Horse Thief


Scooter McGraw

"Hangin's too good fer ya, ya horse thief!", I exclaim, as the posse rides to the top of the mesa. We've caught him, this outlaw cowboy, and it'll soon be time to execute my preferred method. No sense wastin' a bullet on this desert scum.

He's mounted on one of our horses, hands tied behind his back. I slow my own horse down, and taunt him, lettin' him know he ain't got much longer to live. He's real nervous, knows there's no way outta this predicament. I hear him mumble, probably a prayer to his Maker.

We arrive. Looks like it's several hundred feet to the bottom of this cliff. We wait, allowin' our victim plenty of time to wonder what'll happen next. He sweats, fidgets on his mount. He'd bolt, but he's securely tied to that horse. He's mine, and he's gonna pay dearly.

We pull him down, stand him just a foot or two from the cliff's edge. My men have their guns pointed at him, should he get any funny ideas. I wind my rope, a hundred foot of it, tightly around his lower legs and ankles, tying the ends in a large knot.

I toss one of my men a tent stake from my pack, makin' it clear he's to drive it into the ground with ONE swing of the hammer, only. The outlaw watches, horrified. He knows what's next. My man makes a loop in one end of his rope, slings it over the wobbly tent stake, and tosses me the other end. I run it through the ropes circlin' our victim's legs, tyin' it good and tight. There's two, maybe three feet of slack between him and the stake.

I rise, look him straight in the eye. "Now yer gonna see what we do to horse thieves in these parts. I push him firmly. With his legs tied together, he loses his balance and topples over backwards. Since the majority of his weight already hangs over the edge of the cliff, he slides off, stoppin' when the rope goes taut. His spurs happen to grip the ground right at the very edge of the cliff. He's effectively hangin' by his bootheels.

I crouch at the cliff's edge, and shout down. "Now, don't you move, outlaw. You saw how loose that stake was. You start thrashin' around, and you'll uproot the thing, and fall to yer death. Hope it don't get too windy."

I retreat. Unbeknown to our victim, I've tied another length of rope through the loop at the tent stake, and fastened it securely to the ground elsewhere. Ten, twelve feet of slack here, once the rope's stretched out. No, we're not gonna kill him...only make him wish he were dead. We wait for the outlaw's screams.

Every twitch, every breath of wind, and that stake slips a little more. The outlaw tenses the muscles in his lower legs, tryin' desperately to hang on. Finally, he begs for mercy.

I return to the cliff's edge, sittin' myself down right next to his big ol' boots. The outlaw pleads, but I'm unmoved. "Sorry, friend, but you gotta pay fer yer sins. I pull out my knife and show it to him. "NO! Don't cut the rope!", he screams.

"I wouldn't think of endin' it all that quickly," I reply, as I run the blade along the stitchin' that holds boot to sole, severin' the two. I repeat with the other boot, then slowly peel away the soles, exposin' a pair of large cowboy feet in dirty white wool socks. This outlaw needs a bath, I chuckled. A few more cuts, and the socks fall away, revealin' two of the tenderest lookin' feet I've seen in a long time. This is gonna be good.

I slowly drag the tip of my finger up and down one sole, then the other. He tries to hold back, but can't. His laughter makes the rope shake, and it slips a little farther. When I tickle both feet at the same time, he bellows like a bull, and involuntarily squirms to avoid the cruel torture.

Soon, he screams, writhing in ticklish agony so badly that the tent stake pulls loose, and the cowboy plunges until the second rope catches, leavin' him danglin' over the edge. He passes out from fright, pissin' himself in the process.

No, I don't want to kill this one. Dead men don't laugh. We'll bring him back to the jail, where he'll spend the rest of his sentence barefoot, with ankles chained to the bars of his cell, his big, tender soles stickin' out where me and my men can tickle 'em at our leisure.

Scooter McGraw

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