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bySiobhan Lake Beachy
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Rene kicked the dirt. “That was rude of them. We might be here awhile.”
Dave sighed. “Don’t mean to be crude, but I gotta use the john, uh, tree.”
“Me, too,” Walin said, holding her stomach. “Something isn’t settling right in my stomach.”
“Yeah, let’s go.” Belinda pointed to a big bush further up along the road, heading that way with Walin behind her. Dave and Rene headed for a couple of trees in the opposite direction.
A few minutes later, Walin shouted, “Did anyone bring toilet paper?”
“This is the wilderness, you don’t need toilet paper,” Belinda answered her from the other side of the bush. “You use leaves.”
“What if it’s poison ivy or poison oak?” Walin made a face at the leaf she was holding.
Belinda tossed her a tissue. “Here, I had this in my pocket. Use it.”
“Did you blow your nose in this? It looks used.”
: “It was in my pocket.” Belinda finished and went to the other side of the bush.
Back at the car a few minutes later, crisis averted, Belinda pulled a towel out of her bag and spread it on the ground. “I think I’m gonna work on my tan. It’s been awhile and he still hasn’t shown.”
Walin followed her friend. She wasn’t sure where they had got the towels from, but a tan would be nice.
Rene and Dave watched them for a minute or two.
“There’s not even a sign of how he came up here,” Rene said, looking at the ground but not quite sure what he was looking for. There was no car, truck, motorcycle tracks. Nothing.
From a nearby bush, a shot rang out, hitting near Rene’s feet. Belinda and Walin jumped up from their towels and ran over to Rene and Dave who joined his friend.
“Rene, your pants are wet!” Walin exclaimed.
“Natural reaction when people are shooting at me,” Rene told her. “Who’s shooting at us?” he shouted. “Look it’s not funny, come out and show yourself.”
“Is that you, Malic?” Dave shouted.
From a bush, next to the one Belinda and Walin had used, Malic stepped out. Even at his age, his hair was still dirty blonde and what they called a hard-core western cowboy. He had on an old denim shirt, jeans and vest. He holstered his Smith & Wesson. Hardtack would melt from the look in his eyes.
“Who were you expecting?” Malic asked.
Rene, seeing the shooter, panicked. And he was embarrassed. His pants needed changing. “Why are you shooting guns at me?”
“Why don’t you have a diaper on, boy?”
Rene, angry, took a couple of steps toward Malic. Dave grabbed him before his friend had a chance to do something and look even more foolish.
“Don’t,” Dave whispered the warning. “He’s just tryin’ to push your buttons. See what you’re made of.”
“Bring it, if you have the nerve,” the older man challenged.
“Look, you stupid . . .” Dave let his sentence drop. ‘Stupid old ancient dinosaur’ was what he wanted to say, but didn’t. They would need him and he might not help if they made him mad. “Why’d you do that?”
“First of all, I am not stupid.”
“All right, I’m sorry I said that,” Dave conceded.
“Second of all, would you have preferred your friend to be bit by that rattler?” Malic pointed to the ground near where Rene was standing, and none of them had bothered looking.
Rene looked down, as did the others, only to see a big dead rattlesnake. They all backed away.
“Thank you for saving him,” Walin said, backing up even further.
“Don’t worry. It’s dead.” Malic looked at Rene. “I kill everything I aim at.” Malic came over to them and picked up the dead snake. “Supper.”
Belinda bravely took the few steps over to Malic. “We were told that you could guide us through the mountains. Show us some of the areas’ history. For our history class.”
Malic laid the snake on the ground and chopped off what remained of its head, tossing it aside. “Who told you that?” He stood up.
“The guy at the gas pump recommended you. And so did Dusty.”
“Oh, he did, did he?” Malic smiled. “So Dusty refused to bring you?”
“We never met Dusty,” Dave said.
“Sure you did. That’s where he spends his mornings. Big guy, bushy hair, reading the paper.”
Rene looked down at the ground, embarrassed. “Oh, him.”
“Didn’t leave a good impression, did ya?” Malic paused for a moment, looking them over. “If you want me to guide you, I will. You women need to put some clothes on. I will not guide you while you look like that.”
“There’s nothing wrong with how we look,” Belinda said in a rude tone of voice, forgetting she was in her bikini.
“Change, or you are staying here,” Malic stated with a firm voice.
Belinda looked down at herself and Walin. “Oh.” Muttering under her breath as she took her bag from the trunk, picked up the towels and walked to another bush. Walin followed.
“You, with the mouth, need to change also?”
Malic said to Rene, pointing to his bottom half.
Rene went to the car’s trunk and pulled out a pair of jeans from his bag. He sat on the bumper and proceeded to change his jeans, underwear and socks.
The girls came out from behind the bush at that moment with their shorts on and shirts tied to see their belly.
“Your parents spent all their hard earned money to send you to school and you still don’t have anything decent to wear?” Malic asked.
“This is decent,” Belinda retorted.
“Only if you work in a brothel.” Malic realized that was why Dusty didn’t speak to them. These kids needed a serious attitude adjustment, in more ways than one. “Where we’re going, you could be arrested for wearing that.”
“Where are we going?” Walin asked quietly.
The four looked at each other. They didn’t like where this was headed.
Stagecoach Pass is a mixture of "Back to the Future" meets "City Slickers". After Belinda, Walin, Dave and Rene receive a final assignment for their college history class, something occurs and changes them.
About the Author
Siobhan lives in northern Arizona with her husband of nearly 40 years. She has two daughters, one granddaughter and one grandson, two cats and two dogs. She is active in her local church.