumb out of my hands. I hopped off my horse, yelling and screaming since that was my favorite rope. I finally got a hold of it, and that old dust devil still dragged me a good 10 yards before finally fading out. I honestly don’t think anyone would’ve even known about if it hadn’t been for Bob, the farmhand. He was about 75 yards away, and he came riding in fast, hooping and hollering about how I had just ridden me my first tornado. I tried to explain the situation to him, but he would have none of it.”

Dr. Hundley put his pad of paper down on the coffee table in front of him, and then he sat back in his chair and scratched his head for a moment. “I have to confess, I thought you were having delusions of grandeur. I’ve never seen a dust devil with that much force, but everything is bigger in Texas, so I suppose it could be true. So, you don’t go around telling people that you rode a tornado?”

Bill looked past the doctor to the clock on the wall and slipped his hat back on and pulled his brim down slightly. “That’s the facts, Doc. Bob just couldn’t keep his mouth shut. I just quit correcting people about it after I got into my second bar fight and had a whoop up on five men at the same time.”

Dr. Hundley looked over at the clock and back at Bill. “I see our time is finished.”

Bill stood up, and so did the doctor. They shook hands, Bill tipped his hat to the doctor, and headed out the door.

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