Word count 2,540
*I don’t own them. Wish I did.
** Based on a true story. The actual events of the ladies fighting and most of the words used happened in a beauty shop versus a dress shop.
** Thanks to Alice Marie and Susan for help with the beta.
Val leaned back in his chair, one foot on the floor, one foot on the desk, the local newspaper in his hand.
Shaking his head, Val couldn’t understand how in the world the events of the prior weekend had turned into the lead story for the paper? A lead story with the caption ‘Green River Massacre’ of all things.
Val remembered the events as they happened and chuckled thinking that for once, it wasn’t Johnny’s fault.
It all started last Saturday. It was a pleasant enough day… well, that was before all hell broke loose.
He’d just started making his rounds when he saw Johnny ride in. Val had an ominous feeling. Johnny on a Saturday morning couldn’t be good. Saturday night was bad enough.
“Val,” Johnny raised a hand as he threw one leg over the saddle horn and slid to the ground.
“What are you doing in town?” Val groused.
Johnny stopped in his tracks and looked at his best friend.
“Damn, he was in a bad mood already,” Johnny thought. Then he smiled. Hell, when wasn’t Val in a bad mood.
“Came in for a few things, thought I’d stay over tonight. Scott said he was gonna’ ride in later. Thought we could spend some time together this afternoon. We can meet up with Scott for dinner and some poker.”
“I might be busy.” Val kept walking. “You never know.”
Johnny stood still for a moment, watching Val walk away, then hurried after him.
“Alright, I missed you, you old coot,” Johnny said as he got closer to Val. “Haven’t seen you for a couple of weeks.”
“Who are you calling old coot?” Val stopped, turned, and narrowed his eyes at Johnny.
Johnny looked into his friend’s eyes and saw the twinkle there.
Smiling Johnny said, “I’m calling you an old coot. You could at least say you’re happy to see me.”
“Well, might be,” the corner of Val’s mouth turned up in a slight smile, “but that doesn’t mean you can just ride in here and expect me to drop everything to hang around with you. I have work to do, in case you hadn’t noticed. I’m busy.”
“Busy?” Johnny looked around the quiet street. “Don’t see anyone breaking the law…Sheriff.”
“Never can tell when someone will start breaking the law,” Val snorted. “I gotta’ be ready all the time.”
Johnny was about to voice an answer when the sound of raised voices and people running made them both spin around and look toward the dress shop.
Someone was running toward them.
“Sheriff, you better come quick. There’s gonna’ be blood spilled, mark my words.”
Val took off at a run with Johnny right on his heels, hand on the butt of his Colt.
The entire time Johnny was running toward the noise he’s thinking, “It ain’t my fault.”
Judy Lawrence owned the Green River Dress Shop. She had a good business and Saturday was always her busiest day.
Judy looked around the shop and smiled. Pleased that today the shop was full.
‘Sweet Sally’ from the saloon came in every Saturday to order dresses for herself and the other girls at the Silver Dollar. Judy was amazed at how many dresses the girls at the saloon seemed to go through on a weekly basis. Her curiosity, however, had never asked the why of it. She really didn’t want to know that bad.
Sally was an excellent seamstress in her own right and often helped Judy with sewing the dresses. Sally was a tall blonde of around 22 years old, with a well-endowed bosom. Like most of the saloon girls, she had a mouth on her and Judy had heard some pretty foul language come out of that mouth. But Sally was a good customer and had a kind heart.
The Widow Hargis, the owner of the General Mercantile, was seated near the counter waiting her turn. She was a short, thin woman with graying hair and was wearing glasses. The Widow was a no-nonsense type of woman and spoke her mind. Judy had discovered that no one wanted to get on the wrong side of the Widow.
Martha Higgs, the Mayor’s wife, was looking at the material. Mrs. Higgs seemed to think she was better than most woman in town because her husband was the Mayor. She was determined to set an example as to how ‘proper’ woman should dress.
Off to one side sat Josephine Hillar, an older woman who came into the shop most Saturdays to spend time talking with the other woman. Mrs. Hillar was a widow and lived with her daughter. She was a lonely woman and the highlight of her week was coming to the dress shop. Unfortunately, she relied on her daughter to get her where she needed to go.
And then there was Eleanor Hillar, Josephine’s daughter. No one liked Eleanor, but they tolerated her for the sake of Josephine. The 35-year-old woman had never been married, and after knowing her for some months, Judy knew why. She couldn’t imagine any man putting up with Eleanor Hillar.
With all the people in the small shop, it had become rather warm, and tempers started to flare.
Judy and Sweet Sally were talking about material for four new dresses that were needed at the saloon.
“Come on, Mother; this is taking too long,” Eleanor Hillar sputtered as he stared at Judy. “I have better things to do than stand around this place all morning. I don’t know why you come here in the first place. She isn’t a good seamstress and doesn’t do a very good job with your dresses anyway.”
Judy looked at Eleanor biting her tongue and trying to be polite. “Miss Eleanor, I’m running behind right now. If you want you can go ahead and leave, I’ll see your mother home.”
“I’m not leaving!” Eleanor’s eyes flared. “I’m staying right here, and you will serve my mother now, and I mean NOW!” Eleanor glared at Sweet Sally. “That… that person can wait.”
The Widow Hargis stood up and walked over to Eleanor. “Don’t talk that way to Miss Judy. You’re just being rude.”
Eleanor looked at the Widow and shouted, “I’m not being rude. I believe the decent women in this town should be waited on before the women of questionable morals.”
“Rude… rude… rude,” the Widow repeated. “If you were my daughter, I would turn you over my knee.”
Eleanor’s voice went up several octaves as she shouted out, “Shut your mouth, you old biddy.”
The Widow Hargis threw up her chin and her eyes narrowed. But before she could speak again, she saw movement to her right.
Sweet Sally jumped forward, fire in her eyes.
“Hold it right there! Who are you calling an old biddy? You got no right calling the Widow Hargis an old biddy. I’ve worked in saloons most of my life. I know how to handle someone like you. If you don’t leave, I’m gonna’ wipe this floor with your ass, old woman.”
“Well, I never,” Eleanor screamed. “I’m not an old woman, and I’d like to see you try.”
Sweet Sally had had just about enough. She moved closer to Eleanor.
“You’re just a bully. Shut your pie hole and leave.”
By this time, the yelling had gotten so loud that someone had gone for Val.
Val and Johnny walked into the dress shop and stopped at the door, shoulder to shoulder, both wide-eyed and mouths open. Eleanor Hillar and Sweet Sally were facing each other and yelling.
Martha Higgs was standing to the side yelling at both women. Josephine Hillar seemed to be in her own little world as her head turned from left to right and back again watching her daughter and Sweet Sally verbally assault each other.
Val looked at Johnny hoping he would have an idea of how to handle this fracas.
Johnny was shaking his head.
“Val, you’re right, you’re busy.” Johnny turned to leave. “I’ll see you later.”
Val grabbed Johnny’s arm and pulled him back around.
“No, you don’t, amigo. You’re not leaving me with all these women by myself. You owe me.”
“You want me to shoot’em?” Johnny asked seriously.
“Hell, no, I don’t want you to shoot’em,” Val growled.
Both men turned their attention back to the scene in front of them.
“Miss Judy, what’s going on here?” Val yelled trying to be heard above the noise.
Before Judy could answer, Eleanor’s face turned red. She looked at Sweet Sally and screamed words that no one ever thought would come out of Eleanor Hillar’s mouth, “I am going to kick your ass.”
The audience outside the dress shop was growing ever larger.
Sweet Sally’s reply was priceless, “Bring it on, old woman.”
Sweet Sally took a step forward. Eleanor took a step forward. They were almost nose to nose now.
Miss Judy stood frozen to the spot. “Please, leave,” she said to Eleanor, her voice soft and meek.
“Please, leave,” Judy said to Sweet Sally, her voice a little louder this time.
“Both of you leave!” Judy yelled and then added, “Please.”
No one was watching as the Widow Hargis slipped out of the room.
A single shot rang out as Val fired into the air. Plaster dust rained down from the ceiling above coating everyone in the room with a white powder.
“That’s enough, both of you. Miss Sally, I want you out of here and Miss Eleanor, you’re leaving too.”
“The hell I am,” Sweet Sally yelled out. “She started it, not me. It’s this bitch that needs to leave.”
“I’m not going anywhere,” Elenore screamed. “That hussy needs to leave.”
It was hard to remember who threw the first punch. All Val remembered was laying on the floor with Johnny leaning over him.
“Val?” Johnny slapped his friend’s face a little harder than needed.
“What happened?” Val asked as Johnny started to slap him again. Val’s hand shot up and grabbed Johnny’s wrist. “You hit me one more time, and I’m gonna’ lock your ass up and throw away the key.”
“Aw, Val, just trying to help,” Johnny said with a wicked grin on his face.
“Yeah, I know how you like to help. So, what’s happening?” Val asked trying to push himself up.
“Miss Eleanor and Sweet Sally are out in the street rolling around. They’re scratching and clawing at each other like alley cats.
“Miss Judy is out there screaming for them both to stop punching each other.
“Miss Josephine is sitting out front in the rocking chair laughing her ass off. Said she hadn’t had this much fun since before her husband died. I think she’s rootin’ for Sweet Sally.”
Johnny took a breath, “I think the Mayor’s wife ended up in the water trough. Miss Eleanor pushed her in when she tried to stop the fight saying it wasn’t ladylike and the Widow Hargis is hitting everyone with a broom.
“Val, I’ve seen gunfights that weren’t this messed up.”
From outside the sound of Josephine Hillar’s voice could be heard, “Punch her again, Sally.”
Val closed his eyes and groaned. “How come I’m down here? Who hit me?”
“Not real sure. Looks like the Widow Hargis went back to her store and got her broom. When she came in swinging, all hell broke loose. Sweet Sally and I ducked, and you didn’t.”
“Help me up.”
“Val, you might wanna’ stay down there, what with the Widow swinging away out there and all.”
“Damn it, boy,” Val hissed, “help me up.”
Johnny shook his head and reached down to give Val a hand up.
Val staggered out the door of the dress shop and stood frozen.
Sure enough, there was Sweet Sally, not being so sweet, with Eleanor Hillar rolling around on the ground, swapping punches.
Miss Josephine was rocking away and laughing. Every time Sweet Sally landed a punch, Miss Josephine laughed harder.
The Mayor’s wife was trying to drag herself out of the water trough but kept losing her footing and falling back in.
The Widow Hargis was swinging away with her broom, and hitting at anything that moved, especially Sweet Sally and Eleanor Hillar.
Val started to take a step forward when the Mayor ran up to him.
“Sheriff, you have to stop this. Look at my wife,” Higgs shouted as he ran toward his wife. “Oh, Martha, darling.”
Martha Higgs reached for the Mayor to help her out of the water trough and lost her footing yet again, pulling him in with her.
Val took one more step closer to the ruckus when the batwing doors of the Silver Dollar flew open and out ran five of the girls. All of them in nothing more than their corsets and leggings.
Val looked at Johnny. “You wanta’ drink?”
Johnny looked out at the massacre taking place in the street and nodded. “Sure, Val. You buying?”
Val looked back at the women fighting and sighed.
“What the hell, come on, amigo. I’ll buy.”
Scott Lancer rode into town expecting a pleasant afternoon with his brother and Val. He was looking forward to a quiet dinner and some poker. What he wasn’t expecting was to see a haze of dust over the center of town. Through the cloud of dust, he saw two women wrestling on the ground and a third circling like a buzzard, swatting both of the other women with a broom. Five half-dressed saloon girls and Miss Judy, from the dress shop, surrounded the combatants.
The entire town seemed to be watching and waiting for a winner.
Stunned, Scott stopped and stared at the commotion. Finally, rousing himself, he looked around for the law and saw Val and Johnny hastily beating a retreat toward the saloon.
He carefully guided his horse around the melee and caught up with the Sheriff and his brother.
Scott dismounted and tied off his horse. Looking at Johnny, he put his hands on his hips.
“Little Brother, you want to tell me what’s going on? You didn’t start that, did you?” Scott asked, pointing to the center of the street
“Pffft. No, I didn’t start it, and I’m sure as hell not gonna’ finish it,” Johnny snorted. “You wanna’ try and break that up, be our guest. Just stay out of the way of the Widow’s broom, that old lady’s tricky. We’re getting a drink. If you want one come on, Val’s buying.”
Val and Johnny started toward the saloon again when they heard the Mayor calling out, “Martha, darling, let me go.”
Johnny looked over his shoulder to see Miss Judy throw up her hands and say, “I give up.” She stomped back into her shop, slammed the door shut, and put out the ‘Closed’ sign.
Scott glanced back at the women and followed his brother. This was one story he was definitely going to take pleasure in hearing.
Scott noted that the only person who seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves this afternoon was Josephine Hillar. She was still rocking and cackling away.
Just as Scott entered the saloon, he heard Josephine calling out, “Oh, good one. Now, give her one for me, Sally.”
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9 thoughts on “The Green River Massacre by SandySha”
A humorous story, with Johnny and Val learning that is best to just let the women get on with their ‘cat fight’ (despite that they would never leave men to get on with a bar room brawl). Made me smile. Thank you to SandySha for posting.
Omg! My sides hurt from laughing. I needed this. This was great.
Laughed out loud. The men have no idea what to do.
Priceless, it was a wonderful read
It seems once again you have captured the words and actions of the characters to a T. LOL great read, I enjoyed it.
This one is always good for a laugh. Thanks so much.