The Misadventures of Larry and Lucy Luckless
by Arthor Bookes, Editor-in-Chief of the PCC Creative Writing Club
Previously on The Misadventures, Lucy is arrested and tried for her “crimes!” If the corrupt Dewey Donaldson has his way, she’ll be hanging by sunrise. Can Larry rescue her in time to foil the dastardly plot? Read on to find out!
Larry pressed his back up against the wall of the homestead, struggling to be stealthy as he peeked out the front window. Dewey Donaldson Sr.’s thug was reclining against the porch post, his hat tipped down over his eyes and his hand resting lazily on his gun. He had been that way since Sheriff Clark took Lucy.
Larry squinted his eyes. The thug’s breath was long and slow – he might be asleep, Larry thought. He edged his way toward the door. Carefully, he started to push it open. Without lifting his hat, the thug flipped his gun up and pointed it at the door.
Larry shrieked and stumbled back. His feet caught on one another and he fell against the floorboards. The impact stunned him. He lay there for a moment, fighting to the daze from taking over. He needed to get out of there. He needed to rescue his sister.
Rolling his head to the right, he saw flickers of the setting sun shining in from cracks in the floorboards. The thought came to him suddenly – if he could pry them up, there might be enough space underneath for him to crawl out of the house.
His legs wobbled underneath him as he stood and walked over to the self, shooting tentative glances behind him to make sure that the guard wasn’t paying attention. Throwing his shoulder forward, he pushed the shelf to the side.
Propped up in the corner, Pa’s old pickaxe jumped out to him. Larry picked it up. The wood was worn and the metal was rusted, but it was sturdy enough. Working as quietly as he could, he worked the pickaxe edge into the crack and pushed it back and forth. With some wiggling, the nails came loose and the board popped up.
Larry celebrated silently and set to work on the next couple of boards. When he finished prying up the edges, he dropped the pickaxe and started pulling the boards up. The first came up easily and he set it to the side. The second was harder; he wrestled with it, splinters digging into his hands. Suddenly, the board came up with a snap.
At the same time, the front door slammed open.
“What d’ya think yer doin?” the thug shouted, gun cocked and pointed straight at Larry’s back. Floorboard still in hand, Larry swung around. The board swung with him, the edge collided with the thug’s stomach. The man and the gun went flying in separate directions; his head cracked against the shelf and him weapon clattered into the corner.
Larry, mouth hanging open, dropped the board and bent down to check on the thug. He was still breathing, but he was out cold. He glanced to the corner where the gun landed. He had never really used a gun before – but maybe I’ll need to now, he thought. Hesitating for a moment, he reluctantly grabbed the gun and dropped into the hole in the floor. On his hands and knees, he crawled out into the low evening sun.
Larry knew that he couldn’t break Lucy out of jail by himself; that was why, once he was out in the open, he made a beeline for the glow of a distant campfire. He didn’t know who he was walking toward, but he figured that one way or another he could talk them into helping out.
As he approached the camp, he stuck the gun into the back of his pants to keep it out of sight. The sun had almost completely set when he stepped into the clearing. The clicking of a pistol cocking behind his head froze him in his tracks.
“Now, who do we have ‘ere?” The unfamiliar and unfriendly voice boomed, causing the light clatter of camp sounds to cease in an instant. Larry became aware of several stares trained upon him in that moment, regret at his haste and foolishness. This was a terrible idea! But, Lucy needed him and he couldn’t stop now.
“My n-name is Larry Luckless, s-sir, an’ I need yer help!” He swallowed a terrified gulp, waiting for the man to say something, which seemed to take a lifetime.
“Did I just hear the name Luckless come outta yer mouth boy?” An older man by the fire rose to his feet and stepped over the legs of one of his sprawled companions beside the fire, making his way toward Larry to get a closer look. “Well, shoot, ye look just like yer Pa, but well, a wee bit goofier lookin. Not meanin’ any ‘ffense.” Larry flushed the color of ripened tomatoes at this. “Said ye was needin’ some kind o’ help, boy? Yer Pa was a good man and always did right by us in well, business dealins, so anythin’ we kin do t’ help, ye just needa ask it.”
Being welcomed to a seat by the fire, Larry laid out the situation before the six men around the fire, each, he noted, more scraggly and scarier than the one next to him. At the mention of Dewey Donaldson Sr., many of the men, whom Larry had learned were bandits of a sort these days, spat in disgust, cursing the man’s name. Throughout telling this tale, the men exchanged glances several times, an arched brow here, a sideways nod there. When he finished, the old man stood and asked him if he’d be so kind as to take a stroll down to the stream to gather some water, giving them a chance to discuss the matter amongst themselves. He obliged without hesitation, sensing they were inclined to help his cause.
Returning back in full darkness now, he stopped at the edge of the tree line, listening hard to see if he could hear any of what was being said. He could only catch a few words now and then. “Dynamite.” “Distraction.” “Perfect timing.” Not wanting to get caught trying to eavesdrop, he started whistling as he drew nearer to the fire.
“Kid, we’ve got us an idea, and it’s a win-win for both of us. But, it’s a bit messy and full o’ danger t’ be sure. Spose’ yer up fer it, yer gonna have t’ trust us.” Larry stood and reached out to shake the old man’s hand.
“I’d be mighty honored to have ye helpin’ sir! Thank ye ever so much!” He beamed excitedly at each of the six men. “And since there’s six of ye an’ one of me, we can be called ‘the lucky seven’!”
“Yeahhh… I don’t think we’ll be doin that son, let’s just stick t’ business at hand and worry bout savin that sister o’ yers.”
Join us next issue for the daring rescue attempt from Larry and his new found allies.