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"Whacked Out West"
Chapters 13 thru 15

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Chapter Thirteen
-- by Debbie Dunlap --

Chanel bursts into tears, "At least in New York, the red light district wasn't right next door!"  She jumps up and rushes toward the barn.

Lucy jumps up and cries, "Oh! Daddy!" and, also bursting into tears, races into the house.

"Mighty skittish mare you got there, stud."  Bertha motions toward the barn.

Preston looks at Bertha, puzzled; looks toward the barn, concerned; looks back at Bertha in exasperation before heading off toward the barn.

Preston enters the barn and quietly calls, "Chanel?"

He hears Chanel's broken voice speaking quietly at the back of the barn.  He tip-toes toward the sound of her voice.

"... and I think he's having an affair right under my nose with that ... that ... trollop!"

Preston, unseen by Chanel hears all.

"How could he fall in love with someone so vulgar?" Chanel begins to weep audibly.

Preston, looking sheepish and ashamed, starts forward to reveal himself and confess his cruel plot to make her jealous.

"Oh, Loverboy, you're the only one who understands," Chanel cries.

Preston Stops.  Fury replaces shame.   He marches in to confront Chanel and her lover, caught in the act.

"AH!  HA!  I've caught you in the ..."  Preston's voice loses its momentum when he sees his wife, not in the embrace of Tex, but with her arms wrapped about the neck of a horse, her face buried in its neck.

Chanel looks up, rivers of mascara evidence of her very real grief.

Preston is overcome with remorse and reaches out to comfort and explain.

"Don't you touch me you two-timing, tree-hanging, would-be cowboy!"  Chanel seethes.

Preston reaches toward her, "But Chanel, it's all just a joke, a misunderstanding!"

Chanel backs away from Preston, trips over a bale of hay, falls with hands flailing and is sprawled very unlady-like on the barn floor.

Preston reaches down to help her up.   Chanel grabs his hand, but instead of allowing him to help her up, she yanks Preston's arm and causes him to tumble face first over the same bale of hay.   Reaching beside her, Chanel grabs the nearest weapon she can find - Loverboy's bucket of oats - and dumps its contents, as well as the bucket, on Preston's head.

Very graciously Chanel rises from the barn floor, brushes away bits of straw and hay, raises her chin and elegantly walks away.

Tex and Mack are entering the barn as Chanel is exiting.  Chanel acknowledges them with a slight nod, but doesn't make eye contact.

Mack nudges Tex, "Gee, I 'd hate to see what the other guy  looks like!"

Tex looks over his shoulder at Chanel, but decides it's safer to let an angry filly have a little extra rope at times like this.

"Preston?" Tex calls out.

"Over here," comes a muffled reply.

Mack and Tex find Preston sitting on a bale of hay, both elbows resting on his knees, a dejected look on his face, looking quite the worse for wear.

"Well, now I know what the other guy looks like!" chirps Mack with a subdued chuckle.

" I beg your pardon?" Preston asks and looks up.

"Preston Suits, ah'd like ya to meet mah new foreman," Tex introduces, "Mack.  His name's actually Magillicuddy Murphy, but some kind soul decided long ago that wuz too big a handle to hang on a man, so he's just plain, ol' Mack."

Preston doesn't rise, just sticks his hand in Mack's direction, "Pleased to make your acquaintance."

Mack grabs Preston's hand.  Preston winces as Mack gives his hand one good shake.  Preston massages his hand afterwards.

"Ah didn't want ta tell ya before, cause Ah wasn't too sure it'd all work out.  Ya see, Ah had to find me a good foreman before Ah could make 'OH'-fficial."

"Make what official, Tex?" Preston stands, grimaces at all the aches and pains, old and new.

"Ah'm tired of this ranchin' life.   It's too tough and Ah'm gettin' too old.  Ah want me an easy life!  Ah'm movin' to the city!"

Preston wonders if he's just been insulted, but before he can reply, Tex continues.

"And since Ah'm a man used to big places, Ah'm movin' to a big city:  New York City!"

"New York?" Preston asks.

"Yup!  Well, actually it's a little cottage in Connecticut, but it's just a stone's throw from New York City."

"Connecticut?" Preston asks.

"Yup!  Just bought me a place in Connecticut a coupla weeks ago.  Never even saw it!  Ain't that a hoot?   Seen it in an ad-ver-tise-ment and just fell in love with it.  Had my lawyer call their lawyer and got it all settled real easy."

"You never saw it?"   Preston asks.

"Nope!  Kinda like how you bought that little caretaker's cottage from me.  Lawyer's did all the talkin'.   Ya know, Ah thought about sellin' the whole ranch at first, even put an ad-ver-tise-ment of mah own in one of them papers."

"You advertised this place?   Preston asks.

"Yup!  In the Rancher's Monthly Digest of Timely Tips and Journal of Useful Information.  Ah guess my ranch woulda been under the "Useful Information" category!"  Tex laughs.

"Rancher's Monthly Digest?" Preston asks.

"Yup!  Page 43." 

"This is MY ranch, then!"   Preston exclaims.

"Your ranch?" Tex asks.

"I saw that ad!" Preston explains.  "But when I called about it, I was told it was taken off the market.   Your ranch was what made me start dreaming of coming west, Tex!"

"Well!  Ah'll be run through a fresh cow patty bare-footed!  Ain't that somethin'!"  Tex turns to Mack, "Ain't that somethin' Mack?"

"Yeah, that's something alright, Tex," Mack smiles.

Chapter Fourteen
-- by P.J. Thum --

"What's more, ah got mahself one of them cushy jobs behind a desk! Imagine that! Me! Ah just showed them mah ad-ver-tise-ment for mah ranch and they hired me on the spot! Said ah would help 'em appeal to those burned out businessman looking to go back to nature!" Tex lets out a guffaw. "Imagine that! Burned out of *sittin' behind desks*! Going back to *nature*!"

Preston has an odd look on his face. "And what's the name of this company you're going to work for, Tex?"

"Ah believe it's run by some guy named Twitman, ah think." Tex frowns, then brightens. "Anyway, now that ah'm a-moving out East, this ranch is yours to buy if you want it, Preston! She's a beaut, lots of fine steer, hundreds of acres of prize land, and," he claps Mack on the shoulder, "You'll have Mack here to help you!"

Preston mutters to himself disbelievingly, "My house... his house. My job... his job. My life...his life." He makes an odd little noise to himself, shakes his head in disbelief, then addressing Tex, "Well.... I accept your offer, Tex. I hope you have the greatest success out East!"

Preston extends his hand, and they shake. "You'll love mah farm, Preston. Ah'll sure miss her." Tex says.

Behind Tex, an odd, malicious grin appears on Mack's face. "It'll be a pleasure working with you, Mr. Suits. A real


"At last!" trumpets Suits gleefully. "I have my chance!" He is talking on the phone. "Not only will Chanel be mine, but I'll get even with that goody-two-shoes Preston Suits!"

Cut to Mack, who is talking on the other end while cutting his nails. "Say Case, (snip) you never told me (snip) why we're going to all this (snip) trouble." (Listens) "Sure, I know what's in it for me (snip) , but I like to know something about my victim (snip) before I move in for the kill (snip). Helps me work (Puts down nail clipper)."

Cut back to Suits, "You want the truth? I'll tell you the truth!   When I was a kid, it was just Preston and me-" (Pause) "Fine, Preston and I. We had no other cousins. Life would've been fine, except for the fact that Preston was so damn good at everything!   I was older, but he had the looks, the girls, the grades. He had everything. I had to live with the shame of being the slow one, the ugly one, the stupid one, the lonely one. It was always Preston THIS and Preston THAT and (mimics Mother's high pitched voice) 'Suits, dear, why can't you be more like PRESTON????'
QUIET! Don't interrupt! [By this time, Suit's face has turned a bright red] In third grade, we had a melon seed spitting contest, and I was the undisputed champ of the playground! No one could come close to me! Then along came this young first grade upstart, we proceeded to outspit me and humiliate me in front of my entire gang! Even worse, he had the gall to say to everyone that if it weren't for me, he wouldn't have known how to spit a melon seed properly! Then next year-

Cut to Mack, who is listening with a pained expression on his face, obviously regretting his question. He quietly puts down the phone, and tiptoes off. After an incredibly long wait, while we listen to the phone squawking away, Mack returns with a drink in his hand. He sets the drink down, pulls over an easy chair, and settles down with a resigned look upon his face, before finally gingerly picking up the phone.

Cut back to Suits, "-and then, the next year, he not only had a BETTER mousetrap, it also looked nicer and caught more mice! But then, the worst thing happened the year after that. That's when I met Chanel. I saw her in college, she a simple freshman from Ireland at Radcliffe, and we were seniors at Harvard. That's another thing, him skipping THREE grades to my one along the way! So we were both in our senior year and she comes along. I saw her first! I chased her and pursued her until she agreed to a walk along the Charles River with me. Then we ran into.... HIM!!!! She promptly fell for his charm and his looks. She was mine! Until he stole her away!!!! For years I've hidden the hate and resentment deep inside me, but now.... now I will ruin him.  I will make him come begging to me for my help in getting him back on his feet. Chanel will hate him and she'll come running to me! HAHAhahahaha!!!!!" (maniacal laughter) "You hear me Mack?  Mack? Mack!"

Cut to Mack, who jerks awake. "Yeah, yeah Case, I'm here, just, er, knocked over my... drink, that's all. Yes, yes, I hear you.  Preston's farm will be ruined in weeks. He's such a greenhorn he'll never figure out the animals or machinery anyway. I'm sure I can get that Arkana girl to run interference. She doesn't look very bright, I'm sure I can easily trick her, or maybe convince her to join us for a small payment. No, that dumb old farmer isn't going to be a problem. He thinks he's going out East to a cushy job! Yes, yes, will do Case. You'll get your cousin. Just be sure I get my money." He puts down the phone, does a *phew* to himself, wiping imaginary sweat off his brow.

Chapter Fifteen
-- by Jenny Curtis --

Later that evening… Preston is watching the sun set, sitting on the front porch of what he now realizes is HIS ranch. We hear the creaking of the porch swing as he rocks in the evening breeze. The camera pans across the horizon to a beautiful sunset, Preston sighs, exhausted from his long, crazy day. His eyelids close and he slumps in his chair, asleep. The camera pans inside the kitchen window and we see Chanel sitting at the kitchen table while Cook scrubs out an empty pie tin.

Cook: Sorry about dessert. Tex never met a pie he didn’t like.

Chanel: (listlessly) Mmm hmm.

Cook: But that’s men folk. All appetite and no sense.

Chanel: Mmmm hmm.

Cook: Take my Gil, God rest him. If you stood between him and a dessert, he’d turn into an ornery cuss. He once shot a man in Reno just to catch some pie.

Chanel: Mmmmm hmm.

Cook: That was a joke honey. You know the song….Oh never mind. What’s wrong with you? You look like a bull just trampled your best handbag.

Chanel: Oh it’s Preston. He’s been acting so darn strange since we left Connecticut.  I mean he was always a little flighty,. O.K well, Condors are a little flighty compared to Preston. But this is the worst he’s ever been. One minute he’s jealous of Tex, half-killing himself with rage and the next minute he’s exchanging winks with that Bertha woman. Maybe he’s having a nervous breakdown.

Cook: Well Bertha Arkana’s broke stronger broncs than Pres. If she gets her hooks in him, he won’t stand a chance—

(She’s interrupted my quiet sobs from Chanel)

Cook: Oh what’d I say? I’m sorry. Look you’ve got nothing to worry about. If I know Bertha, this is just her way of making a last ditch play for Tex before he leaves town. She has always wanted move out East.

Chanel: But why my husband? Why pick on him?

Cook: He’s wearin boots and he’s breathin and that’s enough for Bertha.

Chanel: What can I do?

Cook: Well dear, if it was me. I’d beat that hussy at her own game. Here’s what you do…(camera pulls back as she leans in conspiratorially).

Meanwhile on the front porch…As Preston dozes, Bertha saunters up, wearing a Dale Evans get up with a pink silk kerchief tied around her neck. She pats Preston on the forehead, removes her kerchief, revealing the monogram "BA", and places it in Preston’s breast pocket. Then she sits down on the swing with a creak, startling Preston awake…

Preston: Loverboy!

Bertha: (purring) Yes, you certainly are.

Preston: No, no. (scooting away from Bertha on the swing) That’s the name of the horse. Ohh, what have I done Bertha? She’ll never take me back.

Bertha:  Swell-lookin cowpoke, like yerself. Sure she will. You just follow our plan and she’ll loose interest in Tex in no time.

Preston: But that’s what I mean. I made a huge mistake. She wasn’t having an affair with Tex, it was the horse!

Bertha: Well, now, I ain’t easily shocked, but you city folk are something else.

Preston: No, Bertha. You see, I heard her calling for Loverboy (imitating Chanel) "Ooohh Loverboy, come back here so I can climb up on you. All the while it was the horse. Then I hit my head and passed out. Or was it the other way around. I forget…Anyway, I did myself an injury and I didn’t see that Loverboy was the horse and not Tex!

Bertha: Take it easy there, you’ll do yerself another injury. Just relax. Unbend.   (Pushing him back in the swing).

(Just then Chanel walks through the door. Spotting Bertha with her "hooks" in Preston she begins to burn with anger. Then she gains composure.)

Chanel: Oh hello, Bertha. It’s so good to see you. Did I ever tell you that Preston has an elderly Aunt named Bertha? Well, elderly is perhaps too strong a word, she’s not much older than you at that. Of course she’s no where near as resourceful as you are with your… maintenance.

(Chanel sits down in a chair next to Bertha. Preston looks perplexed, letting out a stifled cry, he pulls out Bertha’s kerchief to dab his brow. He examines it quickly, and utters another, louder stifled cry when he sees the monogram. He quickly shoves the kerchief back in his pocket before Chanel can notice.)

Chanel: What is that noise?

Preston: I think it was the horses. Tex must be back in the barn with them.

Chanel: (returning her attention to Bertha) I mean you’d never dream that you and Tex had a boy almost my age. Why Tex was just telling me today about your son, what’s his name?

Bertha: Clinton.

Chanel: Yes little Clint, the outlaw. Not so little now, of course. Putting him through college out East. Now that must have cost a fist full of dollars. But there you have it - raising kids: the good, the bad, the ugly, the expensive prep schools.  What’s Clint up to these days.

Bertha: Last we heard he was in Iowa. Madison County I believe.

Chanel: You must be so proud. And I hear his wife’s expecting soon. You gotta ask yourself everyday. ‘Do I feel lucky?' To be a Grandma! I sure would.

(Bertha’s eyes shrink in anger to narrow slits, her nails dig into Preston’s arm.)

Preston: Ahhhhh.

Chanel: What was that dear?

Preston: Ahhhh, have a suggestion. Why don’t we all go give Tex a hand with the horses, before we turn in.

Chanel: Well you don’t have to bellow like Foghorn Leghorn. I’m right behind you (swatting him on the butt, she turns and winks at Bertha). Get along little doggie!

(Preston and Bertha look truly puzzled by her strange change in attitude.)

Bertha: Well, I really must be getting along myself. These aren’t my manure mucking pumps. I’ll see you tomorrow Pres. (looking sourly at Chanel) Goodnight, Armani. I mean Chanel.

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