The Zion Kid

The Zion Kid

Posted on July 4, 2022 at 11:39 pm by Jatt Starr

::::SCENE:  A slight breeze comes in from the west.  The creaking sound of the rocking chair against the wooden sidewalk in front of the General Store in Dodge City, Kansas.  The tourists in the area are probably at their respective hotels getting their coffee and continental breakfasts but the man in the rocking chair, he enjoys the quiet as he rocks back and forth in the rocking chair.

 

The Man With No Name, Simon Sparrow, has begun to embrace the style of the Old West.  His girlfriend, Heidi, has always told him that in order to embody the character on the page, one must walk a mile in their shoes.  Or in this case, tan patterned cowboy boots made from ostrich.  They must have been killed by the thousands in the Old West because these boots are damned comfortable especially compared to the stiff leather of the common cow.

 

Simon, sporting a black and red checkered pants and a matching waistcoat over a pale blue dress shirt, pushes up his white Stetson with his forefinger.   On his lap is an acoustic guitar, not a historically accurate version for what the old cowpokes used in the nineteenth century but the look is somewhat similar.   He plucks at the steel chords feeling like Marty Robbins.  He begins fidgeting at the tuners on the headstock.

 

A young lad walks up to him.  The kid looks to be more than six (but for all Simon knows, he could be a very short and babyfaced teenager who enjoys Paw Patrol, as evidenced on the child’s t-shirt).   A woman of average looks, average build, the type of woman who could fade in the background.  There’s a slight mousy cuteness to her which leads him to think she was that girl who sat in the back of the class in high school that no one remembers.  No discernable marks or features.  Just perfectly average with her jeans and tan short sleeve shirt and brown boots.

 

It seems too early for the tourists to start showing up, cluttering the town with their mobile phones with their Twitters, Tik Toks, Tinders, and other “T” related “look at me and how interesting I am” apps.   Simon Sparrow pulls out his stainless steel pocketwatch from his waistcoat.   Four thirty-three.  He curses himself for forgetting to wind it.  

 

The kid starts talking to Simon….::::

 

KID:  Hey there mister.

 

::::…..despite his resting prick face….maybe he was doing it wrong…he begins adjusting his face into a variety of sneers and frowns.  The kid and his mother have very different expressions on their faces.  The mother looks almost terrified as if she is witnessing a demonic possession while the kid just begins to laugh, thinking that the HOW Hall of Famer is just making funny faces to entertain him.  The mother intervenes, her perfectly average brown eyes staring down at the Professor of Sparrowdynamics with a twinge of concern.  She begins speaking to him in a thick Minnesotan accent giving Sparrow flashbacks of Marge Gunderson.::::

 

MOTHER:  Oh hi there!  I’m sorry but I was wonderin’ if, ya know, we could get a picture with you.

 

::::Of course.  She’s a fan.  Fifteen years ago, she was probably dreaming of the day she could take a ride on the Starrlite Sexpress.  Maybe she thinks she has a shot now.  “Poor kid”, he thinks to himself.  “She probably doesn’t realize that I’m in a somewhat serious but not clearly labeled relationship with Heidi Vaccarelli, star of stage and screen…or, technically, video”.   Feeling pity for the cute mom fan of his, he agrees.::::

 

SIMON SPARROW:  Yeah, sure. 

 

::::The kid stands next to the Rembrandt of Wrestling and smiles revealing he has lost two bottom teeth.   Simon Sparrow attributes this to scurvy.  The kid’s probably not getting enough Vitamin C.   The mother pulls her phone out and holds it up.:::::

 

MOTHER:  Say “Gooooooooooo Vikings”!

 

KID:  GO VIKINGS!!!

 

::::Simon Sparrow just smiles and says nothing.  The mother looks at her phone before putting it away while he sits there smiling like a jackass.  He wonders whatever happened to good old fashioned cameras where he could hear the “click” and immediately stop smiling instead of relying on the photographer to tell him they got the shot.   As he realizes there shot has been gotten, his smile fades.::::

 

SIMON SPARROW:  And I suppose you’ll also want an autograph?  

 

MOTHER:  Oh, well, yah, ya know, I don’t know.  I mean, are you some kinda celebrity?

 

SIMON SPARROW:  Am I—

 

KID:  Are you a real cowboy?

 

::::There is a slight twitch in Simon Sparrow’s right eye as he completely misjudged the now-less-cute mother’s fandom.   He has clearly been mistaken for one of these no talented actors and shop proprietors who get all dolled up in not-entirely-historically accurate Western costumes.  He feels embarrassed, upset, and a bit disappointed.  He turns his attention back to the kid.::::

 

SIMON SPARROW:  What was that?

 

KID:  Are you a real cowboy?

 

:::Heidi said “Walk a mile in their shoes”, so he leans into it.:::

 

SIMON SPARROW:  Well, that question is more loaded than a six shooter at high noon, buckaroo.  Maybe I’m a cowboy.  Maybe I’m an outlaw.  Maybe I’m a U.S. Marshal.  And maybe I’m none of those things.

 

KID:  If you’re not a cowboy, then why are you dressed that way?

 

SIMON SPARROW:  It’s complicated.

 

::::Sure, he could tell the kid and his mother how Heidi got an acting gig in New Zealand for the next several weeks, recurring in some Lucy Lawless television show and he has no one to go home to.  Sure, he could say that he needs to embrace the “Dead or Alive” theme for the HOW, because those that don’t will be fucked, the Best Family will make sure of it.   Sure, he could tell them that he prefers to take solace in this way of life because there are elements of his life that keep him up at night, since he started….about a week ago.  And sure he could tell them that maybe the boots, the hat, the outfit makes him feel less emasculated….actually, on second thought, he probably shouldn’t discuss his erectile dysfunction with a kid and his mother.::::

 

KID:  Can you play me a song?

 

MOTHER:  Yah!  Let me get my phone out, right here.  

 

SIMON SPARROW:  Oh!  No!  I can’t sing.  I’m just, uh, holding this for a friend.

 

KID:   Can you do tricks with a gun?

 

SIMON SPARROW:  I don’t own a gun.  

 

KID:  You don’t sing.  You don’t have a gun.  What kinda cowboy are you?

 

MOTHER:  Uff-da, Albert!  That was not very nice, there!  You go apologize to this pretend cowboy, right now.

 

::::”Pretend cowboy”????  Fuck you!::::

 

SIMON SPARROW:  No, no!  It’s alright!  He’s just a kid.  He gets a pass for being a prick.  But he only gets one!

 

MOTHER:  Holy buckets!  We don’t use that kinda language where we’re from, doncha know?

 

::::Simon Sparrow ignores the admonishments of “Albert’s” mother and turns his attention towards young Albert who looks at the HOW Hall of Famer with childlike inquisitiveness, expecting an answer as if he were asking where the Tooth Fairy lives.::::

 

SIMON SPARROW:  I am the type of cowboy that tells stories.

 

ALBERT:  Like Goldilocks and the Three Bears?

 

SIMON SPARROW:  What kind of story is that?  Some chick breaks into a house, eats a bunch of the homeowners’ food and sleeps in their bed?   That teaches nothing but squatters should be chased out of their respective homes like the degenerates they are.  Or eaten, but then I’m not one who supports cannibalism unless it’s protected by the freedom of religion amendment, which one is that one?  Twelve?  The way I see it, if it’s not illegal then, consenting adults can do whatever they want, perverted as it may be.  If that is protected, does the person who is to be eaten have to sign a waiver of some kind?  Do they have to like, give up a limb?  Or do they have to be killed?  Maybe it’s like some weird rich person cult that offers thousands of dollars to some—

 

ALBERT’S MOTHER:  Ohhhh geez!  I’m not sure that’s very appropriate for Albert’s ears.

 

SIMON SPARROW:  Right.  

 

ALBERT:  What stories do you tell?

 

::::Simon Sparrow folds his hands on top of the guitar and leans back in the rocking chair and he looks up at the windchimes hanging on the overhang…not moving nor chiming.::::

 

SIMON SPARROW:  Have you heard the tale of “The Zion Kid”?

 

ALBERT:  Who?

 

SIMON SPARROW:  That’s the right reaction.  Pull up a chair and put your a-listenin’ ears on and permit me to open your eyes to the 

 

:::::Albert and his mother look around for a chair that is not there.  Simon Sparrow plucks a couple of out of tune cords on the guitar as he begins to tell mother and child the tale……::::

 

********************

 

 

 The tale begins in Eighteen-Something-Four.   A young outlaw upstart by the name of “Broadway” Brian had just pilfered five thousand dollars from a stagecoach and had rode into town on his steed, Jerky.   It was there he met Darin Mathews, a consummate screw up who once horseshoed his own shirt to a horse’s hoof.   The horse, feeling all kinds of agonizing started thrashing, kicking Darin out of his cheap shirt into a pile of freshly squeezed manure.

 

A-yup, Darin Mathews was not well regarded in his community.  His own parents disowned him when they discovered the dog he brought home as a pet, “Whiskers”, was, in fact, a diseased infested rat that gave his Uncle Jeb some plaguelike illness.  Uncle Jeb started developing these large, festering boils that would pop and cover anyone in the immediate vicinity with yellowish-green pus.

 

Darin, a God fearing man, wanted out.   “Broadway” Brian provided him with an opportunity to leave.  “Broadway” Brian saw Darin as a dimwitted sucker, a dunderheaded patsy that, if the marshals came a-lookin’, he could pin the crimes on, thus escaping the noose.  So, when Darin asked, “Broadway” Brian told him “A-Okay”!

 

But he’d need a different name.   “Broadway” Brian and Darin Mathews was a lame duo.  So, Darin came up with “The Zion Kid”.   

 

As they traveled along the Oregon Trail, they managed to avoid Native Americans who, by all rights, would have just been defending their land if they had come across them.   They avoided exhaustion, broken legs, typhoid, cholera, drowning, snakebites, but, unfortunately, “Broadway” Brian succumbed to dysentery.   He died taking a bloody dump and was mauled by a bear.

 

The Zion Kid, well, he took all he could and hightailed it outta there, going from town to town, acting like he was better than he was.  Claiming that he took down “Minister” Max, a depraved preacher who was infamous throughout the Midwest.  Some bought that filthy lie, most others did not, they saw him for the lily-livered joke he was, and challenged the Zion Kid.  Kid gotten beat worse than a gimpy mule on more than one occasion.  That’s not to say he didn’t have his moments, no siree Bob.    He gained some notoriety for giving Jace “Pee Wee” Davison and the dastardly “Seks Machine”, a man with more notches on his belt than John Wesley Hardin, in their respective drunken brawls, but it was short lived in both cases.  

 

The Zion Kid was all mouth and no action.  Just as he was about to cement himself as a legend of the West like “Wild Bill” Hickok,  Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, or Annie Oakley, he would piss it all away like he was some drunken soul expelling his bladder on the wall of the local brothel.   Which is something he did quite frequently, as well.  He would overexaggerate his victories like the time he squared off against Jeffrey James Roberts, escaped convict and the biggest buffalo bugger in the West.  See, if the Zion Kid were to be believed, he looked that large psychopath in the eyes and with a steely, cold gaze shot him dead in the middle of the street.

 

The truth is, the Zion Kid was dang near crippled with fear.  His legs were a-shaking, his lips were a-quiverin’, tears were forming in his eyes, he knew this was the last time he would feel sun on his skin. As he was about to draw, he soiled himself, both in the front and the back, if you catch my meaning, (if you don’t, he shat himself and pissed himself at the same time) as Jeffrey James Roberts went for the iron on his hip, he heard a buffalo in the distance, got aroused mid-draw, dropped his gun which went off and shot his face clean off.      

 

Word came around about the Zion Kid’s…ahem…”heroics” and he was challenged by many, one such desperado was Xander Azula, a man who was wanted for grave robbing and defiling corpses.  Xander kidnapped the Zion Kid’s favorite whore from the brothel and tried to sacrifice her to Satan or something but the Zion Kid shot him dead before he could.   

 

Now before I continue, it would be wise to give some context on the story moving forward.

 

There was a family of corrupt, evil robber barons known as the Best Family.  They had built a business empire by exploiting the needy, the destitute, the ill informed.  They sold swampland in Florida claiming it was filled with gold to the desperate.   Hell, they sold opiates, watered down whiskey, brothels filled with toothless, diseased prostitutes.   As far as they were concerned, “All Sales Final”.

 

By this time, the Best Family had grander schemes in place.  They were buying up prime pieces of land and building small chain restaurants, which would eventually be referred to as ‘fast food’.   They had about forty locations nationwide, selling burgers off the main trails and the big cities alike.  Many lives were lost consuming “Bestburgers”.  E. coli.  Since there was no FDA back then to regulate the Best Family, they killed thousands and made over a two hundred thousand from that venture.  It was their second most lucrative business after developing Mocaine, or Mega-Cocaine, in the eighties.

 

In the early days of the Best Family, they had an employee, one who would do their dirty work for them.  He had so many notches on his belt, he needed to buy a bigger belt.   He went by the name of the “Jatt of Clubs”.  It was supposed to be “Jack” but Human Resources mucked up the paperwork.

 

The Jatt of Clubs was a feared man.  It was said that once you looked into his eyes you disappeared.   

 

Because he’d kill you and bury the body.   Law Enforcement agents, Sheriff Darkwing, U.S. Marshal Ryan Faze, Texas Ranger Tony Wyles, Deputy Crow….Outlaws like Chris CK, Bobbinette Carey, Simon Loveless, Barra, and the Broadway Bruvs (not related to “Broadway” Brian in any way), they all disappeared after having come face to face with the Jatt of Clubs.  But time passes as it would and the Best Family had decided it was time to “retire” their loyal employee, after all the bad things he had done.  

 

The Jatt of Clubs went into hiding and assumed a new moniker:  Doc Sparrow.  He claimed to be a Professor of Quantum Physics at Princeton until he was run outta town by an angry mob after he stood up to Boss Tweed and his corruption.  He found himself about a mile outside this very city where he lived a simple life as a farmer.  He and his daughter.  They raised goats.  He was happy, for a time, until his daughter fell ill.   

 

Rumor had it that the Jatt of Clubs was in Dodge City, although no one had ever confirmed it.  A ten thousand dollar bounty was placed on his head.

 

It was about this time that the Zion Kid rolled into Dodge City on his horse “Excalibur”.  One fateful night, he made an offhand and inflammatory comment about how he will beat that goat farmer so bad, he will share a hospital room with his sick daughter.  Unfortunately for the Zion Kid, Doc Sparrow heard these remarks and a fight ensued.  It was quite the melee, both men pummeled each other down the street, in the dirt and grime.   Doc Sparrow was victorious.

 

But there was something in the Zion Kid that he saw.  Something he could harness or perhaps use to keep himself and his daughter safe.   Doc took the Zion Kid under his wing.  He convinced him that his whorish girlfriend would lead to nothing but misery and syphilis, that a wholesome, spiritual young lass within an appropriate age range of nineteen to twenty-five.  He taught the Zion Kid to channel all the anger he had at those that mocked and belittled him into a productive way – bludgeoning drunken, violent assholes.  He taught the Zion Kid some karate, capoeira, and lasso tricks, including the near impossible Triple Lindy.  A lasso trick so intricate and amazing it defies all explanation.   

 

Doc also explained some, but not all, of the Best Family’s diabolical plots that he was privy to.  Some of the more scandalous stories he kept to himself for the time being.   In the course of the two months that they were mentor-mentee, they formed a respect for one another.

 

It came time for the Zion Kid to head out to seek adventures with his newfound knowledge.   For the next six weeks he traveled town to town beating drunken assholes and abusers of women.   One fateful night, he came across a like minded individual from the Pinkerton Agency, Joe Bergman, hunting down three vicious killers Jace “Pee Wee” Davison, Woody Scottson, and “Farty” Cecillington.    Together they took them down!

 

BOOM!

 

Bergman, rifle in hand, Woody Scottson’s head exploded like a watermelon!

 

BOOM!

 

Another shot from Bergman, “Farty” Cellington takes a shot to the heart.

 

BLAM!  BLAM!   BLAM!

 

The Zion Kid nails Jace “Pee Wee” Davison with a shot to the groin, exploding his scrotum.   The second shot hits Jace “Pee Wee” Davison in the gut.  The third, the killing blow, a shot between the eyes.

 

Upon searching the corpses of the outlaws the Zion Kid found a bounty.  The Jatt of Clubs – Thirty thousand dollars for the head which was to be delivered in person to the Best Headquarters in Chicago.   Certainly a moral conundrum for the Zion Kid.  He figured out that Doc Sparrow and the Jatt of Clubs were the same person.  So, he was faced with a choice…..does he decapitate his mentor and deliver the severed head to the Best Family?  Or does he let it go?  

 

*************************

 

::::Simon Sparrow pauses and looks at the engrossed face on Albert, who clearly enjoyed the story to his mother who looks like she just pulled a dead rabbit out of a pot of boiling water.::::

 

ALBERT’S MOTHER:  That is it!  The offensive language, the blood, the adult content.  This is most certainly not PG material, doncha know?  Albert, we are leaving.

 

ALBERT:  But I want to know what happens?  Did the Zion Kid chop off Doc Sparrow’s head?

 

SIMON SPARROW:  He wishes!

 

::::Albert’s mother drags a protesting Albert away, dust kicks up behind him with each reluctant step.   Simon Sparrow once again leans back in the rocking chair and pulls the brim of his hat over his eyes as he wonders to himself whether or not Zion can, in fact, defeat him.  Probably not.  Although, if he does….then he truy has graduated from the School of Sparrowdynamics.  That is, as long as he doesn’t carry some pointless grudge against the Rembrandt of Wrestling for getting fined for tossing those balloons at the Best Arena especially since Zion never even launched one and it wasn’t even his idea.   

 

The tourists are starting to show up which means the General Store Manager, Glenn, the prick, in his raspy, smoker’s voice is going to send him away.  Not that he cares, he can’t stand tourists.  People in general bother him.  But he does have something in his pocket that does calm his social anxiety…..a Ziploc bag containing that little shit, Tyler Best’s hair.   END SCENE.::::