Cowboys and Mormons

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adaptive systems, Something Awful essay critique forum, unknown date

Ok. First, I just want to say that I think it is so cool that you guys have this awesome forum. I've never had a good reason to post in it before, but, well, I'm in Mr. McMurtry's 10th grade honors English class (go me), and our half-year fiction project is due just before winter break, which is coming up.

Ok. So, before you read this, you should know that I already asked Mr. McMurtry if I could write my fiction project in an experimental science fiction style and make lots of horrible, malicious, false, and hateful blood libels against the Mormons, and he asked what I had in mind, and I told him that I thought it could be cool to write a story that consisted entirely of a War between Mormons and Scientologists and Atheist Texan Cowboys in the Future, and he said that would be fine.

I knew he'd let me do it, as his homosexuality is a well known fact to the student body, and therefore his concomitant openness to avant-guard art and literature and experimentation and stuff like that. Not like the other English teacher, Ms. Nichols, who is the sort of totally sexless spinster that makes her students write poems about Jesus, which I'm pretty sure is fucking illegal, although I'm sure nobody in this hick town cares. God and Football, all the way.

Ok, so, then I didn't do any work on it at all until last night. We had to do a one-page outline a few weeks ago, which is so stupid, so I did it on the bus and I have no idea what I wrote, so last night I just started over from scratch.

Anyway, last night, I thought, hey, why not post it on the forums and see what people on the forums think about it? And then, I had the absolute coolest idea. What if, when I hand in the final copy, I hand in the entire thread as my story? My story would be in there somewhere, and then all the posts that you goons make will also be part of the story. That would be so awesome, because not only would it be totally meta-textual and make the story seem reflexively self-critical, it would also save me an awful lot of work in getting this story over the required thirty-page-double spaced-twelve-point-courier-font-requirement.

(As an aside, I feel I should note that my older brother is taking a short story class in college and he said that there was no minimal length requirement, and he wrote a twenty-page story and got an A on it. Now, if I'm not going to have to write a thirty-page story in college, why should I have to do it in High School? It's beyond stupid; it's pointless.)

Ethically, submitting your responses for credit is probably plagiarism, but it's not like McMurtry is going to pay $9.95 to bust me, and unless one of you hackers finds a way to narc me out, I'm in the clear. And why would my English teacher trust you? Anyway, fair warning, if you post in this thread, I'll probably hand in your post as if it were written by a fictional character of my creation.


Ok, thanks for reading this far. I just want to set up the story a little bit as it's still sort of rough, and you may find it confusing at first. Then I'll immediately Ctrl-V the story, I promise.

So there was this Clint Eastwood Marathon on TBS or one of those T-channels last weekend, and it got me thinking about what I was going to write my story about, and by the time the marathon was over, it was clear to me that my story should be a cowboy story. I wanted to resist the fake-depressive tone that all my poseur class-mates employ in horribly pathetic attempts to imbue their 'I'm-so-disenfranchised-only-Staind-understands-me? short stories with what they sadly think is gravitas. I hate that shit. So my story was going to be about Heroic Cowboys. Hero Cowboys that, while moving a herd of steer through the dangerous Bad Lands in a desperate attempt to make enough a money to hang up their spurs and go back to full-time web-design and development, still finding while also working on their completely Flash-based web sites using their overclocked slackware Linux Iridium enabled satellite phones.

The way I had it planned out, it was going to be a really cool story. Because also, the cattle would be limiting primordial ridge producing cyclopean Also, while the cowboys in story would ride normal horses, they would still be able to fly because the horses wore electromagnetic saddles that had been designed by Nikola Tesla, but the Mormons had stolen the plans and used them to conquer the entire Midwest before the Lone Star Republic rose up and drove the Mormons back to their Mordor-like salt deserts in Utah.

Although this story was off to a most promising start, I found it continuously drifting away from the themes I had intended to explore. I guess being a fifteen-year-old virgin, It's probably not surprising that my mind kept wandering back to questions of love and lust, and to thoughts of some of the girls that post here on the forums.

Anyway, I think it's already pretty good, (hey, I'm not in honors English for nothing) but if you guys can give me feedback or suggest something new, or point out weaknesses, that would be really appreciated. No, really, I sincerely mean that.

There's just one last final point which?

Shit. Sorry again.

Goddamnit, I'm feeling light-headed. It's like my head hurts really bad. Like my head is being squeezed in a vise, only I can't feel the pain because my entire head is numb. God, I so didn't have this problem until the school nurse realized she was legally empowered to force me to take that SSRI cocktail which will leave me a shell of a man, fit only for accepting dull, bovine orders from dull bovine teachers.

Shit, I was NEVER EVEN CHARGED WITH A CRIME. Why? Because I didn't commit any crime!

What's illegal about impersonating a High school science teacher? NOTHING! It's not like I was flashing a Science Teacher Badge, or forging checks or something. If that guy at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission mistakenly got the impression that I was a science teacher, I hardly think that's my fault. And you know what? It isn't a crime to walk into the PUBLIC library of Civil Works, and it isn't a crime to check out the engineering blueprints to the new school being built by the hideously corrupt local school board. In fact, it's a liberty extended to all citizens of the township, MOTHERFUCKERS.

It's also not against the law to purchase 1000 broken smoke detectors for bulk prices over the internet. Please, show me the law that violates. What does it matter what I was going to use them for? Is it really any of their business?

And finally, going through that cocksucking assistant principle's trash IS ALSO NOT A CRIME. The Supreme Court has delivered a number of very clear precedents unambiguously maintaining that any reasonable expectation of privacy ends at the curb. I'm sorry you chose to throw that 'Barely Legal? mag out, Mr. Anderson, but I didn't put a gun to your head to make you do it. Someday I will fucking kill your pedophile ass. With a fucking coat hanger. In your fucking eye.

And, my god, the nerve of that fucking D.A. I mean, get a load of this; here he is, upstanding pillar of his community, right? He's the District Attorney, for starters. He leads the local congregation of the Assemblies of God church. He's also the opinion editor of the local newspaper. He's always going off about how sex before marriage should be illegal, and Marijuana dealers should be executed, and abortion is the new holocaust.

I wonder how many of his constituents would vote for him if they knew that his daughter Miriam is the biggest slut in the school, no matter how much she acts like a goody-two shoes daddy girl. Oh, and that she puffs righteous cheeba. And when she had a little accident, her daddy drove her to Philly to help her send that that little immortal soul in her belly to heaven, all nice and quiet like.

Yeah, he made an exception for her, but when my lab partner Sharon reported being raped by one of the football players to the police, Mr. D.A. was all, Well, it's obviously a case of 'he said, she said,? and since you've already admitted that you were drinking alcohol underage, no jury would trust the word of teenage girl lush.

That news wasn't in the fucking newspapers, was it, MOTHERFUCKER? But when you had me arrested and put before your fucking kangaroo court for breaking no law whatsoever, you spread that all over the newspapers, didn't you? 'Area Student Planned Massacre; district attorney to seek stiff penalty? 'Good police work and Tough D.A. avert another Columbine?

If you could have gotten away with it, you would have published my name

and led the angry mob straight to my house complete with pitchforks and torches, wouldn't you? You'd have loved to try me as an adult, right? Stick my scrawny fifteen-year-old ass away with a bunch of no hope lifers, right? I bet the thought of that made you hard at night.

You are one sick hypocritical Christian death fucker, and some day I will put a bullet through your head while you pretend to be 'overcome by the spirit? or whatever you call that arm-waving gibberish spewing hideous little syphilitic dance all you Pentecostalists do.

So after being found guilty in a court where I could neither confront my accusers NOR INVOKE THE FIFTH AMMENDMENT I had to choose between one of the following punishments: My first option required me to submit to a battery of pharmaceuticals that will completely eliminate my ability to focus on any topic for more than two minutes (Now that you're stupid, you won't get into any trouble now, will you son?) and also make it completely impossible for to ever ejaculate, ever again.

My second option is to 'volunteer? at the SPCA, and learn valuable lessons about community responsibilities by killing homeless puppy dogs, and watching kittens die from treatable diseases because hell, we just house him, we don't send?em to the vet or nothing. That'd be expensive.

Ok, shit, sorry guys, I've had a tendency to ramble lately. I'm pretty sure it's the drugs. If this keeps up, I'm gonna need to find another way to fake it. Hey, maybe some of you could help me with this too? I had a pretty good scam running there for a while, vomiting the pills back up as soon as I left the nurse's office. But now, not only am I no longer permitted to enter any restrooms, I have also been assigned my own personal hall monitor to ensure that I don't go off and vomit in a trash can during the school day.

And it's Miriam, that slut. She knows that I'm her only serious competition for valedictorian and she'll have me hauled before district court if I so much as sneeze.

I've tried carefully placing each pill on my tongue, and then feigning a swallowing motion, and then pretending to choke, and then, while leaning forward I cough and make sure I get the pill up into my nasal cavity. Then I can go to class and just blow it out into a tissue. The problem is I can obviously only do that for one pill without raising suspicion.

Plus the Wellbutrin can actually be kind of bitch to get back out. In the worst case scenario, the Paxil is perfect though, sort of tic-tac sized, and the Zoloft is pretty much a toss-up; depends which way it goes in.

Yeah, if you guys could help me with that, that would be great. And the story. Help me with the story.

Ok, without further ado, I present my first short story:


A thousand head of steer rumble across the high plains. A huge, rustling herd, they were being piloted through the desert by the four horse riders flying above them, using microchips implanted into the cattle's brains to steer them along.

The four riders hover across the horizon, skimming fifty feet above the parched, radioactively scorched desert just between New Austin and The Partion. One of them, old, with a long graying mustache dressed entirely in black seemed to be the authority figure. Another, squat, fat, rode by his side, and was presumably the purse strings of this operation.

The fat one turned to the man in black, noticing that he was fiddling with his satellite phone slackware box.

'What is it, Big Jim? Is there trouble ahead?'

Big Jim pulled a well-chewed cigar from his mouth.

'Mormons.' He said. 'Mormons.'

'And they've got MAGLEV Tanks.'

The squat one wrapped his pudgy little fingers around the brim of his old hat. He fanned himself with it, mostly out of habit, and wiped the sweat from his bald scalp. The fat man replaced his hat, and turned back to Big Jim.

'That's not good, is it?'

'No.' Big Jim said, as if he were about to laugh, and slightly cocked his head at Tweed, as if he were surprised that Tweed had felt the need to ask.

I've never seen him laugh, Tweed thought. Not even when they were living high on the hog in Old Phoenix, drinking like mudfish. Never. Nothing more than a sly little smile. And they were few and far between.

Clete, the small red-haired one with the huge adam's apple wrinkled his face up, partly in fear, mostly in confusion. 'Mormons?' he squeaked. 'Nobody's done seen no Mormons in these parts since before The Partition was reclaimed.'

'No shit, Clete,? Big Jim snapped, 'That's because they shouldn't aught to be here. Frankly, though, I'm glad to see the Nauvoo Legion again. It's been a while since I've had a chance to notch some polygamists on ol? Betsy here.'

'Big Jim, we've only got tesla-coil-powered-flying horses. If they've

got MAGLEV tanks, they've got us dead to rights. I still have my underground soy-bean farm. It's not much, but it's better than receiving the dread Mormon baptism of the dead, I mean, that's worse than going to Hell..'

Big Jim sneered. 'Clete, if you so much as turn, I'll take you right off that horse, right now, right where you're hover?n. And you know I'm the just the man to do it.'

But there's nothing we can do! Any scrap we get into with those tin cans is sure to be our last. We can't even hope to fight 'em, and we can only barely out run 'em.

'Clete, calm down.' A calm voice said. It was Xemulak, the young scientologist from the east seeking to make his fortune as a cowboy. 'You're just responding to your clam engrams.'

Clete was enraged.

'Don't you start with that Xenu shit, you fucking wanna-be alien. I'm gonna be clear some day! I'm gonna be clear someday! I'm gonna take my money and get more auditing and join the SeaOrg and command a battleship and sail the pacific launching Elron-MV missiles on the Chinamen 'till they give up and follow L.Ron to paradise. Do you know how many Chinamen they have in China? Do you? Do you really think that SeaOrg can handle all three million of them? Three million people, can you even imagine that?'

Xemulak was startled by the ferocity of Clete's attack.

Clete continued;

'I don't care that your type run the eastern states. I don't care that the SeaOrg rule the high seas. Do you see any water around here? Know how far we are from the eastern coast? You're the only Scientologist between here and the Crater. If you think the Mormons have a soft spot for Scientologists you're sorely mistaken. If they don't give you the baptism of the dead and use you for fertilizer, they'll slave you for sure. They do that, you know. 'Cause they think their imaginary natives did it. You wanna carry some fat man, fatter than Tweed over there? You wanna feel your spine splinter under his weight as you shuttle him back and forth between all sixteen of his wives?'

Xemulak was scared by the mixture of fear and anger in Clete's voice. He didn't understand why the Mormons would be violating The Partition, since the last time they tried it, 30 years ago, the ensuing war nearly led to their complete extinction. He turned to Big Jim, who he knew had fought in that old war. 'Why would the Mormons be doing this, Big Jim? Don't they know it's sure to set off another war with the Lone Star Republic?'

'You have to understand that to the Mormons The Partition was never real, Xemulak. It was only a matter of time. They're a militaristic people. Need wives. They can only procreate with their sisters for so long before they start to grow eyes and limbs and other random shit out of their asses. They'll never leave the Republic in peace. The rich Mormons will always want to marry a couple dozen fine Lone Star ladies. They'll always be lookin' to kidnap our sisters and daughters and wives, so they can use 'em for breedin' and then force 'em to commit suicide when the big husband goes, so as to give him more spiritual slaves on the imaginary planets they go to after they die. No question about it. We shoulda put the fuckin' Mormon plague down for good when the killin was easy.'

Xemulak was visibly taken aback. 'They don't lie about you being a hard man, then, do they?'

'You're too young to know how it happened, Xemulak. It wouldn't be in your church of Scientology approved history books. Not even as a footnote. Even if I told you, you wouldn't understand.'

Tweed piped up: 'Jim, you should tell him how the Mormons started the last war.'


'I know you don't want to talk about it. But you should. It'll get your blood up. If you're gonna die fightin Mormons in an hour, you should go at them angrier than all the damned in Hades. This is no time to protect your feelin's.'

'Fine. Fine.' Big Jim relented. 'When was the last time you saw a woman out here on the planes, Xenelmuk?'

'Wh-When we left New Phoenix?'

'Yep. But you know what? There used to be plenty of women out here on the high planes. Yep. It's hard to believe now, but there were plenty of them. They were as good as men; woulda washed out otherwise. I remember their names. Wench, Integral, Calico, lots of nice girls.'

Tweed piped in again. 'You're leaving something important out, Big Jim.'

'Goddamit, Tweed, I know that! I'm getting to it you filthy rich fat man! Xemulak, there was another woman. One that towered above all the others. A legend in her time. And I knew her, by golly, I knew her. Mostly by reputation, but I have the proud honor of being able to say that I once met her. Oh, she was a goddess, alright. The greatest Cowgirl there e?er was or e?er shall be.'

Big Jim paused, swallowing hard on his emotions.

'Her name was Fistgrrl.'

'You have to understand, I was much younger than her back in those days. I fancied myself a book-learner then. I was so young. Stupid. I woke up every morning and oiled my hair. I wore a handlebar then, 'cause I thought that twisting the ends would make me look intelligent. But Let me tell you, it was Fistgrrl what taught me what real intelligence is.'

'Yep,? Big Jim explained, 'Those were the days that all the money was suddenly in the cattle-net. High Tech Cattle! Implanted with microchips! You can monitor them over the satellites! Steer 'em like little robots! Of course, it was just a hop, skip and a jump from using the remote control cattle to make money to the Mormons implanting nukes into 'em and steering them into Old L.A. and what's now the Great Puget Sound. But nobody had even imagined that when I was fresh on the plains. It was just easy money, then.'

'But then there was an influx of green dude-ranchers chasing the money. They were mostly idiots. Getting drunk and walking through the streets backwards pullin' their asses open like it was the funniest thing that ever could be. They were doin' a lot of bandwidth rustling, too. Stealing connect time to the satellites, which still ain't cheap. It got to be that it was hard for a decent ranch just to survive. Nets always needin' to be mended. Servers that broke down so often you had to start up with the hand pump every few hours. Got to be hard just to break even, and that's assuming you were good at being a cowboy. All because of the idiots.'

'That's when Fistgrrl rode over the horizon. Nobody had ever seen any girl like her. They never did again, neither. That was the funny thing about Fistgrrl; she never did look the same twice. Like Ol Sasquatch used to say, may he rest in peace, even her pictures didn't look like her. It was like she could make herself a different person at will. That was a useful trait, 'cause once the bad guys knew about her they were always keeping an eye out for her, and she'd just come up beside 'em and WHAM! She'd feed 'em their own Goddamn teeth.

Yep. When people talk about fine, outstanding vigilante justice, they pretty much always talked about her. So of course, she eventually made deputy, then sheriff. Then the cattle business picked up again. It was safe to walk the streets without being accosted by some shit-mouthed jackass.

But Fistgrrl wasn't just a fine law-woman. She was always showin' up with a bag of doubloons right before you had to sign the ranch over to the corrupt advertising syndicates. Always helping the cute little newbies that gone done fallen down the well. Taking up charities, fixin cancer and such.

'Then the Mormons decided they'd make a play across The Partition. FistGrrl was out chasin' some spammer out in the badlands, and she ran smack into the Armored Nauvoo Legion. Nobody knows quite what happened. The Mormons would have tried to capture her, take her back and make her breed. Of course Fistgrrl wouldn't let that happen. But it's not like she could take a whole army all by her lonesome. All we know for sure we know from what we found a week later.'

'The Mormons killed her...'

'they cut her up...'

'took her eyes...'

'And that's why I never turn down a chance to kill me some of those low down polygamist death-suckers. I like it. I like killin em all. I like to watch the little elder boys burn under my plasma rifle. I like to watch scream out all those stupid made up angel names. I like to take 'em captive and beat em while I ask em to name all those pretend cities they say used to be around here. I like to ask 'em why they haven't taken Missouri back yet, if they're so great. If their God's chosen people, why can't they handle a bunch a faggoty UFO cultists? Huh?'

Xemulak blanched.

Clete spoke up. Well, shit! I ain't aiming for to go and die on account of you wantin to relive your war stories in one last blaze of glory, old man. You can count me out this suicide mission!?

'No. It's not suicide. We have a chance.'

'How? How in blazes, old man?'

' We use the herd as a decoy,? Big Jim said.

'You mean take them off of autonomous swarm mode and pilot them with the GDS system, right? WE have to pay for that, you know. We have to pay for every byte we send, you know that? It ain't cheap, and it ain't gonna come outta my cut, that's for goll-darn sure!?

'No way out of this without payin' some devil his due, you prairie mouse. You'd rather pay with your life, you know what direction to head.'

Boss Tweed, without looking at any particular thing, let out a deep breath.

'We can afford it, Clete.'

And if anyone would know, it was him. While his eyes were unfocused, he was busy rolling fat stacks of Houstons, real paper Houstons like they used to use when he was a boy. 'And it comes out of everybody's cut, Clete. Including yours.'

'Tell me more about your plan, Big Jim,? asked Xemulak.

'It's real simple. We're just gonna pull the wool over their eyes just like the Zulus did to the British. We send the herd over yonder, while we circle around behind 'em.'

'They'll be able to detect the tesla coils, Big Jim. It won't work. It'll never work,? protested Clete.

Big Jim started to crack a sly little smile. 'That's why we're gonna turn the coils off, Clete. We're gonna ride like real cavalry. We'll get to use these beautiful horses like they were meant to be. The Mormons are so accustomed to sensing their enemies on the electromagnetic scanners that they'll let us ride right up to 'em. When we take their backs, we use the tactical blasting caps. Oughtta blow a nice hole through their armor. Then we get to take our time gutting 'em. And I'm telling you right now, I get to keep all of their eyes. All of them."

The other three looked at Big Jim. They all understood that this was going to happen, whether they wanted it to or not. Even Clete was resigned.

Boss Tweed looked curious. 'Hey, whatever happened to the Zulu, Big Jim?'

'Oh, just the same old same old. Fought all their surrounding ethnic enemies with primitive terror strikes. Deliberately spread plague among civilians. Realized they'd fucked themselves and tried to launch a final preemptive attack on everybody else. Got thoroughly nuked in a final spasm of violence and then lights out, complete extinction.'

Boss Tweed shook his head knowingly. He let out a deep sigh. 'Went down pretty much just like the Quebecois, then.'

Big Jim turned towards the sun. The tanks could just be seen over the horizon through the digital amplification binoculars. They were the low-slung, sleek Utah Scorpion T-31's.

The commanders are Bishops, Big Jim knew. The truly evil ones. They'd been given that all-important handshake through the curtain; they knew about the true, Masonic god that the Mormon elite worshipped. Jahbulon. The Goat-headed Egyptian baby-eater. Those bishops would know what they're doing. The crew is just elders, eighteen years olds, want nothin' more than to get back to the Holy Land and busy themselves findin' a nice first wife. Not that that meant they were getting any mercy.

Time to go ask them where the fuck their precious Moroni was now.


Ok, that's all I've got. Any help you guys can give me will be appreciated.

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