Aug. 14th, 2011

Teddy Town

Aug. 14th, 2011 05:58 pm
Times were tough in Teddy Town when the stranger arrived. Big Bill had taken over the town and was running it like his own private kingdom, taking whatever he wanted and laughing at those who opposed him. Every man and woman in Teddy Town carried a stick, many quite large in size, but Big Bill's stick was taller than a man and as big around as his arm. It was more of a big log, and it dwarfed the other sticks in the town. Nobody wanted to mess with a stick that big.

But there was more. Everybody in Teddy Town spoke softly, but Big Bill's voice never rose above a whisper. He was the softest-spoken man in town, everybody had to admit that; and to hear what he was saying to you, you had to bend your head close to Big Bill's mouth – putting your person within the reach of that enormous stick. It was intimidating, that inhumanly soft voice, and between that and Big Bill's giant stick, nobody dared say much to Big Bill. When anybody tried, he would laugh, but silently, his gargantuan chest heaving and panting, but his open mouth never making more sound than a soft wheeze. That was enough to cow anybody.

Spirits were low in Teddy Town when the stranger rode in. They stared glumly from clapboard porches and from behind split-rail fences, watching the curious character on his palomino. He was small, and bespectacled, and he dressed like a city slicker. But that wasn't the strangest thing about him.

Old Tom, the drunk of Teddy Town, said what everybody else was thinking. He staggered up to the stranger's horse as it plodded wearily through the muddy street and trotted alongside. He tugged at his battered trapper's cap.

"Say there, feller," he said, so quietly that the stranger had trouble making out what he was saying. "Where's your stick?"

"DON'T NEED ONE!" the stranger exclaimed cheerfully. Old Tom and the other townsfolk clapped their hands over their ears.

"Keep it down, willya?" Old Tom whined.

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