All Stories, General Fiction

Karaoke Cowboy by Domonique

Seated at a table in a karaoke bar was a blend of characters, men who had all worn a couple hats, in a couple colors.

Seated naturally in a thinking man’s posture, a man with a countenance expressing he owned masculine intellect, and, to be fair, a man well-liked for his intelligent conversation, was Think Too Much Tony.

Beside Think Too Much Tony, a younger man, twenty-four or so, with an eye so bung he was able to, as he would say, “see all, at all times”, an “apprentice of thought” of Think Too Much Tony’s as well as a leading member of a social-frequent “club” called alumni excellentiae (“students of excellence” in Latin), oozing an intense love for learning, a fellow who, after his day of graduation (a year early), signed “B.A.” upon every letter he ever penned, even to his mother, Theodore Marcellius-Augustus Rosenthall Chamberlain, though, typically referred to as Bung Eye Bill.

The man seated beside Bung Eye Bill, a man never seen in public not sucking on a giant cigar, though never seen actually smoking the cigar, a man who overcame a terrible rumor in his youth by simply accepting it (a rumor illustrating he ran around red-rocketing dogs for quote unquote, banter), Mr. Red Rocket.

Seated beside Red Rocket was a well-known man, celebrity may even be the appropriate word, due to his reputation among the socialites, earned by his shouting every Sunday “into the Sanctuary!” when inviting persons into church, a preacher by day, swindler by night, Twilight Timmy, or, upon his request, simply Twilight, a man who, if drinking, drank hard, and was currently onto his sixth beer.

Lastly, but certainly not leastly, seated by Twilight, was Karaoke (commonly known as Fast Twitch Mitch in other parts of the country), a man getting on in years, though aging like French wine, who, as you may have noted, was a gentleman who loved nothing more than singing karaoke.

Now, I have very briefly described the personalities of the men, however, I have not yet disclosed what it is they did for a living. Well, Think Too Much Tony, Bung Eye Bill, Red Rocket, Twilight, and Karaoke were a gang of outlaws, members of the Pistol Princes Gang, wanted for robbery in twenty-eight states, who had successfully hidden themselves among a small but not too small township of pleasant enough folk called Ezra, starting new lives and reinventing themselves.

Ezra had only one bar in town.

And who walked into that bar was a young man looking to make a name for himself. The young man walked through the doors of the karaoke bar with a firm stride, leaving the swing-doors swinging behind him as he postured himself, surveying the room. The traveler was a tall gentleman with long limbs. The condition of his clothes illustrated he owned a personality unafraid to take to the “hard and narrow” and youth beamed in his blue eyes. His practiced posture (and theatrical entrance) spoke on his behalf: “I am here for a reason.”

And whatever the man’s reason was, he took no time at all in pursuing it. Once he’d surveyed the room he started for the table of outlaws.

Karaoke, the only member of the Pistol Princes Gang to pay any mind to the newcomer, remarked the gentleman’s demeanor as one he had seen before.

The visitor, confidence creaking the floorboards beneath his boot falls, once arriving at the table, wasting no time at all, asked which man went by the name Karaoke.

“People call me Karaoke, son,” began Karaoke. “Who’s asking?”

“Joe. Soon to be Showtime Joe.”

“Soon to be?” asked Red Rocket.

“That’s what I said,” nodded Joe. “Now, gentlemen, I won’t go into details in such a public place, however, I know who you all are, and I am aware of your… your accomplishments.” Joe once more turned his attention to Karaoke. “Especially yours, sir. I’ve heard your the fastest, but, well… I say I’m faster.”

“So have a lot of cowboys,” replied Karaoke, his older face appearing wiser and more experienced with each word.

“Well,” replied Joe, believing his challenge had been accepted, “are we going to keep talking, or shall we step outside?”

Karaoke had come across many young men wishing to use his name to propel themselves to cowboy glory, however, he hadn’t been Fast Twitch Mitch for a long time. He had been Karaoke.

“Well, son,” started Karaoke, “I hate to burst your bubble, but my turn to sing is coming up soon.”

“So it is true what they say…” Joe smiled. “You know, I didn’t believe it, but I guess it is true. Karaoke has made Fast Twitch Mitch soft.”

The other members of the Pistol Princes Gang took more offense from these words than Karaoke, though it was clear Karaoke didn’t take kindly to the use of the word “soft.”

“I don’t think this kid is as quick as he thinks he is,” said Bung Eye Bill, rising. “Why don’t we find out?”

“I’m here for Karaoke,” replied Joe sharply.

Karaoke winked at Bung Eye Bill, cooling him down.

“So you’re fast then, huh, kid?” asked Karaoke.

“The fastest,” replied Joe.

“Well, if you’re really as quick as you say you is,” began Karaoke, “I’ll make you a deal. Give me a few days to write a song, and then we’ll see if you live up to the name Showtime Joe. Think of it as a dying man’s last wishes.”

Joe pondered said request a moment. Then, out of respect for a household name when it came to cowboying, replied: “Well, seeing as you’ve put it that way, I shall respect your wish, old man. We will meet again on the fourth day.”

Joe turned to leave, however, realizing he was in the only bar in town, no doubt upset he’d been robbed of a dramatic exit, seated himself at another table.

Karaoke was then called upon to sing.

Karaoke’s singing was always a sought-after moment of an evening. The locals certainly loved to hear Karaoke sing, though not as much as the gentlemen of the Pistol Princes Gang. As any outlaw will confirm, the road isn’t always pretty, and at the lowest of the lows, Karaoke, then Fast Twitch Mitch, would sing away all the boys’ sorrows. And when the Pistol Princes Gang was riding high, Karaoke’s voice would send them riding off scot-free into the horizon. In other words, Karaoke’s voice was also the voice of the Pistol Princes Gang, all the memories, the good times, and the bad.

Karaoke spent the next three days carefully. However, he never did write a song as he’d said he would. Karaoke spent the three days (the longest period of time he’d spent away from the karaoke stage since settling in Ezra) with his oldest friend and most trusted comrade, his pistol. Karaoke believed if he made some music, he’d be able to travel back in time…

On the fourth day Joe was waiting for Karaoke outside the bar.

“Showtime,” whispered Karaoke.

The cowboys positioned themselves in the street. Kicking away a tumbleweed, Joe asked Karaoke if he wanted a count.

“No…” replied Karaoke. “…It’s not too late for you, son,” he went on to add. “You can still walk away.”

Joe didn’t answer Karaoke. He whispered “Showtime”, then reached.

Once the dust had settled the surviving cowboy walked into the bar and took to the stage.

There was a young cowboy
Who went looking for glory
And, well,
The cowboy went looking in the wrong place . . .
Now that young man’s life is but a story
And at night an old man
Will close his eyes to yet another face . . .


Image|: Provided by the author
Artist Name: Zachary 
Materials: ( oil on canvas w/ pencil ) 

6 thoughts on “Karaoke Cowboy by Domonique”

  1. Hi Domonique,
    You have taken a well worn story-line and made it all your own.
    That takes courage, knowledge and a helluva lot of skill.
    A very entertaining piece of story-telling!


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