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In the "old west" they had something called dimestore novels. Those were little stories about an exaggerated western frontier...in my US History class, we had to write one...well, my teacher LOVED mine, and wanted to keep it, but I DID have a copy of it on my computer and decided to post it....please, if you have any comments, I'd love to hear them. E-mail me by clicking here, and enjoy the story!

In Persuit of Destiny

By: Tato and Beth

As the afternoon lazily passed on in Lyon County, Nevada, the sun 
shone heavily on a small saloon by the name of Smokey’s Saloon.

Across the dry streets of the microscopic county, tumbleweeds steadily
ran along with the light breeze across the dry plain.

Inside the saloon, Richard Sheen, the bartender of the small beer 
parlor, hastilly dealt with each and every spirituous customer serving
them intoxicating beverages.  After each drink was served, the
customers they were given to quickly downed them, then demanded
another.  At each request, Richard would fill their mugs, and the 
process would start again.  This continued until, finally, Richard 
insisted  that they stop and pay their tab. After much rowdiness, they
complied, and groggily stumbled away. 

Richard shook his head and sighed wearliy as he watched them go.  He
then grabbed a wash cloth from below the counter and began cleaning
the bar.  

Suddenly, he heard the swinging doors of his saloon slam open, and his
eyes locked with the figure who was standing in the doorway. A tall
brunette slowly walked in, her piercing brown eyes eying the
bartender.  Each person in the bar had turned to see this woman, but
soon faced their original conversations and games.  

The girl who had entered was the one and only Betty the kid.  She was
a regular around these parts, and a hero to all.  At first, people had
doubted her talent to be a hero to their small town.  But their
thoughts were quickly changed after the many heroic actions she had
done.  The first one that had believed in her ability was Richard, the
man at the bar. Both Richard and Betty had gotten along together, and
now, after years, were engaged. Both stayed calm about it, though, and
kept it with the upmost secrecy.  After all, if anyone had been
looking for Betty, they could have easily gotten a hold of Richard,
and hurt her more than they could do physically.  So, they both kept
their secret, and lived their lives as they normally did.

Lyon County had been quiet for some time.  There were the usual
strangers passing in and out, but nothing out of the ordinary, and
nothing to worry about.  For the citizens here, life was wonderful.
But for Betty, they seemed dull.  Although the thought of putting her
life on the line worried her somewhat, she loved the thrilling feeling
that overcame her when an adventure came up.  That day, after much
thought, she decided to drop by and visit her soon to be husband.

As she entered, the spurs on her boots clashed along the old, wooden
floor as she gracefully walked until she reached a stool at the bar.
She slid on the stool and smiled and Richard.  Richard flashed a grin
back.

“Hey Rich,” she greeted warmly.

“Hey Betty,” he replied, leaning on the now clean counter.  

“Anything new happening?” Betty asked, eying the dull, every day
scenery she had seen before.  

“Nope, nothin’ you’d be interested in,” Rich said, taking the cloth in
his hands an wiping the counter down once more.  

“Hm...that’s too bad.  Have you seen my no-good sister around?” she
asked, glancing around the familiar saloon. 

Rich rolled his eyes and shook his head.  “Not today, I havent.  She
better not come ‘round today  She’s always getting everyone so stirred
up, I can hardly manage this place. I’m gunna need to hire more people
soon if it keeps going how it has been.”

Betty laughed.  “True.”

For several minutes, Richard and Betty got absorbed in their own
personal conversation with few interruptions of customers.  Then,
footsteps were heard at the doorway, and in walked Betty’s sister,
Sarah.  

Sarah rushed in and raced up to Betty.  “Betty, you’ll never guess
what!!” Sarah said, a look of excitement to her face.  

Sarah was a littler sister of Betty’s.  She had a reputation of
messing with a man’s mind and getting her way most of the time. The
entire town loved to talk and meet with her, and so she was known as a
popular girl. However, she was extremely pushy, and was so used to
getting her way, that if she didn’t, she’d become angered. 

“What?” Betty asked, a tone to her voice that showed that she couldn’t
possibly care less.  

“I’m going to get together with the one and only David Johnson!!”
Sarah exclaimed, trying to contain herself.

“Good for you,” she said, turning back to Rich.  

“Now, Rich,” Sarah said, turning to him, “arent you disappointed that
you turned me down before?  Now I have someone a whole lot better.”

“Actually, I’m fine with who I have now, thanks,” Rich said, a wry
smile crossing his face. 

“Well, I never!!” Sarah said, placing her hand firmly on her hips.
She quickly stormed out of the bar.  

Rich and Betty laughed.  “I think she still likes you, Rich,” Betty
replied with ease.

Rich shrugged.  “I could really care less.”

Betty nodded. “Well, I oughta follow her.  She’s bound to somehow
connect me to this entire ordeal and be mad at me, so I’ll probably
help her prepare.”

Rich nodded.  “I’ll see you later on then,” he said, a look of slight
disappointment to his face.

Betty nodded. “You bet,” she replied.  And with that, she was gone.

* * * * * *

The next day....

As the morning sun rose slightly over the mountains, Richard Sheen
opened the bar and started to set things up.  This was a normal
routine for him, and so he thought nothing of it.  He hardly expected
a customer for hours, but he always felt that he should be prepared,
and that, he was.  

As he carefully placed a chair onto the floor, he turned as rushing
feet made their way through the door.  Sarah and Betty had looked as
if they were being chased by some sort of monster.  Sarah had been
crying, and Betty looked acceptionally mad.  

Rich rushed up to both of them.  “What happened?” he asked hastilly.

Betty hardly had time to answer.  She quickly rushed Sarah to the
chair that Rich had previously placed to the ground, and gave her a
tissue.  She then walked over to Rich, folding her arms, and sighed.

“What’s going on??” he asked, his impatience growing.

Betty let out one more sigh, then began to speak.  “Last night, she
met her ‘gentleman’ at the door. He said he wanted to meet her first,
and so they talked in her room -- she insisted.  But I suppose
something happened and --” Betty glanced over to Sarah.  “--and he
raped her.”

A look of shock was imprinted on Richard’s face as he absorbed the
information.  He was about to walk to Sarah, but Betty halted him.

“That’s not all,” she continued.  Rich stood, silent and waiting, for
the rest of the story.

“He...afterwards, I was busy feeding the horses, and....he tried to
rape me.  He didn’t do anything, dont worry, and in fact, I think he
learned his lesson.”

“Oh?” Rich asked, a look of concern was still written on his face as
he waited for her to explain further.

“Yeah.  He’s beat up pretty badly,” she confirmed.

“He’s still ALIVE?” Rich asked, slightly outraged.

“Yeah. Look Rich, he didn’t do anything to me --”

“But to your sister! No matter HOW much you hate her, you know this
man doesn’t get away with that!  If I have to do it myself, I will.”

Betty sighed. “Dont get involved.  I’ll take care of it....but dont
get involved.”

Rich shook his head.  “I was involved when you  got involved. There’s
no turning back now.”

“Rich!”

“I dont want to hear it!” he exclaimed.  He sighed and took a deep
breath.  “I’m going to take care of this.  Now, I know you can handle
this.  But let me do this.”  

Betty nodded. “But I want to be there when it happens, Rich.”

“Dont worry,” he replied, “the whole town will be there to see that
bastard going down.”  

Before Betty could reply, Rich rushed away.

Betty sighed and walked slowly towards her sister.  She knelt down to
be eye-to-eye level with Sarah, and she sighed heavily.  “Guess he
wasn’t the man of your dreams after all,” she commented, handing her
another tissue.  

Sarah nodded, trying to contain her sobs.  

“Listen, uh, Rich is going to take care of this for you...all right?
He’s off taking care of it now.  Okay?”

Sarah nodded, looking appreciative.  “What do we do now?” Sarah
inquired.

“Just wait...” Betty replied, and she grabbed a chair and sat down.
“All we can do...it wait.”

* * * * * *

Noon.  The sun beat down on the streets as a crowd of people gathered
along the sides. Each one looked nervous as the tense situation grew
longer.  They had heard that there would be a duel with Richard and a
new guy named David, and it brought excitement to each and every door.
Each person’s life had been stopped for a single moment to witness
such an event, and now, they awaited the new comer by the name of
David Johnson.  

Richard stood in the streets, pacing anxiously.  He had sent a
telegram for David to come, and still, he hadn’t shown.  Yet he 
waited, for he knew that with the reputation of David Johnson, it
would be irrisistable. 

David Johnson had a reputation for being one of the fastest shots in
the west.  No one had dared try to prove him wrong, and the ones who
did would always end up 6 feet under. The wise men knew to stay away
from him, but in the state of mind Rich was in, he was far from wise.
His mind grew from wild rage as he thought more and more of the
terrible sin he had commited.  

Lyon County had always been a small town, and hardly anything had
happened.  Each person there was a person of common sense.  Each
person had found it grotesque at what David had done, and so they
gathered to see the hopeful demise of the villianous character.

Leaning on the rail of a building, Betty the kid nervously polished
her gun, looking from side to side for any sign of a horse coming.
Next to her sat a shaken Sarah.  Each person had given her a pitious
look, and although the entire ordeal was slightly frightening for her,
she enjoyed the attention.  

Meanwhile, Rich kicked the dust from beneath his boots, frustrated at
the wait.  He sighed heavily, but then turned at the sound of a horse.
His hat shaded his eyes and he glared at the man approaching.  The man
rode in, looking triumphant and proud. He brushed past Rich, then
dismounted his horse.  He then slowly walked up to Rich.  

“You Richard?” the man said in a gruff voice.

Rich only nodded. “You David?”

A wry smile crossed the man’s face.  “Yeah, I am.”

Rich stepped up to David, glaring a stare of hatred towards him.  “You
know why you’re here or are you just stupid?” he asked after moments
of silence.

“I’m here to kill you,” David replied, looking cocky.  

“We’ll see.”  Rich walked over to the middle of the street, and David
followed.  “See this? This is where we start.  We  take twenty paces,
turn, and shoot.  Whichever is the quickest wins.  You understand, or
do I need to say it in small words for you to comprehend?”

David glared at Rich.  “We’ll see who’ll be making the jokes after I’m
through with you, boy,” David replied, then turned back to back with
Rich.

One man in the crowd started to count.  “One, two, three...” he
continued to count as each step was taken.  The crowd grew more tense
as each step was taken, and some hid in fear of being shot in the
process of the duel.  

Richard’s hands shook nervously as he prepared himself to grab his
gun.  Heavy amounts of sweat began to cover his brow, and he shook
with both violent rage and fear.  His life was flashing before his
eyes, as he heard the numbers being called...reaching an end....

“17, 18, 19...”

The numbers seemed to hang over time, and his stomach began to turn.
He could feel the gaze of the citizens on him as he parted from the
sinister man.  He began to hear the beginning of the final, demanding
number, when he heard Betty cry out.

Betty watched the sceen unfold before her, as panick raced through her
mind.  Everything seemed to slow as the time of treacherous actions
started to take place.  On the mark of nineteen, David swung around
and reached for his gun in a swift move.  

“No!!!  Watch out!” she called, and Rich turned to see the gun being
pulled on him.  He threw himself to the ground, but not before a
bullet managed to puncture his side.  He yelped out in a helpless urge
as white flashes of hot pain shot throughout his entire body. He could
feel the bullet tear through his side and he fell to the ground,
clutching tightly onto his side.

He saw David smile with satisfaction and he slowly walked up, still
pointing the gun to Richard.  Richard only eyed the nervous finger
that held tightly onto the gun, and he subtlely inched his way to his
own gun.  

“Well, I guess we know who the stupid one is,” David said, a sly grin
crossing his face.  

Rich only groaned as his finger tips grabbed at his own gun.  With one
swift movement, he lept from his side and triggered the gun three
times straight into a surprised David’s chest.  

David groaned and fell onto the ground, moaning in pain.  He tried his
best not to look weak, but to no avail.  He squirmed, much like a
child would, and and glanced around at the crowd, each person stunned
in awe at the actions that had just occured. He couldn’t believe what
had happened. He thought for sure that getting a second lead would
claim him to be the winner, yet it brought him to his downfall.

He rose his head groggily as dizziness began to overcome him.  He saw
Richard drop his gun and fall to the ground, still holding his wound
in a tight grasp.  

David, with his last breath, held the gun and carefully aimed it. If
he was going to die, he was going to bring the man who killed him down
with him too.  As he aimed it onto the unsuspecting Richard, he
squeezed the trigger.  

Suddenly, the gun shot out of his hand, and he drew back.  Both Rich
and David quickly looked at the source at the shot, and Rich smiled.
Betty the Kid held her gun at careful aim as a confident look crossed
her face.  

“You cant do this,” David gasped.  

“Oh?  And why not?” Betty inquired.

“My...my brothers. They’ll....they’ll come for me. They’ll hear of
this, they’ll kill you!” he stated, angered.  

Betty grinned and began to squeeze the trigger.  “I look forward to
it.  See you in hell, David.”  And with that, she pulled the trigger,
and a shot went off.....

Betty looked at the now still David Johnson.  She sighed and turned,
rushing to Richard. “You okay??” she asked, worry written on her face.

Richard nodded, slightly at a loss for words.

“Can we get a doctor out here????” Betty shouted.  Each person rushed
around, in search for their town doctor.  Betty turned back to
Richard.  She patted him on the shoulder, seating herself next to him.
“You’ll be fine....you’ll be just fine...”

* * * * * *

Weeks passed, and nothing was heard of David Johnson or his brothers.
When word got around that Betty the kid had killed David Johnson,
people from all around had come to visit the small town.  

Each and every day, a new person would come into the bar and see
Richard.  They would ask if the legend was true, and if he knew the
infamous Betty the kid.  

“Sure, she comes around,” he would say casually, and soon, they would
be gone.  As the quiet life of  Lyon county started to settle again,
the citizens became more relaxed.  Now, they could enjoy life without
having to tell their encounters with Betty the kid to others. And for
them, this was a relief.  

And so, another day lazily passed by in the lives of Richard Sheen,
Betty the kid, and the citizens of Lyon County.

Inside Smokey’s Saloon, an injured Richard Sheen hastilly dealt with
each and every spirituous customer serving them intoxicating
beverages.  After each drink was served, the customers they were given
to quickly downed them as they normally did, then demanded another.
At each request, Richard would fill their mugs, and the process would
start again.  However, soon Richard insisted  that they stop and pay
their tab.  After much rowdiness, they complied, and groggily stumbled
away. 

Righard sighed, shaking his head.  He placed his hand on his side and
winced.  He then grabbed a wash cloth from underneath the bar and
began wiping the counter down. This was a routine he did daily.  

Suddenly, he heard the swinging doors of his saloon slam open, and his
eyes locked with the figure who was standing in the doorway.   “Hey,”
she said, greeting Richard with a warm smile.  

Richard nodded at the greeting.  “Hey.  What’s new?”

“Nothing, unfortunately.  How’re you feeling?”

“Better than a few weeks ago,” he offered, smiling.

“Well, glad to hear it.”

Rich nodded. “Me too.”

Richard and Betty began to converse, as they had done for the past
week, when they heard rushing feet run into the saloon.  Both looked
up, and Sarah stood.  

“Betty!! You wont believe it!” Sarah shouted, looking exasperated.

“Oh no...not again,” Betty moaned.

“No, no, not that!!  There are some guys that just arrived...they say
they’re looking for you and Rich!!”

Betty furrowed her brow, looking confused.  “Tourists?”

“No,” Sarah said, violently shaking her head.  “David Johnson’s
brothers!!”

At this, the entire saloon went silent. A feeling of dread came over
each customer as they looked for a reaction from either Rich or Betty.
None came.  

“W-what are you going to do?” someone finally stammered from the crowd
of customers.

Betty glanced at Rich.  “You wanna do this? I know I do,” she replied.

Rich nodded, a grin crossing his face.  “We’re going to be a regular
duo, arent we?” he asked, sarcasm dripping from every word.

Betty shrugged. “I guess so.  Come on....I’ve been looking foward to
this.”  And with that, both left the bar to face their destiny....

The End

Two partners work together
Fighting all the wrong
Their name we’ll all remember
By passing down this song.

And people will go sing it
And joyf’lly say their name
They’ll always be our legend,
It’ll always be the same.

Betty marked as “kid”
And Richard as a clerk
Their different personalities
A legend near to lurk.

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