11) Hard on the Back

By Calico

Kid Curry, with a groan, swung down from the saddle. After checking both animal products and leather were on the council’s ‘items for recycling’ list, he hitched his horse to a handy wheelie bin. With another groan…

[The writer is being specific here, just in case any easily confused readers thought it was a single very long groan.]

With another groan, he rubbed his lumber region.

[Meanwhile, with a swipe of the backspace key the writer beat off a determined Curryette reader keen to add a wholly inappropriate – though strictly PG – suggestion that she’d be happy to rub any and all parts of the Kid’s lumbar region.]

[There followed second tapping of the backspace to erase the tetchy snit of another writer, whose identity will remain anonymous, that since this piece of nonsense was not VS there was no need to call Kid, THE Kid.]

Curry, still rubbing that delightfully dimpled area of his lower back, waited patiently for the parentheses to close, then spoke:
“Ridin’ between Bromley an’ – er…” He glanced around at the surrounding drizzle-dewed suburban semis. “This place…”

“Hall Green,” supplied Heyes.

“Where the Sam Hill is the green part?”

“Stick to the dialogue, Kid, you gotta say it right or this don’t count.”

With a sigh Curry started again. “Anyhow, ridin’ between ‘em twice a day sure is…” Deep breath. “Hard on the back.”

Heyes ticked off the requisite box on a much creased check list and returned both it and the stub of a pencil to his vest pocket. He then removed a sheaf of typed paper from his saddle bag. Clearing his throat he delivered his own dialogue – well a version of it – in dramatic tones.

“Be of good cheer my worthy companion. What matters our discomfort if we can render assistance to the two fairest ladies in this green and pleasant land? What matters…”

[The writer silenced Heyes with a flick of the shift bar.
‘@**@!’ she admonished the scene-hogging ex-outlaw. ‘You’re not Ivanhoe! If you’re not going to take this seriously I’ll edit you out and use Wheat.’
After reconstructing the fourth wall – and a dang shaky piece of daub and plaster it was even before receiving this knock – she gave Heyes a second chance.]

“Well you know, Kid,” expositioned Heyes, “Since Maz and Calico agreed to co-operate on a VS, the least we can do is ferry the story between them so they can take turns.” He slapped the pages drafted so far – such as they were – with gloved fingers.

“If you ask me,” growled Curry, still massaging the kinks from his spine, “that story’s…”

“Did you hear me ask you?”

Kid Curry glowered at his partner.

“Let’s just hope it doesn’t end in tears,” sighed Heyes.

“If Maz has anythin’ to do with it, it will,” grumbled Curry. “Mine! Manly tears, while I writhe in agony havin’ another bullet dug out.”

“Nah,” dismissed Heyes. “This is a light-hearted comedy VS.”

“Is it funny?”

“Erm…” Heyes cast a glance at the waiting writer and maintained a diplomatic silence on that one. “Besides, I meant tears from the gals. Y’know collaborating on a story can cause…” He paused. Maybe diplomatically. Maybe wisely.

“Hissy fits?” supplies the not so diplomatic – and possibly not so wise – Kid Curry.

“Yeah. For instance, just now – when you got described as possibly not so wise as me – I heard Maz’s sniff of disapproval even though we’re more’n ninety miles away.”

“Disapproval? Really? But, gosh Heyes, surely Maz knows Calico is merely using the established fanon that you are the silver-tongued genius and take care of the thinking, whilst I… Sheesh!!” Curry wheeled around and stared in a south-easterly direction. “I didn’t just hear her sniff that time, I felt it!”

“That’s ‘cos you’d just been given an out of character line of dialogue to make me look good, Kid. Maz don’t like that.”

“That’s my gal!” beams Curry.

“And she thinks you always ought to get injured.”

“That’s my gal,” sighs Curry.

“Of course, Calico can get proddy too.”

[Heyes was of course wrong about this, but the deadline loomed so his errant line survived. There were, however, no examples given of Calico’s alleged proddiness, since none existed!]

“At least both gals agreed to slip in plenty of innuendo,” said the dimpled one.

“They’re not gonna slip nothin’ in my end-oh, Heyes!”

“When it comes to double entendre, they sure are the gals to give us one!”

Kid Curry rolled his eyes. “So this…” He gestured at the virtual typing above his head. “This ain’t part of the VS, huh?”

“Nah, this is a challenge.”

Kid Curry scanned the text and shakes his head. “It ain’t gonna win her a bandanny.”

“No. But it’ll make her feel a tad better about never joining in.”

Curry pushed back his hat. “Heyes, there ain’t nothing up there…” He points to the nonsense still unfurling. “To make anyone feel better. If Calico wants my advice…”

“That’s a big IF, Kid.”

“She’ll stop now, before she milks the joke to death.”

[She did. Whaddya mean –‘too dang late’?!]

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