Where Threads Come Loose
"An Endearing Western

The Recording Script

• Written and directed by Tony Pagel. Produced by Christopher Bahn.
• Episode 34 (1997 Edition) of the radiodrama series Where Threads Come Loose
• Originally broadcast on KUOM-AM April 1996.
• Engineered by John Sommer, Tony Pagel and Christopher Bahn

• Granpa, Josiah: Tony Pagel
• Gramma: Pam Hill
• Kid 1, Cowpoke, Undertaker: Dan Sigelman
• Chewy the Bartender, Spaghetti Louie: Adam Pagel
• Mean Mel, Kid 4: Christopher Bahn
• Battlin' Xavier O'Hooligan, Kid 2: Joel Stitzel
• Mayor, Scandahoovian Pete, Kid 1: Chuck Tomlinson
Scene I. Granpa's Front Porch.
Granpa: Alrighty. You young-un's settle down, you hear me? You're drivin' your Gramma and me up the wall! You all just sit down here by my feet and I'll tell you a story.

Kids: Story! Story!

Granpa: Now you simmer down and let your ol' Granpa take a minute to straighten out his thoughts.

Gramma: It'll take more than a minute for that, you old fool!

Granpa: Now you just hush! As if I didn't have enough trouble handlin' these ankle-biters without you a-buttin' in! Now where was I? Dagnabit, this spring weather always unsettles my mind.

Gramma: So that's what it is. I always thought it was that bottle of Old Overholt in your underwear drawer.

Granpa: What did I just say? Land sakes, it's gettin' harder and harder to do anything around here with you a-flappin' your gums all the time!

Gramma: Well I'll just be taking my gums to the kitchen and set them into that pie I made earlier...

Kids: Pie! Pie!

Granpa: Pie? Well, why didn't you say something before, woman? Get me a wedge of that there pie and all is forgiven!

Gramma: Now don't you get all fired up for it yet. It's still cooling on the back sill, so you just tell the little ones a story and when you're done, the breeze from your jawin' will have made it stone cold.

Granpa: Don't try my patience, woman.

Gramma: I wouldn't try anything that short.

Granpa: Ooh! Just get! I'll send them on back once I'm done, hear me?

Gramma: I hear you. I'm going, I'm going. (SFX:screen door creak/slam)

Granpa: Now where was I again?

Kids: Story! Story!

Granpa: Oh, that's right. You all wanted to hear a story. Maybe you'd all like to hear one from the Old West.

Kids: Old West! Old West!

Granpa: Maybe a tale chock full of gunfights at High Noon, tough hombres keeping towns in the grip o' fear, and sheriffs in white hats givin' out two fisted justice?

Kids: Two-fisted justice! Two-fisted justice!

Granpa: Yes, sirree! I got just the story for you, then. I calls it the Ballad of the Badman from Boston and it all started with a railroad inspector name of Josiah Freep from Cleveland. He was with the Singin' Biscuit North-Northeast Packet Company which was laying spurs out in west Texas. Wellsir, Old Josiah, (I calls him old, but back then he was known as Young Josiah) was told he had to head out on a Singin' Biscuit Express for a town known as Tumbleweed Gulch to oversee the work bein' done in those parts. Old Josiah packed up a steamer trunk with his dandified city-clothes and jumped on the first engine out. Had he jumped on the second one, he would have been part of the McHiggens Gang's robbery of the train in which legends was born and history made. But that's another story...

Kids: McHiggens Gang! McHiggens Gang!

Granpa: Now you all just put a sock in it and let me go on! I swear you is the ornriest bunch of curtain climbers I even seen. Who's tellin' this story here, anyway?

Kids: You are! You are!

Granpa: And don't you be fergettin' it! Now as I was a-sayin', Old Josiah got hisself on the first train out to Tumbleweed Gulch and his ride was pretty dull except for the steaming cherry cobbler that some dadburned fool of a waiter spilled on him. When the train pulled into the Tumbleweed Gulch station, he was just gettin' the more stubborn stains out with some vinegar. He got his trunk from the porter and had him send it to the hotel where he was stayin'. Then he put his silly little hat on his head and walked over to the saloon, where everybody went when they first came to town...

Scene II. The Saloon.
(SFX: squeaky door, tinny piano music, conversation)

Bartender: Well stranger, what can I get for you?

Josiah: Well, let me see. I'm dying for some refreshment. Could I have a "Sherman's March to the Sea," please?

Bartender: And what in the name of all that's holy is that?

Josiah: Oh it's a delightful little beverage I learned about out east. You take two fingers of overproof rum and two fingers of peach liqueur and mix them in a tumbler. Then you float three pecans on the surface of the drink and set the whole thing ablaze. After a minute, you blow out the fire and add a dollop of blackstrap molasses and voila! A drink fit for a carpetbagger!

Bartender: Pardon me for saying so, Mister, but that sounds a mite too complicated for this here bar. Why don't you take a look at our menu behind me and order from that?

Josiah: Oh, that sounds simple. Let's see...Oh my God!

Bartender: What's the matter?

Josiah: You sell fat, half-naked women here?

Bartender: Um, that's just our picture, Mister. The menu is under her.

Josiah: Oh. Whew! That's a relief. Now, whiskey, whiskey, whiskey, whiskey and sasparilla. I think I'll have a sasparilla.

Bartender: Very popular choice with out-of-town pretty-boys. (SFX:glug,glug) Here you go.

Josiah: Thank you very much, Mister...?

Bartender: Folks around here call me Chewy, stranger.

Josiah: Chewy? What an odd nickname. How did they arrive at that?

Bartender: (hawks and spits, spittoon ping)

Josiah: Ah. Yes. Well this drink ought to, as you say around here, cut the dust. Bottoms up!

(SFX: doors crash open, piano stops, asst. people say, "Mean Mel!")

Mean Mel: What a fine day for a drink, dontcha think so, boys?

Spaghetti Louie: Atsa right, Boss.

Bartender: Yah, yah. Ookey Dookey!

Mean Mel: Chewy! Four whiskeys!

Bartender: (Chewbacca roar)

Mean Mel: Well lookey here, boys. We got us a city-slicker. What's yer handle, stranger?

Josiah: Hmm? Oh me. My name is Josiah Freep with the Singin' Biscuit...

Mean Mel: Enough of yer jabberin', stranger. I need you to do me a favor.

Josiah: Anything I can do for you will be a pleasure.

Mean Mel: Okay. I want you to pick up yer sasperilly and turn toward me.

Josiah: Alright. What now.

Mean Mel: Come a little closer. That's right, right about there.

Josiah: Okay.

Mean Mel: Now turn your hand so that it's parallel with the floor.

Josiah: Like this? (SFX: pouring liquid)

Mean Mel: CONSARN IT! You dad-blamed galoot!. You done ruined my brand new vest for which I traded my old horse Poppy's Pride! How I loved that horse! Oh stranger, you just made a BIIIG mistake!

Josiah: But you told me to...

Mean Mel: There's but one way to settle this here slight on my person. High noon, out on Main Street, tomorrey. Ten paces and fire.

Josiah: What? Do you mean with guns?

Mean Mel: No, feather dusters. O'course guns, you idjit!

Josiah: But I don't have a gun.

Mean Mel: That tain't my problem, tenderfoot. You just be there gun or no, 'cause Mean Mel and his Meltones mean to take a piece of your hide! C'mon fellas! We got old ladies to hassle!

(SFX: door squeak, SFX start up again)

Josiah: But I...Chewy, did you hear what he said?

Bartender: Yessir, I did. And let me say, it's been a pleasure to serve you a drink. Now get on out of here. Potential corpses kinda cut down on my business.

Josiah: But...

Bartender: Fergit it! Mean Mel's done killed fourteen men and I 'spect that unless you're some sort of eastern sharp-shooter, yer gonna be number fifteen. So scat! Get outta here!

Josiah: Oh dear.

Scene III. Main Street
Granpa: So Old Josiah walked out of the saloon and headed down Main Street toward the hotel. As he walked along, he got to meet all the townsfolk...

Cowpoke: Hey there! Good luck tomorrow! Hope you don't get too shot up!

Josiah: Um, thank you.

Undertaker: Excuse me, sir. But what kind of coffin would you like?

Josiah: But I don't need a coffin.

Undertaker: Hmm. Maybe not today, but I can almost guarantee that you will by tomorrow. So what will it be?

Josiah: But I...

Undertaker: I'll put you down for pine, it's the cheapest. Now when can you stop by for some measurements?

Josiah: I...

Mayor: Well strike me down, if it isn't number fifteen!

Josiah: What?

Mayor: No offense, stranger, but Mean Mel's known to be a real good shot. And it just breaks my heart to get to know somebody when they're going to be leaving our fair city so soon.

Josiah: But I...

Mayor: I'm the Mayor of Tumbleweed Gulch, and on behalf of all our citizens, I hope you have a pleasant twenty-four hours in the jewel of West Texas.

Josiah: Why thank you. I...

Mayor: Now, about your death. We have a tradition here in Tumbleweed Gulch that generates revenue for the city beautification fund, and I was wondering if you'd like to help.

Josiah: Why certainly.

Mayor: When you get blasted by Mean Mel tomorrow, we'd like to open a photography booth with your corpse in it.

Josiah: What?!

Mayor: People are willing to pay a nickel to get their picture taken with the "bad hombres" that Mean Mel dispatches. So if you have no objections, can I ask that we prop you up over by the General Store after you give up the ghost?

Josiah: But...but...

Mayor: Wonderful! Number Fifteen is a landmark killing. I hate to sound too optimistic, but with the revenue we generate from your death, we might be able to finally put up that statue of Doc Holiday in the town square.

Josiah: Well that sounds nice...

Mayor: Well I've got to be going. That you for your civic pride and I'll be seeing you tomorrow around 12:15. So long!

Josiah: Goodbye. My, this is a small town.

(SFX: foot steps)

Mean Mel: Psst!

Josiah: What? Who said that?

Mean Mel: Psst! Back here, in the alley.

Josiah: What do you want?

Mean Mel: Come on back here, we have something to discuss.

Josiah: Well, alright. (pause) Aiigh! You!

Mean Mel: Now simmer down. I don't want to make this any worse than it already is.

Josiah: Worse? How could it possibly be worse? You're going to gun me down in cold blood tomorrow at noon!

Mean Mel: Okay, you've got me there. But at least give me a chance to explain.

Josiah: What's to explain? You'll draw a pistol, point it at me, I'll catch all the bullets and fall down dead on the street. That should be all the explanation necessary.

Mean Mel: Now don't make it sound like that. There's more to the story than just senseless killing.

Josiah: Oh really? Well what more do you have to add, pray tell?

Mean Mel: It all has to do with how I got my reputation as Mean Mel, Scourge of the Sagebrush, Prince of Pistolas, King of the Wild Frontier!

Josiah: But I thought that was Davy...

Mean Mel: It all started when I graduated from Whitby University in my hometown of Boston, Massachusetts. I received a degree in English Literature and History, and being therefore unsuitable for employment elsewhere, decided to become a schoolmaster. I sent out letters of application to many of the fine teaching establishments of this nation. When they turned me down, I tried smaller ones, until I finally received an offer from the Tumbleweed Gulch Elementary School. I packed up my books and a pet rabbit named Mr. Whiskers for the tots and took the first train out. Upon arriving, I went to the Saloon just as you did for a glass of punch. It was then that I met Fat Joseph.

Josiah: Fat Joseph?

Spaghetti Louie: Thatsa right. Good ol' Fat Joe. Wassamatta, you never hear of Fat Joe?

Josiah: Well I...

Mean Mel: Fat Joseph was the local gunslinger in the Gulch. He was 500 pounds of low-down yellow-belly who didn't take guff from anyone. He didn't like my city-slicker looks and he mocked Mr. Whiskers. When I protested, he challenged me to a shoot-out on Main Street. As he turned to leave the saloon, my whole body went numb with fright. Mr. Whisker's cage slipped from my paralysed hand and crashed on the floor. I suppose Fat Joseph thought the noise was a gunshot, for he spun around clutching his chest. He collapsed at my feet, dead from cardiac arrest.

Battlin' Xavier O'Hooligan: Sure now, that's what comes of lard-baked biscuits with hog-jowl gravy four times a day.

Mean Mel: As chance would have it, the townsfolk were amazed at what they thought was my quick draw ability. They all exclaimed that they had never seen me draw my pistol, which of course, I hadn't. They were so excited that they failed to notice that I carried no gun. I was immediately dubbed "Mean Mel" and Fat Joe's gang became my Meltones. I had become...a gunfighter.

Spaghetti Louie: And you're-a the best one we ever had, Boss.

Battlin' Xavier O'Hooligan: 14 dead men agree, you're the top hombre in this sorry town.

Scandahoovian Pete: Ja, ja. Banga-banga.

Mean Mel: My only regret is that poor Mr. Whiskers, my boon companion and would-be classroom pet perished so that I might live (sobs).

Josiah: Died, did he?

Spaghetti Louie: Yeah, Ol' Fat Joe, he fall onna top of the bonny. Smash him as flat as a corn tortilla.

Mean Mel: (shouts) Oh Mr. Whiskers! I shall never forget you! Your pink nose and fuzzy pelt are burned into the pages of my memory!

Josiah: Very moving. However, this does not improve my position one iota.

Mean Mel: What do you mean?

Josiah: I somehow think that despite your tragic loss, you will not hesitate to perforate my body with flying lead tomorrow. Is that essentially correct?

Mean Mel: Well...yes. I do have a reputation to maintain, you know.

Josiah: I thought so. Well, if you have no further revelations to impart, I must do some surveying for the company before I share Mr. Whisker's fate. Good day.

Mean Mel: But I haven't finished yet.

Josiah: Really? I think the Fat Joe anecdote speaks quite nicely for itself.

Mean Mel: But I haven't told you everything yet. The most important part of the tale remains unsaid.

Josiah: And that would be?

Mean Mel: Mister Whiskers...isn't really dead! (Trumpets of surprise)

Kids: Contradiction! Contradiction!

Granpa: Contra-what? Where'd you sprats learn a big word like that?

Kids: Crossfire! Crossfire!

Granpa: Well you can keep your 50 cent, egghead words to yourselves and let me get a move on with this story. So as I was sayin', Josiah took this plot twist with a grain of salt...

Josiah: (curseword beep)

Mean Mel: All foul language aside, I speak the truth.

Josiah: But that's impossible.

Mean Mel: It's not impossible, stranger. Just highly improbable. While it is true that poor Mr. Whiskers smothered under a mound of foul-smelling, corpulent outlaw, it is equally true that he roams the plains today.

Josiah: And just how did you pull that one off, Herr Frankenstein?

Mean Mel: With the help of my Meltone, Scandahoovian Pete.

Scandahoovian Pete: Ja, ja. I fixa oop!

Mean Mel: You see, Pete here was a cook with the Union army many years ago. One day while out on patrol, he was separated from the troop and got lost in the desert. He was nigh unto death when he was discovered by a friendly tribe and adopted into it. He spent most of his time with the tribe's shaman learning and cooking. Over the years, Scandahoovian Pete learned...the secrets of life and death! (Again with the surprise trumpets)

Josiah: Quite the dramatic town you have here.

Mean Mel: Thank you. We try. Anyway, by combining his Scandahoovian skills of cookery with the shaman's mystical teachings, Pete can raise the dead unto life.

Scandahoovian Pete: Ja, ja. De dead mon, he joomp oop anna doon!

Josiah: Uh, huh. Well that's wonderful. I'm very happy for you, Pete. Now, I really must be going.

Mean Mel: Wait, stranger. Don't you see what I'm offering?

Josiah: No, I'm afraid I don't.

Mean Mel: It's like this: tomorrow, we're going to face each other down on Main Street and I'm going to kill you in cold blood. You'll be one dead city boy.

Josiah: Interesting offer. Very reasonable.

Mean Mel: I'm not done yet! Now the mayor's already told you about the shindig they throw after I kill a man. They'll prop you up against the General Store and take some photographs for the kiddies. The carnival goes on until one or two in the morning, After that, everyone goes home and they'll throw your body into the feed barn for the night. What I'm suggesting is, that after they do that, we'll break in, take your body to our hideout and Pete will put the old hoodoo on you. We'll have you up and running before dawn.

Josiah: And what happens after the blessed miracle occurs?

Mean Mel: Well, then we put you on the train and you head back east, never to be seen in Tumbleweed Gulch again.

Josiah: Hmm. That sounds good, but let me go one better. How about you don't shoot me at all. That will save you on the expense of bullets and the effort of resurrecting me.

Mean Mel: Sorry stranger, but I've got to kill you. It's the Law of the West. I'll never be able to show my face in town again if I let you hightail it out of here.

Josiah: Well if you must kill me, why even bother extending this offer?

Mean Mel: Regardless of what you might think, stranger, we are not barbarians out here. I have to kill people, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. I'll be hip-deep in gunslingers looking for a quick reputation if I back down now. No sir, I just have to shoot you. But I also have to do what's right. So what do you say?

Josiah: Well you've been more than fair, I have to admit. Why not? Of course, there's always a chance I'll kill you instead, isn't there?

Mean Mel: Yeah, right stranger. So is it a deal?

Josiah: Yes.

Mean Mel: Shake on it. Now you'd better clear out before we're seen together. It isn't right for a showdown couple to be hobnobbing in a back alley.

Josiah: Righto. See you at noon tomorrow?

Mean Mel: Wouldn't miss it, you flea-bitten galoot!

Granpa: So our hero, if you can call him that, left the alley and headed for the General Store. When he got there, he plunked down three dollars cash money for what we call a ladies gun. It was a pearl-handled Dillinger that wouldn't drop a squirrel, much less 180 pounds of wind-toughened hombre. But the gun made him walk a little taller anyway. He paraded around town like he was cock-of-the-walk. As night drew on, he went to the hotel for a shave and dinner. He ordered hisself a mess of fried chicken with green peas and mashed potatoes all swimming in butter. And he had johnny cake and collards all smothered in red-eye gravy. And for dessert, he ate not one, not two, but three gut-bustin' pieces of sweet huckleberry pie covered in fresh cream...ummmm.

Kids: Cholesterol! Cholesterol!

Granpa: For Pete's sake, where did you kids grow up? Ain't you ever had decent vittles? Speaking of vittles, (raises voice) WIFE! How about a slab of that pie?

Gramma: (distant) You finish that story for the young uns?

Granpa: Well no...I mean yes! And I've whomped up a powerful hunger!

Kid 1: LIAR!

Kid 2: LIAR!

Kids: Pants on fire!

Gramma: That's what I thought, you old snake! You get that story of yours told or you don't get no pie!

Granpa: No pie?!? Ooh, you little Benedict Arnolds! Jest fer that, I ain't a-gonna finish. So there.

Kids: Closure! Closure!

Granpa: Well, alright. We were jest gettin' to the excitin' part anyways. So old Josiah Freep slept in his big old feather bed, knowin' that he might not live to do it again. Even with Mean Mel's promise, he wasn't sure he'd ever see another sunrise. He skulked all round the town, trying to avoid the autograph collectors and checking the big clock in city hall for the time. Before he knew it, noon had come. Josiah walked to one end of Main Street. Mean Mel and his Meltones showed up at the other. The mayor motioned them to the center of the street,

Mayor: Now boys you know the rules: you stand thirty paces apart. When you're ready, slap leather. Then when the stranger bites the dust, we can start up the carny.

Josiah: Now that's hardly impartial.

Mayor: Sorry stranger, but Mean Mel don't ever miss. No offense. Now let's get a move on, 'cause the sno-cone stand ain't gonna take too much more of this heat.

Granpa: Mean Mel and Josiah walked the thirty paces. The sun made the dusty street shimmer like hot tar. Time seemed to stand still. The townsfolk all held their breath, the betting slips and carny tickets damp in their sweaty palms. Then Josiah tried to make his play.

(SFX: leather slap, 22 shots fire, Josiah fall with a thump)

Mayor: Wooee! Mean Mel sure is a dead-eye with that 22. I sure wish he'd leave a body less shot up, though. The stranger ain't gonna look so good in the pitchers.

Undertaker: Just imagine the damage if he used both guns.

Mayor: I guess you're right.

Chewy: (chewy scream)

Mayor: Okey dokey, folks! A moment of silence for the tenderfoot. (1 sec. silence) Enough of that. Let the wing-ding begin! (crowd cheers, calliope starts up)

Granpa: The carnival went on till late in the night. Nobody saw Mean Mel and the Meltones sneak off during the Miss Purty Gal contest. After the festival ended and the town went to sleep, Mean Mel and the Meltones broke into the feed barn to do their half of the bargain.

Spaghetti Louie: I donta know, boss. I no-a think he gonna look too good. You gave him the banga-banga too moch.

Mean Mel: Piffle, Louis. Scandahoovian Pete did miracles with the others. Remember that one that got his head shot clean off?

Battlin' Xavier O'Hooligan: True, but he couldn't put on a hat afterward.

Mean Mel: Enough of that! I'm sure Pete has worked all the bugs out of the process, am I correct, Pete?

Scandahoovian Pete: Ja, ja. Oookey dookey!

Mean Mel: You see, gentlemen? We have nothing to fear. Now hoist him out of that coffin and load him into the wagon. We've got a long night ahead of us.

Granpa: And so they did. The Meltones drove the wagon out to their hideout, a shack somewhere out by the railroad spur. Scandahoovian Pete made a small fire a little ways from the camp and started to mix his secret recipe for Josiah. The others gathered around the campfire for a chaw and some likker.

Mean Mel: Are you sure you don't need any help, Pete?

Scandahoovian Pete: Noo, noo. I fixa oop all aloon.

Mean Mel: Very well, then. We'll just occupy ourselves over here then. Louis, do you have the potables?

Spaghetti Louie: No, I ain't gotta no potables. Just soma dis Old Foaming Dog anda de olives.

Mean Mel: That will do, Louis. Why don't you do the honors.

Spaghetti Louie: Shoo, shoo.

Scandahoovian Pete: Alla goo shoosha-shoosha!

Mean Mel: You heard him men. We'll be quiet as mice, Pete.

Scandahoovian Pete: Ookey dookey! (SP starts to sing the Swedish Chef song and then cooks)

Mean Mel: Now that Pete's at work, here's to a clean kill and a cleaner reputation!

Battlin' Xavier O'Hooligan & Spaghetti Louie: Hear, hear! (SFX: glasses clink)

Granpa: Scandahoovian Pete worked for hours, chantin' and seasonin' Josiah with 11 secret herbs and spices. The rest of the gang, well, they got what we call a little snozzled.

Mean Mel: (slurred) And thash what I think of this stinkin' town and all the little stinkin' people innit. They wouldn't have anythin without me, ya know.

Spaghetti Louie: (slurred) You saidda that right, boss.

Battlin' Xavier O'Hooligan: (slurred) Sure you're right! This town is full of blarney and malarky!

Mean Mel: Thish town stole all my life from me. My job, my chanshes at happiness. But especially my poor bunny-wunny. TO MISHTER WHISHKERS!

Battlin' Xavier O'Hooligan & Spaghetti Louie: TO MISHTER WHISHKERS!

Mean Mel: If only he hadn't left me. Oh boys, I gotta do sompin' for theesh low-down blues. Do you have you guitar, Spaghetti Louis?

Spaghetti Louie: Yeah, sure boss.

Mean Mel: Then lesh sing. Sing to the only rabbit that ever stole my poor old heart, You ready, Louis?

Spaghetti Louie: Here we go, a-onea and a-twoa.

(All but Scandahoovian Pete sing "Home on the Range," here are the words:
Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam,
and the deer and the antelope play.
Where seldom is heard, a discouraging word,
and the sky is not cloudy all day.
Home, home on the range.
Where the deer and the antelope play.
At this point, SP comes screaming into camp.)

Scandahoovian Pete: Noo, noo, noo! De chanta is rooned! Noo shoosha-shoosha!

Mean Mel: What's he saying, Louis?

Spaghetti Louie: Itsa what he say every time, boss. You getta drunk. We all getta drunk wit choo. Den we singa de song about de buffalos and da range. Den Pete, he comma runnin into camp and he say, "You screwa oppa my chant".

Mean Mel: What's that you say? Ruin the chant?

Battlin' Xavier O'Hooligan: Right. You miss the wee coney so much that you sing the same air every time. I fear that we've made the same mistake as all the others.

Mean Mel: Good God! You don't mean...

Scandahoovian Pete: Ja, ja. De chanta goo roong! De mon is noo gud!

Josiah: Hello, fellows. How are we all feeling on this fine evening?

Spaghetti Louie: Uh, we okay. Howzabyyou?

Josiah: I feel hale and hearty,

Battlin' Xavier O'Hooligan: You don't feel at all...strange?

Josiah: Why no. Quite the contrary, actually. I'm doing very well indeed. I was a fool for doubting your methods, Mean Mel. And you too, Pete. My skepticism has evaporated like the morning dew. I clearly remember being shot, yet now I am restored and full of vigor. You are the most gentlemanly outlaw I have ever encountered, Mean Mel.

Mean Mel: Well I...uh...thank you.

Josiah: Now it won't do to head back to town. By the way, won't the citizens notice my missing corpse?

Spaghetti Louie: No, they never miss the other ones.

Josiah: Splendid! Obviously I can't finish my job for the packet line. I'll just have to jump a train back home and explain everything to my superior in person. So I'll just get my hat and be off.

Mean Mel: Your what?

Josiah: My hat. You know, the object I was wearing on my head when I came to town. It's unwise to be out in the desert sun without one's hat. Heat prostration, you know.

Battlin' Xavier O'Hooligan: Stranger, I don't think you'll be needing that hat anymore.

Josiah: Well I can't imagine why not, unless I've acquired some immunity to heat through my death.

Spaghetti Louie: No, no, itsa nothing like that. Itsa jost...

Battlin' Xavier O'Hooligan: What he means to say is...

Josiah: What? Spit it out. I can take it. Did the hat look too silly? Was it a fashion mistake beyond all reckoning. I'm tough. I can hear your little criticisms. What is it?

Mean Mel: (slowly) Stranger, have you seen yourself yet?

Josiah: Seen myself? Well no. Why? Does anyone have a looking-glass?

Scandahoovian Pete: Here you goo.

Spaghetti Louie: Now before you go a-crazy, we canna splain everythin.

Josiah: (scream) Oh my God in Heaven!

Mean Mel: Calm yourself, stranger. It's not as bad as it looks.

Josiah: NOT AS BAD AS IT LOOKS? Have you seen what's on my head?

Mean Mel: Yes, but it's a darn sight better than being dead.

Josiah: Are you mad? I have ANTLERS! How am I going to explain this to my company? How can I ever be seen in public again? How could such a thing have happened?

Mean Mel: It's all my fault. This happened to you the same way it happened to the fourteen other men I gunned down. And Mr. Whiskers too. If only I hadn't taken his death so hard. But I miss him so much. So I sing that little Western number and I feel loads better. But I guess I sing too loud and it interferes with Scandahoovian Pete's chant. The unfortunate result you can see for yourself.

Josiah: UNFORTUNATE RESULT! Unfortunate result? I'm an antler bearing freak! Aaaahhhhh!

Granpa: And so old Josiah ran out into the desert a-screamin' and a-wailin'. No one ever saw him or the other fourteen men that Scandahoovian Pete brought back to life ever again. But from time to time, folks around these parts say they seen a jack rabbit with antlers running through the night. They call him the Jackalope, but I know and now you know that it's really Mr. Whiskers, the undead resurrected school room pet gone plumb loco. And that's the whole story.

Kids: Lies! Lies!

Granpa: What? Is you all callin' me a liar? Well don't that beat all. I'm sick to death with the lot of ya! Why doncha go have some of your gramma's pie and let me alone.

Kids: Pie! Pie! (kids scramble, screen door opens)

Gramma: I already cut it up for you. Go help yourselves. (pause) Well that was some story you fed the children.

Granpa: Now why don't you just let me alone too? You know how I get in spring.

Gramma: Oh I know, you randy old goat. And don't be gettin' any ideas, The kitchen is closed, if you know what I mean.

Granpa: Oh, but sweetie...

Gramma: Don't you sweetie me. I know how the sap starts runnin' in you come May, and I'm not in the mood, so get!

Granpa: Could you at least get me my file? It won't do to let the children see these nubs sproutin' from my head. I gotta file 'em down.

Gramma: I ain't seen your file. Looks like you'd better head for the woods.

Granpa: Dagnabbit! Fine. I'll just go out and find me a nice birch to rub against. I'll see you in a bit.

Gramma: Take care. And don't be grazin' in Old Man Tate's cornfield again. He's got that rifle and he's just itchin' to use it.

Granpa: I hear you. Bye.

(SFX: footsteps on leaves)

Granpa: Hey Jacky! You out here? Hey Jacky!

Jackrabbit: (chitter)

Granpa: There you are. Well Jacky, looks like it's just you and me tonight. What say we go find ourselves a salt lick?

Jackrabbit: (chitter)

Granpa: You got that right. Nothing better on a spring night than a dash of salt. Let's get a move on. There's pie waitin' for me back at the house.