Scruffed up cowpokes take a night off from a trail ride out of Texas, pushing four hundred and thirty seven head of long horns up to a stock yard outside of Kansas City. They ride their sore asses into a small town a couple miles away from the herd, tie up their horses outside the only bar. They find a few empty seats inside and survey the scene in the mirror hanging behind the bar. Six round wooden tables stained and chipped and carved up as all hell, set on rough looking hardwood floors, filthy bronze spittoons set beside the chairs, surrounded by missed splotches of seeping brown tobbaco syrup.
A fat, sloppy looking whore with red lipstick smeared messily around her mouth sits in a chair by the bar, her chin sleepily falling down to her chest. Glistening saliva seeps from the corners of her mouth. She is snoring in great primal blasts from her quivering nose... "Snzzzzzzzahhhh!!!!" Followed by long, wheezy intakes of breath.
Slats looks at the whore and figures the woman is older than his mother. He's thirteen and went on the damn trail ride specifically for the whores.
He had been looking forward to seeing his first whore for years... And now, hell, the skinny little girls from his home town were better looking than this pale, unhealthy looking woman in a soiled red dress with her make-up all smeared from the other drunks she's been fucking. He takes another sip of the bitter whisky and wishes like hell he had never trusted Elber Neetles, who talked about his year on the trail like it was some grand ass adventure, not once mentioning how your whole body started aching after a week and didn't let up until you was home a month... like he heard his first day, from some old cowboy who wasn't having none of his shit.
A wild haired mule kicks open the swinging doors leading into the dim, cigar stanked bar. Walking on hind legs and holding two blazing black six guns at his waist, a smoking cigar in the corner of his lip... he takes aim on and shoots down every human there, then begins firing on the barkeeper's various cats. He kills everyone except a mouse, Lester, and Slats... who are both severly wounded.
Lester died a couple hours later, Slats woke up some weeks later, wounded and hurting. The first nurse he remembered was demur brown field mouse, Ester, who was the daughter of deceased Lester, and the adopted daughter of the mule who killed the cowboys.
They taught him the language of the mule and slowly, him and Ester became good friends. Within two years later Slats becomes embroiled in the culture and religion of the Mules, and further... he found himself slowly, inexplicably, irrationally, falling in love with Ester. He knew that a man cannot properly love a mouse, so he did his best to try and put his tender feelings out of his mind.
Still, the day came, when Ester come into his room and found Slats naked with sunflower seeds spread all over his body.
Ester was disgusted and afeared by the attentions of a penis that if it attempted intercouse would literally burst her body like a balloon. The wise mouse she was, Ester went out into the field and found a mule that she was pretty sure would marry the strange human in their midst. The Mules name was Ester, as well. The two Esters went into the house and were sure that they were going to come out with a satisfactory conclusion that involved sexual organs that would not tear anyone asunder.
And yes... Slats did marry Ester The Mule, but he never did forget Ester the mouse, and often, while making love to Ester the Mule, he fantasized it was Ester the mouse and his penis was literally tearing her asunder...
Slats eventually lost all rememberance of ever having been a human being. Indeed, he became solemly convinced that he was the nasty love child of a turnip and a clothes line, and he could barely stomach the shame.
A large barrel of 90 proof, pure white moonshine, on an abondoned barn in backwoods Kansas inhabited by a small herd of wild mules, ran clean out.
Slats spent what he thought were a few months on the moon, though actually it was just a couple days in a ditch where he was laying on his side and vomiting and staring at one of his twitching fingers. When he came to his beard was down to the ground... as he started to walk home, it became clear to him that he had spent the last few days or so living on an abondoned barn, screwing a mule and drinking from a large barrel of moonshine.
He isn't sure why there are mouse entrails everywhere, even dangling from his privates...and he will not remember, until many, many years later still, when he is an old man with hundreds of thousands of grand children -- after marrying a series of cockroaches in his autumn years while on a morphine based snake oil binge... and a single tear will roll down his dry,wrinkled cheek, as he reaches into his crusty diaper and touches his warm, urine dribbling penis and remembers his tender love for his long lost Ester the Mouse.
pywrite 2006 john scott ridgway