Authors Note: this story was not inspired by the children’s books,Chapter One
A Series of Unfortunate Events, starring Lemony Snicket,
but by my son’s stuffed animal of the same name.
Cody threw another peanut Kid’s way. Kid was sound asleep, snoring, his mouth slightly ajar.
Jimmy snickered slightly as he saw Cody miss once more. He reached into the bowl of peanuts and carefully picked out a nut. He took careful aim at Kid’s mouth before he threw. But like Cody, he too missed.
Cody looked at him sorrowfully. “And here I thought you had good aim,” he said sounding terribly disappointed in his friend.
Jimmy just shrugged at him, tossing yet another peanut Kid’s way, missing yet again.
Cody yawned, growing weary of this game. “Can you believe he fell for that Samantha woman?”
Jimmy shrugged once more.
“And before that Lou?” Cody continued, allowing a note of insolence to creep into his voice. When Jimmy simply popped a peanut in his mouth, rather than answer his questions, Cody leaned forward and picked up the rolled up newspaper that was lying nearby and swatted him. “You paying attention, Hickok?”
“Sure I am Cody,” Jimmy smiled. “You know I listen to every word that comes out of your mouth.”
Cody leaned back in his chair, pleased that he had recaptured his friend’s attention. But he knew what would really pique his interest. “Well at least you had the sense to fall for Lou when she started looking like a girl.”
He ducked quickly when he saw Jimmy bend down, expecting Kid’s old shoe lying beside his bunk to be flung directly at his head. But Jimmy simply picked up a fallen cloth and began cleaning his gun, which was sitting on the table, beside the bowl of peanuts.
Cody sighed softly. Not the reaction he expected at all. So he decided to try goading Jimmy, just a bit more. “I only speak the truth.”
“Never said you didn’t,” was Jimmy’s only retort. And for a long moment, the two friends sat in silence, watching Kid sleep. Suddenly Jimmy asked, “did you think Lou was a girl when she first got here?”
“I knew, right from the start that she was a girl,” Cody added, preening slightly.
“Sure you did,” Jimmy said, unable to keep the sarcasm from his voice.
“I did,” Cody protested. “But I have to admit, she made a right fine boy.”
Jimmy narrowed his eyes slightly at Cody, a slow smile crossing his features. “It was kinda funny how Kid fell for her, thinking she was a boy,” he said. Come on, Cody, he thought. You can do it.
“Yeah, it was,” Cody grinned. “He’d probably fall for anyone.”
Jimmy snorted. “Not you.”
“What do you mean?” Cody said, sounding positively indignant. “You don’t think I’m as pretty as Lou?”
Jimmy raised a brow at him. “Why Cody,” he drew out the words. “You sound almost disappointed that he didn’t fall for you.”
Cody smiled broader then. “Shoot,” he said. “I bet I could make a better looking girl than Lou did a boy.”
Jimmy sat up straight then. “What do you mean?”
Cody sat up as well, leaning closer to the table. “I bet that I could get Kid to ask me to the social next week.”
“What?!” Jimmy half-shouted, trying to sound shocked at the words.
“Quiet down,” Cody said quickly, waving a hand in Kid’s direction upon seeing him start to stir. “I bet-”
“I heard you,” Jimmy exclaimed. “I just can’t believe you said it.”
“So you willing to bet or not?” Cody asked, trying to sound bored. But inside he was jumping up and down for joy. This would be the easiest money he ever earned.
Jimmy glanced at Kid. “Yeah, I’ll bet you.”
“You want me to do what?” Buck squeaked. Cody was out of his mind.
“Help me get dressed,” Cody answered patiently. Today was the day Lemony Snicket would make her first appearance in Sweetwater.
“Like a girl?” Buck asked, shaking his head.
“Well do you think Kid is gonna ask me to the social looking like this?” Cody frowned. He had told Buck about his bet with Jimmy and he had even offered to cut him in for half the action. So what was his problem?
“But why me?” Buck sputtered.
“Well,” Cody said, raising his palms upward. “You are kinda pretty.”
Buck’s chin hit his chest upon hearing those words. “Are you out of your mind?” he yelled.
“I got the dress,” Cody told him, ignoring the flabbergasted looks Buck continued to throw his way. “And some other things. I just need you to help me put it all together.”
“What else do you have?” Buck asked, in spite of himself. This was the stupidest thing he had ever heard of, but on the other hand, he could use the money.
“I’ll show you,” Cody beamed. He opened his trunk and pulled out all the items he decided were necessary. A pricey bottle of perfume and a pair of earrings he had ‘borrowed’ from Rachel, a few underpinnings, just for show and a pink hat to match the pink dress he had bought. He frowned slightly, at this rate, he would barely break even when he won this bet.
Cody picked up the pink boa he had asked a saloon girl for. “You think this is too much?”
Buck groaned out loud. Cody was even sounding like a girl now. “Yes. It’s too much.”
Cody reluctantly put the boa down. “I don’t want him to think I’m a harlot.”
“You’re a man!” Buck shouted. “Or at least you used to be one.”
Cody just ignored him and went to the mirror. He picked up a lock of his blond hair. “Should I pin it up or just leave it down?” He thought he should leave his hair down. It was better than most of the women in town’s hair. But he was willing to listen to a second opinion.
Buck threw his hands up in the air. “Just put on the damn dress and we’ll see what we can do with you then.”
Kid handed Lemony her third slice of pie. He looked into her blue eyes and said, “I like a woman with a healthy appetite.”
Cody practically choked on his pie. It had for a little while worked out perfectly. Kid had met him in town and as planned, he had asked her to the social. They were now outside, partaking in the pre-dance picnic. But it was now getting to be too much, even for him. Kid was mooning over him the way he used to over Lou. No wonder Lou ended things. In fact, he wondered why any woman put up with any man. They were all fools.
Kid leaned back on his arms, his eyes still lingering on Lemony. “That’s a pretty dress,” he remarked casually.
Cody automatically put his hand to the lace collar of his dress. He had to admit it, he looked good. The pink dress and pink hat made his blue eyes look bluer than they ever had before and Buck had fashioned his hair so half of it hung down his back, while the rest just peeked out under his hat. “Thank you,” he replied, looking demurely at his hands. Even Hickok had to admit it. He made a much better girl than Lou did a boy.
Kid straightened up and moved closer. “I’m so glad your family moved here from Scottsbluff. I can’t wait to meet your father.”
“My father?!” Cody exclaimed, scooching backwards. Kid was being far too forward. He was not that kind of girl.
“I wanna ask his permission to court you?” Kid said, flashing Lemony a smile.
Cody’s eyes widened in horror. “I don’t know,” he began. But Kid cut him off.
“You’re not like any other girl I’ve ever met,” he told her, sounding far too sincere for Cody’s liking.
I’m not a girl at all you nitwit, Cody longed to yell. But he did have a lot of money riding on this. “Why thank you,” he whispered, fluttering his lashes at Kid.
Kid began to lean close to him again, but fortunately they were interrupted when someone knocked over a table, sending a mess of food and dishes crashing to the ground. When Cody looked up, he saw that it was Lou who had sent the table flying. She was still standing there, dressed in her usual attire, shirt, pants, hat and gun, staring at the two of them, mouth open.
A brief look of panic filled Kid’s eyes, but he quickly recovered himself. “I think the dance is gonna start soon,” he said. “Shall we go?” He took Lemony’s hand and pulled her to her feet.
As Kid and Cody began to walk to the dance, they saw Jimmy approach Lou. He whispered something in her ear and she began to laugh. A few seconds later, the two of them went to their horses and rode away, in the direction of the Pony Express station.
Cody stared at their receding figures. “He planned this whole thing out,” he said. It was only when Kid turned to look at him that he realized he had spoken the words out loud.
Buck joined Cody and Kid and for a little while, the three of them just stared at the dust Jimmy and Lou left behind.
“And we fell for it,” Kid said finally.
“You knew?!” Buck and Cody chorused.
Kid glared at them. “You really think I’m that stupid?” When his friends remained silent, he added, “Jimmy told me. He said that you were gonna dress up like a girl and he bet that I would fall for it. He told me he’d cut me in for half the money.”
Buck and Kid exchanged glances. That wasn’t the bet at all.
“You think that the spirits would be willing to help me out when I try to explain this to Lou?” Kid asked Buck. He was going to need all the help he could get.
Buck just smiled. “You could just duel with him,” he said, recalling what had happened with Samantha.
“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, Kid,” Cody told him.