on January 28, 2007
The 117 pages that comprise the text of this short satire are unusual in that other crap books are not well written, and this one is despite the use of the "N" word over a hundred times as well as other occasional R-rated words. The author was a professor of English at the University of North Carolina when he penned this. Here we have "a literary prank" according to Professor William W. Savage, Jr. at the University of Oklahoma "about which it is better not to say too much" (Savage, The Cowboy Hero, 1979, p 141).
The tale's five chapters are narrated, sometimes humorously, by Deputy Winky of the dying mining and cattle ranching town of Besterman, Wyoming Territory. He's called Winky because of the effect on his eyesight after a band of Native Americans left him castrated. The antagonist is Fiddler Jones, who has ridden into town preceded by his reputation for killing and has set himself up at Bradley's saloon to take advantage of any arising opportunities.
The protagonist is Blondie, or "The Kid", who comes into town with a giant African mute that Blondie calls his stepbrother and they go into a saloon for a plate of steak and eggs. The plot revolves around Fiddler Jones's attachment for Blondie's pouch of gold and his cat-pawing around the unusual Blondie before pouncing. It comes out that Blondie and his African stepbrother were holed up all winter buried under ten feet of snow and nearly starved to death. But Blondie was now mad as a hatter and believes his mute African brother can locate gold or even a certain playing card shuffled into a deck. The plot thickens when a gambler enters the bar, the African mute fails to find the hidden card, then exposes the gambler for cheating. The gambler is kicked out into the waist-high muddy road by Fiddler Jones, who then turns towards Blondie and makes the mistake of grabbing him by the arm. When the African mute hit Jones, the force of that one blow was more powerful than a cannon, and he dropped dead as if he was struck by a cannon ball. But the racist whites in town do not cotton to whites being killed by blacks, and they want to lynch the African.
The Sheriff, instead, wants a trial and so they have one. The trial is a bit humourous, especially when the gambler gives witness, and the trial is concluded with a "not guilty" verdict by the judge. The audience whoops and hollers in celebration but the rope hanging party outside believes it is because of a "guilty" verdict. So when the African and the celebrants get outside, in the confusion, the rope hanging party gets hold of him and tries to string him up. He fights for his life, which is eventually ended by a crow bar against his temple. Blondie shoots the man who killed him. And the judge shoots Blondie, then shoots himself. When the bodies are eventually laid out, everybody learns that "the kid" was no kid, but a woman and the African's wife.