Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Era (02/03/11)
TITLE: John Wayne Doesn't Use a Light Saber
By Donna Powers
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“Excuse me?” was his reply – and he didn’t sound as though he was trying to be polite.
Something is wrong here. And this sure isn’t Starbucks.
I tried again. “Coffee?” I requested. The bartender grunted and filled my order.
I looked around and realized I was in a saloon. You know the place; you’ve seen the same saloon in every cookie cutter Western you’ve ever watched. The bartender was a ratfaced man in a leather vest and long sleeves. He was drying a glass with a dishtowel that looked homemade. The bottles in back of him didn’t have an ounce of plastic; there was no electric mixer in sight, and the cash register wasn’t electric.
There was no TV in this place; so there was no sports broadcast. Come to think of it: there were no electric lights. Whoa, this was even stranger than my dream about eating pizza in my underwear, at Shea Stadium.
Behind me were some round tables, filled with men wearing cowboy hats, gun belts and boots with spurs. They were holding cards and it looked like most of them were into their games pretty seriously. They were discussing the price of corn and sorghum.
Whatever sorghum is.
Over to the side, some guy was playing the piano with a tinny heartiness and some showgirl in an ostrich outfit was lounging around looking seductively at everyone except me.
OK: ticket please. I want out of this dream.
Because this has to be a dream. I’m not a Western fan or even a reader of Westerns. I don’t long for the range or dream of being a cowboy. So, why am I standing in an early American saloon?
I took the plain, old-fashioned coffee I’d finally gotten from the surly bartender and sat at the bar. I tried my best to figure out how I’d gotten here. Western, I’m in a Western… then, it hit me: Grandpa did this.
I’d visited him yesterday and we’d gotten into a heated discussion about movies. I had told him about the Star Wars series and he scoffed and said they were just modern day Westerns. I laughed; he may be a big John Wayne fan, but I thought he was pushing it to say that. C’mon: how can you compare John Wayne to Luke Skywalker? How can any Western villain – no matter how dastardly – measure up to Darth Vader? You’d never catch old John Wayne with something as awesome as a light saber.
Grandpa told me I’d someday realize how great the old Westerns were; that somehow, I’d come to appreciate them. “Mark my words, Craiggie,” he told me. (I hated it when he called me Craiggie.) “Someday you’ll find yourself in a place where you’ll learn to appreciate them.”
So, did Grandpa send me here? Did he somehow get sent back in time - to the Old West?
Or did I just fall asleep in front of the TV?
Well, for now – since I can’t figure out how to get back to reality - I think I’ll just sit here and drink my coffee.
But I do hope this really is a dream – and that the dream is over soon. After all, with all these ranchers discussing their corn and sorghum, I just remembered my Farm Town crops are due for harvest, and I’m about to get enough coins to buy a pagoda. And, I can tell: this place doesn’t have internet.
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