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"Whacked Out West"
Chapters 16 thru 18

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12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Chapter Sixteen
-- by Tricia Hindermann --

(Bertha pivots and slithers down the path without another word. Complete silence)

Chanel: Armani? (Her eyes widened as the name registers.)  Armani Hastings Renquist?  (She gasps as Bertha continues toward her home) How did she know her name? (Turning white.)

Preston: (frantic) Relax dear, we’ll figure it out.  Oh my, this really doesn’t make any sense does it?

Chanel: Just when ... sob..we put ... sob..that part of our life ... sob..behind us.   Have you been seeing her again?

Preston: No dear, I haven’t seen or talked to her since you and I ended our separation.  I made it clear to Armani that I was beginning anew with my wife and child.  Lets just forget this day ever happened. We’ll go inside and turn in

Chanel: (ignoring Preston) Uh, that woman is pure evil!  I just wish I knew how she knew about our past.  It makes me uneasy that people around here know personal things.  Think about Lucy – I want her be protected from that ... (moving her hands in circles)… ANIMAL.  Preston, someone around here is communicating with someone back home.

Preston: Who could it be?

(Scene cuts to Mack on the phone with Case.)

Mack: Hi there Case, its Mack. Ya, I’ll be there. 5:00 pm flight. Sky Chief. Yep. See you there. I know, we’ll get it done tonight don’t you worry. So long.

(A rainy day greets Chanel as she makes her way to the kitchen for some morning tea. She passes a mirror on the way and grunts at the sight of her puffy eyes. A sopping wet stray puppy is pawing at the kitchen screen door as Chanel turns on the stove. She feels badly and lets the pup in as Tex appears from nowhere.)

Chanel: Oh, Tex, you scared me!

Tex: Sorry sweet-pie, didn’t mean to startle you.  That’s Bertha’s mangy dog, Tumbleweed.  You better shoo him away.  He has fleas and chiggers something fierce.

(Chanel feels a pang of sadness for the little guy and lets him in anyway.)

Suit yourself. Anyway, I’m hear to tell you about a big shindig we’re having down at the ‘Lucky Lady Saloon’ tonight. To celebrate my new life in Connecticut and this here ranch of yours. Mack’s idea.

(Chanel sighs.)
Chanel: I don’t feel like celebrating that much

Tex: Oh darlin, come on, it will be fun. Mack throws quite a bash. He wants y’all to feel welcome here. Plus we’ll have some rotgut whiskey, razor rash pints and square dancin’ till mornin’. (Chanel winces but then shrugs and smiles)

(Preston bursts in looking disturbed.)

Preston (disapprovingly) : Sure is a lot of commotion in here for 7 a.m.

Chanel: Good morning dear.

Preston (filling the coffee pot): It’s barely 7 a.m. What is he doing here so early and smelling like a wet dog no doubt.

Chanel (laughing to herself): Mack and Tex are throwing us a party tomorrow night at the Lucky Lady Saloon.

Preston: Lucky Lady? (scrunching his eyes together) Sounds like a whorehouse.

Chanel: Pres…Shh…

Preston: Well it does. I’m not in the mood for a party. I barely know this Mack character. Things are too weird around here. Too much CHAOS.

Chanel: ‘The Lucky Lady’ saloon at 7pm. We will be there Tex.

(Chanel and Tex nod at the same time as the scene dissolves out.)

(Scene dissolves in as Channel and Preston are entering the Lucky Lady Saloon through the swinging doors.)

Preston: These boots hurt my feet. My pants are too tight. Why do I have to wear this piece of fabric around my neck?

Chanel: You wanted to move out west Preston, this is your chance to be western.

Preston sulking): I miss my wingtips.

(As they saunter up to the bar, a banjo starts playing and makes it hard to talk. Preston begins stuffing his face with crab cakes on boot-shaped napkins while Chanel makes small talk with a drunk local.)

(All of the sudden, out of nowhere, Mack grabs Chanel and spins her tripping on the dance floor causing her to loose her footing. The music seems to get louder. Out of nowhere Bertha pulls Preston by the arm and leads him outside to the rear of the building. Chanel doesn’t see Preston leave)

Preston (looking over his shoulder): What are you doing…wait…my wife…

Bertha: You’ve been drinking haven’t you…I like a man who not afraid to down some liquor. Gets me all ‘riled up.’

Preston (now behind the saloon): Bertha listen…stop this (trying to unhook Bertha’s nails from his arm)…how did you know about Armani?

(Whispering coming from the entrance interrupt his inquiry.)

Preston: Shh…I hear footsteps…quiet (Holds his finger up to his lips)

Bertha: Kiss me Preston, I know you want to (Holding on for dear life)

Preston: Shh, Bertha, enough already!

Chanel: Suits, why are we out here?

Suits: I have a little something to show you

Chanel: But…Preston’s inside...

(The footsteps get closer.)

(Chanel and Suits turn the corner to see Bertha holding Preston next to stacks of beer barrels, looking like deer caught in the headlights)

Chanel (covers her mouth and almost faints): Oh Preston!

Preston (in shock): Armani, I mean dear, oh dear, Chanel!

Chapter Seventeen
-- by  Derna Simpson --

Preston: (still gibbering) Oh! Chanel...Armani...oh dear, oh dear. Oh...

Chanel: (visibly gathering up her energy for an explosion....EXPLODES!) Preston Suits! Don't you dare ever, ever, EVER associate me with THAT woman! And while we are about it (she points at Bertha) THAT one either!

Preston: (weakly pointing at Chanel) No...no...no...n...o, you don't understand.

Chanel: I think I understand perfectly! And to think, after everything you did, after everything you said, after everything...

Preston: But Chanel.

Chanel: You are just a two-timing, double-crossing, heart-breaking, home-wrecking, forever-philandering, nasty, horrible...(fighting for a fittingly derisive noun eventually spits out) man!

Preston: (pointing more steadily) Chanel!

Chanel: (starting on Bertha) And YOU...!

Preston finally disengages himself from Bertha, dashes across to Chanel and attempts to lead her back indoors, still animatedly deriding him, as the remainder of the crowd close in around them.

Chanel: (stops short) ...Let go of me Preston!

Preston shrugs as his line of escape is finally cut off, sits down and holds his aching head in his hands waiting for the second explosion. It comes.

Chanel: (turns around to take in the group that has formed and looking directly behind her where Preston was pointing earlier she halts) Good gracious! What is this? Reunion of the Preston Suits dying flames club? Or should I say still very much brightly burning flames? Preston, not twenty-four hours ago you promised me you hadn't seen

Armani: (posing with a cigarette in a holder and smiling sweetly) Well, and it is such a delightful pleasure to meet you again too Chanel dahling.

Chanel: What are you doing here?

Armani: But Chanel sweetie...

Chanel: No, don't answer that. I don't want to know. Preston, I'm sick of this party, I'm sick of this ranch, I'm sick of this whole Wild West adventure of yours and I'm sick of YOU! Lucy and I will be leaving for civilization in the morning. Good night.

Chanel stomps out leaving Preston still holding his head (having given up trying to get a word into the preceding tirade), Bertha doing her best to get her claws into an unresponsive Mack, Suits smiling smugly, Tex a tad confused and Armani affectedly filing her nails.

Preston looks up, takes everyone in, groans and lowers his head again.

Preston: Will someone please tell me what is going on?

Armani moves over to perch next to Preston and rubs his head soothingly whilst making appropriately comforting noises.

Tex: Shouldn't we be asking you that partner?

Armani: (continually stroking Preston's head, she purrs) Don't worry Pres dahling, everythin's goin' to be just fine. Suits has explained everything very simply to me and I'm not a woman to hold a grudge. Especially not against such a charmingly sweet creature as yourself.

Tex takes this scene as his cue to leave and sidles back round the side of the building.

Bertha: A-hem...aren't you two forgetting something?

Armani: (assuming a look of catty innocence) Sorry dear, what WAS your name?

Bertha: (rising to the bait) No, maybe you're right, I'm sure ranch life is going to Suit you down to the ground. Those pink heels will look just charming with a matching apron. And charcoal's good for your teeth Pres.

Preston: (hitting Armani's caressing hand away in annoyance) Will you both please just STOP! I don't know what's the matter with everyone all of a sudden. (looking at Suits) I'm sure this has all got everything to do with you.

Suits: (all innocence) Me!

Preston: (to Mack) And where do you fit into the picture? (he notices Bertha fawning over Mack and his voice takes on a derisive tone) Oh, I'm beginning to see.

Bertha: (remembering her role she leaves Mack and moves towards Preston) Preston, he doesn't mean anything to me, it's you I want. You know there could never be anyone...

Preston: (stopping her short) Oh Please! Just stop now. There are far too many ulterior motives in this scene for me to deal with at once. 

Preston dashes back through the party, leaps on his horse and gallops off into the night.


Meanwhile, back at the ranch. Chanel is furiously throwing things into a suitcase with the help of Lucy, who is actually being a little more of a hindrance than a help.

Chanel: (muttering continuously through the following) THAT man...notorious philanderer...untrustworthy...I'll teach him...not one, not two, but three! Who does he think he is...living out here in the middle of nowhere.

Lucy: (holding up a negligee while she bounces on the bed) Mum look!

Chanel: (grabbing the garment) Oh Lucy, will you please go to bed! Go on...go on...Bed Now!

Lucy skips off to bed and Chanel resumes her furious packing. Chanel continues her tirade and only breaks off when she hears Tex's familiar holler from the porch.

Tex: Heeeeelo, anyone around? Helooooooh. Chanel, where are you?

Chanel: In here Tex.

Tex: (sticking his head round the door) You alright girl?

Chanel flops exhaustedly down in a chair and bursts into angry tears. Tex moves forward and holds her awkwardly as she sobs into his shoulder.

Tex: There now don't cry. He ain't worth it doll. Don't you worry about a thing. You can both come back to Connecticut with me tomorrow and we'll sort you out there. We'll be just fine.

Chanel isn't really listening, she just wants comforted, but as they draw apart and Tex looks into her bright eyes, she looks passed him into the tortured eyes of Preston as he watches them from the shadows of the porch.

Chapter Eighteen
-- by Aileen Mackintosh --

As they draw further apart Chanel then sees the tortured look in Preston's eyes go blank then an indefinable, almost accusing look, fills them.  He then turns smartly on his heels, yelps as some of his bruises are still sore,
and disappears into the gathering gloom.

Chanel is left staring into the darkness with an awful empty feeling in the pit of her stomach, until she becomes aware of Tex still making comforting noises.

Tex: .....so you see darlin' you'll be fine. You can go beck east, find someplace that is suited to a lady of yo' stature. Mr. Yewell told me he'd find you a grand place to stay.

Chanel: (in a distracted way) Oh, oh yes, right.

She wanders across the room and sits down on the sofa. At this point she suddenly jumps up.

Chanel: Mr Yewell what's HE got to do with this.

Her mind slips into overdrive, and just as Tex is about to answer...

Chanel: Hold on...hold on... it's all coming back to me... Armani, Suits - THAT incident in Little Rock. OOOOhhhh no.

At this point we see her rush out of the house in the direction that Preston was last seen heading, calling his name.
The scene fades and we see Preston sitting in the middle of nowhere, on a large boulder muttering to himself.

Preston: The horse indeed, who does the floozy think she's fooling, trying to make me think it was called Loverboy. And I thought Tex was my friend. Hrrrmmph. Dying flames club. Pah. Faithful all these years and this is what I
get, I'll show her.

He gets up and looks around, for the first time realizing that he is well and truly lost. Reality catching up with him he sits back down on the boulder, groans and puts his head in his hands, a picture of dejection. In the shadows a
figure is seen dressed in dark clothes with a black hat shadowing the upper part of the face. A triumphant smile lights the face and the figure moves away into the night.

Cutting back to Chanel, we see her headlong dash after Preston. As she rounds the cowshed she runs straight into Suits Yewell, who grasps her arm.

Suits: Hello there Chanel, darling.

Chanel looks into his face and then suddenly the awful truth hits her like an express train............

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